Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies (Gluten Free)

Original recipe:http://www.averiecooks.com/2013/01/peanut-butter-chocolate-chunk-cookies.html

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This is my new favorite cookie recipe! I made the original, peanut butter, recipe for Christmas and it was a huge hit with my family. I was really impressed at how perfect the texture was; I wouldn’t guess that they were gluten-free. I’m just not that into peanut butter cookies, so the flavor wasn’t my favorite. (Although, I did have people who swear they don’t usually like peanut butter cookies love these.)

The almond butter version are made of deliciousness. They don’t taste strongly of almond; the taste and texture are just like a normal chocolate chip cookie. They are crisp and chewy and sweet and chocolaty and perfect.

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1 cup Almond Butter (the kind with almonds as the only ingredient)
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 large Egg
1 T Vanilla
1 t Baking Soda
100 g Dark Chocolate Chips (I use 60% cocoa bittersweet chips)

Mix all but chocolate chips together in a mixer, then stir in chocolate chips.
Form into balls, about 1 T each.
Refrigerate overnight.
Bake at 350° for 8-10 min.

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Posted in Gluten Free, Recipe | Leave a comment

Frappes

Twisted Bean

  • Caramel Toffee Crunch Frappe
    • “Loads of caramel, espresso, toffee, milk & ice blended – topped with whip cream & toffee bits
    • Coffee flavor is on the strong side for me
    • I feel like this has more caffeine than some others
    • small: 16 oz

Dunkin’ Donuts

  • Frozen Dunkaccino
    • “Treat yourself to the creamy, chocolatey, coffee indulgence of the Frozen Dunkaccino”
    • I love this
    • I’ve tried the Frozen Mocha Coffee Coolatta; I can’t really pin down the difference, but I like the dunkaccino better. It’s richer, or  chocolaty-er, or something.
    • Very mild coffee flavor
    • caffeine: 13mg in coffee coolatta, 56mg in 12 dunkaccino
    • small: 16 oz, 400 calories (300 cal/12 oz)

Cold Stone

  • Mocha
    • “An iced blended coffee drink with fudge and whipped topping”
    • Good, very rich
    • small: 427 g, 460 calories

Dairy Queen

  • Midnight Mocha Ultimate Frappe
    • “Coffee blended with ice, soft serve, cocoa fudge and choco chips with whipped topping and a garnish.”
    • I was hoping for more ice cream from Dairy Queen
    • The chocolate chips were good, more shavings that chips so they weren’t hard
      • maybe too many chocolate chips (blasphemy, I know – but there were a bunch left a the bottom of the cup, and they kept clogging my straw)
    • Barely taste the coffee
    • I think I’d go for this if I wanted chocolate chips, but not if I just wanted a drink
    • small: 12 oz, 490 calories
  • Oreo Cookie Ultimate Frappe
    • “Coffee blended with ice, soft serve and OREO® cookie pieces with whipped topping and a garnish.”
    • Very, very rich. Can really taste the oreo. Maybe too rich/sweet.
    • I just tasted it, I’m not sure I’d want to drink a whole serving
    • small: 12 oz, 490 calories
  • Mocha Moolatte
    • “Coffee and rich fudge blended with creamy DQ® vanilla soft serve and ice, and garnished with whipped topping and a chocolaty drizzle.”
    • Very rich. Almost too rich. I don’t think I’d order again.
    • It was less like a smoothie or milk shake, and more like melted ice cream with too much chocolate sauce
    • small: 12 oz, 460 calories, 35mg(16oz)

Mc Donald’s

  • McCafe Frappe Chocolate Chip
    • “Made with an indulgent blend of sweet caramel, chocolate chips and a hint of coffee. Topped with whipped topping and a double drizzle of chocolate and caramel.”
    • I’ll be honest, this is how I got started on frappes, and coffee drinks in general
    • The chocolate chips used to be awesome when they started, but now they just use regular mini chocolate chips
    • small: 500 calories
  • McCafe Frappe Mocha
    • “Made with rich chocolate flavor and a hint of coffee, our Frappé Mocha is blended with ice and covered with whipped topping and chocolately drizzle. Available in Small, Medium, and Large.”
    • Too strong coffee flavor
    • small: 420 calories
  • McCafe Frappe Caramel
    • “Made with rich caramel flavor and a hint of coffee, blended with ice, and topped with whipped topping and caramel drizzle. Available in Small, Medium, and Large.”
    • Not bad, I like the chocolate chip better
    • small: 420 calories

