Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An Answered Question

Hello There Friends.

Its been a while. Im sorry I have been gone for so long but I thought I would return with great news.


Crazy Town! We are both very excited. There will be pictures posted later (a friend of ours was snapping shots but we have not received them yet) There are pictures now! Read on!

The story from my point of view:
Scott and I traveled to Pittsburgh to spend Thanksgiving with my mom and sister. We will be heading up to Spokane and California for Christmas so decided that Thanksgiving would be a great time to see my family. After a few days of food and fun and way too many hours in a car Scott told me that we would be spending Saturday night together on a date night. The only thing he told me was that we would be getting milk shakes and that I should dress warm. So using my limited wardrobe I brought with me, I bundled up in a t-shirt, two sweaters, two pairs of socks, leggings, jeans, a scarf, gloves, and a large winter jacket... I may have overdone it but I wanted to be prepared for whatever was in store. After a delicious milkshake from Burgatory we headed off on a secret trip. Scott had me close my eyes and promise not to look as he drove me to a secret place. It was hard but I promise I did not peek! I had no idea where we were headed. After a little bit turning and going in circles in parking lots we ended up at our destination. Scott lead me out of the car and told me not to open my eyes until he told me too. He walked me across gravel and pavement and grass, and even took me down a few steps. When we stopped he turned on music and told me to open my eyes. When I did I was surrounded by people holding lanterns with candles and flashlights. I still did not know what was happening... and didnt until he took of my gloves and knelt on one knee. He asked me, and through some sobs I said YES! I then found out that the people behind the candles were some mutual friends and my family. AND he proposed at Mellon Park, the place we had our first date. It was such a perfect night and it ended with CUPCAKES and drinks with friends. I am so lucky to have Scott and I am so thankful to all of you that are now a part of our life.

What would make this story better?


There is an art installation in Mellon Park where an artist put LED lights in the ground to form constellations.  The lanterns, flashlights and LED lights made the whole park seem to glow

The big moment. 

The aftermath. 

The cupcakes. Key Lime, Chocolate, Vanilla, Coconut, Peanut Butter- Yum.

The ring. It was CHILLY- so my hands were starting to shrivel and turn a beautiful shade of purple.

The people Scott schemed with to surprise me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

And Athena comes next

At the moment I can only see about 100 yards out my office window. This is due to the fairly heavy snow that is swirling around outside. Upon looking up the weather forecast, I learned that the next storm to be jealous of the inland area of the North East is being called Athena. Dang. It looks like for us, it will be dying off soon and turning in to rain. But for New York it looks like they are getting a little salt all over their wound in the form of Snow.

Last weekend was awesome! I got to go to Portland for a wonderful wedding. Congrats Amy and Ben! You two were so beautiful, it was an honor to be a witness. Along with that I got to hang out with Jamie! Which was an awesome surprise. We realized that we had not seen each other since she and Bill and Danica visited me in Pittsburgh. It really was a great weekend. Portland was awesome. The plane rides were bearable.

But then Sunday night was no fun. Something happened to my designational track, either in the form of a stomach virus or food poisoning. This rendered me helpless Monday. But then yesterday and today I have felt 90% of normal health.

Last night Gwyn and I spent the evening watching election coverage and getting to know our new game Agricola. A game all about agrarian society. I called up dad, told him. He knows.

It is interesting that my entire family is apathetic to the election this year. Don't get me wrong, Chelsea is not that out spoken, but Caleb? My parents don't seem to care either. It is an interesting contrast to our apartment. I think Gwyn cares more about Democrats winning, and I just seem to care about the whole process.

I also talked to my father last night, after which Gwyn asked: "Wait... so when we go to Spokane, your Dad and I can share a joint? Yes!"

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sandy was a big wet blanket.

I was going to write a witty tongue in cheek post about our hurricane experience, but it felt wrong to do that with so many people actually suffering, and people who have lost loved ones. My prayers go out to the family of people lost to the storm, all the way from the Caribbean up to New England. I hope everyone who is without power or shelter finds relief soon.

Onward: Most of you know (more than me as it turns out) that there was a major hurricane that decided to crash into another storm right over New Jersey. I was not really paying attention to this until work sent out an email on Friday telling everyone to take precautions.

