“In God We Trust!”

April 22, 2019

Today marks the day (in 1864) that the phrase “in God we trust” was coined.  the two-cent piece of 1864 was the first to bear this motto.

In addition, April 22nd was the day for several other “firsts,” such as the first . . .

  • neutrality claimed by the federal government (General George Washington, 1793)
  • death penalty ban by a state (Pennsylvania [except for murder in the 1st degree], 1794)
  • Library of Congress collection ($5,000 appropriation for books and to furnish a reading room, 1800)
  • round-the-world bicycle trip (Thomas Stevens, 1884)
  • capture of a ship in the Spanish-American war (American gunboat Nashville, took Spanish ship, Buenan Ventura, 1898)
  • ice-loading machinery (William Metz Ice Company, Pittsburgh, PA, 1917)
  • orchestra from the United State to make a European tour (Symphony Society of New York, 1920)
  • nuclear-powered submarine (Nautilus, Electric Boat Company [division of General Dynamics Corporation], Groton, CT, 1955)
  • Earth Day (1970)
  • American boycott of the Olympic Games (summer Olympics, Moscow, Russia, 1980)
  • genetically altered virus approved for use in a vaccine (Department of Agriculture, to fight a form of swine herpes,  1986)
  • museum commemorating the Holocaust (U.S. Holocaust Museum, Washington, DC, 1993)
  • state law decriminalizing hemp cultivation (North Dakota, 1999)

Source: Famous First Facts by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell.

Some Coffee Humor!

April 21, 2019

Here are a few gems that I found on the Reader’s Digest website.  Enjoy!

If you sit down to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, then your boss will ask you to do something that will last until the coffee is cold.

Barista: How do you take your coffee?
Me: Very, very seriously.

If the local coffee shop has awarded you “Employee of the Month” and you don’t even
work there, you may be drinking too much coffee.

A man went to his psychiatrist and said, “Every time I drink my coffee, I get a stabbing pain in my right eye,” the psychiatrist said, “Well, have you tried taking the spoon out?”


Source: Reader’s Digest, Military Jokes

The Rain: a Song of Peace!

April 20, 2019

Spring has sprung and you know what they say about April showers . . . But if we’re not talking about flowers, here is a poem about the rains in spring that was written during the Franco-German war. (by Denis Florence MacCarthy).  Here is a link to the ebook of his poems (courtesy of Project Gutenberg).

The Rain: A Song of Peace.

The Rain, the Rain, the beautiful Rain –
Welcome, welcome, it cometh again;
It cometh with green to gladden the plain,
And to wake the sweets in the winding lane.

The Rain, the Rain, the beautiful Rain,
It fills the flowers to their tiniest vein,
Till they rise from the sod whereon they had lain –
Ah, me! ah, me! like an army slain.

The Rain, the Rain, the beautiful Rain,
Each drop is a link of a diamond chain
That unites the earth with its sin and its stain
To the radiant realm where God doth reign.

The Rain, the Rain, the beautiful Rain,
Each drop is a tear not shed in vain,
Which the angels weep for the golden grain
All trodden to death on the gory plain;

For Rain, the Rain, the beautiful Rain,
Will waken the golden seeds again!
But, ah! what power will revive the slain,
Stark lying death over fair Lorraine?

’Twere better far, O beautiful Rain,
That you swelled the torrent and flooded the main;
And that Winter, with all his spectral train,
Alone lay camped on the icy plain.

For then, O Rain, O beautiful Rain,
The snow-flag of peace were unfurl’d again;
And the truce would be rung in each loud refrain
Of the blast replacing the bugle’s strain.

Then welcome, welcome, beautiful Rain,
Thou bringest flowers to the parched-up plain;
Oh! for many a frenzied heart and brain,
Bring peace and love to the world again!

Source: Public Domain Poetry

Fun Fact Friday, Number One Hundred Twenty-Three!

April 19, 2019

The category for today’s trivial imponderable is “geography.”  Do you know . . . excluding cities in Alaska, which U.S. city is the largest in area?”

If you guessed Los Angeles (469.1 square miles, per the World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2009), you would have guessed wrong.  The largest non-Alaskan city is Jacksonville, Florida (757.7 square miles).

Source: Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong, by Dr. Rod L. Evans.

Spring Cleaning, Are You Ready?!

