Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson: the morning after

Only twelve hours have passed since the prosecutor announced the Grand Jury's decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. In the end, a mother and father have lost their son and an officer will (more than likely) be forced from a career that he spent years training for.

I do not have an opinion as to whether or not Officer Wilson should have been indicted. I was not there that fateful day. I do not know how the events of that day transpired. Most importantly though, I do not know the thoughts that went through the head of Michael Brown, nor do I know the heart of Officer Darren Wilson. Who’s to say that both weren’t afraid for their lives’?

Everyday men and women in uniform don that uniform and vow to serve and protect. They lay their lives on the line to protect the rest of us each and every day. Understandably so, the law protects these individuals very well. In some instances, too well. The only issue that I can take with the events that I know for sure took place that day in Ferguson, was the fact that Officer Wilson “shot to kill” an individual. I do not know how police officers are trained, but it seems to me that a whole lot of “shooting to kill” happens. Especially to people of color, quite a few of which are unarmed.

Once again, I stress the fact that I do not know Michael Brown’s thoughts that day nor do I know those of Officer Wilson.

What I do know, is that a good friend of mine (who I won’t mention by name because I do not have her permission) was recently retired from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government police force because of a horrible injury that she received from a non-compliant person who was under the influence of drugs. She received an injury so debilitating, that she has chronic pain daily and was forced from a career that she LOVED dearly, yet she did not choose to shoot to kill. Like the events in Ferguson, I do not know those from the day that she received her injury. I do not know whether she even had the opportunity to retrieve her gun from its holster, or if that was a thought that had occurred to her. What I do know though, is that a young woman’s career ended very abruptly that day and her life has been forever changed.

Having said that, there is a history of police using excessive force in the case of persons of color across this country. It has become commonplace to watch or read news of an officer shooting and killing a person of color. Excessive force? Maybe. Maybe not. You have to judge on a case-by-case basis. But, it is going to continue until laws are changed and police officers are trained in a different manner and then held accountable when they overstep the bounds of both the oath they take and the laws that are written.

I find it alarming that the FBI has compiled statistics and can tell you exactly how many officers were killed every year for the past umpteen years. They can break it down by race, gender, whether they were on duty or off, but they cannot tell you and they do not compile the information to let us know how many times an officer shot and killed a person of ANY color, regardless of whether or not that force was deemed necessary. (Wes Lowery, Washington Post) There is no accurate, complete database out there compiling this information.
“News reports of officer-involved shootings are fairly regular across the country, but there are no national, comprehensive statistics on these incidents, so it is impossible to say how frequently they happen. Information about those struck by police bullets is also unavailable -- whether they are unarmed or carrying a weapon, criminals or innocent bystanders, black or white. Reliable data would make it easier for citizens to know when officers are acting recklessly, and for police departments to develop methods of avoiding the use of lethal force. 
The FBI collects data from police departments on all kinds of crimes, including hate crimes violence against police officers, but the bureau is not required to compile statistics on officer-involved shootings. Data from the state of New York shows that the targets of police gunfire are disproportionately black, which would be consistent with psychological experiments suggesting that in dangerous situations, people are more likely to shoot at black people than at white people.”
We awoke this morning to horrible images out of Ferguson overnight. More than a dozen buildings burned and stores -- many owned by locals -- looted. And for what? Is this how we chose to honor Michael Brown? Is this how we chose to show our discontent with a decision that was to our un-liking? As a friend of mine said on Facebook, “When was the last time robbing a liquor store did anything for black people?”

You didn't like the decision that was reached by the grand jury, so you burnt down the neighborhood that you lived in. You destroyed business that took folks years to build. Businesses that even if they wanted to, due to financial restraints, they more than likely will be unable to rebuild. Only so that six months or a year from now when all of the media attention has died down and folks have moved on to the next “Ferguson” you can sit back and blame the system for “holding the man down” and that being the reason there is nothing in your community.

I have only lived thirty-one years on this Earth and I am so tired of watching this cycle play out in front of me time and time again. I can’t imagine how our parents and grandparents feel. Those who lived through the Civil Rights movement and countless wars both at home and abroad.

Change needs to happen. I think this bears repeating. Laws need to be changed and police officers need to be trained in a different manner and when they overstep the bounds of both the oath they take and the laws that are written, they should be held accountable.And to the persons who are found to have looted businesses last night and burnt buildings and cars: You need to be punished. I hope that it is discovered who you are and that you are punished to the fullest extent of the law. We have heard it said time and time again, “No matter how upset you are, violence it not the answer.” What you did will not bring Michael Brown back and you certainly did not honor him.

