Milky Way Brownies

Saturday, July 31, 2010 19:32 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
P1030828 Kristie and I are staying in tonight to watch some shows we missed last week, so we thought we would make some TV treats to go along with the shows.  We found a recipe online for Milky Way Brownies.  There are tonnes of recipes for these on the inter-tubes, but the one we used can be found at CookEatShare.
Here’s the recipe:

 

 

Milky Way Brownies

Ingredients

1/2 c. Butter
4 x Milky Way candy bars, (2.23 ounce. each)
1/4 c. Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
2 x Large eggs
3/4 c. Flour
1/4 tsp Baking pwdr
1/4 tsp Salt
Note (we added 1/2 cup of Walnuts)

Directions

  1. Stir butter and sliced Milky Way bars in medium saucepan over low heat till smooth; using a wire wisk if necessary.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla.
  3. Add in Large eggs one at a time beating well after each.
  4. Stir in flour blended with baking powder and salt.
  5. Spread into greased square dish, bake at 350 F for 25 min.
  6. Cool and cut into squares, dust with powdered sugar if you like.
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What's a Knees Up?

Friday, July 30, 2010 18:12 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Tonight Kristie and I are going to eat dinner at one of her work-mates house.  I think we're even invited!  No gate crashing for us!

Kristie's friends thought it would be nice to throw her a little soirĂ©e (or as Barb puts it, a Knees Up) in celebration for Kristie getting her PhD.  A knees up? What the hell is a knees up?  Are we going to a dinner party or getting a pelvic exam?

Walking Log

Thursday, July 29, 2010 21:30 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
I started keeping a walking log now that we have new batteries in our pedometers.  My goal is to get to 5 Million in one year.

Mother Nature Wants to Keep Me Indoors

15:03 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Last Christmas, Kristie's father gave us some kiss-ass pedometers as a gift.  We had set ourselves up with some good goals to walk at least 10,000 steps each day, but on average we would probably have walked about 16,000.

We were both using our pedometers religiously for quite a while, until the batteries died in them a couple months ago.  I had originally planned to go to the store right away and purchase watch batteries, as I wanted to keep our running total up-to-date.  Well fast forward a couple months, and I just managed to get to the store to buy batteries yesterday.

I installed the batteries today, and was all set to walk at least 15K steps.  Generally I can knock them out by lunch time.  Today however, the rain started as soon as I went out for my lunch and continued to about the time I got back.  If I would have dressed properly for the rain, this wouldn't have been a problem, but I left my coat at the office as I didn't think it would rain.

I still managed to get 8,000 steps in so far, and we still have to do our after-work walk with the pups, so I shouldn't have any issues making 10,000, but I don't know if I'll make 15,000 plus.

Speaking of walking, I came across this blog from a guy who decided to walk across America.  He posts a single pic each day of where he is, who he's met, etc.  Check it out at I'm Just Walkin Blog.

My Dog Likes Bath Water

Monday, July 26, 2010 15:49 Posted by Leo Saumure 1 comments
Bath Water Does anyone out there have a dog who enjoys drinking bath water?
Given the choice, I would much rather take a bath than take a shower.  I know that there are people who say, you don’t get as clean because you’re laying in a sludge of your own filth, but to them I say: Look, I’m really lazy and I’d much rather lay down than stand up.
So I enjoy taking baths, and as I had pointed out in updates through Facebook, if I’m at home alone, I don’t bother closing the door when I go to the bathroom, and that includes taking baths or showers.  Apparently many of my friends are the same way.  One of the detriments of bathing with the door open is that your dogs can come in and out of the bathroom with wild abandon, which is just what Angus does every time I take a bath.
As soon as I start pouring the water into the tub, Angus will run into the bathroom and hop up onto his hind feet in order to get some fresh bath water.  As he is a Shih Tsu and is quite small, he can’t get to the water even it has completely filled the tub.  So rather than have him go through the whining and barking to get what he wants, as the tub is pouring I will usually dole out three to four handfuls of warm bath water (from the tap, not the tub) so that he can drink from my hands.
Is this normal?  For the dog that is.  I know I’m not normal.  How many people out there will scoop out water from the tub to hand feed their dog?  Trust me, I know I’m not normal.  But is it normal for a dog to want to drink warm water rather than cold?

