31 July 2009

Recipe: Easy Cheap Chocolate Walnut Mock Apple Pie

Mock Apple PieOriginal Mock Apple Pie Recipe Image by 3liz4 via Flickr

From Denny: Looked like it was going to rain this morning so I had to stop my posting and get out there and mow the lawn. Louisiana grows some beautiful thick lush lawns in this hot and humid heat! These are the kind of lawns you enjoy going barefoot on because they feel like thick deep moss. They also are wet to mow...so it took me a while to cool off and start writing again. :)

This little easy inexpensive recipe comes down to us from our grandmothers' and great-grandmothers' time during the Great Depression. Folks were looking for little luxuries they could afford and someone came up with the brilliant idea of using Ritz crackers in a recipe and found out it was so close to the real thing it was amazing! It took the nation by storm.

Over the years, people have played with this easy recipe, made it their own and developed all kinds of interesting variations. Try experimenting with your own variations. This week our local paper featured the antique recipe and it caught my interest. You knew I had to share it because it had chocolate! Yum!

The 1930's was the same time our beloved classic Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe was invented by an inn keeper too. Hard economic times seem to bring out the innovation in good cooks and bakers. Since our own economy is uncertain these days - people are looking for ways to reduce their spending - this is offered as an inexpensive alternative so you can still have fun no matter what is going on around you. Enjoy!

Chocolate Walnut Mock Apple Pie

From: Kraft Foods

Serves: 10

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1-3/4 cups water

Zest and 2 Tablespoons juice from 1 lemon

Pastry for 2-crust, 9-inch pie

36 Ritz Crackers, coarsely broken (about 1-3/4 cups)

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into small pieces

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks


Directions:

1. Mix sugar and cream of tartar in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Bring to boil on high heat; simmer on low 15 minutes. Stir in zest and juice; cool 30 minutes.

2. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out half of pastry on lightly floured surface to 11-inch circle; place in 9-inch pie plate. Place cracker crumbs in crust. Place chocolate chips and walnuts over cracker crumbs. Pour sugar syrup over crumbs, chips and nuts; top with butter and cinnamon.

3. Roll out remaining pastry to 10-inch circle; place over pie. Seal and flute edge. Cut several slits in top crust to permit steam to escape. Place on parchment-covered baking sheet.

4. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

Note: To prevent crust from browning too much, cover edge with foil near end of baking time if necessary.


Chocolate Walnut Mock Apple Pie, healthy recipes, Ritz Crackers, Great Depression, Baking and Confections, Baking, Chocolate chip, Apple pie, Cooking, Home


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Falling in love again: A poem about opening yourself up to love




Falling in love again: A poem about opening yourself up to love

by alekhouse @ HubPages

From Denny:

Since yesterday was my birthday I thought I'd mellow out on the early AM posting today... :)

Here's the comment I left on her page - What a beautiful piece, loved it! And such good encouragement to others to dare, one more time, in spite of feeling burned out emotionally, to love once again, discovering they can now rest in the loving. Thank you for the word treat! Blogging this on over to my poetry blog for everyone else to enjoy too! Thank you for writing it.

Writing, Arts, culture, Literature, Love, Relationships, Society and Culture

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30 July 2009

Joke: Cat Goes to Heaven

TOKYO - JANUARY 20:  A cat plays at Nekorobi c...Tokoyo Cat Cafe where for $10 customers can play with their favorite cat - Image by Getty Images via Daylife



From Denny: Today's my birthday so I thought I'd mellow out and lay back on the early AM posting. Found this over at Jokes.net, enjoy!

Cat Goes to Heaven

One day a cat dies of natural causes and goes to heaven. There he meets the Lord Himself. The Lord says to the cat, "You lived a good life and if there is any way I can make your stay in Heaven more comfortable, please let Me know." The cat thinks for a moment and says, "Lord, all my life I have lived with a poor family and had to sleep on a hard wooden floor." The Lord stops the cat and says, "Say no more," and a wonderful fluffy pillow appears.

A few days later, six mice are killed in a tragic farming accident and go to heaven. Again, there is the Lord there to great them with the same offer. The mice answer, "All of our lives we have been chased. We have had to run from cats, dogs and even women with brooms. Running, running, running; we're tired of running. Do you think we could have roller skates so we don't have to run anymore?" The Lord says, "Say no more," and fits each mouse with beautiful new roller skates.

About a week later the Lord stops by to see the cat and finds him snoozing on the pillow. The Lord gently wakes the cat and asks him, "How are things since you got here?"

The cat stretches and yawns and replies, "It is wonderful here. Better than I could have ever expected. And those 'Meals On Wheels' you've been sending by are the best!"