I leave you with this:
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality. Did you ever stop to think that you can't leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom and reach over for the sponge, and that's handed to you by a Pacific islander. You reach for a bar of soap, and that's given to you at the hands of a Frenchman. And then you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning, and that's poured into your cup by a South American. And maybe you want tea: that's poured into your cup by a Chinese. Or maybe you're desirous of having cocoa for breakfast, and that's poured into your cup by a West African. And then you reach over for your toast, and that's given to you at the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you've depended on more than half of the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren't going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.”
- Martin Luther King
A Christmas Sermon on Peace, 1967

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Broccoli Casserole


2 10 oz. packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and drained
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1  10¾ oz. can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
2 tablespoon butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 13 by 9 inch baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl combing, broccoli, mayo, cheese, soup and eggs. Mix well with a metal spoon. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Top with the crushed crackers and pour the melted butter evenly over the crackers. Bake for 35 minutes or until set and browned.

Source: Paula Deen

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Be still and know that I am God

10 ways to recognize God's power in times of trouble

Every time a trial comes to me or my family, I think of the words from the Bible in Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God,” and I am often comforted. Sometimes, though, I wonder just what it means to be still and what exactly I need to do to make that happen.

When we face difficulties in our life that would make it seem as if we are on a ship being tossed upon a stormy sea, how exactly can we be still and a strength to our family while a storm rages around us? As I looked up the definition of still in the online Merriam Webster Dictionary, not only was I enlightened when I learned the definition for still, but learned very valuable lessons from its synonyms as well.

Here are ten words and their definitions that can teach us how to be still in the times of a storm and recognize the power of God.

Still: free from noise or turbulence; untroubled

When we are free from outside noise or turbulence, we are able to hear the still small voice of God's Spirit as he comes to comfort and guide us through our trials. Some of the noise we experience that could be blocking our ability to feel God’s presence is our own worry. When we learn to change our thoughts from negative to positive, we are more able to feel God’s love because we are in harmony with him. The noise and turbulence is replaced by a sweet melody of peace.
Calm: a period or condition of freedom from storms; a state of tranquility

To be calm does not mean that the storm is no longer all around you, it means that the storm is no longer within you. The storms may still rage, but you are free from the effects of them. They no longer trouble you because you know in whom you have trusted. You are in a place where you no longer fear.
Hushed: to put at rest; mollify-to soothe in temper or disposition

Often times, when trials come, we tend to get angry with God and cry out in complaint. When we do this, we lessen our ability to feel the Spirit, because we leave no room in our hearts for the Spirit to dwell. God cannot dwell in a heart that is full of anger. It is when we learn to put at rest our complaints and cast our burdens on the Lord, to hush our cries and wait upon him, that we will find solace. He will bind our broken hearts.

Peaceful: untroubled by conflict; devoid of violence or force

Sometimes when difficulties arise, we allow the anger and frustrations from those trials to push us into violence, or we try to force our will upon the Lord. Neither one of these choices will bring us peace. When conflicts come and we are untroubled by them because of our faith in God, only then can we know peace.

Placid: serenely free of interruption or disturbance

We can learn to be still as we pray, read scripture, go for a walk, meditate or give ourselves time to ponder free from interruption or disturbance. This not only allows us to communicate with our Heavenly Father, it allows our Heavenly Father to communicate with us.

Restful: marked by, affording, or suggesting rest and repose; being at rest

Often times, the busyness of life makes it impossible for us to truly hear what God is trying to tell us. It is when we slow down and allow ourselves the opportunity to rest that our mind and heart can focus on those things that are of the greatest importance. God wants to talk to us, but we have to be ready and available to listen.

Serene: shining bright and steady
While reading with my children during home-school, I learned that the sun does not rise and the sun does not set. It is an illusion. Instead, the Sun stays still, steady and bright, and as the Earth turns to face the sun, that is when the morning comes. The darkness of night comes when the Earth turns away. It is the same with us. In our trials, when we turn to face the Son, who is steady and bright, just like the Earth, we are filled with light. If instead we choose to turn away from him, the darkness of night will surely come. Choose to face the light.

Quiet: gentle, easy going, i.e. quiet nature

When we are gentle and easygoing, we are more able to hear God’s commands. He gently persuades us to love him and serve others. We are more able to ease our own troubles, and we will carry God’s spirit within us, which will aid us in easing the burdens of others.