The Meatier Veggie Burger

Saturday, July 24, 2010 20:10 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Veggie Burger Kristie and I tried a new veggie burger recipe today, adapted from the Messy Cook blog.
As we’re politetarians (don’t cook with meat, but will eat meat if others cook for us), we have tried quite a few veggie burger recipes, some good, some not so much.  These veggie burgers were the first ones that we’ve seen made with pearl barley before.  We were intrigued, so we thought we would give them a try.
In addition to being quite different in terms of ingredients, we found that they were also a little more time intensive than some of the others we’ve made as you have to both pan fry for five minutes and then bake.  But in the end, the effort was worth it as they were quite yummy!  Using the pearl barley also gave them a meaty texture that we haven’t experienced in our past veggie burgers.  They had a taste and texture of turkey burgers.
The next time we try them, we’re going to throw in a bit of soy sauce and maybe a bit of sesame oil.
Here’s the recipe:

Veggie Burgers

Serves 6
Adapted from Food Network

BurgerS:

1 cup green lentils, picked through and rinsed
1/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 whole egg plus 2 egg whites, lightly beaten (we used three whole eggs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 burger buns or pocket pitas

Toppings:

1/2 cup goat cheese, (2 to 3 ounces) (I prefer herbed goat cheese if you can find it)
1/4 cup milk
Lettuce, sliced cucumber, radish

METHOD:

Put the lentils and barley in a saucepan cover with cold water by about 3 inches. Season with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, until the lentils and barley are tender, about 20 minutes. Add extra liquid during cooking if necessary.  Drain excess liquid and put the beans and grain into a large bowl. Cool.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion, garlic, and ginger until the onion is tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute more. Cool slightly and then add to the lentils and barley.
Stir the cilantro, bread crumbs, and eggs into the lentil mixture, and season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste. Puree 1 cup of the burger mix in a food processor until smooth. Return puree back to the bowl and mix well. Form mixture into 6 burgers (about 1/2 cup each). Place on a plate and refrigerate for 1 hour.  (MessyCook note: I have always skipped the refrigeration step.  Refrigerate if you have the time, since it will help the burgers stay together.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook the burgers in two batches, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes in all. Transfer the browned burgers to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining oil and burgers. Transfer burgers to the oven, and cook until firm, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, lightly toast buns or pitas. Mix the goat cheese and milk in a small bowl until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Put the burgers on the buns, and top with lettuce, cucumber, and/or radish, if desired. Serve.

I Want More of This?

Friday, July 23, 2010 20:05 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
calendar This has been an cursed week when it comes to IT for work.  Virtually every day something strange happened to our IT.  Servers went down, data was lost, files corrupted, gremlins were-a-creepin’ that’s for sure.  So why would I want to work a full day extra a week?
To be honest, I have been so busy over the last three to four weeks, I’ve been too busy to spend more than about a day on the database I am designing, which is too bad because I’m really getting excited about what I’ve been producing for it.  The problem is every time I get to dive into it, I get interrupted by another “emergency”.  Which causes me to loose focus and my train of thought.  By the time I get back to the database, I have to reacquaint myself with what I was doing.
Some of these “emergencies” I was talking about are just that; emergencies.  Like I said, we had issues with corrupted files, data loss and our web and mail servers going down.  These issues totally take precedence.  But some of the “emergencies” such as changing a screen resolution so that one doesn’t have to scroll as much, or instructing how to change Outlook so that your unread email appears in blue rather than black, well they’re not really that urgent.
I just found myself getting further and further behind.  It felt like I was totally spinning my wheels.  So with that in mind, I ask our new CEO for an extra day a week until the database has been implemented.  She thought it was a great idea, and I start my four day work week next week.
What is kind of funny is that the staff obviously know that their “emergencies” tend to get in the way of the database implementation as they joked that they get a whole extra day to ask about mail merges, and font adjustments, etc.  *sigh*.  Oh well, lets hope we can get the new database going soon.
By-the-way.  Total tangent here, but Tim-Tams dipped in coffee?  OMG it’s like melted chocolate heaven!