Cat, Roller skates, Heaven, Family, Pets, Lord, jokes, Humor

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29 July 2009

Video: Chocolate Production Down - Venezuela's Faded Cacao Crop



From Denny: Here is what all of us chocolate lovers have been dreading - the reduction in production of our beloved cocoa beans. Did you know that weirdo Hugo Chavez is basically in charge of the chocolate industry in Venezuela? Yeah, scary. That's why production is down among other reasons. And you just thought it was bad enough he's in charge of a huge oil reserve in the world, now we hear he's messing with our chocolate too...

For almost 400 years the high-end quality of cocoa beans from Venezuela have been coveted by the best chocolate makers. Yet now Venezuela only accounts for 1% of the global production because of bad politics and outdated technology. Chavez's crazy disorganized and often cavalier bureaucracy has proven to be a daunting challenge to the cocoa farmers. And now comes along squatters the government won't remove from their land!

New York Times videos only have links. Check out this short chocolate news update video contained in the New York Times article, go here.

cocoa, Venezuela, Chavez, politics, chocolate

28 July 2009

Recipes: Chocolate Alcoholic Drinks That Taste Like Favorite Foods!

Chocolate cake with frangelico fillingChocolate cake with frangelico filling Image by DeathByBokeh via Flickr



Photo of Girl Scout chocolate drink

Photo of Chocolate cake with frangelico filling by DeathByBokeh via Flickr

From Denny: OK, these are new ones on me and quite the trend lately for bar drinks to taste like a favorite food. What fun! This reminds me of surreal artwork that tricks the mind. This is the funny food version that tricks the tastebuds. Who cares as long as it tastes good.

Girl Scout Cookie

From: Chow.com
Serves: 1

INGREDIENTS

3/4 ounce peppermint schnapps

3/4 ounce dark crème de cacao

1/2 ounce heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS

Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain into an old-fashioned or highball glass filled with ice.



Variations - Almond Joy: Substitute amaretto for the peppermint schnapps.

Chocolate Cake: Substitute 1/2 ounce each of Frangelico and vodka for the peppermint schnapps and crème de cacao.

Chocolate Cake Shooter:

From a comment on Chow.com: "Frangelico does a very good job of tasting like chocolate cake when paired with vodka. An excellent example is a chocolate cake shooter... equal parts of Frangelico and citron vodka. Sugar a lemon wedge, then bite the lemon and drink the shot. By some weird twist, it ends up tasting almost exactly like chocolate cake."

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27 July 2009

Video: Cheesecake Lollipops Dipped in Melted Chocolate

From Denny: I'm a big fan of these segments on CBS and Food Network where chefs demonstrate how to entertain wonderfully on a shoestring budget. This idea of taking horizontal cut squares of lasagna and then doing something different where you stand the curved edge noodles on their sides is much more asthetically appealing! And, since I've always liked to play with my food, these cheesecake lollipops that get dipped in a pot of melted chocolate, well, what can I say? Totally DIVINE!

"On this week's Chef On A Shoestring, Domenic Charomonte, Executive Chef at Match Restaurant, prepares Organic Salad, Summer Chicken Lasagna, and Cheesecake Lollipops under $35."


Watch CBS Videos Online

vertical lasagna, cheesecake lollipops, shoestring budget, food on a budget, CBS

26 July 2009

Video: What Made Wedding Video a Web Hit?

From Denny: From reporter Mike Taibbi he explains why this wedding video has taken the world by storm. This is also a good video for people who are still scratching their heads trying to figure out what all the fuss is about on this one video.

Video: Wedding Party Recreates Blissful Boogie for Today Show

From Denny: They are at it again for national TV! One of the ushers is now in a cast since the original wedding video and was still in the dance.

25 July 2009

Viral Video: Wedding Entrance Dance

From Denny: Enjoy this fun version of how to do your wedding day! It's gone viral on the web. This will make your day for the happiness quotient!

24 July 2009

Recipe: Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze




From Denny: I seem to have a talent for locating all recipes for the chocolate calorie monsters! :) Have fun with this crazy recipe! Also, if you are a chocolate and peanut butter fiend, then you simply must make this special cake. "I'm just saying..." :)

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

From: Sky High: Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes
and from SmittenKitchen.com (who made a few amendments)

"This cake is INTENSE. Serve it in the thinnest slices possible, and keep a glass of milk handy." - SmittenKitchen.com

Makes: an 8-inch triple-layer cake
Serves: 12 to 16

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup canola oil

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups water

2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanut brittle (optional, makes the cake very rich)


Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Deb note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.

Note: Making a crumb coat of frosting – a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer – is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating.

