Hey, we talked about it before… No one, not two, but three times.
It’s finally here! Get an A-Maze Mug from Ci3!How cool is that? Each mug comes with a dry-erase marker so you can solve the maze, both in a nifty box covered in mazes!
More cool maze-related merch coming soon. What else would you like to see? Socks? Masks? T-shirts? Books? Puzzles? Mirrors? Tiles?
I haven’t ever done anything to make my mazes available for any kind of sale, so this is exciting to me. What do you think?
I am eternally grateful to Mike Copen for the nudge and the opportunity. It’s so cool for artists, designers, entrepreneurs, & creative types to support each other.
Of course, I think they’d make great gifts for friends, family, teachers, co-workers, or even anyone that may be hard to buy for. Who doesn’t like a nice warm beverage? Solving the maze with the dry erase marker is a good opportunity to kind of zone out in a zen-like state, to help you regain focus to start the day or even decompress at the end of a long day! I know that’s the drive behind drawing them.
These would be great for coffee, tea, hot cocoa, warm apple cider, ramen, or one of my soup recipes.
Please, share the link if you’re so inclined. I’d like to see how far these can go. Thanks in advance if you plan on making a purchase!
For me, posting on YouTube is sort of like blogging. It’s more of a creative outlet than anything. I like to play the guitar, and I like weird guitars (Exhibit A & Exhibit B), so why not show off my weird guitars?
I posted not too long ago about Christmas playlists on various platforms. Ultimately most of them are frustrating because you can’t just pick a song order without signing up for a “premium” account. I’m already subscribed to enough stuff.
I have other YouTube lists (Naughty & Nice), but I decided to pull some of my favorites and put them all on one:
I’ve made a few different soups before, but never really tackled one with a creamy base. I like my soups pretty simple. I probably used more ingredients here than I needed to. Generally at this point with soups or chili, I just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and see what happens. I read a few different recipes at the top of a Google search, and went from there. I am really bad at measuring stuff. I just throw in an eyeballed amount.
Tools you’ll definitely need:
1½ sticks of butter
¾ cup of flour
½ cup of shredded carrots
¼ cup of diced celery
½ Spanish onion
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. ground mustard
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup buttermilk
32 oz. box of chicken stock
32 oz. box of chicken stock
32 oz. box of vegetable broth
2 bundles of fresh broccoli (chopped up into spoon-sized pieces)
¼ cup of bacon pieces
7 oz. block of extra sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
7 oz. block of white cheddar cheese (grated)
½ cup of parmesan cheese
1 lb. block of Velveeta (cut onto small chunks)
2 cup bag of shredded “mac & cheese blend” cheese
1 cup instant mashed potato flakes
Melt butter on medium heat in the bottom of your stock pot, add celery, carrots, onions, & sautée for a bit.
Mix spices with the flour, add to pot to make a roux and let it get a nice color brown.
Add minced garlic at the end… sometimes it burns easily.
Add 3 boxes of stock, then the buttermilk while it’s still cool to prevent curdling.
Add broccoli & bacon pieces, bring to a boil, simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Turn heat to low, stir in all that cheese.
Add mashed potato flakes to thicken. (I think I poured in a bit more buttermilk in here too.)
Obviously, you can use your preferred onions, cheeses, stock, etc. You could use heavy cream instead of buttermilk.
I would say next time I will make more roux & use one less box of broth for a thicker soup. Maybe a bullion cube would add flavor without the liquid? I could cook it longer to get it thicker too. I like a ridiculously thick soup.
I like to use beer in ham soup, I bet it would go great here. Maybe I could sub that & a bullion cube for a box of broth next time?
I read that the bagged pre-shredded cheese doesn’t melt as easily, but it seemed to incorporate just as well as the rest of the stuff.
So, that’s it. I would be very interested in your suggestions, tips, tricks, & “secrets” in the comments. Have you tried this recipe? Did you put your spin on it? Let me know in the comments.
I thought about putting this in a bread bowl, but I opted to make my take on ham & cheese oven sandwiches. Maybe I’ll get into baking next time, or just buy some bread bowls pre-made.
If you liked this recipe, maybe check out these ones:
It still needs a name. I haven’t officially decided. I have been calling it “the music room” or “the guitar room.” Both of those seem boring. Maybe this? I find it amusing but clunky.
I may make some videos of guitar shenanigans as a creative outlet. Not sure what direction they’ll take. I’m not a particularly good or technical player, but I can demo some gear or do some fun silly stuff. I do already have a YouTube playlist started for my guitar-related videos.
The Postitive Grid Spark amp & app have really made jamming quick and fun… they have a cool in-app video feature, but it’s not much different than recording straight-up with the phone’s camera.
More setup inspires more setup. I need a way to store my physical media (mostly CD’s) so it’s easily accessible. I have a lot. Too many probably. I need to build some shelves and the stuff I’m finding online seems painfully expensive and not quite a fit. And I’d like to dump that all on a personal media server. I have a lot of stuff not available on Amazon or Spotify.