Sledge Hammer

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 21:22 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
SledgeHammer I’ve never claimed to be the sharpest knife in the drawer.  In fact, I’m what some might describe as a dim bulb.  It is with that preface in mind now, that I tell you about the time that I got my tongue stuck to a sledge hammer.
Contrary to what my friends may believe, this tragically humorous episode occurred when I was still very young.  I don’t remember the exact year, but I’m pretty sure it happened when I was eight or nine years old.  At this point in my life, we were living in Renfrew, Ontario.  Renfrew is a quaint small town in the Ottawa Valley, where I spent five years of my life between the age of 5 and 10.
On this particular day, my mother, two sisters, and younger brother were all in the AMC Pacer travelling to pick up my father from his place of work, Renfrew TV.  My brother and sisters were in the passenger seats, and I was riding in the hatch.  In those years there were no seatbelt laws and the idea of piling your kids into the hatch was, if not normal, at least not frowned upon.
As my father was a tool-a-holic, there were quite a few tools clanging around in the hatch with me, one of those tools was a sledge hammer.
Before going any further, I wanted to point out that being a child in Canada, one of the things you are taught at a very young age is that you DO NOT put your tongue on metal in the winter.  Why Not?  A child may ask.  Well, because the cold metal will cause the moisture on your tongue to freeze onto the metal.
Now, there are a couple ways of looking at how I arrived at the next part of the story:
  1. Lord help him, he’s just not that bright.
  2. Being of a sceptical and inquisitive mind, he could not take such a claim at face value, hence an elaborate experiment must take place with a well thought out hypothesis, a descriptive methodology section, a concise and decisive conclusion, and reams of bibliographic citations.
Regardless of which way you look at it, I put tongue to freezing cold metal.  Not a spoon, not my coat’s zipper pull, I licked a sledge hammer!  I remember that day quite well, and I think I can remember my exact words:
“Enh?”
“Ennnh?”
“Ennnhhhh?”
“ENNNNNNNNHHHHHHHHH?!?!?!”
“ENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
I can only assume that after seeing me through the rear view mirror with a sledge hammer glued to my tongue, that my mother’s laughter was stress induced as she was genuinely concerned for my welfare.  At least that is what I’ve been telling myself for the last 34 years.  As this happened on the way to my father’s workplace, and as Renfrew is a small town to begin with, my mother decided that it would be best to continue on to my father’s workshop with a sledge hammer hanging out of my mouth.
We arrived at my father’s workshop, my mother’s stress induced laughter (yes, it must have been stress induced) continuing as she helped me out of the hatchback and into the workshop.  When we got into the workshop, my mother called my father to help rescue me from this ice-cold demon of death that was currently making my tongue burn with the cold.  My father arrived and I can only assume that after seeing this horrific sight, that his laughter was also stress induced.
I was led into the back room where my father poured luke warm water onto my tongue and the sledge hammer, and within a few seconds, minutes or hours, depending on which side of the sledge hammer you were, I was released from this torturous prison.
I impart this information to you all, with the notion that you will one day pass it on to your own children as a cautionary tale.  And I’m sure that any laughter that may have come from reading this entry was entirely stress related.

Pan Fried Fish with Asian Flavours

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 19:14 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments

Recipe: Pan fried fish with Asian flavours

Adapted From: http://www.foodlovers.co.nz/recipes/pan-fried-fish-with-asian-flavours.html

This is a favourite of mine and something I make regularly. Don't worry if the fish fillets break while you are tossing in the sauce just arrange pieces with the vegetables or noodles that you are serving them with.
Helen

Ingredients
2 white fish fillets (snapper, terakihi, cod etc…)
1 tablespoon flour
Peanut oil
1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon grated palm sugar(or brown sugar)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
coriander leaves to garnish

Method
Sprinkle fish fillets with flour. Heat peanut oil in a fry pan and when hot add fish and cook for a minute or two on each side until just cooked.
Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the fish. Turn fish to coat with the sauce.
Serve with coriander, steamed bok choy, rice or noodles.

Recipe: Pan Fried Fish with Asian Flavours

Adapted From: Foodlovers.co.nz

Ingredients:

  • 2 white fish fillets (snapper, terakihi, cod etc…)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated palm sugar(or brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • coriander leaves to garnish

Method

Sprinkle fish fillets with flour. Heat peanut oil in a fry pan and when hot add fish and cook for a minute or two on each side until just cooked.Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the fish. Turn fish to coat with the sauce.Serve with coriander, steamed bok choy, rice or noodles.

