Friday, November 13, 2015

Iced Coffee

I like coffee and in the summer time I like iced coffee. But I don't like paying the price for the canned concoctions. So this summer I figured out my own recipe to make it at home.

The ingredients are simple:

  • 3 cups coffee
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs vanilla

See, I told you it was simple. As I played with this over the summer I figured out how to make it to my liking.

Start with strong brewed coffee. I like to use a dark roast for more of the coffee flavor. You don't have to use really expensive coffee but do use a decent coffee. Cafe Bustello works well as does Gevalia dark roast (when it is on sale) just to give a couple of suggestions. I'm sure you could use espresso but all I have is a common drip coffee maker. If I make a full (12 cup)pot of coffee in the morning by noon, when I cut myself off, I find I have about 3 real measuring cups of leftover coffee. Don't throw it out, make iced coffee.

Then I use 1 cup of milk. I like to use whole milk because I like the richness of the flavor and the texture but any milk will do. I have used skim milk but that is just too thin and doesn't have the flavor I am looking for. 2% is a nice in between if you want to cut down on the fat content.

For sweetener I use ¼ cup Splenda to cut down on the calories. The measurements and the taste are the same. You can, of course, use regular sugar and that does cut the overall cost but adds calories.

Lastly I like to add a bit of vanilla flavor to smooth things out and add a bit of depth to the drink. I don't think it is necessary to use real vanilla extract. I use artificial vanilla flavoring and it works fine for me in this application. I have found in my experiments that I prefer a name brand vanilla to the generic or store brand. I think there is a difference. Do adjust all of the portions to get the flavor that works for you. I played most with the amount of vanilla.

This will make 1 quart of a nice replacement for the canned beverages at the store. I figure that the quart costs about 75 cents using the Splenda. It would be much less if you use regular sugar. If you use Splenda the whole quart will have about 150 calories (from the whole milk) so an 8 ounce serving would have about 37 calories. If you use regular sugar you will add another 137 calories to the quart or 48 calories to the 8 ounce serving. That would bring the calorie count up to 85 per serving.

So if you like iced coffee give this a try. I think it is a great way to use the leftover coffee from the pot and is very handy on those mornings when you just don't want to wait for the coffee to brew.

There is a chill in the air and frost warnings tonight. Autumn is now in full swing. This is my favorite time of the year. I pulled out my flannel shorts and bought a new batch of wool socks. I'm prepared.


Wednesday, November 04, 2015



That is the tag line for an online game, Robocraft, that I am playing right now. The game lets you build your own robot and you can take it into battle against other creations. I find this to be a very interesting game because it isn't just a fighter game. I find myself spending as much or even more time designing and building my bots as I do taking them into battle.

I also like it because my grandson enjoys designing the bots with me. He has just turned 5 and I find it interesting that he shows no real interest in taking them into battle but he loves to help me design a bot. He will them take it into the test mode to see if it works and how it moves but couldn't care less about taking it into a battle.

Well these are interesting times in the Robocraft community right now. The developers are preparing a major rework of the game and they have told the community they are going to do it. They have posted three messages on the in-game forum outlining their changes and why they think they need to do this to keep the game growing and thriving.

As you can imagine, the forum is blowing up with the resistance and negative response from some of the gamers.

- “They are about to kill Robocraft.”
- “Well I guess I can leave now because everything I liked about the game is being removed, replaced, or reworked.”

CHANGE – There is change in the wind and people don't like it. At least some very vocal people.

This got me thinking about change and how it is so difficult for us at times. It doesn't really matter what is being changed or even if it is a popular idea, change, in and of itself raises our anxiety and makes us feel uncomfortable.

We see this every day. You can look on the national scale and see examples such as health care and the Affordable Care Act. For decades we have bemoaned the high cost and inefficiencies of our health care system.

- “The cost is too expensive.”
- “Too many people are uninsured”.
- “The whole health care system is broken.”

So, our government tried to do something about it. After-all the polling in our nation said that 80% of the people wanted something to be done. And so the ACA was the result. And wouldn't you know it, before the program even went into effect people were complaining.
- “it will kill our health care system.”
- “It will destroy our nation.”
- “Its the end of the world.”

Now it isn't the purpose of this post to defend the ACA. But it is interesting that the change it proposed meets with such fervent resistance.

On a more local level we have been complaining for years that the streets in our city were in desperate need of repair. With the recession there had been very little money to maintain the streets and they showed the neglect. So we passed a local option sales tax to raise money to fix them. This was a popular enough idea that it passed rather comfortably. This summer we have started to see the result of that initiative. All over town streets were being torn up and rebuilt. You couldn't drive anywhere without having to negotiate a construction zone. Wonderful, you would think. This is what we wanted to happen.

Oh. Nay nay. (Yes, I like John Pinette.) Now people get to complain about the disruptions. And second guess what is being done. They redid this intersection. What were they thinking? They turned this one way street into a two way – I have to get used to this all over again. The list of complaints goes on and on.

So when I read on the Robocraft forum the changes that are being proposed, I am not surprised by the negative responses. They are proposing change. Change might not be good. Even if it is good I might not like it. Some are already sure they won't like it. They don't know what will happen but they are sure it will destroy the game.

Change. Change is tough. But everything changes eventually. Change is natural and inevitable. Sometimes the change is for the better and sometimes it isn't Often times it takes a while to see and appreciate that a change has been positive. So let's see what happens with the game before we compose the eulogy. Let's try it out and see if we can adapt to the new system before we abandon it.

Speaking of change, the seasons are changing. There is a chill in the air and a nip in the breeze. Winter will be here soon. So we will have even one more thing to complain about.

Until then. . .