Monthly Archives: March, 2006

Chocolate Belgian Waffles

Chocolate Brunch Waffles

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Toppings (whipped cream, chocolate shavings, sifted powdered sugar, fresh fruit, ice cream)

Directions

  1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.
  2. Microwave morsels and butter in medium, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100 percent) power for 1 minute; stir.
  3. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth.
  4. Cool to room temperature. Stir in milk, eggs and vanilla extract.
  5. Add chocolate mixture to flour mixture; stir (batter will be thick).
  6. Cook in Belgian waffle maker* according to manufacturer’s directions. Serve warm with your choice of toppings.

[Editor’s Note:] As a child one of my favorite things to have for breakfast was waffles. Unfortunately, we didn’t own a waffle iron so I almost never got to have them. Ariesna and I have had a waffle iron for a while now but our attempts at making waffles have been… less than entirely successful. We had been buying those box mixes at the store but the waffles made from them always sat like lead in our stomachs. Yesterday, we were talking about trying to make waffles again. Since I’ve had such good luck with AllRecipes.com; I went to their site to search for waffle recipes and found bunches of them. I copied several into an email and forwarded them to Ariesna. This morning she went through them and decided to make these Chocolate Brunch Waffles. They turned out scrumptious. Though I do have a couple of caveats about this recipe.

  • Be very careful not to overcook them or they come out crunchy.
  • The recipe makes a great many of the waffles. Come hungry or have something you can freeze them in.
  • While very tasty, these waffles are still have something of a bread-like texture and aren’t as light/fluffy as the ideal waffle should be.

Firefox Extensions Every Body Should Have

According to the Mozilla/Firefox crew, extensions are…

Extensions are small add-ons that add new functionality to Firefox. They can add anything from a toolbar button to a completely new feature. They allow the application to be customized to fit the personal needs of each user if they need additional features, while keeping Firefox small to download.

I’m going to discuss my favorite extensions here with you. I’ll be starting with the extensions I feel nobody browsing the web today should be without and then move onto some extensions that are a bit more specialized in their application.

Advertisements

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I get very tired of looking at all the various advertisements plastered over the internet. Fortunately, there are extensions for Firefox which help to clean up the web. To block advertisements, I start off with Adblock Plus. This extension lets you setup filters to block just the ads you want to block. The “Plus” version of Adblock also allows you to setup whitelists so you can view ads on the sites you want to support. The only downside, to Adblock Plus, is the time it takes to setup all the filters you want. This is where Adblock Filterset.G Updater comes in. The FiltersetG.Updater grabs a set of preconstructed filters designed to eliminate the majority of Internet advertisements for you. Using these filters alone kills 85-90% of the advertisements out there. But even those two combined don’t catch everything, so I’ve also added in NoScript to the mix.

Actually, I added in NoScript originally because so many sites were using crappy javascripts to add “features” to their pages. Features I did not need or want. But since installing NoScript, I’ve noticed it helps to block a lot of advertisements that are inserted into webpages via javascript. Bonus! 🙂 Also in NoScript’s options, there is a checkbox to have NoScript block Macromedia Flash and other plugins for untrusted sites. I recommend turning these options on as it will catch & block even more advertisements.

Annoyances

Especially if you don’t use NoScript to block a site’s javascript, you should consider installing Allow Right-Click. A number of websites with cool images will use some lousy javascript to prevent you from right-clicking on the image to save it. This is ridiculous as the image has already been downloaded to your browsers cache and is on your computer already. Plus with some of the other extensions I have installed, I like to right-click on webpages to get more info or whatever and to have a site try to block me is a great annoyance. Allow Right-Click specifically blocks scripts that try to prevent right-clicks.

Another annoying thing some websites do is to link to file you want to download but setup the link in such a way that clicking on it will spawn a new browser window. *grrr* This is something that really pisses me off. Fortunately, there’s the Disable Targets For Downloads extension for Firefox to take care of that problem.

Then there are sites that will write out a URL but not make it a clickable link. Linkification fixes that annoyance for you. It can also color code those links it fixes to let you know when a site is being naughty.

And let’s not forget the annoyance of PDF Files. For whatever reason, some sites will put up content as a PDF file and then your browser will1 load the Acrobat plugin to view the PDF in the browser. ARRRRGGGGHHHH! When I want to view a PDF file, I’ll use a proper PDF viewer and not this plugin crap. PDF Download changes Firefox’s behavior so it asks you what you want to do with a PDF fileL Download, View as PDF, View as HTML or Cancel. The View as HTML feature hasn’t worked for me in a long time, but it’s nice to force Firefox to download the file while still having the option to go insane and want to view it as a PDF file in my browser.

The last of my annoyances with the internet are sites requiring you to register to view their content. I run across this the most when trying to view news articles linked to by Google News. Fortunately, there is BugMeNot to take care of that for me. BugMeNot is both an extension and a service. They maintain lists of usercodes/passwords for various registration only websites to allow people to view the content without filling out yet another registration form and giving out their email yet again. It’s very convenient though I’m sure the sites requiring registration hate it.

