Sunday, January 12, 2014

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups - First Attempt

A while back while cruising the Internets I happened to stumble upon a recipe for Homemade Peanut butter cups.  I forwarded it to a friend telling her that we needed to make these ASAP to which she heartily agreed with this statement.  Busy schedules and life events pushed this plan to the back of both of our minds, but a few days ago I was eating a peanut butter cup, left over from the holidays when the scheme to make our own popped back into the forefront of my mind.  I immediately texted my friend stating that there would be no more stalling and we would most definitely be making these the next time I saw her. Today our plans came to fruition and our first attempt at a homemade peanut butter cup came into being.

Ingredients:

  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Dark Chocolate chips
  • Skippy super crunch peanut butter 
  • Small sized paper liners
These were very easy to make.  To start we melted the the dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave. Once melted we put a dollop of chocolate into the bottom of the paper liners and let them sit until cooled.  Once the dark chocolate we used a spoon to put a small amount of the peanut butter into the cups. Finally we melted the semi-sweet chocolate using the same method as before and poured it on top of the peanut butter filling the paper cut.  Let them set for a while until hardened.  I actually placed them in the freezer to cool quicker.  Overall time it took to make them was only a few minutes of actual work, the rest is just waiting for the chocolate to set and to try to keep from eating it before they were fully cooled. 

Results: 
As you can see from the picture the peanut butter cups are not the most aesthetically pleasing of snacks, but they tasted pretty good.  I'm a fan of semi-sweet and dark chocolate, but you could always use milk chocolate or pretty much any other type if that is what you want to do.  In the future I would probably have done a better job of filling the bottoms of the paper liners to make them more uniform.  Also I found that the peanut butter that I used because it was what I happened to have on had at the time was a little too sweet with the chocolate.  I might try a peanut butter with less sugar in it instead.  Overall they were pretty tasty and I look forward to a second attempt in the future.  


Friday, January 03, 2014

Snow Day

The office is closed today due to blizzard conditions. That really doesn't happen all that often and I was half expecting to have to get up early to dig my car out and venture out to meet the white walkers in the wilderness.  But the office is closed and I can't seem to go back to sleep so I've been cruising the interwebs for the last hour or so looking for some inspiration.  In the distance I car hear the sound of heavy blows crashing into things, probably mailboxes and/or parked cars.  Its a crazy world out there.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2013 Reading List


So its been a year since I've last posted to this site.  I should do something about posting more and maybe this will be a "resolution" that I actually stick to this year.

I realized the other day that I have been keeping track of every book I've read for TEN YEARS now.  On December 25, 2003 I started a text file that aptly named "Booklist.txt" since that day every time I finish a book I write it down. One of these days I keep telling myself that I should transfer the data over to a excel spreadsheet, but there is something rather quaint about using a basic txt file to record this stuff.

So 2014 was not too bad for reading.  Overall I finished 51 books, 32 of which were new to me. I read more "new" books last year but there had been some worlds that I had a desire to go back and visit this year so I went ahead and did that.  For 2014 I think I'm going to again try to keep my reading list to "new" books but there are a couple books in my library that I have been thinking of going back to for a while so I'm not sure how long I'm going to keep to this "New Years Resolution."

Some things about my 2013 reading list.


  • September was the month that I read the most. 8 books or ~15% of the year
  • December was the worst month.  I read 1 book or ~2% of the year. 
  • ~63% of the books I read had been for the first time.  
  • My favorite new author this year was David Weber. 
  • I started and finished the Divergent series by Veronica Roth
  • I read the first Harry Potter book for the first time.  
  • I read the Odyssey for the first time. I knew the story but had never actually read it before. 
  • I re-read Anathem by Neal Stephenson for the 3rd time ever. This book is a monster.  It is also utterly amazing if you can get through the first 200 pages and hit that OMG I understand moment. 
  • I re-read the Sword of Truth series. I'm probably going to not touch that again for a long long time. 
  • I read 6 books from the Black Library. ~12%
  • I re-read Ender's Game in preparation for the movie.  The movie did not do it justice. 


