Monday, November 30, 2009

Food: Leftover Purgatory

With a large amount of leftover turkey, ham, and dressing, and a small amount of potatoes, cranberry, and other sides, there are only so many plates of leftovers you can make before things start looking sad. Then comes sandwiches... you can use an entire loaf of bread in one weekend if you do sandwiches. Especially if you start doing club sandwiches with three slices of bread... the middle slice is especially good on a warm sandwich if it's been soaked in gravy.

Then when everyone is sick of sandwiches, it's time to break out the recipes.

I am particularily fond of two recipes after Thanksgiving, as it uses up the main meat leftovers but still leaves enough to stash in the freezer.

Turkey Chow Mein

2 C. Chopped cooked turkey
1 whole onion
2 Tb. Soy sauce
1 Tb. Sherry (optional)
2 Tb. Oil
1 C turkey or chicken broth
3 Tb. corn starch
1 Tb. molasses
1-15 oz can Chop Suey vegetables (more variety than chow mein veggies and the bonus of crunchy water chestnuts)

Saute onion and turkey in a mixture of the oil, sherry and soy sauce until onion is tender. Mix together cold broth, molasses, and cornstarch, set aside. Add chop suey vegetables. Push pan contents to the edges of the pan, leaving a well in the middle. Give the broth mixture a stir, then add all at once to the pan, making sure to get it all in there. Stir constantly and heat over high heat until cornstarch thickens and is bubbly. Stir the ingredients pushed to the edge back into the middle. Let bubble over medium heat for another minute or two. Serve over hot rice or chow mein noodles.

You may want to create some extra rice so you can make the following:

Ham and Egg Fried rice

2 C chopped cooked ham
2 eggs
3 C cooked rice
2-3 green onions with tops, chopped
2 Tb. soy sauce
2-4 Tb. oil

Heat oil in a deep skillet. Beat the eggs, and add to the pan. Cook until set, but do not let them brown. Remove from pan and break them apart in a small bowl. Set them aside.

Add ham and soy sauce to the oil left in the pan, adding more oil if needed. Cook and stir for a minute, then add the rice. When the rice is warmed through, add the eggs back to the pan, then add the green onion. In a few minutes, everything should be heated through and fragrant. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Blogging: Kids are work

With the peanut home for the week, I'm going to be taking some time off from the blog. If something whaps me upside the head, I'll probably mouth off about it, but otherwise it's a lot of planning and running around, and entertaining my audience of one.

So far I've had five requests for jewelry items, three requests for knitting lessons, a cooking lesson... and it's only Monday. I'll let you know if I'm alive later in the week.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Miscellaneous: More bitching about healthcare

If you've ever owned your own business as an adult, you should know why you charge the prices that you do for services or goods. First of all, in the case of goods, you have to pay for raw materials. A little extra for your time spent making the goods, a little extra for unseen expenses like products that get lost in the mail or damaged in transit. Plus maybe a little more extra to buy new tools and equipment, pay the electric used in the process, etc.

This is why I'm beginning to see medical professionals as the greediest bastards on the planet.

Don't get me wrong, my new dentist is a nice guy. I wasn't too sure at first (he must have been having a bad day) but now he's grown on me.

Recent medical costs have made me start to wonder though... exactly what are they charging me so much money for? Or my insurance company?

When I had to go to the emergency room while on vacation, I walked into the building under my own power, so no ambulance. I sat waiting on a gurney in the emergency room for a half-hour, the doctor came, talked to me for five minutes, took a blood test, gave me a prescription, and sent me on my way. For this they charged a total of ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS.

My insurance company paid 60% of this, that's not the point. The point is does the doctor actually think he's worth $2000 an hour? I don't give a flying f*ck if it's Saturday, nobody is worth that much. Even if the blood work was $500 of that total, that's still pretty arrogant.

Yeah, I'm probably paying to cover a lot of people who go in there whom they can't turn down who can't pay their bills. But even accounting for that, the two ladies in reception who are being paid to be there, the doctor, the pharmacist in-house, the immense amount of electricity being used, that much money for five minutes of personal attention is pretty fucking steep.

I have a feeling that I was also paying for the big, fancy atrium they had put in last year with the big greenhouse glass ceiling and a fountain. A FOUNTAIN. It's a clinic in a town of less than 20, 000 people, and they put in a fountain the size of a swimming pool. Are you fucking kidding me?

