Monday, September 30, 2013

Fizzled In

Cocktails! They are such a huge portion of my life. I'm not ashamed to admit that. Don't judge!

The problem with mixing cocktails is that you rarely use an entire can of soda to do it. Since I don't have one of those fancy soda guns that bars do (Maybe someday!), I am often left with a half can of soda sitting in the fridge going flat.

Over the years, I have tried many different products that claim to keep soda fresh in between uses. None of them have actually managed to do it...UNTIL NOW! 

I found this particular product on Amazon last year. Yes, I spent a year testing it in the real world before bringing it to all of're welcome.

I would have called it "Flat-Be-Gone"

Keep in mind, the photo above is the second generation of the product. The original sealed standard soda cans perfectly. I even went on a business trip for a week and came home to fizzy soda! This second generation product not only fits standard cans, but it also fits the smaller cans you can buy in an 8-pack. It's now 2 great products in one!!!

So, if you are suffering from flat half-cans of soda, head over to Amazon and do yourselves a favor. At just under $5.00, they aren't cheap...but they are well worth the cost. Imagine the amount of flat soda you would throw away without this little gem!

Drink up!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Film-A-Geddon: The Croods

And a new feature is born! "Film-A-Geddon" is where I will discuss movies that I have enjoyed. Especially ones that I feel didn't get the respect they deserved when they were in the theater.

This time around, let's talk about "The Croods"

Yep, cave people!

I downloaded this film thinking, "Ok, 90 minutes worth of popcorn humor and no substance to worry about." I was a little wrong. Aside from the animation being spectacular, this movie contained a lot of substance I really didn't expect.

To sum it up, you have a family of cave people trying to escape the end of their world. That, in and of itself, is pretty deep! I mean, how do you explain the end of the world to a 7 year old? Well, they do a pretty good job of it in this movie.

I was totally prepared for fluff. What I wasn't prepared for was a film that teaches you to look beyond the familiar and strike out to find something better...a film that teaches you that fear is not something to center your life around...a film that actually accentuates the value of a cohesive family unit.

Nicolas Cage voices "Grug", the patriarch of the family. He is obsessed with keeping them alive during this very dangerous period in human evolution, as any father would be. Our heroine, "Eep" is voiced by the lovely Emma Stone. She wants to explore and do something more with her life than live in a cave. She meets "Guy" voiced by the exceptional Ryan Reynolds. I could close my eyes and just listen to his voice all day. He is slightly more evolved than the Croods and has mastered the use of fire. He plans to survive the coming destruction and winds up with the entire Crood clan accompanying him. In a complete standout role is Cloris Leachman as "Gran". I'm sure they tried to get Betty White to voice this role, but I'm sure she's too expensive. Cloris is apparently the poor man's Betty White.

What amazed me the most about this film was that there wasn't a villain. The Croods weren't fighting against someone (Ok, sometimes themselves). They were just trying to survive. It was also pretty amazing that the motivation for their survival also wasn't the death of a family member (Nemo, I'm talking to you!).  Amazingly enough...there wasn't any death. You'd think then that there wouldn't be anything to make me cry...don't worry, there was plenty. I don't think it's a spoiler to tell you that no one dies. It's actually kind of refreshing. Even on repeated watchings (I am up to 6 at this point) the emotional heart-strings are pulled every time, like clockwork.

I recommend The Croods for children and adults alike. The kids will love the visuals and the slap-stick humor. I'm hoping the adults will take something a little more valuable away from the film. Fear, lose it!...Family, treasure it!

Let me know what you thought of the film in the comments below.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dust Bitten

A tragic accident occurred at Sanctuary over the weekend!  This gorgeous lantern, my baby, was the major casualty. You might remember my original post about the dearly departed, alas poor Lantern...I knew ye well.

Here is the last "living" photo I have of the deceased,

"You light up my life..."

I can only blame myself for this senseless tragedy. If it were not for my large, clumsy, oafish hands Lantern would still be alive today. I was reaching inside to turn off it's LED illumination, the globe slipped and Lantern plummeted to it's death on the floor below. My breath caught in my throat. I couldn't scream. I couldn't react. I watched, frozen, the fall as if in slow motion ending in a brutal crash of glass on the wooden floor below.  I did my best to attempt to save him, but it was too late. What was once a statuesque, bright beacon was now a crumble of lifeless shards on the floor.

I'm sure it's morbid to post a photo from the morgue. I warn you...the grisly image that follows is not for the faint of heart.


