Florida Hound's Profile

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Non-Alcoholic Beverages

One more, if I may.
For a while, my wife and I were into "Italian sodas," as they seemed to really be the thing at some coffee houses we went to after a movie.

1 shot glass (1 to 1+1/2 oz) flavored syrup or fruit syrup, such as Monin natural flavors (BTW, our favorite Monin flavor: Mandarin Tangerine)
Mini ice cubes
Bottled seltzer water
Also: Soda siphon is needed.
Place dampened 12 oz glass in freezer "to frost."
1. Assemble a soda siphon (ala 3 Stooges kind of thing- a great kitchen tool.) and add bottled seltzer water as follows: Insert soda siphon "measuring tube" in soda siphon and fill with ice cold bottled seltzer water. Insert the "ascending tube" in soda siphon. Complete assembly of the soda siphon by screwing siphon head down tightly. Shake the siphon well.
2. Insert CO2 cartridge into charger holder screw down onto siphon head, discharging CO2. Shake again. (Our version has "doubled" the seltzer bubbles by using seltzer and not regular water in the siphon.)
3. Fill 12 oz glass 2/3 full of mini ice cubes.
4. Pour 1 shot glass fruit flavored syrup over ice.
5. Dispense seltzer water into glass. Stir gently.
Serves 1.

Change to another flavored syrup the next time and you have a very different Italian soda for that occasion.

about 16 hours ago
Florida Hound in General Topics

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Many years ago, I did some research and sampling of "NABs," non-alcoholic beverages. (Circa 1980s). At the time, the Kansas Dept of Social and Rehabilitation Services/ Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services published several flyers and booklets and promoted some recipes in newspaper articles. A couple of them, though, may have more sugar than you really wanted. Maybe adjusting proportions or going with artificial sweeteners could be an option, but we have never tried that for these.
From their recipes:

Mint Tulip
Take 1 bunch of fresh mint leaves, cover with 1+1/2 C sugar, 1/2 C water and 1 .
C lemon juice. Let stand 30 minutes. Pour over ice in a large pitcher. Add 3 pints ginger ale. Serves 10
[Credited to George and Iris Heckman]

Mohave- A dry alternative
1+1/2 C sugar
1/2 C bottled lemon juice
1/2 C bottle lime juice
2 bottles ginger ale
4 C water
lime slices
mint sprigs
Heat and stir sugar and water in saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in lemon and lime juices and pour into large pitcher. Mix in ginger ale, pour into tall glasses filled with ice. Garnish with sprig of mint and lime slice. Serves 8 to 10
[Credit: the Kansas SRS/ADAS Senior staff]

J's Rocky Mountain Sunset
2 oz orange juice
2 oz. 7 Up or diet 7 Up
1 oz. grenadine
Powdered sugar
Orange slice
Combine first 3 ingredients in blender with crushed ice on high speed. Blend til frothy. Serve in a chilled wine or champagne glass which has a powdered sugar rim. Garnish with fresh orange slice. Serves 1

Flint Hills Sunrise
Same first 3 ingredients as Rocky Mountain Sunset. The only difference: serve with lemon slice and a grape, on a stick.

about 17 hours ago
Florida Hound in General Topics

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Again, the O'Douls of the world and N.A. beers do have about a 1/2 a percent of alcohol, approx. 1/10 of what's in an average beer. So, "no alcohol" is a marketing label, but in reality a mis-label. While its very low, someone trying to genuinely avoid alcohol should at least be aware of the alcohol content.

about 17 hours ago
Florida Hound in General Topics

Regional snacks for gifts?

I live in Florida and was introduced to Sweetzels Spiced Wafers during a trip to the Philly area/ Valley Forge in the late 1990s, I think. Only available in the Fall of the year (unless that has changed) so I have ordered them on-line almost every year. The competing brand, as you know, is Ivins Famous Spiced Wafers. Either one in an orange box= kind of Halloweeny. Would have made a great stocking stuffer for last Christmas. However- if the OP can find any of these still on the shelf in March, 2015, I would still tell them, "Bring home a box for me!" (To be devoured ASAP after you get home, not for Christmas, 2015) I would be willing to gamble with freshness, just to get some of these- shame on us for not ordering any last Fall.

about 17 hours ago
Florida Hound in Philadelphia

where can I find good smoked mullet dip?

And makes a nice motorcycle ride for us later in the season- qualifies very nicely, Indy! Thanks.

about 18 hours ago
Florida Hound in Florida

where can I find good smoked mullet dip?

