Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gingerbread and Good Neighbors

Today is National Good Neighbor Day.
So why not offer to do something nice for one of your neighbors. Maybe you can help them with outside yard work, run errands, or bake an extra batch of cookies to share.

If you don't know your neighbors, today would be a good day to get acquainted. Why not try these delicious Gingerbread Cupcakes and share them?

1 c. all purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. baking soda

Dash of salt
1 slightly beaten egg white

1/3 c. molasses
1/3 c. water

3 Tbsp. cooking oil
Sifted powdered sugar (optional)

Line 8 muffin cups with paper liners; set aside. In medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, soda & salt; set aside. In small mixing bowl
Stir together egg white, molasses, water & oil. Stir molasses mixture into flour mixture just until blended. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350° for
15-20 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when pressed lightly in center. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm or cool. Yield: 8 cupcakes

How to make a "Murphect" Muffin:
  • Don't over mix!
  • Recipes with less butter and sugar will give you a more "bread-like" muffin. Those with more butter and sugar will result in a more "cake-like" muffin.
  • All ingredients should be at room temperature before you begin.
  • Thick, lumpy batter is good.
  • Position the oven rack in the middle for best heat distribution.
  • Let muffins cool a few minutes before turning out of the pan.
  • Muffins are best when made fresh, however, if you wish, wrap cooled muffins in plastic wrap; freeze for up to two months. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Women's Expo, "Wicked-the Musical" and Wonderful Games

Planning is underway for the first ever Women's Expo and I've been busy too. It will be held at Heritage Village Shops on Thursday, October 21st from 2-7pm. I will be giving demonstrations of how to make an edible witches hat (photo on right), frighteningly fun cupcakes, and instructions and tips on how to have a "boo-tiful" breakfast bash, since Halloween falls on a Sunday this year.

Fall is my most favorite time of year. Lots of great holidays to celebrate! Decorations to put out, food to bake and tips to share. Hope to see all of you at the Women's Expo! It should be lots of fun.

Are you a fan of the "Wizard of Oz'? It used to be shown on TV once a year-I think around Thanksgiving. We would all gather around to watch and I usually had to sing softly to my younger brothers and sisters at bedtime, because they would be too scared to fall asleep on their own. (Those flying monkeys and the guards at the castle weren't very nice!
This past weekend I saw the production of "Wicked" at the Overture Center in Madison. It's been on the circuit for a few years now, but I hadn't seen it and wasn't too familiar with the story line. WOW! It's a very creative story about the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East and Glinda, the Good. The actors were very powerful, the music magical and the entire show was fantastic. I don't want to give too much away but I was very glad to know that good does triumph over evil!

Today we talked with Leigh Anderson. She spent 3 years playing games and the result is a wonderful book, "THE GAMES BIBLE". It showcases 300 different games for singles, couples, families, children-there is something for everyone. If you love to play games, or need a christmas gift idea for friends or a family member who does, this is the book to purchase.
Leigh lists all the games by category (13 of them), the rules, the gear and supplies you'll need and also the strategies needed to win. A couple of the games she mentioned during the interview: "25 Letters", "Ministry of Silence", "Counter Squirt" and "Mr. Hit". Check it out by visiting the website: http://www.thegamesbible.com/

Sunday, September 26, 2010

This week's Book Nook...

Monday, September 27th
"THE GAMES BIBLE" - Leigh Anderson

Tuesday, September 28th

Wednesday, September 29th
"GEORGE WINSTON"- will talk to us about his upcoming concert at the Schauer Center in Hartford

Thursday, September 39th
"SHE'S GOT GAME" - Melissa Malamut

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Books, Baking Tips and your Brain

We spoke with Dr. Stan Cupery on Tuesday.
Dr. Cupery is a local retired physician. He lived and worked in Beaver Dam for over 25 years and also opened a clinic in nearby Randolph for 5 years. He had started the concept of this novel back in the 1980's but got so busy with his practice and his family that it had to be shelved until recently. His novel, SCARS OF EASTON, is a medical intrigue set in the 1960's. It's always a pleasure to speak with someone from the area. Dr. Cupery's book is available at the Beaver Dam Community Hospital gift shop and also at our local bookstore, Book World.

