Monday, August 30, 2010

[recipe] Black Bean Mocha Brownies

I tried out this recipe I found about a month ago on 101 Cookbooks. It has the benefit of being free of wheat, and most everybody liked them, but I think most people are addicted to coffee a lot more than I am.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (slab or powder)
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well (canned is fine)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (granulated) natural coffee substitute (or instant coffee, for gluten-sensitive)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs
1½ cups light agave nectar (works just the same as honey)

Melt chocolate with the butter. Then blend the first list of ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Whip up the eggs with the nectar and incorporate half of the mixture into the bean batter.

Line a cookie sheet (with walls) with parchment paper and spread with the mixture. Pour the remaining egg and honey on top and run a toothpick through for a marbling effect. Bake at 325 for 30-45 minutes. Let cool and set before cutting.


Now, like I said, everybody loved them, except for me and Dan. But neither of us really drink coffee. Next time, I plan on using only a bit of the instant coffee instead, since the chocolate is already bitter. I'm also going to try some other sweetener (probably plain light brown sugar), since the agave nectar was ridiculously sweet. There was a very odd dynamic between the bitter and the sweet, where they seemed to accentuate each other, instead of mellowing themselves out.

Also, they had a great consistency, though I wasn't completely sure they were cooked enough, and you really can't tell they are made of beans unless someone tells you.

I'm a mother to be...

is most definitely not "I'm joining the Roller Derby" (which is what I actually said). My sister almost had a heart attack. But yes, I am excited! I drove to Harrisburg on saturday, and Rowan and I bought skates ^_^ My laces say I (less than three) nerds (which would have been even awesomer if the heart was actually a less than three) and I skated around campus a bit that afternoon, getting ready for LARP. (hey, I swear I tried to do my homework in the car, until I got carsick...)

This weekend was full of other fun things, too, like the Grange Fair. If you live in Rural PA, you MUST go to a fair. This involves looking at a bunch of animals the 4H kids raised, seeing a souped up tractor pull, and eating everything you can imagine that can fit in a deep fryer. I've been on a diet for the past month and lost five pounds specifically so I could eat a fluffer nutter and strawberry crepe, deep fried cookie dough, pierogies, cheese sticks, beef jerky, fried chicken on a stick and the most amazing potato chips. Yeah, I regret nothing (but my intestines beg to differ) except for not getting the Oreos, which were my original plan.

Things that were fun, but for all the wrong reasons, involved watching Last Airbender (and watching Craig almost cry), and heckling Eclipse (which was surprisingly better than the other two, combined). I'm really taking advantage of the dollar theater.

Other good things: The original TRON. For some reason, I'd never watched it before. I love how people used to view computers thirty years ago. Before this, we went for a brisk hike through Millbrook Marsh, and I saw this really cool yellow ladybug!

Also, my boobs can finally be crammed into a 36DD! It is so nice to fit into commercial bras (that I can try on in the store in this town). I've bought eight in different colors and shapes ^_^

Even better: tomorrow I get to go to skating practice again!!!

ETA: Skating from the parking lot to my office (about a mile of hills and students) is a lot more of a work out than I was expecting it to be. I am beyond soaked XP

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Roller derby, here I come!

Like I probably mentioned in my last post, I went down to Harrisburg on sunday to their homecoming bout, and really caught the bug. So in the hour and a half that it took me to get home, I managed to figure out that Williamsport has been trying to start up its own team for the past couple of months! Long story short, I convinced two other friends to go to practice on monday night with me ^_^ (If Tiff ever sends me the pictures, I'll up load a good one of me on my ass)

The best and most exhausting part was the end of practice, which they called 25/5. This means that they expect me to skate 25 laps in 5 minutes. I can't even jog for 5 minutes! But I did manage to skate on the outside of the track without killing myself and get a whole 14 laps (I'm going to estimate that it would have been 17 if I was on the inside of the track :P) I'm proud of myself, and the big cramp I have in my ass ^_^

So yes, I had my first Fresh Meat experience!!! I was using the pads for my fighting armor (which really stink and don't stay up by themselves) and rental skates (which are completely sucktastic) and still managed to have a wonderful time. Soooo we decided that we are joining :D We are going to keep going on monday nights, and then add thursdays in september, and since there are three of us (four if I can pull Rown's ears enough), carpooling will truly diminish individual gas costs.

I spent my lunch hour yesterday looking for gear, which State College is severely lacking. The few places that sell skater gear had been emptied out when students moved in last week, and nobody sells skates. So we need to go to Harrisburg (preferably before the 12th, which is their next bout) to buy skates ^_^

On another note, today I spoke with a guy that is in charge at SciEd, and he said that all I need to do to get a Secondary Physics Teaching Certificate is to take five classes in one year, and then student teach for another semester! I only have to take specifically Ed classes, since all my degrees count for the topic specific classes ^_^

Life is good. Oh, and I've been working on my horrible YO socks. The more I try to knit the Crazy Zauberball, the more I hate it. It is constantly splitting on me, and I feel like I'm ripping out the 25% nylon with every stitch :/

Also, I need a name.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lisa, it's my birthday! Happy birthday... uuu... me!

Last wednesday was my 30th birthday!!! I am very excited about this fact, and the week I had ^_^ It started on friday the 13th, when I was informed that I got an NSF fellowship, CarbonEARTH, where I get to teach science to 4th or 8th graders!!! I re-enrolled in the PhD program (I got my MS last may) and now I really want to take some teaching classes (maybe work towards a teaching certificate). There's a class called "History, Philosophy, & Sociology of Science and Science Teaching" that just sounds beyond amazing! Now I just need to badger the teacher to let me take it.

