• 2019 Holiday Potluck & Gift Exchange

    2019 Holiday Potluck & Gift Exchange

    Every year, Keystone's staff get together for a bit of fun one Friday during December. Everyone contributes a dish to our potluck lunch and brings a gift for our White Elephant gift exchange. For this week's blog post, I thought y'all might enjoy a look at some of last Friday's festivities.

    We had a wonderful spread of food including all the holiday favorites like sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and more!

    This year's potluck included a battle of the soups between John O's Sausage Toretellini soup and my Chicken Taco soup, but in the end, both were declared a winner!

     2019 Holiday Potluck & Gift Exchange


    This year James and Colin contributed what might have been "THE BIGGEST APPLE PIE EVER" (TM). In addition to being enormous, it was also super tasty!

    2019 Holiday Potluck & Gift Exchange 

    It's always fun to try to figure out who brought what present. Be careful, heavy doesn't always mean good. ;)

     2019 Holiday Potluck & Gift Exchange


    Happy Holidays from the Keystone staff! One of the greatest joys of this season is getting to say THANK YOU for the opportunity to serve you and to wish you the very best for the New Year!

  • A Snowy Day in Raleigh

    A Snowy Day in Raleigh

    For this week's blog post, we thought you'd enjoy some of our staff's photos of the snow we got in Raleigh over the last couple of days.

    Let's start with a .gif of Katy's cat Paws watching the snowfall through the sliding glass door of her townhouse.

    Here was Drea's view out her home's front door on Monday.

     A Snowy Day in Raleigh

    Also, these two pictures of the table, chairs, and pergola on her upper deck show just how much snow accumulated. We got approximately 7 inches of snow on Sunday and even more fell on Monday morning. Raleigh usually averages 6 inches of snow total per season.

     A Snowy Day in Raleigh

    A Snowy Day in Raleigh

    Finally, this is what her backyard looked like blanketed in all the white stuff. Her dogs definitely didn't appreciate it as much as she did. You can see their tracks going off the lower deck and around the firepit.

    A Snowy Day in Raleigh 

    Nancy shared this picture trees in her backyard covered in snow.

     A Snowy Day in Raleigh

    Katy also enjoyed the snow on the tree outside of her window.

     A Snowy Day in Raleigh

    And, her kitty, Paws, enjoyed watching it fall through the large sliding glass door.

    A Snowy Day in Raleigh 

  • Holiday Cheer at the Keystone Office

    A red image with snowy white trim and a tiny sleigh pulled by reindeer. The text reads: It's that time of year again! Please be aware of the following dates when we will be closed: December 26, 2022 and January 2, 2023. We will be open as usual on all other days. Happy Holidays!

    Yesterday, we had our first Holiday office party since 2019. It was wonderful to get everyone back together, share some delicious food, and exchange some gifts. But we also did something totally new and unique: George, who joined Keystone as a developer earlier this year, brought in some liquid nitrogen, and led us in a science experiment! 

    We started off with a demonstration of the super-cold liquid's properties, with Katharina(our newest Customer Support Specialist) submerging a rubber ball, freezing it to the point that its once-flexible molecules were too densely packed to bounce back. Instead, when she dropped the ball, it broke apart with a loud crack!

    [Video description: George dons heavy-duty protective gloves, and picks up a bottle of liquid nitrogen as he explains its properties. The Keystone staff, mostly dressed in festive holiday outfits, are gathered in a circle to watch. The nitrogen steams and boils as soon as it hits the bowl. George helps Katharina gear up in the gloves and safety goggles, then gives her a rubber bouncy ball to hold with long metal tongs. Katharina carefully dunks the ball in the nitrogen, holding it under as the liquid boils around it. Once the boiling subsides, she pulls it out, holds it straight in front of her, and drops it on a metal plate. On impact, the ball splits into three even chunks.]

    Once the ball returned to room temperature, the pieces were once again soft and squishy. But the best part of the experiment was up next: ICE CREAM!!!

    As the liquid nitrogen was poured into the much warmer bowl of milk and sugar, the ingredients were rapidly chilled, and the nitrogen boiled off, keeping everything light and fluffy. Within minutes, we had delicious, freshly-made soft serve! 

    [Video description: a long table holds two bowls with a chocolatey liquid in them. Katy and Mitake take turns stirring one bowl, while James and John C. work on the other. They are all wearing rubber gloves and safety glasses. While explaining what to do, George helps each pair get set up with a folded napkin to hold the metal bowl with, since those bowls are about to get very cold. The nitrogen is stored in tall thermoses, just like you might use for coffee or soup. More chocolate is added, and once the ingredients are ready, James and Mitake start pouring in the nitrogen. So much white fog steams up, that you can no longer see the other contents of the bowls, and James, Mitake, and George have to keep fanning the bowls for Katy and John to see what they're stirring. Gradually, the liquid mix in the bowls thickens and ices up into soft serve.]

    While we can't invite all of you to the office for dessert, we hope that you all will have the chance to share some holiday joy and wonder of your own--whether it comes in the form of a science experiment, a gift exchange, or just a chance to catch up with friends and family.

    From all of us to all of you, Happy Holidays!

    [Video description: a collage of close-up photos of the ice cream making process surround a video clip from another angle. The photos show the table with everyone preparing to make the ice cream, the Keystone staff gathered around filming or watching, bowls being held tight and stirred just as the ingredients start to form up, and finally a bowl of delicious-looking chocolate ice cream.]