Note 2: Once the cake is fully frosting, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter Frosting

Makes: about 5 cups

Ingredients:

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze

Makes: about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

8 ounces seimsweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2 cup half-and-half

Directions:

1. In the top of d double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.

Cake photo by kimberlykv @ flickr

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23 July 2009

Recipe: University Club's Skillet Chocolate Gooey Cake

GooeyChocolateCake1Image by culinary.curiosity via Flickr

From Denny: For all you folks who like to try a different way of doing something, here's a way to cook a cake on top of the stove in a skillet! It has to be energy conscious rather than turning on the big oven to bake a cake. It looks like a real calorie monster so you know it tastes divine! For those of you who like gooey cakes and eat raw cake batter this cake is for you! :)

University Club's Skillet Chocolate Gooey Cake

Ingredients:

10 Tablespoons Butter

1 pound chocolate pieces

8 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

melted butter as needed

powdered sugar as needed

Directions:

Melt butter and chocolate pieces in double boiler. Stir until melted and smooth.
Add eggs to the chocolate mixture and whip until smooth. Add sugar and stir until smooth. Fold in the flour. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate the flour.

Lightly butter the skillet. On low to medium heat, add chocolate batter to skillet. let cook until sides are firm and firmness starts to move toward the center. Carefully turn cake over to cook top. Remember to keep the cake on low to medium heat. The bottom will burn if the fire is too high.

When cake is done all around the outside, place on plate and top with powdered sugar.

The cake will be gooey on the inside. Enjoy.


Baking and Confections, cake, chocolate, Cook, Cooking, Home, skillet cake, chocolate cake

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22 July 2009

Does Happiness Elude You?



From Denny: Good quotes always get me going on a short essay whether it's to impart new information or a passion of opinion! When I was writing about this quote for my quotes blog, Beautiful Illustrated Quotations, it just seemed like a good idea to share on some of my other blogs. Happiness chemicals are offered up by a good piece of chocolate and it just seemed like a good fit to discuss the subject here from a quote. This quote comes out of the literary past of famed German writer, Goethe.

One of the beauties of coming from a family of very long-lived people is that you don't lose the institutional memory of historical events. Another plus is that you don't lose what former generations taught in the way of good character. What is in fashion in one generation is often out of fashion in the next and, so, we lose the cultural continuity of good values.

Like in any family there were those in mine who were, well, slugs, when it came to good character. To a person they lived miserable anti-social lives, unhappy the majority of the time because they focused too much upon themselves. In my book there is nothing wrong with being good to your self. Just try to make the same good faith effort for others as you would yourself and your life is enriched!

For instance, I enjoy writing all these many blogs. It gives me a creative outlet for color, design and writing about anything and everything that interests me in this world of awesome wonders. Writing these blogs also gives me a chance to share with others as if these blogs were the ultimate social site of sharing! By sharing with others a person can enrich the lives of others while they enrich their own.

Then comes the Joy as was taught in previous generations. This kind of Joy has lain dormant for the past 25 years or so, drowned out by business greed and the drive to unbalanced excessive and financial only success. There are a lot of facets to the concept of success. Monetary wealth and accumulation is only a small part of the equation. This much power and large wealth requires the learning of real wisdom in order to not be destroyed by such power. I could get into what the ancient Kabbalists have to say about the power inherent in money and how to prepare for basically trying to grab a tiger by the tail but that would be another very long post! :)

Perhaps it's time for global society to rediscover some of the ancient wisdom of past societies, learning to appreciate the success of others as well as their own. Happiness can be an elusive creature to those who are calculating and refuse to dig deep into their hearts and offer up greater generosity to those around them. Generosity of spirit goes a long way to creating a much happier life!

Funny Dog Photo by Phil Romans @ flickr

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe at age 69, painted ...Goethe at age 69 Image via Wikipedia



Quote

“Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though t'were his own.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German Playwright, Poet, Novelist and Dramatist. 1749-1832)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Money, History, Family, German language, Good faith, denny lyon, Arts, Kabbalah, Literature, Kids and Teens



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21 July 2009

Recipe: How to Make German Chocolate Cake Without a Mix

Ancestral Memory - Michael Lewis Miller - Germ...Image by Marshall Astor - Food Pornographer via Flickr

From Denny: Now that the economy has everyone so wallet conscious people are learning how to be more independent of convenience foods! I've never been a huge fan of cake mixes as the texture seems to be so, well, gummy. Too many preservatives and who knows what else is in there you don't know about. More than anything, it's a great idea to learn how to make your favorite foods without pre-packaged kitchen helpers so you don't become miserably co-dependent. You also end up with a much higher quality and fresher food!

Found this little gem of a recipe over at the AOL food section. I've always enjoyed German Chocolate Cake but the cake mixes often leave a lot to be desired. Here is the real deal like people used to make it in our grandmothers' time before the large conglomerate food companies started pushing cheap imitation cake mixes on busy women trying to get a good meal on the table in less time.

