Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fast & Easy: Watermelon Sherbet

Ok, so this actually takes a lot of time to get everything to freeze up properly.  But, hands on time, it only takes 5 minutes or so.  And no churning! So I am classifying this as both fast and easy.
I needed something to do with a quickly over-ripening watermelon -- since it is just the hubby and me at home and he won't eat watermelon (kinda weird, right?).  This stuff is creamy sweet and tastes like summer!
It is based of Martha Stewart's recent recipe for Peach Sherbet.  Using the same basic recipe, you could make any kind of sherbet you want from fleshy fruit (i.e. I'm not sure how stuff like citrus would turn out... but if you try it, let me know!).
You'll need a food processor, probably -- though you might be able to get away with a blender.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gift Idea: Constellation Table Runner

I realize I haven't posted anything in over two months!  Mostly, I am aware of this because my mom has been reminding me every other day.  So:
This one's for you, Mom!
But really, this was literally for her.  I gave my mom this table runner for Mothers' Day.  She loves the stars.  I often think she wishes I would have been an astrophysicist instead of a biophysicist.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gifts for Travellers: Pinning Map

You may or may not know, but the traditional first anniversary gift is paper.  WAAAAY, back when, the hubby and I had just completed our first trip out of the country and I wanted to give him something to commemorate our trip.  So I decided to give him a map that we could put more and more pins in as we had more and more trips. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Thaw food faster ... with the power of science


I have a chest freezer and I love it. But for some reason, it always takes at least 24 hours for stuff to thaw in my fridge -- and I am not really great about remembering to take stuff out of the freezer the night before. So, I generally take something out the morning I plan to use it, and come home from work to find it still frozen solid.  Then we end up eating cereal for dinner... 
I could always leave the item at room temperature to thaw but that is unsafe.  Or I could use the microwave defrost setting but I think that gives food an odd taste and texture (and besides, some of the containers that the food is frozen stuck to should probably not be microwaved).
So, cereal it is...
Except, the physicist in me knows better!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fast & Easy: Perfect Cornbread

 I love recipes where you are done with the active part before your oven even heats up. And, as my husband says, the answer to "Would you like some cornbread?" is always "Yes!" So, here's my favorite cornbread recipe that always turns out perfectly moist on the inside and nice and crisp on the outside. And it has a great corn-y taste! Here I make muffins but I also love this as a cake (made in a skillet or in a normal cake pan) and as pancakes (though I would add a bit more milk to the batter for pancakes).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Forgiving DIY: Gifts for Geeks

My father is, without a doubt, a computer geek. So, for his birthday this year I made him some prints of technical diagrams from important patents from computer history -- namely the vacuum tube, the transistor, and the integrated circuit. Happily, these documents are in the public domain if the patent is expired (that's the whole point of public disclosure), and the diagrams are pretty easy to find. You could do this for any of your giftee's interests related to inventions (automobiles, motorcycles, tools, cameras, food packaging, watches, airplanes, music equipment, firearms... you could go on and on!).  I aged the paper so this would also be really attractive with botanical prints, architecture, or bugs... I am really into bugs lately.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Forgiving DIY Projects: Gumball Machine Terrarium

It's been a long winter and I am dying to get out in the garden.  Since that stinking groundhog says we have another century or so of winter left, I am having to make do by potting (and re-potting) around the house.  So today we are doing another terrarium.  There is no shortage of gumball terrarium tutorials on the web, but they really are incredibly easy.  I slapped mine together a few years ago with some plastic wrap to protect the gumball machine and no drainage to speak of so I thought it high time to redo mine in a reasonable manner and to add a little variety of plants.
 I highly recommend stripping out all the innards of the machine, leaving only the base, the globe, and the top.  Then fit an old plastic container to the space in the base (a Chinese take-out soup container worked well for me) and cut it so that the top of the container sits just below the rim of the base (so that the globe will sit correctly in the base).  If you want to do this really well, you would probably seal the meeting between base, container, and globe with some sort of sealant (preferably clear).  I didn't.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fast/Easy: Pie or Tart Crust

I used to hate the crust. Of any crusted dessert.  But when I started making them myself, and flavoring them to my taste, I really began to appreciate them.  Really.  I could almost do without the filling. Almost.

My favorites tend to be rolled crusts for pies or crumb crusts from cheesecakes and tarts but lately I have really been hankering shortbread.  And I love this crust because it is easy (you can't really overwork this dough like you can with most rolled doughs), it is super fast, and it uses ingredients I always have on hand.  There is nothing worse than getting all prepared to bake something and then realizing you are out of graham crackers or chocolate wafers.

 Ok... there's really a whole lot in the world  that is worse than that, but it still is pretty frustrating.

This is an incredibly easy recipe that yields a buttery, tender, cookie-like crust. I love it!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Avoid Road Closure Delays

It is March in Middle America after a particularly rough winter.  To me, that is not heralding spring (we've got a few more weeks here before I get to venture out into the garden), but the beginning of road construction season.  Since I drive on the interstate more than your average Joe, this is more of a self service announcement - but I will pretend that it is a public service.

We can solve the problem of construction delays WITH THE POWER OF SCIENCE!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Forgiving DIY: Pot & Pan Storage

We don't have a terribly small kitchen.  But I have a ton of kitchen stuff.  So I could always use more kitchen space.  A while ago I got really sick of unstacking ten different pots and pans (and lids!) every time I needed one so I knew I needed a hanging solution.  But the ceilings in my kitchen are pretty low, so hanging from the ceiling was certainly not an option.  We did, however, have a kind of awkward area across the island from the main work triangle area.  Normally I would use the wall space to hang pretty, pretty pictures, as I do with almost all the wall space in my house (funny story: I've been trying to do posture exercises, but I can't find any bare wall space to do them on!  I think I may have a problem...) but this turned into the perfect place to hang my pots and pans.


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