Did you know you can flavor coconut to enhance your recipes?

One of my listeners called with these tips-

To 1 & 1/3 c. coconut add:

  • 1-2 Tbsp. dry JELL-O (any flavor)

  • 1/2 tsp. baking cocoa + 1/2 tsp. instant coffee

  • 1/4 tsp. imitation maply flavoring

  • 2 Tbsp. juice from strawberries or other fruit

  • 3-4 tsp. orange juice concentrate

On Wednesday, we talked with Dr. Martha Burns, a practicing clinician and faculty member at Northwestern University, about training kids brains and "brain fitness". Dr. Burns said that during the summer, children can lose much of the knowledge they've gained during the previous school year. We talked about the need for parents to be "pro-active" if they notice that their children are falling behind in their studies. There are various "brain games" that you can engage your children in-30 minutes per day of brain fitness might be just what is needed to make the difference. For more information, you can go to http://www.brainprolearning.com/

I was scheduled to talk with Mari Frank, about her book "THE IDIOTS GUIDE TO IDENTITY THEFT" today, however, she had an unexpected conflict so we have rescheduled that interview for early October. I think almost everyone knows someone who has gotten their identity stolen. Mari is a lawyer and lives in California. She has vested interest in this subject because it also happened to her. This topic should make for a very interesting interview.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Money and Makeup

Today's guest in the "Book Nook" segment was Herb Phillips. We had a facinating conversation regarding his book, "MOMMA ALWAYS SAID, 'PAY YOURSELF FIRST'". If you are looking for ways to attain your financial goals, or just want to start saving a little bit each week, you've got to get Herb's book. It is a common sense, easy to read, easy to understand approach to saving.

Herb is a retired United States Air Force officer. He served his country for more than 30 years as a Personnel Officer in Human Resources and has spent countless hours counseling enlisted members and officers in financial matters. He shares personal stories and experiences and weaves his wit, wisdom, throughout each chapter.

  • The book is filled with lots of great advice. Herb says you need to:
    pay yourself first
  • be disciplined
  • be persistent
  • realize that you don't need a lot of money to get started
  • AND that it's never too late to begin!

Last Friday, I had a fun conversation with Carmindy-"Makeup Artist to the Stars" and celebrity makeup artist on the hit the television show, "What Not To Wear". We talked about fall fashion trends.

Thanks to the pop culture influence of popular shows such as "Mad Men" we're going to see dramatic cat eyes and iconic red lips set the tone for makeup this fall. Carmindy said that everyone can wear red lipstick, it's just a matter of the right coloration.
If you have a light skin tone, you'll want cherry red lip color; medium skin tones-fire engine red and darker skin tones-blood red lipstick

As far as fashion goes, you'll see a reemergence of styles from the 50's and 60's. they will however be more updated. Body hugging fashions, higher necklines, more conservative styles and high boots are just a few of the trends.

Todays Kitchen Tip:

If you're trying to slice an ice cream cake try this: Fill a bowl with hot water. Make your first cut through the frozen cake with a knife; dip the knife in the hot water before making a second slice. the hot knife will slice right through the frozen ice cream and the crust with a minimum of effort.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Book Nook this week:

Monday, September 13th: Herb Phillips,

A great "common sense" approach to saving money!

Tuesday, September 14th: Dr. Stanley Cupery

A medical intrigue, set in the 1960's written by retired local doctor.

