Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Present: A Noonan Family Favorite

So I was thinking about something I could give everyone, because I don't have much and my Christmas shopping consisted of buying gift cards for a couple people at Smith's and then, it hit me: Why not the recipe that's responsible for a lot of warm moments in the Noonan home? (at least like 1/2 of our birthday dinners (per request) and 1/2-1/4 of the meals we served missionaries.)

So there are some variations. But the principle is the same:

The base:

Chicken. and 1 serving of broccoli for every serving of chicken.

Oven Temp: 350

Duration: 1.5 hours (or until chicken is done, sometimes it will be longer, sometimes shorter)

The sauce:

EDIT: In case it's not obvious, you're supposed to mix the sour cream and Campbell's cream of chicken soup to make the sauce, then put it on top of the chicken and broccoli and cook it for the time specified above.

Now something to keep in mind when choosing the amount of sauce is you want a large degree of submersion on the chicken with the sauce. The sauce is really thick, and it liquifies a lot when the cooking starts, so it looks like it fills in a lot more after the cooking starts. To be sure you get the right effect, just make sure you start out with a good amount of sauce on top of the chicken, so even if the chicken isn't submerged all the way, you'll still get the coverage of the chicken you want.

Here's where the variations come in:

Mama Noonan's sauce:

Ratio: 4 ounces of source cream for every 6 ounces of Campbell's cream of chicken soup.

Actual: 2 14 ounce containers of sour cream with 4 cans of Campbell's cream of chicken soup.

She would use this on a pretty big casserole Dish that was full of broccoli and chicken.

Rachael's variation:

Ratio: 4 ounces of sour cream to every 7 ounces of cream of Campbell's cream of chicken soup.

Actual: 24 ounce container of sour cream with 4 cans of Campbell's cream of chicken soup.

To give you an idea, this was good enough for 5 pieces of chicken in a 8 by 11 casserole dish WITHOUT brocolli so you would need less if you actually had broccoli

Lynette's Creamy mix:

Ratio: 1 ounce of sour cream for every once of Campbell's cream of chicken soup.

Haven't experimented too much with this one.

This is really great served with rice and garlic bread.

Enjoy everyone! and Merry Christmas!

P.S.: The chicken of choice I would use with this is thighs and drums. You can use others (such as breasts), but that's what I prefer. And I guess my ratios are off a bit, a single can has 10.75 ounces, not 10.5.

Friday, October 29, 2010

More Comments about BOM authenticity.

Not sure how long this link will last, but it's just another one of those feel-good tidbits for LDS faithful and something for the naysayers to think about. Though if you're already following me online something to think about is what I've said before: The source of any miracle must be determined by prayer and communication with God (Heavenly Father). I know that Christ restored his Church through a modern prophet by these same methods, but I can't give you that knowledge, only God can.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Food Porn!

Okay so I have this friend who regularily posts food porn to her facebook account. I saw this little delicious tidbit, that I found just o so unresistable. So I'm posting the link and recipe (just in case the blog ever goes down). I need somewhere to store the recipe too.

For the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Parfait

Mousse Base

5 egg yolks
100ml water
150g caster sugar

150g dark chocolate (around 60% cocoa content), chopped
100g smooth peanut butter
300ml double cream or thickened cream

For the Vanilla Parfait

3 egg yolks
50ml water
75g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (see note)
150ml double cream or thickened cream

Note - Because there's no need to heat cream and therefore no opportunity to steep a vanilla bean, I chose to use extract and paste instead.


Place water in a saucepan and pour the sugar in the middle of the water. Over low heat, stir until sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a boil and cook for 7-10 minutes until slightly syrupy or 110°C on a sugar thermometer.

Meanwhile, when the sugar and water has boiled, start whipping your egg yolks so it pales and thickens. As soon as the sugar syrup reaches the temperature, take it off the heat, and while continuously whisking, slowly trickle the hot syrup on the side of the bowl so that it runs down slowly into the egg yolks as it is whisking. Be careful not to let any sugar syrup hit the beaters/whisk as it's whisking otherwise you'll be hit by molten projectiles of sugar.