Gwyn and I were at some friends' house for a game night when both of us got texts saying that work was canceled for Monday. The next morning I would find out that the Governor told all of Massachusetts to stay home and a significant portion of the population followed the suggestion. In preparation we filled up the cars, made sure we had some food, collected our candles and flashlights, located our passports, checkbooks and a light pack of clothes. Also, in fear of loosing power, I baked the Rocky Rococco's pizza that was in my fridge. I was not having that go bad if we lost power for the freezer.

The whole week before Sandy made her appearance the weather was rather fall-ish, upper 40s to lower 70s, overcast, rainy. And Monday was no different, in the morning at least. Around noon the wind started to pick up, and then the alternating cycle began, the wind would pick up, then the rain would hit, then they would both die down, each cycle lasting 20 minutes or so.

Not much to look at... except those trees flying all over the place.

Our activities included making cookies for a Halloween party, baking a pie, playing lots of board games and watching the news.

Check out the new table cloth!

During the afternoon we lost power twice, but only for 15 or so minutes each time. Then later in the evening Gwyn and I were standing on our balcony watching the storm when we saw the power go out for the whole complex. It was a eerily cool thing to watch.

By the morning the wind had died down. The commute to work was interesting. It was obvious that there was a storm, from downed branches to power lines across the street. Only a little off roading.

The rest of the week has been back to the similar dark fall weather.

Certainly an interesting experience. I can add that I have been effected by hurricanes and tornadoes (in Pittsburgh)... to my list of natural disasters.
First Hurricane: Check.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yay Sam and Andrew!

This past weekend I got the supreme honor of going to Spokane! I know! The honor was actually getting to be a witness to the marriage of Sam and Andrew. The wedding was beautiful, the reception was great. All around a very happy day.

Other highlights:
Hanging out with Alex, Ryan and Daren. I had a hankering for some Tots and a Malt (yep, that meant Zips) they put up with it.
Getting to enjoy breakfast with Jessie! Congrats to her for her new ring! (and fiancee) (@Frank's)
Hanging out with my family, including two super cute dogs. Getting beat at Puerto Rico by one single coin. Checking out Citadels (something that may need to be added to my collection). (some of it @Downriver)

Getting to have lunch with Grandma and Grandpa Griffith! (@Rocky's)

On a side note: Family, have I ever won PR? I don't think I have... I am always crushed by Dad's stunning (and drunk) agrarian society (who apparently dipped in to slavery this last game).

It was super fun weekend. The flights, while annoyingly long, were fine. Nothing super eventful.

I walked in to the apartment to see that it was all decked out for Halloween (more so than when I left). I think pictures are in call for showing off the blood dripping from the walls, and the scary face that greets me every morning (no, it is not Gwyn's).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kickstarter(Board and Card Games) + Me = 6 Backed Games in 24 hours

I try my hardest to resist internet fads. I don't like them. They seem derived and silly. The only reason I am on Facebook is because Chelsea told me how cool it was... and then told me that I could not join for another year because I was in High School (those were the days....). I have avoided twitter (way too egotistical for me), I actively make fun of Gwyn and Pinterest (I was pronouncing it way wrong in my head for soooo long... she makes fun of me for that. All is fair in love and war), and I detest instagram (way to hippster for that).

I heard plenty of things about Kickstarter. About this e-ink watch, and this 3d printer and a bunch of video games. For those of you who do not know about 'crowd funding' or 'crowd sourcing' it is the idea that the internet brings people together. I know! It is all cute and cuddly. So some guy gets this great idea, but he needs money to do it. In this day and age, there are so many people who are awesomely creative that there are not outlets, not enough venture capitalists (good ones at least) or just simply enough people around them get the support the idea needs. This is where crowd sourcing comes in. Some people (dating back to the 1990's) decided that they would just appeal directly to fans/supporters/interested parties for funds. The idea is that one person giving you $10,000 is awesome, but convincing them to give you that money is kind of hard. But 10,000 people giving you $1 is not as hard (sometimes). This is where a plethora of websites come in. Kickstarter is one of them. Check out the previously mentioned projects to get a scope of how much money a group can raise... those up there, they are all in the millions of dollars. The Pebble, the watch, they had to stop letting people back, because the interest in their product was 10,000% greater than they expected. They were looking to build a modest 300 - 400 watches. Then the internet got hold of it and demanded more than 86,000 watches. Another awesome crowd sourced project was this tribute to a museum for a oft forgotten scientist (lol, Let's Build A Goddamn Museum).

