Skip to main content


Personal Freedom vs Living Costs

We are brought up thinking that money can buy happiness, but freedom of time is what really leads to happiness. Yes, having money can give you the ability to choose how you spend your time, but this has more to do with your cost of living than it has to do with how much you make. If you can reduce your cost of living to the point that you are living substantially within your means, can stay as debt free as possible, can build savings and wealth, and can find ways to earn money that either doesn't require your time (like residual income) or is time you would be spending doing what you love to do anyway, then that will lead to true security, personal freedom, and happiness. Think of it kind of like a business. In business, you want to generate profits and invest those profits to build more profits. Here you want to generate time savings and invest that time to generate even more time savings. To generate that savings, you need to first consume less than you produce, then s
Recent posts

Low Dairy Queso

There are a few dishes where it is worth breaking my mostly vegan diet and a great queso is one of them. I'll certainly pay for it the next morning in terms of inflammation and phlegm so I now limit my intake, but I still can't resist a bite or two when its around. Here's my favorite go-to recipe with inspiration from Eating on a Dime . My version is a little lighter on the dairy by adding chicken stock and vegetable oil instead of milk and butter. The flour addition helps everything bind together better. Ingredients  2 tbsp butter or vegetable oil (or 1 tbsp of each) 1 tbsp flour 1/4 cup diced onion (or 1/2 tsp onion powder) 1 minced garlic clove (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder) 1/4 tsp cumin 1/4 cup chicken stock (more if a thinner consistency is desired) 8 oz white American cheese (6 slices on 3 thickness at the deli counter) 1/4 cup diced green chilies or fresh jalapeno salt if needed Directions Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion if using fresh until soft and translucen

Ranking Carbon Reduction Solutions

It can be overwhelming to think about how to change our global way of living to reduce carbon emissions enough to combat global warming. It's hard to fathom that individual choices and habits will make a difference and it is too "convenient" to just wait for solutions and change to come rather than be the solution and source of change. And even if you are motivated to change, it's difficult to know where to start and which solutions will have the most impact. There is an organization called Project Drawdown which has done the work to evaluate over 90 solutions and rank them according to their impact. This is found in their Table of Solutions . The solutions can be sorted between Scenario 1 which is roughly in line with 2˚C temperature rise by 2100 (1,051 gigaton CO2 reduction) and Scenario 2 is roughly in-line with 1.5˚C temperature rise at century’s end (1,637 gigaton CO2 reduction) . Here is a table of the Top 10 solutions based on Scenario 2. There are some incredi

The Fed Has Done Enough to Fight Inflation

I wrote to my Senators and Representative about the risks the Fed is seeding with increasing interest rates so quickly as they have. I sent this on Wednesday morning, March 8, 2023 after Jerome's Powell's first day of testimony to Congress. Ironically, Silicon Valley Bank failed two days later on Friday exemplifying the risks that these interest rate risks are causing. Hi Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper - I've lived in Colorado for 13 years now and I work in the hotel investment space. It's a fascinating one because it ties together commercial real estate, job creation, construction/capital investment, and an economic and sales tax engine in the way of travel spending. What inspired me to write to you is because of the current interest rate environment induced by the Federal Reserve. I understand the need to stomp out excessive inflation. However, there are signs the Fed has already gone too far and is on the verge of breaking something in the economy. Housing is perha

Fried Fish Batter

I am a big fan of fish & chips. When I travel, I can usually count on finding a good fish & chips place for an affordable yet delicious meal. But it turns out it's not that hard to make at home either. I was watching one of my favorite cooking shows, America's Test Kitchen (Season 22 Episode 18), and they gave a great recipe and step-by-step instructions. Here is my adaptation of the recipe. Batter 1/2 cup AP flour 1/2 cup corn starch 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp baking powder 3/4 cup lager beer with minimum froth (like Budweiser or Coors) Let batter rest in fridge for 20 min. Should look like glue. Tarter Sauce 3/4 cup mayo (or sub 1/4 cup olive oil) 1/2 tbsp shallots or 1/2 tsp onion powder 2 tbsp capers 2 tbsp relish 1/2 tbsp vinegar (malt vinegar is ideal) 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce Directions 375 degrees to fry. Be sure to have malt vinegar on hand. One cheat is to find a Five Guys, order something, and pour yourself a side serving cup of malt vinegar which they have on

Fast Food Chicken Sandwich Comparison - Cost and Ingredients

My prior post was about how to make a great chicken sandwich substitute using cauliflower. But every now and then, it is tough to beat the convenience of a fast food chicken sandwich. Plus every chain is getting into the game. It started with Chick-fil-A but now everyone has a chicken sandwich including Popeyes, Shake Shack, KFC, McDonalds, Wendy's, Burger King, and even Panera.  I've also become accustom to the convenience of the apps for each of these chains. They make it so much easier to order and to customize your sandwich. Like who knew McDonalds allowed you to add or remove different toppings to your sandwich? Well, with the app you can. The other great thing about the app is for most of the chains, they provide a thorough list of ingredients. It is pretty eye-opening to compare the ingredients from one chicken sandwich to the next. Below is a cost and nutritional summary of the sandwiches near me. For a taste test comparison, check out the Rankings from Thrillist . Base

