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.

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....

  • 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


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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fat & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tonight I was asked to help bake some chocolate chip cookies. This is a recipe that my friend found somewhere on the interwebs.  The goal was to make some cookies and enjoy a few of them while watching the very first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  While we didn't quite get to Buffy, the cookies were made and quite enjoyable.

  • Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Original Recipe Yield 1 1/2 dozen


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Final Thoughts:

This recipe is quite good, although to be honest I feel its a little on the sweet side for me.  We didn't have semi-sweet chocolate chips and used milk chocolate instead which might be part of it. Also the recipe called for quite a lot of chocolate chips...perhaps a few too many. One idea would be to maybe cut the chips down a bit, perhaps between 1 cup and 1- 1/4 cups and add in some walnuts instead. Overall the cookies are very chewy and taste great but I think if i were to make them again I'd find a way to cut down the sweetness a bit. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Amaretto Ice cream Cone Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

A while back a friend showed me a picture of ice cream cone cupcakes.  They looked tasty at the time, but I never got around trying them.  Then, about 3 days ago I stumbled upon a picture of somebody's attempt at them.  I thought to myself - why not?

What you need:
1) Cake Mix
2) Stuff you put in cake mix(ie: oil, water, eggs)
3) Flat bottomed ice cream cones.
4) Amaretto

This is the easy part.  Make the cake mix per the instructions. Add in two Tablespoons of Amaretto. Fill about 1/4 cup of batter into each cone.  Place on in a pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. (I found that it took longer than expected to bake). The cupcakes will be ready when you are able to stab them with a toothpick or fork or knife or what have you and nothing sticks to the stabbing implement.

What you need:
1)  4 oz of regular cream cheese
2) 1/4 of unsalted butter(room temperature)
3) 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
4) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5) 1 teaspoon Amaretto
6) Tablespoons coca powder

Put cream cheese in a bowl and using a mixer beat it until whipped.  Add the butter and again mixed until whipped.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, coca powder and Amaretto. Beat until whipped.  You are now done. Feel free to adjust amounts of Amaretto to your taste. Also you can add or subtract powdered sugar to make it more or less stiff frosting.

Now just frost the cupcakes and you are done.  Add decorations as desired.

Thoughts: This is an easy recipe to try. Ingredients are rather inexpensive. Overall a fun idea.  I don't recommend making these to bring anywhere as they may be difficult to transport. I find that the cupcakes tend to fall over if your not careful.  The baking time will probably vary based on your oven and they amount of batter you add to each cone.  They taste pretty good though :-)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Recipe: Yorkshire Puddings

I recently came back from a visit to friends in the UK and while there I found out how easy traditional Yorkshire puddings are to make.

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Oil
  • Muffin/cupcake baking tin

First blend the flour and salt together, use a sifter if you have one. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and then add the milk.  Using a whisk or electric mixer blend the eggs/milk mixture with the flour until the texture is consistent. Add the water and mix until smooth. Let it sit out for 20-30 minutes.  

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425F. Add about a spoon full of olive oil to the bottom of each of the cups of the muffin tin.  Put this in the oven until the oil is smoking.  Warning: Don't let the oil burn.

Take out the the muffin tins and pour the batter into each cup filling about just over 1/2 way. Don't over fill the cups as the Yorkies will rise quite a bit.  Place the tins back into the oven and bake for 20-23 minutes.  Do not open the oven door during this time as it will cause the Yorkies to fall. 

When they are done take them out and let cool for a bit. 

The above picture is my second attempt at making Yorkies.  I made the mistake of opening the oven the first time and while still tasty they didn't rise and were fairly dense.  These go great with pretty much anything, but especially with roasts with gravy that can be sopped up using the Yorkie.  Traditionally you are supposed to use the drippings from the roast in place of the oil, but as I didn't have any chunks of beef laying about to cook today I went with the oil.  

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Email from Senator Kerry

Thank you for your letter regarding the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT IP Act).  I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue. 

I have long championed the cause of innovation and an open Internet.  Firms operating on and off the Internet strongly rely on intellectual property laws to help protect their investments and ensure a just return for their goods and services.  Online piracy and copyright infringement hurts our economy and costs American businesses more than 200 billion dollars a year.  Many infringers operate from foreign countries in order to avoid US law enforcement.  As a result, under current law, American authorities are limited in what they can do to bring these rogue sites to justice.

As you know, the PROTECT IP Act was intended to protect American businesses from intellectual property theft on foreign websites.  Among other things, the bill would provide the Attorney General with the authority to seek a court injunction against a foreign website that engages in copyright infringement.  The court could also require U.S. websites to block access to websites found to be dedicated to infringing activities.  For example, search engines could be required to disable links to the website that is found to be violating copyright of a US company. 
However, there are a number of serious and legitimate concerns regarding the scope of the legislation, as well as the potential for abuse, censorship, or other unintended consequences.   The authors recognize the legislation still needs work and I will oppose any proposal that would fundamentally undermine or impede the ability of people to communicate, compete, and innovate using the Internet. 
I am pleased that Majority Leader Reid has indefinitely postponed Senate consideration of the PROTECT IP Act, and I will continue to review and work to improve legislation to both protect the intellectual property of American businesses and to ensure the web remains free and open.  As I consider proposals to address these issues, I will keep your views in mind.
Thank you again for contacting me on this topic.  Please don't hesitate to reach me again on this or any other issue in the future.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reply from Representative Jim McGovern

Thank you for contacting me about H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) .  Freedom of speech and consumer protection  are important to me, and I appreciate hearing from you on this  important issue.

As you k now, SOPA aims to combat online piracy by authorizing the Attorney General to seek court orders against foreign infringing sites that are committing or facilitating trademark and copyright infringement.  While I do believe that internet piracy is an issue that should be addressed, SOPA, as written, runs counter to what I believe are fundamental rights for all Americans.  I plan on voting against the legislation in its current form, although   leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives has indicated that this particular bill will not reach the floor for a vote.

Currently, H.R. 3261 awaits further consideration by the H ouse Committee on the Judiciary.  The Committee began consideration of the legislation in December, and plans to continue its deliberations in February.  As online piracy issues continue to be discussed, please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind.

Once again,  I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.  Please don't hesitate to contact me in the future regarding this or any other matter of concern.   


Jim McGovern
Member of Congress

Thank you from Google!

clickable image

Thank you for taking action!

Last week you stood with millions of Americans to protect online freedom and innovation. Congress heard you, and delayed consideration of the PIPA and SOPA bills, which -- if enacted -- would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American businesses.

We hope that today you will join us in thanking your representatives for protecting the Internet.

And we want to thank you, again, for your actions last week. We are humbled that so many of you rallied around what we believe is the most transformative invention in history.

Until next time,
The Google team

Saturday, January 21, 2012


About two weeks ago I hit the slopes of Mount Sunapee in Newbury, NH.  This being my first time skiing at Sunapee I was both disappointed and very impressed at the same time.  Unfortunately at this time we had yet to get any natural snowfall this season. What this means is that the snow on the mountain was entirely man-made which limited the number of trails available as well as give us rather poor quality snow.  What impressed me was the sheer amount of artificial snow on the mountain. It was clear that even with mother nature not cooperating the mountain staff worked very hard to make the few open trails as enjoyable as possible.

I'll be going back up to Sunapee later this week and now that we've finally had some real snowfall I'm excited to try this mountain again.