2013 Book List

The Robots of Dawn - Isaac Asimov (01/12/13)
The Kings Blood - Daniel Abraham (01/16/13)
Grasslands - Karen Traviss (01/27/13)
Sword Song - Bernard Cornwell (01/30/13)
The Burning Land - Bernard Cornwell (02/06/13)
Death of Kings - Bernard Cornwell (02/12/13)
The Thursday War - Karen Traviss (02/19/13)
Odyssey - Homer(Stanley Lombardo) (03/01/13)
Descent of Angels - Mitchel Scanlon (03/08/13)
Legion - Dan Abnett (03/14/13)
Battle for the Abyss - Ben Counter (03/20/13)
Hyperion - Dan Simmons (04/04/13)
The Fall of Hyperion - Dan Simmons (04/20/13)
Wizards's First Rule - Terry Goodkind (04/28/13)
Stone of Tears - Terry Goodkind (05/05/13)
Blood of the Fold - Terry Goodkind (05/08/13)
Temple of the Winds - Terry Goodkind (05/13/13)
Soul of the Fire - Terry Goodkind (05/20/13)
Faith of the Fallen - Terry Goodkind (05/24/13)
The Pillars of Creation - Terry Goodkind (05/27/13)
Naked Empire - Terry Goodkind (06/04/13)
Chainfile - Terry Goodkind (06/09/13)
Phantom - Terry Goodkind (06/12/13)
Confessor - Terry Goodkind (06/15/13)
The Omen Machine - Terry Goodkind (06/20/13)
The Mongoliad: Book Three - Neal Stephenson (07/05/13)
Zodiac - Neal Stephenson (07/11/13)
The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson (07/25/13)
Mechanicum - Graham McNeill (08/01/13)
Judgment at Proteus - Timothy Zahn (08/11/13)
Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card (08/15/13)
Cobra - Timothy Zahn (08/20/13)
Cobra Strike - Timothy Zahn (08/24/13)
Cobra Bargain - Timothy Zahn (08/28/13)
Tales of Heresy - Anthology (09/01/13)
Fallen Angels - Mike Lee (09/04/13)
On Basilisk Station - David Weber (09/09/13)
Harry Potter and teh Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling  (09/14/13)
The Honor of the Queen - David Weber (09/18/13)
The Short Victorious War - David Weber (09/22/13)
Field of Dishonor - David Weber (09/25/13)
Flag in Exile - David Weber (09/30/13)
Divergent - Veronica Roth (10/03/13)
Anathem - Neal Stephenson (10/13/13)
Insurgent - Veronica Roth (10/15/13)
Honor Among Enemies - David Weber (10/19/13)
In Enemys Hands - David Weber (10/26/13)
Edge of Honor - David Weber (11/03/13)
Ashes of Victory - David Weber (11/09/13)
Allegiant - Veronia Roth (11/14/13)
War of Honor - David Weber (12/20/13)

Saturday, January 05, 2013

2012 Reading List


At the beginning of 2012 I made told made a resolution that I would only read books that I have never read before.  I read a lot usually and I actually enjoy re-reading a good book every few years. But for this year I figured I would stick to new books only and for the most part I succeeded   There are two on this list that I've read in the past.  When I read Fallen Dragon I had was waiting for a book order to come in and it was arriving late.  I had read that book several years ago and didn't really remember the plot. Not really a good excuse, but it was only one slide away from my goal. The other book that I re-read was Interface by Neal Stephenson.  This is a book that I read every election year as its about a presidential election(Candidate has a chip in his head that gets wireless data from pollsters...kind of scary concept). But other than those two books every other book on this list had never before been read.  A total of 47 books this year and 45 of them being new.  Not the most books I've read in a year, but not terrible I guess. I don't have any book reading goals for 2013 yet other than maybe try to branch out a bit into another genre at some point.  