Tuesday was also cool, since I played soccer and then got fondue. I love fondue! We are actually going to celebrate tomorrow, since many people were out of town or exhausted. Then wednesday, several cool people came out to karaoke with me! I made a proper fool of myself and had so much fun ^_^

Someday there will be a video here, if they let me upload it >.<

Thursday and friday were a bit less cool, since I had to do actual work, mainly beat the NMR into submission and chase people around for my re-enrollment. But then I went kayaking on saturday! Wow I'm in pain. I went to a really cool party that night of another girl that turned 30, where we got stickers on our back and had to guess what/who they were. I always love these kind of things. Then sunday was The Roller Derby :D

HARD had their homecoming bout, where they pummeled NJ 212-93. It was amazingly violent and full of time outs! And now I seriously caught the RD bug. I was already thinking of driving the hour and a half back on wednesday for Fresh Meat night, when a friend told me Williamsport has a brand new team. I emailed them as soon as I got home, and they responded! So I'm driving there after work today (only an hour, and no mountains) to get a feel for how serious they are about it. I'm still really pissed that the Craigslist ad I found several months ago didn't go anywhere. But hey, I am totally going to make this happen now!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

knitting [meme]

Here is a knitting survey that is going around that I shamelessly stole from hairballz.

Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Afghan/Blanket (baby)
Garter stitch

Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up

Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting – seems overrated
Participating in a KAL
Sweater - in progress
Drop stitch patterns

Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn – if I ever get off my ass and look for something decent.
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
- interesting...
Domino knitting (modular knitting) - does entrelac count?
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting - what is this?
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing

Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn

Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting - well, I do Eastern European
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns

Publishing a knitting book
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money

Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting

Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors

Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars - I have some going...
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit - anybody who cares already knows by now
Knitting for a living – that would be amazing

Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art - psh
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO

Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO

Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items

Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn - unfortunately
Writing a pattern

Intarsia – didn't this already come up?

Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine

Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets

Knitting with dog/cat hair - well, I'm at the spinning phase
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

It was funny seeing how similar my list was to hers. And as she noted, there were a lot of things that weren't mentioned.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ballistics gel ^_^

This was a very fun, very redneck sunday! On monday, Dan and I mixed up 14 oz of Knox gelatin in 1 gallon of distilled water, very, very slowly, and added a couple of drops of tea tree oil (for its antimicrobial properties). We got to shoot it sunday morning ^_^ I'm the only female voice on the video, and I giggle a lot.

We shot a couple of pistols at first, going clean through the gel (we were using it because one of the guys wanted to reclaim the lead), but it was all worth it when he shot it with a WWII Russian Army Surplus rifle (.44?) and the thing jiggled like there was no tomorrow ^_^ That's my target, and I am very proud of it. It was my first time shooting pistols. The larger holes were from a .45 automatic, and the smaller ones are .22 revolver.

Later that afternoon, we took Isilzha to Harrisburg to a Roller Derby Fund Raising Punk Show. It was a blast. The absolute best part was the dinner that we had downstairs at the Appalachian Brewing Co. Their vegan burger was to die for! I mean, yeah, it's not a burger, it's beans in a patty shape, but it was so good! I had an apple and cheddar grilled cheese that was very yummy, and the desert we had was really good, but I couldn't believe how amazing the onion rings were. They were perfectly well fried, no gooey batter at all!

I also tried on a corset at the show from Brute Force Leather. They make most of the corsets that get sold at PA events. Well, back fat is period. Unfortunately, I just want a bodice I can wear in this century without needing the period excuse. I'll post the picture Dory took of me eventually. The guy told me they make custom and Elizabethan shapes, but all I could find on their website were variations of Victorian hourglass shapes :/ Oh! And I found The Joy of Cooking for $1!!!

I'm glad this was all a great distraction from not going to Otacon. Next week, I'll be not going to Pennsic by going to a 3 year old's birthday party in Frederic, MD.


This is me in all my Mad Scientist glory. Well, I'm wearing my lab coat, at least. I've been slacking a bit (ya think?) with my posts, so this is a 4-in-1 no-poo post! (I love how my hair is growing out and finally getting big!)

Friday 16, three weekends ago, I had a (final) date with the Hair Sniffer, so I was too self consious to rinse with vinegar. I also poured way too much BS into my mug, so I had to find a new approach. I deposited a few pinches on my scalp around my dry head and then rinsed with hot water, and followed up with (gasp!) Head conditioner. Now, it's supposed to be all hippie and awesome, and I really wanted soft hair for my failed date, and it came out quite nice.

The problem, though, was the next week, when I tried to do the same dry pinch method. You know how every spring issue of a fashion magazine will tell you to spray salt water in your hair to give it texture and beach waves? Well, that's what i got. The BS seemed to stick a bit to the conditioner from the previous wash, and my hair ended up Very Texturized.

It wasn't until last tuesday when I washed it again, also with the pinches of BS on dry scalp. I rinsed it out in the tub (I was exhausted from playing a lot of soccer) and then with hot water from the shower. I followed it up with a 1:4 white vinegar and water mix, and my hair came out better, but didn't feel as clean as I had felt it in the past. All three times with the pinches of dry BS felt a bit lacking.

So today I finally took the last portion of BS in my mug and added really hot water. I poured this on my dry scalp, combed through, and rinsed with very hot water from the shower (this is the key!). I followed it up with the 1:4 vinegar rinse, hot shower water, and cold shower water. I finally feel like I got all the residues out, my scalp feels clean, and my hair feels soft and not dry. And I think the 1:4 is enough to give me the benefits of vinegar, without smelling like a walking salad. This is definitely the combination that I like the most, though I'll probably not use the vinegar every time.

As soon as Eliot posts the video, I'll tell you guys about the rest of my sunday, balistic gel and all!