Friday, January 1, 2010

Trying A New Recipe

My kitchen smells so good right now. We've got a New Year's Day luncheon to go to this afternoon, so I'm trying a new recipe to take with us: Peaches and Cream Cake. I like peaches and already had a cake mix, so let's go the easy route! :)

This was a free recipe I'd found online quite some time ago and just never got around to making until now. Like I said, it's in the oven right now and I won't be able to really critique it until this afternoon, but the least I can do is share the recipe here.

40 min | 10 min prep

SERVES 15

* 1 (18 1/4 ounce) package yellow cake mix--I had a white cake mix
* 1/2 cup butter, melted
* 1 egg
* 2 (29 ounce) cans of sliced peaches, reserve peach juice from cans for topping
* 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Drain peaches, reserving 1-3 T juice for the topping and set aside. This is important for the right consistency of the top layer. You might want to consider saving more than just a couple of tablespoons. I had more and was glad to have that extra.
2. Combine cake mix, melted butter, and egg in medium bowl.
3. A soft dough will form.
4. This can be done by hand or with an electric mixer.
5. Press dough onto bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9x13 inch pan.
6. Cover dough with drained peaches.
7. To make the topping, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and juice with electric mixer until creamy.
8. Spread over peaches.
9. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
10. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

If you need it, there is nutritional information for this cake on the Recipe Bazaar page.

Once we get the chance to cut into this bad boy, I'll have to come back and post again on how it went over.Happy New Year's!

Additional entry made at 11:20 PM, New Year's Day

The Peaches and Cream Cake seemed to go over pretty well. Having been baked for 30 minutes, the bottom layer (the cake mix) took on a nice somewhat crunchy taste and texture to it. It was more like a pie crust. If I didn't know it was a cake mix, I wouldn't have been able to tell. It was almost graham crackery. However, it seemed to me to have the slightest bit of a lemony taste to it.

The second layer of the peaches were so good. I wasn't paying attention to what I bought at the time. Instead of getting canned sliced peaches, I had bought peach pie filling. But that still worked out. The peaches remained moist and juicy.

The cream cheese and sugar topping was very smooth but not as sweet as I would have expected. The edges turned the slightest bit golden brown and I was actually thinking that top layer would burn because the whole thing is baked uncovered.

But this whole cake was very good and I was kind of impressed at how good it turned out.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Variation of the Devil's Horns Hat

A friend of a friend decided he NEEDED his own devil's horns hat. So what can I say...I made him one, this time it's a beanie.

It's a variation of my Jack Skellington hat from November. I figured if anyone was interested, I'd post this pattern here as well. My friend Nicole supplied the yarn, so I'm listing that as she gave it to me.

G sized hook
H sized hook
Yarn needle
Small amount of Fiber Fill
1 skein Caron One Pounder 100% Acrylic in black (#503)--you won't need anywhere close to 1 pound of yarn; in this case, the color was more important than the type of yarn.
1 skein Lion Brand Suede in Rose (#140)

Hat
With the H hook and working with the black yarn, ch 4, join with sl st to first ch to form ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 2(counts as first dc),9 dc in ring. Join with sl st to top of beginning dc (10 dc).
Rnd 2: Ch 2, hdc in same st, (2 hdc in next st) around. Join (20 hdc).
Rnd 3: Ch 2, 2 hdc in next st, (hdc in next st, 2 hdc in next st) around. Join (30 hdc).
Rnd 4: Ch 2, hdc in next st, 2 hdc in next st, (hdc in next 2 st, 2 hdc in next st) around. Join (40 hdc).
Rnd 5: Ch 2, hdc in next 2 st, 2 hdc in next st, (hdc in next 3 st, 2 hdc in next st) around. Join (50 hdc).
Rnd 6: Ch 2, hdc in next 3 st, 2 hdc in next st, (hdc in next 4 st, 2 hdc in next st) around. Join (60 hdc).
Rnd 7: Ch 2, hdc in each st around. Join (60 hdc).
Rnd 8: Ch 2, hdc in next 4 st, 2 hdc in next st, (hdc in next 5 st, 2 hdc in next st) around. Join.
Rnd 9-10: Repeat round 7.
Rnd 11: Ch 2, hdc in next 5 st, 2 hdc in next st, (hdc in next 6 st, 2 hdc in next st) around. Join.
Rnd 12: Repeat round 7.
Rnd 13-17: Ch 2, hdc in back loop of next st, (hdc in front loop of next st, hdc in back loop of next st, hdc in both loops) around. Join.
Rnd 18: Ch 2, hdc in each st around. Join.
Rnd 19: Switch to the rose suede and ch 1, hdc in same st as join and in each st around for the trim. Join. Fasten off, weave in ends.

Devil's Horns
Leave a length of several inches of the black before starting (this will be what you use to attach the horn to the hat). With the G hook, chain 12 and form loop with a slip stitch with second chain from hook end. Ch 1. Do not turn.

Row 1-2: Chain 1 SC in each stitch and connect at the end with a slip stitch. Ch 2. Do not turn.

Rows 3-4: Switch to the rose suede. 1 HDC in the front loop of each SC of previous row. Connect at the end with a slip stitch. Ch 2. Do not turn.

Rows 5-8: Repeat the previous row but decrease by 2 HDC (one at the beginning and one at the end). Connect at the end with a slip stitch. Ch 2. Do not turn.