There are some things that just require the time to make them. You can always break up most recipes into smaller time allotments over a few days when you are pressed for time - or suffer from ADD and can't focus for long. Either way you get to eat well! :)

German Chocolate Cake

From: Stephanie Zonis, "For Chocolate Lover's Only," StarChefs.com
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins

Ingredients:

Frosting:

2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut

1-1/4 cups chopped pecans

1 cup evaporated milk

4 egg yolks, from eggs graded "AA large" (Denny note: AA is fresher than A)

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

9 Tablespoons (1 stick + 1 Tablespoon) unsalted butter, cut into pats

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cake:

2 cups buttermilk

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pats

2-1/2 cups flour

2-1/4 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cup Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

Pinch salt

2 eggs, graded "AA large" - beaten to mix

2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

For Frosting:

Combine coconut and pecans in small bowl and set aside. Pour small amount of evaporated milk into heavy-bottomed, nonreactive 2 quart pot. Add egg yolks. With large spoon, beat to mix well. Gradually and alternately add remaining evaporated milk and both sugars, beginning with evaporated milk and stirring well after each addition. Add butter pats. Place over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture just comes to a boil (it may appear as though very slight curdling takes place as mixture heats--OK). Remove from heat immediately; mixture will be thin. Stir in coconut and pecans, then add vanilla. Cool briefly, then chill. As frosting chills, beat occasionally with large spoon. Frosting should thicken considerably to spreading consistency in 2-1/2 to 3 hours, but it's OK if it needs to chill longer--this frosting won't harden completely.

For Cake:

Grease two 9" by 2" deep round layer cake pans with vegetable shortening. Line bottoms with wax paper cut to fit, grease paper, then dust entire inside of pan lightly with flour, knocking out any excess. Set aside. Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In small, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive saucepan, combine buttermilk and butter pats. Set over low heat; stir often just until butter is melted. Remove from heat; set aside to cool until just warm.

Meanwhile, into large bowl sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. With whisk or large spoon, mix well until of an even color. When buttermilk mixture is warm, add beaten eggs and vanilla; with fork, beat in to mix well. Add all at once to dry ingredients. With whisk or hand-held electric mixer, stir until dry ingredients are moistened, then beat just until batter is well-combined (a few small lumps may remain--OK). Divide batter, which will be thin, evenly among prepared pans. Run batter up sides of pans slightly by tilting pans in a circular motion. Drop each pan three times onto a flat surface from a height of about 3" to distribute air bubbles in batter.

Bake in preheated oven 30-35 minutes, reversing pans back-to-front and exhanging oven positions about halfway through baking time. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in center emerges with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Do not overbake. Remove to cooling rack. Let layers stand 10-15 minutes.

Gently loosen cakes from sides of pans. Invert onto cooling racks; remove pans and gently peel wax paper from bottoms of layers. Re-invert to cool completely, right side up, before frosting.

To assemble:

If necessary, trim tops of cooled layers so they are level. Place one layer upside down on serving plate. Top with half of the chilled, thickened frosting. Spread frosting almost, but not quite, to edges of layer. Top with second layer, right side up. Press cake together gently to force frosting to edge of first layer. Top second layer with remaining frosting and spread evenly over top. Serve immediately or chill until needed; refrigerate any leftovers.

To cut this cake, you'll need a large, sharp, heavy knife. I use a knife with a serrated edge, though I know people who use a straight-edged knife here; try both and see which you prefer. You'll also need something to drink when you eat this--a glass of milk or a cup of coffee are fine accompaniments.



Cake, Cook, Butter, make a cake without the cake mix, Baking and Confections, German Chocolate Cake, Home

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20 July 2009

Funny Video: I Just Want a Pizza!

From Denny: This girl, Justine, is so funny! She cold calls a bunch of stores asking to order a pizza. Most of them don't catch on to her snarky ways but one guy finally did and the exchange and how she gets out of it is hilarious! He really nailed her and his comments are unbelievable. Of course, her close-up facial expressions steal the show, enjoy!



comedy, funny videos, hilarious, IJustine.com

19 July 2009

Bloggers Unite: Global Human Rights Abuses



Update: Federal Agents Investigate Burger Kings Treatment of Foreign Students - An excerpt: "RIVERTON, Wyo. – Federal agents from the Department of Immigrations are expected to arrive in Riverton today to investigate a possible indentured service case involving foreign students. Five university students working in the states through an exchange program said they were fired from the local Burger King and evicted from squalid living quarters provided by the company after they complained about the conditions.

They described the 15x15-foot house as a boiler room prison, because the windows wouldn’t open, bunkbeds with air mattresses were the beds, a hot-plate on a counter sufficed for a kitchen stove and the toilet and shower stall were unsanitary due to corrosion.

Riverton police, who executed the eviction notice over the weekend, were appalled at the conditions found and reported the situation to immigrations and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Local Burger King management has refused comment and corporate officials in Florida say they were unaware of the situation. The students were matched with the local Burger King through the work/travel programs of Worldwide International Student Exchange (WISE) and Aspire Worldwide. They paid $3,500 to $5,000 each to participate, and were told adequate housing would be provided at an affordable fee.

They said rent for the house was $1,800 a month, paid to Burger King District Manager Peggy Handran. Her phone number listed on the work agreement is no longer in service.

