Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cherry Cheesecake Shooters

Ingredients

12 whole Graham Crackers
2 packages 8 Ounce Cream Cheese
1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
1 can Cherry Pie Filling
1/4 cup Slivered Almonds

Directions


Put the graham crackers into a ziplock bag and smash them with a rolling pin until they're fine crumbs.

Spoon graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of mini wine glasses.

Add cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk to bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip them together until fluffy.

Fill a pastry bag or zipper bag with the filing. Snip off the end and pipe a big helping over the crumbs in each of the glasses.


Top with a big spoonful of cherry pie filling.


Top with chopped almond flakes.

(Note 1: Mix 2 tablespoons melted butter into the crumbs if you'd like them to be a little more moist.)

(Note 2: 1 package of cream cheese makes for a more pudding-like texture; 2 packages makes for a thicker texture.)

Source: The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond

Saturday, July 27, 2013

S’mores Martini

Ingredients

1 Graham Cracker
1 oz., weight Chocolate, Melted
2 oz., fluid Marshmallow Vodka
1 oz., fluid Chocolate Liqueur
1 oz., fluid Creme De Cacao
2 oz., fluid Cream
3 Marshmallows

Directions

Crush the graham cracker into a shallow bowl using your hands. It’s okay if there are some chunkier pieces. Place the chocolate into a second shallow bowl and microwave for a few seconds until melted. Dip the rim of a martini glass into the chocolate and then into the graham cracker pieces. Refrigerate for a few minutes to set.

Add the marshmallow vodka, chocolate liqueur, creme de cacao and cream to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, shake well and pour into the prepared glass. Spear the marshmallows on the end of a skewer or long fork and hold over an open flame for a couple of seconds until the ends get toasted. Thread them onto a cocktail pick and garnish the drink.

S'mores Pie

Ingredients

1 stick Softened Butter
½ cups White Sugar
1 whole Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Flour
1 cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup Marshmallows
¼ cups Chocolate Chips
7 ounces, weight container Of Marshmallow Creme
8 whole (1.55 Oz Bars) Hershey's Chocolate Bars

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9″ pie pan with baking spray.

In a large bowl beat butter and sugar together until combined, then add egg and vanilla and stir them in. Stir in flour, graham cracker crumbs and baking powder.

Divide the dough in half. Press half the dough in the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie pan. Evenly spread the Marshmallow Creme over the bottom crust. Separate chocolate squares and place on top of the Marshmallow Creme. Place 1 cup of marshmallows on top.

Using the remaining crust, pat sections of dough on top of and around all the marshmallows (they will still show through and that is great!). Sprinkle with 1/4 cup chocolate chips, then bake 20 minutes until lightly browned.

Remove pan from oven and set it on a wire rack. Cool completely before cutting, or you will have a gooey mess. Not that I know …

Source: 4littlefergusons


Friday, July 26, 2013

Lemon Sugar Cookies with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients

For the Cookies:

3 cups Cake Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
½ teaspoons Salt
1 cup Butter, Room Temperature
1 cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 whole Lemon, Zested
½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract

For the Lemon Buttercream Frosting:

½ cups Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
3 cups Confectioners Sugar
1 whole Lemon, Zested
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
Food Coloring (optional)

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time stirring after each addition. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla until combined. Gradually add in flour mixture combined.

Chill dough for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll 3 tablespoons of dough into a ball (see note below for shaped cookies). Use flour on your hands if needed. Place ball on baking sheet and flatten to about 1/2 inch thick, molding sides to keep round shape if necessary. Continue with remaining dough, placing each 2 inches apart.

Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Cool for a few minutes on baking sheet, and transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, using an electric mixer, combine butter and confectioner’s sugar, gradually adding the sugar. When all sugar is added, add in lemon zest, lemon juice and blend on medium until fluffy. Add in food color if desired. If frosting is too thick, add more lemon juice, water or milk until desired consistency is reached.

