Trader Joes NewOrleans style Chickory coffeeMany, many years ago, before nifty gadgets like the Keurig, my wife and I had a friend who, like us, enjoyed a good cup of coffee.  He introduced us to chicory coffee.  It is yummy.  I’m not really sure what chicory is, but it makes for a good cup of joe.  [realizing how silly that sounds in the days of the Google Empire, I just did a search on it –please see the bottom of this post for an excerpt from the wikipedia page on chicory]  As I mentioned, this was before Keurigs and K-cups, and chicory coffee wasn’t readily available on grocery store shelves…it still isn’t, as a general rule, but our friend liked it enough that he’d buy a case of Cafe du Monde’s Coffee and Chicory and give us a can.

Fast forward a to a few (four, maybe) years ago and our friend and his wife get a Keurig and get rid of his regular coffee maker.  No more chicory…until yesterday when my wife and I were shopping in Tree Hugger…err, Trader Joe’s and I spotted the can pictured above-right on a shelf.  We have made three pots of it since getting it home.

Other than to say it tastes much like I remember Cafe du Monde’s Chicory and Coffee, I can’t compare and contrast and say one is better than the other.  I can say, though, that this won’t be the last can of Trader Joe’s Chicory that we’ll be buying.  And to our friend, whenever you stop by, we’ll be happy to make a pot of it to share.


**Below is an excerpt from Wikipedia’s entry for chicory:

“Root chicory (Cichorium intybus var. sativum) has been in cultivation in Europe as a coffee substitute. The roots are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive, especially in the Mediterranean region (where the plant is native), although its use as a coffee additive is also very popular in India (see Indian filter coffee), parts of Southeast Asia, South Africa and southern United States, particularly in New Orleans. It has also been popular as a coffee substitute in poorer economic areas, and has gained wider popularity during economic crises such as the Great Depression in the 1930s. Chicory, with sugar beet and rye was used as an ingredient of the East German Mischkaffee (mixed coffee), introduced during the “coffee crisis” of 1976-79.”

My Not-So-Secret Affair

She calls to me.  I spend hours watching her, sneaking in twenty minutes here, an hour there, recording her for viewing after my wife has gone to bed…

Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I Love Soccer…I love playing it, I love coaching it, and I love watching it.  In fact, I wrote about how much I love it almost two years ago:  “My Soccer Addiction.”  My daughters play it and list it among their hobbies, but I haven’t yet seen the spark that indicates they have that burning desire to be the best they can be at it, but I suppose I didn’t have it at ten or under, either.

My wife, I’m sure, would be just as happy if my affair with soccer would end.  I can admit that I spend a lot of time talking about it and watching it.  Strictly speaking, though, I probably don’t spend any more time talking about and watching it than most guys spend watching and talking about football (american).  Two seasons a year, I also coach it.

One big difference between me and soccer, and most guys and football is that I still play soccer…about three days a week during lunch, and when things work out, a season or two a year on an adult league team.  Lately, our level of competition during lunch has been increasing and the games are getting better, too.  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I look forward to going to work just to play at lunch.

My love of the game may be due to my ancestry…

In Europe, it’s different – you eat soccer, you breathe soccer, you drink soccer. Everything is about soccer.   –Thomas Dooley

I thought about calling this “Playing until I can’t walk” as I don’t see my affair with The Beautiful Game ending until I am physically unable to play her.  Sad, I know, but it is what it is.

The Replacements: A great football movie

The Replacements

Released: 2000

Starring:  Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Brooke Langton, Orlando Jones, Jon Favreau, and John Madden

Okay, I might be a bit biased because a friend and I were at a Ravens game when they shot some of the goal line scenes during halftime, but this is one of my favorite football movies.  It’s got lots of laughs, a little drama, and it’s not Keanu’s worst performance ever.  Somehow, I don’t think I own it on DVD, but I watch it every time I find it on the TV.

Here are a couple of the good scenes…there are more, but I’ll just stick to these two.

“I’m afraid of spiders”

“I will survive”

Train ’em up, then send ’em home

My wife likes to have little chats with our daughters when she tucks them in.  Sometimes they have quite a laugh…I can hear them giggling and laughing from the living room.  Tonight, after coming back downstairs, my wife told me what started the gigglefest.  My older daughter told her she wasn’t sure she wanted to have kids because she didn’t want to have to deal with the cleaning up of poop and other mess, changing diapers, and all that.  She then said something like “maybe I’ll just send them to [my sister] to train until they’re five and then send back.”  Isn’t that a riot?  Her sister, our younger daughter, likes playing with little kids and helping take care of them so she may think that would actually be a good plan.  Not sure.  I wasn’t there.  I suppose she’ll change her mind when she’s older.  I can’t imagine not liking to change diapers keeping her from the joy that is parenthood.

Random Hairs

Random Hair on My ArmI was sitting around checking FaceBook on my phone…(Android, BTW, I’m an iHater)… when I noticed this dark hair sprouting from my arm.