The university students are all men, ages 18-21, coming from Turkey, Mongolia, Azerbaijan and the Ukraine. They have found temporary sanctuary with a neighbor, Donna Michel."

Click on the title link for the rest of the story.

From Denny: This is a post I ran over at The Social Poets Friday evening for the Bloggers Unite Human Rights Day post on 17 July 2009. Bloggers everywhere are all blogging on the same day about human rights.

***

Humanity is at a crossroads in our world history where we must make a profound decision. It’s time to live better.

Currently, human rights abuses are no longer exclusive to certain regions of the globe. There is a sharp increase in human rights abuses worldwide for decades now and situations are increasing in violence yearly.

Stories abound globally of the most heinous crimes to humanity. Nothing good is accomplished by mankind trying to annihilate mankind. Just what is going on in the world? Here are just a few areas:

• Hamas and Taliban Islamic terrorists and other terrorist groups worldwide are on a bloodthirsty killing spree with bombings of civilians, women and children in many places in the world.



Photo by azrainman @ flickr

• Rogue unstable governments, covertly cozy with terrorist groups, working feverishly to acquire the nuclear bomb so they can kill off their neighbors they don’t like because they are another religion, a different economic or another kind of social system – or just plain won’t give them what they want.

• Genocide in Africa because people of different tribes can’t work out their differences like civilized people.



• Jailing journalists - trying to report the truth - as political temper tantrums to get their own way: North Korea and Iran.

• Tortured prisoners worldwide with the most notable recent heinous acts perpetrated during the Bush years on terrorist suspects never given trials, mainly because there was no real hard evidence.



• Under Taliban Islamic law and culture women are still regarded as subhuman and not deserving of first class treatment like men.

• Here in the United States, during the Bush years, women were raped, often savage gang rapes, at our military universities yet went unreported.

• Then there are battered women worldwide from Islamic to Christian countries whose husbands will not stop pummeling them.



We, the majority, are allowing the few to terrorize us, our neighbors and our loved ones. We must mobilize to stop it. How? Education for starters.
In the end, in order for humanity to not come to an end, we must consider a working alternative to what exists today in the way of abuses. It is a basic human right to be loved. Loved, you say? Yes, loved. We all have the right to be loved.

Love comes in many forms. We have the human right to certain expectations of basic decency and civility. We have the human right to healthy drinking water and sanitation and affordable housing. We have the human right to expect our political leaders that are guardians of our country to be honest and get serious about addressing pressing social and economic issues.



Photo by alicepopkorn @ flickr

Human rights abuses worldwide, in our own countries, in our homes will continue until the average person stands up and says "No!" to it all. Human rights abuses will continue until we all get serious about connecting up to create a tsunami force to push humanity along until we all do better, choose better and, in the end, start living better. Now that’s Love in action! We all have the human right to be loved. Let’s give Love.

A few places you can go for education and plug in to help:

Bloggers Unite where you can help by blogging

Youth Movement For Human Rights - worldwide

Human Rights Watch

Amnesty International, dedicated to bringing world attention to human rights abuse


North Korea, United States, denny lyon, Human rights, Nuclear weapon, Africa, Amnesty International, Human Rights and Liberties, Sharia, The Social Poets

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18 July 2009

Video: Bobbly Flay's Fancy Foods

From Denny: I don't know how I missed this cool video discussing the latest food trends like, drumroll, pahleez! chocolate tortilla chips, yum! Chef Bobbly Flay, reporting on what he discovered at the Fancy Food Show, gives you some great ideas on how to pair or use as an ingredient many of these new trendy tasty snack chips.

"TV host and chef Bobby Flay showed off some of the great new foods featured during New York City's Fancy Food Show."


Watch CBS Videos Online

Bobby Flay, Fancy Food Show, New York City, food trends, chocolate

17 July 2009

Recipe: Chocolate Bread Pudding With Clear Caramel Sauce - from Soho



Photo from Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Chocolate Bread Pudding With Clear Caramel Sauce

From: Soho restaurant, featured in Atlanta Journal-Constitution

From Denny: We love bread pudding in the South! And, ever since I was eleven years old and spent the summer with my Aunt Noelle after my mother died that May right before school let out, I've had a love affair with all things chocolate. Back then, no one ever heard of chocolate bread pudding. But, my Aunt Noelle, an English teacher, was a creative woman and loved to please others so she devised a chocolate version for me - and as a diversion away from the loss of my mother. We spent the whole summer cooking and baking like it was a culinary school!

Today, trained chefs have taken over our childhood fantasies and created more sophisticated versions that are pure Heaven! Take a look at this gem I found today! I could pass on the caramel sauce and enjoy with a little powdered sugar and fresh strawberries. I prefer to get down to the business of diving into pure chocolate. :)

Which do you prefer: caramel sauce or no sauce?

