Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Christmas Gift Ideas

Black Friday nears.  You all know I live in North Pole, Alaska, not 10 miles from Santa's Workshop, right?  Take it from me, the elves have been busy this year.  Here is a list of gift ideas for you.


Of course, I'll start with this (ho, ho, ho!):
Buy on Amazon: $10.45 Paperback/$2.99 Kindle

I'm reading this now...exceptional book for the history geeks in your family:
Buy on Amazon: $10.98 Paperback/$13.99 Kindle

This was recommended by Wilbur and Gemma. By the creator of the Dilbert cartoon, Scott Adams:
Buy on Amazon: $13.52 Paperback/$4.95 Kindle

I read this last year. One of my all-time favorite books:
Buy at Jack : $19.95

I picked this up at SEA-TAC airport, read the whole book on the flight to Cabo:
Buy on Amazon: $11.99/$9.99

Kitchen Gadgets

Here's some cool cooking stuff I bought this year, and loved:

Air Fryer. Makes great French fries, chicken wings, and fish...all fried without oil. It's a mini convection oven, easy to use:
Buy on Amazon: $87

Spiralizer. Cuts potatoes into cool shapes. Easy to use and clean, does not take up much space:
Buy on Amazon: $29.98

NutriBullet. I've had this for about a year now. I use it almost every day. [My smoothie recipe: 1 cup coconut milk, 1TBS cocoa powder, 1TBS flaxseeds, 2TBS potato starch, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1 green banana, ice.]:
Buy on Amazon: $79.99


Pushup Bars: I'm not big on gyms or fancy equipment, but these are really nice for doing pushups. I try to do at least 100 a day (not all at once!):
Buy on Amazon: $12.99

Other Stuff I'm Impressed With

Car Emergency Jump Starter. These used to weigh 10 pounds and did not work all that well. With new battery technology, this is lightweight and easy to use. Get one for your wife or kids, especially if they are prone to dead batteries!  Works for cell phones, iPads, etc., too. I was recently stranded 60 miles from town with a dead battery and had to wait hours for a jump start. Now I have one of these in all my vehicles:
Buy on Amazon: $80

Drone. This is what my most wonderful wife got me for my birthday this year!  I love it. Takes great pictures and easy to fly.
Buy on Amazon: Expensive, lol
Here's a picture of my garden, taken by this drone last summer:

And speaking of gardens...if you hate winter as much as me, and miss fresh veggies terribly, you'll get a kick out of this!

Aerogarden. Kit comes with everything you need to grow some herbs or leafy veggies.
Amazon: $99 (shown) - $250. Lots of options.
OK...hope this helps you out. Amazon will be running some crazy Black Friday specials, so get 'em while their cheap.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and Christmas.


  1. thank you Tim, great are so wonderful:)

  2. Your garden looks AMAZING!

  3. Tim,

    Great suggestions and a great looking garden!
    Question on the coconut milk in your morning smoothie - what kind do you use that does not contain nasties? Or do you make your own?


    1. At they sell coconut milk by the carton or case that does not contain any preservatives. From time to time they offer flat rate shipping ($5).

    2. Real milk is fine, too. I use Silk Unsweetened Coconut milk (, probably not the best thing in the world, but ingredients not bad:

      Coconutmilk (Filtered Water, Coconut Cream), Contains 2% or less of: Vitamin and Mineral Blend (Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D2), Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Sunflower Lecithin, Locust Bean Gum, Gellan Gum.

    3. When I use coconut milk, I use Native Forest Organic. Just Organic coconut, filtered water, and organic guar gum. The guar gum is prebiotic.

    4. What I consider really nasty in things like milk, mayo, and ice cream are chemical emulsifiers. I've been meaning to write a blog post, but if you ever see "carboxymethylcellulose" and "polysorbate-80" on an ingredient list, run. Fast.

      Guar and other gums are much safer alternatives and give similar food function, but from natural sources, and are even considered healthy prebiotics. Gellan gum and Xanthan gum are actually the exoskeltons of bacteria, and can be considered pre- and probiotics.

      The other emulsifiers, carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80, are harsh chemicals that prevent the separation of fat and water, a needed quality in shelf-stable foods, but they do so at great cost to our gut flora. Not prebiotics, but actually antibiotics, or worse.

      Some have even surmised that industrial food-grade emulsifiers, by disrupting the mucus layer, are responsible for epidemic of gut problems and autoimmune disease we are seeing.

      These emulsifiers are sometimes hidden, but commonly present in most processed foods. I only buy foods that I can recognize the ingredients anymore. I am always impressed when I find a food product in a box that only has a few, easily recognized, ingredients. And others, like the Silk Milk that I use, that uses natural plant ingredients instead of nasty chemicals.

      read more:

    5. I'd look forward to that post, Tim. I had a pretty horrendous disruption of my normally unflappable innards this summer, likely due to a donut & coffee on a road trip. Was it the donut? Was it the 'cream' in the coffee? I'll never know but it took a stupidly long time to get back to normal. It tied my guts into knots AND set off a round of fibro-like pain that I haven't seen in years.

      Man, that ticked me off.

    6. WC - grrrr. I like to think that if you eat right and keep yourself healthy as possible, then you can occasionally eat some shitty fast food or indulgent snack and be OK, but man, some food ingredients are just plain bad. And maybe some of these worst offenders are harder on a person with the healthiest guts, the rest of the people just live with poor gut function and their bodies adapt to the constant onslaught of chemicals and lack of fiber.

      I hope to have lots more time after Christmas to start blogging a bit more consistently and actually digging into the research.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks. It's so hard trying to figure out what to get people for Christmas, worse as you get older and just buy whatever you want throughout the year, lol.

  5. Hey Time

    Is that you personal favorite air fryer?...Was looking at the GOWISE as well...


    1. I have the Avalon Bay as pictured in the main post above, but we just bought the Go Wise for our son for a Christmas present:

      I am not sure that I could recommend the really expensive Philips, etc. for $200+. I think the ones under $100 are perfectly fine.

  6. Hey Tim

    Finally got my Air Fryer all set up...Went with the Gowize...On xmas day when opening it i dropped it and it shatter to pieces....LOL...returned it to amazon and got the new one today

    Are there any store bought french fries that a good to use? I will make my own to but looking for something in a pinch.

    I dont eat any bad stuff (ie bad oils and processed foods etc..)

    So I didnt know if there where any brands out there that where legit....Thanks a lot Paul

    1. I've found several brands of frozen potatoes...wedges, fries, and cubed that have only "potato" on the ingredient list. Just look through them potatoes in the frozen food section, they are a good value, too.

      Pro Tip: Use frozen, cook on 3/4 heat for 10 minutes, remove basket, shake well. Finish at highest setting for 8-10 minutes.

    2. I've been looking around for the same. All the ones I've seen so far appear to be "blanched" in some kind of oil. I'm going to check these out which are supposed to be available at our local Safeway. Cutting fresh potatoes and blanching as Tim describes makes a pretty good fry that my husband loves. However, it would be wonderfully convenient to have some frozen pre blanched ones on hand. More rs too I would think.

    3. Keep looking! They are there. Some are really, really bad. Others perfect.

      - Earthbound Farms Frozen Reds ingredients: "Organic Red Potatoes"

      McCain Purely Potatoes Ingredients: Whole baby potatoes


    4. Thanks. I'll see where those brands are available in my area. I just checked two more stores this evening. the freezer cases are full of frozen french fries but the ingredient list all looks like your third example.

  7. Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!