Sunday, October 31, 2010

Brewing Report: Cigar City Brewing

The Tampa Bay area has quite a few breweries. Since micro-breweries are a big part of many of our travelling adventures, we figured we should try to visit some of them right here in our own backyard. The first up was Cigar City Brewing.

Cigar City has a national reputation for putting out great beer. They have even won awards at the Great American Beer Festival.

That tasting room is attached to the brewery. It's a long wooden bar where you can buy pints, quarts and a sampler of four beers. We sampled eight of their beers on tap. They had two Saisons that were very unique. Marshal Zukov’s Imperial Stout was delicious – smooth, robust and one of our favorites. The two we decided to bring home were the:

Madero Oatmeal Brown Ale – This is a fantastic brown ale. It is smooth and malty. It is full of flavor, yet very drinkable. It has a great toasted flavor. Definitely one of the best brown ales I have ever had.

Rye Porter – The Rye Porter was also a winner. It was full of flavor and well balanced with a nice finish.

We will definitely be back.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Blogs I like: Pioneer Woman and The Girl Who

I am going to do you a favor and pass along the names of some of my favorite blogs. You are welcome:

The Pioneer Woman
I love all the facets of this website. There’s photography, cooking, general posts about her family, contests, and sometimes very funny posts about her dogs and the adventure of living on a working cattle ranch. She has inspired me to take on bigger cooking and photography challenges. Plus she posts often so there’s always something new.

The Girl Who

I adore this blog. I have followed it for years. I even have that weird stalkery feeling that we are friends, even though we have never met or communicated in more than 140 characters. I respect her honesty and envy her writing ability. She definitely does not sugar coat motherhood, marriage or the challenges of living in Utah. Her husband has taken up residence in a corner of her blog these days and the way he writes about their daughter is swoon worthy so take a seat before you click. Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite blogs?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Hey Good Lookin'! Whatcha Got Cooking? Candy Corn Infused Vodka

So today's recipe is all about vodka. I know - not exactly the best recipe for feeding your family, but very appropriate for feeding your family. I got the idea from Food Network Magazine. The originial recipe is found here.

The recipe used egg whites and I was a little skeeved out by that even though I think the acid in the lemon juice basically cooks them... Maybe??

Anyway - here we go.

"Infusing" vodka (or any liquid for that matter) - basically means soaking something in it for long enough that the flavor transfers to the vodka.

The ration for this recipe is 1/2 cup candy corn to 1 and 1/2 cups vodka. You see here I doubled it:

1 cup candy corn to 3 cups vodka

Just combine them in an airtight container and leave for at least 3 hours. I used a rubbermaid container and forgot about it for a couple days. The candy corn starts to disenigrate and takes on a slightly orange color and sweeter taste.

After you are done "infusing", you just pour the combination through a strainer and voila - you have candy corn vodka.

To make a candy corn martini - I combined:

2 parts candy corn vodka
1 part Triple Sec.
Shake in ice and the strain into a glass

Garnish with a candy corn and you are good to go! Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Are You Watching? Mike and Molly

After all the hubbub this week about the article in Marie Claire decrying the existence of fat people – I decide I needed to watch Mike and Molly since that is spark that lit this little internet fire.

I liked it. I thought it was typical half hour comedy. She’s a teacher. He’s a cop. She lives with her mom and sister. He lives alone. They both struggle with their weight. The characters seemed a little one-dimensional, but I only watched two episodes and this is the first season. I could see the jokes coming, but still enjoyed them. It was what I expect from a half hour comedy. As long as it makes me giggle a couple times, I am all good. I am glad that it has been picked up for a whole season. I just wish that every series that features main characters that aren’t white, heterosexual and thin could be graded on the content of their writing and acting– rather than the ethnicity, weight or sexuality of the characters.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hot Topic: Why can’t you just tell the truth?

