Thermos 16-Ounce Travel Mug (Keeps Coffee Hot)



Every once in a while I’ll buy a new travel mug but so far none of them have managed to keep my coffee hot for more than 15 to 30 minutes.

These days I brew up a pot of coffee each weekday morning and then pour it into a Thermos brand thermos. It does a great job of keeping coffee hot through most of the day but once a cup is poured out it would cool rather quickly.

Last week I ordered a Thermos brand travel mug (Thermos Stainless King 16-Ounce Leak-Proof Travel Mug) and it is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I can fill the mug in the morning and whatever I haven’t drank will still be hot near lunchtime. Some may not be too keen on spending $20 for a travel mug but it’s easily worth the cost. It does such a good job of keeping the coffee hot that I waste less and may even begin brewing up just half a pot in the mornings.


Olive Garden Dressing


The last time we dropped by an Olive Garden to eat we picked up two bottles of the salad dressing to take home. We both really like it and have had several salads since so it was nearly gone. As luck would have it, I decided to look for some at Wal-Mart and sure enough I spotted a bottle. As far as I can tell it’s the same dressing but it costs less and is slightly larger (about $5 at the Olive Garden and around $3.50 at Wal-Mart).

In the photo below the bottle we purchased from the Olive Garden is on the left (nearly empty). The full bottle was purchased at Wal-Mart.


Using Keurig Starbucks House Blend in a Regular Coffee Maker


First of all, I’m not suggesting that you can save money by doing this. I ended up figuring out this work work simply because I wasn’t paying attention when I picked it up at Walmart. The box of Keurig Starbucks coffee was sitting near a bunch of other Starbucks items including the different offerings for single-serve coffees. I mistakenly thought I was picking up a box of the single-serve coffee pouches that can be mixed up in a cup of hot water.

Once I got home I realized it was intended only for Keurig brewers. As it turns out, we do have one but I didn’t try to use it because it’s been sitting around collecting dust for a while and probably needs a good cleaning, at the least.

Rather than try to return the coffee I decided to put it to use in my coffee maker. I figured the Keurig didn’t do much more than mix it with hot water anyway.

So far it seems that one Keurig coffee container goes well with four cups of water in the coffee maker. It seems to scale up fine – I’ve brewed eight cups using two containers.

If you go this route just be careful when opening the containers. The coffee blend is dry but very fine and can easily get all over the place.

Updated 02/20/2013: Well, once again I made a similar mistake but this time it worked out much better. I purchased a bag of Starbucks coffee beans thinking that I was buying ground coffee. We don’t have a coffee grinder but my father-in-law showed me a simple trick. He ground the coffee beans using our Magic Bullet, which worked great. I found out that he had recently made the same mistake and also happens to own a Magic Bullet.

Salsa Dip Recipe


During the holidays we’ll often make a salsa dip that’s similar to a recipe my aunt passed on to us. This isn’t exactly how she made it (or even how some other family members make it). I frequently end up changing something each time that I make it so I thought I’d toss this up on the blog in an effort to try to archive what I think is the best version. This is heavy on calories so it’s not something I recommend making very often.

The ingredients I’ve included are just the items I usually prefer. Using different brands probably won’t change the flavor very much but using “light” versions of the dairy products may change it a bit. In the past I’ve been known to use double the amount of sour cream or twice as much cream cheese but I’ve come to the conclusion that less is better for this recipe (too much sour cream can not only unbalance the flavor but also increase the risk of heartburn, which is already a strong possibility considering the amount of dairy products used).

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