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Saturday, May 19, 2018

National Devils Food Cake



Devil's food cake is considered to be the counterpart to the white or yellow angel food cake. The cake is moist, airy, rich chocolate layer cake. A devil's food chocolate cake traditionally have more chocolate than a regular chocolate cake. The Devil's food cake was invented in the United States around the early 1900s.

Devil's food cake recipes often call for unsweetened chocolate baking squares rather than cocoa powder. While the cocoa powder is more of a convenience to use it has less cocoa butter making a more intense chocolate flavor. Coffee is another ingredient that can be used as liquid form to enhance the chocolate flavor. Devil's food cake is traditionally baked as a layer cake.

One cake that is related to the Devil's food cake is the red velvet cake. This cake has became a favorite in the United States.




Angel Food Cake

1/2 cup cake flour
3/4 cup white sugar, divided in half
6 egg whites, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk cake flour and half of the sugar, set aside. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until stiff peaks are formed. Slowly add the other half of the sugar, and continue beating. Add flour mixture and vanilla slowly, beating continuously on a low setting. Make sure it is thoroughly combined, and then pour into prepared 8” cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through. Top should be bouncy and spring back when touched! To remove from pan, run knife along inside, flip over, and slap all sides until cake pops out.

Devil's Food Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup hot coffee
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Combine oil, coffee, and milk and whisk together at medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat for 2 more minutes. Transfer to a greased 8” round cake pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 15-20 minutes and then flip onto a rack to continue cooling. for assembly: When cakes are completely cool, set the devil's cake on a cake stand or plate. Slather with a thick layer of your favorite vanilla frosting, then add angel food cake layer. Frost the top, and feel free to frost the sides or leave them naked as I have done! Garnish with fruit or chocolate shavings.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Global Youth Traffic Safety Month

The National Organization for Youth Safety or NOYS join together to observe Global Youth Traffic Safety Month. The members, partners and youth leaders from around the country come together for this annual campaign that takes place in May. Organizations, resources and youth speak out to help inspire individual actions that can help change road safety statistics

Currently, traffic crashes are the #1 killer of teens. Summer time is the deadliest season for U.S. youth on the roads. In 2005 and 2008 two youths that were loved by many were tragically killed in car crashes. During the Global Youth Traffic Safety event the two will be honored in an attempt to bring awareness to the danger that is present. The goal is to get everyone to pay attention and be better drivers, passengers and pedestrians. 

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Terrible Eruption 30+ years ago on May 18

Mount St. Helens located in Skamania County Washington in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is 50 miles northwest o Portland Oregon and a little under 100 miles south of Settle, Washington.

Mt. St. Helens takes an English name from the British diplomat Lord St. Helens, a friend of explorer George Vancouver who surveyed the area in 18th century. Mt. St. Helen is located in the Cascade Range and part of Cascade Volcanic Arc. The area has over 160 active volcanoes. The volcano was well known for the ash explosions and pyro flows .

before eruption


On this date in 1980 the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the United States at that time occurred. There were over 50 people killed, 250 homes destroyed, 47 bridges an miles of railways and highway destroyed. Mt. St Helens also experienced an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale caused an eruption that reduced the elevation of the mountain between 8 to 10 thousand feet. A mile wide horseshoe crater is still present.


May Ray Day

We have all heard it before,
April Showers Bring May Flowers....



The saying is about the natural changing of seasons and how the spring rains help prepare us for May and the beauty of flowers. The April rain and May rays have been important to people through out history. Knowing when to plant the fields as well as knowing the true end of cold winter and beginning of warm days depends on the distinguishing Mays Rays. 

Spring is finally here and that means it is time to welcome the sun back into the warming sky. It is time to get out and enjoy it. Plants seem to be everywhere after a long cold winter and blooms are very present as well. It seems as if even our cold bodies are ready for a bit of sun and start to crave the warm days. The sun helps the supply of vitamin D in our bodies and thus helps make for strong healthy bones.



