ice cream making and ranting

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pumpkin + Cream = <3

I’ve really been into side-by-side comparisons lately. I don’t get to do it much, but I always want to. In my head, there’s a party brewing, somehow.

Yesterday we had Dreyer’s, Double Rainbow, and my own home made pumpkin ice cream.

This was the first time my home made ice cream was by far worse than store bought. Granted I didn’t know what I was doing and then I accidentally poured in too much rum, but I think I’ll be shying away from squash ice cream in the future. Mine was a strange texture, I think because I didn’t have a fine enough sieve to strain out the large nutmeg bits. And I don’t think I remembered to use ginger.

Dreyer’s was the winner of the day. I’m not sure why, but it had a better texture than other Dreyer’s flavors, fluffy and smooth. And it’s a really satisfying light orange color (see picture of cone below). It’s just the right amount of sweetness, and spice, and not squashy at all. It has all the standard pumpkin spices but the ginger stands out from the crowd. YUM.

Double Rainbow was quite surprising. As an alternative, super premium, from a brand that cares about cow hormones, and makes a soy ice cream, you’d a expect more of a natural flavor. The first thing both my sister and I tasted was sweet. And it’s a bit overwhelming, because compared to the color of Dreyer’s, it’s darker and more pumpkin pie-like. It’s not usually useful to compare a super-premium with a premium, but for 27g of sugar to Dreyer’s’ 14g, it’s quite a difference. The flavor is good, and the stand out spice is nutmeg. It’s also very unsquash like. I would probably be all over it if i didn't taste it next to the Dreyer's.

I was unable to get my hands on Thrifty's brand pumpkin this year.

As an added bonus, Lydia tipped me off to Noah’s Bagels pumpkin selections. I wasn’t able to get my hands on a pumpkin bagel, but the Pumpkin Cheesecake Shmear is really fantastic. Quite possibly better than pumpkin ice cream. The color is a little darker than I would have liked. But, the flavor is fantastic, I couldn’t imagine it being better. The texture is like any Noah’s Shmear, which I think is a bit too light for the texture of their bagels. But, boy, is it delicious! What a Halloween treat! It's a toss up between the Shmear and ice cream. But I'll go on record saying that it's better than pumpkin pie.

Online Educational Database

Mostly this is just for me. But, if you have a research question, try this site a as a place to decide where to start.

Research Beyond Google: 119 Authoritative, Invisible, and Comprehensive Resources

When I was taking the reference class, sites like these kept me entertained for hours.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Really, Happy Halloween

Cone, Kone, Kon

mmm, pumpkin
cutest vaccuum ever
grumpiest lion ever

In case you're wondering, yes, my sister carved that herself. It's not just a picture I pulled off the internet. As far as I can tell, I'm the first person on flickr to have a kon pumpkin.

Candidate wants to arm students with thick books

I don't know what to say...

A candidate for state superintendent of schools yesterday said he wants thick,used textbooks placed under every student's desk so they can use them for self-defense during school shootings.

"People might think it's kind of weird, crazy," said Republican Bill Crozier of Union City, a teacher and former Air Force security officer. "It is a practical thing; it's something you can do. It might be a way to deflect those bullets until police go there."

Mr. Crozier and a group of aides produced a 10-minute video Tuesday in which they shoot math, language and telephone books with a variety of weapons, including an AK-47 assault rifle and a 9 mm pistol. The rifle bullet penetrated two books, including a calculus textbook, but the pistol bullet was stopped by a single book.

I'm just waiting a few years for the smear campaign when they dig up video of him shooting books and call him a hick who doesn't value education.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Good stuff only I like

So much good stuff happens in the world while I'm too busy to pay attention.

Check out the top 15 Fat Cats on the web.

Actually, the entire neatorama blog is good.

And the next BSC graphic novel came out a bit ahead of schedule. To celebrate I may break down and get this BSC shirt.

And for really boring pictures that don't actually include me (or any people, really) from my trip to Monterey, check out my flickr set

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Monkey Elf Pirate Pizza Public Library

Just got back from an awesome library conference, and I have tons of stuff to catch up on. I should have a few interesting links posted this weekend. Until then, visit the best Flickr pool ever.

Monday, October 16, 2006

La Palma Chicken Pie Shop

Everyone knows of my disdain for travel, really, even going so far as to leave the county is a bit much. It really is a different world out there. But my recent venture out to Orange County was well rewarded by the kinds of differences worth having.

