Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category


Nixie Tube Clock: Guest Blog Post

November 30, 2013

To wrap up my month of posting every day, I’m happy to present a guest post from my husband!


Jill asked me to contribute to her blog with a post today.   I’m more of a maker than an art/craft or baker-person, so I’ll share one of my geeky projects with you:

I designed and made a Nixie tube clock.   Nixie tubes are from the bygone era of vacuum tubes, but there’s been a resurgence of interest in them over the past decade-how retro!  Many of us have never seen one of these tubes actually functioning.  Each tube can display a digit from 0-9 based on which combination of connections on the bottom of the tube are connected to a high-voltage supply.      So, I found some tubes and decided I’d turn them into a clock.    I designed a small 8-bit computer to run the clock and put it all together in a half-open assembly (guys like to see the guts of things).

Here’s a picture of the finished clock:

Ryan's nixie clock

Ryan’s nixie clock

I designed and debugged the circuit boards, built them, programmed the computer and put it all together.     I have many more details here, including the circuit board designs, and the source code for the software that runs the clock. Enjoy!  How’s that for something different?


Girls’ Night, featuring Salted Chocolate Pretzel Toffee, Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies, and more!

January 15, 2012

Last night I had some friends over to watch a movie, chat, and eat. While I was planning what to make and making my grocery list, I saw this recipe for Salted Chocolate Pretzel Toffee, and immediately put it on the menu. I’m a sucker for sweet and salty, and if the salty component involves pretzels, all the better. It’s so easy to make, and dangerously tasty.

I didn’t want to serve just one dessert, so I also made Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies. I saw these cookies in Real Simple Magazine and was intrigued by a variation that called for mixing in 1 cup of broken pretzel pieces and 1 cup of chopped chocolate-covered toffee bar after mixing the other ingredients (the variation was in the magazine, but is not included in the recipe that I linked to). I made the recipe that way the first time and it was delicious. This time, since I already had a pretzel dessert on the menu, I added mini chocolate chips, which was also delicious. How the heck these end up looking and tasting like cookies amazes me, but they’re good, so I’m not going to question it.

And there was cotton candy!

Last summer, my friends found out that I had a cotton candy maker, so I knew the next time I had them over, I better serve cotton candy. My husband is the expert cotton candy spinner, so we let him do the work! I don’t make cotton candy very often, but it’s a fun activity once in a while.

It sounds like this was an all-dessert gathering, but it wasn’t. Actually, the star of the show was Pioneer Woman’s Olive Cheese Bread. Oh my gosh, this was an olivey, cheesy, buttery delight. The full recipe makes a ton, so its good for a gathering, plus there’s a tip for freezing it at the end of the recipe. I sent my friends home with some extra bread and topping so they could assemble and bake their own at home.

I’m a little sad that I gave away all the leftovers of the Olive Cheese Bread, but not too sad, because I have leftover Baked Chicken Meatballs. When I was thinking about what to make, I somehow got fixated on meatballs. I’m not sure if I’ve ever made meatballs of any kind before; if I did, it was a long time ago. So where the meatball idea came from, I don’t know, but I took a look on Smitten Kitchen and decided on these. I made them appetizer size (about 1 tablespoon each) and got 30 meatballs. They tasted great!

I didn’t get photos of the savory food, but if you click over to the recipes, you’ll see photos that are a whole lot nicer than what I would have taken. I also made Baked Potato Skins with Creamy Spinach and Turkey Bacon, which I’ve written about before, and Pioneer Woman’s Sangria, which I’ve also written about. We would have had a good time even without all of the food, but I enjoyed making it and they enjoyed eating it, so I think girls’ night was a success!


Butterscotch Almond Cookie Cups and Classic Hot Fudge

September 6, 2011

One thing that I really like about The Perfect Scoop are the non-ice cream recipes – the mix-ins, toppings, and vessels. Most of the time, a bowl of ice cream is more than enough to make me happy, but sometimes I like to go the extra mile and dress it up.

See the Trivial Pursuit game in the background? I lost.

So, to go with my beloved Roasted Banana Ice Cream, I made Butterscotch Almond Cookie Cups and Classic Hot Fudge. The cookie cups are crisp, buttery, and are a fun way to have cookies with your ice cream. I’ve made hot fudge before and didn’t think it was anything special; this recipe is a keeper. It was thick and smooth and so satisfying mixed with a bite of cold ice cream.

Recipe notes:

  • I think the cookie cup process is similar to making tuiles…but I’ve never made tuiles! I was able to work quickly enough to get four cups molded before they hardened. For the second and third batches, I did have to re-heat the batter to make it soft enough to spread on the parchment.
  • I made 1/2 of the hot fudge recipe, and used Jacques Torres 60% chocolate. After a gentle reheating in the microwave, it was just as tasty on the second and third days.

You can find the recipe for Classic Hot Fudge here on Google Books.

The Google Books preview doesn’t have the recipe for the cookie cups, but David Lebovitz has a similar recipe here on his site (scroll to the end of the post for the recipe). That recipe calls for pecans instead of almonds, and is slightly different than the one in the book.

Once you get going, it's not so pretty, but it's still tasty!


Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! On the theme of turkey, here are some turkeys in our yard. I always grab the camera and try to get a photo before the dog barks and scares them away. First up is the turkey family that was around a lot this summer.

Next we have some full-grown turkeys sauntering around on a rainy day.

And here is a whole gang of them last winter.

Enjoy the holiday!


No TWD for me, thanks to my bum knee

May 26, 2009

This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe is Chipster-Topped Brownies, selected by Beth of Supplicious. Chocolate chip cookie dough baked on top of brownies sounds delicious! But my knee is still out of service, so baking is not happening this week. I can’t wait to see what variations the TWD Bakers came up with!

Since I haven’t baked anything, here’s a photo of some lovely sweets I enjoyed for tea at the Chicago Peninsula Hotel.



Winter in Wisconsin

November 24, 2008

This is what it looks like this morning. I was more than a bit shocked when I got up!





August 11, 2008

Here are my tomato plants. I don’t know if they’re where they should be on August 11, but I’m happy with their progress. One small one that’s almost ripe and some larger green ones with potential!


First post

August 10, 2008

So this is it — the first post to my blog.

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