Chocolate Bread Pudding With Clear Caramel Sauce

From the menu of . . . Soho
4300 Paces Ferry Road S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
770-801-0069

Q: I recently dined at SoHo in Vinings, and after dinner everyone in my party insisted that I try the chocolate bread pudding for dessert. It was divine! - Tom Reagan, Winston

A: SoHo co-owner Frank Smith wasn't surprised by the request; he says the chocolate bread pudding has been the restaurant's top-selling dessert for nine years. "When you see it, you think it's going to be very dense and heavy, but it's very light and airy - and people love it, " he said. "It's not your typical fudge brownie dessert."

Chocolate Bread Pudding With Clear Caramel Sauce

Hands on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Serves: 8

Ingredients:

1 quart heavy whipping cream

1 pound (about 7 slices) fresh bread crumbs

11 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

8 egg yolks

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Clear Caramel Sauce (see recipe below)

Clear Caramel Sauce:

Yield: 1 cup

Hands on: 5 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

Directions: Although the sauce will nearly solidify as it cools, it melts quickly in the microwave.

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

1 cup water, divided

Directions:

For Pudding:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bring a tea kettle of water to a simmer. In a saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Meanwhile, place the bread crumbs and chocolate in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Lightly coat an 8-by-12-inch or 9-by-13-inch pan with butter; set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar. Whisk in a small amount of the heated cream, then whisk the egg yolk mixture into the hot cream. Remove the saucepan from the heat; whisk in the vanilla extract. Pour the cream mixture over the bread crumbs and chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted.

Transfer to the prepared pan. Place the pan in a larger baking dish and pour the simmering water into the outer pan, about 1 inch up the sides. Bake the bread pudding in its water bath for 30 to 40 minutes, until set in the center. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and warm caramel sauce. (Note: Bread pudding can be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 325 degree oven or in the microwave.)

For Clear Caramel Sauce:

Combine sugar and 1/2 cup water in a heavy saucepan. Cook over high heat, swirling occasionally to dissolve sugar, and bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid turns caramel in color, 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully add remaining 1/2 cup water and swirl to dissolve. Transfer mixture to heat-resistant glass or ceramic bowl. Cool slightly before serving, or cool to room temperature and then reheat a few seconds in microwave before serving.

Per serving: 129 calories (percent of calories from fat, 0), no protein, 33 grams carbohydrates, no fiber, no fat, no cholesterol, 1 milligram sodium.

Notes:

Any recipe that starts with a quart of heavy cream has just got to be good. And this one just keeps getting better, with bittersweet chocolate and an easy-to-make caramel sauce.

Tester's note: Quality bittersweet chocolate can be expensive and a bit hard to find. A reasonable substitute is to use 1 (12-ounce) bag of miniature semisweet chocolate chips, minus 1/4 cup. Because semisweet chocolate is sweeter than bittersweet, reduce the granulated sugar from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup.

Nutrition:

Per serving:
876 calories (percent of calories from fat, 70), 14 grams protein, 56 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 73 grams fat (42 grams saturated), 376 milligrams cholesterol, 363 milligrams sodium.

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16 July 2009

Outrageous Video: Bruno (Comedian Cohen) Talks with Real Terrorist!

From Denny: I usually ignore outrageous movie previews but I have to admit this comedian is actually funnier and MORE outrageous in interview! Check him out on the late night circuit and his interview with a terrorist who clearly looked ticked off! We may have to label his style of comedy as terrorist comedy...



Bruno movie comedy Cohen comedian funny video terrorist outrageous

15 July 2009

Obnoxious Video: News of the Absurd - Twitter, Soc the Cat and Religion

From Denny: It's all about Twitter and the absurd in this amusing CNN segment!



Twitter religion Soc Cat Absurd Video humor Twitter Followers

14 July 2009

Recipe: Easy Key Lime Pie with a Twist - White Chocolate!

key limes for key limeadeSee how tiny these key limes are? Intensely flavored and tart! Image by m kasahara via Flickr

From Denny: This is a recipe I am running over at my other food blog: Comfort Food From Louisiana. Chocolate is most definitely a comfort food in my mind! :) It's rare I come across a white chocolate recipe that appeals to me as I prefer the full court press when it comes to chocolate: dark! However, that said, white chocolate is wonderful with fruit, especially citrus!

From the Louisiana blog:

Key Lime Pies are basic and easy and constantly evolving as people try variations. This is one of those I've picked up over time, trying different recipes, and finally merged into just one recipe. I like easy but I also like without preservatives and usually make my own crust.

In the heat of this summer (which it seems you have heard me endlessly whining about - grin) and to be enjoyed after a good garlicky seafood dish is a citrus flavor to cut the oils, salt and heat.

We adore Key Lime Pie here in Louisiana! Louisianians often visit the Florida beaches and golf courses where we were introduced to such a sweet treat as to what they like to create with Key Limes! (We also love their soft shell crabs - yum!) Here is another twist on the classic recipe by using white chocolate.

