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Friday, December 20, 2019

Ugly Sweater Weather

Have you seen them??? Many think they are cute others think they are a bit ugly, I simply think they are very charmingly warm. Yes!! We are talking about those ugly sweaters that seem to be growing in popularity. Want to get one that will gather lots of attention as well?? Then you will want to take a few notes here are some tips that may help you choose the perfect one for you:

  • Animal or cartoon characters with a holiday theme give sweaters a kitsch feel. Think reindeer, snowmen, mice, kittens or elves.
  • Select ridiculous colors. The more they clash, the better.
  • Embellish. Scratch that. Over-embellish! Pom-poms, bells, felt, tinsel, or any other glittery, jingly items lying around the house.
  • Add a collar, dickey, or ruffle.
  • Electrify it! Put Rudolph to shame and go to the head of the team with bright, flashing lights!
  • Give it some 80s flair with shoulder pads.
So just how did the idea of the ugly sweater get started?? It was in 2011 when the day first was seen. After that the ugly sweater took off on its own becoming more and more ugly year after year. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Southern Style Cornbread Stuffing #Recipe

Corn Bread Dressing Recipe

2 cup self rising corn meal

1-2 tablespoons sugar (optional)

1 1/2 cup milk

1 egg

3 tablespoon vegetable shortening oil or dripping
1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken gizzard
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sage (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon poultry season (adjust to taste)
1 cup finely chopped onions (optional)
5-8 cups chicken broth

Preheat oven to 425.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine corn meal and sugar. Add milk and egg. Mix until blended, then add shortening and again mix until well blended. Pour cornbread mixture into greased pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Once done remove from oven and allow to cool. Grease a 8 or 9 inch baking pan and set aside.
To make dressing, crumble up cornbread, add chicken gizzards, celery, green bell pepper, sage and poultry seasoning to taste. Add chopped onions if you like.

Next pour 5 to 8 cups of chicken broth into cornbread mixture. Mix well and then pour unto greased baking pan. Bake dressing at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until dressing is browned to your liking.

For large families you can double or triple this recipe. Just make double or triple the amount of corn bread and do the same for chicken gizzards, celery, bell peppers, etc. Add sage and poultry seasoning to taste. Then pour in enough chicken broth to make your mixture somewhat soupy. Pop the cornbread dressing into the oven and cook until browned.

recipe source here

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Moment in HIstory:: 13th amendment--- abolition of slavery

The 13th amendment offers a short statement that prohibits slavery. The only individuals that are not included within these guidelines are convicted criminals. The amendment also makes way for Congress to pass laws to enforce the prohibition of slavery.

Section 1: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2: Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. 

The amendment was introduced to the United States senate early months of 1864. At that time the war between the states was still going on. By April of that year the House was the only 1/2 of congress that needed to pass the amendment. However it would be 'til January of 1865 when the amendment would finally be passed. 

Lincoln was in the high seat of the land as president when the proposed amendment had passed through both houses. Sadly, shortly after in April Lincoln would be assassinated. Andrew Johnson would become president and make each state responsible for ratifying the 13th amendment in order to be part of the union. 

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Easy Maple Chicken Crockpot Recipe

This is an easy simple recipe that creates a great tasting entrée that you can serve up as sandwiches, with noodles or however you wish. When life gets to busy the crockpot can become ones best friend.

4 lb boneless skinless chicken breast or tenderloins
1.5 cups maple syrup
3 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp Sweet Mesquite Seasoning

Pour maple syrup and vegetable oil on the bottom of the crock pot. Put the chicken in and season the top of it. Cook on high heat for 2 to 2 1/2 hours and every 45 minutes mix the chicken around so the syrup evenly coats all the chicken.  Shred chicken with a fork. Serve and enjoy.

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Wright Brothers Day

The date is December 17, 1963 and congress by a joint resolution has just designated December 17th of each year to become known as "Wright Brothers Day". The proclamation calls for the president to issue annually an invitation to the citizens of the United States to observe the day with planned activities. The Wright Brothers were a pair of brothers that made a space in history for their selves through aviation history. Perhaps you have heard of them before??