Note: For shapes, roll out chilled dough ¼ inch thick on a well floured surface. Flour rolling pin and cut out to prevent sticking. Cut out desired shapes and place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool for a few minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool.

Shapes will spread from the baking powder. To define the shape used after the cookie has cooled, place cookie cutter on top of cookie and firmly press all the way down, removing any excess cookie for the edges.

Sourrce: Mother Thyme

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What is your message?

At the ESPY Awards earlier this month, Robin Roberts was presented the Arthur Ashe Courage Award by Lebron James. This is a quote from her acceptance speech.


Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Bread


Ingredients

2 Eggs
1¼ cup Sugar
½ cup Ricotta Cheese
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Zest of 3 Lemons
½ cup Buttermilk
1¾ cups all-purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries
1 stick Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions

Add the eggs and sugar to a large bowl and beat until thoroughly combined and lightened in color. Beat in the butter followed by the ricotta cheese, vanilla, lemon zest and buttermilk.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat the dry ingredients into the wet until mixed. Fold in the blueberries and mix by hand just until combined.

Pour the batter into a buttered and floured loaf pan and bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from the pan and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Robin Roberts' touching speech at ESPYs

Robin Roberts wanted to be a sports journalist in an era when women, let alone women of color, weren't seen in that role.

But, as the "Good Morning America" co-anchor told the audience at the ESPY awards Wednesday, she doesn't let fear stop her.


The inspirational media figure was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage award, a recognition given to someone who reflects "strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril, and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost."

Roberts, who was radiant in a red gown, graciously accepted the award with a speech that has become one of the night's most memorable moments.

"I realize there are many worthy of holding this honor. Others who have exhibited far more courage, strength and resilience," Roberts said. "It's humbling for me to represent you tonight. I draw strength from you. You give me the courage to face down any challenge, to know that when fear knocks, to let faith answer the door."


Roberts has been a living example of that philosophy as she's faced two life-threatening health problems. The sports journalist and broadcaster was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, and then with a rare blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome in 2012.

After receiving a bone marrow transplant with the aid of her sister Sally Ann, Roberts was able to recover and return to "GMA," stronger than ever.

"Those of us who are fortunate to have overcome some form of illness or adversity are told that we are strong. I didn't find that strength on my own," she said Wednesday. "It was the kind that grew with every kind word of support - every tweet, every email, every phone call. ... Through it all, I learned that strength, true strength, isn't when you face down life's challenges on your own, it's when you take them on by accepting the help, faith and love of others and knowing that you are lucky to have those."

After the ceremony, Roberts tweeted that the ESPYs were "memorable for many reasons," not the least of which being the graciousness of the athlete who introduced her, LeBron James:

Source: CNN's Marquee Blog 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

George H.W. Bush shaves head in solidarity with 2-year-old leukemia patient

HANDOUT IMAGE --KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE -- JULY 24: President George H. W. Bush this week joined members of his Secret Service detail in shaving his head to show his support for the two year-old son of a detail member who is being treated for leukemia and started losing his hair. Many members of his security detail had already gone under the razor to show their support for young Patrick, whose father Jon is a member of the Bush Protective Division (BPD). (Surname being withheld per family's request.) (Photo credit: Office of George H.W. Bush)
If you've ever wondered what George H.W. Bush would look like with a shaved head, here’s your answer. Distinguished yet rugged, no? Kind of like Bryan Cranston on “Breaking Bad” plus a few more decades?
The 41st president took up the razor this week to join several members of his Secret Service detail who bared their scalp in solidarity with an agent’s 2-year-old son, who has lost his hair during treatment for leukemia. (Funds for his treatment are being raised via several events at www.patrickspals.org) Bush posed here with the boy, identified only as Patrick for the family’s privacy. It’s a cause close to his heart: Bush and his wife Barbara lost their daughter Robin to the disease at age 4 in 1953.
HANDOUT IMAGE --KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE -- JULY 24: President George H. W. Bush this week joined members of his Secret Service detail in shaving his head to show his support for the two year-old son of a detail member who is being treated for leukemia and started losing his hair. Many members of his security detail had already gone under the razor to show their support for young Patrick, whose father Jon is a member of the Bush Protective Division (BPD). (Surname being withheld per family's request.) (Photo credit: Office of George H.W. Bush)
Source: Washington Post

And his name is...