Stilly: in a calm manner

When we approach life, and our trials, in a calm manner, we are more able to see the bigger picture and outline a plan of recovery. Not only does it allow us to have a clear mind, but it allows us to help calm the fears of those around us.

Tranquil: free from agitation of mind or spirit

When our mind and spirit are still, our whole body is at peace. We are able to see things with a clear mind, feel things with a pure heart and hear the voice of our Heavenly Father with ears that are open and in tune with his spirit. We will know God because we will be one with him.

“Be still and know that I am God,” is not just a saying, it is a state of being. It is the ability to know God well enough to trust in his abilities to rescue you. As we learn to be still and trust in God, we come to know and understand that we are God’s children. We are never alone, never unaided and never forgotten. He will come to us. All it takes is for us to be still.

Source: Tiffany Fletcher, FamilyShare

Black Bean Brownies


Butter, for greasing pan
¾ cup cooked black beans
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
⅔ cup sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup mini chocolate chips, divided
⅓ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan.

In a blender, puree the beans with the oil. Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar, coffee, and vanilla. Melt half the chocolate chips and add to the blender. Blend on medium-high until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the blender and pulse until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until the surface looks somewhat matte around the edges and still a bit shiny in the middle, about 20 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and removing from the pan. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Cook's Note: Place a small cutout or stencil on the brownie before dusting to make a design.

Source: Melissa d'Arabian

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Denied A Stage, She Sang For A Nation

Seventy-five years ago, on April 9, 1939, as Hitler's troops advanced in Europe and the Depression took its toll in the U.S., one of the most important musical events of the 20th century took place on the National Mall in Washington. There, just two performers, a singer and a pianist, made musical — and social — history.

At 42, contralto Marian Anderson was famous in Europe and the U.S., but had never faced such an enormous crowd. There were 75,000 people in the audience that day, and she was terrified. Later, she wrote: "I could not run away from this situation. If I had anything to offer, I would have to do so now."

So, in the chilly April dusk, Anderson stepped onto a stage built over the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and began to sing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." Her first notes show no sign of nerves. Her voice is forceful and sweet. And the choice of music — that opening song — is remarkable, given the circumstances. The NBC Blue Network announcer explained the unusual venue this way: "Marian Anderson is singing this public concert at the Lincoln Memorial because she was unable to get an auditorium to accommodate the tremendous audience that wishes to hear her."

That was hardly the story. According to Anderson biographer Allan Keiler, she was invited to sing in Washington by Howard University as part of its concert series. And because of Anderson's international reputation, the university needed to find a place large enough to accommodate the crowds. Constitution Hall was such a place, but the Daughters of the American Revolution owned the hall.

"They refused to allow her use of the hall," Keiler says, "because she was black and because there was a white artist-only clause printed in every contract issued by the DAR."

Like the nation's capital, Constitution Hall was segregated then. Black audiences could sit in a small section of the balcony, and did, when a few black performers appeared in earlier years. But after one such singer refused to perform in a segregated auditorium, the DAR ruled that only whites could appear on their stage.

One of the members of the DAR was first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Outraged by the decision, Roosevelt sent a letter of resignation and wrote about it in her weekly column, "My Day." "They have taken an action which has been widely criticized in the press," she wrote. "To remain as a member implies approval of that action, and therefore I am resigning."

The DAR did not relent. According to Keiler, the idea to sing outdoors came from Walter White, then executive secretary of the NAACP. Since the Lincoln Memorial was a national monument, the logistics for the day fell to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes. It was Ickes who led Anderson onto the stage on April 9, 1939.

'Of Thee We Sing'

She began with "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" — also known as "America" — a deeply patriotic song. When she got to the third line of that well-known tune, she made a change. Instead of "of thee I sing" she sang "to thee we sing."

A quiet, humble person, Anderson often used "we" when speaking about herself. Years after the concert, she explained why: "We cannot live alone," she said. "And the thing that made this moment possible for you and for me, has been brought about by many people whom we will never know."

Source: NPR

Sunday, March 9, 2014

7 Scientifically Proven Ways To Have A Happier Morning

Here's how to get a sunnier start to your day.

Have a little tulip with your coffee.

Why it works: Evolutionary psychologists believe that we see flowers and plants as a subconscious cue of safety ("Things can grow here -- let's set down roots"), reward ("All that foraging paid off") and promise ("These buds mean that fruit is on the way"). So the sight of a colorful bouquet in the morning, they theorize, can convince you that everything's coming up roses today.

