Cheesecake of the Month – December 2017!

December 16, 2017

Happy Saturday!  This month I will be sharing a traditional holiday cheesecake (pumpkin) with a slight variation . . . and if you like ginger, this one is sure to please!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Ginger Cream Topping

Ingredients
3/4 cup of sugar, divided
3/4 cup of packed brown sugar, divided
3/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup of finely ground pecans
1/4 cup of butter, melted
1 Tablespoon of flour
1-1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon  of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 can pumpkin (16-ounce)
3 packages (8-ounces each) cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
Ginger Cream Topping (recipe below)
Garnish (pecan halves)

Directions
1. Combine 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup of ground pecans, and butter.  Press this mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ lightly greased springform pan.  Cover and chill for an hour.

2. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, 12 cup of brown sugar, flour, and the next six ingredients and set aside.

3. Beat the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add the pumpkin mixture and beat well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Pour the mixture into your prepared crust and bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

4. Spoon the ginger cream topping over the top, cover, and chill for at least eight (8) hours.  To serve, remove the sides of the pan and garnish (if desired).

Ginger Cream Topping

1 cup of whipping cream
1 container (8-ounce) of sour cream)
2 Tablespoons of sugar
1/4 cup of minced crystallized ginger
3 Tablespoons of dark rum
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl; beat on high speed with a mixer until soft peaks form.  fold in the ginger, rum, and vanilla.

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Fun Fact Friday, Number Fifty-Four!

December 15, 2017

Today’s real facts (courtesy of http://www.snapple.com) are all about bones.  Did you know that . . .

  • one quarter of all the body’s bones are in the feet? (Real Fact #56)
  • a pigeon’s feathers are heavier than its bones? (Real Fact #126)
  • at birth a human has 350 bones, but only 206 bones when full grown?  (Real Fact #272)
  • your big toe only has two bones; the rest of your toes all have three? (Real Fact #790)
  • your skull is made up of 29 different bones? (Real Fact #827)
  • human thigh bones are stronger than concrete?  (Real Fact #1388)

Source: http://www.snapple.com/real-facts

Holiday Reminder!

December 14, 2017

Drunk driving continues to have a major impact on the holiday season.  Here is an infographic (updated for 2016, courtesy of SCRAM Systems) that puts this offense in perspective . . . very “sobering” statistics indeed.

 

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Amazing, Indeed!

December 13, 2017

An “amazing” rendition and performance of this time-honored classic.

How About Some Redundancy?!

December 12, 2017

Personally speaking, I tend to dislike redundancy, but it seems to abound in the world today.  And, as words go, fairly common.  However, according to my copy of The Highly Selective Thesaurus for the Extraordinarily Literate, there are a few other synonyms (see below) that could be used when discussing the topic.  Enjoy!

redundant

\ ri-duhn-duh n-see \, noun

1.  the state of being redundant.
2.  superfluous repetition or overlapping, especially of words.
3.  a redundant thing, part, or amount; superfluity.
4.  the provision of additional or duplicate systems, equipment, etc.,
that function in case an operating part or system fails, as in a spacecraft.
5.  Linguistics. the inclusion of more information than is necessary for communication, as in those cars, where both words are marked for plurality; the additional, predictable information so included; the degree of predictability thereby created.
6.  Chiefly British.  the condition or fact of being unemployed; unemployment; a layoff.
Other words you may consider using (depending on your context/usage, of course):

Or, using the adjective redundancy, here are some other optional words:

Source: The Highly Selective Thesaurus for the Extraordinarily Literate by Eugene Ehrlich. Definitions courtesy of http://www.dictionary.com

College Basketball 2018, Week Five!

December 11, 2017

The Big Ten got a small taste of conference play this last week and Spartans took care of business by defeating both Nebraska and Rutgers before returning to a non-conference schedule for the remainder of the month.  The Spartans finished the week against Southern Utah on Saturday and again won easily.  The Big Ten conference currently has three teams in the AP top-25: Michigan State [#3], Minnesota [#14], and Purdue [#21].  There were a lot of upsets this week among the top-25 and by week’s end and at this early juncture only four teams in the current top-25 remain undefeated (Villanova, Miami, Arizona State, and TCU).

Next up for the Spartans: at home versus Oakland on Saturday (December 16th).

The upsets this week included:
Duke (#1) losing to unranked Boston College by five (5) points.
Kansas (#2) losing to unranked Washington and losing to Arizona State (#16).
Florida (#5) losing to unranked Florida State and losing to unranked Loyola-Chicago by six (6) points.
Texas A&M (#7) losing to unranked Arizona by three (3) points.
Notre Dame (#9) losing to Ball State by three (3) points.
Minnesota (#14) losing to unranked Nebraska and losing to unranked Arkansas.
Virginia (#15) losing to West Virginia (#18).
Nevada (#22) losing to unranked Texas Tech by six (6) points.
USC (#25) losing to unranked Oklahoma by two (2) points.

The close calls this week (won by six points or less [two scores] or in overtime) included:
None.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Villanova (#4) defeating Gonzaga (#12).
Florida (#5) defeating Cincinnati (#17) by six (6) points.
TCU (#20) defeating Nevada (#22) by four (4) points.

Fields of Gold!

December 10, 2017

MosaicBack in September (over the extended Labor Day weekend) I had the occasion to revisit Eureka Springs (Arkansas) with a friend and discovered that a work of art I had taken a liking to on a previous visit (but had not purchased) was still available.  Needless to say, I was not about to leave this shop a second time without securing this piece for my collection.  The artist: Fran Carlin, the title: Fields of Gold, the medium: glass mosaic.  Fran discovered mosaics working under the master, James Hubbell, and later studied in Ravenna, Italy.  Her work is positively stunning and I am delighted to have had this opportunity to add one of her pieces to my collection.

A Reindeer!

December 9, 2017

Happy Saturday!  Now that we are into December and the full-swing of the holiday season, here is a fun weekend project for creating a unique dinner table centerpiece . . . “on Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen” . . .  happy folding!

Fun Fact Friday, Number Fifty-Three!

December 8, 2017

The category for today’s trivial imponderable is “measurements.”  Do you know the dimensions of the familiar piece of lumber knows as a 2×4 (a two by four)?

While it may start as two inches by four inches when cut from the log, the process of drying and planing the wood the to finished piece of lumber reduces its actual size to 1-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches.

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

These Stats are Smokin’!

December 7, 2017

I know that smoking is somewhat passe these days and the number of smokers has dropped significantly (in the 1960s, approximately 42% of Americans smoked; by 2014 this percentage had dropped to 15.1% of all adults in 2015 (courtesy of the Center for Disease Control).  But when it comes to seniors (age 65+) how do the State rankings fare?  Here are the rankings by state of the percentages of seniors who currently smoke.

Highest percentage:
1. Tennessee (13.8%)
2. Oklahoma (13.0%)
3. Kentucky (12.3%)
3. Nevada (12.3%)
5. Arkansas (11.4%)
5. Louisiana (11.4%)
7. Indiana (10.9%)
8. New Mexico (10.8%)
9. West Virginia (10.7%)
9. Mississippi (10.7%)

Lowest percentage:
1. Utah (5.2%)
2. Hawaii (6.1%)
2. California (6.1%)
4. Texas (6.7%)
4. New Hampshire (6.7%)
6. Connecticut (7.3%)
7. Minnesota (7.4%)
8. Rhode Island (7.5%)
8. New Jersey (7.5%)
10. Maryland (7.6%)

Source: AARP Bulletin, November 2017, p. 44; America’s Health Rankings 2017 Senior Report.