Ok.. so I avoided all of the above for excusable reasons. But then I (unfortunately) found a link on Board Game Geek (another recent obsession) to a game called Zombicie. Turns out this sweet looking game had its humble beginnings at Kiskstarter. Until it raised $761,597 more than they planned on. So I decided to take a look around the 'Board and Card Games' section of the site. Oh. My. Goodness. What a wonderful thing.

So here is how I have gathered it works (specifically for the board and card game section).

A game designer gets an idea for a game. They build up the details, you know game mechanics, rules, balancing the gameplay, the story (if needed). Then the designer comes up with a rough business plan, including funding plans (more on that later), production plans (both publishing and artwork) and shipping/distributing plans. They then fold this all to a Kiskstarter page, most notably the pitch video where the creator lays out the game, basically a sales pitch.

At this point they know how much it is going to cost to publish and distribute the game. So they have an idea of how much funding they need to make the finished product. So they set a goal, give it a time (a month. normally) and let the internet in. People can back the project for whatever dollar amount they want. If you want to give a dollar to the project you are more than welcome to, but in most cases (and particularly in the game domain) after a certain point of backing, the designer will send you the product, in this case the game (or two or three depending on the pledge). Often times the designer will add incentives to get people to fun a little more, like if you back a certain amount, your likeness will be used in the game, or you will also receive the original art for the game... or the game designer will fly to you and play with you (if you really want to throw down the cash).

The most important thing about Kickstarter is that if the goal is not funded (which happens 56% for Kickstarter over all) then the money is not collected. Nothing happens. But if the goal is met, then the backers credit cards are charged, and the creator gets the money to start in to production. In a lot of cases, when funding is well over the goal, the designer will enhance the product because of the increased interest. This can take form in expanding the game. Or higher quality parts. Or another game altogether.

 Ok, so up there I said that I backed 6 game projects. That is very true. And they all look sweet. I cannot tell you about all of them, because some of them are going to be gifts! Take a look at some them for yourself:

With only 54 hours to go: Lost Valley
Well funded, already established game (this is a re-print for the US). This also means you get all of the stretch! But it is almost over, so get it now!

A very interesting looking logic style game, along the same vein as Clue, but much more involved, and based on the very historic Salem Witch Trials. One of the ones I am most excited about.
Mom, Chelsea, take a look. I think you will find it interesting.


A simple, yet amusing card game. And for a great price ($6 at the moment).
If you mention me when you back, I could get a free deck! And you know that I will just end up giving that to someone else!

I am sure that I will find more awesome looking games and post them here... it is inevitable at this point.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Second Ever

I witnessed my second earthquake today. It was unremarkable enough that Walking Dead, Dexter and the Debate got more attention from this apartment.

Gwyn and I were standing in our kitchen re-heating some enchiladas, having a detailed discussion about board games (I have been fixated on them recently, more on that later...), when there was a loud groan, and then rattling. Kind of like if Sasquatch was walking around upstairs. The plates shook a little, some glasses clinked... Gwyn got a little frightened, she asked what it was. As you could barely feel it with your body, I said it was probably an earthquake or an explosion. I then clarified that I hoped it was an earthquake, and no one got hurt.

Take that California. Unless the entire state of California ceded by natural tectonics from the continent, and we were just feeling the after shock. Then I feel really sorry for all of you, and I feel really bad for making a joke about it.

UPDATE: Check it out. Apparently this is the first sizable (4.0) earthquake in New England since 1940. Any yet still.... Walking Dead, Dexter and the Debate won over the interest.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Garden Box Stuffed Peppers

You have all seen my garden boxes. They have been doing great. But as the first freeze hits New England, these guys are going to have to be cleaned out. But, a while back we harvested some peppers! And what do you do with a bunch of peppers? Make stuffed peppers! Well apparently. This is kind of a big deal here (on the east coast), I saw them all the time in Pittsburgh, and they are popular here too. Gwyn said she had them growing up. I never did. This may just be my mother didn't make them on behalf of her two kids not really liking peppers when they were young... oh wait Chelsea still does not really like peppers. But I love them! So on to the recipe:

This was completely made up by me. I had only a little foreknowledge, and a lot of improvisation.

