January 27th, 2005

More cookies

Made about 4 dozen jumbo cookies today (about 4 inches across). First batch was peanut butter and second batch was oatmeal chocolate chip. For the first I used a recipe off the net and tweaked it a bit. The second I used one of my mom's recipes. No notable oven mistakes this time, thankfully.

hserus just IM'd me that his wife has gone into labor. Everyone wish him luck!

Oatmeal Cookies

This is my Mom's Oatmeal Cookie recipe I used yesterday. She also has another recipe called "Famous Oatmeal Cookies" which I'll try later. Also want to make the traditional Oatmeal Raisin Cookies at some point. For this recipe I omitted nuts and used a 100g (7 ounce) packet of chocolate chips.

Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup nut meats (optional)
1 small pkg of chocolate chips (optional)

Sift flour, measure, then sift again with soda and salt

Cream shortening with sugar, beat in egg, mix in vanilla.

Stir in dry ingredients, then add oats, nuts, chips.

Drop by teaspoonfull on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven 10-12 minutes.

Peanut Butter Cookies

I looked at a few different peanut butter cookie recipes on the net but none of them really were to my liking, so I took a few different ones and kind of averaged them out. They turned out pretty good for just winging it. By the way, I said earlier that I don't like nuts in cookies, but the one exception is peanut butter cookies. They should be made with crunchy peanut butter so you get the bits of nuts in it.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 1/4 block) butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy recommened)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Sift or thoroughly mix together flour, soda and salt, set aside.

Cream together softened butter, sugar and peanut butter. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.

Slowly mix in the flour mixture and mix well.

Place tablespoon sized chunks on ungreased cookie sheet.
If you prefer thin cookies, flatten them with a spatula.

Bake at 350F for 12-16 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Installing goodies...

Finally got to installing the stuff I bought a couple of days ago. The shuttle box looks really slick now with the CD-ROM and keyboard all black to match the rest of the case. One thing I didn't notice is that the model I bought is a 'QuietTrack' model designed to be extra quiet during operation, and I'll say they did a good job at it. That combined with the quiet power supply and variable speed fan means the box is really really quiet. I'm almost tempted to make it my desktop and turn my current desktop into a fileserver. I'd need to upgrade to an AGP video card though.

The mouse is really nice as well. I exaggerated a bit in the previous post claiming it has 20 buttons. It's only actually got 7, but that's more than twice what I'm used to. Besides the standard left, right and middle/wheel buttons, it has two buttons on the side that by default do forward and back in your web browser. Above and below the wheel are 'cruise up' and 'cruise down' buttons that let you go up and down a page at a time or you can hold it down to scroll up and down really fast. And below that there is a button that by default lets you jump between apps quickly, but I reprogrammed it to do a copy instead. And on top of all the buttons, it also feels more responsive and smooth than my old mouse.

I had my new headset for Skype hooked up to the headphone jack on my speaker system and the microphone port on my sound card via an extension cable, but this left me having to plug in the headphone jack before answering a Skype call. Today I realized, duh, I have a sound card on my motherboard that I had disabled when I installed my add-in sound card (M-Audio Revolution 7.1, great sounding board). The sound quality of the built-in sound card is pretty mediocre, but for Skype it's more than adequate. So I went into my BIOS and re-enabled the built in sound card, rebooted, reinstalled drivers, then made sure the default sound card was the M-Audio one but that Skype was set to use the internal sound card. Voila, it all works, and now I can use my headset with Skype independently from the rest of the system which uses the good sound card. In fact earlier I was talking to my friend Greg in Vienna using Skype with the headset at the same time Emily was watching Dora The Explorer on the main speakers. Pretty nifty.

Today I got my ticket to see Dreams Come True in concert in Nagoya. My sister-in-law's friend in Tokyo helped me get it. I was hoping for the February 22 date since that would be more convenient, but it's February 23 instead. Now I have to figure out how to get from Kyoto where I'll be for the APRICOT 2005 conference to Nagoya for the concert. :)