Panera

  • Frozen Mocha
    • “Chocolate and an icy coffee blend topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.”
    • Not bad. A bit more coffee flavor than I prefer.
    • 16 oz, 540 calories, 199mg caffeine

Scooter’s

  • Patriot Blender
    • “Show your patriotism by savoring this caramel, white mocha, and mocha blender in pride. Bald Eagles may fly overhead while you sing “I’m Proud to be an American” in between sips.”
    • Stronger coffee flavor than I like, but that might be my fault – they asked if I want espresso and I said yes
    • small: 348 calories
  • I intend to try them again

Caribou Coffee

  • Chocolate Cooler
    • “Coffee blended with ice and premium chocolate – dark, milk or white. Topped with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle.”
    • I tried this once and I did not like it at all, way too strong coffee flavor, I didn’t even finish it.
    • small: 550 calories

Starbucks

  • S’more Frappuccino
    • “Returning favorite S’mores Frappuccino® Blended Beverage starts with marshmallow-infused whipped cream and a ribbon of milk chocolate fudge, and adds a creamy blend of milk chocolate, coffee, milk and ice. Finished off with more marshmallowy whipped cream and graham cracker crumbles. It’s yummy, marshmallowy and summery.”
    • Delicious, but insubstantial.
    • I love the flavor and the texture – it has a good balance of chocolate, graham cracker, and marshmallow without the weird texture drinks with graham crackers sometimes get.
    • The perfect amount of coffee flavor for me.
    • On the downside, the amount of fluff from the marshmallow makes the whole drink seem a bit insubstantial.
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 320 cal, 50mg caffeine
  • Midnight Mint Mocha
    • “The new Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino® Blended Beverage swirls extra dark cocoa with Frappuccino® Roast coffee, milk, ice, and cooling mint sugar crystals, and is cut with a layer of whipped cream. Topped with more whipped cream and a dark cocoa dusting. It’s bold, rich and refreshing.”
    • Confirmed: I do not like mint + coffee
    • “Tall” 12oz, 310 cal, 55mg caffeine
  • Caramel Frappuccino® Blended Coffee
    • “Buttery caramel syrup meets coffee, milk and ice for a rendezvous in the blender. Then whipped cream and caramel sauce layer the love on top.”
    • I’m not sure I really like the flavor. I would like it to be more caramel.
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 300 cal, 70mg caffeine
  • Mocha Frappuccino® Blended Coffee
    • “Mocha sauce, Frappuccino® roast coffee, milk and ice all come together for a mocha flavor that’ll leave you wanting more.”
    • I like it. Skirting the edge of too much coffee flavor; I think it would depend on my mood.
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 290cal, 75mg caffeine
  • Caramel Light Frappuccino® Blended Coffee
    • “Buttery caramel syrup is combined with Frappuccino® roast coffee and nonfat milk, then blended with ice. Sip up the same awesome taste, just with fewer calories.”
    • There was something weird about the taste. Not terrible, but I won’t get again.
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 100 cal, 65mg caffeine
  • Java Chip Frappuccino® Blended Coffee
    • “We blend mocha sauce and Frappuccino® chips with coffee and milk and ice, then top with whipped cream and mocha drizzle to bring you endless java joy.”
    • Tasted pretty good at the time, but there was a weird wax aftertaste
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 340 cal, 75mg caffeine
  • Caramel Cocoa Cluster Frappuccino
    • Toffee nut syrup, blended with coffee then topped with caramel sauce, whipped cream and a mocha drizzle. More than a classic flavor combo it’s a flavor collision of chocolate, nuts and caramel.
    • I love this
    • Strong toffee flavor – nutty and buttery
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 330 cal, 65mg caffeine
  • Mocha Light Frappuccino® Blended Coffee
    • Mocha sauce, coffee and nonfat milk is blended with ice. One sip and your tastebuds will do the mochamotion.
    • Weird, bitter aftertaste. Gets a bit better as I drink it.
    • “Tall” 12 oz, 110 cal, 70mg caffeine

Arby’s

  • Jamocha Shake
    • “Before Arby’s hand-crafted the Jamocha Shake, there were no other coffee and chocolate shakes in the world. And now, it’s drizzled with real Ghiradelli chocolate. Just another one of Arby’s many contributions to the world of indulgence. “
    • Delicious shake. Almost no coffee flavor.
    • Small 413g, 540 cal, 11.6mg caffeine (16 oz)

Cinnie Smith

(Iowa State Fair – between Little Hands on the Farm and the baby animal building)

  • “Iced Cappuccino” with real ice cream
  • It is a lot closer to a milk shake than a coffee drink – but that’s the way I like it.
  • The perfect amount of coffee flavor for me. Essentially, this is my ideal.
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Worm Bin

I made myself a worm bin!