Garden Box Stuffed Peppers

Bake Time: 30 Mins +/- 20 mins depending on filling
Prep Time: 30 Mins

I am not going to add quantity to the ingredients, as the size of your peppers is the biggest constraint. If you have huge peppers you need a lot of filling. If you have small peppers, you don't need that much. Use your best judgement. Also, if you like a lot of meat, add a lot of meat, if you really like beans, add more beans.

Bell Peppers! Good Ones! You can get whatever level of ripeness you want (i.e. color)
Italian Sausage (or other savory sausage)
Sweet Onion
Black Beans (can)
Brown Rice (cooked)
Corn (from a can, or fresh)
Cheese (we always have mexican blend on hand)
Bread Crumbs

Tomato Sauce

Added Garden Herbs:

Pre Heat oven to ~375. A little higher if you have large peppers, and a little cooler if you have small guys.

First step is to open up and completely clean out the pepper. Be sure to Only cut enough to make an opening, you want to preserve the cup like nature of the pepper for the stuffing part. Clean out all of the white flesh and the seeds. Wash well.

Cook your sausage. You can get this 80% of the way done as the filling is going to cook while in the oven. You can cook it all the way if you want. Pull out cooked sausage.

In sausage grease, cook chopped up onion until translucent.

If you need to cook rice, you should have started a while ago.

In a large bowl mix your sausage, onions, beans, rice and corn. We went about equal part on all of it. We might have gone a little heavy on the sausage, but equal on the rest. Add cheese, bread crumbs and tomato sauce. This is completely up to the cook. If you want really cheesy stuffed peppers, you know what to do here. If the mixture is too solid, you can add more tomato sauce, if it is too liquidy, (drain if it is sitting in liquid) add some bread crumbs. You want it kind of the consistency of dough. Add your herbs and other seasoning if you want (Haha! Hot Peppers!)

In a baking dish, pour a generous layer of tomato sauce to the bottom. Then take each pepper and stuff! Using a spoon, get the inside mixture all up in the pepper. Top with a basil leaf, then a layer of tomato sauce, and then a generous layer of cheese. Arrange so that the peppers hold themselves up, if you need to you can make little foil support structures.

Bake for 10 - 40 minutes (lol, huge span I know). I think I baked ours for 20 minutes. You want it to go until the cheese on top is browning, or the insides are bubbling out.

Pull out, put it on a plate, pour some hot sauce from the bottom of the pan on top and serve.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gwyn got me sick

More realistically her students got her sick. Then she came home and got sick. And now I am sick.

Dang unhygienic kids.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Always Eating and Looking Good

Hello Again!

So a few weeks ago I was buying supplies for my photography class and came across sun printing.

Its this really cool paper that is light sensitive. Normally people place plants or small objects on top of them and then have a negative left on the paper. What's also cool is that the area touched by the sun turns a beautiful dark blue.

So I had a thought. What if I were to make negatives and then printed them on the sun paper? And the result? Beautiful new artwork for Scott and my kitchen.

I chose photos that showed us eating! So appropriate for a kitchen don't you think?

Anyway here are the pics.

Left of the window

Right of the window

this is Scotts favorite picture... needless to say it is not mine.

Turkey Leg!

I made the negatives on transparency paper. I reversed the image first so the photos would look "normal". Then put the negative on the sun paper and left it in direct sunlight for 2-3 minutes. Then I removed the transparency paper and soaked the image in cold water for a minute. Hang to dry and Viola! 

They make our little kitchen a bit snazzier don't you think?!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Goodbye Summer

Thank Goodness. The humidity is finally gone. I can now walk outside again in comfort!

Many of you know that the changing of seasons also means a changing of hair for me. The Amish beard (or Abe beard, or chin curtain) is back! And it is wonderful.
Out with the old...
In with the new. (It has been trimmed a little)
Our windows have been open for the past few weeks, this is great for me. And most of the time good for Gwyn. But occasionally, right before I leave for work I will walk past Fort Gwyn. Under a few pillows and blankets sits a cozy Gwyn, wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants.

I have finished up the bookshelf. It looks awesome and is also very functional... you know... holding stuff. Oddly, there are no books on it, but a lot of boxes that were previously just sitting on the floor.

Life is good. I am getting really excited for a few weddings before Christmas. Ben and Amy in Portland, Yay! And Sam and Andrew back in Spokane, Awesome!

