Sunday, March 01, 2015

Apple Fritter Donuts


For the Dough:
2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
⅔ cup whole milk, warm to the touch
3¼ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
4 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup apple cider
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Apples:
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean
7 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup apple cider
¼ cup apple cider vinegar

For the Glaze:
½ cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying

1. Make the Dough: Place the yeast in a mixing bowl. Pour the milk over the yeast a let sit for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the flour to the yeast and milk mixture, but do not stir. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the surface of the flour cracks, about 30 to 40 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Add the apple cider, melted butter, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, 1¼ cups of the flour and whisk until combined, then add to the yeast mixture. Using an electric mixer, beat the dough on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour and mix on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium for another 30 seconds. The dough will be VERY soft and sticky. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1½ hours.

3. Make the Apples: Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the pan with the melted butter and drop the vanilla bean pod in as well. Heat the butter until it is bubbling, then add the chopped apples, tossing to coat them with butter. Add the sugar and cinnamon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the apple cider and vinegar, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and transfer the apples to a baking sheet to cool.

4. Assemble the Doughnuts: Scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat into a rectangle 2 inches thick, flouring the surface as necessary. Spread half of the apples over the dough, leaving space around the edges. Fold the dough into thirds (like a letter) by folding the bottom up and then the top down.

We all have life storms, and when we get the rough times and we recover from them, we should celebrate that we got through it. No matter how bad it may seem, there's always something beautiful that you can find.
~Mattie Stepanek

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Today's Quote

It is not our differences that divide us.
It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.

-S Audre Lorde

Salted Caramel Popcorn

Makes about 16 cups of caramel corn

•½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels (about 16 cups popped corn)
•1 cup salted butter
•1 cup light brown sugar
•⅓ cup light corn syrup
•1½ - 2 tsp kosher or sea salt, divided

1.Preheat oven to 300°

2.Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.

3.Pop popcorn kernels using air popper into a large bowl.

4.In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and 1 tsp salt together over medium heat. Bring to boil. Boil for 4 minutes without stirring.

5.Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.

6.Pour popcorn into lined pan, sprinkle remaining salt on top (1/2 tsp - 1 tsp depending on your personal taste preference) and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

7.Allow popcorn to cool on a parchment lined counter.

You can add in 2 cups of nuts to the un-coated popcorn if desired! Coat with caramel as states!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Today's Quote

Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone - we find it with another.

~Thomas Merton

Seasonal Flu Vaccine Even Less Effective Than Thought: CDC

This year's flu vaccine is even more disappointing than previously reported, showing just 18 percent effectiveness against the dominant H3N2 strain of flu, health officials reported Thursday.

That's a drop from the 23 percent protection level estimated for the flu shot earlier in the season, said experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The situation for children was even worse. The CDC panel pegged the effectiveness of the injected vaccine for kids aged 2 to 8 to be just 15 percent.

And the nasal-spray version of the vaccine may not protect young children at all, health officials said.

Read more

The Wayback Jukebox - Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit

Test Your IQ

1. How long did the Hundred Years War last?
2. Which country makes Panama hats?
3. From which animal do we get catgut?
4. In which month do Russians celebrate the October
5. What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6. The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what
7. What was King George VI's first name?
8. What color is a purple finch?
9. Where are Chinese gooseberries from?

Scroll down for the answers...



1. 116 years
2. Ecuador
3. Sheep and Horses
4. November
5. Squirrel fur
6. Dogs (Canines)
7. Albert
8. Crimson
9. New Zealand

They Agreed To Die Early If They Could Have 'The Perfect Body.' Yep, Die.

There are plenty of reasons why diets suck and plenty more reasons why no one should want to risk their life to be a certain weight.

Slow-Cooker Turtle Monkey Bread

2/3 cup packed brown sugar 
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
3/4 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips   

1 Spray 4 1/2- to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, mix brown sugar and butter; microwave uncovered on High 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until mixture is boiling and smooth.

2 In large resealable food-storage plastic bag, place granulated sugar. Separate dough into 8 biscuits; cut each into fourths. Add a few of the biscuit pieces at a time to bag; shake to coat. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the pecans in slow cooker; top with half of the biscuit mixture. Pour one-third of the butter mixture over biscuits in cooker. Repeat with 1/4 cup pecans and remaining biscuit mixture. Pour remaining butter mixture over biscuits, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pecans.

3 Cover; cook on High heat setting 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until knife inserted in center comes out clean and biscuits are no longer doughy in center. Tops of biscuits will be moist and may appear unbaked. Turn off cooker.

4 Carefully remove cover so condensation does not drip onto bread. Cover opening with paper towels; return cover to cooker. Let stand 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cooker; turn bread upside down onto heatproof serving plate.