Tomorrow is May Ray Day, it is time to get out there and enjoy the sun. I am in high hopes of seeing some May Rays even if the old weather man seems to say that we are in the middle of a few days of showers. Its time to get out in the sun and enjoy the day. Put on some pretty spring clothes and go out for a bit. How about a spring picnic or a day in the park?? I know, I know I am celebrating while some of you are drowning in allergies and asthma. So sorry but take a bit of medication and get ready to come out and play.



Enjoy a Piece of Pizza History

If you love pizza then you are in luck as today, May 18th, is National Pizza Party Day. This special day occurs each and every year on the third Friday in May. Today, is the day that pizza lovers every where will celebrate pizza with family and friends. If you choose not to go out to a pizzeria then by all means stay in and celebrate homemade pizza that you make with fresh toppings. If you choose not to go out or to make your own then call one in for delivery. Delivery is one luxury that pizza lovers have not always had. Back in the day.....



Ancient Greeks enjoyed a dish of bread covered with oils, herbs and cheese (sounds like a great dish that would go along with our version of pizza now) Greece was also the location that the name "pie" was used to define the fine dish of pizza. Greek pizza pie still is different than other style of pizzas. Greek Pizza Pies are baked in pans and not on bricks of a pizza oven. The pan is shallow and heavily oiled with olive oil. The crust of a Greek Pizza Pie is chewy, puffy and oily. Tomato paste is primarily used in the sauce which helps make a tangy and thick sauce that is spiced with oregano. Greek Pizza Pies have more sauce than cheese which is normally a blend of mozzarella and cheddar.

You will often find Greek Pizzas in pizzerias owned traditionally by Greek immigrants. Other specialties that may be sold are  Greek salads and gyros. Many will go by slogans of "Pizza and Pasta" or as "House of Pizza" thus allowing customers to know this is a Greek establishment that serves Italian style food.



The Romans not to be out done by the Greeks had their own version of pizza. The Romans would take a sheet of dough top it with cheese and honey then flavor the dish with bay leaves. Pizza found in Rome was known as "cut pizza". The pizza was a thick and rectangular in shape. The pizza is served by slices after being baked in electric ovens. The oven helps produce a crust that is light and airy on top while crunchy on the bottom.


It would take the Italians to make what is thought of the modern pizza. Their pizza used only mozzarella cheese that was produced in Naples. Italian style pizzas are commonly known as Neapolitan pizza. The pizza originated in Naples Italy. The pizza is made with simple fresh ingredients. Starting with a basic dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and olive oil. There are no fancy toppings in the original pizza from Naples. The pizza sauce outweighs the cheese on this pizza and often leaves the middle of the pizza pie wet or soggy. It is not a pizza that serves well by the slice. The average Neapolitan pizza is around 10 to 12 inches in size. The small size is perfect for a personal pizza. The pizzas are cooked at super high heat for a very short time normally around 90 seconds.



Pizza would reach the United States around the early 1900s. The first pizzeria was opened in Little Italy in New York. Today the pizza business has grown so that around 2 billion pounds of pizza cheese is used each year. Soldiers returning back to America after being stationed in Italy during World War II would bring along their taste for the Italian favorite, pizza. Pizza has changed since the early days and is often looked upon as fast food now. Pizza in the United States takes on many variations. At times only a casual resemblance of an Italian original is present. In the United States you can find both a thick crust and a thin crust pizza. Foods such as barbecue, chicken, and bacon cheeseburger are now used to create new types of pizza. While pizza is normally eaten hot, it is also popular to enjoy pizza as cold leftovers.





Snapdragons

One flower I love to add to my flower bed that not only adds color but offers a border as well are snapdragons. Snapdragons are native to the Mediterranean but I am glad that they did not stay there. They make great cut flowers to decorate the home not only with the color but also the scent. Colors such as white, yellow, purple, crimson, bronze, and pink in rainbow of colors.




Snapdragons are annuals and are easy to grow. Most either bloom in the summer prior to wilting away in the heat. Many will have a second bloom again when the weather cools prior to fall. As I mentioned snapdragons are great for planting in flower bed, as edging or even in containers. A bonus is that hummingbirds are attracted to snapdragons.