When you've finished pouring, continue whisking for at least 5 minutes until the bowl is no longer hot and the egg mix is thickened and aerated. Set aside.

In two separate heatproof bowls over pots of gently simmer watering, melt the chocolate and peanut butter separately until melted and smooth. Take off the bain marie and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Divide the mousse base between the melted peanut butter and chocolate. Fold each one until combined and place in the fridge to cool.

Whip up the double cream until soft peaks. Divide the cream amongst the two cooled mousse bases and fold until combined. Line a large loaf tin with glad wrap and pour in the peanut butter parfait, level and freeze for at least a couple of hours. Place the chocolate parfait in the fridge in the meantime.

After it has mostly frozen, layer on the chocolate layer on top of the peanut butter, level and freeze again.

While the PB and chocolate parfaits are freezing, make the vanilla parfait in exactly the same method (adding the vanilla extract and paste to the egg yolks and whisking altogether before adding the sugar syrup, cooling and folding with whipped double cream).

Layer the vanilla on top of the chocolate, level and whack it back in the freezer again.

When ready, unmould from the tin onto a plate and place back in the freezer. When ready, slice with a hot knife to serve.

I'm SO making this. I'm going to involve nutella as well.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Huzzah! To Lut Gholein!

Took me about 2 and 1/2 hours, but I cleared the rest of act 1. I killed everything from the outer cloister up until Andy. It was sweet!

I just remembered a random strategy I use but forgot to mention. In case you didn't know the grizzly bear knocks opponents back/further away and my lightning merc shoots charged bolt, which is best at close range. As you can probably guess, this isn't the best synergy. So when my bear knocks a Physical/Cold immune opponent too far away, I recast it close to my merc. This helps my merc do better damage (and I even managed to take out a lightning enchanted Physical and cold immune monster this way)

Diablo saga cont'd (Hell Act 1 wrap-up!)

Okay world. Now I'm level 80 (I've had way too much time on my hands these past 2 weeks)

Basically I fought my way up to the outer cloister in the Monastery and I just stayed there for a while. What I did was cleared out the Pit lvl 2 in the tamoe highland and The Tower that the countess has in the black marsh. I occaisonally did the cave in the black marsh as well.

What's awesome is a +2 druid skills axe dropped! it also gives +10 attributes. I still haven't put point attribute points anywhere yet (I have about 50 floating around).

Just so you know supposedly anything can drop in the pit, that's why I ran it, hoping for some good uniques. I probably have like 100-150% mf (any Bnet freak will think that's way bad, but for single player, it's about the best I can do.) I was running the countess hoping to make some rune words. I didn't really make that much headway in terms of the high-level runes I need. I REALLY need an "um" rune and a 3-socket 1h sword for my merc. See The only monsters I can't take down are cold immune, Physical immune, lightning enchanted. The lightning enchant makes their resistance too high for my merc to do permanent damage, they just regenerate it back. BUT there's a rune word that gives -35% enemy lightning resist. I need it. badly. (If I ever hope to kill those super uniques...). The cold and physical immune ensure I can't do it any damage.

Well with my "power" gear (my gear that focuses on +skills, +resist, +replenish life and mana regen) I get a whopping total of +5 druid skills, about 10-20 replenish life and none of my resistances are negative and about 30% mana regen. What pisses me off is I've gotten stellar +skills amulets to drop. For assassins. and Paladins. grrr......

At this point, I would say identify anything that you or your merc can wear. Any kind of attribute can roll on it and at this point, it's better safe than sorry.

-site with rune words on it.

I also got a circlet with just +3 summoning skills. I kept it. Because the stats of your minions are determined by your skill level at the time of casting. I put on the circlet, spawn my minions and then put on my helm of choice.

I'm sick of grinding so now I'm taking a break and when I'm done with everything I want to do today, I'm going to kill Andariel. I'll get you my pretty and your little Catacombs too!

P.S. - note on my MF (magic find) gear - at this point in the game any class-specific item can roll +skills, including socketed ones. A socketed Hunter's Guise dropped that gave +3 to tornado (it wasn't blue it all, it just looked gray). I added some topaz to it so it gave +36% MF. so my Tornado is still way powerful, but I get some added MF.

