A little baked Brown Betty

Last week it was National Brown Betty day, inspiring me to take some spare apples and make this last weekend while waiting for the wife and kids to get back from camping (though is it really camping still if they’re out in the rain and mud the whole time?).

  • 8 slices of bread, diced
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 4-6 apples
  • @1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 and butter a baking dish. I used an 8×11 and this recipe almost overfilled it (but then as it baked, settled down).

Slice the bread into strips, then again into cubes. Slice the apples (I made thin wedges). Place half the bread in the baking dish, followed by half the apples, half the brown sugar (I tried to get a decent, even coating), and then about half the butter (fwiw, my butter was still cold, so I sliced the butter and placed the slices, um, strategically?).

Next layer, the same – bread, apples, sugar, butter.

Cover in foil, bake for 45 minutes.

Pull out, remove foil, return and bake for another 15 minutes.

When I took it out, I sprinkled some cinnamon on top. Nothing measured or overwhelming, just a sprinkle to add some flavor. We ended up eating this 5 hours later, rewarmed, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I’d tell you about day two, but it barely survived that long.

My new computer is in :)

My iMac came in Thursday night, and most of my free time Friday was spent transferring files and tweaking it. I know pundits out there will mock me for this – iMac’s aren’t the cheapest of computers, and Apple users have a bad reputation (almost as bad as Windows users if you’re in the Linux crowd). My path to being a mac user stems from my Linux background, to be honest – I get the power of a command line that does what I want it do without pretending, but I also get the eye candy and functioning apps. Win-win.

This computer isn’t for work, or for work related tasks – in fact, its very much the anti-work computer. This is the home of my stuff, a place for me to write, create, and do. The nice thing is that the software I’ve invested in over time is still usable and transferrable – my iMac has every app I’ve paid for available for use, making the transition that much easier.

Of course, the first comment from my wife when I announced it was finally done being set up – “So we can get rid of the boxes of PC parts that we’ve been holding onto for years, just in case?” 🙂


New iMac
New iMac editing this post 🙂
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Last second gift ideas for your sci-fi & fantasy loving geek

Christmas Presents
Christmas Presents (Photo credit: stephbond)

I wish I could say this was prepped to be posted days and days ago, but earlier today the post I had meant to schedule (my closed for the holidays message) was sent up instead of being held, so all bets are off on whether there will be more blog posts before I shut down. In thinking about writing this post, I discovered that these lists are all the more fun because they are thinly veiled attempts to let you all know what we really wanted. Here are a few things I thought of for the discerning shopper that realized while driving over that they didn’t get you anything, but happen to have both their smartphone handy, as well as the superb taste in reading my blog. They are awesome for it.

  • E-Mag gift subscriptions. Lots of choices here. While I champion Clarkesworld a lot, truth is there are plenty choose from. “But why pay when they can get them for free, Mike?”  Because I said so? No, that doesn’t even work with the kids most of the time. It’s true, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and other online magazines provide most if not all of their content for free. But buying a subscription supports them to continue providing (and paying for) content, so it’s a win win for your giftee.
  • Daily deals. Not to favor one ebook seller over another, but Amazon has really been hitting it out of the park this weekend. Prince of Thorns, Theft of Swords, etc. have been on sale as ebooks for special $2 prices. Great reads for great costs is a win for everyone.
  • Heifer. Because nothing says last second gift giving love like the gift of bees. Swarming. Or a goat, I guess, but really, I like the idea of giving bees in the name if a loved one. Organizations like Heifer are only too happy to provide a digital thank you to your loved ones for the gift given in their name, and your helping someone become self sustaining. Don’t like that? There’s plenty of other, reputable charities that are worthy of your attentions too, like the Population Council, which helps improve the health and education of folks in need in other countries.
  • Gift certs. I know, how impersonal, but really, do you know the intimacies of your loved ones in this modern age? Do you know for sure that they don’t have – or want – that cd or book? No, not really, not when they could have succumbed and bought it for themselves in the time it took for you to go for. The start of this blog post to here. But a gift cert for Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Xbox, iTunes, what have you, can be applied to whatever they really want. The only prerequisite I suggest here is that you pick something they will like and use. An iTunes cert for someone that doesn’t do Apple in any way might not be too nice, just like Xbox credits for a PS3 owner will run afoul.

Just remember when sorting through these gift options that the spirit of the season (unless your season is welcomed with the airing of grievances) is in sharing it with the ones you care about, even if that includes a walrus named Fred.

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