I have been helping out with the Robotics Outreach at Lincoln Labs (ROLL) and the First Tech Challenge (FTC) team. For those of you who do not know about this, it is a group of High School students who are competing in a specialized game. You can find more about it here. I think it is going to be really fun to watch them do this. Last weekend I gave a great lecture on the basics of Electronics (Yeah Ohm and Kirchhoff!)

Also, Nachos:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Next Culinary Mastery

In my home growing up the extent of our fried food consumption was crisp tortillas with tostadas. My mother would stay far away from oil (for good reason) in her cooking. In the past little bit, I have been running in to recipes that require frying food. One notable experience was frying little chicken bits in Pittsburgh. All I remember was some of them were great, some were black and the whole apartment was smokey. So I have been eying fryers for the past little bit. Reading up on them, and seeing what I should look for.

Then my birthday came, and I had some money burning a hole on my desk from my Grandparents (Thanks Grandma and Gramps!). I thought this was a perfect reason to venture out in to the dangerous water (nay, oil) of American obesity. Ok, that is a little harsh, but Gwyn and I made a promise to each other that we would only break out the fryer once a month.

So what was the first thing I fried you ask? TOTS! Dating back to my time at Lockheed, hanging out after work with Steve, Steven, Alan and Brian, I grew a fondness towards Tater Tots. They are just so great. The first basket in the oil was a big ol' basket of golden potato nuggets, and they were awesome! I left them in long, they got super crispy! And super tasty!


 Next up, harking back to Polish Hill in Pittsburgh: Pierogies! The Rock Room, one of my favorite establishments, would only serve one food item on any given night, and Wednesdays and Thursdays were Piergoie night! For a whopping $0.15/pierogie, you could fill up on what I am sure were Mrs. T. frozen pierogies that had been thrown in a fryer. So Gwyn and I decided that we would do a little taste test between two brands that are available here in Boston, Mrs. Ts and Poppy's. The Mrs. T. won. And they were awesome. I did burn my mouth on a hot pocket of potato-y goodness, but such is the battle for food glory.

The last thing, influence by The Onion back in Spokane, Fried Oreos! They were not the first person to bread a cookie and submerge it in oil, but they were my first. Using pancake batter as a coating, these were super easy. I did some of them with a little peanut butter dab on one side. So very tasty.

All about presentation.
All in all, a great experience. I have been researching what to try next. It is going to be great!

LaBOR Day, more like LAWESOME Day.

Labor day weekend, while a little bit ago was awesome!

Started with Ben calling Gwyn and I as inviting us to explore the Charles River via kayak. He had a google coupon, and it was nearing the end of the deal, so this was a perfectly timed trip. There is an outfit that operates right on the water, near Kendal Square. They have you talk a short quiz to make sure you are not going to get in to too much trouble, then life vest on. And you are good to go. The three of us were in an individual boat, and set off in to the wild river. It was a little windy, but other than that, a wonderful sunny clear day. Ben lead us over to the side of the Esplanade, a natural park area right next to Beacon Hill. Lots of people out. Cool environment. And really fun being in the boats. After 1.5 hours out on the water, we made it back through the community sailing lesson and back to the dock.

After the boating we walked over with two of Ben's friends to Ole'Cito (Mexican inspired lunch shop) and dined on the finest Tortas Boston has to offer.

Later in the evening Gwyn and I met up with Krishna (a coworker) and Emilie at the Danvers LazerQuest. You all know that I love LazerQuest. As I told my friends here: It was a staple of my childhood. It was a staple of High School. It was a staple of college. And I may or may not go back whenever I am back in town. Needless to say, I have spent a lot of time in the Spokane LazerQuest. I was really excited when I saw that there were two within reasonable driving distance of the apartment. It was on the backside of a strip mall, kind of weird to get to, but walking in was like a flash to Spokane. It is obvious that the two locations are franchised by the same company, everything was the same, but in a different building. The first game, with 12 or so people, I got up to speed quickly, and dominated. The next round was full of high school lacrosse players, who were super aggressive, heeding not to the players code (no running, jumping, climbing, covering sensors, physical contact.... so on). These guys were amusing to play with, but I did not do as good as I should have, but Emilie got 3rd! The the last game was just the 4 of us. In a speed round (you only go down for 1 second, not the normal 5 seconds after being hit). Gwyn cleaned up. She walked out of there with 600 points! A good 200 points over me, and 400 over Krishna and Emilie. It was a great time, everyone had a lot of fun.