Strange, true thing that might convince you: In a study led by Harvard Medical School psychologist Nancy Etcoff, PhD, women who saw flowers when they woke up reported feeling happier (and less anxious) at home, as well as more energetic at work.

Sleep on your right side.

Why it works: It will influence your dreams. Turkish researchers found that people who tend to sleep on their right side have mellower dreams, with themes of relief, joy, peace and love. They also report feeling better rested and less dysfunctional during waking hours.

Strange, true thing that might convince you: Sleeping exclusively on the left side can put pressure on the organs on that side of the body, like the stomach and lungs (no wonder left-side-sleepers are more likely to have nightmares).

Squeeze yourself a glass of fresh orange juice.

Why it works: It's not just because oranges are the color of the morning sun: They're also high in vitamin B6 and folic acid, both of which have been found lacking in patients who suffer from depression.

Strange, true thing that might convince you: The scent of sweet orange essential oil made test-takers in one Brazilian study feel less anxious throughout the exam (bonus: The effect lingered throughout the afternoon).

Go to bed an hour earlier.

Why it works: For all the obvious reasons (you'll be better rested, more alert, more optimistic about what the day holds).

Strange, true thing that might convince you (as if you need it): When you lose sleep, you also risk losing your sense of humor. No joke: The ability to "get" that something is funny requires you to process information cognitively as well as emotionally -- and that processing is severely affected by a lack of sleep, explains William D.S. Killgore, an associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. In one of his studies, sleep-deprived participants had significant difficulty recognizing when items like news headlines and cartoons were supposed to make them laugh.

Do 10 burpees in the yard.

Why it works: Cardio exercise wakes up your heart and your muscles and can set your mood on an upward trajectory that lasts until nighttime (and may even extend into a more restful sleep). Doing it outside seems to compound the effects. If you don't have time before work for a trail run, this jumping-squatting-planking move, which can be done in a few minutes and a few square feet of outdoor space, is the most efficient cheat.

Strange, true thing that might convince you: Just 5 minutes of exercising in nature can enhance your mood and boost your self-esteem, researchers found (that's at least 20 burpees).

Never cry yourself to sleep.

Why it works: Sleep has been shown to make memories more vivid and durable, particularly emotional ones—perhaps as an evolutionary mechanism to help us learn from these experiences (we remember how angry Ug got when we made that comment after the mammoth hunt, so we never, ever say it to him again).

Strange, true thing that might convince you: People shown disturbing images at bedtime had strong reactions both before and after sleeping, found a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. But when shown upsetting images first thing in the morning and then after a day awake, they didn't seem nearly as fazed. Staying awake after an upsetting experience neutralizes some of the emotion, the scientists concluded, while going to sleep helps "preserve" the emotional response.

Get your heart racing...and his, too (wink).

Why it works: Testosterone levels (yes, women, too have small amounts of it naturally) are highest in the morning. Having sex then also boosts your levels of the love hormone, oxytocin. Schedule an a.m. tryst, and you'll not only feel more vital and alive but also more bonded to your partner for the rest of the day.

Strange, true thing that might convince you: Sex increases blood flow to the entire body, even the brain, which can keep the synapses firing and the neurons healthy and pumped.

Source: Huffington Post

Monday, September 30, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies


24 Mini Peanut Butter Cups, Unwrapped
1 whole Roll Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, 14 Ounce Roll


Preheat oven to 350 F. Set the unwrapped peanut butter cups aside.

Slice the roll of cookie dough into 1½ inch slices. Lay the slices on their side and cut them into quarters. Place each quarter into a hole in a greased 24-count mini-muffin tin.

Bake the cookie dough in a 350 F oven for just a few minutes, about 6 to 8 at the most. You’ll want to take them out just when they start to turn golden. The cookies will be pouf-ey at this point.

Almost as soon as you pull the warm cookies from the oven, begin lightly pressing one peanut butter cup into each cookie so that the cookie envelops the peanut butter cup. The warmer the cookies, the better. They’ll grab onto the pieces of candy and work their magic, making the candy nice and soft and melty. And ridiculous.

Let them cool slightly, then carefully remove them from the muffin tins with a spoon and serve them on a platter.

Source: The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond

Sunday, September 8, 2013

5 Lies Every Twentysomething Needs to Stop Believing

Sarah had been told all her life she could do anything she wanted, that success was right around the corner. But now, stuck in a menial job at 25, with no big career in sight, she - like many twentysomethings - was feeling the pangs of disillusionment.