Web Development

In my spare time2, I like to do small amounts of webdevelopment and for that there’s one Firefox extension which is an absolute MUST HAVE, Web Developer. This extension has tons of features to aid you in your webdev work. The features I use the most are: Live CSS editing (let’s you see your changes as you make them), W3C Validation (submits your HTML/CSS to W3C to see if your code is valid) and Resize (resizes Firefox so you have an idea of what people see of your site at various screen resolutions). While those 3 functions don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what this extension can do; they do give you an idea of how useful this extension is in webdevelopment.

Next up is ColorZilla. This extension is great for helping me decide on color schemes. It let’s me visit a website or look at a photo and find the hexcode I need to use in my CSS to have that color. Current versions also have some other functionality (e.g. full page zoom) but I’ve not really looked into those.

When you’re working on a new design and times are not lining up correctly, it can be handy to see how wide something is. MeasureIt helps you get that info.

If the design you are developing is based off some ideas you got from another site, it can be handy to look at a copy of that site’s source code. But sometimes their source code is very confusing and it is difficult to figure out how they accomplished specific effects. The X-Ray extension shows you the HTML tags of a webpage while you’re still viewing the page.

And of course, if you’re working on a website, you are going to be concerned with how well your site is showing up on the various search engines. SEOpen lets you track your site’s ranking (amoung other things).

Foreign Langauge Tools

I only read English and speak a small smattering of other tongues. But I do have a variety of interests including some that tend to get reported online more by non-English speakers. So it’s handy to have the ability to translate the other langauges back to English. Moji is an integrated Japanese dictionary (including kanji). I’m sure when I get ready to start studying to read kanji, this extension will prove very helpful. In the meantime, there’s Translate Page for all my foreign langauge needs.

Cool Tools

These extensions either improve on the basic functionality in Firefox and/or add something new to Firefox that trips my trigger. They’re cool, but I’m getting tired of coming up with something to say about all of the extensions I use, so here’s just a list of the remaining ones:

Themes

I find the default theme for Firefox a bit dull. Fortunately, there’s a wide number of different themes available out there. I generally use the Mostly Crystal theme for Firefox. However there are some other interesting themes out there and below is a short list of ones I like:

1 If you have Adobe Acrobat installed.
2 Which is to say very rarely these days.

Inquire Within

During a recent business trip, I found out some co-workers and friends of mine had put together a comedic short film. The film tells the story of a young woman with some relationship troubles going to a professional philosopher to find the answer. I thought it was pretty funny. And as there is a copy of it over at Google Video, which will autogenerate the HTML code necessary to embed the video on my own site; I figured I’d add it here. Click the more link below to watch the video.

Continue Reading

Yeeouch

Over the weekend, Ariesna and I went to the CPL to check out their latest book sale. She got a bit ahead of me looking around as I was carrying out picks. I was about to move to the next room to catch up to her when it happened. Suddenly I felt a sharp, red-hot pain stabbing into my back. I managed to get over to Ariesna and set the books down, but it was something of a close call. We left the library shortly after that to go home and set me up with a heating pad. A bit of heat, some back pain meds and my back was feeling better. I took the day easy sitting down, reading a book.

I was still mighty tired the next day. Every time I had turned over in my sleep; I was half awakened by pain in my back. But awake eventually I was and into the shower I went. I’d just finished my shower and was drying off when another spasm ripped through my back. This one was much worse and nearly sent me to my knees. Ariesna came back and helped me. Then she called the doctor’s office and made an appointment to get me checked out. I spent the rest of the day lying down on a heating pad.

Monday, the doctor checked me out. He prescribed some pain killers and a muscle relaxant. He also set up an appointment for me to visit a physical therapist. That appointment was earlier today. The therapist was a really nice lady. She had me describe my problem. She then had me go through a series of stretches and movements to help her figure out exactly what is wrong. She told me she believes one of the discs in my spine (in the border area between the lumbar and thoracic) has a small tear.

She immediately moved to reassure me this is not something that will require surgery. I don’t think I was looking at her nervously, so I’m not entirely sure why she leaped to get that bit of information out. Though if I were to guess, I would say most of her patients are considerably older than I am and they do not like even the hint of possible surgery.

Anyway, she instructed me in doing a couple of light exercises designed to ease the tension in my back and which should improved the blood flow along the damaged area. She said these exercises should be enough for my back to heal itself correctly. Provided I keep in mind for my back to heal properly, I have to be extra cautious about it for a couple of months. She recommended I think about the damage like it was a broken bone. Even if I am feeling 100% in a few days or a week, I’m still to take it easy on my back.

Whee, such fun. Ah well, at least I haven’t promised to help anybody moving anytime soon. :p

Are you part of my crew?

Firefly
You scored as Serenity (Firefly). You like to live your own way and don’t enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Serenity (Firefly)

94%

Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)

81%

Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)

81%

Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)

75%

SG-1 (Stargate)

69%

FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)

69%

Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)

63%

Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)

63%

Moya (Farscape)

63%

Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)

63%

Enterprise D (Star Trek)

56%

Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)

44%

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
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