5 In 1-quart saucepan, heat cream over medium heat just to boiling. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Drizzle over monkey bread. Serve warm.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

Serves 4
preparation : 10 minutes
cooking : 80 minutes  

1 cup long-grain white rice 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
6 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated 
1/2 pound ground beef chuck 
1 cup frozen corn 
1 4.5-ounce can chopped green chilies 
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
4 ounces Monterey Jack, grated (1 cup) 
kosher salt and black pepper 
4 large bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs and seeds removed 
1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt 
salsa, for serving 

1.Heat oven to 375° F. Cook the rice according to the package directions.

2.Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallion whites and beef and cook, breaking the beef up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the corn, chilies, cumin, cooked rice, ½ cup of the Monterey Jack, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.

3.Arrange the bell peppers, cut-side up, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or pan. Divide the beef mixture among the bell peppers, add ½ cup water to the dish, tightly cover the dish with foil, and bake until the bell peppers are soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of Monterey Jack, and bake until browned, 5 to 7 minutes more.

4.In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and ¼ cup water. Drizzle over the bell peppers and top with the salsa and scallion greens.

Here's The Joke

A young cowboy from Prescott, AZ walks into
the White Cafe in Winslow, AZ. He sits at the counter
and notices an old cowboy with his arms folded, staring
blankly at a full bowl of chili.

After fifteen minutes of just sitting there staring at
it, the young cowboy bravely asks the old cowpoke,
"If you ain't gonna eat that, mind if I do?"

The older cowboy slowly turns his head toward the
young wrangler, and in his best cowboy manner says,
"Nah, go ahead."

Eagerly, the young cowboy reaches over and slides the
bowl over to his place and starts spooning it in with
delight. He gets nearly down to the bottom and notices
a dead mouse in the chili. The sight was shocking and
he immediately barfs up the chili into the bowl.

The old cowboy quietly says, "Yep, that's as far as I got, too."

What Pollution Lurks In Your Carpet?

25 indoor air quality tips from the American Lung Association.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Today's Quote

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”

~Dale Carnegie

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Today's Quote

“Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.”

― Criss Jami, Salomé: In Every Inch In Every Mile

Obamacare Is A Smashing Success As Uninsured Rates Continue To Plummet

On Tuesday, Gallup publicized their 2014 year-end results for the answer to the question “Do you have health insurance coverage?” asked in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey. The poll brings good news, as it finds that the percentage of Americans who lack health insurance dropped 3.5 percentage points from 2013 to 2014. According to the national survey, in 2013, 17.3 percent of Americans were without health insurance. In 2014, just 13.8 percent lacked health insurance coverage.

Read more

President Obama Vetoes Keystone XL With Blistering Veto Message

Republicans thought that they were going to show the dominance of their congressional majority. Instead, they have run into a president who is going to stand tall, and fight for what he believes is the right thing for the country until the day that he leaves office.

Read more

In An Unprecedented Move Harry Reid Puts The Screws To John Boehner’s Obstruction

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) took the virtually unprecedented step of nailing John Boehner’s obstruction by announcing that Senate Democrats will not support any deal to fund Homeland Security unless Boehner caves first.

In an extraordinary sequence of events, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered Democrats exactly what they have been asking for Tuesday — “clean” full-year funding for the Department of Homeland Security. And Minority Leader Harry Reid said “no” — or at least, “not yet.”

McConnell’s offer of such a bill shorn of provisions blocking President Barack Obama’s recent immigration executive orders — which he said could happen quickly with Democratic cooperation — was put on hold by Reid, who said he was waiting to hear Speaker John A. Boehner agree to pass it through the House first.

“We have to make sure that we get a bill to the president,” Reid said. “Unless Boehner’s in on the deal, it won’t happen.”

In other words, Democrats aren’t going to agree to anything until Boehner makes the House vote on it first. Harry Reid learned for years of broken Boehner promises to know that the Speaker’s word is worthless. (Speaker Boehner promised that Homeland Security wouldn’t shut down, but the nation is just days away from exactly what Boehner said would not happen.) Reid is going make sure that the House Republicans can’t back out of any deal that is made.

Read more

Man desperately trying to get out of the cold dies on stairs in front of homeless shelter

As sub-zero temps swept into much of the country, Kenneth Winfield made his way to a Louisville homeless shelter in November:

"He started crying," recalled Maria Price, executive director of the day shelter. "He said, 'Please help me find an apartment. I don't want to die out there.' "
He returned again last week, but was apparently too late:

Winfield was found on the steps of the St. John Center amid sub-zero temperatures Thursday night and later died, Price said.
An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death. Although Winfield had been living on the streets for years, he'd been trying to find a place to live:

Read more

The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden 'black site'

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:
Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.