Wilbur Wright the older brother was born in the spring of 1867. Little brother Orville would be born in the summer of 1871. Both brothers would make history but not as the first to build and fly experimental aircraft. However they were the first to invent aircraft controls that would make fixed wing flight possible. 

It would be Orville Wright that would take the historical flight. It was not long only 12 seconds and going just 120 feet but it was larger than life to many and the brothers would go down in history for their adventurous invention. The flight took place December 17, 1903 near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Thus setting stage for the many planes to follow after this mechanically propelled airplane that did it first.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Beethoven Born Many Years ago on December 16

During a college music class I learned that an individual that celebrates his birthday today was a bit of a radical. While the music he wrote does not seem all that radical for the time he lived in it was. Today's star sharing a birthday on December 16th is Beethoven. Responsible for the music that helped bridge the gap between Classical and Romantic Beethoven created 9 symphonies, 5 concertos, and 32 Sonatas and 16 string quartets. Perhaps the most remarkable thing was that he created all this wonderous music after losing his hearing. 
Born the son of Johann Beethoven and Maria Magdalena Keverich he learned early on about music. Taught by his father Beethoven would perform in public for the first time March 1778. His love of music traveled along side the love of Josephine Brusnvik. Perhaps listening to his music you will find that you admire him as well

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Holiday Chocolate Covered Mallow Pops

Today, December 16, is chocolate on anything day. With the holidays being so near I thought I would share this yummy treat.

Regular sized Marshmallows
Ghirardelli Chocolate Melting Wafers or Chocolate Chips
Wilton Red Candy Melts
Wilton Bright White Candy Melts
Wilton Dark Green Candy Melts
Wilton Lollipop Sticks

  1. Place 3 marshmallows on a lollipop stick. Cover marshmallows with melted chocolate. 
  2. Allow the chocolate to dry. Melt Red, Green and White Candy melts in a plastic bags. 
  3. Drizzle Red Candy Melt mixture over marshmallow pops. Drizzle green candy melt mix over chocolate. Drizzle white candy melt mix over pops. Allow candy melts to harden. 
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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Oh My Cupcakes + Christmas Cupcake Recipe

Baking is something that seems natural to do during the holidays. I know that my family loves to bake, my friends love sharing their baked goods and for generations back the tradition has been growing. One item that has increased in popularity over the years is cupcakes. Perhaps you have had one or two yourself.

Cupcakes are small individual cakes that are often covered with icing and decorated. The customary round cakes have been around since the 1700s. It was also during that time that better ovens, metal cake shapes and pans, as well as refined honey were available. While simple cupcakes may have in the past and still exist today cupcakes have become a fad of their own with each cupcake being a bit more fancy.

The early day of cupcakes these individual cakes were often known as number cakes. Now that seems a bit odd until you start looking at the ingredients:
  •  1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • four eggs
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 spoon of soda
Today's cupcakes have certainly changed quite a bit from those early days. Calling for more ingredients, quantity amounts, shapes, and variety of ways to decorate but all are considered cupcakes. All cupcakes bake quicker than a regular cake due to their size. In the beginning this was a necessity to spare burning but even today cupcakes are desired by many. 

The first cupcake flavors of chocolate and vanilla are still classical favorites. Other flavors a bit more fancy such as raspberry meringue and expresso fudge are also found menus where cupcakes are sold. If you do a simple search you will find all types of cupcakes in a variety of shapes, flavors, and decorations. So if you have time go out enjoy a cupcake. 