Homemade Corn Dogs

Ingredients

1½ cups yellow cornmeal
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1¾ cups buttermilk
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 Nathan's Famous Beef Franks 
3 quarts peanut or vegetable oil

Directions

Set wire rack inside rimmed baking sheet. Whisk cornmeal, 1 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and cayenne together in bowl. Whisk in buttermilk and eggs until incorporated. Place remaining 1/2 cup flour in shallow dish. Dredge hot dogs in flour and shake to remove excess. Thread hot dogs lengthwise onto eight 8-inch skewers.

Add oil to large Dutch oven until it measures about 2 inches deep and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Stir batter to recombine, then transfer half of batter to tall drinking glass. Working with one at a time, submerge hot dog in glass and twirl to coat with batter. Allow excess batter to drip back into glass and place corn dog in hot oil. Repeat immediately with 3 more hot dogs. Fry corn dogs, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to wire rack. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining batter and hot dogs. Serve.

Source: America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Country

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Guardian's “Non-Royalist” Mode lets you opt out of baby news

Judging by the reaction of some of my Facebook friends to the Duchess' delivery of the newest member of the royal family, some of them wish Facebook had a similar button.
Did you know that, in Paris, a royal baby is called a Royale With Cheese? Well, it’s not, but variations on this Pulp Fiction-derived joke have been flying around Twitter rapidly since Kate Middleton went into labor early Monday morning. Since then, the forthcoming royal baby has been seeing "royal wedding"-like levels of coverage from most media outlets. The Guardian is no exception; however, the venerable news source is allowing online users to make it an exception. 
Visitors to The Guardian's website will notice a purple button in the top right corner of the page. This button offers two options: Royalist and Non-Royalist. The first of these two offers all the hoopla you’d expect from the leading news organization in the U.K. about the royal baby that will one day hold sway. By opting for the second choice, though, users will be able to see only everything else that is happening in the world right now, unrelated to the birth of a certain future monarch. 
With Royals: 
 
Without Royals: 

Source: Co.Create

Chocolate Covered Banana Pops

Ingredients

4 medium ripe but firm bananas
8 wooden craft sticks
3 tablespoons finely chopped lightly salted peanuts
6 ounces good quality dark chocolate

Directions

Peel, then cut each banana in half crosswise and insert a craft stick into each half. Place on a tray, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer until frozen, about 3 hours.

Place the peanuts in a shallow dish or on a plate. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over slightly simmering water, over the lowest possible heat, stirring frequently. Make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the top pan. Pour the melted chocolate into a tall glass. Dip each frozen banana into the chocolate, turning it to coat, and immediately roll in the peanuts. Place on a tray covered in waxed paper. Serve immediately or wrap individually in plastic wrap or waxed paper and freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Source: Ellie Krieger

Notable tweets on #RoyalBaby

Twitter was certainly abuzz when the news broke of the birth of William and Kate's baby. The Royal Family and British Prime Minister sent out the following tweets to share their elation with the world and announce the newest member of the Royal Family (who is third in line to the throne).

The British Monarchy had this to say:


Another, which is ran by Prince Charles' official residence, Clarence House, sent out numerous tweets announcing the birth of Prince Charles' first grandson:





And finally, British Prime Minister David Cameron:

And finally...

this little quote that I found on Pinterest. I sure wish more politicians felt this way.


Tips for a healthy start to the school year and beyond

Whether your child is going off to college for the first time or just entering kindergarten, schools seem to be incubators for illness.

