What do you love?
Not, mind you, whom do you love -- although that isn't to say we don't think it's important to love other people (at least some of them).
We're talking items, stuff, like things you eat or use or listen to or watch or wear ...
We, the members of the Life section, are confessing to some of the things we love, in hopes of encouraging readers to share some of their discoveries and passions as well.
Tell us what you love, why and (if pertinent) where to find it and how much it costs. Include your name and contact information.
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org with THINGS WE LOVE in the subject line, or mail to Standard-Examiner, Life section, Things We Love, P.O. Box 12790, Ogden, UT 84112-2790.
Submissions may be mentioned in future articles.
A life with a little black licorice is a happier life.
Licorice pastels -- snippets of black licorice with colorful candy coatings -- have long been a favorite indulgence, but now a new treat has landed in my cupboard: Outback Beans.
Mmm, what delicious little gems. They're a fatter, chewier, more substantial version of traditional licorice pastels. The "beans" are about a half-inch long and filled with rods of soft black licorice. The thin outer shells are soft and chewy, too, and come in eye-catching shades of purple, pink and white.
If your mouth is watering and you want to track these morsels down, Outback Beans are part of the Wiley Wallaby line of Australian-style licorices. They're a bit hard to find, but I snagged my last bag at Smith & Edwards in Ogden, for $3.49.
Any black licorice fan would be delighted to find these in their candy dish. The only drawback is their addictive nature -- a few beans here, a few beans there and before you know it, you've munched through the whole bag.
-- Becky Cairns
It's almost Valentine's Day, but my taste buds think it's still Christmas.
Over the holidays, I became addicted to eggless eggnog.
A recipe for eggless eggnog ran a year or two ago in the Standard-Examiner; I wrote it down and lost it. I found another version online, credited to the Jerusalem Post, and made it on Christmas Eve this year. It was delicious, and easy to prepare, so I made a second batch.
A week after the new year started, I was craving the eggnog and made another batch for Sunday dinner. When I didn't make more the following week, my nieces and nephews were disappointed.
We love this stuff. I don't plan on making eggless eggnog all year, because I'm a big believer in holiday traditions, but there's a good chance I'll be drinking it on my birthday -- in June.
8 cups milk
3.4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
In a large bowl, mix pudding with 1 cup milk. When pudding is thick, add the remaining milk and all other ingredients. Mix well, then chill.
-- Becky Wright
'Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Even more so when Kinsey Millhone's only lead is a grown man dredging up a repressed childhood memory -- of something that may never have happened ..."
I was hooked.
My sister, Pat, gave me a stack of paperback books she had already read. I left them in the back seat of my car for a few days, then grabbed them and took them in the house one afternoon after grabbing a bag of take-out food for lunch.
While I chowed down on my Big Mac and fries, I glanced over and read the above synopsis.
The author is Sue Grafton. The book is "U is for Undertow." It is one in an alphabetical series of Kinsey Millhone mysteries. Other titles include "A is for Alibi," "B is for Burglar," "C is for Corpse."
So I cracked the book open and began reading.
The next thing I knew, my kitchen had become dark and I was having trouble seeing the type on the pages. I looked at the clock and figured I'd been reading for about five hours straight. But I wasn't done.
I turned on the lights, grabbed a blanket and a cup of hot cocoa and sat in an easy chair for another hundred pages or so, until my eyes tired out.
The book was finished before noon the next day.
Tomorrow I'm stopping by my favorite bookstore to back up a little in the alphabet and see if I can find another Grafton novel that grabs me.
-- Marilyn Bennett
For the past few years, I haven't had cable or satellite dish. I've never been much of a TV head, so no big deal. But then "Deadwood," "Breaking Bad" and other recent high-quality cable productions piqued my interest -- without making me long to invest in a monthly cable bill or lengthy contract.
Enter the Roku streaming player ($50-$100). Roughly the size of a fancy box of loose face powder, this dandy device plugs on one side into my TV, and on the other, into the computer (wireless units are available, too). With a click of a button, I have access to scores of viewing sites with a device so simple, even a tube-amp-and-turntable gal like myself can easily navigate her way around. Much of the content is even free.
Thus, on these cold winter nights, I snuggle in with my hubby under a comforter next to a roaring fire, and we watch our favorites, on demand. Pass the popcorn, please!
-- Linda East Brady
KEEPING IN TUNE
Listen, when you're arguably the world's worst guitarist, you need all the help you can get.
It's difficult enough worrying about things like chord changes and picking patterns, but now you're telling me you also have to concern yourself with keeping that sucker in tune?
The most common method of tuning a guitar is with an electronic tuner. It's about the size of a deck of cards and features a built-in microphone and some sort of needle display that picks up the sound from your guitar and translates it into a letter note between A and G.
Which is OK, but a bit of a hassle. You have to balance the tuner on your knee near the guitar's sound hole and hope like heck it's quiet enough that the tuner doesn't pick up some ambient room noise to throw off your reading.
Enter the headstock tuner -- quite possibly the greatest single breakthrough since the invention of bacon.
The headstock tuner is a small, battery-powered gizmo that clips to a guitar's headstock -- that's the business end holding the tuning pegs that you twist to change the pitch of each string.
It's compact, convenient, relatively inexpensive and easy to use. But the best part? Most headstock tuners use vibration, rather than sound. You pluck a string, and the vibration is picked up and magically transformed (it's technical, but yes, it does involve actual magic) into the correct pitch. No more asking everyone in the room to please shut up while you tune up.
Now, if you're a professional guitarist with a discerning ear, a $30 headstock tuner might be beneath you. But for the rest of us, it's difficult to overestimate the importance of the headstock tuner.
It won't improve your guitar-playing. But now, every time you hit the wrong chord, at least it's in tune.
-- Mark Saal
It's kind of like "Three's Company" with a supernatural twist. But instead of Chrissy, Jack and Janet, there's a vampire with a conscience, an angst-ridden werewolf and a beautiful ghost with some issues.
In "Being Human," the 20-something roommates are attempting to hang on to their humanity whilst overcoming their darker impulses (i.e., drinking blood, ripping people's throats, scaring people, etc.)
Based on a popular BBC series of the same name, "Being Human" began its second season recently on Monday nights on the Syfy channel, and I am unabashedly hooked.
The funniest scenes come when the trio -- Aidan, Josh and Sally -- are hanging out in the house they share in Boston. The interaction between Josh and his girlfriend, Nora, whom he accidentally turned into a werewolf, is also a source of some clever banter. For example, a rather shaken Nora needed some consoling after learning she's now a werewolf.
"Can I get a mocha? Cuz, you know, chocolate is toxic to dogs," Nora says to Josh.
"You're not a dog," Josh responds.
"But I am a canine, right?" Nora persists.
"Once a month. One night a month. The rest of the time, we're still us," Josh answers.
I was a big fan of the British version, but I've been "glamorized" by its American cousin with its snappy dialogue, cool special effects and slick soundtrack. It's a heartfelt blend of comedy, drama and horror that genuinely delivers a life-affirming message -- despite the fact that two of its three primary characters are technically dead.
-- J. Michael Call