This sense of disillusionment often stems from the lies we’ve been told and have told ourselves. We’ve been lied to, and these lies are holding us back.


Too many twentysomethings are driving through the twists and turns of their twenties with windshields covered in mud, lies and half-truths. And then we wonder why so many of us have crashed?

We need to hose these lies off right now or spend our twenties stuck on the side of the road.

If we’re going to walk forward with the answers to the major questions we should be asking, successfully navigating our twenties, then we need to stop believing the following lies right now:

1. I’m the Only One Struggling

I would love to lock this lie away in a Serbian prison and give the key to a pack of Arctic wolves to defend. You are not alone in your struggle, questions, wondering what’s next?, now what? or do I have what it takes?

Our twenties are tough. That’s the truth. Too many twentysomethings are struggling through a quarter-life crisis all alone.

We all need help. We all need support. We all need nudges, prompts, advice and encouragement.

No one has it all figured out. The twentysomethings who think they do are in for the biggest shock of all.

2. I Should Be Successful by Now! Like Right Now!

I fully expected to walk straight into a crazy-successful twentysomething life with accolades, salaries, bonuses, a big-old-fat-book-deal, and a plethora of people who wanted to learn my secrets to success, all by 23 years old. Maybe 25 if I really hit some serious setbacks.

I didn’t realize that success takes time—loads of time.

Success is not an Egg McMuffin, delivered to us for a $3, three minute investment.

No, success is the Sistine Chapel—it takes years, pain, frustration, thousands of brushes, colors and crumpled up sketches before you have your masterpiece.

Countless famed figures we idolize - such as Abraham Lincoln - failed drastically in their twenties. Even Jesus, who never failed at anything, didn't begin his active, recorded ministry until he was in his thirties.

Success is not a sprint, it’s an Ironman marathon, and our twenties aren’t really about running the actual race. No, our twenties are simply about building our endurance so that we can run the race in the future.

If you take one step towards your dream today, you are a success. Success happens in the details.

3. Life is Not Turning Out Like it Was Supposed To

Well, kind of. Yes, life is not turning out like it was supposed to, but what the heck is supposed to? There is no supposed to. Supposed to is a lie. Supposed tois built on the perception of someone else’s perceived success.

Live your life right now exactly as it is and do your best to keep moving forward into where you want to go. That’s what you’re supposed to do.

4. I Don’t Have What it Takes

I 100 percent guarantee you have what it takes. I triple-stamp a double-stamp, 100 percent money-back guarantee you have what it takes. It’s just going to take some time to figure out what exactly “it” is.

Our twenties are a process, not a surprise party. You don’t just walk into the door and all of the sudden your calling jumps out from behind the couch. God has put all of us on a journey and as much as we might want to dash to the finish line, we're going to have to take our time to let Him teach us what exactly that finish line is.


You are extremely talented at something. We just need to start pulling off the layers to get a glimpse of what that something is.

5. I am a Failure

The only failure of our twenties would be if we never had any.

The only failure of our twenties is if we fail and then call ourselves failures.

Our twenties are going to be riddled with failure. Anyone that tells you otherwise is a liar. But you don't have to define yourself by your failures.

Failure is not a period, it’s a comma. And only if you stop trying will you really fail.

There’s only one way to be successful in our twenties - fail, tweak, then try again.

Source:  Relevant Magazine

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Homemade Pimento Cheese


¾ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 ½ tablespoons pimento chiles
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon pickle juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Using fork, stir vigorously until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Source: America's Test Kitchen

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pizza Pot Pies


Tomato Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary leaves
2 ounces diced pancetta
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pizza Pot Pies:

3 cups Tomato Sauce
2 cups diced roasted chicken
2 cups broccoli cut into small, bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups diced mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds pizza dough
1/3 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Special equipment: 6 (10-ounce) ramekins


For the Tomato Sauce: Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, rosemary, and pancetta. Saute until the pancetta is crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, and simmer over very low heat for 15 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl combine the Tomato Sauce, chicken, broccoli, mozzarella, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Divide the chicken mixture evenly between the ramekins. Roll out the pizza dough and cut circles with a pairing knife that are 1-inch wider in diameter than the ramekins. Place the circles of dough over the filled ramekins and press down to seal, making sure to pull the dough over the edge of the ramekin. Brush the top of the pizza dough with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cut a small slit in the top of the pizza dough with a pairing knife. Bake until the pizza crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis

Monday, August 26, 2013

The previous post...

on the March On Washington's 50th Anniversary was my 600th. It only took three years, six months, and three days to get to this milestone. I am not sure how many of you "tune" in here regularly for my irregular posts, but...THANK YOU!

