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Monthly Archives: November 2018

Almost every morning, my wife and I have a breakfast that consists of some combination of eggs, a side meat, greek yogurt (we buy Fage full 4% on the road or make our own at home using Fairlife milk in our Instant Pot), and possibly an avocado.  This all makes for a very high-protein, low-carb, zero sugar meal at the start of our day.  She’ll make a pot of her tea and I’ll typically just have water and/or zero-calorie sports drinks.

And this is great.  It’s fast, it’s fulfilling, and we look forward to it every morning.

But every once in a while, the human condition of restlessness kicks in and a desire for change may be felt.  And, I’ll admit, memories of breakfasts with my family when I was little make me pine for piles of pancakes or waffles, toast, or even just cereal.  All of which have been banished from my kitchen for being insanely carb-heavy and often also sugary.

But then recently, at Costco, I spotted this product…



This product claims to be a paleo-friendly pancake mix.  I’m not officially keeping to any “diet” that involves rules and buzzwords.  But while I don’t identify my dining as “paleo” or “keto” or anything of the sort, I am always interested in food options that are tasty while minimizing carbs in a reasonable way.  This mix, from Birch Benders, makes use of almond flour, coconut flour, cassava, monk fruit, and powdered eggs, hitting a rather effective bingo when it comes to modern “dietary wonder” ingredients that people try when avoiding wheat flour.  The only thing I think I’m not seeing here are ground crickets.  😉

Let me tell you… the results are fucking delicious.

I sweeten the preparation a bit so that we can avoid applying any syrup to the finished product.  The last time we made these (they tend to be a weekend morning specialty for us) I took photos in order to share details with others.  So here you go!


1. Set your stovetop to medium and start heating your non-stick pan…



2. Land a thwack of butter (we love grass-fed, all natural butter) in those pans as they heat as you turn to your mixing bowl…



3. The official recipe on the Birch Benders bag calls for 3/4 of a cup of their mixture plus 2/3 of a cup of water.  I’ve found that to be ideal.  However, in an effort to avoid use of any syrup during serving, I adjust my mix a bit with about a tablespoon of brown sugar alternative and a drizzle of vanilla…



4. If your pan is up to temp and the butter is melted, you’re ready to pour in some batter!  I tend to make 4 pancakes with the mix that results from 3/4 cup of powder and 2/3 cup of water.



5. I’ve found that despite being made from alternative ingredients, these pancakes have a pretty similar cook time to traditional ones.



6. If you are having trouble keeping the cake from sticking to the pan, or for just about any reason you want, it’s always OK to add a little more butter to the pan by running a dollop around the outer edge on the tip of a knife, letting it melt down.



7. Keep an eye on the top, and when you start seeing tiny bubbles coming up through, you know you’re at most a minute away from flipping.  Typically, I flip after about 3 or 4 minutes of cooking.



8. Flip carefully, and hopefully the underside is a perfect golden color.  Once flipped, I let it cook for another 60 to 90 seconds, max.



9. Plate it with an additional pat of butter resting on top.  No syrup should be needed, hopefully.



10. We sometimes experiment with fruit.  Tarah likes strawberries.  A couple berries diced up and folded into the batter (along with some red food coloring that we had for another project) made for a nice result, as well.



11. Note: if you add fruit like this, the water (and likely lower temp) of the fruit will slow the cooking process a bit, so you may want to keep the cake in the pan for a minute or so longer per side, in order to ensure it cooks through completely.



The results are really delightful, I have to say.  These are delicious and, while not totally carb-free, they are much healthier than going to an IHOP or some such.



If you’re a Costco shopper, keep an eye out for them.  Maybe you’ll give these a try.  Maybe you’ll like them, too.  Good luck and enjoy!


This is a quick one from me, but hopefully it helps you save money if you run any firearm-related events.  In addition to the DEFCON Shoot, I help run other regional shooting events — sometimes at hacker cons, sometimes elsewhere — and one of the things that I feel organizers should try to do is always have a kit of “range essentials” that can help fill in any gaps of amenities and supplies that may be lacking at a venue you’re using.

Just in case you want to build such a kit, here are some bare-bones essentials that just about anyone can put together:


You’ll notice that almost everything in the above list has links.  They are links to the particular items that I have liked and trusted and opt to bring with me whenever I’m running an event.  (Other gear shows up at most of my events, too, like service and cleaning supplies, free water, free snacks, etc.  But the above list are the safety essentials.)

One item in the list does not have an amazon link, however.  That’s because chamber flags, bought retail, are very expensive.  At between $2 and $8 apiece, they are not an item that lends itself to cheap and easy purchase en masse if you’re going to set them out in a bin for give-away.  That’s why I opt to make my own homebrew chamber flags for my Gun Range Running kit.

Want to make your own nearly-infinite supply of chamber flags for almost no cost?  Here’s what you acquire:


Take the orange tube and cut it into segments roughly 1¼” long (just over 3cm)… the above-linked tube should hopefully produce just over 30 pieces.


The next steps should be rather self-evident.  Slip one of these bits of rubber tube over a zip tie…



Then affix the zip tie to itself.  Be careful to try to not pull it ridiculously tight.  Just enough to make a little “flag” stick out to the side…



There you are!  Buying one pack of the above zip ties and three of the orange rubber tubes should yield close to 100 of these for a little over $25.  That’s effectively a quarter apiece.



They work perfectly well in most sizes and actions of firearm…



And while they may not be as robust and perfect as factory-made chamber flags, these should be more than sufficient for your event attendees to grab a few and utilize them as needed.  If they return them to you, great.  If they walk off with them, meh.  It’s not a huge cost to you, but it can be a major time-saver as your RSOs walk the firing line and visually inspect all the guns on the tables before declaring a range cold.

Making cease-fires easier and faster means the sooner that people get to check and reset targets and therefore the sooner that everyone can go hot again and keep plinking away.

Enjoy!  Stay safe out there!