The La Palma Chicken Pie Shop is my new favorite restaurant. I don’t think any one place has ever made me so happy. I drove past it one night when the neon sign was on, and I knew I had to visit. And it so exceeded my expectations, I can barely form sentences just thinking about it.

You walk in, under their crazy neon chicken pie sign, into the bakery. There are glass cases filled with diner sorts of cakes, and pretty traditional looking cookies and cupcakes. Good, solid food, nothing too fancy, the way grandma cooks for special occasions.

And just when I’m not expecting things to get any better, they usher us into the diner. Not some lame new diner made to look retro, and not some old diner they updated 10 years ago and haven’t kept up. This place is straight out of the late 60’s/early 70’s. The place is brown. The curtains are shades of brown and gold. There are macramé plant holders. There’s a lunch counter and plenty of booths. And everything is in great shape.

We give the menu a once over, but we know we have to have chicken pies. And for about $7 you get salad or coleslaw, your choice of soup, your choice of potato, rolls, chicken pie, and your choice of dessert. Surely, this is too good to be true. But it is true!

The salad was just a small dish of iceberg. Whatever, diners aren’t supposed to have good salad. The chicken noodle soup was the start of the greatness. A strange yellowy-orange color, but delicious and creamy and just the sort of thing I like.

Then dinner came. Check out this guy’s review. My plate looked an awful lot like his, with slightly less sauce, I think. The chicken pie people are clearly after my heart, an entire plate covered in delicious yellow-orange sauce. The chicken pies are just that. Delicious fork tender crust wrapped around chicken pieces. No veggies, no filler, just flaked off chicken, not even those creepy chicken cubes that Marie Callender is so fond of. The mashed potatoes were the perfect compliment. Although, I will admit the fries tasted pretty good in the sauce too.

As I was eating, and trying not to be overcome by the sheer amazingness of my situation, some people came in. They were regulars. The waitress knew who they were, and what they eat and about their lives. And I vowed I would become a regular, someday, somehow. And that was before the dessert.

I was pretty full, but determined. There was a lot of choice of dessert. Pudding, jello (oh diners, how quaint), ice cream, pie, possibly cake? They had boysenberry pie, and that’s something I just can’t refuse. It definitely holds its own against Knott’s, it was a bit tarter (good), and a little less thick (not as good), but definitely good.

I am in love. And I’ve vowed to quit the library business and take over the chicken pie business if I ever hear of it being in trouble. Anytime you’re ever in Anaheim, the chicken pie shop is well worth the stop. Even if you’re not in Anaheim, it’s worth the trip. Anytime anyone wants to go, just call me.

Later in the day we found ourselves at the Block at Orange, only to find a bit more strangeness. At least 30 deaf people outside of Starbucks signing to themselves. And not the shut-in sort of deaf people. Stylish, I might even say thugged out, young people enjoying themselves despite the drizzle, and breaking every deaf stereotype I could think of. It was pretty cool.

Pumpkin update #2

Ben and Jerry’s Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream: They’re selling this at scoop shops, not prepackaged I think. I sampled it at the Block at Orange this weekend. And BLEH! I’m glad I didn’t fork over any cash. It’s very definitely pumpkin cheesecake flavored, not pumpkin with cheesecake chunks, or anything that has the possibility to be good. At first you taste the pumpkin and spices, then that cheesecake flavor takes over. Do yourself a favor, stay away!

Jack in the Box Pumpkin Shake: I haven’t tried a Jack in the Box shake since they’ve gone all Carl’s Jr and started serving them with whipped cream and cherries. And if pumpkin is any indication. Thumbs up to them. I tried a pumpkin shake last year and it was a vanilla shake with the tiniest bit of pumpkin flavor mixed in. Very disappointing. They’ve managed to redeem themselves this year. Probably the best find of the season.

Ralph’s bakery Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies: I’ve been meaning to try these for a long time. So I finally broke down and did, after trying the best oatmeal raisin cookie I’ve ever tasted made by them. And the pumpkin was a huge disappointment. The cookie texture was nice and cakey the way I like it. But the flavor was way too much pumpkin and not enough spice. The cookies stuck together in the package because they were too greasy. You don’t need me to tell you how gross pumpkin colored grease spots look attached to the clear package. Also, they put mini chocolate chips in the cookies, and they had the weirdest consistency, like the chips were burnt, but the cookie was fine. Thumbs down for Ralphs. However, the Oatmeal Raisin is delicious, spiceful, and also raisinful.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

All your library...