I have found some cartilage-laden smoked mullet dip, and I'm hoping I can do better. I tried smoked mullet dip 1x years and years ago in Cedar Key and this latest is not it. Where can I get really good, creamy, tasty smoked mullet dip in West Central Florida? Restaurants/ appetizer suggestions OK. Retail take-home-a-container suggestions even better.
Florida Hound

Feb 26, 2015
Florida Hound in Florida

Smoked Mullet Dip

Many years ago, we had some smoked mullet dip on crackers as an appetizer in Cedar Key, FL. Wonderful! I'm sure that restaurant has come and gone, as so many long-standing Cedar Key restaurants have. Anyway, I kept the experience in my memory, but years and years slipped by without any more smoked mullet dip. Not a real easy item to find. The other day, I found some freshly made smoked mullet dip in the cooler of a local vegetable stand and thought, now's my chance to re-create this great taste experience.
I have been enjoying this little container of dip, sort of. But it is full of the little bones and pieces of cartilage, which for me definitely detracts.
Should a good smoked mullet dip be melt-in-your-mouth creamy and spreadable? (In my memory/ imagination, the stuff in Cedar Key filled this bill) Or is all the inedible crunchy, nasty stuff always part of the authentic experience?
(I'm also going to ask for leads on finding this product in Central FL, via the Chowhound Florida Board.)

Feb 26, 2015
Florida Hound in General Topics

Communal tables at restaurants - your opinion please?

Too funny!

Feb 26, 2015
Florida Hound in Not About Food

How long will you stand in line for food?

The title of this thread just gets me reflective and thankful that most of us have choices of how long or short we care to wait for food in fine restaurants. I immediately thought of news footage of refugees, Red Cross and charity relief efforts for hurricane and flood victims, and fund-raising commercials for organizations that feed the hungry around the world... There are charities and soup kitchens and missions right within our own communities. That some people in far corners of the world wait in lines and exposed to all kinds of weather, in conditions that are severely unsanitary, for meals that might be only barely nutritious... As my minds-eye runs down many examples I have seen over the years, I'll try to keep my thoughts and this post short- you've seen the pictures, too, or at some point contributed to a Salvation Army kettle or other charity drive.
All of it just helps me pause to count my blessings.


OK, what did I miss this time??? Why do I suddenly have this red circle proclaiming "plated" all over the threads when I search around Chowhound? The "Plated" disc eventually makes its way over to the picture of Chicken Larb Cabbage Cups or whatever, but I feel like my Chowhound experience has been invaded by Martians in a flying saucer. Maybe if I knew the scoop I would calm down about it. More advertising? Huh??

Feb 18, 2015
Florida Hound in Site Talk

Thomas's English Muffins

I just opened my first package of Bays this morning and, for the life of me, can't tell any real difference between the Bays product and Thomas' . But I really did miss the Thomas' nooks and crannies, so we'll go back to Thomas', more than likely. The warnings on this thread abound, and I will be on the lookout for any deterioration in the taste of Thomas' English Muffins. Its been a while since I had one.

Feb 12, 2015
Florida Hound in General Topics

How long does wine keep?

How much danger of the glass bottle cracking in the freezer? (Or cracking in the thawing out period?) And I am sure once your bottle of wine is unfrozen, that's it- you wouldn't re-freeze and refreeze.

Feb 12, 2015
Florida Hound in Wine

How long does wine keep?

2015: a Chowhound learns a lot when you do a search and great old threads come up from the (2011) archives. I am going to do a crockpot recipe tomorrow that calls for red wine, but otherwise I don't drink wine at all and barely ever cook with it. We do the Thanksgiving turkey every couple of years and I have enjoyed putting wine in the roasting bag, as I have posted elsewhere on CH from time to time. Never gave it any thought that the corked bottle was losing quality down to almost zero after about a week, regardless of preservation method. (Hence, my learning curve here).
So it looks like for my frequency (or infrequency) of wine use, I should regard the bottle of wine as disposable after each use and "start fresh" when the next rare occasion comes around, yes?

Feb 11, 2015
Florida Hound in Wine

Fruit Smoothie = "Bad for You"

Well, I tried a handful of spinach in the ol' smoothie recipe today. Figure it was about a cup's worth. I did not notice any difference in the taste, which is a good thing, but I am sure great amounts of super-nutrition went coursing through my veins. The smoothie already flows way higher than the 48 oz mark on our 48 oz blender container- what's a little more? Thanks again cg.
Florida Hound

Does anyone love their slow cooker?

That "unattended" is the advantage. Whether work or some aspect of your retirement lifestyle, there may be times when you would rather not "keep checking" the goods. We have retirees that bring crockpot covered dishes to community events and church dinners all the time- the clasp locks on crock pot lids make it great for transport. The clasp is a major improvement over that time when I was driving down the road, took a corner very carefully, and a pot full of chili went all over the passenger floorboard anyway (20 years ago, at least).
"...or in the oven..." Crockpots don't heat up the kitchen and they use a lot less electricity than ovens. Another aspect to consider, which I had forgotten about.