P.S.S. a some notes on hell-difficulty tactics.
1) RUN! if something gets sticky, run away and try to pick off the monsters that follow you.
1b) Pick your battles. If a certain super-unique monster isn't killable, lure him to a part of the dungeon you've already cleared, run to where you want to start over from and cast a town portal to "save" where you are. Always remember to recast after you go to town.
2) as a druid one of my biggest weaknesses is physical ranged attackers. I figured out the best way to fight them is the same way I fought with my sorc, even though it's way tricky. Hit and run. Cast a tornado in their general direction (that's the tricky part, getting it to hit) and strafe sideways so it's harder for their arrows/projectiles to hit you. if they aren't cold immune, try to hit them with the edge of your hurricane so you deal damage but so you can still strafe.
3) More wind druid notes - if your oak spirit dies, in many instances you're screwed so pay close attention to his health and re-cast if necessary (and put your cursor somewhere AWAY from the fray when you cast him) even if recasting him will yield a lower +health because of less skill points at the time of cast, still recast, something is better than nothing (so if I resummon with my helm of choice on, I'll have less +summoning skill because I use my circlet for that, but it's still worth the recast).

P.S.S.S - notes on my skills. My cyclone armor is base level 10 (w/o +skills). I'm keeping it there until I max twister. I'm noticing I need the damage on my Tornado and Hurricane ALOT more than the added elemental damage absorption. (remember that twister is a synergy to cyclone armor anyway, so it's not like it's not getting stronger anyway)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Does Miss Philippines Deserve All That Flack?

In case many of you didn't know, the Miss Universe beauty pagent just ran and well, Miss Philippines has gotten a lot of flack for her response to one of those key questions the judges use to judge the young girls. In case you don't know what her response was, it's right here:

And she's gotten a lot of flack for it. In case you don't know what her competitors were asked:

It starts 1 minute in. Miss Mexico's question is markedly easier than the rest. It's not like that's a hard question to answer obviously children need to be protected from the dangerous things on the internet.

Miss Australia was asked a political question. So was miss Jamaica. So was miss Ukraine. Political questions always have people with strong feelings on both sides of the coin. Obviously not all the jugdes will agree with the answer that any of them give on an issue that is divisive.

Miss Philippines is an odd man out in these questions. She's asked a deeply personal one. At first glance, her response may seem arrogant. But then take a closer look. She mentions her family and thanks them. And everyone else. She also says she has no major regrets. Maybe she is attributing her past and how well she's lived it to the good influences around her. How do those making fun of her really know she hasn't made any huge mistakes? Even if she has, it's not like giving the judge what he wanted with that question would have helped her at all. It would have made her look weak. Telling the whole world your biggest mistake probably isn't going to help you much. Especially in a world as unforgiving as ours.

To be honest, after hearing these questions, I can only believe one thing: this pageant is dumb. It's so rigged. To me it looks like they asked some contestants harder questions than others. Of course to ones with the easy questions will win. And I don't think it's fair to judge someone in a situation you're not in and never will be in.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I should be studying but...

Battle with myself. On my mission I discovered that my body was in sore disrepair. Before my mission, I ate almost nothing and I didn't get out much. I played lots of World of Warcraft and programmed a lot for my major. That was my life. When bicycling again for the first time in years, I noticed what horrible disrepair my body was in. I bicycled pretty slow. I got better. In fact if you look at a picture of me at the MTC on facebook when I'm with my companion and then the group picture of me at the end of my first transfer in Groningen, you can see I lost a TON of weight (granted I gained like 10-15 pounds at the MTC because I was eating a lot and not burning it off..)