Easy Key Lime Pie with a Twist

Yield: one (9-inch) pie

Ingredients:

1 cup whipping cream

1 (11-ounce) package white chocolate morsels

1 tablespoon Breakstone's sour cream (you can use another full fat brand)

1 teaspoon grated Key Lime rind (these things are tiny to grip; if you have a microplane it's easier to grate them)

1/3 cup fresh Key lime juice (these tiny little limes are awesome!)

1 (9-inch) pre-baked chocolate graham cracker crust (I prefer a chocolate crust as I find the plain just a little too bland but you can choose whatever you enjoy!)

Garnish: lime slices

Directions:

Over low heat in a medium saucepan you want to combine the white chocolate morsels and the whipping cream.

Cook 5 minutes or until white chocolate melts; stir constantly. Remove from heat and now add the sour cream, lime rind and juice; stir well. Note: The reason you remove it from the heat is that you don't want the sour cream to separate or the white chocolate to seize up on you.

Note: Variation - Before you pour this mixture into the crust you can add some zing with another variation: spread a thin layer of sour cream on the bottom of the crust. You could also spread a thin layer of melted semi-sweet chocolate here too! I've even placed finely chopped butter-roasted pecans here.

If you want to just proceed with the basic recipe and skip the variations, go ahead and pour the sour cream-lime mixture into crust. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Garnish, if desired with more whipped cream, finely chopped butter-roasted pecans and lime slices for beautiful presentation! Dare I say it? Lip-smacking good! :)

Feel free to subscribe to Romancing The Chocolate, just click on the orange square feed icon next to the feed count image! Thanks for visiting!

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12 July 2009

Recipe Video: Chocolate Pecan Pie

From Denny: This is from the Food Network show Down Home with the Neelys. I love a good chocolate pecan pie and haven't made one in a while. This will give you a good idea of how to make your own and a chance to practice before Thanksgiving comes so fast you wonder where the year went! I often start looking for holiday menu items in July and August when there is no pressure to decide, giving me plenty of time to get creative, try out a few things and filter what I think others will enjoy. This cooking couple is a joy to watch and easy to follow their recipes too!



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11 July 2009

Poem titled "First Impressions"

Pink flowers, lily padsImage by jcolman via Flickr

Poem titled "First Impressions"

By Peggy W @ HubPages (a friend)

From Denny: This is a lovely short six line poem that you will enjoy!

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10 July 2009

Recipe: Make You Own Devils Food Cake Mix!

Cross section of the Chocolate Devils Food cakeDevils Food Cake Image by Sifu Renka via Flickr

From Denny: Are you tired of using a cake mix because you find it uninspiring, bland tasting or are uncomfortable with the food additives and preservatives? Fear not! It's an easy recipe to make from scratch with little effort as if you were using a cake mix!

As a child, when I first went to make this cake I was fascinated with the unusual color AND the name. My English teacher Aunt Noelle, who was pitch-hitting for my mother since my mother had died that summer, was teaching me how to bake, told me the funny name came from the reddish color as people thought for sure this cake must have come out of hell itself as it tasted so good it was sinful! Then she went on to instruct me in the science of how to get that cake color because of the reaction of the cocoa powder and the baking soda. After that I was hooked for a lifetime and have enjoyed this simple cake ever since!

To show you how simple it is, here is a recipe straight from Better Homes and Gardens 75th Anniversary Edition Cookbook:

Devil's Food Cake

Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes
Oven: 350 degrees F.
Cooling time: 1 hour
Yield: 12 to 16 servings

Ingredients:

3 eggs

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (this isn't a fussy cake that requires special flour)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening (try canola oil or unsalted clarified butter)

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups cold water

Directions:

Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour two 9x1 1/2-inch or 8x1 1/2-inch round cake pans or grease one 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt;set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add eggs 1 at a time; beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and water to shortening mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan or pans.

Bake in a 350 degree F. over for 25 to 30 minutes for 9-inch pans, 30 to 35 minutes for 8-inch or 13x9x2-inch pans - or until a wooden toothpick or cake wire inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes in the pans. Then remove from the pans. Cool thoroughly on wire racks. You can just leave the larger sheet cake in the pan (the pan size of 13x9x2-inch). Frost with desired frosting.

From Denny: I'm a big fan of chocolate ganache so I'll give this one. It's also less effort than most frostings with powdered sugar and butter.

Ganache

Start to finish time: 35 minutes

Yield: just under 2 cups

Ingredients:

1 cup whipping cream

12 ounces chopped milk chocolate, semisweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate

Directions:

In a medium saucepan bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Add the chopped chocolate of your choice. Resist the temptation to stir. Let stand 5 minutes. Then stir until smooth. Cool for 15 minutes. Spoon evenly over cake (which is why using this frosting works best with a one layer cake). To make things easy on yourself: pull out a cookie sheet, line with waxed paper, then place your wire rack with the cooled cake layer on top of this. This setup will catch all the drips and contain the mess as you "frost" with ganache.