  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.
At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.

Read more

Bill O'Reilly threatens New York Times reporter

What a pompous ass

As more and more former colleagues come forward to call out Fox News' Bill O'Reilly on his "war zone" and "combat situation" lies, Mr. O'Reilly appears to have lost his ever-loving mind:

During a phone conversation, he told a reporter for The New York Times that there would be repercussions if he felt any of the reporter’s coverage was inappropriate. "I am coming after you with everything I have," Mr. O’Reilly said. “You can take it as a threat.”

Read more

Jazzed Up White Cake

Using milk instead of water as called for on the box, adds some density, extra fat (trust me on this), and extra flavor. I used only egg whites as this will make your cake fluffier and whiter. Substitute the oil in the boxed cake recipe for melted butter. This will add so much more flavor than oil will. Adding a bit of vanilla extract will also bump the flavor up. The boxed mix does lose some of it’s freshness sitting on that shelf so adding more flavor, such as the vanilla, brings out the fresh, homemade taste.

• 1 boxed white cake (I used Duncan Hines brand)
• 1 cup milk
• 1/4 melted butter, cooled slightly
• 3 egg whites
• 1 tsp CLEAR vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease sides and bottom of each pan with nonstick spray. Flour baking pan lightly. (If making cupckakes, use baking cups in place of the grease and flour)

3. Blend cake mix, milk, melted butter, egg whites, and vanilla in a large bowl at low speed until moistened for about 30 seconds.

4. Beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes.

5. Pour batter in pans and bake according to box directions for your type of baking pan. I tend to check my cakes at the lower end of the time indicated as my oven cooks a bit faster than some others I have had.

6. Cake will be done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes before removing. Cool completely before frosting.

Brilliant Harvard Psychologist Explains How To Achieve Long-Term Happiness In This Popular TED Talk

The Best Cream Cheese Frosting

I pkg (8 oz) Reduced Fat Cream Cheese (use regular cream cheese if you desire)
1/4 cup butter, unsalted and at room temperature (very soft)
1 tsp vanilla
3 - 4 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk

1.Beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl.

2.Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix well. Add enough powdered sugar until you have the frosting the consistency you want. I use about 3 1/2 cups.

3.This will frost a 13 x 9 cake easily as well as about 24 cupcakes. For two layer cakes, you make want to double the recipe, depending on how much frosting you want on your cakes.

4.To use as a glaze for cakes, use less powdered sugar and add small amounts of milk (use 1 tablespoon to start) at a time until you have the consistency you want as a glaze.

Easy Cheesy Crescent Bites

These wonderful little bread bites, are packed with cheese and sour cream to make a creamy mouth-watering crescent recipe. Quick and easy, there is no reason not to make them.

• 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
• 1/2 cup nonfat ricotta cheese
• 2 egg whites
• 1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk
• 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 3 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2.Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Mix cheeses, egg whites, buttermilk and sour cream in large bowl.

3.Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until dough leaves sides of bowl. Divide dough into halves.

4.Turn each half onto lightly floured surface; gently roll in flour to coat and shape into ball. Pat or roll each ball into 9-inch circle.

5.Cut each circle into 6 wedges. Roll up wedges, starting at wide end.

6.Place rolls, with points underneath, on cookie sheet; curve slightly.

7.Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.

Lemon Herb Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy

Moist and juicy with a simple pan gravy, this savory roast chicken will be your go-to recipe for easy weeknight meals. The blend of flavors in this Lemon Herb Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy dish are out-of-this-world good. If all recipes for lemon chicken were this delicious, we'd be in heaven. Even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy this chicken dinner with a citrus-y twist, so prepare this recipe from Campbell's Kitchen and please the entire family!

Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 1 hr 35 min

• 1 lemon
• 1 can (10 3/4 ounces)  Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 roasting chicken (5 to 7 pounds)
• 1/4 cup dry white wine
• 1/4 cup water


1.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grate 1 1/2 teaspoons zest and squeeze 1 tablespoon juice from the lemon.

2.Stir the lemon zest, lemon juice, soup, rosemary, thyme and garlic in a medium bowl. Reserve 1 cup soup mixture for the gravy. Place the chicken into a shallow roasting pan.

3.Roast the chicken for 20 minutes. Brush the chicken with 1/4 cup soup mixture.

4.Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and keep warm.

5.Spoon off any fat from the pan juices. Stir the wine in the roasting pan and heat over medium-high heat to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the reserved soup mixture and water and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Serve the gravy with the chicken.