Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Foodie Pen Pal and Goodies Company.


If you are a foodie, I have two things you’re going to love:


First: Foodie Pen Pals!


Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean ( started a Foodie Pen Pal program a few years ago that has really taken off.  There are now upwards of 1000 participants each month.  I decided to do it last month and was pleasantly surprised.  Briefly, what happens is 1) you sign up at the beginning of each month on her website (even if you’ve done it in the past), 2) you are then assigned a person that you have to make a Gift Box for, the ingredients of which cannot exceed $15, and include a recipe of your choice, 3) this is mailed by mid month to your pen pal, 4) SOMEONE ELSE is assigned to do the same for you, so you get a package from a different person than the one you are sending to, and finally 5) you blog about what you got in the mail and what you made with it on the last day of the month.  Pretty awesome, huh?  That way, each month you meet two new Foodie friends.  Definitely check this out.  It’s really fun, very inexpensive, and a cool way to meet people who are interested in FOOD.


So the person assigned to me was Lindsey (a different Lindsey) and she lives in Guam.  How cool is that???  My kids and I had a great time looking up Guam, reading about the local culture and food, and of course enjoying her gift box.  So Lindsey sent me a bunch of awesome treats from her island…



Included was:


Coco Jo’s local chocolate chip cookies


Nori, for treats or for making small sushi rolls


Guguria, another hard cookie made by the locals


Yan Yan, an on-the-go sweet treat with chocolate and strawberry dipping sauce


Ginger Peach tea


Papaya soap


So I didn’t really make a recipe with these items, but instead had a dessert party with my kids…  They dug all of the great sweets and we pretended that we were on an island in the middle of the Pacific!  Thanks Lindsey!




Second: Goodies Company!



You’ve probably seen the side bar ads for this on Facebook.  I decided to sign up and this month was their first shipment.  Similar set up in that you pay a set fee each month and then get a box of stuff.  It’s like Christmas every month.  So this first month had a Halloween theme (in that everything is sweet), and I received:




Dang – Toasted Coconut chips


Nutella & Go – Breadsticks and nutella…


Smartfood Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Crisps


Juicefuls Snacks


Mayesa Chocolate Beverage


Brownie Brittle Chocolate Chips treats


So a fun selection for the Halloween month.  The box is presented very nicely with a descriptive insert regarding all of the products.  Check it out at Goodies Company or on Facebook.


So if you are a Foodie and/or like pen pals and/or like getting surprises in the mail every month, you should absolutely check out these two great sites.



The Grilled Atheist




























Posted by on November 1, 2012 in Cooking, Ingredients, Random Thoughts, Recipes


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Favorite Smells.

The olfactory system is a primitive and complex part of the human brain.  From an evolutionary standpoint, humans seem to have lost a significant portion of this sense comparative to other mammals.  Many mammals sense of smell is millions of times more acute than humans.  Despite this, our amazing olfactory system can distinguish among 10,000 different odors.

It is linked very closely to the sense of taste (remember holding your nose while eating brussel sprouts as a kid?).  As part of the limbic system, it is also tied closely with memory.  Ever notice how certain smells not only bring back a memory but also and emotional state?  I distinctly remember walking into my son’s school and the smell of the hallways instantly transported me to my first grade elementary school…I mean, I felt like I was there.

Just for fun I decided to post some of my favorite smells.  Those things that don’t just smell good, but evoke some kind of emotion as well.

Fresh cut grass

A well stocked spice cabinet

Meat on the grill

Sesame oil – Weird, I know.

The air after a summer rain


A bookstore with really old books.

Well, those are some of mine.  Please feel free to post yours.



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Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Random Thoughts, Science


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Positions in The French Kitchen


Who knows.  It’s how my brain works.  Maybe it’s because I was watching Ratatouille with my kids, but I was interested in all of the positions in the French kitchen.  Turns out there are 27 of them altogether…  The system was created by the legendary chef and innovator of Haute Cuisine, George Auguste Escoffier.