Row 9: Finish off the horn with 2-3 slip stitches (your choice) so the horn is closed at the top point. Finish off yarn. Make 2. Since you’re ending at the tips, use the yarn needle to weave in the loose ends. Any extra yarn doesn’t need to trimmed off: just stuff it back up inside the horn.

Fill each horn with stuffing. To make the horns stand up, pack them tight. You can use the wrong end of a crochet hook to pack it into the tip of the horn. Make them as firm as you want. Using extra black yarn and the needle, attach the horns to the top of the hat.



I realize this isn't the greatest picture in the world, but I was feeling lazy tonight and took this picture with my cell phone instead of dragging out my camera and card reader. I'm still goofing with the horns. If I had made this hat for myself, I probably would have put them closer together, but Nicole told me her friend wanted a hat more like what I had made for her. (They really don't look like small bunny ears in real life!)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Have a Confession To Make

I have to admit something...I'm 35 years old and this is still my favorite Sesame Street video of all time.



It's really kind of dumb, but for some odd reason, this one has always stuck with me. I don't know why. I was always more of an Ernie fan than Bert, but for some odd reason, this one still cracks me up!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Best CD I've Heard in a Long Time

About a year ago, I bought a CD at the Book Exchange in Norfolk. I've always been a Blues Traveler fan, so when I saw The John Popper Project featuring DJ Logic, I knew I had to get it.

I'm so glad I did. It's fucking awesome! I bought it used and wore it out in about 1 1/2 years.

I couldn't find it anywhere to download, so I wanted it again, it's just that damn good. So I let my husband know I wanted it for Christmas. My honey came through and got me a new copy of it this year. To be on the safe side, I'm going use Audio Grabber tomorrow night to save it to my computer as a back up so I can also have it for my MP3 player.

It came out in 2006 and has 13 tracks on it. This CD speaks to me in a way like almost nothing else has, save Billy Joel and the Barenaked Ladies.

You'd think that as the lead singer of Blues Traveler, that any release by John Popper would sound just like a Blues Traveler CD. Not so. This has an original groove all it's own.

The product description at its Amazon page doesn't do it justice:"Relix Records presents the sophomore release for John Popper as a solo artist, most famous for being the rotund frontman, creator, and mastermind of the jam band favorites Blues Traveler. Popper, a singer/harpist, experienced astounding success with his original band, earning a fervent grass-roots following during the early 1990s on the basis of their relentless touring schedule and a sprawling blues-rock sound. Aligned alongside other neo-hippie outfits including Phish, Widespread Panic and the Spin Doctors, Blues Traveler went on to become one of the most successful annual tour packages of the decade. The group's momentum was derailed in the fall of 1992, however, when Popper was severely injured in a motorcycle accident. After taking much of what was necessary time away from the stage, Popper completed his 1999 debut solo effort Zygote, which has scanned over 39,000 units to date. After taking time off to get back on his feet following some health problems, Popper has returned to the lifestyle he knows best; rock and roll! And who would’ve thought that after all that time away the man would’ve been able to pick up right where he left off?! Well, actually, we did…"

Amazon's description makes it sound like a break off from Popper's work with Blues Traveler (who are still together, BTW). And on top of that, there's only six customer reviews.

But it's almost not enough to call it a groove. It sounds like something bluesy and soulful without being depressing. It's got an amazing song called Louisiana Sky about the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, that talks about their strength and solidarity without being preachy or even ballad-like. You feel their plight from the words and they become your people.

Are we supposed to be strong?
Are we supposed to be equal?
All I heard or observed
Are we disposable people?
Louisiana sky
Don't hide the sun from me
Don't make it rain on me
Don't make it run from me
Some say the city below sea level is vanishing
We lost our homes but we're hungry and managing
I can't find my Moms
Can't locate my kids
I don't know where my dog or my tabby is
Above clouds Louisiana's loud and overflowing
U know the rest and the weedz keeps growing

Comes the sun to Louisiana skies
The storm has passed and the bayou cries
Washed away lives and sins
From out and under it begins
We struggle underneath the Louisiana sky
It's slim pickings but we take a slice of humble pie
Beneath the yellow sky our spirits is strong
Louisiana let's rock on

Nowhere to go
Nothing to prove
All that remains a single groove
From Mardi Gras to Congo Square
A pulse to shuffle and it's all still there
In the early hours
In the morning haze
From the oldest dance to the latest craze
Hold your head up to Louisiana sky
Big Easy children, build your levee high

Combining history with chicory and hickory sauce
The battle's on between soldiers but the victory's lost
9th Ward as it was, love of transition and all
After the rain our position was off
Our tradition scoffed, man makin' plantation swampland
Travel into a hidden world of girls
I can remember love of this Louisiana odyssey
Of mysticism, magicians and magical commodities
After rain when we heard that the storm's comin'
Mammals and birds let us know that the storm's comin'
Move, stop, move 'em off rooftops, relieve us
Slow molasses these asses from FEMA

Comes the sun to Louisiana sky
Storm has passed and the bayou cries
Washed away lives and sins
From out and under it begins

The CD even starts out strong with Lapdance, which is about a stripper. Between the lyrics and music, you can almost see a dark, seedy, smoke-filled bar, a single woman on a stage, stripping. She looks worn out and tired of that life, but a single man sits before her, tossing dollar bills her way. "Go on and break me, the way you bump and sway, you won't take long." This sounds like a man who might be over his life, looking for some kind of love or redemption from the dancer. It's got kind of a late 70's beat to it.

This CD is most definitely the best one I've heard since Billy Joel's River of Dreams in 1998. This most definitely needs to be checked out!