Saturday, March 17, 2012

Retail Therapy. It Gets Results.

    The unseasonably lovely weather we've had has been replaced with seasonal gray skies, high winds and rain. A whole lot of rain. To preempt any onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder, I did a little retail therapy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sharing the Scrivener Love

    Two of my favorite writing tools — Scrivener and writing podcasts — came together in the podcast this week by The Shared Desk. Fun!
    Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine discussed their favorite writing software, Scrivener. That’s my favorite writing software, too! I completely agreed with all the reasons they gave for their devotion to Scrivener — the organization tools, the corkboard feature, the ability to import web pages and photos and other research into your binder, and all the many ways to customize the tool to suit your own needs. But my two favorite features didn’t get mentioned — not that I blame them. There are so many features, how could you talk about all of them?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

You Won't Regret This

   According to my stats, you guys really like brownie recipes. Who knew a spam-bot could have a sweet tooth?
   So, giving the people (or spam-bots) what they want — here's another brownie recipe. This was a recipe I first tried when I was a teenager and before I learned to read through the entire recipe before starting it. I didn't have enough eggs, I didn't know the difference between dark Karo syrup and light, and I accidentally cut the amount of sugar (really — originally it called for even more sugar). And it turned out so good, I've stuck to my version ever since. Enjoy!

My Favorite Brownies
  • 1 cup butter
  • 8 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 cups sugar (or 2 1/2 cups — you won't miss it)
  • 1/2 cup light Karo syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts
  • 6 eggs
Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Let cool.

In mixing bowl, combine sugar, syrup, vanilla, eggs. Add chocolate mixture. Add flour gradually. Add nuts.

Grease and flour jelly roll pan. Pour batter into pan. Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean.

Cool in the pan on a rack. Sift powdered sugar over the top. Cut and serve. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Another Anniversary

   Today is the 25th anniversary of the release of U2's album, Joshua Tree.
  That 25 years went by fast.
  I listened to Joshua Tree today while driving home from work. It's been a while since I've really listened to it, or even heard any of the songs in passing. Immediately, I was back in high school, driving my mother's Honda and singing along to "With or Without You" and "Where the Streets Have No Name."
  There are a few songs that can transport me back in time, but this whole album (yes, kids, I said album) has that effect. This is probably because it was in my Walkman (yep, dating myself again) or in the car stereo for so much of that year. It wasn't even my first U2 album, but it was immediately my favorite and has remained so, even after (gulp) 25 years. A couple years later, I saw U2 in concert. Still, the songs remind me of the early days of the album's release, when I used my hard-earned babysitting money to buy the cassette. (Sigh. I am old.)
  Now if you'll excuse me, I have a sudden urge to call my mom and tell her that I shouldn't have to unload the dishwasher, no one in this family understands me, and why can't I have my own car. I suppose that's the downside of a flashback.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

30 years and Millions of Calories Later...

    A few years ago, my parents celebrated a big anniversary. Since they had eloped way back then, my siblings and I decided this time we should have a party. However, no one wanted to have a sit-down formal affair, especially my casual-living parents. After much discussion, we decided on a backyard barbecue in my parents huge and beautiful yard. My dad had just finished building a patio with a huge new grill and he volunteered to grill, well, anything that he could get his hands on. You know what it’s like when you have a new toy.
    My aunt proposed a pot-luck, but that seemed a little too casual. Our solution was to invite the guests, but also invite them to participate in a contest — best appetizer and best dessert. To enter, bring your favorite dessert or appetizer along with the recipe. We put the plates out on buffet tables and in front of each offering, we put a jar. People voted by putting money in the jars.
    This was a massive success.