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Lilly's Mint Brownies

Alan "reasonably dangerous" Berman

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Lilly's Mint Brownies

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I don't really bake all that often, and when I do, I pretty much only bake one thing.  My mom's (Lilly's) mint brownies.  This is the only recipe I've ever asked my mom for, because when the need to bake arises, there's no point in baking anything else. ;)

Lilly's Mint Brownies
Lilly's Mint Brownies

BROWNIES - Mix in order, with electric Mixer:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened)
4 eggs (beaten)
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
24oz chocolate syrup (1 bottle)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour into a 9" x 13" pan, bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes (or until done).
Note: Slightly underbaked is better than slightly overbaked.
Cool and refrigerate until cold.

MINT FROSTING - Mix with electric mixer:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened)
2 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
a few drops of green food coloring

Spread on cold brownie loaf and refrigerate.

CHOCOLATE GLAZE -
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter

Melt and mix semi-sweet chocolate chips and butter.  Cool slightly and
spread over the cold mint-frosted brownie loaf.  Refrigerate and cut
into squares.  Serve chilled.

They're not healthy, they're not vegan, they're not ready in 15 minutes, but they're worth the effort.  Just figured I'd share the love.
  • Hi there! This is Mischa (we hung out with Nada some time ago and went hiking or to Muir Beach or something and I seem to recall it was lovely). Anyway Nada told me I should get in touch with you about bicycles. I failed to find a bicycle related post, so I went with the next best thing, Mint Brownies! Anyway, my nearly-fallen-apart-already bike got stolen this past weekend when I left it in a silly place overnight, so now I'm looking for recs on what to replace it with. Do you have experience with various models/brands for casual city use (i.e. "hybrid" style, not road or mountain bike)? I'm thinking of the Marin "Larkspur" because I've always thought its brushed aluminum finish and triangular tubing looked pretty spiffy, and it's fairly minimalist with just the seatpost suspension and whatnot. But maybe I should find a decent and cheap used bike instead of plunking down $500 for a bike with a top of the line lock to protect it with (my previous lock was just the not-quite-premium "Evolution 2000" and apparently it got sawed through easily). Have any favorite merchants? (If I buy new, I will probably just go to the Missing Link in Berkeley).
    • Hey Mischa! long time no talk!

      Sorry to hear about your bike... though it sounds like it wasn't too huge of a loss. (?)

      You've actually managed to hit on the particular type of bike that is my forte!

      I would suggest looking at the Trek 7000 as well, it has pretty much all the same features as the Larkspur, but runs about $300. You might even be able to pick up a 2007 model for well under $300.

      Alternately, I would put forth the bit of wisdom that the best theft protection is having a less-than-tempting looking bike. You could probably find a decent Marin Larkspur (or equivalent) on craigslist with a little patrolling of the bikes section. I managed to land myself a Trek 8000 for less than $100, which, though ~10 years old, once retailed for over $1000, and still rides great. CL is a treasure trove if you have the time. I just did a quick search now to see what turns up, there's at least two Trek 7000's, a 7100 and a 7200 available. No Larkspurs, but there's quite a lot of bike manufacturers out there with comparable models. Jamis, KHS, Raleigh, Trek, Schwinn, Fuji, K2, Gary Fisher, Giant... just to name a few. It's better to just know what type of bike you're looking for and be flexible on the brand.

      That being said, I would shoot for the following stuff:
      Aluminum or Chromium-Molybdenum "CroMo" frame (lighter)
      non-suspension fork (better for going up* hills, worse for going down them)
      V-brakes (also known as linear-pull brakes)
      quick release skewers
      metal pedals (the plastic ones hit one curb and are smashed to pieces)
      suspension seatpost
      thinner city-slick tires
      chain ring protector (helps avoid getting pants caught in the gears)
      lots of braze-ons for mounting racks and fenders etc.

      Regardless of what you get, I would highly recommend the following items:

      [Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<a [...] components</a>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

      Hey Mischa! long time no talk!

      Sorry to hear about your bike... though it sounds like it wasn't too huge of a loss. (?)

      You've actually managed to hit on the particular type of bike that is my forte!

      I would suggest looking at the Trek 7000 as well, it has pretty much all the same features as the Larkspur, but runs about $300. You might even be able to pick up a 2007 model for well under $300.

      Alternately, I would put forth the bit of wisdom that the best theft protection is having a less-than-tempting looking bike. You could probably find a decent Marin Larkspur (or equivalent) on craigslist with a little patrolling of the bikes section. I managed to land myself a Trek 8000 for less than $100, which, though ~10 years old, once retailed for over $1000, and still rides great. CL is a treasure trove if you have the time. I just did a quick search now to see what turns up, there's at least two Trek 7000's, a 7100 and a 7200 available. No Larkspurs, but there's quite a lot of bike manufacturers out there with comparable models. Jamis, KHS, Raleigh, Trek, Schwinn, Fuji, K2, Gary Fisher, Giant... just to name a few. It's better to just know what type of bike you're looking for and be flexible on the brand.

