Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Tree

We do a lot of Halloween decorating, both inside and out.  One of my favorite inside decorations is our Halloween Tree.  It is one of the newer additions to our collection.   It is on the dining room buffet and is about 3 feet tall.  It's a good size for a diorama with tombstones, Blythe, and the peanuts characters.

Blythe Witch

Trick-or-Treating together

the Whole Scene


Monday, October 24, 2011

Cool Halloween Find

These are my new Skeleton Hand salad tongs.  They are cast aluminum.  I got them in the Halloween section at Target.  So cool!  And they work great, too.  I may have to keep these out to use year round!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Here is what I'm reading this rainy Halloween month. . .

Kiss of Death is the 8th book in The Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine.  There are 10 books so far with a new installment, Last Breath, coming out on All Saints' Day (11/1/2011).

The basic premiss behind this series is that all of the vampires of the world live in a small college town in West Texas called Morganville.  Of course, the human residents in town live in constant menace and seclusion.  Leaving is not an option for either humans or vampires.  Drama ensues in the constant struggle for survival.  Most residents sign up for protection from a vampire by tithing blood and cash.  This is a Young Adult series, which means it focuses more on the plot than (ahem) encounters.  My main criticism is that the books are fairly short, coming in at just under 200 pages, usually.  

I have been enjoying this series on my first edition Nook

I got it when it was first released, but you can get one now for cheap since they are trying to unload the final stock.  However, I have to say that after less than 2 years of ownership the outer rim of the case has cracked.  The page turning mechanism is a button click under the rim, which means the rim has to flex every time the page is turned.  And the rim is a semi-hard plastic.  I did recognize this as a design flaw initially.  And of course, the rim has cracked right under the "button" area.  I will probably upgrade to the newer version eventually, but for now I remain attached to my first edition.  

And, if you read a lot like I do, getting an e-ink reader is important.  I stare at a computer monitor enough without adding in the time of reading too.  I personally have known tech professionals who have had seizures from long hours of work, as well as people who have had cataracts removed at 42 years of age.  'Nuff said.

On the Television front--

The premiere of new season of The Walking Dead will be on Sunday, October 16!  Can't wait!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Coffee and Cookies: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip with Peet's

It has been a rainy week in Northern California.  And today we are saying, "Goodbye, Steve" to one of our most innovative residents.  For quiet, contemplative moments at home or a special treat on a rainy day to brighten any mood, warm cookies and coffee always hit the spot.  So today I offer one of my favorite recipes to share:  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. 

First, the coffee.  I always drink Peet's coffee, a Bay Area longtime, local favorite.  And more than that--  I drink French Roast from a French Press.  A very rich and flavorful brew with nothing but the real deal, half and half.  As you can see, my french press came from Peet's, but this is a standard Bodum, and they are widely available.  The coffee is available online, too.

Now, for the cookies.  These are adapted from the Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker ©1975

½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 heaping cup Extra Crunchy Skippy Super Chunk Peanut Butter
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Guittard chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Beat butter until soft.  Add sugars and beat until creamy.  Beat in the egg, peanut butter, salt, soda, and vanilla.  Add flour and mix just until combined.  Mix in chips.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Roll the dough into balls and flatten slightly by pressing a cross thatch pattern into them with a fork.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool on pans to harden then move to a rack to finish cooling.  

Makes about 3 dozen.  

They store well for several days in a container.  And we have absolutely no problem finishing these before they go stale, even in our small family.

These cookies are for you Steve.  It was your vision that people, and particularly women as an untapped target audience, would use computers in their daily lives: to run not only small businesses but our homes, share our recipes and hobbies with others, etc.  You have changed our lives.  Peace to you.