Just Do It Already

17:03 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
gtd Did you know that there is an entire industry on advising people how to get things done?  There is project management software, list managers, in-box zero, published books, blogs, tools, stationery, mailing lists, phylosophies, the list goes on and on and on.
Here’s my take on how to get things done.  Stop looking into the best methods/systems to get things done and just do the damned things!  If you have to, write it down and then cross it off the list when complete.
I find it incomprehensible that people spend millions of dollars on some thing that can be done, and has been done for decades, with a list posted on the refrigerator.

A Gift of a Day

Monday, July 19, 2010 21:26 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Angus & Walnut Yesterday was one of those days that you just couldn’t waste by staying in side.  It was sunny, and warm, and still (wind-wise), and glorious.
Kristie and I were planning on going to see a movie at the Wellington Film Festival, but after assessing the conditions around the Wellington area, we decided instead to go to the Kapiti Coast for some fun on the beach with the dogs.  We arrived at Waikanea at sometime after 10:00 am, and just took a long leisurely walk down the coast.
The beaches here on the Kapiti Coast are absolutely wonderful.  While not white sand beaches, they are lovely sandy beaches with light surf and are virtually empty.  Even on a spectacular day like yesterday, we only ran into about 10 – 15 people in our couple of hours of walking.  I find this so strange as when we are in Hawaii (especially Waikiki), we generally can’t make it to the water without literally stepping on tourists.  Maui is much better when it comes to crowds, but here in NZ, the beaches are virtually empty.  And it isn’t like the water is cold either; well, at least in the summer.  I truly don’t think NZers know how lucky they are.
After our walk, we drove into Raumati for lunch, but not before stopping at our favourite cafe in Waikanae, The Front Room.  When ever we go there we buy a couple of Macadamia, Chocolate Chip, Shortbread cookies for the trip.  They are so good!  In Raumati, we stopped at the Garden Cafe and bought a couple of sandwiches and flat whites to have as a picnic at Queen Elisabeth Park.  By this time the wind was picking up so we ate our lunch and drove back into the city.
I took a detour from the direct route home in order to check out Wellington’s esplanade.  We drove to another park, on some crazy narrow roads, and I mean narrow; barely enough room for one car, much less two cars narrow.  After parking the car, we took the dogs out for their third walk of the day along a beach.  They were both in their glory.
After hanging out there for about an hour, it was time to head home for a well deserved nap.
All-in-all, it was a wonderful day, and I’m glad we didn’t get to see the movie.

Heart Attack on a Pizza Shell

Saturday, July 17, 2010 20:31 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Pizza Kristie and I came across a recipe today that we just couldn’t pass up.  We adapted it from a Chicken Alfredo Pizza recipe that we found on BlogChef.net.  The garlic butter spread on the crust cinched the deal for us.
Note: This picture is not the one we made and ate, but you can’t have a blog entry without a picture can you?
Here is the recipe:

Mushroom and Broccoli Alfredo Pizza

Ingredients:

Pizza

1 (16 inch) pre-made pizza crust (or box mix or homemade – we used home made)
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1 cup fresh broccoli florets
1 (8 oz) bag mozzarella cheese

Alfredo Sauce

4 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 dash ground black pepper
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
¾ cup grated Romano cheese

Garlic Butter

2 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 pinch dried rosemary
1 pinch salt

Cooking Instructions:

  1. To make Alfredo Sauce-  In a small saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Blend in salt, pepper and flour. Stir in milk and Romano cheese. Simmer stirring constantly until the mixture becomes thick. Remove from heat. Cover and set aside.
  2. To make garlic butter- In another small sauce pan melt butter. Blend in garlic, salt and rosemary. Cook while stirring constantly until garlic is tender. Remove from heat and set aside for cooling.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees (or according to box pizza crust instructions). To assemble pizza- lay out pizza crust on a 16” pizza pan. Spread cooled garlic butter over the entire crust except the edges. Spread on the Alfredo sauce. Top with chicken, mushrooms and broccoli florets. Top with cheese. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (or according to box mix directions) or until the crust is browned.