And guess what's attached to this clinic? That's right, the same care facility where they have my grandfather housed, which is charging over $6K a month for him to stay there.

Greedy fuckers.

I didn't start out intending to talk about that clinic, I was more flabbergasted by the $200 charge for teeth cleaning I had recently (ten minutes of a lady poking around in my mouth with a metal stick... $200 really?) but you know the more I think about it, it's all the same animal.

I just don't see why it's so expensive. Especially since the assistant that helped with my last procedure admitted to me that she'd never gone to school for dental assistance, and was getting her training on-the-job. I *know* that chick is probably only making $10 bucks an hour. All the equipment in the office is falling apart, and it's the same equipment that's been there for at least three years. You know they don't even have sinks except in the one bathroom? It's like they took over an office building, and didn't go to the expense of a plumber.

I suppose they thought $50 an hour was too expensive. :/

Friday, November 20, 2009

Books: Under the Dome

I will just say this regarding my earlier post today:

Much in the way of Joss Whedon, Mr. King, I didn't get what I wanted, but I certainly got what I *needed*. Thank you for an excellent book.

Television: Space-age Technology, books, and dentistry

V is grabbing my attention, for sure. Not only is Elizabeth Mitchell doing her usual excellent job, but Alan Tudyk (Wash from "Firefly") is kicking ass!

The introduction of V technology that renders a small patch of fabric on a Visitor uniform into a camera is spooky and unsettling. Is it a commentary on Big Brother, or just there for the creepiness factor?

I did not watch Supernatural last night, as I have been knee-deep in the new Stephen King novel and enjoying it immensely. It's a huge tome, over 1075 pages, but I'm about 90% of the way through it. I figure I will finish it later today, what with my permanent crowns being installed. I figure on a minimum wait of half an hour at least, then more waiting in the chair. I then plan to reward myself with a nice view of the Winchester boys when I get home.

Back to the subject of S. King... my husband and I have been less than pleased with Mr. King's work of the past ten years or so. I'm sure coming back from being hit by a car was a harrowing ordeal, and it's bound to affect anybody.

Reading "Under the Dome" however, I'm convinced that the beast is back... you know, the one who wrote "The Stand"? My final judgement is reserved for when I finish it, however. A lot of his work is truly excellent right up until the last few pages, and then it all goes to hell (and not in a good way). Kind of like the adaptation of his short story (my all-time favorite) "The Mist". The adaptation was great, and did the story justice... until the last MINUTE or so, when I threw things at the screen and yelled at the craptacularness of it.

He's not responsible for that, though. I blame Hollywood.

But it serves as an illustration. A story can be an excellent piece of work all the way through, but if the ending sucks, the ending sucks and you will hate the whole thing as a result... even if there are a thousand pages before it that were truly amazing.


Here's what I'm hoping for the end of "Dome": I want Dale Barbara to come out alive. I want Julia and Col. Cox to end up together... you know, happily. I want Rose to end up meeting her favorite CNN correspondent and preening and flirting with him. It would be cool if Alice and Aide end up being aliens in disguise, but that's not a deal-breaker. And I want Big Rennie to die... horribly. Under the tight, hot beam of a magnifying glass in the sun, if possible. Chef and Andy should only be able to blow themselves up, out of pure stupid.

And somehow, Joe figures out how to shut down the dome... through cleverness, not some kind of "interference".

I mean, Jeeze man... horror doesn't have to end horribly for it to work, does it? DOES it?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Knitting: Insanity Halted

Well as much as I love the look of the Autumn Rose Pullover, and love the idea of knitting such a cozy thing, I think I'm scrapping my two inches of progress later today. I'm not even going to frog it, just save the needles and toss it. Why? Because when I started getting into the color changes, I really hated the way the colors combined. My yarn people may think their colors are decent substitutes, but I assure you when it comes to the "original" color scheme, they do not.

That, and the chart for this thing is set up in an insane manner. The light color yarn is indicated by shaded boxes, and the dark color yarn is indicated by white boxes on the chart. WTF? The chart is hard enough without having to have to think about which color is which at every color change... and there are a LOT of them.

I'm still thinking of charting my own pattern though... without the insane number of striping changes.

