Snack Time #38 – Trophy Foods Olympic Mix

The Sip Advisor is a big fan of trail mix – so long as they contain more than just healthy ingredients – and this version from Trophy Foods may be my absolute favourite. What sets it apart from other products, you ask?

Well, the Olympic Mix is comprised of peanuts, almonds, raisins and Smarties… so far, so good. What puts this collection over the top is the salt that sticks to the raisins and provides a heightened and delicious sweet and salty contrast.

Trophy Olympic Mix

I will admit that Mrs. Sip and I typically add exactly three extra packs of Smarties to the mix to make sure there’s enough chocolate coverage for the entire bag. The results are glorious and provide a great after work snack for moi.

Available at Safeway grocery stores, the 1kg package can be found for a reasonable price. Sometimes you even get lucky and the mix is on sale and that’s when you know someone, somewhere really likes you.

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Mixer Mania #15 – Going Nutty

The Sip Advisor feels bad for folks with a peanut allergy. I don’t know how I’d cope with existence if I wasn’t able to enjoy the legume. Not to rub salt in the wound, but here are my favourite peanut-based products that they’re missing out on:

Peanut Butter

Of the crunchy variety, of course, this glorious spread is best enjoyed in making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have also come to like using the substance on crackers, as well as mixing it with a handful of Honey Nut Cheerios.

Trail Mix

The Sip Advisor is a trail mix fiend, particularly of the variation that includes Smarties or some other chocolate treat to complete the experience of salty nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds) and raisins. That sweet touch is just right to balance the blend.

Trail Mix

Chocolate Bars

Among the peanut-packed confections I enjoy are Reese Peanut Butter Cups, Pay Day, Take 5, Snickers, Oh Henry!, Peanut M&Ms (as well as other chocolate-covered peanuts), and Butterfinger. Did you know, the Reese behind Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups was Harry Burnett “H.B.” Reese, who invented the treat in 1928. Amazingly, he did this while raising 16 children!

Peanuts

Although I adore potato chips, during times while I’ve tried laying off the snack, I have often relied on peanuts to get my salt fix. Whether that be through barbecue, honey roasted, or mesquite mustard-flavoured releases, it gets the job done.

Cookies

There are few things as satisfying than a fresh-out-of-the-oven peanut butter cookie. If you add chocolate chips to the cookie, you’re in heaven. I have never tried to add jam, however, so this may be a future experiment.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Alcohol

Whether it be a Peanut Butter Stout or Van Gogh PB&J Vodka, I welcome peanuts in liquid form. One of my most favourite cocktails of all time used a peanut liqueur and it was to die for. As for nut-based brews, I’m always in for a pint… or pitcher… or keg!

Asian Dishes

I’m totally into menu items that incorporate peanuts into it for a little crunch or flavour. This includes Japanese Gomaae (spinach salad with peanut sauce) and Chinese Kung Pao Chicken. Most recently, the Sip Advisor has greatly enjoyed the Hunan Kung Pao meal at Earl’s Restaurants.

Mixer Mania #15: Peanutty Buddy

Peanutty Buddy.JPG

  • Rim glass with Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • 1.5 oz Frangelico
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Top with Peanut Butter & Jelly Soda
  • Splash of Milk

In wrapping up, is there anything peanut-based that the Sip Advisor doesn’t like? Well, I’m not a fan of peanut brittle and I’d rather not have shelled peanuts because of the effort it takes just to get two little bits out, not to mention the resulting mess. That’s about it, I’d say.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
I can’t believe how hard it is to find any cocktail recipes for the Lester’s Fixins Peanut Butter & Jelly Soda. I did find this concoction and altered it to suit my needs, removing the Lemon-Lime Soda and chunk of Peanut Butter in favour of the PB&J Soda, while also lowering the milk content. The drink wasn’t offensive in any way, but there just wasn’t much of a flavour profile at all.

Flavour Revolution – Apricot

Cautious Cuisine

Despite the deliciousness, popularity, and versatility of apricots, it should be noted that the fruit’s pits (or kernels) are actually poisonous and can produce a form of cyanide. Here are some other foods that are alarmingly poisonous and potentially dangerous to your health:

Mushrooms

This one is too easy… I mean, come on, it’s defined as a fungus. That said, mushrooms can be many things, from delicious to deadly, healing to hallucinogenic. With regards to poisonous mushrooms, flat caps are a huge giveaway and toxic shrooms come with names such as death caps, destroying angels and dapperlings. Scarily, it is feared that many European mushrooms may be contaminated thanks to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

chances-with-mushroom

Nuts – Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts

Sure, many folks out there have severe allergies to nuts, particularly peanuts, but other types, when eaten raw, can be dangerous. Raw almonds, also known as bitter almonds, contain cyanide and can be fatal when consumed in large doses. Regardless, they are still sold in some stores, with risk being handed over to the customer to decide how cautious they want to be. Other countries have outright banned the nuts from being available.