The sense of loss I feel right now is immeasurable. The other lanterns and I have agreed that tonight we will hold a memorial service. Everyone will be lit to they're brightest, carrying on the torch for those who were lost...extinguished in their prime.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sir Mix-A-Lush: The S'more Martini

I chose this martini as the signature cocktail for the Labor Day BBQ. I did some online research and found a lot of recipes. From that I culminated my own take on the legendary campfire classic.

The real trick is choosing liquor that doesn't give you a nasty liquor taste, but at the same don't want it to be too sweet. I settled on Godiva Chocolate Liquor and Pinnacle Vodka's Marshmallow flavor.

The other trick is the presentation. I purchased plastic martini glasses at Party City. It was a picnic after all, I didn't want people breaking my good glass martini glasses. I first dipped the rim of the glass in chocolate syrup and then rimmed it with graham cracker crumbs. YUM! 

The other aspect of the presentation was the garnish. For this I bought small bamboo skewers, also at Party City. On the skewer I placed 4 mini marshmallows which I then toasted over my gas stove burner. You have to be careful...they toast quickly! I wound up with a few charred marshmallow remains while attempting this. The great thing about the garnish is that you can toast them the day before to save time when whipping up the cocktail. Had I employed a bartender for this party, I would have made him toast the garnish as he made the drink. But then I also would have insisted he be muscularly chiseled and work shirtless in very tiny shorts! Hey, if I'm paying I get to choose!

A flavor test without the fancy rimming on the glass.

I created a few test versions leading up to the actual BBQ. Well, I didn't want to serve an inferior martini to my guests! Stop judging me!!! On the test above, I drizzled the glass with chocolate syrup. It looked really pretty, but the drink was so cold the syrup never incorporated into the drink. Hence, I decided to add it to the shaker in the end. What I settled on is the recipe below.

          The S'more Martini

                   Rim a martini glass (8oz or larger) first in chocolate syrup, then in 
                   graham cracker crumbs, set aside.

                   In a martini shaker with ice add the following:

                             2oz     Godiva Chocolate Liquor
                             2oz     Pinnacle Marshmallow Vodka
                             1oz     Half & Half
                             1oz     Chocolate Syrup

                  Shake vigorously and strain into the martini glass. Garnish with a
                  skewer of toasted mini marshmallows. Drink and enjoy!

Here are pictures of the final version with all it's amazing rimmed goodness taken by those who were enjoying it.

Photo Credit: Siobhan Connellan
Photo Credit: Josh Wiles

The martini was a big hit at the party, even my mother tried a sip...and she never drinks booze! The downside was that there weren't a lot of left-overs for me to enjoy. Is that a good thing or a bad thing???

Monday, September 2, 2013

What I Did With My Summer Vacation

Hello everyone, and welcome back to JimNotMike. I know I've been gone for a while, taking a little break...but I'm going to try and get back to posting the very least, once a week.

I thought I'd start by sharing a bit about what I've been up to since I've been gone.


Yep...she thinks she is a lap dog!

We had the pleasure of fostering this beautiful dog for a few weekends until our kennel found a more permanent home for her. She now has a new home and new name, but she will always be Pepper to me.

New Orleans

I got to spend some more time in New Orleans. It's my favorite food city, as most of you know. I also got to tour the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery...AGAIN!

Rum, Rum, everywhere! I'll take a barrel please!!!

Office Move

The weekend of July 4th our office moved location to an entirely new facility. It was a pain, but well worth the effort.

My brand-spankin new cubicle.

The "Huddle Room" I designed. It's for informal meetings.

The Beach Trip

Scott, Tod and I headed to Rehoboth for a week. Really, the best part of my summer. It was more rainy and cool that it had ever been, but's the beach, who cares! I can drink in the rain and wear a hoody!!!

This is us...packing light!

Our wonderful location on a sunny day.
And...another GREAT view! Oh waiter!!!

Trunk Club

I tried out a service that picks out clothes for you. They made some great choices for me, but everything was well out of my price range so I sent it all back. I think I need to start a service like this, but at a lower price point. The experience was great. Nothing like having a personal stylist!

Lovely packaging.

Pretty clothes.

Labor Day BBQ

Since I couldn't host on July 4th because of the office move, I hosted an end-of-the-season BBQ.

From my local butcher...yummy!

Condiment Bar! Thank you Pinterest!!!
So that pretty much brings us up to speed. If I've left anything out, can be a future post! I hope you all had a great summer too!