      That being said, I would shoot for the following stuff:
      Aluminum or Chromium-Molybdenum "CroMo" frame (lighter)
      non-suspension fork (better for going up* hills, worse for going down them)
      V-brakes (also known as linear-pull brakes)
      quick release skewers
      metal pedals (the plastic ones hit one curb and are smashed to pieces)
      suspension seatpost
      thinner city-slick tires
      chain ring protector (helps avoid getting pants caught in the gears)
      lots of braze-ons for mounting racks and fenders etc.

      Regardless of what you get, I would highly recommend the following items:

      <a href="http://www.pinheadcomponents.com/"PinHead components</a> and a <a href="http://www.kryptonitelock.com/Products/ProductDetail.aspx?cid=1001&scid=1000&pid=1095">Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit</a>.

      Basically those little extras will ensure that your bike, and/or parts of your bike will not magically disappear when you leave it locked up. Though a word of warning, the Fahgettaboudit locks are kinda heavy. Though once you hold it in your hand you'll know why they're billed as the strongest U-locks available. It's also good to note that the less open space there is in your U lock, the better. A perfect U lock doesn't leave any room for thieves to wedge in prybars, so sorta on the smaller side is actually a good thing.

      Feel free to ask me more questions or whatever anytime. Bikes are my newest hobby and I've spent a lot of time lately delving into them in a fair bit of detail. :)
      • Cool! Is it ever possible to buy those pinheadcomponents at bike shops or should I just order online? Sounds like it takes them a while to ship, but they seem like a really excellent idea. I would love to not have to use a separate cable to secure one wheel or the other. Would be really nice in fact to just lock the frame and no wheels (then again, from a distance that might make one's bike look like a wheel-theft target).

        I will look into the CL scene (don't know why I didn't think of that before).

        And I'm afraid I must friend you now, what with you being such a font of useful info, starting an interesting new job, and someone I actually know that I had meant to start reading a long time ago!
        • I have spotted pinhead style components at local bike shops. Basically just call them n' ask if they carry security skewers. They'll know what you mean. OnGuard (kryptonite competitor) makes ones that look identical to the pinhead ones. PitLock (German based) makes some other wicked-awesome looking security components, but I don't know if those are available in local shops. Most places will have something though.

          Yay for friending!
          • I noticed another thing -- the Fahgetaboutit doesn't seem to come with any mounting accessories (or have a place on the lock where these would be attached).... does this mean you have to carry the lock in your bag, or improvise your own mount, or some such thing? (Or is it simply that it comes with a mount that it slides into without the lock itself having a metal mounty thing built in...?)
            The missing link people have a different "Fahgetaboutit" that is sort of an enormous unwieldy chain, and the woman had never heard of the U-lock version, so I may have to hunt around. I do like the shiny silver Larkspur though, *much* lighter than my previous bike. Though I kind of hope to find an '07 version since I'm not sure I like the weird curvy crossbar all the '08 models have. Still debating whether to just go with a cheapo seatleash and wheel cable vs. security skewers.... are they difficult to install? The woman seemed confused about what these were too, strangely, and suggested allen keys rather than quick release, and I'm thinking "I've just been bested by someone with a power hacksaw, I think they might have a collection of allen wrenches with them too!"

            Beside the point, but: I am starting to really crave those mint brownies...
            • Hmm, sounds like you didn't really reach the most helpful bike shop worker. I know Performance Bikes in SOMA carries various security skewers, though I don't know if they'd have any in stock currently. Otherwise you might try Valencia Cyclery or Mike's Bikes or my personal favorite, Pedal Revolution. All of those are in SF though. I don't really know much about Berkeley shops.

              You're right in your assumption that the Fahgeddaboudit locks don't come with any sort of mounting bracket. I kept mine strapped to my rear rack, though I've seen a growing trend of people just putting smallish U locks in their back pockets or through their belts. The Fahgeddaboudit locks may also be known as the "New York" series -- usually identifiable by their yellow coloring, vs the "Evolution" series' orange. I have a New York 3000 lock I picked up earlier this year. I had to order it online, cuz no one stocked it 'round here. To be honest, it weighs a lot. I swear the thing is like 10 pounds. One thing's for sure though, it's a helluva thief deterent. Unfortunately, it's a bit too heavy for my tastes. It now sits virtually unused in my garage. My roommate has taken to using it to keep his folding bike locked up in the garage, but I've been meaning to sell it on CL for ~$40. You can have first dibs on it if you wish. :)

              Otherwise, I would suggest looking into the OnGuard "Brute" series of U locks.
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