A Simple Chair That Rocks

Jul 28, 2010 by

Check out this awesome rocking chair that generates its own electricity while you rock.

It stores the electricity you generate by rocking in its battery pack for later use.  Brilliant

via ilikecool

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Cleaning out the closet

Jul 20, 2010 by

Paper Clips

I recently finished up a remodel of my office.  It wasn’t a big huge project compared to other remodeling projects, but it gave me a good excuse to clean out the office closet which had become a catchall for a lot of stuff.

Now that the room is (almost) done, the closet is clean, organized, and I was able to donate, give away, or sell so much stuff.   My office is clean and organized and its an amazing feeling.  Here’s how I did it.

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Truly the Best Blueberry Muffins Ever

Jul 9, 2010 by

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Don’t you just want to eat your monitor when you see that blueberry muffin?  That is the best blueberry muffin you have ever seen, and it tastes even better.  Do yourself a favor and go get yourself some fresh blueberries right now.  You will want to make these as soon as you can.

These are the best blueberry muffins in the world.  I made too many of these and planned on giving away several to neighbors, but instead I just ate them all.  Thats how good they are!

Lets begin…

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Ingredients:

Crumb Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

Muffin Batter

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pint of blueberries that have been rinsed, drained, and picked over

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Grab a bowl and start adding the crumb topping ingredients.  Add 1 Cup of flour.

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add 1/2 cup light brown sugar.

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add 1/2 tsp. baking powder

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add 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

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add 6 tbsp. unsalted butter

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mix it up with a fork until it looks all beautiful and crumbly like this.  Don’t eat this.  Even though it looks and smells so good.

Ok, set that aside and lets make the muffin batter

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In another bowl mix the muffin ingredients.  Add 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

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add 2 tsp. baking powder

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add 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg and 1/4 tsp. salt

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Stir all those ingredients together.  Now grab your mixer and get ready for the next step.

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add 3/4 cup sugar into the mixer bowl

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add 1/2 cup light brown sugar

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Add 2 eggs

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add 8 tbsp. (1 stick) softened unsalted butter

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finally add 1/2 cup milk and set up the  electric mixer with the paddle attachment.

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Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute, or until well mixed and a little lightened in color.

This is also a good time to get the oven started.  Set rack to the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

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slow down the mixer speed to low and add in the flour mixture.

What?  You don’t have an autographed picture of Michael Muhney on your fridge?!?  Go watch Veronica Mars right now.  You will love it.

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Rinse and clean off the blueberries.  Separate them into 3 parts of 45%, 45% and 10%.  Add in the first 45% the blueberries and mix with the mixer for just a minute so some of them break up and you get that great blue juice.  Fold in the second 45% of the blueberries so that they are well mixed in.  Keep the extra 10% off to the side for now.

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Grab your muffin tray.  We just got this really cool one at the Crate and Barrel outlet.

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Spray the tray or put in your muffin liners and start filing them up

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looking good!!!

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Add that last 10% of blueberries to the tops of the batter

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Now grab that awesome crumb mixture that you forced yourself not to eat and start spooning it out over the muffins.

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This is messy and fun

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Ok, now throw them on the middle rack of the oven and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

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Here are my helper dogs Keaton and Monty.  They decided to play together at my feet in the kitchen.  Well actually the little one decided to play on top of the big dog and the big dog had no choice in the matter.

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When its done the topping should be all golden brown and amazing like this

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Oh yummy

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Seriously, I ate so many of these.

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But how could I not?  They turned out so great!

Take advantage of summer and go out and get yourself some fresh blueberries and enjoy them.

And in case you are wondering where I get all my recipes from.  Many are old family recipes, and many are varriations of recipes I find online.  I like to use Google image search to find good recipes.  Its got to look good if its going to taste good.

This recipe was a slight variation from one that caught my eye on Gather and Nest which is a very cute blog with a lot of great stuff on it.

Ben…

Go out and bake something beautiful and send me a picture

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Get out and do something fun

Jul 5, 2010 by

Now that summer is here (even though  we are still in full June gloom mode) I hope you will take the opportunity to get outside and have an adventure.