The next itch I can already feel will need scratching is some kind of recording setup. I’d like to layer stuff I can hear in my head, without the aid of a looper. I miss the days of a Tascam 4-track with a cassette tape. Maybe I’ll delve into a nice simple digital version of that.
The kids have guitars, ukes, and a keyboard too… and now we almost need drums and a bass or too, right?
At any rate… it’s important to have a creative outlet. Live isn’t conducive to me jamming regularly with a band right now. I only seem to do mazes when the inspiration hits, and I blog pretty randomly. Music is one more option for expression, creativity, and constant learning/exploring. I hope to foster the kids’ musical expression and drive home how important it is to remain creative themselves and appreciative of art in general.
Onion powder, garlic powder, steak seasoning, seasoned-salt, cumin, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, white pepper
I wanted to try 2 things, the Ninja Foodi pressure-cooker function & steak in the chili. The steak was successful, the pressure-cooking was not so much.
I cut up the steak and sautéed with a tiny bit of EVOO in a pan on the stove on high then medium-high, added about half of each chopped up fresh pepper, the ground beef, and about a tablespoon of minced garlic. This is where I added all of the dry spices at the end. I don’t measure. I also used some Straub to deglaze the pan. This mix was delicious.
I added the rest of the ingredients into the Foodi after draining & rinsing both cans of beans… including the unused peppers, garlic, and beer.
It got up to pressure then insisted I “ADD WTR.” I reluctantly added a cup of water and a beef bullion cube. I like chili thick enough to eat with a fork.
It got up to pressure again and insisted “ADD WTR.”
Googling solutions seemed to lean to the fact that it could be overheating, stuff could be burning on the pan, or a few other suggestions. A real life friend confirmed the burning thing via Facebook. It eventually got to a boiling point after the second pressure-up, but again demanded “ADD WTR.” No, Foodi. I like thick chili! NO ADD WTR! NO ADD WTR! I put it on the saute setting and let it boil down for a bit.
I think the stove top would have been the same amount of time. The flavors were great. Would they had been enhanced with proper pressurized cooking? Will the Foodi learn to say “STR SHT” when that’s what it really means?
Next time I will put the liquid on the bottom maybe? Also, no water/bullion cube… and I may eliminate the small can of tomato paste & sauce. The meat & pepper mix itself before other stuff was delicious. I could add the tomatoes, & soup, & beans right there and have a fine meal to be seved with rice or mashed potatoes.
Maybe I will go back to the slow-cooker. You can’t deny how awesome that is. My recipe is always changing.
One of these days I’m gonna try cocoa powder. I have seen stuff calling for brown sugar (which I love in spaghetti sauce), but no thanks in chili. I have also had cinnamon in chili, an that’s totally not my thing, but I get it if you dig it.
I had mine with some tortilla strips, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. We had some pretzel breadsticks on the side too. They serves soft pretzels with chili at my elementary school, so they will always belong together for me. This would have also been great over mashed potatoes or on a baked potato, rice, or even pasta.
How do you do chili (or chili con carne)? Beans? No beans? Over pasta? Over potatoes or rice? Any musts for the side like peanut butter, corn bread, sweet corn cake, rolls, cinnamon rolls, tortilla chips or strips, etc.?
Do you use cheese or sour cream? Do you like it hot? Do you cut the heat with anything?
Do you have a preferred cooking method?
Any tips on pressure-cooker (or Ninja Foodi) chili?
Did you see part one? I felt like posting all my guitars online simply for something else to look at, and I thought others might enjoy.
I still plan to blog about some of the more interesting ones. Hopefully you guys enjoy the content. Thanks for the likes on social media. I don’t think anyone else started to use the #AllMyAxes hashtag. Oh well. Ha ha.
Show me some of yours in the comments, tag me on social media, or use your own hashtag!
Since the world is a bit strange right now, I decided I wanted to see more guitars on social media. Maybe it’ll start a trend, maybe not.
I like classic guitars, I like modern guitars, I like classy guitars, I like ugly guitars. I like guitars. I like playing them. I like looking at them online. I like looking at them on my wall. I like looking at them in the store. I like hearing them. I like arguing about them on the internet. I also like other assorted stringed instruments.
Maybe this will make the world a little brighter. Maybe people will like these guitars. Maybe people will argue about these guitars. Maybe absolutely no one will notice. Who knows?
Below the collage, here are the ones I have posted so far via Instagram with the #AllMyAxes hashtag, minus today’s. The rest will be in the next post. This is the bulk of my guitar collection. The rest of the stuff in the house are my ukuleles and mandolin, the wife’s ukuleles, and the kids’ guitars and ukuleles.
There is a little bit written about each guitar if you click through to Instagram or follow me on Facebook. I hope to blog more in-depth about each of them, or more than I have in the past anyway… reaching out to some manufacturers and designers, especially for the most interesting ones.