When the hell did that get there?

I’m not a very hirsute guy. I’ve got an average amount of hair on my arms and legs, a lot of thick hair on my head (except for the nearly bare spot on top-back), and a small to average amount on my chest. I can grow a wicked-thick mustache and, for lack of a better word, soul patch, but it takes about a week for a beard to look like more than just unshaved stubble…and I’m quite certain I could never grow “Da Beard.”  So, what’s with the random single hairs that just pop up out of the blue where no other hair is growing?? And I really do mean pop up…like yesterday it wasn’t there and today…”Whoomp! There it is!” [hehehe…couldn’t help myself]

It’s kind of like that “speak of the Devil and he appears” thing…okay, not really. I wasn’t talking about hairs before it showed up.


Making Carmen

In preparation for Thursday’s Chili Cook-off at work, I made chili for the family for dinner today…got the ingredients ready and into the crock pot where they cooked all day.  This evening, my in-laws came over for dinner and also to give the girls and my wife and me Valwntine’s Day gifts.  After we finished, I got out more ingredients for the final prep of the chili foe the cook-off.  I decided to go for level three (hottest) this year while still maintaining good flavor.  Though I left most of the seeds out, the main heat of this chili is coming from a particular pepper.  I’ll leave it to you to figure out which one.  I’ve already made it about as obvious as the nose on your face.  (hint:  see the title of this blog…and the tags).

When I tasted the chili shortly after adding the new ingtedients, it had a little kick, but I’m not sure if it’s a level three.  This is why I made it two days ahead though…for the spice to have time to better permeate the meat and other ingredients.  I hope it is a three by the time it’s heated back up Thursday around lunchtime…and that there’s plenty of  cold beverages and chips for those brave enough to let this chili dance across their tongues.

The Night Before Valentine’s Day

Here’s a cheesy little Pre-Valentine’s Day poem in the spirit of ‘The Night Before Christmas’:


Twas the night before Valentine’s Day and all through the house

Girl Scout cookies were strewn, except on the couch

The children were snuggled all warm in their beds

while Disney’s Greatest movie songs permeated their heads

Then what to my wondering eyes should appear

but that chubby little winged fairy who can’t grow a beard

His eyes, how they twinkled, his teeth (and diaper) so white

As he drew back his bow and his arrow took flight

I flinched not at all as the arrow struck home

(his magical arrow damages neither flesh nor bone)

The effects of his magic, I’m used to, it’s clear…

for I’ve been in love with my wife now for more than fifteen years

Cheap Plastic Discs

You can spend all kinds of money on “real sleds” that will let you steer, are made for more than one person, or are long enough for you to lie prone, but, for my money, you can’t beat the “Cheap Plastic Disc.”  For all of five bucks or so, you can buy a a disc that’s about three feet in diameter and made of semi-hard plastic…it’s light, relatively durable, and slides on the barest amount of snow and frozen ground…as demonstrated in the video below.

Last night we got a light dusting of snow and the girls wanted to go sledding with the “sleds” they got for Christmas.  We trekked for about 30 minutes along our local nature trail looking for a spot, but with no way to build up a wall to prevent sliding in to the lake, we finally ended up near the bridge with this little hill, very little snow, but mostly frozen ground.  It wasn’t quite the same as a full-blown sledder’s paradise, but they had fun…which is what’s really important, right?

I’d Be Happy with a One Hit Wonder

Sometimes, one hit wonders are odd, quirky songs that fit a certain time, like Pac Man Fever by Buckner & Garcia.  Other times, unfortunately, the reason turns out to be turmoil within the band.  Such is the case with Moving Pictures, an Australian band that hit it big (?) in the United States with What About Me in 1982…big meaning a peak Billboard ranking in the 20s and a spot on Billboards Top 100 for that year.  The band has a great 80’s sound:  good instrumentation, good lyrics, and good vocals…not fantastic in any one aspect, but a good quality band that I would certainly have liked to have seen produce more.  That wasn’t to be, though.  The only other song I ever heard on the radio by them was from the Footloose soundtrack:  Never.  Both of those videos are below.  I like them both very much.  I don’t know that Never hit the charts so my subject being One Hit Wonders applies.

In addition to being an avid music listener (especially of 80’s music), I am an aspiring writer.  I hope to one day be published and see my books on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, and, if I’m really lucky, to be able to make my living writing.  Of course, I’ll be happy with being the writing equivalent of a One Hit Wonder, as well.

Enjoy a little Moving Pictures…

“What About Me”


“…but the alternative was DEATH!”

Dumber [my nickname for Noel], our  female Dachshund, is recovering, rather miraculously, from some sort of back injury.  Tonight, she wanted to play and my wife started to play with her before I suggested that it might not be a good idea.  A few minutes ago, Dumber was looking at my wife while they were both sitting on the coach and my wife told her “I’m sorry.  I know this hasn’t been fun for you, but the alternative was death.”

I know the stupid dog didn’t understand her, but I found it to be fairly hilarious.

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