Before the new school year starts, and even when it does, here are a few things you should know about keeping you child safe and healthy.

Before school starts

College students
  • Students planning to live on campus will likely need up-to-date immunizations including the meningococcal (meningitis) vaccine. Check with a primary care doctor and the school to determine which vaccines are needed. For students who smoke or have a history of asthma, diabetes, liver disease or immune suppression should also consider a pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine. Physicians may recommend the HPV vaccine for females and males up to age 26.
  • Flu vaccine is recommended for children and adults, especially college students living in dorms. The flu vaccine typically becomes available in around September or October.
For students in kindergarten to 12th grade
  • Before entering school, Kentucky requires proof of an preventative health care examination, an eye examination and a dental screening conducted a year before school begins. Also, check with your primary care doctor for required vaccines. Children will need proof of vaccination before entering school.
  • A preventative health care examination is required within one-year of entry into the sixth grade, along with another series of vaccinations.
  • Students planning to participate in sports should schedule a sports physical.
  • An annual physical can help identify and track potential health concerns.
Once school starts
  • Encourage children of all ages to wash their hands, especially after using the bathroom. Provide anti-bacterial soap for when kids can't access soap and water.
  • As much as possible encourage your child not to share cups and utensils and to clean their hands after using communal tools, like scissors.
  • Not contributing to the germy environment is important so encourage others to cover their cough.
  • If child has a temperature of more than 100 degrees, keep them home. This will not only help them recover more quickly but also keep them from getting other kids sick, which will cycle back to you. They need to be fever-free for 24 hours without medication before they return to school.
  • Help your student get enough sleep, eat a proper diet and make sure they are getting vitamin supplements as needed. This will help maintain their overall health.
At home
  • If possible keep the sick person in your house away from others while they are contagious, which can be a total of five to seven days before and after there are symptoms.
  • Just like at school, the sick person should cover his or her mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue. Throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

Source: Mary Meehan, Lexington Herald-Leader

Royal baby: Kate gives birth to boy

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a baby boy, Kensington Palace has announced.


The baby was delivered at 16:24 BST at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London, weighing 8lb 6oz.

The Duke of Cambridge said in a statement the couple "could not be happier". He and the duchess will remain in the hospital overnight.

The news has been displayed on an easel in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in line with tradition.

A bulletin - signed by the Queen's gynaecologist Marcus Setchell, who led the medical team that delivered the baby - was taken by a royal aide from St Mary's to the palace under police escort.

The document said: "Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm today.

When the news was announced, a large cheer went up from well-wishers and journalists outside the hospital while a large crowd greeted the posting of the bulletin outside Buckingham Palace.

The Kensington Palace press release said the Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth of his son, who will be known as the Prince of Cambridge and who is third in line to the throne.

"The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news," it said.

A Kensington Palace spokesman said the names of the baby - who was delivered in the private Lindo Wing of St Mary's - would be announced in due course.

The Prince of Wales, in a separate statement, said he and the Duchess of Cornwall were "overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild.

"It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy," he added.

"Grandparenthood is a unique moment in anyone's life, as countless kind people have told me in recent months, so I am enormously proud and happy to be a grandfather for the first time and we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the baby in the near future."

BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said the duke and duchess spent time bonding with their son before they told the family their news.

Royal doctor Mr Setchell described the new arrival as "wonderful baby, beautiful baby", our correspondent added.

Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking outside Downing Street, hailed the "wonderful news".

"It is an important moment in the life of our nation but I suppose, above all, it's a wonderful moment for a warm and loving couple who've got a brand new baby boy," he added.

He said the Royal Family could "know that a proud nation is celebrating with a very proud and happy couple tonight".

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said: "I am sure that people across Scotland will be absolutely thrilled to hear the news of the birth of a baby boy to the Royal couple and will want to join me in wishing the proud parents many congratulations."

And Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones congratulated the couple "on behalf of the people of Wales" as "they enter their journey into parenthood".