...are belong to us?

Now, it's nice when the librarians who "get it" try to explain it to the rest of the folk. But really? In 2006 do we need a 5 page article (6 when you include the title) about the history of All Your Base as an example of an amatuer video phenomenon? Especially when it fails to cite anything current? Can anyone remember the last time All Your Base was relevant to anyone?

Honestly, Illinois library school alumni newsletter, you have no chance to survive. Make your time.

I'm a bad cat pusher

They'll never let me be a librarian if I don't start blogging more about my cat. I should have been posting a steady stream of kitten pictures. But here are the best of the best.

Happy Halloween

I wanted to wait, but I just couldn't. My adorable cupcake makes a beautiful ballerina. Too bad she makes evil growling noises whenever she sees her fancy new outfit.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's October

It’s now well into October, and you know what that means: the launch of many, many fall flavors.

I think it’s pretty well documented from last October that in my head I like pumpkin, but what I really love is the cinnamon/nutmeg/allspice fall combo.

So, let’s start in on my list so far.

I started early this year. After watching the Food Network $10,000 Cookie Challenge, I made 3 spice cookies in August. Yum! The Spicy Ginger Whoopees actually had pumpkin in them but lacked some nutmeggy goodness in favor of pepper. They were however, good and dark tasting, with a nice texture. But, Emily’s Spiced Ginger Cookies were the best tasting. You can’t beat the simple ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg combo.

Late last month, I made a pumpkin ice cream. It’s pretty tasty, but I need a better strainer, the texture is a bit off. And it’s hard to compete with Thrifty’s pumpkin ice cream, even though mine does have gingersnap bits.

At that time I pulled out the bottle of Torani pumpkin spice syrup I bought a little while ago when BevMo was having a sale. I was excited and nervous as I added some to my coffee. Turns out there’s a lot more pumpkin and not enough spice flavor. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the rest of the bottle. Any suggestions?

And that brings us to this week. Sunday I found myself at Starbucks. Their pumpkin latte is back, and just as disgusting as ever, I imagine. But also, new to the US (but not new to Canada) is the Maple Macchiato. According to this, it’s good enough to make people rake leaves for you. I couldn’t bring myself to try it just yet. If I can work up the courage, I’ll just pour some log cabin into a cup of coffee and go from there. Now, I love syrup. In moments of weakness I’ve been known to dip my eggs and sausage in syrup. And you drink coffee with all of those things, right? In theory it sounds good. But I can’t have another disappointment like the pumpkin latte.

Meanwhile, the crappy 7-11 that I frequent (it doesn’t even stock Benedryl ) has added the Pumpkin Cheesecake Latte to the frothy drink machine. Last year it was called Pumpkin Spiced Latte. And it’s a bit different this year, not as good I think. Luckily, it doesn’t have that bizarre fake cheesecake flavor. Mostly the fake cinnamon flavor comes out, not enough other spices. However, this year it’s smoother than before. There used to be bits of stuff left at the bottom of the cup. Now, nothing.

I have to get myself over to a Circle K and see if they have the pumpkin cappuccino from last year. I think that was my favorite from last year, too bad there isn’t one close.

I have yet to try the new Jones Soda Flavors, but that’s really a group activity. Let me know if you’re up for it. Meanwhile, read the spoilers here.

Feel free to use this comment space to alert me to anything you’ve noticed this year.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mind if I check you out?

Apparently, Target is selling this Naughty Librarian Costume. It's a bit pricey for what it is, but I just might need one. You know, librarians make novel lovers.

Also, don't forget to check out my other love, women who pop out of cakes.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's a small world

I just spent a little time over at youtube, and it seems that some "real" lolitas have taken quite a dislike to my booktalk. I had to delete about 20 comments, and made the decision to turn off comments completely. None of them chose to use correct grammar. Or even any kind of grammar at all. I'm pretty sure a real lolita would be much more elegant, and not so into personal defamation.

Meanwhile, because I'm so fabulous, it seems this murder mystery company (scroll down to "the mingles") has decided to hijack my blog post about my company X-mas party as part of their advertising. I'm just about to delete it, but I'll give it a a few days so you guys can revisit. It is totally uncool to use someone's personal blog to promote yourself when the blog post isn't even about you. These people should be ashamed of themselves.