Friday, April 13, 2012

A Useful New Toy

My old HP laptop is crap. I’ve had it for over five years. I bought it just as Windows Vista was coming out, but the purchase ended up being nothing but a nightmare. Every time I performed a Windows Update, some other component on my computer would stop working. Sometimes the sound would die. Other times the CD drive. In fact, I went about three years without the CD drive even acknowledging that anything was in it! Talk about silly!


In addition, the three USB drives were schizophrenic. IF they worked, they were slower than tar at Christmas time. And they would often go kaput in the middle of a downloading-camera-pictures project. Never a good thing. Especially since I take lots of pictures.


Being married to a computer geek has countless benefits, but even he couldn’t fix these constant problems. He upgraded my RAM a few years ago, only to have the computer work so hot that it could only be used with a cooling device underneath. Which needed to be plugged into the laptop’s hopefully-operating USB drive…you get the idea. It was nice having a slightly faster computer, but the heat was killer.


I’ve sent the computer in twice for warranty work. And the battery doesn’t last long enough to boot the computer up before needing to be plugged in. Can you tell how much I just love this laptop? About six months ago, Hubby loaded Windows 7 onto my old lappy. Heaven-sent, for sure! After fighting Vista for years, it was nice to have things actually open on my computer.


But it would still crash without warning, thus losing all of my precious work. So I decided to never store anything on the laptop hard drive, since at any moment it could all disappear into thin air. My external hard drive worked well…when the USB drive was cooperating!


About a month ago, my laptop died yet again. Rather than throwing it across the yard into the pool, I asked Hubby if it might be time to look into getting me a new machine. I use it all the time and need to have it working properly.


To my great surprise and delight, he agreed!


So we did lots of research and found this Lenovo on sale. It’s a pretty sweet deal. And it works! And the USB drives work…all four of them! And the DVD/Blu-Ray drive works! The battery lasts almost five hours. I am still in shock.


So if you need to be in touch with me, I can say now with some hint of confidence that I can be in touch with you! And blogging is a dream on a machine that works!

Any new toys lately that greatly improve the quality of your life?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Recipe – Wonder Waffles


Hubby suggested that we call these “Manffles,” but I just couldn’t get that to sound appetizing. Regardless of what you name these little monsters, you are going to love them from the deepest corners of your heart.


And stomach.


Crispy waffles cooked with bacon and cheese. I don’t know how you can avoid falling in love with these. I’ve certainly never had complaints!


So let’s get started. First, we need to dice up some bacon. You can certainly just cook the strips and place those in the waffle iron, but I find every bite gets bacon if the pieces are diced instead. All things are better with bacon.

IMG_3474  IMG_3479

I cooked them in my Lodge Dutch Oven and kept the bacon grease to help make homemade potato chips later for dinner. Can I be considered a recycler for this step? All things are also better with bacon grease.


After the bacon was cooked and the cheese was shredded, it was time to start with our dry ingredients.

IMG_3484  IMG_3485


Measure your flour by fluffing it up with your measuring cup first. Then scrape off the top with a butter knife to make it smooth. This is the proper way to measure flour, and properly measuring things for baking should not be overlooked!


Then add some salt, baking powder, baking soda, and corn starch. The corn starch is what makes these waffles so crispy and heavenly!


Did you know that you can make your own buttermilk? Before I knew this trick, I bought buttermilk for a single recipe, then watched it go to waste in the fridge. Unlike some people I know (Hi, Mama!), I wouldn’t be caught dead drinking the stuff. So I was happy when I discovered that adding milk and a tiny bit of vinegar can make my own buttermilk! For this recipe, measure just shy of the 3/4 cup needed with milk. Then fill the remaining amount with vinegar. Let it sit for about five minutes and voila! No more buttermilk going to waste!


Here are some other wet ingredients. We also need an egg yolk in this picture. Just use your imagination, please.


With the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another, it’s time to prep our egg white for deliciousness.


Whip the egg white until it starts to hold shape. Then add the sugar and continue beating on medium speed. This will give the egg whites that beautiful shiny luster and add some sweet that will knock out them there waffles.


They also help make the waffles light and airy.

IMG_3492  IMG_3493

Add all of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir.


Gently fold in your egg white into the batter. Using a spatula, lightly fold in the whites to prevent them from losing their airiness. You won’t regret being careful here.


Now it’s time to cook!

I bought this waffle maker over a year ago and have kind of had a thing for it ever since. It can make two waffles at a time, which is a stringent requirement in our home. And you can adjust how dark or crispy you want the waffle. I highly recommend this machine.