Here's another twist on the ganache so you can use this frosting for the top and middle layers and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch size cake so it looks like a conventional cake:

Truffle Frosting:

Ingredients are doubled from above recipe:

2 cups whipping cream

24 ounces chopped milk chocolate only

Directions: Prepare the Ganache as in the above recipe. Instead of cooling for 15 minutes, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Cover and chill mixture overnight. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds or until fluffy and of spreading consistency when ready to frost cake the next day.










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09 July 2009

Video: All the Truth About Chocolate and Antioxidants

From Denny: This is a great little video chock full of useful information about how the decisions you make to get the most out of that chocolate benefit factor. She gives you percentages of chocolate to sugar for best antioxidant value and tells you how much (really how little) of a percentage of your favorite candy bar has of real chocolate. Also, beware of how chocolate is processed because you can completely lose your antioxidant value!



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08 July 2009

Odd Video: Evian Babies Ad

From Denny: Have you seen this? Entertaining, unusual and just plain odd! Amusing, harmless and there is no way it is what it appears to be. Some great visual effects though, enjoy!

07 July 2009

Recipe: Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Tart



From Denny: When you really want something special just hike yourself on over to Epicurious.com for a chocolate delight! I found this easy to make special tart and thought you might enjoy.

Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Tart

From: Paul Grimes

Epicurious: "A triple layer of crumbly crust, a truffle-like interior, and an almost patent-leather-shiny glaze make this tart the chicest take on chocolate we've come across in a long time."

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
Active Time: 30 min
Total Time: 2 3/4 hr (includes cooling)

For crust:

9 (5- by 2 1/4-inch) chocolate graham crackers (not chocolate-covered), finely ground (1 cup)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

For filling:

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not more than 65% cacao if marked), chopped

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

For glaze:

2 tablespoon heavy cream

1 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 teaspoon light corn syrup

1 tablespoon warm water

Equipment:

a 9-inch round fluted tart pan (1 inch deep)

Make crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Stir together all ingredients and press evenly onto bottom and 3/4 inch up side of tart pan. Bake until firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 to 20 minutes

Make filling:

Bring cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate in a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, and salt in another bowl, then stir into melted chocolate.

Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until filling is set about 3 inches from edge but center is still wobbly, 20 to 25 minutes. (Center will continue to set as tart cools.) Cool completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour.

Make glaze:

Bring cream to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth. Stir in corn syrup, then warm water

Pour glaze onto tart, then tilt and rotate tart so glaze coats top evenly. Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour.

Cooks' note:

Tart is best the day it is made but can be made, without glaze, 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before glazing.

Photo from Epicurious.com

Paul Grimes Epicurious.com Conde Nast chocolate tart home cooking baking

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How Do You Cultivate Inner Happiness?



This is what I've featured today over at Beautiful Illustrated Quotations, my Quotes blog:

From Denny: What I so enjoy about quotes are two things: they are short, and therefore, easy meditations and also they often speak a facet of the truth in an amazing way! This is the first quote I've run across that discusses more than cultivating personal harmony or doing outward actions to help cultivate happiness. When you read between the lines what this author is talking about is acquiring a particular attitude toward self BEFORE you begin cultivating happiness - pretty cool take on it!

Quote

Happiness is really a deep harmonious inner satisfaction and approval.” — Francis Wilshire

Photo by h.koppdelaney @ flickr

happiness meditation harmony mental health arts literature health self-help love Francis Wilshire quotes quotations

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06 July 2009

Video: Nutriticious Ice Cream?

From Denny: Here's a good video to help us along with choosing better ice cream calories in this summer heat! The Early Show on CBS was doing a taste test of those ice creams and sorbets that were considered the tastiest, healthiest and also available nationwide. Take a look!


Watch CBS Videos Online

ice cream sorbet healthy diet food chocolate Haagen Das Ben and Jerry mango blueberry raspberry strawberry frozen yogurt

05 July 2009

Video: Independence Day Trivia

From Denny: This is well worth the watching! While I knew most of the dry facts - what I didn't know were some of the ancedotal stories that went along with those historical facts that spoke a lot to the personalities and conflicts of that time.


Watch CBS Videos Online

Independence Day Fourth of July America Thomas Jefferson George Washington Declaration of Independence people and society holidays United States CBS videos American history

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Video: The Crown of Liberty

First Lady Nancy Reagan waves from the Statue ...Then First Lady Nancy Reagan reopens Statue of Liberty on 100th birthday Image via Wikipedia

From Denny: This is a really good video on the updates to and the history of visiting the Statue of Liberty AND you get an inside view from the top looking out over the harbor - best video I've seen on the recent renovation project. It's nice to see we have an administration who promotes freedom instead of fear by reopening the Statue of Liberty and other federal buildings like the White House to the viewing from the public!


Watch CBS Videos Online

CBS Statue of Liberty freedom America United States travel renovation video Obama tourism New York Manhattan Society and culture United States

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