It is best to plant snapdragons in full sun. As long as the soil drains well snapdragons should do well where planted. If the soil is poor add a bit of fertilizer. Snapdragons can be planted as early as the last frost. Snapdragons normally last through the first heavy frost.



Snapdragons come in a variety of sizes and colors. Whether you are looking for a small dwarf flower, a intermediate size flower or a tall flowering stem you will find it with a snapdragon. Snapdragons come in nearly all colors but blue. Tall snapdragons may grow to 3 feet tall , while shorter versions may only reach 6 inches.

Snapdragons only take about 2 weeks to germinate planted in direct sunlight. Snapdragons do not like to be crowded and should be water from below not above.


Good Luck and have fun snap-dragging


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month



May has been declared to be "National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month" by the Allergy Foundation of America. For those who suffer with asthma and allergies most likely the heat and May flowers have flared up your condition. Now is the time for all those in your life from parents, family, friends, co-workers and others to learn about the disease

Asthma is a chronic disease of the lung airways. In an asthma attack the airway becomes inflamed and narrows as a result of reacting to "certain triggers" , making it extremely hard for that individual to breath.



Asthma has no cure and allergies continue on with no cure in sight either. Asthma and allergy attacks are preventable with proper treatment and care. It is estimated that 10 deaths a day will be due to asthma, with more than 24 million Americans knowing first hand the effects of asthma. Children under than the age of 18 account for 6 million. The number of those suffering with allergies continues to climb with more than 50 million Americans suffering from all allergies including pollen, skin, latex and more




Although there is no cure for this disease, people with chronic asthma can have productive lives by taking the necessary steps to keep asthma under control.

Vidalia Onion dip



America welcomed the sweet onion in the 1930s and it is still popular today. It all started during the great depression when farmers had high hopes of a new cash crop. These Georgia farmers had grown and harvested many different crops from corn to cotton. Now, it was time to try a new crop, onions. 

The farmers set out to grow onions with a bit of heat and instead a strange onion that was not hot developed. The sweet onions grew popular among those that lived in near by counties. The sweet onion from Vidalia was being talked about all through the state of Georgia. It seemed that these Vidalia onions were destined for greatness

The destination was helped out by the Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Vidalia. The owners of the grocery store not only helped to sell Vidalia onions  but they also helped support the great onion. Soon the Vidalia Onion was celebrated in a festival. Glenville, Georgia has hosted the Vidalia Onion festival since 1977, another festival was held in Vidalia Georgia in 1978. 

By the 1980s the Vidalia onion had its own mascot named Yumion. In 1990 the Vidalia Onion became the state vegetable of Georgia. The sweet onion known as "Vidalias" had  grown to fame of its own and today the onion is not just a "southern thing" but available in 50 states as well as Canada.


Vidalia Onion Dip:



2 cups Vidalia onion finely diced (1 large)
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese shredded
1/2 cup Asiago cheese grated
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor pulse the onion a few times until finely diced. Remove to a large bowl. Switch to the shredding blade and shred the cheeses. Place the cheese in the bowl
Stir in the mayo, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder together until well combined.
Transfer the mixture to a small cast iron skillet or casserole dish and bake for 40-45 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Remove from oven, allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.

recipe resource here

Food Allergies




A food allergy is a serious and at times life threatening condition that is not curable. There are ways to control it one way is to avoid trigger foods Severe allergies reactions occur only after a bite 
The number of Americans that have food allergies astonished me at first. It is estimated that an average of 15 million Americans have been diagnosed with food allergies. That breaks down to about four in every 100. This number is a big consideration of both personal and private chefs. Food allergies can range from mild to severe. My son was diagnosed with allergy to fish when he was around 7 years old, as an adult he still can not eat catfish without getting severely sick. It could have been worst we know as many others struggle to breathe, and other symptoms. 


Some individuals who dine on food they are allergic to will experience mild irritations that you may see in other allergens such as pollen. Symptoms may include itching eyes, scratchy throat, and mild indigestion. If the allergy is severe the symptoms may be severe. One of the most common severe allergies is peanuts. Many times if a food allergy is present in one food then there may be another food allergy as well.