I'm pretty much finished with the blanket coat. It's wearable now, with the sleeves set in, but I think instead of stopping there as I originally thought, I'm going to go ahead and pick up and knit the facing for the borders.

Another change in my plans is regarding the pound of natural Oatmeal Blue-Faced Leicester I spun up, hoping to use it for the coat on the cover of the Fall 2009 Interweave Knits magazine. I've already knit one coat, I don't want to do two. So I've started a very simple shawl with it. They're Aran to Bulky weight one-ply singles... so the project is going quite fast. I've got about two feet done on a garter-stitch border, triangular shawl, and I've just started insetting a garter stitch in the center, using appropriate increases and decreases to keep the border and middle stockinette as an even stripe. It's kind of a chevron look, but the stripes are four inches or so wide.

So far I've used about three ounces of what I had spun up... that leaves a heck of a lot left, including a huge bag of the fiber that hasn't been spun yet. However, this is soft, incredibly fuzzy warm stuff. It will make excellent winter garments.

I will most likely have enough left for a very chunky-knit sweater. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gaming: LoTRO over 50

I don't know what strange whimsy came over me, but I've switched back to LoTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) for the time being. I think hubby asked me to invite one of his characters to our guild, or something, and it grew from there. Before I knew it, my two-year-old character finally levelled to 50. And with it came access to the Mines of Moria content I paid for a year ago.

I have to tell you, the Legendary weapons really change the feel of the game.

Legendary weapons gain experience points the same way (but more slowly) as your character does, improving stats as it goes. Before I knew what was going on, I had three Minstrel-class weapons in my inventory, each one more interesting than the last.

I may actually max out a character... which I've never done before. Fortunately, the Mirkwood content is coming out in December, with two new character slots and a raise in the level cap. I'm a little disappointed that the better Legendary weapons will never be available to me, as you need a six-person raid team to get the tokens necessary. Unless I get lucky on a drop from a random mob (which I doubt) I'm stuck with the lesser items from "The Third Age" instead of the better second and first age items.

And they say MMORPG's don't encourage socialization. :P I might have to make some friends.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Food: Eating from the stash

Just as I have a knitting stash of yarn, so too I consider my freezer food a stash for later. Like a squirrel, I guess. This past week has been mostly about eating from the stash to make room for make-ahead Thanksgiving goodies.

I still have more than half a case of canned organic pumpkin from last year (bought on sale), so that's where the pumpkin pies are coming from. I have a bunch of apples (from my first batch this fall) frozen as pie filling, so apple is taken care of as well. I still have that load of hot dog buns Barronius bought in the freezer, so what isn't made into crumbs for later will be cubed for stuffing and dressing.

So the big purchases are going to be cranberries, turkey (possibly just a breast), and ham. I ended up tossing what was left of our ham from Christmas last year just recently... it wasn't the nice pretty slices anyway, it was the unsliced heel and the bone, mostly, and I never did get around to making bean soup from it. We're not big soup people.

I never feel well-fed after soup, no matter how much bread I dunk in it.

So anyway, starting this week would be a good time to keep an eye on your store flyers for turkey and ham on sale. Also, if you've been dying to get one of those Nesco roaster/slow cooker appliances, those usually go on sale this time of year too. Watch places like hardware stores , W-mart, and even electronics stores if they carry appliances.

The roasters are good for doing more than cooking turkeys... I've heard people mention baking cookies in them, and other oven chores when they don't want to heat up a whole oven or their kitchen is being remodeled. They are also good for slow-cooking fruit butters. ;)

That's my advice for this pre-Thanksgiving season... watch for the sales. Stock up if you can. Pre-cooked turkey in the freezer is just as good as and can be substituted for cooked chicken, and at sale prices of around $.49 a pound, a real bargain.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Television: Convention

This week we saw a few shows get axed, but there are still some strong old favorites left, as well as some new surprises.

"Supernatural" took their love for their fans to the next level with the episode "The Real Ghostbusters". Set at a fan convention for the book series based on Sam and Dean's lives, things get dicey when a real ghost shows up and starts to participate. There are plenty of geeky in-jokes, ribbing, and tender-hearted moments of observation about the brothers' relationship. The episode also brought up a fact previously ignored in the series... that the modern-day prophet who writes the books knows more about the brothers' situations than they themselves do. As someone in the Ravelry fan group for the show said, Sammy needs to pull an all-nighter and go through those books.