Then, as if my Saturday was not fun filled enough, we went to a Friendly's near LazerQuest. I was not aware of Friendly's before this, but apparently it is a big deal. Basically American food, but with great ice cream! Not like a burger with ice cream in it, but a burger with ice cream after it. It was a great evening, Krishna and Emilie are great!

Then, on Labor Day itself, Gwyn and I were challenged to a culinary competition... more like we were invited to eat a lot of super tasty grilled cheese! Marissa hosted a grilled cheese party, complete with awards! I won the best 'Dessert Sandwich', with an Apple Pie on Cinnamon Toast, and the 'Best Effort, Worst Sandwich" for my completely lackluster Mac&Cheese Sandwich. I got to eat a whole bunch more creations by other people. It was a fun relaxing evening. And a great end to a sweet weekend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I was just looking at the recipe page while updating it with the Chocolate Maple Cookies: I have not posted a non-sweet recipe in a while. I think this has to do with my lack of using recipes as of late. I have been throwing stuff together and it has been working out... but I should write those down too!

Coming up: recipes that are not based on butter, sugar, and flour!

If there are any challenges out there, or requests, let me know! I love trying to master new things. :) Your name will even be attached to it!

Chocolate Maple Cookies

Gwyn picked these out, and it was a great choice! I really liked them, they were well received. Pretty standard cookie recipe, but great tasting.

Chocolate Maple Cookies
4 dozen

1 1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 squares (1 oz each) Semisweet Baking Chocolate
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together shortening and sugar. Once creamy texture is achieved, beat in one egg at a time, mixing well each time. Beat in vanilla and maple.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add this to the creamed mixture. Mix all of this well in to a smooth dough.

Grease a cookie sheet and drop dough with a spoons with room to spread out. I chose to make them smaller to increase the yield, but you could make these huge cookies and they would work out. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges get dark. The cookies are brown to begin with, so you will have to watch them.

Remove to rack to cool.

Prepare frosting by melting chocolate and butter together (you can do this with great effort in a double boiler... or you can use a microwave). Add sugar and milk, mixing well. If frosting is too thick add a little more milk, mix well. If too fluid, add more powdered sugar, mix well. Frost all of the cookies.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Suprise Skanda

Yesterday at Noon:30 I got a text message from Skanda (old Pittsburgh roommate) to the affect of: "Hey buddy, I am at MIT, have any time to hang out? I leave in a few hours"

This message surprised me as Skanda lives in New York City, and there was no prior notice. Turns out it was his birthday, and his company gives employes their B-days off. So he had a free day. When he woke up, he said "I am going to Boston!" then got on a bus and came on up.

I was able to convince him to stay a little longer and had a chance to hang out with him for the afternoon/evening. We were able to surprise Gwyn (who did not know he was going to be around). The plan was to go watch a new movie that just came out, Sleepwalk with Me the is produced/made by the people who are also involved with This American Life. The plan fell through when driving to the theater, a thunderstorm opened up (possibly influenced by the whole hurricane thing down south last week) causing havoc to the Cambridge power system. When we walked in to the theater the lights were off, and the lobby was full of people. We were able to get passes to come back and see the film at a later date.

We went over to Kita's house and hung out in the dark playing bananagrams. All in all it was an awesome time! Thanks Skanda!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

S'more Cookies Please!

I am not 100% sure why I craved marshmallows. But I did. And I needed an excuse to buy some. These cookies filled the need. And they turned out great.

S'more Sandwich Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups (12 oz) semi sweet chips

24-28 Large Marshmallows

Get your oven ready for greatness by pre-heating to 375.

Cream together the butter and both sugars. Once well incorporated, mix in egg. Beat in milk and vanilla. Get this to a nice creamy consistency.

In a different bowl, mix together flour, graham cracker, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Slowly add dry mix to the creamy mixture, mixing well in between additions.

Once a nice doughy consistency is reached fold in chocolate chips. Mix it up.
Lightly grease your cookie sheets, and drop spoonfuls of dough on to sheet. Try to keep these little mounds small. I made them large... I ended up with fewer cookies. But they were big! These are drop cookies, they will spread out a little as you bake them, so give them some room.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges brown. Remove to rack and let cool.
After cooling has happened, place a few on a plate, and place a marshmallow in the center. You want to put the flat part of the marshmallow down (or up.... marshmallows are cylinders, and symmetric at that). Microwave, on high, for 10-15 seconds or until 2 or 3 of them start to get noticeably larger. Quickly remove from the microwave squish another cookie on top to form the sandwich. Be sure to apply even pressure. Put back on rack to cool and set.
Share with hungry people.

