I was at the supermarket last week to buy something to snack on. I was headed towards the potato chips aisle but I wanted something healthier. In the past, I’ve snacked on cereal instead of chips because it’s somewhat better from a nutritional standpoint. As long as you avoid sugary cereals, it’s a great alternative. When I got to the cereal aisle, I noticed that Alpen was on sale and that it was one of the healthier cereals. I’d never had Alpen before so I was also curious about it.

When I got the box home, I thought I’d be able to eat it straight from the box, without any milk. I’d done this with every other cereal type before so I wasn’t expecting any different. As I opened the box, I noticed that Alpen was different. First, the cereal consists of ingredients, that while healthy, are much smaller than say a Cheerio or a Mini Wheat. These smaller pieces are difficult to grab with a hand and they can slip between your fingers, making a mess. Second, Alpen contains a lot of “dust”. It’s this cereal dust that you can kick up if you shake the box. Again, getting this dust on your hands can be messy and it makes it too dry to eat without any added milk.

Unfortunately, I’m trying to stay away from too much dairy now. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found myself more and more lactose intolerant. It’s really hit or miss. Sometimes I can eat ice cream and be ok but other times, the same amount of ice cream will send me running to the bathroom. Now I know I’ve written that I’ve used lactose enzyme pills in the recent months but I wanted to see if there was another alternative. I’d heard of so many different milk substitutes like soy, rice, and almond but I’d never once tried any of them. After doing some really quick Internet research, I decided to try the almond milk. I like the taste of almonds and I was happy with the nutritional content of almond milk. When choosing a type of almond milk to buy, I selected a slightly sweet, vanilla flavoured version.

When I tried it on the Alpen, I was quite impressed with it. It wasn’t overly sweet, nor was the vanilla flavour overwhelming. The colour, texture, and taste didn’t make me notice at all that what was on my cereal wasn’t dairy milk. Of course, without any lactose there was no need for the enzyme pills. I’m also now discovering you can make ice cream with almond milk which is a nice revelation. I’m wondering if this should be something I slot into my series of culinary adventures.

Anyways, almond milk gets a thumbs up from me.


On demand!

About two years ago, I signed up for Netflix because its on-demand streaming service had just arrived in Canada. There was a free trial which lasted a month, which was what got me to sign up. When I looked at the initial selection of movies and TV shows, I was very disappointed. It sucked, plain and simple. There weren’t any recent movies being offered and most of the older movies which were good I’d already seen. Probably due to laziness and some hope that the selection would get better, I began paying $8 a month for the service. Unfortunately, it did not get better. I would spend 10 minutes looking for something to watch and then deciding video games was a better choice. Eventually, I went two straight months without watching a single thing on Netflix. That was the sign that I needed to cancel my subscription.

This week, I received an e-mail from Netflix asking me to come back to their service. To entice me, they offered another free one month trial. I figured why not, since it was free and I have lots of time now. It took a minute to re-establish the service. Perusing the available the titles, it didn’t take long for me to realize Netflix in Canada has gotten a lot better since I had left. A large majority of the titles are no older than 2 years, which was hardly the case when I last used Netflix. In the thirty seconds of browsing, I already saw two movies I wanted to see and were less than a year old. There were even a few TV shows that piqued my interest.

I’m not sure if I’ll continue my subscription beyond the free month but I’m very surprised at how much better the selection is. If you’ve been away from Netflix as long as I have, it might be worth your time to take a look again.