Feb 10, 2015
Florida Hound in Cookware

Fruit Smoothie = "Bad for You"

I may have to try the spinach leaves as a variation in my smoothie routine. Either that or the vanilla ice cream.

Does anyone love their slow cooker?

[Side note: the nearby Sams in the Brooksville/ Spring Hill FL area does not carry everything (read: spouse' favorite flavor of Monster drinks), so we are getting very familiar with the Sams in Wesley Chapel and Brandon.]

Feb 09, 2015
Florida Hound in Cookware

Does anyone love their slow cooker?

This thread caught my eye as I had just finished browning some onions for our tried-and-true Crock Pot French Onion Soup. A few hours from now, we will ladle out one of our favorite meals. I was surprised there wasn't more enthusiasm for this great convenience appliance on this thread, but the posts are based on lots of experiences. We have had mostly good results, but even so, we only use it about once a month.
Our current slow cooker is a Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Slow Cooker, (Model 33162R) and I think its about 6 quarts.
My reservation is that so many Crock pot recipes call for cooking times in the 5 to 7 hour range. I opened Mable Hoffman's Crockery Cookery cookbook as I'm typing this, and just randomly landed on the page for "Kowloon Chicken." Directions include, "Cover and Cook for 3 to 4 hours..." Any recipe shorter than about 9 hours is impractical in this household on a workday, so the shorter ones sometimes get their turn on a weekend. My French Onion Soup is a weekend project, and the leftovers will keep nicely for a couple of after-work suppers, though.
I am overdue for making some overnight grits in the crockpot, now that I think about it- thanks for the reminder that its time for some grits!
We cook for 2 around here also, and I am glad to recommend the Hamilton Beach to you. We got ours at WalMart in 2010.

Feb 08, 2015
Florida Hound in Cookware

Coffee Before Your Meal - Love it !

OK- ya gotta elaborate on the 'twang' thing.

Feb 07, 2015
Florida Hound in General Topics

Coffee Before Your Meal - Love it !

I checked out some caffeine charts on-line, and pass these on to y'all:
-Maxell House ground coffee (12 oz) 100- 160 mg caffeine
-Maxwell House decaf 2- 10 mg caffeine
-Dunkin Donuts coffee (14 oz medium) 178 mg caffeine
One chart had the same Dunkin product down to 143 mg. Don't know why the spread.
-Dunkin Donuts Decaf (14 oz medium) 13 mg caffeine

(per one chart, a generic calculation, "Brewed decaf coffee," 3- 4 mg caffeine)

-Coca Cola Classic 34 mg caffeine

So, decaf coffees do have a trace of caffeine, but to me, they seem pretty low.

P.S., I like Dunkin coffee very well, don't care for Maxwell House at all, but put it in here just as a "typical" coffee.

Feb 07, 2015
Florida Hound in General Topics

Coffee Before Your Meal - Love it !

I occasionally order a cup of a decaf coffee with an evening meal, and restaurants always deliver any drink way before dinner is served. I am a coffee lover who gets an interrupted night's sleep if I do much caffeine after about 2 or 3 in the afternoon. But I've never had waitstaff look at me like I had 2 heads... sometimes they have to check in the kitchen to see if they can put on some decaf, though.

Feb 06, 2015
Florida Hound in General Topics

Fruit Smoothie = "Bad for You"

We recently found a fruit smoothie with cottage cheese, worth passing on to you: NBA basketball great,Roy Hibbert's "Ripped Like Roy Protein Smoothie," which calls for 1/2 cup of cottage cheese blended with stuff like a cup of frozen strawberries; also, blueberries, cherries, chia seeds, pecans, whey powder- wow!(This one does call for ice, too) Its a huge blender-full, and pretty good! The link:

Breakfast Subtsitute for Birthday Cake?

Banana Bread or Prune Bread or sweet potato muffins, but in any event, with streusel icing. And candles, of course. I could eat Rice Krispie Treats anytime, but why not for a birthday breakfast?

Feb 03, 2015
Florida Hound in Home Cooking

challah french toast?

I am resurrecting an old thread, and hope others will join in and share variations on their favorite Challah French Toast recipes. There was a bit of interest on another 2015 thread about a well-remembered French Toast at a restaurant in Key West, and many people on that thread started pulling the thread in the direction of favorite challah French Toasts
, anyway.
Our recipe has come together from a variety of sources. The recipe takes some patience, but worth it, I think. The slow cooking is necessary so the interior of the bread cooks before the outside is finished coloring.