Wednesday, September 14th: Martha Burns
"How to train your child's brain"

Thursday, September 15th: Mari J. Frank

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day and Laundry

Labor Day marks the end of summer (well almost!) and although we should have some warm days left it's time to think about getting out the sweaters, sweatshirts and warmer clothing. It's also time to get those heavier comforters back on the bed. In fact, I got my down comforter out of storage, aired it on the line on Saturday and snuggled all comfy, cozy that night.

Fall is my favorite time of year. The colors on the trees, the crisp, acrid smell of burning leaves and wood burning in the fireplace; of soups, stews, homemade applesauce with cinnamon; pumpking bars and all those wonderful fall foods. The weather is sunny and mild during the day, and cooler in the evenings. Ahhhhhh great things to look forward to!

Last week I shared some tips on how to dry laundry faster. I love to hang sheets on the line and try to do so for as long as I can. If you want to save money try using a clothesline but if you don't have room or don't have a clothesline try these

  • Put heavy clothes and towels through a second spin cycle on a top-loading washer or a "drain & spin" cycle on a front loader.
  • When one load is done in the dryer, add the next load ASAP-a hot dryer is more efficient than a cold one
  • Add a dry towel to a wet load; it will absorb the dampness and help get items toastier, faster!
  • Add 1/2 c. vinegar to your load of towels or demin if you're going to hang on the line. They will dry nice and soft!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Book Nook guests this week

A full schedule awaits this week with some great guests:

Tuesday, September 7th-

Kathy Hetzel from the UW-Extension office will talk about the 2010 Dodge County Clean Sweep Program scheduled for Friday, September 17th and Saturday, September 18th. Tune in to find out what items will be accepted...

Wednesday, September 8th-

John Shors-"THE WISHING TREES"- an AMAZING book that I just finished reading. The novel is about love, loss, hope and wishes. Ian and his 11 year old daughter Mattie (having recently buried their wife/mother) journey together through Japan, Tibet, Hong Kong and many other Asian countries trying to find joy and happiness once again.

Thursday, September 9th-

Susan Butler-"WOMEN COUNT- A GUIDE TO CHANGING THE WORLD" will talk about women in business, as entrepreneurs and how things have changed over the years. She'll also talk about what women can expect in the future...Should be a very interesting interview...

and on Friday, September 10th-

We will speak with CARMINDY-of "WHAT NOT TO WEAR". She'll be discussing fall fashions and trends.

It should be a GREAT week!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Writing and the Weather

We talked with Dee Dees today. She's also known as "The Life Story Lady" and had some great thoughts on capturing the memories and thoughts of family members-or even your own history. Her book, 'HOW TO WRITE YOUR LIFE STORY IN 28 DAYS", is a short and to the point, and gives you a chance to talk with older family members to get their stories before it's too late. Dee says you don't need to be a "gifted writer" and you don't need to worry about grammar, etc. In fact, she says it's very easy to get started. Just pretend you are writing a letter to a friend. She offers 15 free writing tips and lists the top 10 mistakes people make when writing their memoirs. You can get this information by emailing her at deedees@lifestorylady.com

Another great point she made is that you don't necessarily have to wait until you reach retirement years. Young adults could give this as a gift to their parents; or you could do this at the time your child is born as a lasting gift and legacy for them to cherish when they grow up. Check out Dee's book! She makes the process EASY!

It's been awhile since I've been able to blog. Just like all things, I guess we need to set priorities and make time to do the things we like to do...
I've been waiting until the end of the day, and by then I usually have run out of time.
I like to think of September as a time when we can wipe the slate clean from summer obligations/vacations, etc. The kids go back to school and fall seems to be a great time to set new resolutions and get into new routines.
Therefore, one of my resolutions for this fall--to faithfully check in and blog about the show, the authors or just what's on my mind.

We received a "taste" of things to come-weatherwise today. Temperatures only reached about 60 degrees! It was quite windy but wonderful to be able to open the windows for fresh air. The labor day weekend weather forecast looks great!

Enjoy the time off with your family this long last summer holiday weekend.