It’s a rather complex, and presumably archaic, system.  And although most kitchens are based on this ranking idea, very few have every position.  So, here they are:

Chef de cuisine (Kitchen chef)

Sous-chef de cuisine (Deputy kitchen chef)

Chef de partie (Senior chef)

Cuisinier (Cook)

Commis (Junior cook)

Apprenti(e) (Apprentice)

Plongeur (Dishwasher)

Marmiton (Pot and pan washer)

Saucier (Saucemaker/Sauté cook)

Rôtisseur (Roast cook)

Grillardin (Grill cook)

Friturier (Fry cook)

Poissonnier (Fish cook)

Entremetier (Entrée preparer)

Potager (soup cook)

Legumier (Vegetable cook)

Garde manger (Pantry supervisor)

Tournant (Spare hand/ roundsman)

Pâtissier (Pastry cook)




Boulanger (Baker)

Aboyeur (Announcer/ expediter)

Communard Garçon de cuisine.

Whew…  Well if it works.  All I know is that I’m going to refer to myself as a “Grillardin” from now on…


The Grilled Atheist

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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Cooking, Random Thoughts


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TAM 2012

Just got back from TAM 2012.  Still recovering from fun and jet lag…  Awesome time.  Made great new friends, had good conversation, saw fantastic lectures, ate bacon, and of course bought too many books (a trademark of mine).

If you don’t know what this is about, and you enjoy science, skepticism, magic, etc please check out the links to The Amazing Meeting and the JREF and plan on going next year:

Also, check out the video series on youtube here, and watch the interview with The Grilled Atheist!

Food posts to follow…



Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Atheism, Random Thoughts, Science, Skepticism


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A friend of a friend died a couple of days ago.

She was young.  She had a child.

She went in for a routine procedure.  Wisdom teeth extraction.  Under anesthesia her heart stopped.  She could not be revived.

It is tragic.

Some people ask me, “If you are an atheist, what do you believe happens after you die?”  Nothing.  The world existed for billions of years without me, and I don’t remember it.  When I die, I decompose and become base elements.  Building blocks for something else.  I don’t believe that there is a soul that survives us.  People ask me, “Well, this world is a test.  For the next life.  Don’t you want eternal life?”

Actually…  I’m not sure I want eternal life.  To live forever.  To what end?  Praising?  Seems shallow.  Although I do admit that wings and flying would be cool.

“God has a plan.”  That also seems shallow to me.  If I were a god.  And I designed the system.  It would not include unnecessary death.  There would be no “other world.”  And no “test world,” where we have to prove ourselves.  Seems silly, doesn’t it?

I don’t know what happens when we die.  That is humble.

If you were to ask me, this is my opinion.  I think that THIS is the life we have.  We live once.  One time.  To try to make a difference.  It would be nice to think that there is a magic world that goes on forever.  But what count is the NOW.  Here is what I think we should do:

If you are religious.  Pray.  And thank your god for life and health.

If you are not religious.  Seek solace.  In statistics.  In the fact that we should not be here in the first place.

Hug often.

Call you mother.

If you can walk, take the stairs.

Open your eyes and really see the world around you.



Look at the world around you.  And ask questions about it.  Question everything.

Be kind to those around you.

Go out of your way.  To do nice things without expectation of recompense.

Be in awe…for the rest of your life.


Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Atheism, Random Thoughts, Religion


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Books That Shaped America

If you love books I would urge that you take the Library of Congress, Books That Shaped America survey.  If nothing else, it will expose you to a host of books that 1) you may have never read, 2) you’ve read and forgotten, or 3) you’ve read and think are incredibly important.  Either way, it should stimulate your brain and hopefully some good conversation!

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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Books, Random Thoughts


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Shameless, self-promoting blogger?  Yes indeed…  Got me some swag for my site!

Now I can haz coffee and blog away to the populous.  Cheers!

The Grilled Atheist


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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Random Thoughts


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