Grab Bag Java Jive:
I was thinking of holiday gift-giving, and a package of paraphernalia to make the perfect cuppa for the Java Junkie in your life could be fun.
According to Men’s Health magazine, the 2010 World Barista Champion, Michael Phillips (why isn’t he a Barist-o?), uses this “best method” for making the perfect cup o’ Joe:
• Buy the freshest beans you can find – look for bags that are dated – the fresher the better.
Top picks include:
Medium Blend: Verve 1950 Blend
Light Blend: Zoka Tangletown Blend
Bold Blend: Gimme! Coffee Leftist Espresso Blend
• Grind only the beans you need for immediate use.
Phillips’ favorite burr grinder is the $90 Capresso
• Skip the automatic coffee makers. Go instead with a paper filter-lined drip pour-over cone
Phillips likes the Hario V60 02
(comes in clear plastic, clear and colored glass, and white and red ceramic)
Other important tips:
☞ Boil the water and then let it stand for 30-60 seconds…. that should bring it to the desired 200°.
☞ Prep the filter by pouring some of that freshly boiled water into the cone with the empty paper filter.. swish it around to loosen any fibers that could sour your java experience and toss out any excess water.
☞ Place the cone atop your mug, and fill the filter with 2 rounded Tbsp. of fresh grounds for an 8 oz. cup.
☞ Gradually pour in just enough water to saturate the grounds. WAIT for the grounds to “bloom” – about 60-90 seconds.
☞ Now, starting in the middle of the cone, pour the water in a slow stream as you spiral slowly from the inside to the edge. Don’t flood the cone.
☞ Drink and enjoy. Clean up is a breeze and the coffee is perfect.
Grab Bag Space-Age Scrabble:
The little wooden tiles have made a quantum leap into the new millennium. Pair an iPad with your iPhone for the latest in word game wizardry.
The price on this app is $9.99, and the iPhone app is free, so get it while it’s hot…. this is too cool to pass up. Really.
The iPad’s screen is big and bright and with the ability to network play, pass and play, as well as play up to 25 multiplayer games at one time, you’re not going to be short of options.
But the best option may be the one that lets you use your iPhone or iPod touch as a tile rack, with support for two to four players, called “Party Play.”
Using the iPhone as a tile rack makes the game more engaging and feel much, much more like the original board game. Classy touches, such as flicking the tiles from your rack to the main iPad board, work really well.
Here’s a quick demo video showing the different aspects of the iPad app, including that cool “Party Play” functionality.
Bonus iPhone features include the option to shake your phone to shuffle up the letters and the ability to access the dictionary, so you can check your word before you hit up the board.
Grab Bag Good News:
…. maybe. Who knows how far this band of courageous warriors will get, but they are mounting an attempt to overhaul a 34 year old regulation that is supposed to keep us safe from chemicals in our consumer products (which it currently does NOT).
Reading this article makes one wonder what would be coursing through OUR veins, should we be tested.
This is an uphill battle….
1. Companies are making LOTS of money using chemicals in their products that give a desired effect.
2. The ubiquitous and insidious nature of chemical exposure and toxicity allows it to continue without being blamed…. but that might be changing.
3. We, as consumers, have come to expect a high level of performance from our cosmetics, cleaning products, cookware, fire protection, etc., but WE WERE NEVER ASKED IF IT WAS WORTH THE CHEMICAL EXPOSURE. Our expectations need to fall in line with our safety.
That last one… that’s what WE can do. Buy products that are more natural, containing less toxic chemicals….. and don’t whine when the brown spots on your face don’t disappear in 7 days, or your eggs don’t shoot magically out of your pan and on to your plate, or your dishwasher doesn’t render glassware that looks better than new. Let’s be realistic and vote for less chemically-laden products with our credit cards.
Grab Bag Space Age S**t:
Thanks to Joyce W. for this submission!
Grab Bag Wash WIKI:
Do we need those chemical sprays to get our veggies clean and ready for eating? Experts say probably not. BUT… some produce requires a bit more attention when it comes to washing.
Strawberries, my friends, tested “out of the bag” at 1,500 bacteria count and 5,200 mold/yeast. AFTER a 20 second rinse in cold water, the count went UP to 2,300 bacteria and 12,000 mold/yeast!
According to Alan Johnson of Northeast Laboratories, who tests these kinds of things, it seems that a light rinse dislodges stuff but doesn’t gt rid of it, making it more available, at least for a sensor.
What’s best? First, CUT ALL STEMS AND STALKS AWAY BEFORE WASHING.
Then, rub the berries with your hands under warm water for 30-60 seconds.
Or, hope your berries’ pickers washed their hands after they went potty.
Grab Bag Brain Game:
Don’t have room for a pool table? No problem.
Grab Bag Thanksgiving:
Thanks to Susi G. for this