Archive for February, 2012


Rotating hearts LED display

“An unique gift for any romantic occasion” reads the advertisement from It’s been a while since I built a hobby kit and the last one I built  years ago was the Flashing LED Sweetheart. This year the Rotating Hearts LED display was ordered. It’s a CANA kit, made in Canada and for $29.95 seemed slightly expensive over the $6.95  Flashing LED Sweetheart, but it has 2 double sided  circuit boards, 46 LEDs, and an assortment of resistors, transistors and capacitors.

Lets take a look:




You’ll need a soldering iron, rosin core solder (I can’t believe how expensive solder is now) , a set of nippers for clipping the leads flush to the boards, a small place to work and good lighting to identify the marking of the components, such as the color bands on the resistors.

The Rotating Hearts LED display Cana kit contains 2 instructions sheets. One general assembly guide sheet, and an assembly guide sheet specific to the Rotating Hearts LED display.

The general assembly guide sheet contains info on soldering tips, diagrams and instructions for mounting components, their orientation, and charts for reading component values. 

Unpack the kit and sort out the components, read through the instructions sheets before starting.

The circuit boards are  well laid out and marked for proper placement of components. Observe closely the parts that are polarity sensitive to avoid damaging them or resulting in inoperative results.

The assembly guide gives you the order to install components and as in the General assembly guide specific diagrams on component placement.


Neatness counts, avoid solder bridges and cut off the leads close to the board.




Double check all the components ,If all goes well when you apply power it should create a moving light display,

the speed adjustable through a trimmer potentiometer.



Kit building is fun and if you interested in electronics, educational. This Cana kit provides a schematic but no theory of operation.

The small parts and small solder pads gives you exercise of manual dexterity and if needed, troubleshooting skills.

Assembling kits also can make handmade gift that is special.

This Cana kit  provides a power jack for a wall wart power supply but I used a 9 volt battery for now. has a wide assortment of kits and electronics.  

After the Valentine chocolates, flowers and dinner fade away, two hearts remain.




Gold Medal Flour 10 lbs  $4.89

Broccoli Florets 3 lbs. $5.99

Cut Corn , Frozen  6 lbs $ 6.49

Honey Dew Melon $3.49, 1 ea.melon

Plums, 3lbs. $5.99plums


popping corn

Now that making popcorn is supposed to be more convenient by using a microwave, popping popcorn on the stove top returns. It may be more convenient by using the microwave because there’s no pan to clean up, but for flavor nothing beats the pan popping method. It may be cheaper, though I didn’t actually calculate the cost of labor, gas, and popcorn vs.  the microwave method.


For popcorn I used Lehman’s Blue, 2 lbs bag is $4.95 (plus shipping). A bit pricey but delicious.  They have less expensive popcorn also.


Heat up a large (8 quart) pan (stock pot) add enough oil (canola or whatever) to cover the bottom.  Now add enough popcorn make a single layer.

Once it stars popping, cover the pan.



 IMG_2462 IMG_2465pop IMG_2463pop

Shake and agitate the pan over heat. Ease off the flame when the popping slows down.









Inside the pan


All Done!


To a large bowl


Just a bit of salt, I’m skipping the butter.

Or add whatever, garlic granules, herbs, cheese etc for a

gourmet blended popcorn.

It’s a good snack


A pretty good pop, a few un-popped kernels left.


Multi Grain Tortilla

Bread wise today something for breakfast that’s light and fast, no rising times involved. Like a flour tortilla.

Gathered up the grains for a flour tortilla, on hand, some white all purpose flour, corn masa, wheat flour and corn meal.

So about 1 and 1/4 cups white flour in the bowl, with what’s left in the bag of masa probably about 1/8 cup, now you see where this is going.

Add about a handful or less whole wheat pastry flour and a slight amount of corm meal for crunch. Mix together in the kitchen aid with the whip.

Drop in some shortening less than a tablespoon, just enough to give it some fat content. Incorporate it in with the whip like your making a pie crust.

Pour small amounts of water, oh, switch to the paddle on the mixer, and water the multi grain crumble till it clings together, I like mine a bit on the moist side.

Divide into 8 balls. Prepare the rolling surface with corn meal and with the marble roller, roll the balls out into thin into circular shapes.IMG_2433tIMG_2437tIMG_2434t  IMG_2438t


These came out to

be roughly 8 inches or so.    IMG_2439t

At this point they came be refrigerated, frozen, or in this case I grilled 2 slightly for stuffing.

By the way my tortilla press is out of service, the wooden hinge broke when applying pressure to make a tortilla, so It’s back to the basement hacker lab for revision 2.01

See Multi Grain Cheese and Veggie Tortilla


Multi Grain Cheese and Veggie Tortilla

You don’t really need a recipe for this but I wanted to post something and take some pictures using a mini tripod on the camera.

Use some Multi Grain Tortillas, I cooked some slightly in a large skillet, both sides. Now raid the fridge for some ingredients, this morning just veggies, I decided to skip the meat.


IMG_2442t1( I didn’t have the camera set for close ups)

It ends up chopped, red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, American cheese. Since this is kind of bland for my taste, and I’m skipping the hot pepper by the way, garnish with herbs and seeds I utilized fresh sage, since I have an abundance, fresh oregano, some cumin seed and dried dill and celery seed.