The Archbishop of Canterbury, meanwhile, said he was "delighted to congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the arrival of their baby boy".

"Along with millions here and around the world, I share in their joy at this special time," he added.

"May God bless this family with love, health and happiness in their shared life ahead."

Catherine and Prince William had arrived at the hospital at 06:00 BST ahead of a Kensington Palace announcement that she was in the early stages of labour.

The world's media had been camped outside St Mary's for days in anticipation of the birth.

Source: BBC

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

McDonalds’ suggested budget for employees shows just how impossible it is to get by on minimum wage

McDonald’s has partnered with Visa to make a website dedicated to showing its employees how to properly budget their meager peasant salaries. However, what it actually does is illustrate the fact that it is nearly impossible to get by on minimum wage, as shown in this “example” budget chart:
Screen shot 2013 07 15 at 9.29.08 AM McDonalds suggested budget for employees shows just how impossible it is to get by on minimum wage
Yeah - now, when I first saw that, I assumed that the top line was for a part-time McDonald’s employee. Then I got out my calculator - that is actually what you would make if you were working full-time at McDonald’s. 1,105 dollars a month.
Now let’s say that the “second” job that they budget in here (feels like cheating, but OK) is also minimum wage. That would mean you were working about 62 hours a week, on average. Oh, wait. That’s if they live in Illinois where the minimum wage is $8.25. The national minimum wage is $7.25. That translates to 74 hours a week. That’s almost a whole other full time job.
And what do you get for working 74 hours a week? Well, you don’t get heat, clearly. There’s a big ol’ zero next to the heat in that chart. In my building– we have separate checks for gas and electric– that would mean that not only do you not get to heat and cool your home, but also that you do not get to heat your water, or cook on your stove, if you have a gas stove (I do).
Also noticeably absent in this budget? Food. And gas. There’s a line for a car payment, but not for gas. Which is suspect, because if you’re working two jobs it’s possible you will pay more for your gas than you’d be paying for your car.
Also… health insurance for $20 a month? There is really no such thing as health insurance for $20 a month if you’re buying your health insurance on your own. I think the least amount is going to be about $215 a month– and that only covers hospital emergencies.
The minimum wage in this country is reprehensible. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation it would be over $10 an hour. If it had kept up with productivity? It would be $21.72.
min wage1 fig2 2012 03 McDonalds suggested budget for employees shows just how impossible it is to get by on minimum wage
Right now, we have people in our government saying that we shouldn’t even have a minimum wage. That employers should be free to pay people whatever they can get someone to agree to work for. If they can get someone to work for $3 an hour, then it should be allowed.
There are people who comfort themselves by telling themselves that poor people are only poor because poor people are lazy. Pretty sure someone who works 74 hours a week isn’t lazy.
You may think that most of these minimum wage earners are teenagers. Well, 87.9% of minimum wage earners are over the age of 20. 28% of those people are parents trying to raise a kid on this budget. That is not a good thing for our future and it is not a good thing for our economy. In order for the economy to thrive, people have to be able to buy things. All the money going to people at the top does not help us.
I don’t want to live in any kind of dog-eat-dog Ayn Rand erotic fantasy. Human beings are worth more than that. Anyone who works 40 hours a week (nevermind 74 hours) ought be able to take care of all the basic necessities in life. Corporations shouldn’t be able to pay their workers nothing, keep all of the profits to themselves, and expect taxpayers to make up the difference with social programs. It’s not fair to the workers, and it’s not fair to any of us.
Souce: DeathandTaxesMag.com

Friday, July 12, 2013

"Just My Imagination" - Boyz II Men



I heard this song on the Steve Harvey Morning Show this morning. Couldn't get out of my car and head into Kroger. had to just sit there and listen the rest of the song. (Which really irritated my four-year-old.)

This is ALMOST better than the original, but no one can touch The Temptations. Boyz II Men sure did give them a run for their money though. 