It all started, many years ago, when my college roommate and I spent an unreasonable amount of time looking at worm bins at the state fair. We eventually made the wise decision that spending over a hundred dollars on a worm bin for our college dorm wasn’t the bestest idea ever.

Much more recently, I was browsing the internet looking at gardening things and wondering what the best medium would be to grow things in for my container garden. I would love to compost – but traditional composting isn’t really feasible in an apartment. But vermicomposting is!

I did a an excessive amount of research and decided to build my own bin instead of buying pre-made. Partially because of cost, partially because of custimizablity. Space is at a premium and I really wanted to make sure my bin could fit under my sink.

I took my measurements, and a measuring tape, and went shopping. I got two identical bins for under six dollars each. Opaque, because light is not good for worms.

I drilled some holes in the bottom of one bin for drainage and in one lid for air. The bin with the drainage holes nests inside the other one.

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I prepared bedding for my worms by tearing up a bunch of newspaper and wetting it down. I also threw in a handful of dirt and some leaves fallen from my potted plants.

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I ordered my worms online, and waited impatiently. The box my worms came in was kind of beat up, and I was a little worried about my poor worms, but they were just fine. When I opened the bag they were wriggling all over the place.

I dumped my worms into their new home, and added a bit more water to moisten their travel bedding.

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Now I just have to let them settle in to their new home then I can start feeding them scraps!

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About $12 for the bins, $36.94 for the worms, a borrowed drill, and shredded news paper. Overall, by worm bin cost me under $50.

Posted in Crafts, Plants, Worm Bin | 1 Comment

Cheap, Easy Drip Irrigation

Here’s a puzzle: Given a patio full of thirsty plants, how do I keep them all watered?

I started out the usual way, hauling buckets, and watering each plant.But, as the weather got hotter and the plants got bigger (and I kept adding more plants), they needed a lot of water. Eventually I was using two five-gallon pails each morning, and some of my plants were dry by evening. I didn’t even get a reprieve when the weather was wet; my patio has a full roof so the plants barely get any water from the rain.

I got tired if not being able to skip a day, and worried about my plants surviving if I was out of town for a few days.

I started looking into drip irrigation. The main problem here is that most of those systems hook up to a hose, and I don’t have an outdoor faucet. The systems I found with a reservoir required putting the water tank higher than the plants. That is difficult when the plants that dry out most quickly are hanging or on the patio rails. Even if I rigged something high enough and stable enough, I would still have trouble lifting buckets of water high enough to fill it.

Also, a lot of those systems are expensive.

I found some automatically watering examples where you put a reservoir higher than the plant, then run a cotton string from the water to the plant. I tried this a few places with mixed results. It worked a couple places, but usually the string would just dry out. I never managed to isolate the conditions that determined if it would work or fail.

I came across a few products that attach to the mouth of a bottle. You would fill the bottle, screw one of these on, then shove the bottle upside down in the pot. After looking into those, I realized that all they provided was a small hole for the water to drip out of. I have straight pins – I can make my own holes!

I could poke a hole in the lid of a bottle, but then I would have to pull the bottle out every time I needed to fill it. So, I poked a couple of holes in the bottom of the bottles, pressed them as far into the pots as I could, and filled them up with water. I found that if I left the lid on, I needed to also make a hole near the top of the bottle. Other than that, it worked beautifully.

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In the beginning, I screwed the lids back on every bottle every time, to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in them. Eventually, I just left the lids off and let the run completely dry a couple times a week. With the lids off, it’s easy to fill the bottles with a watering can.

There were some pots where I couldn’t get the bottles down in far enough into the dirt to keep them from tipping over. For those I poked holes in the side of the bottles, kept the lid on, and set them in the pots sideways. I put two holes in the side facing the dirt and one on the side that would be facing up. Next year I will be incorporating the bottles into the soil as I fill the pots.