Like I said zip it up as you wish with the ingredients. Salt and pepper is a given.IMG_2443t1IMG_2445t1 roll it up !IMG_2446 IMG_2447  (just an excuse to get my fat paws into the picture! must be the camera lens that make them look like that! :-))



Heat up the skillet to medium high and back off on the flame. In goes the tortillasIMG_2448t1 and use another skillet to cover making sort of a stove top oven to bake the roll ups.IMG_2449t1 About 10 minutesIMG_2450t1 or so. (roll them over about 1/2 way through).


Go back to the fridge for some garnish, They really need some dipping sauce or other, I was fortunate to have some sour cream, just a dollop and a sprig of fresh parsley clipped from the countertop garden.IMG_2453t1

Coffee is the selected beverage pairing today, Since I roasted some Mexican organic last night and made some simple sugar syrup to sweeten the cup along with a spot of milk , that was the inspiration to go for something light after I drank the first cup.

Now that I’ve blogged them and eaten two, it feels like an appetizer, but unfortunately I have other things to do to keep my mind off of food, but then i have other meals to prepare later so I won’t have too cook during the week nights. 


A cloud for my recipe collection?

Pepperplate is a web based recipe app storage. Now probably I’ll get to store and index all the recipes I like while  browsing the internet

or picking up my emails, twitter feeds  etc.

Pepperplate manages your recipes by allowing you to Import and edit recipes from the most “popular recipe sites”  by simply pasting a URL.


If that fav food site or blog of yours is not supported, you will have to either type in the recipe or do a cut and paste.

The manual entry screens are divided into fields that you  add the recipe text.


Enter the recipe screen by screen, Ingredients, instructions, notes and other.



Once you get the recipe entered, edit the recipe title to get this screen where you can add images etc.


Some fields didn’t seem to save the text, like the URL field, so I cut and pasted it into the “Notes” area.

Some recipes I just added a title, which is the only required info, and pasted the URL into the note area.

Now when I bring up the recipe from the index I can go to the URL and get the recipe.

So now I started with an index of 10 recipes


As far as I can see just by cutting and pasting from emails or web sites, Pepperplate formats

the recipe into this type of display if, you paste it into the correct fields.


There are other functions such as a menu grouping,  calendar planner, and shopping list that

automatically list the ingredient and groups them for a list.

Included is the familiar print , share and fav tagging functions and a sliding widget for scaling up

or down the ingredients amounts.

So far I’ve spent a bit of time entering 10 recipes, some full and some just URLs.

Since I’m not the fastest typist  Pepperplate seems to fit the bill so far.

With a huge amount of stored recipes on my system in the form of emails,

bookmarks, and saved URLS, hopefully Pepperplate will make them more accessible once

I take the time to get all of them in the cloud.

I had thought of just storing recipes and tagging them in this  blog, but I only post recipes I

have cooked and photographed . Being Web based, Pepperplate could add enhancements

like the possibility to change skins.

And if you have a mobile deviceimage the Pepperplate apps can:  

  • Carry your shopping list with you and add to it in store with your recipe collection (no internet connection required).
  • Monitor cooking time without being tied to the kitchen.
  • Track and update timers remotely.






Pepperplate sure beats looking in more than one place on my computer or using a search function for a recipe I want to make.

Most likely one day I’ll have a mobile device so my recipe collection will be more like an E-book which is more functional

in the kitchen.


It only requires an email address and password to register



When is an English Muffin NOT an English muffin? Properly call it a Crumpet !

Today’s cooking assignment: Crumpets, I’ll leave the tea selection up to you but the theme here is Afternoon Tea and Crumpets. (I wonder why ? )

Me, I had morning coffee and wanted something fresh in the line of bread dough etc. After the caffeine kicked in it was griddle cakes  inspired by Betty Crocker International Cookbook recipe “Crumpets” (page 280,1980 General Mills) referred to also as “Pikelets”.

Get out the griddle, or cast iron fry pan.

Dissolve yeast with warm water in a large bowl,


let sit a couple of minutes till bubbly.IMG_1871

Add sugar,IMG_1869 salt, IMG_1870 flour,IMG_1873 scalded milk, then cooled, and  butter. IMG_1868

IMG_1874  also 2 eggs,IMG_1875mix all to make a yeasty batter.

Let the batter sit till it doubles and is frothy.  IMG_1877

now, fire up the griddle with a ring, use can use the old tuna can trick, I have a hamburger ring that I use.

IMG_1878 Spoon in the batter to the ring (buttered)IMG_1880 over medium heat.

IMG_1879 IMG_1882 IMG_1883 once they set, remove ring, cook and flip till done

IMG_1884 you can gently pull them apart, if you like, and eat them with jam or jelly or plain butter, cream etc.. IMG_1885I had some Blackberry Chipotle Jam  for a bit of a POP!

Now I’ll leave the Tea selection up to you (and your additive from the Royal Flask). Don’t forget to raise your pinky when you hoist your teacup.

Tweet and/or Like some of your British friends. Wish them well.

IMG_1886 And that’s bloody well good!

tea, courtesy of JLM


February 2012

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