V (2009) was good again, accurately capturing the paranoia, manipulative forces, and general... well... accurate slice of humanity present in the original mini-series. Still waiting for a visitor to swallow a live rodent. If there's one visual I remember from the original, THAT was it.

CSI kinda ticked me off this week, with their triple-crossover event. I didn't want to watch them separately, so I saved them all for after the third installment was recorded. I'll watch them this weekend, and maybe next week I'll have some thoughts.

As far as older shows, I recently started watching a new set on DVD called "Saving Grace". I've always loved Holly Hunter, and I've been spotting some other familiar actors along the way including Lemonhead from "The Shield". The one that truly bothered me was Earl, Grace's guardian/last chance before hell angel. I knew I'd seen him before, speaking exactly the same way. Sadly, I had to look it up, and discovered he played a character role on "Star Trek: TNG" as Sonny Clemmons, a 20th century country singer awakened by the crew from a cryogenic freezer. I was tickled pink.

I have finally caught up to where I stopped watching "Stargate: Atlantis" in the fifth season. When I hear of a show's demise, I kind of stop having the heart to watch it anymore, and this was no exception. I was pleased to see Jonathan Frakes with a directing credit on one of the episodes. There were probably more, but I don't often watch the credits as I'm too busy knitting.

Hubby's all-time favorite show, "Legend of the Seeker", started its new season this week, and I swear he's impossible to live with for a day or two afterward. :P The effects and general production value on that show are just stunning. Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia on Buffy and Angel) had a largish role in the season premiere. She looks good in red leather. But then we knew that. :D

As far as the title of this post goes, there is a *real* convention for "Supernatural" this weekend. I don't have any details, but one of the Ravelry group members will be attending. I'm kind of looking forward to hearing her account, and the reaction to her amigurumi versions of Sam, Dean, and Castiel. They're cute.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Television Supplemental: Damn you, FOX! Again! Times 3!

It's all but officially announced that "Dollhouse", the latest Joss Whedon effort, is cancelled.

Boo on FOX, but as I previously stated, there are very few roles Eliza Dushku can carry off as lead in a series... Tru Calling being the only one I've personally witnessed. As Echo in Dollhouse, not so much.

Also getting the axe this week was "Eastwick" (which I was just getting into, dammit). It was nice to see Ms. Romaine in something where she's not blue and covered in spikes. And the actor playing Daryl Van Horn was yummy in a creepy way. Bleah.

Oddball: Reason #1

Why Rick Springfield is better than Bruce Springsteen:

Bruce at age 60:

Rick at age 60:

As a side note, I recently checked my stats on, and I find it hard to believe I listen to Rick 29% of the time... I was thinking 75% at the very least, but I suppose all those stupid podcasts eat into the totals. :P

Knitting: Stop the Insanity!

I don't know whether I mentioned it, but I ended up turning my "No-name" scarf into a headband instead by binding it off after only seven or so repeats and stitching the ends together. I felt like I needed something warm over my ears and bad-hair-days more than something lacy and pretty around my neck. Since my pictures look crappy unless I set them up with proper lighting and such, I don't have them at this moment. I stopped being a perfectionist with my blog, remember? That way lies procrastination.

I am nearly finished with my Blanket Coat. The body was bound off yesterday and set to block while I started on the sleeves. I'm a repeat and a half into them. I decided to do both sleeves at once on my circular needles so I don't get second-sock syndrome... (for non-knitters, that means procrastinating on starting the second item once the first is done). By doing both at once, I also ensure that any mistakes made will be symmetrical, and look like they belong. Kind of like Ray Romano's joke about checking to see if you have the same oddity on the other side of your body... if there are two weird lumps, they must be intentional and part of a set.

This week I also started the "Autumn Rose Pullover" I've wanted to do for two years. Knit Picks had their translations of the colorways into their own yarns up waaaaay before the book even became available to the general public, and I had been on the waiting list. What I did NOT REALIZE was that this is a knit-in-the-round intarsia sweater on SIZE 2 NEEDLES. Yes. Size TWO. I must be insane. Even on socks I will try to stretch the limits of proper guage to do them on size 3 or even size 4 needles.

