Monday, November 24, 2014

Siblings Study Statistics

It's been pretty quiet here at Gnomicon.  But if you're wondering if we're still up to our usual shenanigans, the answer is yes.  For example, Bob and Sarah just collaborated on a post over at Medical Law Perspectives:
CDC Study Shows Skyrocketing Skin Cancer Costs; What Lawyers Can Learn By Examination and Persuasive Presentation of Statistics.
We even made illustrative bar graphs based on hypothetical data sets.  Yup, the family that critically reviews use of statistics in the public media together stays together.  Or some other catchy adage referring to the Common Core standards for high school math.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

I Might Have Invented a New Cookie

What happens when you volunteer to make cookies for a fundraiser at your kid's daycare and you discover at 10 p.m. that you're 1/2 stick of butter left?  You discover a whole new cookie: peanut butter bacon cookies with banana buttercream frosting.  That title is a mouthful.  How about Elvis Cookies?  Or if the Elvis Presley estate is concerned about that, how about King Cookies?  Salty, fruity, peanuty, bacony goodness.  You don't have to like the sandwich to love this cookie.

King Cookies
Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter
  • 1/2 C cold bacon grease
  • 1 3/4 C crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/2 C PB2
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 1 C packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • Cream together butter, bacon grease, peanut butter, PB2, white sugar, and brown sugar for at least 10 minutes. 
  • Beat in eggs.
    In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add your dries to your wets and mix slowly until totally combined. 
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight, or as long as you can stand to wait.
    When you're ready to bake your cookies, take the dough out of the fridge and let it reach room temperature. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350.  
  • Roll into 1 inch balls and set on baking sheets. Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand to about 5/8 inch thick.  You might have to push the edges back towards the center with your fingers if the edges break.  
  • Bake for about 14 minutes or until cookies begin to brown. Do not over-bake. Take them out and allow them to cool on the cookie sheet.

Banana Buttercream Frosting
  • 1/2 C mashed fresh bananas, not frozen (cold banana will make the butter harden)
    1/8 t citric acid (1/2 t lemon juice could be used as substitutes)
    1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 3 1/4 C confectioners' sugar
  • yellow gel paste food coloring (optional)
  • Mash together the banana, citric acid, and vanilla.
  • Cream the butter alone. Add half of the confectioners' sugar 1/2 C at a time, creaming it in completely after each addition.
  • Add the banana mixture. Take some time to cream this in, scraping down the bowl completely a few times to make sure the butter isn't separating and stuck to the side of the bowl.
  • Add the remaining confectioners' sugar 1/2 C at a time, creaming it in completely and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
  • Add the gel paste food coloring until the frosting reaches a shade of yellow that will reassure nonbelievers that this is really banana-flavored.
  • Check that the cookies are no warmer than room-temperature.  If they're at all warm, the frosting will melt and possibly slide off.
  • Frost the the cookies thickly.  The volume of the frosting should equal the volume of the cookie to balance the salty/bacony powerhouse of the cookies with sweet/banana-y awesomeness.
  • Twirl the frosting in the middle to make a little pompadour. Get it?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Grateful Guinea Pigs

My friend Tristan Dalley designed this amazing logo for our 2014 Walk to Cure Arthritis team, the Grateful Guinea Pigs. The team name comes from what medical research test subjects are nicknamed: guinea pigs. I have a kind of rheumatoid arthritis that doesn't respond to the usual medications. So I get to be a guinea pig for orphan drugs. Orphan drugs are developed through an FDA program to fund research and development of drugs and biologics intended for the safe and effective treatment, diagnosis or prevention of rare diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S., or that affect more than 200,000 persons but are not expected to recover the costs of developing and marketing a treatment drug. The Arthritis Foundation works with the FDA's Office of Orphan Products Development to lobby for funding and research for rare forms of arthritis. Being on the cutting edge of medicine is scary sometimes, but I am a grateful guinea pig.

If you'd like to donate to the Arthritis Foundation through our team's fundraising website, please go to

If you'd like to purchase some Grateful Guinea Pigs merchandise, 10% of the price will go to the Arthritis Foundation.  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Zoe's European Shoes

Zoe got new sneakers (with 'Z's), for her European walkabout (3-year old version). She is currently breaking them in by holding them in the air.  Like so:

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Homemade Cottage Cheese


After an unsuccessful attempt at making homemade cottage cheese, I achieved delicious curds. The difference? I used the suggested calcium chloride. The results was a nice break in the curd. You can see how well the curds stayed together once they were cut and being reheated. I didn't stir the curds, but I did swirl the pot to help distribute the heat. I followed the directions in Ricki's Basic Cheese Making Kit from the New England Cheese Making Supply Company. The only thing I also wasn't too concerned about was only raising the cheese 2 degrees every 5 minutes to get to the required 110 degrees.


After draining the whey from the curd, I had a big solid mass. Once crumbled, it looked more like cottage cheese, but didn't have the smooth curds like store bought cottage cheese. I also did mix some cream into the cottage cheese at the end to moisten it.


I feel ready to tackle feta next!

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Wednesday, June 06, 2012



I saw this bug on my tire this morning. It was about the size of my thumb, so around 2 1/2 inches long by 1 inch wide. That's what I call a big bug.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Homemade Sand/Water Table

To keep the Wee Bairn entertained this summer in our Wee Backyard, I cobbled together a sand and water table out of an old planter and some bins from IKEA.
Now I've got a space between the two bins that won't fit another bin, but looks a little sad.
Any thoughts on what should go there? The gap is about 14 1/2 inches deep and 10 7/8 inches wide.