March On Washington 50th Anniversary

How Much Has Black Life Really Changed Since 1963?

With Jim Crow segregation, voting discrimination and rampant joblessness not yet in rear view, 1963 was a tough time to be black in America.

In January, Alabama governor George C. Wallace would defiantly proclaim in his inaugural speech: "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever!," sending a wave of intolerance across the south that would lead to the death of four young girls at Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church and the shooting death of civil rights activist Medgar Evers at his home in Jackson, Mississippi later that year.

And though there were bright spots -- African-American student Harvey Gantt entering Clemson University in South Carolina, the last U.S. state to hold out against racial integration, and James Meredith becoming the first black person to graduate from Ole Miss -- it would be a while before true change would come (as soul singer Sam Cooke's 1963-inspired hit proclaimed).

But has it?

By some estimates, no, with African Americans only barely better off in the war on poverty and imprisonment that pervades the news today. By other summations, the black community is leaps and bounds beyond where it was back in 1963.

As we acknowledge the anniversary of the 1963 March On Washington For Jobs & Freedom, a rally with parallel issues in mind, the Huffington Post has laid out a look at black life then and now to help you decide.

Source: Huffington Post

What. A. Shot.

One lucky Colorado State University student got the chance of a lifetime to earn a year's worth of free in-state tuition. All he had to do was nail a half-court shot. Here is a video of the amazing shot. GO RAMS!!

Source: Brandon Adams, Colorado State University Marching Band

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Lady Brunch's Burger


1½  pounds ground beef
3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
2 tablespoons grated onion
House Seasoning, recipe follows
2 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
6 slices bacon, cooked
3 hamburger buns
3 English muffins
6 glazed donuts


Mix the ground beef, chopped parsley and grated onion together in a large mixing bowl. Season liberally, with House Seasoning. Form 3 hamburger patties.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add the burgers and cook until desired temperature, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Fry bacon in a hot pan until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

While burgers are cooking, heat a non-stick pan, over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter. Crack 3 eggs into the pan. Cook until the yolks are just set and still slightly runny and remove.

Place burger patties on English muffins or buns, and if desired, on glazed donuts, as the buns. Top each burger with 2 pieces of bacon and a fried egg.

House Seasoning:

1 cup salt
¼ cup black pepper
¼ cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Source: Paula Deen

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sugar Cookie Crust Fruit Pizza



Nonstick cooking spray
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, softened


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup confectioners' sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch salt


2 tablespoons orange marmalade
½ teaspoon herbs de Provence

Fresh Fruit:
1 cup blueberries
1 cup sliced kiwi
1 cup sliced nectarines
1 cup raspberries
1 cup strawberries, sliced


For the crust: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10 to 12-inch tart pan or pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars using a handheld mixer until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the creamed butter and mix until blended. Remove the dough from the bowl and press into the prepared pan. (You may need to dust your hands with some flour to prevent the dough from sticking to them. It is wet dough when it comes together.)
Bake until the edges just start to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

For the spread: 

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and a pinch of salt until smooth. Spread evenly on the cooled crust.

For the glaze: 

Add the marmalade, 2 tablespoons water and herbs de Provence to a small skillet and cook over medium heat until loosened and warm.

To assemble: 

Arrange the fresh fruit in the desired pattern on top of the pizza, brush the glaze over the fruit, slice and serve.

Cook's Note: An offset spatula is a great tool for spreading the cookie dough. If the dough seems a little soft, flour your hands before you work with the dough or chill the dough in the refrigerator.

Source: Kelsey's Essentials, Kelsey Nixon

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Creamed Beef


1 pound lean ground beef
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
4 white bread slices, toasted and buttered
Butter, to top


Saute the beef in a large skillet over medium heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and cooking until it is no longer pink, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain off the excess fat and sprinkle the meat with the flour. Stir and cook the beef and flour over medium heat until the flour has completely coated the beef and cooked slightly. Stir in the milk and continue to cook until the mixture becomes smooth and thickens, about 8 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Serve over toast triangles. Top with a pat of butter.

Source: Trisha's Southern Kitchen, Trisha Yearwood