I promised myself I'd never let myself get in that kind of a situation again. So I've been exercising to keep my body in shape (many CS majors are in bad shape and there are some of us who used to be in top physical condition before we started the major (but I wasn't on of those people in that kind of shape when I started)). I try to do some aerobics every day and lift some weights at least twice a week. something I started noticing was the more you work a given set of muscles, the less fat there is around them. Unfortunately I hadn't found a good way to work my glutes (it's slang for gluteous maximus I hope I spelled that right...) until today! I found out that getting a small floaty board at the pool and doing laps by just kicking appears to work them (at least I THOUGHT my butt totally felt it). So yeah I did that for about 15 minutes at the pool today. It was sad because I was getting totally beat by the person in the lane next to mine. but I don't care. See I accepted the fact on my mission that my body was in horrible disrepair and I'm totally not ashamed of making an effort to fix it, even if other people at the gym/pool think I'm a weakling. And over time, I get better(at least that's the hope) so I'll have less of a reason to be embarassed. And actually it's been working. I'm still not top-notch, probably never will be, but even average is good enough for me in the state I used to be in.

And in other news, I actually managed to do a full lap of Freestyle at the pool! You have no idea how proud of myself I became.

With swimming I've discovered my biggest weakness is still my breathing (my normal kicks are weak too, my my frog kicks are okay). I feel like my body isn't used to not having a steady stream of air, so staying under the water towards the end of a lap is difficult, but I am getting better. If anyone who manages to read my blog on this distant corner of cyberspace knows how to train your body to do aerobic activity while holding your breath in regular intervals, please let me know. I saw a fully-trained swimmer do a whole lap and only breathe twice.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Most Epic 24-hour period

Just too easy. I was walking to my TA meeting and a professor and CS secretary are standing there and the professors says "O here comes the boyfriend!" And quickly retorted "Nope! the TA!" Then the professor starts grumbling as I pass them "Go figure it'd be the TA and not the boyfriend!" Well he made it way too easy for me. I turned around and said "That's not saying I'm unavailable!" The professor busted out laughing and I didn't stick around long enough to see the expression on the secretary's face, but after that spat.

Korean mojo. Okay so a long time ago I went to an activity hosted by the Korean club. I payed the membership fee because I just got back from my mission desperately needing new friends figuring I'd meet new people there and bought a shirt because I needed more T-shirts and I thought it looked cool. Well the club never contacted me. But I still wear the shirt. It gave me 3 extra random conversations today while wearing it. Two former missionaries to Korea just walked up to me speaking Korean and I was just like "I'm sorry I got this at a Korean club activity I don't speak Korean." and there was usually a short conversation that followed. Also a Korean girl I knew stopped me and asked me where I got the shirt.

Demon code. Okay for those of you who are programmers, I've been having the WIERDEST problems with my latest project, virtual memory. It actually completely works. I even fit into the 2-frame club (meaning I can manage memory with only 2 available frames) EXCEPT for the fact that when i run it for the first time with a frame count somewhere above 240 frames, it will always give me butchered ascii characters. (for those of you who don't know what this means, it means you're blowing up memory somewhere and your output will look something like:
���!����N � �I ������� "a���'� ��a�@ a�!�aE� ��� ������ခ������ �d
I ������� "a���'� ��a�@ a�!�aE� ��� ������ခ������ �d
䨨��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ess �: Move #3 to xC6EC)

Didn't know your comp could make those symbols huh? So yeah. I decided to get help from my professor. When I talked to him, he said he wanted to see my code with this glint in his eye that said something along the lines of "I know I can totally find and fix this, that's what makes me better, i've dealt with wierd stuff like this my entire life"

So I'm hoping he can help me...

The aftermath. Well it's 10:15 and I really wish I could party right now (I guess I need to eat something I haven't had dinner yet). But I feel pretty accomplished. I even got in some exercise today. It's too bad that it seems like all the people who want to do stuff with you want to do it when you're busiest....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Installing the Boost regex library on Ubuntu linux OS (+tutorial sites on how to use it)

For any of you C++ fans out there, I've been spending HOURS trying to get Boost regex to work on my system (a library used for handling C++ regular expressions). Well I finally did. And I'm going to tell you how. Just so you know, I use the command-line to compile my programs, so if you use something that is more GUI-oriented, I'm not sure if I can help.

Step 1 - go into your synaptic package manager.

Step 2 - type "boost regex" into the search field option and hit search.

Step 3 - choose a boost library package from the list (I chose libboost-regex1.40-dev).

Step 4 - click the checkbox next to it and then hit the "mark for installation" option.

