Things Change. Things Stay the Same.

A close-up of a table containing: water, a snifter of beer, grumbler/howler, computer, a handwritten list, and a certificate for a free howler fill. Glass, howler, and certificate are all from Half Acre Beer Company in Chicago

I thought I’d never manage to fill this howler/grumbler. I certainly didn’t expect to do so for almost free of a very special beer that I’ll likely never get to have again.

I don’t know where I’m going. But I’m starting to learn how to drive and enjoy the ride.… Continue reading →

Easy Hot Cocoa Mixes

Last year or perhaps early this year, I whipped together a basic cocoa mix for cold Chicago nights in. It was just something I could quickly add to some milk to make a warm, seasonal drink. And, frankly, it used up some of the random ingredients I had made or bought for household experiments. And it quickly made a batch for 2 – 4 folks, depending on how much cocoa you gave each person.

A frothy mug of hot cocoa.

Hot Cocoa Version I

6 tbsp vanilla sugar1
4 tbsp cocoa powder

3 c milk

Heat milk to a near boil on the stove, then whisk in the cocoa and vanilla sugar. Once thoroughly combined, serve.

It was very simple, but quite good. And it made Nicky happy when they visited, which is also great.… Continue reading →

Holiday Gift Guide 2015 Part II – Science and Blather!

My last post was all about some gifts you could get for the beer and/or food geeks in your life. This list is my other passion, science, and then a bunch of other things that have made my life better over the past year in some way or another. Or, like the last post, a few things I might pick up in the future (holidays make it hard to buy for oneself).

In any case, these are usually things that have made me or someone I love happy, with an occasional thing I’m just dying to buy (for me or someone else).

Science:

First and foremost, let me reiterate “the single best suggestion/idea I can give you is to go shop for your entire list at your favorite local museum, aquarium, planetarium, or zoo.” (This is a direct quote from me from last year, it’s true.) Memberships are great and, yes, some of these places will be doing discounts (the Portland, OR aquarium is, for example) and their main shops are always full of cool and unusual stuff.… Continue reading →

Holiday Gift Guide 2015 Part I – Food and Beer

Last year I did my first ever “gift guide,” and was surprised at how much folks liked the post. I admit, I hadn’t been sure people would be interested in my suggestions, but I decided to put them out there in case it was useful. This year, knowing it was well-liked last year, I’ve been paying a bit more attention to possible suggestions.

It helped, frankly, that Bill and I moved across the country and had to decide both what to get rid of entirely and what to put into storage for the next nine months. The toaster oven made the moving cut, but not the storage cut, for example. The electric kettle in that post, however, remains a part of my day to day living.… Continue reading →

Science, Beer, Food, and Blathering Gift Suggestions

Well, after blogging for four and a half years, I guess I’ve started to get the hang of things. Like, in December, a blogger should consider having a “gift guide” or something. Or a good cookie recipe. Or both.

Well, I have several cookie recipes, but nothing new for you, so I guess we’ll have to settle on a gift ideas. I tried to come up with a few things that I have liked, used, or given as potential gifts from each “section” of the blog (food, beer, science, blather).

Mostly, I think these things are neat, fun, or wonderful and I hope to help you find something spectacular for someone awesome in your life. Or, if not find, give you some a springboard for other ideas.… Continue reading →