                         
Of Limited Loyalty - Michael A Stackpole (01/10/12)
Horus Rising - Dan Abnett (01/20/12)
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins (01/24/12)
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins (01/28/12)
Dark Apostle - Anthony Reynolds (02/08/12)
Dark Disciple - Anthony Reynolds (02/16/12)
Dark Creed - Anthony Reynolds (02/23/12)
Fallen Dragon - Peter F. Hamilton (03/12/12)
False Gods - Graham McNeill (03/22/12)
Galaxy in Flames - Ben Counter (03/28/12)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahame-Smith (04/03/12)
Storm of Iron - Graham McNeill (04/15/12)
Iron Warriors Omnibus - Graham McNeill (04/25/12)
Dauntless - Jack Campbell (04/29/12)
The Briar King - Greg Keyes (05/09/12)
Fearless - Jack Campbell (05/12/12)
Tigana - Guy Gavriel Kay (05/28/12)
The Flight of the Eisenstein - James Swallow (05/28/12)
The Charnel Prince - Greg Keyes (06/05/12)
The Blood Knight - Greg Keyes (06/13/12)
The Born Queen - Greg Keyes (06/17/12)
Courageous - Jack Campbell (06/19/12)
Fulgrim - Graham McNeill (06/27/12)
Embedded - Dan Abnett (07/01/12)
The Killing Ground - Graham McNeill (07/05/12)
Courage and Honour - Graham McNeill (07/11/12)
The Chapter's Due - Graham McNeill (07/19/12)
Sabbat Worlds - Dan Abnett (07/27/12)
The Playbook - Barney Stinson with Matt Kuhn (07/30/12)
The Mongoliad: Book One - Neal Stephenson (08/16/12)
Interface - Stephen Bury (Neal Stephenson) (08/29/12)
Valiant - Jack Campbell (09/01/12)
Relentless - Jack Campbell (09/02/12)
Victorious - Jack Campbell (09/03/12)
Brothers of the Snake - Dan Abnett (09/11/12)
Ilium - Dan Simmons (09/27/12)
Leviathan Wakes - James S. Corey (10/05/12)
The Mongoliad: Book Two - Neal Stephenson (10/16/12)
Caliban's War - James S. Corey (10/21/12)
Olympos - Dan Simmons (11/04/12)
Heat Wave - Richard Castle (11/11/12)
Red Fury - James Swallow (11/19/12)
Black Tide - James Swallow (11/29/12)
The Dragon's Path - Daniel Abraham (12/12/12)
I, Robot - Isaac Asimov (12/19/12)
The Caves of Steel - Isaac Asimov (12/23/12)
The Naked Sun - Isaac Asimov (12/29/12)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Harvest Berry Crisp


Last week I was in mood for apple crisp, but I couldn't find any apples that looked good at the store.  So I decided to experiment and try something else.  What I made instead was what I like to call my Harvest Berry Crisp.  It uses mixed berries which on their own can be a little tart but with the crisp added on I found really delicious.  Here is what I did.




Ingredients 
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup packed of brown sugar 
3/4 cups of granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cup of oatmeal
2 sticks of butter
2 bags of frozen mixed berries
1 apple
1 tablespoon cinnamon 
Dash of allpice
1 teaspoon of ginger 

  • Step 1
  • Let bags of frozen berries defrost. You want to make sure extra water from any ice crystals don't get mixed in because otherwise the fruit can get a little soupy.  Pour the froze berries into glass baking dish (9x9 or 8x8). 
  • Cut up apple into tiny bits and add to berries.  Sprinkle sugar and flour over fruit and mix around so that it is well mixed. 
Step 2
In separate bowl melt butter and mix with flour, brown sugar, the rest of the white sugar, oatmeal, salt, and spices. You may need to add a bit more oatmeal into the mix depending on how it looks.  This is not an exact science.  

Step 3
Put crisp mixture over the fruit mixture in the baking dish.  Make sure to cover all of the fruit  

Step 4
Put in preheated over(375F) and let bake for 35-40 minutes. 

Step 5
Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 

Note:  This recipe is not an exact science, and as long as it doesn't burn I don't think you can ruin it. The mixed berries taste great. In this case I used a bag of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.  I think maybe adding fresh pitted cherries would be the final touch to make this perfect.   It keeps well for a few days in the refrigerator and smells amazing. 

 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's been rather silent on the blog front lately. I just made a major move to a new house and a week later I'm still neck deep in boxes.   While I had planned on tackling those today somehow I got distracted with other things.  Hopefully soon I'll be able to post more.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies



Last week I had a slight cookie craving so I went ahead and pulled up this recipe from the back of a bag of chocolate chips. Maybe because growing up my mother would make this recipe,but I find that these are some of my favorite chocolate chip cookies ever. They come out of the oven tasting just as you would imagine your 100 year old grandmother's would. There is just something wholesome about them that I like. Also I have to say, semi-sweet chocolate chips is the way to go. I never understood why people like milk chocolate as it doesn't have the same flavor. Also I do find a difference in taste between Toll house chocolate chips and the "store brand" versions - so its worth the extra dollar or two in my opinion. While some people aren't a fan of walnuts, I think they add a certain special something to the mix. These cookies come out perfect every time - just looking at the picture makes me want to head back to the kitchen and dig out the ingredients....



Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.