Friday, February 25, 2011

Odds & Ends


I love coffee. I love the smell of coffee. I love a cup of coffee in the morning and a cup in the evening. While I have tried to cut down on the amount of coffee I consume in one day, the Mrs. and I can go through a pot on a cold winter day easily.

Now, I cannot drink my coffee black. I need some creamer and I like a little bit of flavoring. So, the wife and I would buy the various flavors of coffee creamer, trying the seasonals as well as the mainstays like French Vanilla or Carmel. When we started dieting we both found that the creamers consumed way to many points. So we had to find an alternative. Skim milk and splenda, while good in a pinch, just did not really do it for us. It was with great joy, then, that we found a perfect little "mash-up" that we really love in our coffee and does not kill our diet. The outlay of cost is not substantial and while it adds a little more preparation time, it gives us some great tasting coffee house coffee.

First, you start off by going to Amazon and buying two things, a frother and a bottle or variety pack, depending upon your likes, of Torani Sugar Free syrups. The Torani is awesome and if you get the sugar free syrups, the calories/points are very low per serving. Personally, I like the Chocolate, the Vanilla and the Carmel. DO NOT make the mistake of buying the Classic Carmel, it is just not as good. The Hazelnut is not bad, it just comes off as a little bitter to me. The variety pack is good if you like or want to try these flavors and the Irish Creme or Raspberry. You can find the variety pack HERE. The other thing you need to get is a frother. We picked up this one and it has worked out well. It is a basic, no frills frother that does the job and does it well and cheaply.

Now that you have that, go and pick up some silk or blue diamond sugar free or unsweetened almond milk. You can get the flavored, if you choose not to get the syrups, but I would suggest you go flavor free if you get syrups.

Now, measure out some of the almond milk. For two cups of coffee, I generally fill up the almond milk to the line on the frother (I do not know how much that is, but I believe it is about a cup).

Add the flavoring. I will generally use 2 tablespoons per cup of coffee.

Pour the milk-flavoring into a pot and warm it up. DO NOT use a microwave as the almond milk seems to separate in the microwave. Warm up the milk until it is hot, but not bubbling hot.

Pour the milk-flavoring mix into the frother. Froth the milk for about 10 -15 pumps. You will now have a nice frothy milk flavoring.

If you have a fresh brewed pot, pour the milk into your cups and then pour your coffee. If you have warmed up your coffee in the microwave, pour the milk mixture into the coffee and stir.

Atlas Shrugged

If you have been paying attention, you know that the movie that some said could never be made, has been made. It appears to be a pretty close adaptation to the original. In case you have not seen or heard anything about this, check out the trailer below.

Recently, the producers released a scene from the movie which can be viewed below

This movie was made, according to IMDB, with a budget of only 15 million. That is nothing by today's standards. The cast is mostly television actors but from what I have seen, read and heard from those that have seen this movie, they all do an excellent job.

We all need to support this movie. As of now, I do not know if it is going to run anywhere here in St. Louis but should it, we should organize a group to see this movie when it opens. If you are in another area of the country, please get your friends together to see this movie. The producers, director and actors of this movie will probably be ostracized for being a part of this important and relevant film and we, the movie going public, should buycott this movie and make sure we all go and see it.

Who is with me?

Comic Books

Even though I am over 35, I still love comic books. I love the art and the stories they tell. While I do not buy the monthly issues, I regularly pick up the collections and graphic novels. Additionally, I watch the cartoon movies that are put out by both Marvel and DC. It was while watching one that I came across a revelation of sorts.

I was watching a DC cartoon that was had Superman and Batman. I figured that it would be no big deal to let my 8 year old daughter watch it with me. As she is curled up next to me, I became increasingly uncomfortable with the way these artists portrayed women. It was not that they portrayed them as weak or feeble. In fact all of the women were very strong physically and mentally and could keep pace with the men. My uncomfortableness was due to the way they were drawn and the clothes that they wore. Supergirl was model skinny thin but was, well, well endowed. She always wore a half shirt and her clothes were somewhat tight and showy. Pausing the movie, I checked the rating and found that it was rated PG 13. I stopped the movie and finished after my daughter went to bed.

This whole thing got me thinking, though. Girls are reading comics now. They are not just reading Archie and such. There are many young girls and women who read Spiderman, Iron Man, Batman, Wonder Woman, Avengers, X-Men and so forth. The women, as they are portrayed in these comics, are completely unrealistic in body dimensions. While I understand that these are comics, I have to wonder, what does this do for already body conscious women. Comic books are fantasy, but the portrayal of these strong women in barely there outfits can be daunting. I know that part of it is for the male fantasy, but what about the young women?

I do not believe in censorship or in stopping these companies' right to draw and distribute comics. I enjoy these comics but what responsibility, other than slapping a rating on them, do these companies have? Do they have any responsibility? Are there other fathers out there that struggle with this too?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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