IMG_3504  IMG_3506

You know your waffle iron is ready when it beeps and the light turns green. Pure bliss is about to take place!


Don’t forget to spray the iron with some non-stick baking spray. Even though the surface is non-stick material, some spray will help you love life later when doing some clean-up.

IMG_3518  IMG_3519


Have your Kitchen Boy pour the batter. It’s best to pour in the middle of the iron and let things spread out. The machine comes with a measuring cup that can be used which provides the perfect amount. We ended up pouring about 3/4 cup into the waffle maker.


Then sprinkle on some bacon. Feel free to get carried away on this step…


And add your shredded cheese. Stop drooling!


Close the lid and flip this baby over. Then repeat in the other iron. Do you have any idea how long three minutes feels sometimes?


Tap your fingers on the countertop. Do a little jig. Don’t start doing dishes, because that is way too responsible. Just wait a little longer aaaaaand….


Breakfast is served.


It’s best to slather some butter on as soon as they come out of the waffle maker. This will ensure the butter melts into all those perfect little pockets. I’m just looking out for your best interest here, folks.


You’re welcome.

Some butter-flavored syrup probably couldn’t hurt, either. I watched in delight as Hubby got up for another, and then another. It’s the perfect combination of salty and sweet, and it really is the best way to start the day. Sorry, Oatmeal.

Wonder Waffles – Makes Four Waffles

Recipe adapted from Pam Anderson’s Light and Crispy Waffles.

1 package Bacon
8 oz. Cheddar Cheese
3-1/2 oz. (3/4 cup) bleached All-purpose Flour
1 oz. (1/4 cup) Cornstarch
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1/4 cup Milk
6 Tbs. Vegetable Oil
1 large Egg, separated
2 Tbs. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Heat the oven to 200°F and heat the waffle iron. Mix the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Measure the buttermilk, milk, and vegetable oil in a Pyrex measuring cup; mix in the egg yolk and set aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg white almost to soft peaks. Sprinkle in the sugar and continue to beat until the peaks are firm and glossy. Beat in the vanilla.

Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until just mixed. Drop the whipped egg white onto the batter in dollops and fold in with a spatula until just incorporated.

Pour the batter onto the hot waffle iron. Top with cooked bacon and shredded cheese. Cook until the waffle is crisp and nutty brown (follow the manufacturer's instructions for timing at first and then adjust to your liking). Set the waffle directly on the oven rack to keep it warm and crisp. Repeat with the remaining batter, holding the waffles in the oven (don't stack them). When all the waffles are cooked, serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Officially Cool Shades


When I make important purchases, I prefer to get my grubby hands on the merchandise so I can feel it out. I make sure the quality, shape, size, and ergonomics are just what I want to feel fine and dandy about spending the moola.


After searching for months for the perfect sunglasses, I finally realized that I wasn’t going to be able to feel them up before buying. No store I searched had glasses that even remotely resembled what I wanted. And if we got close on the shape, they were always polarized.


Do you know how impossible it is to see cockpit indications when you have polarized glasses? Nothing can be seen inside. Sure, it protects the sun from burning my retinas (or does it?), but I can’t see a dang thing for flying the airplane.


That could be seen as a problem by some.


So last week I finally broke down and ordered some online. I did plenty of research, but this time with reading reviews and articles instead of playing with them in person.


Sean Tucker wears these sunglasses. So does Patty Wagstaff. They are two of my favorite aerial stunt show pilots, so I knew I was on the right track when I learned about VedaloHD.


I’ve held back on buying sunglasses for a long time. It seems like the more I spend on those eye-protector things, the more likely they are to fall on asphalt. Or was that just me imagining it?


But with constant squinting going on in flight and while driving around the Valley of the Sun, I knew I had to do something to keep my eyes safe and keep crows feet at bay.


They arrived last week. I waited all day for the UPS guy to show up. I heard the truck two blocks away and stood by the door like an official creepy lady.

I carefully ripped open the box…it was a big risk to buy them sight-unseen. When I opened that massive and impractical blue case, my heart sang! They were perfect!


And I’ve been wearing them ever since. I really love them. I love that they are aviators without screaming such. I love that they are super-lightweight and can barely be felt while being worn. I love that the side ear pieces are purposely thin enough to sit comfortably underneath my headset while I’m flying.


I just absolutely love them.

And I’ve been wearing them constantly, with no regrets. Getting them on sale helped in that regard, I’m sure, but it just feels so great wearing these beauties that are also protecting my eyesight. If you’re in the market to look cool, these glasses can help. And I would highly recommend them!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...