Fruit – Apples, Cherries, Tomatoes

The seeds in apples and pits in cherry, contain cyanide. Cherries have resulted in other deaths non-edible deaths. Lucullus, a Roman general, committed suicide in 56BC, upon learning that he was running out of cherries, a crop he had introduced to Europe years before. Tomatoes were once thought to be poisonous by Europeans who didn’t trust the delicious fruit. It took some time for those fears to dissipate and now there’s only the odd salmonella outbreak.

Tuna

The issue with tuna, other than the facts that it smells horrible and doesn’t taste that great either (yes, this is solely according to the Sip Advisor), is that levels of mercury absorbed by the fish before it is caught and killed can be passed on to the consumer. This has given me pause for thought about how much the Sip Family kitties love getting served tuna water. Man, they love that stuff and go nuts whenever the can opener is used!

just-add-tuna

Potatoes

Potatoes are such an integral part of people’s diets that it’s a little scary how dangerous, albeit rare, their consumption can be. My first thought was that someone from the popcorn lobby made this accusation up to spoil the potato chip industry, but I have since learned the charges are true. Basically, what you have to watch out for is when a potato turns green, which if eaten, can result in weakness, coma, and even death.

Blowfish

Consuming blowfish (fugu) can be like playing a round of Russian roulette.  Unless prepared to perfection, it can be very poisonous. As a result, the emperor of Japan is barred from eating the fish, despite it being a cultural delicacy. One famous incident involved kabuki actor Bandō Mitsugorō VIII, who believed he could tolerate the poison… he was wrong. There is also an episode of The Simpsons where Homer eats Fugu and is told he only has 24 hours to live.

Flavour Revolution: Virgin’s Kiss

  • 1.25 oz Dark Rum
  • 0.5 oz Apricot Brandy
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • Garnish with an Apricot Slice

This list could also include rhubarb, elderberry, raw meat and eggs, and even underprepared honey. I’ll stick to my artery-clogging potato chips , thank you very much, which will only get me in the long run!

Flavour Revolution – Hazelnut

Nutty Goodness

As we delve into some Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, I thought it would be a good time to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of the nut world, or better put: the ones I love versus the ones I loathe!

Good:

Peanuts – I am a certified peanut fiend. I like most all types, with the exception being peanuts in shells and with their skins still on. I’m just not a fan of the fuss and mess that comes with them. I’m currently in the process of devising a masterful trail mix recipe, set to include honey roasted peanuts, Smarties, chocolate covered raisins, and cashews (more on them later).

elephant peanut

Almonds – These are best smothered in chocolate and not being sold by one of those groups that charges an arm and a leg for a small box. Charity be damned when I want my almond fix. Almonds also work on their own, roasted or salted. I also have massive respect for almonds for the flavouring they lend to Amaretto, one of my preferred nightcaps.

Macadamia Nuts – The Hawaiian treat, which everyone must bring back when vacationing on the islands, is a favourite of mine and Mrs. Sip. We are particularly fond of the Mauna Loa line, which includes varieties such as milk and dark chocolate, honey roasted, Maui onion and garlic, and coffee glaze. A couple companies have also devised Macadamia Nut liqueurs, which are very tasty.

Cashews – I absolutely love cashews, but they are so darn expensive that I only get them on very special occasions (ie. when other people serve them and I’m lucky enough to be on hand to help them with their abundant supply). Figuring everything was cheaper in southern Africa, during our recent travels, I grabbed a pack of cashews, without even looking at the price. When they were scanned at the checkout, my jaw dropped, but I’m not one to leave an item behind. They were delicious and got me through some long bus days.

cashews mixed nuts

Bad:

Pecans – I like pecans in Turtles chocolates, but little else. I think it’s because the other ingredients make up for this lackluster nut. There’s just something about the taste of pecans that I can’t wrap my head around. The texture is also an issue for the Sip Advisor.

Chestnuts – The roasted ones at Christmas smell so good, but it’s like eating warm paste, if you bother to buy a pack. My displeasure with chestnuts has even caused me to question my enjoyment of the yuletide classic The Christmas Song, which opens with the line “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire”…

roasted chestnuts

Walnuts – It’s amazing how odd these nuts look, inside their cases. They remind me of a turtle shell and don’t look very appetizing. I think I turned on walnuts when considering the work it takes to get one open, using a nutcracker (which, given its name, brings about many images of horror) and then having to clean up the mess that creates.