Chick-Fil-A Style Cauliflower Bites

In case you haven't noticed, the chicken sandwich wars are officially on. Every fast food joint is claiming they have the best chicken sandwich. It started with Chick-Fil-A but now everyone is trying to knock them off the podium. You have Popeyes, Shake Shack, KFC, and now even McDonalds, Wendy's, Burger King, and Panera. Well, I wanted to try to recreate it at home only vegan style using cauliflower. Feel free to substitute chicken instead, but note, cooking times may very. Ingredients 1 head cauliflower cut into chunks 3/4 cup flour 1/4 cup corn starch 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp paprika 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 1/4 tsp black pepper 1/4 cup pickle juice (or pickled jalapeno juice) 1/4 cup unsweetened milk substitute 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (if oven baking) 3-4 cups frying oil (if frying) side of pickles and hot sauce Directions Preheat 450 degrees or oil to 375 degrees. Wash and thoroughly dry the cauliflower chunks. Mix all

Fast Salad Dressings

To go along with my Fast Lunch Salads , I have a handful of go-to fast salad dressings that can be whipped up in no time. I'll either mix them right in the bottom of the salad container before adding the other ingredients or I'll put the ingredients in a small jar like a spice jar and shake until emulsified. The recipes are for 2-3 servings of dressing depending on how much or how little you use. Adjust quantities in proportion to each other to get the right amount for your intended use. Salad Dressing Combinations: Lime Vinaigrette 1 tbsp lime juice 1/4 tsp mustard (optional) 1 tsp sugar or agave 1/4 tsp salt 2 tbsp olive oil Lemon Vinaigrette 1 tbsp lemon juice 1/4 tsp mustard (optional) 1 tsp sugar or honey 1/4 tsp salt 2 tbsp olive oil Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp olive oil Red Wine Vinaigrette 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 1/4 tsp mustard 1 tsp sugar or honey 1/4 tsp salt 2 tbsp olive oil Greek Vinaigrette 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 1/8 tsp mustard

Fast Lunch Salads

One of my new routines for 2023 is to buy spinach in one pound bins and then find ways to use it up during a 1-2 week timeframe before it goes bad. I've been experimenting with making my own salad creations using ingredients I have on hand in the fridge, freezer, or cupboard so I can whip up a salad in a few minutes in the morning before heading to work.  As for the salad dressing, I usually make my own either right in the bottom of the bin before adding all the other ingredients or whip one up in an old spice jar (see my Fast Salad Dressings post). But you can also have your favorite store-bought flavor on hand as well. Another tip is to add the greens last in the lunch container that way they don't start to wilt or get soggy. Then when ready to eat, add the dressing (if not already on the bottom) and tip the bin over and shake so the dressing and ingredients on the bottom get mixed in. Salad Combinations: Spinach, avocado, black beans, corn - try with Tajin dressing Spinach,

Floor Stretches with Band

When I first hurt my lower back, I realized one of the main reasons was tight muscles especially the muscles that connect to my lower back. That includes hamstrings, glutes, and obliques. These muscles can all be stretched really well with a belt or band (or even a bath towel). These are the ten moves I like to do at least once a week to keep these muscles loose and ready for activity. Hamstring stretch - see picture below. Calf/Shin Pulse - from the hamstring stretch, alternating pointing your toe to stretch your shin then your heel up to stretch your calf. Bent leg to straight leg stretch  - from the hamstring stretch, bend at the knee and pull your leg towards your head to create a deeper stretch in the hamstring, then slowly straighten the leg back to the starting position. Straight leg across stretch  - see picture below. Knee bent across twist  - see picture below. Try pressing your leg up towards the ceiling while your hand presses your leg down. Knee to chest deep twist  - fr

My 2023 Diet and Exercise Routine

As you may pick up from my blog, one of the key parts to living a healthy life is developing healthy routines and habits. The New Year always gives me an opportunity to assess what routines worked and which ones didn't so I can tweak and adjust. Below is my new routine for diet and exercise that I will be working on in 2023. Skip right to the routine section or read the following background on the tweaks I made to each. On the workout side, I learned that I am still able to do my morning routines without issues. I am proud of how they are designed and I was able to keep doing them even from a hotel room when travel picked up. However, I also learned I was not doing enough cardio. With commuting back to work after the pandemic, adding business and personal travel, and working long hours, my casual cardio routine was not working in terms of keeping me in shape and my weight stable. I tried to do both my morning workouts and some cardio but that became too much of a time commitment. S

Quick Healthy Snacks

I've realized that my appetite is pretty vulnerable between lunch and dinner. It's a long stretch of time with usually a lot of office/computer work and then driving in traffic which drains energy and makes me hungry. If I don't have a snack, I get home and eat too much - too much dinner, plus a snack beforehand and a dessert after. That's a lot of calories in a short span. Or if I did get a snack, it was the processed office snacks that have little nutritional value and usually contain ingredients that don't make me feel good later. So this year, I'm taking snacking into my own control and making sure I have quick, healthy snacks on hand at work and at home so I can curb my hunger in a smart way. This combined with more liquids in the afternoon should hopefully leave me less hungry at dinner time leading me to eat less then. Here is my running list of go-to healthy snacks: Quick Healthy Snacks Handful of Mixed Nuts - I like Costco's sodium free nuts Handful

Post Growth Capitalism

One of the underlying issues with our society is this notion that there is no limit to our societal growth. Whether it comes to economic growth, population growth, energy, wealth, travel, age, etc., the human race will continue to find solutions to break through limitations in the name of progress. Well, we are again at one of those societal historical tipping points where it feels like we will either hit the limit or we will discover technological breakthroughs. I for one don't want to count on technological breakthroughs. I have witnessed and studied too many examples of how this earth operates to know that there are limits to humanity's dominance and we need to be in tune to them. We need to seek balance, not pretend that there are no limits. As I half jokingly say, the greatest trick that religion played is convincing most of humanity that there is an afterlife separate from this earth so people can do things to the earth to make their time more comfortable while not worryi