4 to 6 slices Challah egg bread, cut in 1" slices
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Toppings of your choice

Spray skillet with Pam and heat to "Medium/Low"
Mix beaten eggs, milk, and salt
Soak each slice challah thoroughly in batter, then transfer to skillet
Sauté one side of the bread at medium/low for 20 minutes, then turn over and turn the heat up to medium and sauté for an additional 5- 10 minutes. Watch to prevent burning
Turn heat back down to medium/low and repeat for the remaining slices.
Keep the slices warm in a covered dish or warmer in low temp oven.
We often use 2 burners and 2 skillets going at once to help most of the meal to get done at the same time.
At the table, toppings of choice may include powdered sugar, butter, whipped cream, pure maple syrup, honey or whipped honey, various jams or jellies, sliced strawberries... (You probably don't want all of this on the same slice of French Toast, though.)

Calling all Chowhound French Toast fans to join in.
Florida Hound

Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

Is it cheating to use "Simply Potatoes Hash Browns" to make prep even simpler? Here is a link to our go-to recipe that has gotten good reviews from friends, i.e., "Tastes just like my mother made them," etc. http://www.examiner.com/article/latke...

Jan 29, 2015
Florida Hound in Recipes

Food Jokes

Hear about the new restaurant called Karma?

There’s no menu—you get what you deserve.

All I want is a good cup of coffee at home. [moved from General Topics]

I went to coffeereview.com on blackpippi's recommendation. Interesting! But I realized that putting coffee flavors and descriptions into words is still a crap shoot. They have "evaluated" dozens, maybe hundreds, of coffees from around the world, ranging in price from $16.00 to upwards of $1,000 for 8 or 12 oz. Can't say I had heard of any of them, (I gave up- did not go through the whole list) but I think if they had included some reference point to those run-of-the-mill supermarket coffees or Starbucks et.al. kinds of outlets, I would have a better idea if their reviewers really had taste buds similar to mine. I have ordered well-recommended coffees on-line, with incredible reviews, only to have a cup(and the rest of the bag) that was only "OK." The effort was disappointing. I've pretty much gone back to supermarket shelves or local coffee outlets that are known in my area.

Jan 21, 2015
Florida Hound in Cookware

'8 O'clock 100% Columbian' name change??

I contacted Customer Service at 8 O'clock Coffee and gave them the link to this thread. I just heard back from a rep who said, "Everything inside the bag remains the same." Methinks we may have some skeptics among us on this thread, though. Who knows- maybe the 8 O'clock people are jumping in to check on these comments (the rep did not comment on that part of my contact with them).

Jan 19, 2015
Florida Hound in General Topics


(Grandma came over from Norway in the immigration wave, back in the early 1900s.) There was Gjetost as a standard growing up, and Nøkkelost. Like you, I think I also discovered Jarlsberg somewhere in the '70s or '80s. The descriptions of Jarlsberg around the thread are pretty accurate. For my taste buds, definitely milder than full-throttle Swiss. For Gjetost, though, think of a large brown block eraser, but it tastes kind of nut-like. (Mail order via the web, if necessary!)

Jan 18, 2015
Florida Hound in Cheese

All I want is a good cup of coffee at home. [moved from General Topics]

Lots of comments about the temperature of the water, and some specifically that a drip coffee maker does not get the water hot enough for maximum flavor. I've got a drip coffee maker I am very satisfied with. But being inspired by this thread and a couple of others on Chowhound, I experimented several times with getting the brew water hotter- sometimes microwaving, sometimes putting the drip machine's water through twice, before adding the coffee to the basket, etc. Checked the temp, I did get it within the optimum range for what a lot of people say are better results.
My conclusion- I can't tell any difference when the water is hotter. That said, I relax with the drip process, don't get too concerned about the temp, and kick back and enjoy my coffee.
In the process, I grind the beans with a blade grinder and immediately get them into the basket- a gold wire mesh, BTW. (I don't see any difference between this and Bunn paper filters, either, but someone suggested you lose oils critical to the flavor if you use the paper filters, so...)
I tinker with proportions once in a while, I change brands here and there (Current favorite: Major Dickason Blend by Peets. In the past few years, it edges out Dunkin D. On another thread, I have asked Chowhound friends to critique any changes in 8 O'clock 'Colombian Peaks,' and several are talking me out of keeping 8 O'clock in my "rotation."). And I do the whole vinegar clean-out ritual about once every 2 months.
For your "$100... upgrade the coffee maker or buy the best quality coffee?" question, I am in the camp of finding the best coffee for your tastes. Obviously, this thread has many fans of various coffee makers that are much more "upgraded" from mine, though.

Jan 17, 2015
Florida Hound in Cookware