So after a couple of days (which, granted, has been interrupted by the Blanket Coat knitting) I have a grand total of ONE INCH of the sweater done. It's ribbing, in two colors, but quite striking. This will be an heirloom sweater, for sure, but man... I have got to be crazy.

Of course, now I have these running dreams in my head of making up my own intarsia patterns and cranking out a billion of them, even as I curse my slow progress. It's so slow, but oh, OH so pretty.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gaming: Whata-sphere?

Big Fish Games has a new cash cow... Faunasphere. A web-based, basic free-to-play RPG where you run around a futuristic biodome, saving it from pollution as a cuddly furry creature. Upgrading to a pay account will net you extra character slots (aka "fauna") and currency tokens only available to premium accounts. They have three pay tiers, and "bux" (the premium currency) can be purchased seperately.

Guess what my daughter's new passion is? :/ And finding it was my own darn fault.

It's a fun little game, with some basic quest lines and thin story. What's captured my imagination is the breeding and genetics of the fauna. As time progresses, your fauna (whether horse, turtle, or whatever) gets closer and closer to laying an egg. The egg takes on characteristics of both the one who lays the egg, and the one who nests with it.

Genetics was always my favorite part of The Sims, too.

Whatever gives you the urge to keep playing, Faunasphere is worth a look or two. It might even be worth the lowest "pay to play" tier at $2.99. But $9.99 a month? I'm thinking that's a little steep, and only for the hard-core, must have 30 fauna in my stable types. Or people with more money than bills.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Food: Freezer Avalanche

Well, I've been using down my freezer stash for some time now, and today it finally got to *that* point... the point where there's enough stuff in it to be pretty full, but not quite enough stuff to keep it all wedged in there tightly when you open the door. At that point, there's nothing to do but empty it out, clean, and reorganize.

Get a cooler, and turn off the freezer. And wear shoes with sensible toes, because it WILL hit you in the feet and shins if it starts sliding.

Check the dates on everything. If you still have ham from last Christmas, consider tossing it. It probably won't kill you, but it's possibly going to be like jerky at this point, depending on how well you packaged it.

This is definitely the time to thaw/defrost and get those little green broccoli flecks off of everything. Then all you need to do is play a little freezer Tetris and you should be good to go... all set for the food madness coming up in a few short weeks.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Television: V is for...

... whoa, step out of the wayback machine.

This week on Tuesday was the mid-season premiere of "V", the souped-up remake of the '80s miniseries. I remember it being quite popular when I was in highschool, and the DVD viewing I had a couple of Christmasses ago revealed it to be a show that did not age well. The ideas were good, but it still came up looking dated. So I was really excited to see what they were going to do with it.

It's clear from the pilot that while some story elements are updated (single-mom FBI agents, viral web media) they're still sticking with the basics of the original plot. Can I give spoilers for a show that was partially written 25 years ago? Let's mention what's new and different.

I liked the implication that the underground anti-V movement has been around for years... however if they try to work in that the original mini-series was the first visit, I will be disappointed. I don't think they can though, with the rehash of some of the plotlines.

Just so I don't spoil anything for those who haven't seen the original, let's talk about cast members. Since I like to spot familiar faces, I had a grand time with this pilot. Of course everyone who has my taste in shows immediately recognized Allen Tudyk and Morena Baccarin from "Firefly" from the commercials before the show even aired. It's a shame Allen's characters all seem to die right away. We also have notable members from "Lost" (Elizabeth Mitchell), "The 4400" (Joel Gretsch), and "Smallville" (Laura Vandervoort).

It's interesting to me that they're trying to make a series out of this instead of a mini-series. Do they really think they can carry on with it for a number of seasons, or are they expecting to wrap it up after only one season? The one-season idea smacks of planned obsolescence and doesn't sit well with me, especially when there are shows with original plotlines out there which are or have been in danger of cancellation and no one wanted to see them go.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Knitting: I Can't Get No...

... Satisfaction. Even at the ancient age of 40 (and something), I know I'm a little young for that particular Rolling Stones tune. Still it fits. Go, Mick.

I'm not technically done with the Blue Log Cabin yet. I bound off the last segment, but I haven't picked up the stitches for the new segment. It's about the size of a very large and bizarre shawl, but I think I'm done with it for a while. I can only do *so much* garter stitch.