Leave Me Alone! …for a while

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 20:19 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Tangled I only work three days a week, and as the sole IT person in an office with a computer system that is pretty much held together with spit and bubble gum, it makes for some busy days.  Like today for instance.
We just had a new payroll system that was integrated into our financial system, and things seem to be going pretty well with it.  One of the things that I have to do is create a data export from our appointment database to the new payroll system.  This would usually be an easy chore if it weren’t for three things.
  1. I can’t focus on the task, as I keep getting interrupted by staff with other requests.
  2. The database wasn’t set up properly in the first place so getting the data required has me jumping through multiple hoops.
  3. The number of exceptions for how we manage payroll is staggering.
The issue regarding interruptions is par for the course when it comes to IT.  I don’t have to like it, but I do have to accept it.  In the future, when I have more time [insert maniacal laughter here], I want to set up a help desk form where staff can log their requests via web form.  Doing it this way would allow me to better manage my time and respond to their problems.
Issue two has been dogging me since I first started working there.  The problem is, every time I try to fix the issues that are plaguing the database, I get waylaid by issue number 1.
Finally, comes issue number 3.  Holy Cow!  Without going into detail, how can these people even manage to enter time sheets into the system, much less pay the people for their time?  I can’t show you the diagram due to confidentiality issues, but lets just say that if you were to draw a diagram of a skeen of knotted up wool, you might have an idea what I’m dealing with.
Can’t wait to tackle another great day tomorrow!

On The Go

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 18:47 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
On the Go I follow this one photography site on Facebook that gives weekly assignments.  I don’t actually post the pictures on Facebook, but I like the challenge of interpreting the assignment, and then posting my picture on Flickr.
Ok, side note: I don’t like posting my pictures on Facebook because of the privacy implications; I don’t want people taking my images, which Facebook has the right to do under their terms of service.  Having said that though, I have no problems posting the photo on Flickr under a creative commons license.  That means I am legally giving people permission to go ahead and take my photo, and do with it as they please.  At least with Flickr, they are required to site where the image came from and it can’t be used for commercial purposes.
Back to the photo.  The theme of this week’s assignment was On The Go.  I originally took a few pictures of Walnut and Angus walking away from me, and that was going to be my interpretation.  Kristie thought it would be much more whimsical to have a picture of Angus going for a pee.  And, as you can tell by the photo, I agree.

Cupcakes

12:24 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Cup Cakes A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated my 42nd birthday, and…oh, thank you!  No, please stop!  Thank you!
Anywho…Kristie and I made this totally kick-ass birthday cake that we found on the intertubes.  Which, as it turns it is the exact same recipe as the bad-for-your waist, but good for the taste cake in Eat Shrink and be Merry.  Ok, the recipe for the cake was the same, but the frosting was different.  The frosting for the inter-cake was using seven minute frosting, whereas the frosting for the paper-cook-bookish-cake was a type of butter frosting.
Anyway, where was I going with this?  Oh yeah!  Today, I decided to use the cake recipe to make some cup cakes.  I just pulled the first batch out of the oven and they look and smell great (see pic).  As soon as they cool down, I’m going to make a batch of seven minute frosting to put on them.
P1030717Here is the recipe for the cake, courtesy of Smitten Kitten.  And here is a picture of the cupcake with the seven minute frosting.
Note: We didn’t try the ganache frosting.

Chocolate Cake Layers

  • 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
  • 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms of 2 10-inch* round cake pans with wax paper and grease paper.
  2. Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.
  4. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  5. Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
* Note: This cake will overflow if baked in 9-inch cake pans. If you only have 9-inch pans, you might want to 2/3 the cake recipe instead, as following: 2 ounces chocolate, 1 cup coffee, 2 cups sugar, 1 2/3 cup flour, 1 cup cocoa, 1 1/3 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oil, 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, etc. and reduce the baking time by at least ten minutes.
 

Marshmallow, or Seven Minute Frosting

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Method

  1. Combine frosting ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with a handheld electric mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Use frosting the day it is made.

Ganache Frosting

(Used in the first and second options below)
  • 1/2 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 stick (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

Method

  1. Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
  2. Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency). I found that stirring this over a bowl of ice water did a great job of cooling it off quickly and evenly.
  3. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Chilling the cake will harden the chocolate coating.
Make Your Own Hostess Cupcake, Ding Dong, Ring Ding, King Don Cake: Bake two cake layers as directed. Halve one layer horizontally into two thin layers. Place the first one on a cake plate. Take the second cake and cut a large hole out of the center, about 6-inches across — you won’t be using this. As carefully as possible, place this on top of the halved cake layer on the stand. Fill the entire cut-out area with frosting, leaving a half cup aside if you wish to pipe the signature loops or a message across the top. Lay the second halved layer on top of this, sealing the filling in. Spread the ganache coating over top and sides of cake. Once ganache is firm and chilled (the fridge does a great job of this, quickly), you can decorate it with a piping bag or a makeshift one, a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off.
Make Your Own Little Debbie Devil Square Cake: Proceed as above, but bake the two layers in square cake pans.
Make Your Own Devil Dog Cake: Bake two cake layers, in an oblong or long rectangular pan (you can round the edges after you bake it) if you have. Use the frosting only between the cake layers.

