Syrups, recipes and marriages! I mean... marriage.

August/2007: Syrups!
Here on the West Coast we have little shops all over with drinks called "Italian Sodas." I say it like this because a few of my friends on the East Coast had never heard of such a thing. Italian sodas are pretty grand in general, tasty carbonation that doesn't feel like it's blowing up your stomach. The syrups used in such concoctions come from a company called Torani. They make a crapload of these syrups, everything from Peppermint to White Chocolate to Marshmallow to Grape to Root Beer to... well, you name it. Everything. Cheesecake, cherry, strawberry, etc. And they all taste good.

The problem is, if you go to a store and try to buy the 775 ml bottles, they cost an arm and a leg. Commonly 6.50 to 7.00 dollars a bottle. THAT... is not worth it. However, the magic of the internet finds these bottles much cheaper. Best deal I've found? 4.25 a bottle if you buy twelve at a time. Of course, you'll want to buy twelve at a time because HOLY CRAP MAGICALLY DELICIOUS!

You can mix these things into milk, milkshakes, sparkling water, club soda, or my personal favorite... Jones Cream Soda (cans, not bottles). That means if you want oh... White Chocolate Orange... you can do that. Of course, it likely wouldn't taste good. So if you're picky and want something that tastes good, you'd say... have White Chocolate Caramel Milk. And yes, that's very good. Of course, you can always "kick it up a notch!" by buying some chai powder and using your Magic Bullet (I assume you have one since everyone should have one) and you can say... make a butterscotch chai milk. Oh yes, a world full of flavor.

My personal favorite is to buy one of those big cheap ass tubs of vanilla ice cream, y'know, the big one. Then drop the ice cream along with some candy miniatures (Pick your candy poison!) into the Magic Bullet and voila, with some milk and the syrup choice you have a milkshake of your choosing. Cheap homemade cinnamon chocolate mint milkshake with crunched up milky way fun size bars? Yes. Easy. Cheap. Wow.

Here's the flavors we've picked up so far.

Chocolate Mint
English Toffee
Irish Creme
French Vanilla
Root Beer
White Chocolate
Butter Rum

Blood Orange

Why orange twice? Because that's what Erika drinks 90% of the time. Literally the only bottle that is near empty is the first orange bottle. That's a lot of orange as those bottles last a fuckload of time. You only put about an ounce of syrup into each drink, just an ounce is a huge shot of flavor.

These syrups have completely changed the drinks I have, now I can have any kind of flavor I want and the cost savings over regular soda is un-freakin-believable. For the price of a twelve pack of regular soda (about five bucks) I can make twenty-four 12 ounce drinks that taste much better.

Torani syrups rule. If I ever get the capital, I'm going to take all our drink concoctions and make a drink shop. And unlike other people I know, it wouldn't cost a couple hundred thousand dollars. Jesus. I'd call it the "Designer Drink Shop" and undercut all the other drink shops since I could sell one of these things for a buck twenty five and still make tremendous profit. Of course, the customer service would reflect that since there's no way I'd make my employees be friendly to the customers.

We've been experimenting with all sorts of recipes. A couple years ago, I could make frozen waffles and top ramen. Now I can make like twelve other things too. And they're better than frozen waffles and top ramen, even. So now, each blog I'm going to post a recipe so you too can have the healthy diet of an pedophile-reviled internet quasi-lebrity. This entries recipe is...

Double-cheese chicken and steak double decker tacos
That's a long title for a food dish. This one is pretty involved to make too, probably the most involved dish I make. First off, you'll need the following ingredients...

Some frozen chicken
Some steak
Oversize hard shell tacos
Soft-taco shells
Can of refried beans
One can of Campbell's Cheddar Cheese
Some Kraft pre-shredded Mexican blend cheese
A1 sauce
Red sauce
Some Mexican spices (double points if you wrangle some Original Taco House seasoning salt... not the kind they sell in the fridge, but the kind they serve at the table. They WILL sell it to you if you badger them)

First, you prepare your cheese sauce. Take the can of campbell's cheese and put it into a container. Then add some red sauce and some A1 sauce. Finally, sprinkle in some mexican spices. Keep heating through the process in the microwave on low.

Second, prepare your chicken and steak. Cut it up into small fine chunks. I cook my chicken and steak in a large non-stick wok with a pool of worcestershire sauce and some mexican spices. This allows you to keep the steak and chicken juicy. The blood cooks out but the worcestershire sauce keeps the meat tender and juicy. As long as you keep a mixture of 'shire and water in there, you can cook this while you do the other steps as well.

Thirdly, make a thin layer spread of refried beans onto your soft shells, then put them on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven for four or five minutes. Take them out, put the hard shell upright in the middle of the soft-shell. Then pull up the soft-shell tortilla onto the sides of the upright hard-shell. They will stick like cement.

Lastly, combine it all. Fill the bottom of the hardshell with a bed of the kraft mexican blend cheese. Then judiciously lay down a big layer of chicken and steak. After that, put in a small bit of red sauce. Over the top of it all, create a river of the melted cheese. It'll pour down into the meet and the pre-shredded cheese. Put some mexican spice over the top of that and you're ready to eat! Next blog I'll break out the big guns and tell you how to make my Cheesy Chicken Bean Dip. Good lord, is it good.

Well, plural is probably bad form. Marriage! I recently got married to Erika of the forums, so now she is officially Erika Von Erck. We started dating in 2005, October 9th, to be exact. She's moved here and now we live together. Our wedding was very simple. It took ten minutes. Why'd it take ten minutes? Because man, weddings suck. There's no point to blowing a ton of cash on them, it's just a wedding.

The best part of the wedding was when the judge started reading off all these lame lines, like we're supposed to "promote idealism within one another" and my wife, I'm proud to say, laughed. Out loud. Loudly. Hard. Right in the judge's face. So now I get to call her my "little judgelaugher" until the end of time. I was able to stifle my laugh, but it was somewhat hard. I felt kind of bad for the judge since the judge obviously had written the vows to read, but man, lame vows.

Afterwards we went to the Outback Steakhouse, because that's really where everyone should go when they get married. Alice springs chicken is the perfect wedding-topper. Then we went home. And got on the computer.

That means my marriage day was far better than yours, I'm sure you'll admit.

Otherwise, marriage is marriage. It's a relationship that the government says "okay" to. The WEIRD... thing though? The VERY weird thing? Is what we discovered leading up to the marriage. It is so weird and crazy that I can't believe they haven't patched this loophole.

The weird loophole? You don't show ID during the entire process. None. No ID.

Think about it. We didn't show ID when we did any of the paperwork, when we booked the judge nor when the judge showed up. AND you don't have to supply an SSN when you get married. That means anyone can marry off anyone in Oregon. You and a friend can go marry off any other two people you know. It's literally freakin' crazy. All of a sudden a person can go to get married and realize that uh... he's already married. To someone he doesn't know. Of course, anyone doing so could be charged with criminal fraud under the law, I just thought it was a pretty crazy loophole to exist to begin with.

So at the end of the blog... married to the woman I love and I have a crapload of Torani syrups and recipes I came up with. Alone, this equals a very good life all by itself.