  • Wishing you a hearty & healthy Thanksgiving

    A Happy Thanksgiving image with a roast chicken and plenty of fall favorite sides and fixings.

    Keystone Systems' office will be closed Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25 in observance of Thanksgiving. But before we send out staff off to gather with friends and family, we asked them to share some of their favorite holiday recipes.

    We're all grateful that you're part of our KLAS users family, and hope you all have a lovely holiday!

    From Nancy Honeycutt, Customer Support Manager:

    Mom would always make refrigerator rolls. One time she left a cookie sheet with rolls rising on the counter while we went to pay a Christmas visit to neighbors. When we came back, the cookie sheet was on the floor, completely cleaned off, and the dog was suspiciously innocent (and sick later that night).

    Refrigerator Rolls


    • 1 yeast cake
    • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
    • 2/3 cup shortening
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 cup mashed potatoes
    • 1 c scalded milk
    • 6-8 cups flour
    • 2 eggs


    1. Mash potatoes.
    2. Add shortening, sugar, salt & eggs. Cream well.
    3. Dissolve yeast in water, add to lukewarm milk. Then add to potato mixture.
    4. Add sifted flour to make stiff dough. Knead lightly.
    5. Place in casserole and brush top with butter.
    6. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
    7. About 1/2 hour before baking time remove and shape in rolls. 
    8. Cover and let rise until light.
    9. Cook at 400* for 10-12 minutes.

    A handwritten card with the above recipe. The card shows clear signs of age and use.

    From Marion Campbell, Customer Support Specialist:

    One of my families favorite food for the holidays are sweet potato biscuits. One holiday when my nephews were 9,10,10-ish, the biscuits came out early and were warming on the table. Slowly, they each snuck a biscuit or 3... when it was time to eat there were no biscuits left in the basket because the boys had eaten them all. Needless to say, a 2nd tray came out soon after but the boys were full from biscuits and did not eat much else that year. They all had tummy aches from the biscuits and now the rule of biscuits is: only eat 2, more than 2 and you will not be happy.

    Sweet Potato Biscuits

    Here's what's cookin': Sweet Potatoe Biscuits
    From the kitchen of: Dorothy Wright


    • 4 cups packed of sweet potatoes
    • 1 cup Crisco
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 4 cups of self-rising flour


    1. Peel sweet potatoes and boil until done.
    2. While hot mash and add to them Crisco, sugar, and flour.
    3. Mix good.
    4. Work into biscuits.
    5. More flour is sometimes needed. Depends on wetness of potatoe to be able to handle the mixture.
    6. Bake at 350* for 20-30 minutes. Depending on size of biscuits.
    7. Mix handles better if cooled.
    8. Bake on greased cookie sheet.

    The sweet potato biscuit recipe card has labels for "Here's what's cookin'" and "From the kitchen of" in an imitation-handwriting font. The card has an image of various fruits and veggies spilling out of a basket in the lower corner.  The reverse side of the card with more instructions.

    From Katharina Stevens, Customer Support Specialist:

    Among many other things I am thankful for are ovens that allow you to set a specific temperature and that cook evenly. Baking in East Africa was always an adventure. One summer I brought the ingredients for pumpkin pie back with me to make at Thanksgiving. It didn't turn out very pretty. Had to cut off the burnt parts, and take a moto taxi across town to buy some cinnamon whipped cream to hide the mess. Tasted good though.

    Seriously though, I'm immensely thankful for family, friends and the blessing that is America. We've come a long way from the 5 kernels of corn that that Pilgrims had to eat each day that first winter of 1620.

    Photo of an unusually lumpy pumpkin pie with burnt blotches on half the top.  The pie is now covered in whipped cream, and is on a metal charger with a blue diamond-patterned tablecloth behind it.

    From Drea Callicutt, Director of Marketing, Sales & Communications:

    One of our favorite holiday dishes is more recent. My sister learned to make duck fat roasted potatoes while she was in graduate school in Edinburgh. She made them for us for the first time for Christmas dinner when were visiting her in Leeds, and they’re now a staple whenever she’s joins us for a holiday meal.

    This recipe from Vindulge.com is pretty much how she makes hers:

    Roasted Duck Fat Potatoes


    • Large Sheet Tray
    • Parchment Paper
    • Ingredients
    • 2 pounds yellow potatoes, cut into ½ inch dice
    • 2 tablespoons salt (for boiling the potatoes)
    • ¼ cup duck fat
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 tablespoon freshly graded parmesan
    • 1 teaspoon thyme, finely diced


    1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. In a large pan, place the diced potatoes and fill with cold water until it just covers the potatoes. Add 2 tablespoons of salt in the water.
    3. Bring to boil. Start timer for 14 minutes. When the potatoes come to boil, reduce heat to a simmer. After timer runs out, strain the potatoes in a colander.
    4. In a large bowl, place the potatoes and then add the duck fat, additional kosher salt, and pepper. Stir with your hands to incorporate and then place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    5. Place in the oven, and toss the potatoes every 15 minutes. The duck fat will slowly brown the potatoes, especially the sides touching the pan. So turning the potatoes every 15 minutes will help get more of the crunch on the surface area of the potatoes.
    6. After 40-45 minutes, the potatoes should be golden in color. Remove and place them in your favorite serving dish. Top with the parmesan and thyme. Serve warm.

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Keystone Systems, Inc.
8016 Glenwood Ave., Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27612