Leaning tower of greatness...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I realized in going through the pictures for the apple cookies, that on that day I also had a little taste of home. My parents brought me a par-baked Rocky Rococo's Pizza when they came to visit. The pie was partially cooked to hold shape, but needed another 30 mins in the oven to complete.

Just like home... just minus the M&Ms.
Needless to say, it was amazing.

Vanilla Glazed Apple Cookies

There was a request at work to make a fruit themed cookie. I thought that apples would be an interesting experiment, and low and behold, my cookie book had a apple recipe. So again, this comes from my cookie cook book.

Vanilla Glazed Apple Cookies

Makes ~ 2 dozen

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup finely diced and peeled apples (peel then dice, it is easier that way)
1 cup raisins (optional)

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
2-4 teaspoon milk

This is pretty standard cookie business. Just add apples at the end.

So pre heat oven to 400 degrees.

Cream shortening and brown sugar together. Beat in egg, then beat in milk. Mix until incorporated.

In a different bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Then slowly beat in to creamed mixture forming the dough.

Stir in apples, nuts and raisins.

Plop out teaspoon fulls on ungreased cookie sheet. These are drop cookies, they will settle a little, so give some space. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until brown on the bottom and done on the edges. 

Remove and cool on a rack.

Once cool, mix glaze. If glaze is too thick add some milk. If it is too liquidy, add some sugar. Frost each cookie.


To be honest, I was not a huge fan. The apple taste did not really come through, and the other flavors were muted. Oh well. It just made me excited about pumpkin cookies!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gwyn's Sushi

I had no part in this meal, other than eating it, so I didn't feel I was prepared to write a recipe, but I did take some cool photos of Gwyn's awesome Asian fusion meal.

It is apparent that while I cannot navigate H Mart, Gwyn is more than capable of getting in, finding the things she needs, and getting out.

Statefull Rolls: California rolls and Philly Rolls.
Ahhh! Soooooo good!

I bet you are jealous of my chopsticks.
Cool fact about this meal: it cost ~$5 per person. and there was so very much left over. We had it again the next night too!

This meal inspired a future restaurant idea of State Themed Sushi. This would have nothing to do with raw fish and everything to do with sweet and savory sushi rolls. I am not going to give too much away as this idea is gold.

Found: A BookShelf

A few weeks ago Gwyn and I visited IKEA to get me some dressers... HA! That is right! I never told you guys: I finally bought dressers! For the first time in my life I bought dressers that I intend to keep for a while. The long story here is that when I moved to the Tri Cities, I acquired a whole bunch of furniture, like a nice desk, nice couches, a awesome table/chair set, coffee tables and a bed, but I never did get a bed frame or dressers. This meant that my bed sat on the floor and my clothes were kept in makeshift cardboard shelves that I made from old boxes. In my two bedroom apartment, where one bedroom was my 'office/lab' and the other was my bedroom, my bedroom had no real furniture, but the rest of my apartment was very comfortably furnished.

Well... when I went to Pittsburgh, all of my furniture was distributed to my parents house and Chelsea and Caleb's house. At Larry's house, he had a dresser for me to use, and when living with Skanda, I bought a cheap dresser that I was planning on selling when I moved out (as it turns out, for 100% the cost). So here in Boston, my room, while having 1.5 walls taken up by a desk, there was not really any furniture.

Thus the trip to IKEA. An now I have two lovely dressers! And they look great! They are Red!

Ok, so while we were at IKEA, I was also looking for a book shelf, I have a corner with boxes that should go somewhere, but I have no place to put them! There was a cheap shelf that I was going to get, but they were sold out. So I went home sad. But the very next morning I walked past the dumpster to see a very used bookshelf. Judging by the crayon marks, it looked like it was a small child's at one point. But I figured that some sanding and a fresh coat of paint would make it perfect for my room.

So here are some pictures of the process:
Post Sanding. About to get a first coat of black.

Pro Tip: Use sleeves of old T shirts for head bands.

Reminds me of CJM

Keep posted. It only needs to be taped and then one more coat and then it is all done!