I had mixed results with half gallon milk jugs. When they worked they were great: good stability and good size. But, the holes tended to close up or get clogged more easily than other bottles.

Another thing that worked really well was plastic baggies. Fill with water, poke a hole in one of the sides, and set on the soil. It is a great short term solution, but long term the baggies got kind of gross, with stuff growing in them.

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The biggest challenge was my topsy turvy planter. I especially wanted to set up the self watering for this, because I was having a hard time giving it the right amount of water. It was tricky, because there wasn’t enough open soil at the top to fit a water bottle. If I used a container that mostly set on the plastic, the hole wouldn’t touch the soil and it wouldn’t drip right.

So, I built a specially shaped water-er. I cut the top off of a party favor size bottle of bubble solution, cut a whole in the bottom of a plastic tub (it once held peanut butter), and attached them with plastic epoxy (noxious stuff, seriously only use it outside).

 

I found that it is important the the hole in the water container is in contact with the soil. If there is a gap, the water flows too quickly.

More photos: https://goo.gl/photos/yepoBZ89f58CJcKS9

 

Posted in Patio Garden, Plants | Leave a comment

School Colors Knit Hats

School Color Hats

I have three cousins who are siblings who each went to a different one of the three state colleges in Iowa. This year I made them each a hat with the colors of their school.

Lion Hometown yarn. The yellow is Pittsburgh Yellow for each.

Size 11 needles

Knit in stockinet, my basic hat pattern (knit about 8 inches, decrease by 6 ( *k4, dec*, knit row, *k3, dec*, knit row, ect. until dec every stitch, cut yarn, pull through, seam)

Cyclone Hat

Tampa Spice (red)

CO 38
6 rows per stripe

Hawkeye Hat

Oakland Black

CO 44
6 rows per stripe

UNI Hat

Portland Wine

CO 44
I tried uneven stripes. I wasn’t as pleased with the results as I hoped to be.

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Refugee Vetting

Let’s be clear on one thing: The refugee vetting process in the United States is already ‘extreme’. It is the most difficult way to get into the country, and by turning away people who have already been through this onerous process, we are not making ourselves safer, we are just hurting them.

The current travel ban would not have stopped the September 11th attacks. There have been NO fatal terrorist attacks in the US committed by anyone from ANY of the countries currently banned. There have been no fatal terrorist attacks that have been committed by refugees since the current vetting process has been in place.

And while we are at it, the Trump travel ban is completely different from when Obama limited immigration in 2011. What Obama did in 2011 was to temporarily halt processing of refugees from Iraq in response to a specific incident. The difference is that it was a narrow action in response to a specific threat, and it didn’t lock out people out whom we’ve already welcomed in.

There’s a post going around Facebook, something about “I don’t lock my door at night because I hate the people outside, but because I love the people inside.” But, if I had a renter, someone who I had lived with for years and was on good terms with, would I be justified in changing the locks and barring the doors while they were out? If my neighbors house was caught fire, in the middle of a snow storm, wouldn’t I open my doors and welcome them in? Right now, we aren’t locking out strangers, we are slamming the door in the face of friends.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” Matthew 35:25

References:

Posted in Politics, Refugees | Leave a comment

Folly Cosplay: Apron

“She wore an apron – but it looked to be made of leather, and was burned in several places, a smith’s garment rather than kitchen wear.”

I started my costume research online. I found some nice smith’s aprons with the look I wanted, but they were all way more than I wanted to spend. (Probably reasonable if I was actually working in a forge.) I started checking thrift stores for something I could cannibalize for leather-like fabric. I found a nice leather jacket half-off at Goodwill.

I ripped the seams and reassembled it into an apron. The body of apron is the back of the jacket – I got a jacket large enough that I only had to shape it instead of piece it together. I only really had to shape the curved sides on the top. I hemmed all of the edges, but I was able to keep the original hem at the bottom.

The strips for the neck strap and waist ties were cut from the sleeves then stitched on. The waist straps included the sleeve seams, for stability. The neck strap is made of two strips, sewn together with two seams.

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The burn marks were harder than I expected. I took a box of matches, some paper, and a bucket of water out to a corner of the parking lot with the apron. If I just lit a match and held it to the apron, or set it on the apron, it wouldn’t scorch the leather. The best solution I found was to set a match on the apron, then use a second match to light it. Sometimes, I would pile a few matches together, so it would burn longer. I had to be careful not to let it burn too long or else the leather would pucker more than scorch.

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