I think the Purple Moderne Log Cabin blanket is felted into my couch, I haven't touched it in so long. Even in Knit Picks Palette, it's frikken expensive.

So late last night I started a fairly simple scarf (Scarf with No Name... pattern designer's words, not mine) with some Twisted Fiber Arts Circle sock yarn... I want to say it's her Arial yarn base, but who knows? I don't have a memory for these things, and I wound it into a ball months ago, thinking I was going to start some socks. Hah. I suck at socks. When I complete a pair, they're great, but dang it takes me a while. My point being, the label is long gone.

I've hit the point in the "Some Coat" project where I split for the sleeves. I've done the left front and the back segments, and am about a third of the way through the right front. Soon I'll be reconnecting for the long haul to the bottom, then the sleeves, finishing, and it's done. A quick look with my tape measure, and it appears it will be as long as the photo implies. I guess the model is a full-heighth woman after all. Those numbers looked really, really small though.

So I'm excited about knitting again, which is nice. The scarf is a quick knit, but it's lace, so it's not recommended for bedtime knitting when you want to relax. The blanket coat is not as boring as the name implies with its alternating squares of stockinette and reverse stockinette. However I want to finish it faster than the small amount of late-night knitting I do allows. So I'll probably be trading off the two projects during the day, and doing "just a few more rows" on the coat at night for the relaxy factor.

Meanwhile, another dentist appointment today. New insurance, so he wants to do a full workup again since the last one is three years old. Normally I would say this smacks of fraud, but there have been enough changes that I believe he's right. He was even kind enough to schedule a bit of extra time in case any work needed to be done. I'm hoping not, but you know how that goes. By the time *you* know you need dental work, it's already almost too late, really. I know it's a pain, but keep up with your checkups, people. It makes a HUGE difference in your health.

And it's no fun not being able to chew. :D

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gaming: Takophenes is DOWN!

I managed, through a little schmoozing and a little bit of Google usage, to complete ALL the event badges for the Champions Online Blood Moon event. I could handle rescuing zombie heroes, I could handle teaming up for the hero crypts, especially on the Downtown heroes, but the real sticky part was going to be tracking down the Kingpin of the undead... Takophenes.

His spawn timer is 6 hours, 6 minutes, and (one assumes) 6 seconds long. In real time. On each different server. Thank god for the internet and geeks who love tracking statistics (and then sharing them).

Once I found a list of expected spawn times for each "shard" or server, and a player-constructed chat channel, the rest was easy. Listen on the chat channel for whichever server was up next, and wait. I managed to take five of my characters through this frenzy of ice blasts and fireballs, getting the Perk for downing him. I will not bother with my level 6 character, as there's just no way she'd make it through without being stomped into a sticky paste. As it was, two of my level 22 characters died RIGHT at the moment of the Lich's downfall. I got credit, but it was a pain to limp all the way back to the field of battle for my (meager) share of the loot.

I even managed to get this for my new Celestial powerset character, a tiny level 14, but with some healing powers to offset her tiny stature. She was started on Friday, I believe, after I finished the "In Memorium" perk with Ice Princess.

All in all, Cryptic has delivered in my opionion. While the PvP elements of the event were annoying, they were not as grief-ridden as in other MMORPGs I've played. The only time I was truly annoyed was when I found out I'd have to start all over on the "Kill 100" quests because the tokens for being a Werewolf or a Were-hunter were on a timer. I mean, really? I'm supposed to do this in one sitting? What if no-one is playing?

Other than that, it was a satisfying event.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Food: Candybar Overload

There are uses for leftover Halloween candy. If you have piles of Twizzlers, gummy bears, or Skittles, I can't help you unless you're asking me to eat them. :P BUT if you have chocolate candy in the mini-snickers or other famous bars arena, consider using them in place of chocolate chips in your favorite cookie recipe.

Take about two and a half cups of mini chocolate bars, run a knife through the pile in a rough chop, and measure. If you have approximately two cups, you're golden. This works with toffee bars, snickers, almond-coconut... I don't think I've had a candy it doesn't work with. Substitute this for the two cups of chips in THAT famous recipe... you know the one. It's on the back of the yellow bag of chips.

It will still go straight to your hips, but at least you'll feel better knowing you got some other food group candidates in with the eating.