I’ve Got Wood!

Monday, July 12, 2010 20:31 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments

Fire Wood

Having a nice cozy fire on the cold nights can be a real blessing.  Chopping the wood for the fire, can be a bit of a pain.  This picture shows the wood that I chopped for tonight.

What I should have done today is to book a bit of time before the evening came to just chop wood for about an hour.  That way we would have had enough to last for a week or so.  Instead, as per usual, I chopped just enough wood for today, and maybe tomorrow.  So the cycle will continue again in at least two days.

I’ve never claimed to be the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

12:55 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
P1030676Kristie found this recipe on Crepes of Wrath Site.  This is a wonderful muffin recipe, and it makes heaps too.



Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 large, ripe bananas (I really suggest using 3)
1 cup milk
3/4 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter (I used crunchy and it was fantastic)
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line and/or grease 12 muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, combine the mashed bananas, milk, peanut butter, egg, oil, and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients until just moistened, then fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Bake for 22-25 minutes or the muffins are slightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool a bit before removing from the tins, then either serve warm or allow to finish cooling.

Rookery?

10:20 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
As it was such a wonderful day yesterday, Kristie and I took the dogs for a long walk along Owhiro Bay, specifically to Red Rocks, seal haul out as our destination.  Like I said, it was such a nice sunny day, it seemed a shame to waste inside.  We took the dogs along too, as they enjoy being off leash there.  We didn't expect to see any seals at all, as it was still kind of chilly out, but there were masses of seals!  Tonnes of them...literally.

Kristie was the first to discover them, by accident actually.  We were walking along, and every now and then we'd walk off the trail, towards the ocean.  I was a little further on, taking some pictures of the water, when I heard Kristie shout: "Oh My God!  Walnut...no...come!"  Apparently, Kristie and Walnut were just a couple metres from a basking seal, and Walnut was off leash!  While a Tibetan Terrier and seal don't generally come into close contact to each other much in the wild, I'd put my money on the seal.  Luckily, Kristie grabbed Walnut by his collar and dragged him away without the seal giving them too much notice.

In actuality, there were about three seals in very close proximity to where Kristie was, it is just that when the seals are basking, and are dry, their colouring is a lot like the surrounding rocks; kind of a dull grey.  Other than the pungent odors, you could easily fail to notice them if you weren't looking for them.

Luckily, Walnut didn't seem to show much interest in them, which is strange as he pretty much doesn't believe that any other animals have a right to exist, and usually has no issues telling them his opinion.

By the way, did you know that a group of seals has like five or six different terms?  They can be known as: a bob, a heard, a colony, a rookery, a crash, a harem, a pod, a spring or a team.  Who knew?

There are at least seven seals in this photo.  See if you can find them all.

Just Another Day in Paradise

Saturday, July 10, 2010 12:55 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Kristie and I just got back from a walk at Wadestown.  In Wadestown?  On Wadestown?  Wouldn't they all be correct?

Anyway, yesterday it rained off and on for virtually the entire day, so we didn't take our normal route as it would be pretty muddy.  Instead we took a steeper, but shorter and rockier trail.  It was still fairly muddy, but we were able to let the dogs go for a walk without having to worry about bathing them when we got home.  I still had to towel them off when we got to the car, but it wasn't too bad.

When we got home, we were a bit hungry, but were also a bit lazy, so rather than preparing a lunch, we simply ate the cold banana, chocolate chip pancakes that were in the refrigerator; by hand; no plate.  They were actually better cold than they were fresh off the griddle.

Kristie is in the shower at the moment, and I will be next.  It has been a couple days since I showered as I usually shower for work the evening prior.  But yesterday I worked from home so I didn't shower Thursday evening.  I did take a bath Thursday afternoon, as I was working from home, I took a break to warm up, but I didn't wash my hair.  So while I technically bathed two days ago, I haven't washed my hair in three days.  This is all probably what they call TMI, but I thought I would relay the information anyway.