We threw some gear in our packs, called some friends and went out on a last minute backpacking adventure to Cedar Creek Falls and the Devil’s Punchbowl just outside of Julian.

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The hike in was easy as it was all downhill.  We got a little lost and took a couple slightly dangerous shortcuts but thats all part of the fun.

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We camped out by the creek and gazed at the stars that night.

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The next day we hiked down to the bottom of the falls and swam in the punchbowl.  The water felt so good and the rope swing was a blast.

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The hike home was some work.  It was all uphill and in the heat of the afternoon.  We brought lots of water and took some breaks to let the breeze cool us off.

We stopped just outside of Julian to get some amazing sandwiches and found a fudge place that sold jalapeno fudge which was ridiculously good so we bought some.

Once we got home, showered and unpacked we were exhausted.  We had plans to go visit family up in LA but that turned into napping on the couch with our puppies.

We had a blast and I hope you take some time to have a last minute adventure this summer.  Just throw some food and water  in a bag and go for a hike.  Get outside and enjoy the beauty.

Ben..

See all the photos from the hike

Directions to Cedar Creek Falls and the Devil’s Punchbowl

To reach the falls, just drive to Pine Hills Road where it intersects with Highway 78, about one mile west of Julian and turn right. After 1.5 miles on Pine Hills Road, bear right on to Eagle Peak Road.  After 1.4 miles, veer right again, staying on Eagle Peak Road. Next comes 8.2 miles of winding dirt roads which can become muddy and slippery in wet weather. At the end you will come to the Cedar Creek Falls Trailhead. You must obtain an Adventure Pass (parking permit) which is required by the US Forest Service on all national forest land. It is $5.00 for a day pass and can be purchased at most local sporting goods stores.

Hiking distance is 4.5 miles, round trip. Hiking time is about 2-3 hours out and back, depending upon your level of fitness. Elevation gain/loss is 1200′/1200′. Some hikers have suffered from heat exhaustion during the summer months, so be sure to bring extra water at all times. Dogs are welcome and the terrain is easy to moderate but again make sure you include plenty of extra water for your pets also.

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Beef and Broccoli

Jul 1, 2010 by

IMG_0155As I was tending the garden I noticed the broccoli was just starting to come in.  That made me crave some good good beef and broccoli so I made some for dinner.

This is a pretty simple recipe but it does require a few things you may not have on hand. Check out the ingredient list to make sure you have all that you need.

This is a very tasty recipe,fun to make and quick to cook, but its a bit of prep work so lets jump right in and get started.

IMG_0082Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound flank or sirloin
  • 3/4 pound broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

The marinade for the meat

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce (found in the Asian section of the supermarket)
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

First we have to make the marinate for the meat.

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1 teaspoon soy sauce

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1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine

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1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

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1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
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Mix all that together and set aside.
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Now take that flank steak and notice that awesome grain running through the stake.

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We are going to cut against that grain into slices.

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mmmm pretty meat…

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Add the sliced up steak with the marinade and set it aside while we prepare the sauce.   You want to let this marinade at least 10 minutes.

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2 tablespoons oyster sauce (found in the Asian section of the supermarket)

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1 tablespoon soy sauce

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1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine

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1/4 cup chicken broth

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Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

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Now we want to chop up our broccoli .  This parts important.  Watch this video for inspiration.

Now we want to pre-cook the broccoli just slightly.

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add the broccoli to a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes then drain and set aside.

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mince up your garlic

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One more thing we need to get ready before cooking.  Add the teaspoon of cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of water.

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Stir it up, set it aside and lets get cooking

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Time to cook the beef.  Heat up a pan or wok over high heat.  Add your oil and throw the beef in.  Spread it out into a single layer and let it cook for one minute then flip over.   When you flip it over add the garlic and cook for another minute.

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Pour in your sauce, broccoli and bring the whole thing to a boil.  Add in the dissolved cornstarch mixture and stir as the sauce thickens for another 30 seconds.

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Thats it.  This recipe is more prep than cooking, but its all fun and super tasty.

Please leave a comment and let me know how this recipe went for you

Ben…

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