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 6 tsp. baking powder
* 1 1/2 tsp. salt
* 2 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 cup butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
* 1 tsp. vanilla extract
* 1 tsp. almond extract
* 1 1/2 cups milk
* 9 egg whites

* 1/2 cup salted butter, softened (1 stick)
* 8 ozs. cream cheese (regular, room temperature)
* 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
* 1/2 tsp. almond extract
* 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
* Pomegranate seeds, to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cream sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extracts, milk, and egg whites. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until the batter is fully incorporated, making sure to scrape down your bowl for any leftover dry ingredients.
Line a standard 12 (1-cup) cupcake pan with cupcake liners and pour batter three-quarters full. Bake cupcakes for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Meanwhile, prepare icing: Cream butter and cream cheese with vanilla and almond extracts until well incorporated and smooth, making sure to whip out any lumps created from the butter or cheese. Slowly incorporate confectioners’ sugar, adding 1 cup of sugar at a time. (I like to use the medium-fast speed on my KitchenAid standing mixer so that all of the ingredients are incorporated smoothly and evenly.)
Remove cupcakes from oven and transfer to a rack, cooling completely. When cool, ice cupcakes and sprinkle with pomegranates seeds for a ruby red Christmas touch.

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United States celebrates Bill of Rights Day

According to wikipedia today December 15th is known as Bill of Rights Day. Those familiar with history in the United States know that the Bill of Rights is comprised of the first 10 ammendments of the U.S. constitution. These first 10 ammendments to the constitution guaranteed several personal freedoms, limiting the governments power, and allow states to keep powers as well. In addition, James Madison would introduce the amendments in a series of articles and were adopted in 1789. 

December 15, 1791 the granted amendments took place when they were ratified by 3/4 of the states. 

1. Freedom of speech, religion, press, etc. 
2. Right to keep and bear arms. 
3. The conditions for quartering soldiers. 
4. Right of search and seizure. 
5. Provisions regarding the prosecution of an individual. 
6. Right to a speedy trial. 
7. Right to trial by jury. 
8. Provision against excessive bail and cruel punishment before trial. 
9. Rule of construction regarding the constitution; and 
10. The rights of the states under the Constitution.

From a Rich History to Down Home Cooking Alabama Has Great Moments

Today, the heart of Dixie, that from the great state of Alabama celebrates. It was on the 14th of December that Alabama became the 22nd state to join the union and bring with it much history and awareness. From scientific advancements to its beautiful scenery Alabama has played a pivotal role in the history of the United States. Perhaps the location of the state on the map is what brings with it so much interest in the state

Located by the Gulf Coast the state features miles of shoreline, bayous and swamps. This also allows the state the bounty of those beautiful sandy beaches. As one moves north up the state they will run into miles of fertile soil known as the Black Belt. Here is the land that has provided a bounty of cotton crops. Near the top half of the state and one will meet the hills of forest as well as valleys of the Appalachians. Perhaps there is no need to mention as most know that the state of Alabama has long been filled with great historical moments

Alabama served as the first capital of the confederacy. Montgomery Alabama would serve as the headquarters for this rebellion against the government. Nearly 10 decades later the Civil Rights Movement would begin to build and from here march across the state as the rest of the country observed. Thus for one single state the history is rich. 

Another rich resource in Alabama is its agriculture world. While the cotton industry was being ran out by the boll weevil another great man from the state stood out. George Washington Carver would help introduce the farming of peanuts. From the ag world to the world of science Alabama would leave a mark on the world.

Alabama made great strides in the world of science hosting the NASA team that would help put the man on the moon. But it stands out as well for hosting the first African American aviators known as the 332nd fighters. The state of Alabama has had many great individuals take a stand in the world of science and aviation. In addition to the men that have helped the great state stand out Alabama also has had the first woman to go into space as a member of its population.
Alabama is one state that will not let anyone looking for a bite to eat to be disappointed. It seems most of the southern states take great pride in filling up visitors with comfort food. From crispy chicken, country ham, or the tender taste of roast beef you may have little room for sides but there are many more to fill up. Perhaps I can tempt you to try the famous Alabama camp stew recipe:

3-14 ounce cans diced tomatoes

14 ounce can whole kernel corn

14 ounce can butter beans baby limas, or limas
1 onion chopped
2-10 ounce cans beef bbq in sauce 
10 or 12 ounce can chicken

Dump all contents into a medium sized stockpot, including liquid in all of the cans.
Place over medium heat, stirring often, and bring just to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, stirring from time to time, for 30 minutes to an hour.