After our showers, we're most likely going to have an afternoon nap, and then we're going to the Embassy Theatre to watch Toy Story 3.  We were going to go see the movie last week, for my birthday, but as it was opening weekend, we thought there might be too many kids around.  We plan to stop for a coffee and snack along the way, as we want to take a leisurely stroll to get to the theatre.

That's it.  That will be our day.  After the movie we're probably going to have psghetti and some fresh bread, watch a couple episodes of season two of Dexter, read for a while and go to sleep.  All and all a boring, but thoroughly enjoyable day.

Salt & Pepper OR Dill Pickle

Friday, July 09, 2010 23:07 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
There is a brand of potato chips here called Bluebird, and they're holding a contest for people to invent a new flavour for them.  I entered twice with two Canadian favorites: Salt & Pepper and Dill Pickle.

If they choose one of my two flavours, not only could I get to enjoy these chips again, but I could win $20,000 as well as 2 percent of sales until they discontinue the flavour.  In addition to simply entering the flavour, you also had to submit two original representations of your flavours.  The two images on this post are my submissions.

While it would be great to have Dill Pickle chips again, I think the twenty grande would be good too :-)

Huh?  Ok, make that one image attached.  I can't seem to locate my pickle...go ahead, I'm laughing.

Let's all work from home

13:35 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Here's what I love about working from home: Everything!

With the advent of the internet, working from home has become so freaking easy.  Everything is accessed online now: files, databases, contact information, telephones, everything!  One of the best things about having access via the internet is the fact that you don't have to cart stuff back and forth.  Remember the old days when you'd have to bring a flash drive with the data you wanted to work on, or further back in time still, on disks?  And you had to ensure the data was secured, and that when transferring files back and forth, you had to ensure that you weren't infecting your home or work system with viruses.  Now-a-day, you work and access everything online.  There is no more forgetting critical files at the office, it is all there for you.  Added to that, if you're working from home and you need to provide support to people who are still at work, you can simply create a remote session and help out your colleagues from home!

These are all great benefits to working from home, but here is my favorite: Waiting time can now be filled with home productivity!  Ok, a little explanation.  Much of the work I do involves testing and trialling new software.  For instance today I was testing Astaro Unified Threat Management.  To do this, you have to often wait for software to download, wait for software to install, burn data to disks, etc.  Much of what I do involves waiting.  If I were at work, I wouldn't be able to do very much of anything except bathroom breaks and coffee breaks (not necessarily in that order).  Well by working from home, much of this waiting time can be filled with quick and easy tasks such as throwing a load of laundry in the washing machine, putting away the dishes from last night, letting the dogs out to go pee, etc.  I want to stress that if I were at work, I would be waiting with virtually nothing to do, but here at home, the waiting can be turned into productivity.

That is what I love about working from home!

Thank goodness for telecommuting

Thursday, July 08, 2010 07:01 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
It wasn't the greatest of nights in terms of sleep last night.  It started out pretty well; I was snuggled in bed under a mountain of blankets, even more so than usual as it has been pretty cold at night lately.  I fell asleep pretty quickly, after reading for about 20 minutes that is.

Then at about 11:30 pm (we've been getting to bed quite early lately), I heard some retching coming from the foot of the bed.  By the time I turned on the light, I saw a large pile of vomit on the floor with Angus heaving over it.  Angus has never had the strongest of stomachs, in fact there have been weeks when we've arrived home from work to find vomit on the floor several times during a week.  Last night however was a bit different.  Angus had manged to chew a dog toy to near disintegration last night.  We're pretty sure that he ingested quite a few pieces.  The results were (in the early evening) a big pile of dog toy pieces on the floor, followed by (late at night) a big pile of vomit on the floor.

Luckily he seems to be doing much better this morning, and seemed to be in a very playful mood too.

Blogging is way too hard when you're sleepy

Tuesday, July 06, 2010 15:15 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Ok.  I'm really not that lazy, its just that I didn't get very much sleep last night, and I'm really starting to feel the effects of it now.  So my first entry into this blog will simply be to say that I'm tired, and I want to have a nap.  Unfortunately I have to go grocery shopping, pick up my wife, and then go to a board meeting.