Corn Nuts – These are the jawbreakers of the nut world and while they come in many interesting flavours (some of which I’d like to see brought over to other nut and even potato chip options), I just don’t enjoy the munching experience that comes along with corn nuts.

Flavour Revolution: Mister Frangelico

  • Rim glass with Crushed Nuts
  • 1 oz Frangelico
  • 1 oz Dark Rum
  • Splash of Orgeat Syrup

There are also a few nuts that I just don’t have any opinion on one way or the other. These include hazelnuts (funny enough, given today’s liqueur choice), Pistachios, and Brazil Nuts. Have I missed anything?

Spain – Banana Nutbread

Surreal Skill

One of Spain’s most famous figures is artist Salvador Dali. Everything from his collection of work to his personal look was certainly bizarre, but that’s what attracted so many to him. Dali separated himself from the crowd in so many ways. Here are some of the unique aspects of his zany life:

Dali Reincarnate

Dali was the second Salvador Dali to be born into his family. Nine months before he came along, his brother (with the same name) died at the age of 22 months. When he was five, Dali was taken to his brother’s burial plot and told by his parents that he was the reincarnation of his deceased sibling. And we wonder why he turned out to be such a wacky nut! The brothers did resemble one another, with Dali later saying: “[We] resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections.”

Shit Just Got Surreal

Getting Prepped

In order to do his work, Dali used a few unique tactics to get in the right mood, including sleeping in a chair with a spoon standing on top of a plate on his head. When the spoon fell and hit the plate, he would awaken and quickly take notes on what he saw in his dreams. Dali would also stand on his head (a favourite position of the Sip Advisor) for long periods of time, allowing his brain to function differently than normal.

Famous Pieces

Dali’s most celebrated work is The Persistence of Memory, which features the melting clocks he is probably best known for. Dali’s talent and vision extended to many different kinds of art, including jewelry. He is famous for a number of wearable pieces, most notably The Royal Heart, comprised of pure gold adorned with 46 rubies, 42 diamonds and two emeralds.

For Love of Money

Dubbed “Avida Dollars” (an anagram for Salvador Dali) by some, Dali was known to do almost anything for money. He appeared in commercials for Lanvin chocolates, which featured the artist exclaiming his love for the treat before biting into it, which caused his eyes to cross and his mustache to curl. He also designed the Chupa Chups lollipop logo, which is subtle, colourful, and meaningful all at the same time.

avida dollars

Scam Artist

One of the best stories I’ve ever heard about Dali is how he scammed Yoko Ono (one of the most vile creatures in the known world) to the tune of $10,000. Ono, for her own inexplicable reason, wanted a strand of Dali’s mustache hair. Dali asked for $10,000 and when he was paid, sent her a dried blade of grass instead. As the fable goes, apparently Dali was worried the hair would be sued for witchcraft… proving I’m not the only one who thinks Ono is a witch!

Hail Hitler

Along with a fascination for eclectic animals (the man had an ocelot!), Dali was fixated on Adolf Hitler. He once said: “I often dreamed about Hitler as other men dreamed about women.” I mean, who am I to say what people should be dreaming about, but this one takes the cake. A later painting of Dali’s is called Hitler Masturbating and it isn’t a figurative title. Thankfully, the dictator’s (should I use that word here?) true Nazi salute is obstructed.

Demented Disney

In 1946, Dali and Walt Disney actually joined forces for an animated short, titled Destino. Based on the song by the same name, by Armando Dominguez, Dali blended his artistic style with Disney’s character work. The piece wasn’t finished until 48 years later, when Baker Bloodworth and Roy E. Disney returned to the project, which features strange figures and dreamlike images. Mrs. Sip and I were able to view this work (with free champagne) aboard one of our cruises and it was a trip, to say the least.

Paying Bills

If you ever have trouble paying for a large and expensive meal, you could try this trick, but it probably only works for someone of Dali’s stature. When the bill came to Dali’s table, no matter how many people had enjoyed the outing or how expensive it was, he was quick to pick up the tab. This wasn’t done out of generosity, however, as Dali had a trick up his sleeves (if he even work sleeves!). He would quickly do a little drawing on the cheque and because of his fame, the restaurant wouldn’t dare cash an original Dali piece of art and therefore, his meal (and his guest’s) was basically comped.

Quoted Quotables

A number of interesting quotes came from the mind of Dali. These include: “The only difference between me and the surrealists is that I am a surrealist.”; “I myself am surrealism.”; “I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.”; and “Every morning upon awakening, I experience a supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dalí.” That about sums the man up… let’s have a drink in his honour!

