May 192015
 

Life is like a box of chocolates – full of nuts! 😛 They’re also similar in that we never know what we’re going to get. Life gave me a tax refund this year so I decided to put the money to good use and invest it in chocolate. I believe the cocoa industry will continue to grow and I don’t want to miss out on all the potential gains. :)

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Produced from the tropical cacao tree people have been cultivating cocoa for at least 3,000 years. It’s one of the oldest, sustainable food we know of. Dating back to circa 1,100 BC the Aztecs were the first to use it by making cocoa into a beverage. Over time cocoa products have become an important part of the world’s social fabric. 😉

The Global Cocoa Market 🍫

Generations of confectionery marketing experts worked hard to integrate chocolate into as many parts of our lives as possible. We eat chocolate at weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and many other events. It’s also customary to buy chocolate on Valentines, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and other holidays. It can be a part of breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, appetizers, and desserts. Globally about $100 billion worth of chocolate is eaten every year. It has even made it into the hospitality industry, especially in fancy hotels and restaurants where guests are offered complimentary chocolate.

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May 012015
 
cooking steak with Liquid

The history of cheese is full of holes, but it’s interesting in its own whey. And a grate way to use cheese is of course on pizza. :) Welcome to this edition of cooking with Liquid. 😀

DIY pizza is always fun, especially when you have guests over. So today I’d like to share how to create your own 12 inch pizza in about 15 minutes, for only $4. The secret is to buy a pizza kit that comes with a crust and tomato paste so we don’t have to make our own dough and sauce from scratch. :) If you don’t know where to buy a pizza kit I’ll leave some details about that later in the post.

Easy Pizza Recipe 🍕 (serves 2 people)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pizza crust and tomato sauce package
  • cheese
  • mushrooms
  • pepperoni/sausage

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Cooking Instructions:

  1. Spread tomato sauce evenly on the pizza crust
  2. Slice toppings and place onto the pizza (you could also grate the cheese instead)
  3. Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 400°F.

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Eh Voila! It’s done. The medium size pizza is ready to eat. Just slice and serve. 🍕

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The best part is you can control the toppings and put anything you want on it. Have fun. :)

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Mar 072015
 

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it of course. 😀 But I bet Moses never got a chance to enjoy a 100 year old vintage tea that costs $600,000. This round disc of tea, which weighs 375 grams, is raw compressed pu’erh (a type of black tea.) It was recently imported into North America for the first time by a vintage tea wholesaler based in Vancouver. 😀 This tea is said to be the most valuable of vintage teas in the world. Wealthy hipsters in Vancouver can finally get their hands on some expensive tea to go along with their expensive Vancouver bungalows. :)

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Brewing this $600,000 tea’s first pot would cost about $150,000, including the depreciation from breaking up the disc. It’s like driving a new car off the lot. Personally it’s a little out of my price range so I’m just going to move oolong, because there’s nothing for me to tea here. 😀

Vintage Tea

Pu’erh is known as the “king of teas” in some parts of China. It’s been drunk by emperors and monks. It’s even said that wars have been fought over it according to the Province article. Much like a fine wine or Scotch whiskey, vintage tea becomes better with age, gaining a richness and complexity in flavour as it matures. This particular tea dates back to around 1910.

Many people collect tea the same way they collect art or vintage wine. $600,000 for a 375 gram tea cake works out to a price per weight ratio of $1,600/gram. Let’s see if this tea has been a good investment over the last century. If we assume the vintage tea was originally $1/gram 100 years ago then we can easily calculate its average annual return.

($1,600/$1)^(1/100 years) = 1.077

So this tea cake has increased in value by 7.7% every year on average over the last 100 years. Not as good as the stock market over the same period but it’s still a decent return regardless. 😎 As an alternative asset class I can see myself investing in vintage tea, or maybe even vintage tea cups. 😉 Large chains such as Teavana and Quebec-based David’s Tea are becoming more popular across North America. Tea consumption in Canada is expected to grow 40% in the next 6 years, according to Agriculture Canada. Maybe I’ll just pick up some Earl Grey and store it in a cool and dry place. I’ll wait 50 years, pass it onto my grandchildren, and give them instructions to sell it after another 50 years. :) Why limit my investment time horizon to just a lifetime when I can go multi-generational? 😛

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Random Useless Fact:

42 years ago a Big Mac was only $0.65. Today it’s almost $5.00. #foodinflation

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Feb 122015
 
cooking steak with Liquid

In some parts of the world steaks are rare, but if you can find one well done! because today we will learn how to prepare a juicy steak for only $4. Welcome to another edition of cooking with Liquid. :)

For this recipe I’m using a 9.5 oz inside round steak which costs $3.57 from MarketPlace IGA, a local grocery chain. I find round cuts are good value for steaks at roughly $13/kg, and can be found in most supermarkets. I’m also using carrots and green beans because they are cheap and abundant across Canada and the U.S. A bundle of 10 carrots is $1.79 in Vancouver. That works out to only 18 cents each! Green beans cost $1.78 for a large handful and are a good source of potassium and dietary fibre.

Note: This post contains images of meat. I hope I didn’t offend any vegetarian readers. Feel free to stop reading here if you want, but doing so could be a missed steak. 😀

Easy Steak Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 steak, any size you want (9.5 ounce pictured below)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • vegetables of your choice
  • salt and pepper, or seasoning of your choice

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Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Then season the veggies and steak, and place them into the pan
  2. After cooking for 3 minutes on one side, turn over the steak and veggies and cook for another 3 minutes
  3. Remove steak from the pan and let it rest on a plate for 2 minutes while the veggies finish cooking

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Eh Voila! 😀 A succulent steak dish cooked to medium-rare in less than 10 minutes. Bon appétit! It’s an easy weeknight dinner recipe for busy people who are looking for a frugal, yet somewhat fancy meal.

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Below is the receipt of the ingredients I bought and used for this recipe.

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Nov 162014
 

The secret to a long life may lie in the fast food industry, ironically. Earlier this year the founder of Chick-fil-A passed away at the ripe old age of 93. The Canadian entrepreneur behind Baskin-Robbins, Carl Karcher of Carl’s Junior, and Colonel Sanders of KFC all died at age 90. The founders of Hardee’s, Taco Bell, and even McDonalds all died in their 80s. Meanwhile the average life expectancy in the U.S. in 2012 was 79 years old.

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At first I was surprised that these people who seemingly surrounded themselves by greasy fast food could live to be so old. But the more I thought about it the more it made sense. Restaurant owners usually have a solid understanding of nutrition so it would make sense for these entrepreneurs to eat well. And since they are rich they can also afford the best health care in the country. :) I don’t think it’s a coincidence that fast food restaurant owners are wealthy and live long lives. It’s interesting how these moguls can be so passionate about their businesses but not consume their own products. Who knows. Maybe if we invest in these high caloric companies then we can also live long and prosper.

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Random Useless Fact:
The word “billion” (or its relevant translation) is by no means ubiquitous throughout the world; in many countries it means 1 million million, and even Great Britain used this system until 1974.