Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cooking, Baking, Eating - Delights of a Lifetime - February 26, 2014

I have to admit, in recent years, my time in the kitchen has certainly waned.  I have
always loved to cook, though I didn't really begin in earnest until I was out of nursing
school.  Living in New Orleans as a young RN, I delighted in Creole concoctions,
practicing on my classmates and began acquiring what was to become a collection
of nearly five hundred cookbooks from all over the world.  Bananas Foster became
a signature dessert and one most requested by my three sons.  Perhaps this is 
what instilled the desire to become firefighters in Alex and Jeremy though I never
set our homestead ablaze.

Of course, I also enjoyed dining in restaurants as I traveled and added their 
cookbooks to my collection.  Notebooks of recipes clipped from the pages of 
Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Southern Living, Sunset, the Wednesday food newspaper
section, and the treasured recipes of friends were added to my files. 

In my mid-twenties, while living in Tampa, Florida, I took a Wilton cake decorating
course and, weekly, brought home my creations.  That grew a little tiresome when
people started requesting cake "donations" and didn't even provide the ingredients.
I had to learn to say no but learn I did.

For about six months, after moving to the San Francisco area, I even started a
catering business.  Following my back surgery, it just became too much physically.

Once I became a forensic nurse, with call for two different agencies, my time in the
kitchen became less in less.  As one of my colleagues said, "You can make toast
but you can't bake a cake."  Waiting for the dreaded beeper to go off interfered with
a lot of activities.

Once my job ended in budget cuts nearly five years ago, I got rid of nearly all my
cookbooks and other belongs.  Home now from India for a few months and helping
take care of my sweet granddaughter while Laura is going through the fire academy
( she is a paramedic ), I am enjoying cooking dinner many nights.  Most of my 
recipes are in storage but some I find on the computer.

Tonight, for dessert, I'm making a Pillsbury cookoff favorite of my sons, one I've
made for over twenty-five years.  I always loved the bake-off recipes, quick and easy,
from only a few ingredients.  

This for Chocolate Cherry Bars was created by Francis I Jerzak, of Porter, MN
for the Bake-Off® Contest 25, 1974.  

·         prep time 15 min
·         total time 2 hr 0 min
·         ingredients  8
·         servings  48



Cake Bars

1     (18.25-oz.) pkg. Pillsbury® Moist Supreme® Devil's Food Cake Mix
1     (21-oz.) can cherry pie filling
1     teaspoon almond extract
3     eggs, beaten


1   cup sugar
1/3   cup milk
5      tablespoons margarine or butter
1     (6-oz.) pkg. (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips


·         1    Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 15x10x1-inch baking pan or 13x9-inch pan. In large bowl, combine all cake bar ingredients; stir until well blended. Pour into greased and floured pan.
·         2     Bake at 350°F. until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. For 15x10x1-inch pan, bake 20 to 30 minutes; for 13x9-inch pan, bake 25 to 35 minutes.
·         3     In small saucepan, combine sugar, milk and margarine. Bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Pour and spread over warm bars. Cool 1 1/4 hours or until completely cooled. Cut into bars.


Nutritional information                Serving Size: 1 Bar    Calories  110      Calories from Fat    35

Total Fat      4g       Saturated Fat     1g              Cholesterol      15mg      Sodium     105mg

Total  Carbohydrate    18g      Dietary Fiber    1g         Sugars  14g        Protein    1g
% Daily Value*:

Vitamin A   0%        Vitamin C    0%      Calcium     0%      Iron    4%
1/2 Starch; 1/2 Fruit; 1 Fat;
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Thank you, Francis and Pillsbury!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ruby Tuesday Too - Jaipur Musician - February 25, 2014

Soon, it will be three months since I arrived home from India and I am starting to
feel nostalgic for my "other" country.  I've been going through hundreds of photos 
but haven't gotten started with my resolution to learn some Hindi before my return.
Babysitting for granddaughter, Harper, now twenty pounds, leaves me pretty
weary by day's end.  I will get started March 1st, even if it's just an hour a day.

In the meantime, here's a musician that caught my fancy during my five month
stay in Jaipur.

I am participating in

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Daily Border Closing Between India and Pakistan - February 20, 2014

The Border Security Force of India struts their stuff

My good friend, Verena Lukas, sent me this video which I found so interesting, I
wanted to share it.  The video depicts the the Wagah  border crossing between 
India and Pakistan.  Since 1959, the Border Security Force of India and the 
Pakistan Rangers have conducted this "Beating Retreat' ceremony, just before
sunset.  The lowering of the flags follows a rather theatrical parade by the forces of 
both countries.

In the partition of India, which was the partition of the British Indian Empire, which 
took place in August of 1947, India and Pakistan were divided into two separate
countries.  There was a massive exodus of people from both countries, with over
7 million Muslims moving to Pakistan and 7 million Hindus and Sikhs moving to
India.  This was accomplished with much violence and slaughter and about 500,000 
people died in the exodus.

The Pakistan Rangers performing

To the present day, the partition resulted in much conflict on the Indian Subcontinent.

While I would like to see this daily border closing, which is viewed by many people
from both countries and countless numbers of tourists, the ongoing outbreaks of
violence between the two countries, keep me far away.  At least, I've gotten to see
the video. 

Thanks for sending it, Verena.

Photos courtesy of Bing images, domain free

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day, February 14, 2014

At the ancient age of sixty- nine,
I must confess to this,
I still harbor a secret longing,
For a romantic Valentine kiss.

Not that I haven't had my share,
Of roses, champagne and such,
But once you reach your "waning" years,
You miss that special touch.

I feel a sense of envy,
For those with sweethearts close at hand,
They're the ones, with twinkling smiles,
And special evenings planned.

I'll spend the evening by myself,
Sipping wine while the fire burns,
Immersed in Valentine memories,
Of the man for whom my heart still yearns.

Carmen Henesy

Sunday, February 02, 2014

The Bird D'Pot - Sandhill Cranes in Zephyrhills, Florida - February 2, 2014

I must confess, aside from pretty common bird varieties, I am no expert.  I confuse
egrets and cranes - though, of course, thanks to their color, I do know flamingos, and,
I can certainly spot pelicans and peacocks.

I am currently on a wonderful month long visit to family and friends in the southern
United States, figuring that, at the vintage age of 69, I might not have another chance 
to see some of the people that I love so much.  It has been a very special trip.

It began with a seven day stop in Florida, visiting Charlene Payton, my friend of forty
years.  We worked together for a year as young nurses in Tampa.  Throughout
the rest of our lives, we have often visited each other and traveled together.

While having breakfast one morning, I spotted these two birds out on the golf
course, among the beautiful old oaks draped in their Spanish moss, the setting
reminiscent of a Southern romance novel.  I immediately grabbed my camera,
intent on snapping a few photos.  Charlene told me the birds were sandhill 
cranes who would resent my intrusion and take to the skies.  They did not and
I blatantly stepped closer, barefooted, advancing slowly.  I had forgotten that
Southern grass is often full of "stickers".  

Thanks to Wikipedia, I learned a good bit about these birds, native to North America
and "extreme northeaster Siberia".  The sandhill crane ( (Grus canadensis) is a large
bird, weighing 8 to 10 pounds, in the adult bird.  Male and female look alike.  The
adult is gray in color and has a bright red forehead, white cheeks and a long pointed
bill.  The sandhill crane stands on long, dark legs.

These birds have a large wingspan and soar much like hawks and eagles, using
thermals to obtain lift.  The article said that they can fly for many hours, without
flapping their wings, conserving their energy.

For more information on the sandhill crane, go to:

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Send your bird photo and join in the fun.