Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blueberry Muffins - One For the Road

You can't go wrong with blueberry muffins. They are breakfast, they are a dessert. These are oh so tasty and so very easy to make....

This recipe uses blueberries, but any/every fruit works perfectly...believe me, I've used all kinds of fruits w/ this recipe..

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup blueberries (or other fruit)

1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter; cubed
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamin
-grease muffin cups
-combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder
-place oil in 1 cup measuring cup, add egg and enough milk to fill cup - mix with flour mix
-fold in blueberries
-fill muffin cups to top, sprinkle with topping
-combine all topping ingredients together w/ fork, put on top of muffins

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, makes a dozen muffins

With Great Power Comes Great Paranoia

All news outlets are currently awash with the tale of the Presidential Crashers, those two who were able to slip past the Secret Service and not only claim to be guests of his but who also got to touch his hand. Is this as newsworthy as it seems? No. Are these two a bit crazy? Yes. The only thing it seems to me is that our Secret Service is not as protective as we thought they were. Continually airing this loophole in protection only gives hope to those who want to truly wreak havoc.

It seems to me that we have more important, noteworthy events going on that should take more precedence over a couple of attention-craved people. What would bring more attention than having people believe that you are best buds with the big guy in charge? These two are getting everything they ever craved; mass media attention.

Last time I checked we have two wars going on overseas, an extremely controversial healthcare reform bill that is floating around the DC area, and an economy that is being compared to the Great Depression. Is the narcissistic behavior of a couple of people more newsworthy than all else that is going on? It takes me back to the time of Bill Clinton and his extramarital affairs taking on more news outlets than our involvment with Kosovo and China.

But what seems most important in this matter is the fact that the moment one takes the Presidential Oath of Office the paranoia begins. I feel the President should worry about being in harm's way because there are plenty of wackos out there, but I have a feeling that this crazy pair are more interested in the facade of being the President's dearest rather than being the takers of his life. These two do not deserve the moment in the spotlight they've received. They are getting exactly what they wanted, to be on television, in the news and so, despite the momentary inadequacy of the Secret Service, they will always be known as the pair who somehow were smart enough to get past the President's guards.

How about the media focus on true current events rather than the paranoia brought on by a couple of loony, attention-seekers. If you televise it, they will come.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Apple-Caramel Cheesecake - A SUCCESS!

So, for 7 years I was in charge of making my pumpkin cheesecake because it was so delicious, but I felt like I was in a rut dessert-wise and wanted to venture on to other, even though I did not venture too far, I think my choice was a success and from now on I will be making a different cheesecake for each Thanksgiving....making desserts should be fun and exciting and not a burden.....making desserts should make me happy and this year I made an Apple-Caramel Cheesecake and it was definitely a hit! So if you are a cheesecake lover this recipe is sure to make you and yours so very happy!

Apple-Caramel Cheesecake

1 - 21oz can Apple Pie filling
1 - graham cracker crust (i used store-bought this year)
2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. almond extract (if you don't have this, just do a full 1/4 tsp. vanilla)
2 - eggs
1/4 cup caramel topping
chopped pecans

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Remove 3/4 cup Apple Pie filling and set aside
- Put the remaining filling in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop up the apples a bit
- Spoon the apple filling into the bottom of the crust
- Beat together the cream cheese (I microwave it a bit to soften it even more), sugar, and extracts until smooth.
- Add the eggs and mix until very creamy
- Pour over the filling in the crust
- Bake for 35-40 minutes (may need to be adjusted due to oven differences) or until the center of the cheesecake is set.
- Cool to room temperature

- Place the remaining apple pie filling and caramel topping into a saucepan and heat for about one minute making the topping soft enough to spread.
- Spoon over the top of the cheesecake.
- Sprinkle the pecan pieces over the top and refridgerate until ready to serve.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did this will be hard to abandon this recipe for a new one next I might just have to make it on a regular basis at home...I'm sure my boys will have no complaints.....Enjoy!

Food & Family

I firmly believe that wars could be ended with desserts....pies, cakes, cheesecakes....and maybe this is the problem with the world today, nobody cares to stop and pop that cake in the oven.....they lack the patience it takes for the center to set and the icing to be spread. They only see that each step takes time and effort instead of the bigger picture which involves a huge slice of ooey-gooey chocolate frosting-covered cake that will be partnered with milk and a stomach that is empty, even though a huge nine-course meal is slowly beginning to digest.

Yesterday, people all over this country swept negative emotions and their underlying disgust with their families under the rug to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday together. Food is one of the glues that keeps us families, irregardless of their levels of dysfuntion, together, if even only by a very thin string. Who can resist a roasted turkey leg? Who can turn down a table full of food prepared to give thanks to you and to all you have? Whether we give thanks for our families or for our situations in life or for possessions we have, we gather around the table and enjoy a meal that hopefully most of us helped to prepare. We engage in conversation, whether forced or not, and we commune. We become one, at least for this one day as a family. All other 364 days of the year we may be apart, but for this one day we can enjoy great food, family, and discussion.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and I truly hope that this is not the only day you give thanks to your family and friends. Have a great holiday season!