Spain: Banana Nutbread

Apr 14

  • 1 oz Frangelico
  • 1 oz Crème de Bananes
  • 0.5 oz Sherry
  • Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Garnish with Peanuts

I enjoy dreams as much as the next person, but I can’t say that I’ve ever envisioned any of the imagery that Dali did. Love him or hate him, he was certainly a fascinating character who saw and experienced the world in a very different way than any other person. Plus, he was even turned into a Muppet on Sesame Street (Salvador Dada), a long-term goal of my own!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
While this sounds like a recipe for a delicious and nutritious dessert, it’s also the perfect cocktail for an eclectic artist like Salvador Dali. The beverage is quite tasty and it’s not overly sweet. Even Mrs. Sip liked it and trust me, if it’s too sweet, I’ll hear that… to no end!

March 29 – Mad Dog

Dog’s Breakfast

They are often called man’s best friend, but I’ll be the judge of that. While I’m not the most comfortable around dogs, especially bigger breeds, I do have a fondness for Golden Retrievers and a few other varieties. Well, this one’s for the dogs as here are the top five puppies in history:

#5: Wilfred – Wilfred

Wilfred is a marijuana-smoking, beer-drinking, potty-mouthed pup. To Ryan, his owner’s neighbour, Wilfred is a human in a dog costume. To everyone else he’s just a canine. Either way, Wilfred is as misbehaving as they come and often pushes Ryan to do things he normally never would. Wilfred’s best moments come when he’s trying to be like a true dog, like making friends with the popular pooches, destroying a house when kept inside, or sneaking treats from Ryan’s co-workers.

Wilfred Sandwich

#4: Snoopy – Peanuts

Whether as Charlie Brown’s not-so-faithful dog or battling the legendary Red Baron in the skies, Snoopy is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Lucy knows this first hand, as she has been victim to Snoopy’s wet dog kisses on a frequent basis. Let’s not forget Snoopy’s symbiotic relationship with Woodstock the bird, as well as the critically-acclaimed Snoopy Dance, which has swept the nation for many years.

#3: Satchel – Get Fuzzy

Poor Satchel Pooch, always having to deal with the megalomaniac stylings of Bucky Katt. Somehow, Satchel’s kind, gentle nature always shines through even in the face of cats being cats. Satchel has a bunch of friends, including other neighbourhood dogs who are part of his playgroup and ferret neighbour Fungo Squiggly. Best of all, Satchel is Canadian (all the good ones are!), his roots being traced back to Cheticamp, Nova Scotia.

Satchel

#2: Santa’s Little Helper – The Simpsons

This mutt has more lives than a cat. Many episodes have centered on SLH’s bad behaviour and he keeps being invited back into the Simpsons home with open arms. Through various misdeeds, SLH has been sent to obedience school, found himself in the possession of Mr. Burns as an attack dog, been sent to live with Officer Lou, and abandoned at an ostrich farm. Every time, though, the dog returns to his family and they are happy to have him back.

#1: Scooby Doo – Scooby Doo, Where Are You?

While few can stand his nephew Scrappy Doo, Scooby Doo is one of the most beloved hounds in history. The scaredy dog doesn’t want to deal with the mysteries his human friends stumble upon and would rather be in hot pursuit of Scooby Snacks. With his best pal Shaggy by his side, these two do everything they can to avoid being chased by a fiendish specter, but always seem to end up on the wrong end of that equation, leading to the capture of various spooks.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Mad Dog

Mad Dog Shot

  • Rim glass with Whip Cream
  • 0.75 oz Vodka
  • 0.25 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • Drops of Hot Sauce

So, which dogs should have made this list? There were certainly many I had to cut from my preliminary research, so I’m sure to have missed something. Perhaps we’ll put Scooby Doo on the case of the upset reader!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I used the Whip Cream rim to give an impression of a rabid dog, foaming at the mouth. It also helped cool down some of the heat from the Hot Sauce in the shooter. Physically and visually pleasant… reminds me of myself. All in all, this was a pretty good shot and I’d suggest not going crazy with the Hot Sauce and using a Vodka that goes well with the Raspberry Liqueur.

October 29 – Angel of Death

Trick & Treat

Halloween is right around the corner and I’ve been studying up on the event. I want to make sure that every little sipper out there has a wonderful night. So, here is some info and tips on how to make that happen:

Facts about Trick-or-Treat

Halloween Candy Popularity

Drink #302: Angel of Death

angel of Death Drink Recipe

I hope everyone has their candy purchased, costumes picked, and pumpkins carved. Have an amazing evening, y’all!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This drink was a decent dessert option and the Chocolate Shavings were an enjoyable touch on top of the cocktail. Like the name suggests, the recipe seems angelic, but it can kill, too!