The big story here in Florida is that gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink looked at a text message from a staffer during a break in CNN debate. This violated the rules of the debate because both candidates had agreed not to use notes. Rick Scott and the media have made this THE issue in these last days leading up to the election. This has eclipsed life changing topics like how will a new Governor create jobs after the space program is discontinued? What is going to happen to Florida’s public schools? How will the state of Florida make the most of health care reform and stimulus dollars? Instead, we are talking about a freaking text message. Grrrrr…
If we have learned anything from the scandals in recent years – it is that if you tell the truth, acknowledge your mistake, and apologize - the media quickly loses interest. In the baseball steroid scandal, Andy Pettite admitted it and he is still pitching today while the media is still searching for a “gotcha” angle on Rogers Clemens. As far as sex scandals, David Letterman suffered a week of public skewering while Tiger Woods endured months and months. Reggie Bush returned the Heisman when there was a hint of scandal and most people didn’t even hear about it.

So why is it so hard to tell the truth?
If Sink had just said, “I made a mistake. I knew my staff understood the rules of the debate so when the makeup artist approached me with a message from my staff – I immediately got concerned it was something related to my daughter. I looked at the message. After seeing it was a campaign related message, I should have immediately shown it to the CNN moderator and apologized. I fired the staffer who did it. Now, can we get back to important issues related to the future of Florida?” But instead, she is passing the blame.

I think people understand that mistakes happen, but the true test of someone is how they respond. Seventeen years ago, the Texas Ranger manager admitted to using cocaine and violating the MLB drug policy. Because he came clean and got clean, the team kept him and now he is in the World Series.

The whole point of having an election is to determine which candidates will best represent the interests of the American people – not to see which candidates can out sound-byte or out manipulate the American people better.

It’s time to tell the truth and let the cards fall where they may.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ask Angie: When to confront and when to accept– Introduction

I get a lot of contradictory messages from the advice world.

On one hand, I hear: You can’t change other people - you can only change your reactions to them.

On the other hand, I hear: Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! Tell people what you need. Talk about the things they should do differently in order to be a better wife, friend, sister, baseball coach, co-worker, etc.

So if I am having an issue with a friend – am I supposed to get positive or get talking?

When do you confront and when do you accept?

And what does it mean to accept? Because most of the time, when people tell me just accept something, I end up stewing in a-not-so attractive blend of anger, resentment, and can you believe that?

For the past month – this question has been heavily on my mind so I dedicating the next four Tuesdays to this very topic.

Have you had a scenario that illustrates this conundrum? If so, what was it and how did you deal with it?

Is there a particular situation you’d like me to take on? You can always email me at

Monday, October 25, 2010

Whatcha Reading? The case for going vegan

The idea of going vegan is very intriguing to me. I don’t think I would ever do it, but recently I read a couple books that made a very compelling case:
Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body's Natural Ability to Heal Itself

Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body's Natural Ability to Heal Itself by Alejandro Junger

The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet
The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by Alicia Silverstone

The Kind Diet begins with a very strong case for going vegan both from the environmental/animal rights and health standpoints. The tone is persuasive. Preach Alicia Preach! The book succeeded in getting me to think about the food choices I make. The cookbook aspect of the book I found more challenging. This is not a lean into veganism cookbook. The ingredients are very specific to vegan cooking and may be difficult to locate in a local supermarket. The recipes also take quite a bit of prep. It would be a great cookbook for someone who had been vegan for years and was looking to take their meal preparations up a notch.

Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body's Natural Ability to Heal Itself
I picked up this book at the library after reading that it is the new fad cleanse program a la the Master Cleanse and the Martha Vineyard diet. This book actually made a lot of sense. The early chapters focus on the “science” of why the body needs to detoxify. I put “science” in quotations because I don’t have the inclination to figure out if what the authors claim is true. True or not – some of the claims make sense. For instance, the author explains how our cells aren’t meant to deal with all these toxins from our food - toxins like pesticides, steroids, chemically created foods. The process that cells go through to rid the body of these toxins creates byproducts like mucus and that creates inflammation. There have been links between people with increased inflammation and cancer. Logically that makes sense to me. The rest of the book discusses prepping for a cleanse and the actual clean diet regime. Of all the books I have read on detoxification – this was by far the best and seemed the safest. I am even considering purchasing it as a reference guide to which foods are more suited to decreasing inflammation. If the cleanse movement is something that has caught your attention, I would definitely pick up this book to educate yourself on one method of doing. Obviously, don’t make any major changes to your diet or exercise regime without consulting your physician. (Apparently, does not count as a physician – so keep that in mind.)