Beatty's Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Source: The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten

The secret to life...


Thursday, July 11, 2013

"People Like Us" by Kelly Clarkson


"People Like Us"

We come into this world unknown
But know that we are not alone
They try and knock us down
But change is coming, it's our time now

Hey… everybody loses it,
Everybody wants to throw it all away sometimes
And hey… yeah I know what you're going through
Don't let it get the best of you, you'll make it out alive
Ohh

People like us we've gotta stick together
Keep your head up, nothing lasts forever
Here's to the damned, to the lost and forgotten
It's hard to get high when you're living on the bottom

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
We are all misfits living in a world on fire
Oh woah oh oh woah oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

Hey, this is not a funeral
It's a revolution, after all your tears have turned to rage
Just wait, everything will be okay
Even when you're feeling like it's going down in flames
Ohh

People like us we've gotta stick together
Keep your head up nothing lasts forever
Here's to the damned, to the lost and forgotten
It's hard to get high when you're living on the bottom

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
We are all misfits living in a world on fire
Oh woah oh oh woah oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
You've just gotta turn it up loud when the flames get higher
Oh woah oh oh woah oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

They can't do nothing to you, they can't do nothing to me
This is the life that we choose, this is the life that we bleed
So throw your fists in the air, come out, come out if you dare
Tonight we're gonna change forever

Everybody loses it, everybody wants to throw it all away sometimes
Ohh

People like us we've gotta stick together
Keep your head up nothing lasts forever
Here's to the damned, to the lost and forgotten
It's hard to get high when you're living on the bottom

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
We are all misfits living in a world on fire
Oh woah oh oh woah oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
You've just got to turn it up loud when the flames get higher
Oh woah oh oh woah oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
We're all misfits living in a world on fire
Oh woah oh oh woah oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

Oh woah oh oh woah oh
You've just got to turn it up loud when the flames get higher
Oh woah oh oh woah oh

Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

NEWSFLASH... (Not really!)

This morning's "news" was not exactly newsworthy...


I have been spent quite a bit of time today thinking about the first four news stories I saw or heard when I got up this morning:

  • Sarah Palin is considering a run for office. When asked why, she told Fox News host, Sean Hannity that she has "considered it because people have requested me to consider it. But, I'm still waiting to see what the lineup will be..." Make of that what you will.
  • Whitney Houston's daughter, Bobbi Kristina is engaged to the young man whom she was raised with. The young man was taken in by Whitney Houston at an early age and grew up with the late singers daughter. Houston never adopted the young man but for some reason this is still just a bit creepy to me.
  • Justin Bieber sprayed cleaner fluid on a picture of Bill Clinton, then called the former President to apologize once he realized someone in his trusted entourage had a video and had "leaked" aka sold the video to the press.
  • Country singer Randy Travis suffered a stroke and underwent surgery to relieve pressure on his brain Wednesday evening.

I am not saying that these news stories are not worth reporting. I just find it alarming that of the four, all are pop culture type stories that held such prominent spots toward the beginning of the news report. A week from now, a vast majority of us will remain unaffected by these events.

So, tonight I will pray:

For Randy Travis' health.

That someone who is close to Justin Bieber and is truly concerned for his well-being realizes soon that the young man is spiraling out of control and headed in a very bad direction.

That someone equally as close to Whitney Houston's daughter makes sure that the young lady is properly grieving the death of her mother and that this engagement is truly what is in the best interest of the nineteen year old (and the young man who has been like a brother to her for all these years).

And finally, THAT SARAH PALIN DOES NOT RUN FOR OFFICE!!! ;) Just joking about that, kind of.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

When Choirs Sing, Many Hearts Beat As One

We open our hymnals to Hymn 379, and we begin to sing. "God is Love, let heav'n adore him / God is Love, let earth rejoice ..."

Lifting voices together in praise can be a transcendent experience, unifying a congregation in a way that is somehow both fervent and soothing. But is there actually a physical basis for those feelings?