  • Food Specific Intolerance are foods that cause interruptions in the digestive tract Intolerance can range from mild to moderate. Common symptoms include bloating, gas and diarrhea. Food intolerance includes your nose running when you taste hot salsa or other spicy dish, you get gas after dining on beans, you have diarrhea after drinking a glass of milk because you are lactose intolerant. 
  • Food Specific Allergy are known food allergies that trigger an immune response and may result in gastrointestinal distress, hives and possible anaphylaxis which can be life threatening. Allergies are of ten more severe than intolerance and can require medical intervention. Food allergies may be severe enough that the food must only comes in contact with something the person touches to trigger a reaction
  • Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects an average of 1 out of every 100 individuals around the world. Individuals with Celiac disease are unable to digest gluten. Gluten is a protein found commonly in wheat based products. Severe health concerns that may be caused by celiac disease include infertility, iron deficiency and neurological complications. 



Food allergies can react differently in different people It may take just a bite or two of the trigger food and other times it may take hours to see apparent symptoms of food allergy. Mild allergic reactions may remind you of more common allergic reactions while moderate food allergy symptoms may include dry swollen or red itchy skin rash, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing or dry cough, watering eyes ear or mouth itchiness, stomachache, cramps, vomiting or diarrhea. 

Severe allergic reactions are most often triggered by peanuts, nuts, fish and shellfish. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction may include shortness of breath, trouble in swallowing, swelling of mouth, lips, tongue or throat, weakness, confusion, light headache or loss of consciousness and chest pain or a weak heartbeat. If the reaction is severe enough the symptoms will not leave and encompass the entire body. This type of reaction is known as anaphylaxis. 



Anaphylaxis occurs within minutes of eating a trigger food. Many with such food allergies will carry a medicated injection known as epinephrine which is adrenaline. Medical attention must be found at once. The epinephrine may save your life and will help provide relief until you find medical attention. Individuals with severe food allergies or those with asthma and food allergies are at risk for anaphylaxis. 


Even when you know what triggers an allergic reaction food allergies can still be complicated. For instance:
  • Baked goods like cakes and cookies may eggs and nuts but they may still be in the product
  • water packed tuna packs may have added nonfat dry milk
  • salad dressing is often made with soybean oil
  • hot dog may be packed with milk protein
So that you are aware of what is in the food you one needs to start reading the food labels. Labels may still make it difficult to know what exactly is in the food product. 
  • ingredients such as pineapple , milk casein, or hydrolyzed soy protein may be in microwave popcorn but not listed as ingredients. Other terms such as "flavoring" or "natural flavoring" 
  • egg and soy can be hidden under the terms "emulsifier" or "binder" 

The customer service department or the quality assurance officer of the company where the product you have in question should be able to help you figure out if the food is safe for you. In addition, inquire about the food prepared at the restaurant that you choose to eat. 




NO Dirty Dishes Day

My first thought of this holiday is that it may have been invented by a dish-washer or a homemaker tired of seeing dirty dishes. Dirty dishes are simply part of life. If we eat there more than likely is going to be a dirty dish or two. The only exception to the rule may be a sandwich. It seems that a lot of time is spent every day on washing and drying dishes and putting them away. Today, take a break from washing dishes and take the time you normally would be doing dishes having a bit of fun.



You may have a late start to this day if you were not aware of this special day yesterday. So hurry up and catch up, do all the dishes so that your sink and kitchen are all clean and sparkly. If you choose to not do the dishes today, remember they will be waiting on you til tomorrow.



Use disposable dinnerware for today There are several nice types of plastic and paper plates and etc.. on the market. The best ones, my opinion, are the environmental friendly type. If you choose, and I do not , you can eat all your meals out today. Around our house it is my husbands chore to wash the dishes. He has his own plan , routine, and etc.. and if you are the dishwasher at your home this would be a great ideal example for you to do as well. We have never been blessed to have a dishwasher in our home and still wash the dishes by hand.