Step 5 - click apply (somewhere along the line, it should tell you it needs to install other libraries in order to install hit, obviously, you should allow it to do so)

here's a test program that I wrote and then the command-line I used (in the command-line compile, it's VERY important to put the -lboost_regex part at the end)

(WARNING: I'm an idiot and haven't learned how to write a "<" character with a a-z character following it properly so the HTML formatting doesn't treat my include statements like tags yet, so add the appropriate file names from the comment below the # include statements) //This program utilizes the match function to check the format of a string
#include <>
#include <>
#include <>

/* the inside of your include statements should be iostream, string, boost/regex.hpp, respectively */
using namespace std;

int main(int argc, char * argv[]){
boost::regex re("a*");
boost::cmatch matches;
string hi = "aaa";
if(boost::regex_match(hi.c_str(), matches, re)){
cout << "it works " << endl;

Syntax tutorial:

Usage tutorial (pages 3-4 were really useful for me):

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Saga continues

Well I've decided that I'm still going to try to beat diablo solo. Right now, I just finished taking out the Countess. I have a few notes though.

1) I'm slightly changing my intended skills. I'm going to put one point into raven, spirit wolf, dire wolf and bear respectively (and instead of 7 in solar creeper, ending with 5 and 18 into oak sage instead of 20). The reason? I realized that there really isn't anything the hide behind during a boss fight and such. This made fighting Baal and Duriel in Normal kind of difficult. and if you add in the oak sage bonus the bear will receive, he'll have anywhere between 1.6k-2k life, base (which is a hefty amount if you ask me) and according to the skill planner with +druid skills that will increase, because the synergy that dire wolf gives is in the skill itself.

2) Stats - for now I've stopped putting points into strength and Energy because I don't need them for now. I also realized something kind of tricky about druid itemization: There aren't very many good caster 1h weapons for Druids, in fact they're one the only caster-type character that doesn't have their own 1h, so I *MAY* use these stats to equip a good weapon if it drops.

3) gear - okay I finally completed that 3-socket shield with 3 perfect diamonds. So in nightmare at least, my resistances are high enough to not really pose a threat. If you're a little new to this game or don't know much about the magic find stat, here's where I'm going to enlighten you. Magic find (MF) is one of the most important stats especially when you're looking for a good set of gear, you might not notice the difference at first, but after a while you will. Basically, you should run around with as Much MF on as you can without dying so you can build a good set of gear for hell difficulty (MF causes set, rare, magic and unique items to drop more often, it DOES NOT effect runes (at least from what I could find in my research))

Most important druid stats
+%chance to find better magic items (until you have a good enough set of gear. If you think it's good enough for hell difficulty )
+resist (enough to survive hits)
then from here on it's a trade-off:
+skills (makes you more effective in combat.)

Less important but still nice
+faster cast rate (improves damage capability on Tornado, though it'll suck your mana dry faster)
+replenish life (increases survivability slightly and cuts down on potion use)
+mana regen (the creeper helps out alot on normal monsters but on boss fights where corpses are limited this is another nice stat that reduces potion useage)
+Mana (improves regen slightly and basically lets you cast more at once.)
+life (well dying isn't fun, but hopefully between your bear, merc, creeper, and oak sage, you shouldn't be taking too many hits or be able to survive them with at least +2 vit every level)

Right now I have 2 sets, an MF set and a "toughness" set.

4) Current skills and advancement: Okay right now I'm going for that one point into my grizzly. My skill pattern now (before level 24 it was just trying to keep all the skills I was planning on putting more than 1 point into equal) is something like tornado and hurricane equal. Oak sage equal to that minus 2, solar creeper at 5 and twister and cylcone armor at 1/2 of tornado and hurricane each (I think I barely just hit that point because I used every point the moment I got it starting out.) Before starting hell difficulty, I want to have a completely maxed Hurricane and Tornado and 16 points into oak sage (I'll use those 2 points from the Act 4 quest to finish this off to 18).

On a side note when the next patch is released, you'll get a free respec every time you do the den of evil quest (you only get one of those on hell if you're already further than that)

Hope this helps some wind Druid out there....