To find this out, researchers of the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden studied the heart rates of high school choir members as they joined their voices. Their findings, published this week in Frontiers in Neuroscience, confirm that choir music has calming effects on the heart - especially when sung in unison.

Using pulse monitors attached to the singers' ears, the researchers measured the changes in the choir members' heart rates as they navigated the intricate harmonies of a Swedish hymn. When the choir began to sing, their heart rates slowed down.

"When you sing the phrases, it is a form of guided breathing," says musicologist Bjorn Vickhoffof the Sahlgrenska Academy who led the project. "You exhale on the phrases and breathe in between the phrases. When you exhale, the heart slows down."

But what really struck him was that it took almost no time at all for the singers' heart rates to become synchronized. The readout from the pulse monitors starts as a jumble of jagged lines, but quickly becomes a series of uniform peaks. The heart rates fall into a shared rhythm guided by the song's tempo.

"The members of the choir are synchronizing externally with the melody and the rhythm, and now we see it has an internal counterpart," Vickhoff says.

This is just one little study, and these findings might not apply to other singers. But all religions and cultures have some ritual of song, and it's tempting to ask what this could mean about shared musical experience and communal spirituality.

"It's a beautiful way to feel. You are not alone but with others who feel the same way," Vickhoff says.

He plans to continue exploring the physical and neurological responses of our body to music on a long-term project he calls Body Score. As an instructor, he wonders how this knowledge might be used to create more cohesive group dynamic in a classroom setting or in the workplace.

"When I was young, every day started with a teacher sitting down at an old organ to sing a hymn," Vickhoff says. "Wasn't that a good idea — to get the class to think, 'We are one, and we are going to work together today.' "


Source: NPR

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Monster Cookies

Ingredients

2 sticks (1/2 Pound) Butter (salted) Softened
1/2 cup White Sugar
1-1/2 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
2 whole Large Eggs
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1-1/2 cup Quick Oats
1/2 cup M & M's (more To Taste)
1/2 cup Pecans, Chopped (more To Taste)
3/4 cups Chocolate Chips (milk Or Semi-sweet)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter Chips
2-1/4 cups Rice Krispies

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream butter with sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and kosher salt. Add to mixing bowl and mix till combined. After that, add in remaining ingredients in whatever quantity you prefer. Add more nuts if you'd like, or more M & M's, more peanut butter chips or chocolate chips.

Add Rice Crispies at the very end, mixing until just combined. Do not overmix!

Use a cookie scoop to scoop balls of dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown, then allow to cool on a rack.

Serve with glasses of cold milk.

Source: The Pioneer Woman


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Peach Crisp with Maple Cream Sauce

Ingredients

5 whole To 6 Whole Fresh Peaches (best When Not Overly Ripe Or Soft)
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 stick Butter (1/2 Cup)
1/2 whole Lemon
7 Tablespoons Real Maple Syrup, Divided
1-1/2 cup Whipping Cream
3 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt using a fork or pastry cutter. Cut butter into small pieces and gradually add to flour mixture until evenly mixed.

Peel peaches into a bowl. Add the zest from half a lemon. Squeeze juice from lemon half and stir in with peaches and zest. Add 2 tablespoons real maple syrup to peaches, stir well.

Pour peach mixture into a small pan (8” or 9” square) and cover evenly with crumb topping. Cover with foil and bake at 350ºF for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until crisp and brown on top.

Maple Cream Sauce:

Pour whipping cream into a saucepan. Add 5 tablespoons real maple syrup, 3 tablespoons corn syrup and stir over moderate heat until thickened and reduced by about one-third, approximately 15 minutes. Refrigerate mixture until it is cold and thick, or set the saucepan into a small bowl of ice (the ice will melt and turn into ice water). Stirring your mixture, it will cool and thicken in about 15 minutes. Drizzle sauce over peach crisp. Serve warm.

Source: The Pioneer Woman