April 18, 2019

We are nearly a month into the spring season . . . have you plotted your strategy for spring cleaning this year?  If not, then here is an excellent infographic (courtesy of Pennington Creative) to help you get the most out of your spring cleaning this year.

Spuce-Up-for-Spring-Infographic-PC-01Source: Pennington Creative

Newfangled!

April 17, 2019

Back in the day, we had sugar.  Then came the era of artificial sweeteners in an attempt to lessen sugar consumption.  And now there are even more neoteric alternatives to sugar like Stevia., Xylitol, Erythritol, or Yacon Syrup.

neoteric

\ nee-uhter-ik \, adjective;

  1. modern; new; recent.
  2. newfangled.
Source: The Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate by Eugene Ehrlich, and http://www.dictionary.com.

Book-of-the-Month Club!

April 16, 2019

Today marks the anniversary of the very first book-of-the-month club selection (1926).

  • the book: Lolly Willowes, or the Loving Huntsman
  • the author: Sylvia Townsend Warner
  • the publisher: Viking Press
  • original distribution: 4,750 members

The book club was establish in New York City in 1926 by Harry Scherman.  The original panel of judges included: Dorothy Canfield, Heywood Broun,Henry Seidel Canby, William Allen White, and Christopher Morley.

Source: Famous First Facts, by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell.

Cheesecake of the Month – April 2019!

April 15, 2019

Here is yet another cheesecake recipe for the chocolate-lovers of the world!

Chocolate Cookie Cheesecake

Ingredients
2 cups of cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (about 20 cookies)
2 Tablespoons of butter, melted
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
4 (8-ounces each) packages of cream cheese, softened
1-1/4 cups of sugar
1/3 cup of whipping cream
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups of coarsely crumbled cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (about 14 cookies)
1 (16-ounce) container of sour cream
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of whipping cream
1-1/4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Garnish: additional cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely crumbled

Directions
1.  Combine the first three ingredients in a medium bowl; press this mixture onto the bottom (and up the sides) of a 10″ springform pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for  12 minutes and set aside.

2.  Beat the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add the 1-1/4 cup of sugar beating well.  Add the 1/3 cup of whipping cream, flour, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and beat well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

3.  Pour 3-1/2 cups of the batter into your prepared crust.  Top with 2 cups of your crumbled cookies; then pour the remaining batter over the top of the cookies.  Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

4.  Combine the sour cream, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla; spread over the top of the cheesecake.  Bake at 325 degrees for an additional 7 minutes.  Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for an additional 45 minutes.  Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.  Cover and chill for 8 hours.  Gently run a knife around the edge of the springform pan to release the sides of the pan and remove the pan.

5.  Combine the 1/2 cup of whipping cream and semi-sweet chocolate chips in a saucepan; stir over low heat until melted.  Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  Remove from the heat and carefully spread over the cheesecake (allow some to drip down the sides).  Store the cheesecake in the refrigerator.  Garnish if you wish.

Source: Southern Living Little Book of Cheesecakes, p. 42.

Kitchen Intel, Number Two!

April 14, 2019

Convection ovens have been around for years now and I have always wondered what the guidelines were for using a convection oven . . . now I know.

  • use a temperature that is 25 degree F lower than the recipe suggests.
  • expect food to be cooked in less time (25%) even with the lower temperature.
  • pans with lower sides will reap the full benefit of a convection oven.
  • you can use all of the racks, but keep an eye on how they brown, you may have to rotate your pans to compensate for any over-browning that may occur.
  • you can usually turn the convection on and off at will, so play with it; you can force browning by using the convection at either the beginning or the end of cooking while normal cooking during the rest of the time.
  • if you are in the habit of using parchment paper when baking, be aware that the fan from the convection feature can sometimes blow the paper around.

Source: How to Break an Egg, by the editors, contributors, and readers of Fine Cooking magazine, p. 14, Susie Middleton.

What a Day!

April 13, 2019

Fifty years ago today, Diana Ross appeared on Dinah Shore’s NBC-TV special “Like Hep.”

Additional,

  • Handel’s “Messiah” was first publicly performed (in Dublin, Ireland, in 1742).
  • Van Cliburn earned 1st prize in the Soviet Union’s Tchaikovsky International Piano Contest in Moscow. He was the first American to win the award.
  • We Are the World” hit #1 in the U.S. (in 1985)

Source: On-this-day.com