Happy National Kiwi Day!!!! (Dec. 21st) – The Benefits of eating Kiwi

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Having trouble sleeping? Try kiwi. Eating two kiwi fruits an hour before bed was shown to increase sleep time by 13% and decrease mid-sleep waking periods by 29% after just four weeks, finds a recent Chinese study. Or incorporate seaweed into your dinner; the ocean vegetable is high in omega-3 DHA, which helped children get an extra full hour of sleep, according to a recent University of Oxford study.

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Happy National Maple Syrup Day!!! – Bacon Pancakes with Maple Peanut Butter Syrup

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BACON PANCAKES WITH MAPLE-PEANUT BUTTER SYRUP

Breakfast ready in 35 minutes! Enjoy this hearty bacon pancake that’s made using Bisquick® mix and served with maple and peanut butter syrup.

Maple-Peanut Butter Syrup

INGREDIENTS

3 – tablespoons peanut butter

1 -tablespoon butter or margarine, softened

1/2 -cup maple-flavored syrup

Pancakes

2 -cups Original Bisquick™ mix

3/4 -cup milk

1/4 – cup maple-flavored syrup

2 – eggs

1/2 – cup real bacon pieces (from 3-oz package)

DIRECTIONS

In small bowl, beat peanut butter and butter with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Beat in 1/2 cup syrup until well mixed.

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Heat nonstick griddle to 350°F or heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.

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In medium bowl, stir all pancake ingredients except bacon with wire whisk or fork until blended. Stir in bacon.

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For each pancake, pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until edges are dry. Turn; cook other sides until golden brown. Serve pancakes with syrup.

COOK N HOME 15 PIECE NON STICK BLACK SOFT HANDLE COOKWARE SET

Happy Hanukkah to All our Jewish Fans and Friends!!! – Chanukah Song (Adam Sandler)

How to Raise a Jewish Dog

Happy National Cupcake Day!!! – Tell us your Favorite Cupcake?

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QUICK DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

INGREDIENTS

1 box devil’s food cake mix, such as Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

2 to 3 cups White Faux Buttercream, recipe follows, colored or swirled with your favorite color

Cupcake Toppings:

Licorice whips

Crushed peppermint candies

Crushed lemon drops

Multicolored jimmies or nonpareils

Mini white and dark chocolate chips

Small chocolate candies

Colored decorating sugars

Cereals such as corn pops, fruit rings or graham cracker cereal squares

White Faux Buttercream:

3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Food coloring, such as yellow, blue and red, or your favorite, if desired

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DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two 12-cup standard muffin tins with paper cupcake liners and set aside.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, mix the cake mix, 1 1/3 cups water, oil and eggs on medium speed until moistened and smooth. Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, stirring it occasionally to redistribute the chocolate chips. The batter will nearly fill each liner to the top. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the tops of the cupcakes. Bake until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

When cool, put the White Faux Buttercream out with spoons or small spatulas along with bowls of the cupcake toppings for the kids to decorate their own cupcakes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, whip the butter on high speed until very soft. Meanwhile, place a large sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Using a large sifter, sift the confectioners’ sugar onto the parchment. This helps prevent clumping and makes the mixing easier. Lower the speed of the mixer and, using the parchment as a funnel, pour half the sugar into the bowl and mix slowly until combined. Add the milk and mix until combined. Once combined, add the remaining sugar with the vanilla and mix. Once it is combined, turn the mixer speed up and beat the icing until very light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. If desired, divide the icing into smaller batches and color with food coloring.

Spread the icing on cooled cupcakes while at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover icing, but be sure to let it come back to room temperature before using. Re-whip the icing to make it fluffy again. Makes 4 cups (enough for 24 cupcakes).

Yield: about 8 cups, enough for at least 6 dozen cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ease of preparation: easy

SIMPLY CALPHALON NONSTICK 6-PIECE BAKEWARE SET

Weekend Inspiration – Kimberly Henderson covering the Sam Smith version of How will I know by Whitney Houston

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In The Lonely Hour – Sam Smith

Happy National Cocoa Day!!! – HERSHEY’S “Perfectly Chocolate” Hot Cocoa

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • Dash salt
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 4 cups (1 qt.) milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Miniature marshmallows or sweetened whipped cream (optional)

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Directions

  1. Stir together sugar, cocoa and salt in medium saucepan; stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and stir 2 minutes. Add milk; stirring constantly, heat to serving temperature. Do Not Boil.
  2. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Beat with rotary beater or whisk until foamy. Serve topped with marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired. Five 8-oz. servings.

VARIATIONS: Add one of the following with the vanilla extract:

SPICED COCOA: 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Serve with cinnamon stick, if desired.

MINT COCOA: 1/2 teaspoon mint extract OR 3 tablespoons crushed hard peppermint candy OR 2 to 3 tablespoons white creme de menthe. Serve with peppermint candy stick, if desired.

CITRUS COCOA: 1/2 teaspoon orange extract OR 2 to 3 tablespoons orange liqueur.

SWISS MOCHA: 2 to 2-1/2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee.

COCOA AU LAIT: Omit marshmallows or whipped cream. Spoon 2 tablespoons softened vanilla ice cream on top of each cup of cocoa at serving time.

SLIM-TRIM COCOA: Omit sugar. Combine cocoa, salt and water; substitute nonfat milk. Proceed as above. With vanilla, stir in sugar substitute with sweetening equivalence of 1/2 cup sugar.

CANADIAN COCOA: 1/2 teaspoon maple extract.

MICROWAVE SINGLE SERVING: Combine 1 heaping teaspoon HERSHEY’S Cocoa, 2 heaping teaspoons sugar and dash salt in microwave-safe cup or mug. Add 2 teaspoons cold milk; stir until smooth. Fill cup with milk. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until hot. Stir to blend; serve.

Credit: Hersey’s

Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker, Black

Don’t let the weather stop your Fun – Rainy day activities

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LACMA
In case you haven’t yet heard, kids and their parents get free admission to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art any old time they want to go. Art for NexGen is the nation’s only free youth membership program, offering free admission to anyone 17 and under along with one accompanying adult. To join, print an enrollment form and bring it to the museum with you – and then hit the Boone Children’s Gallery anytime you want.

California Science Center
There is so much to do at the Science Center it’s just crazy – including visiting the new exhibit housing the space shuttle Endeavor. Naturally the Science Center greatly appreciates contributions at the door when you can afford to make them, but when you can’t you’re just as welcome, with no questions asked; the “admission” price is a suggestion only.

Griffith Observatory
Although there is a cost to attend the films offered at the Observatory (and they are worth every penny), there is plenty to do at Griffith Observatory without spending a cent. The many interesting interactive exhibits, the epic views, and even the remarkable building itself make the trip a Los Angeles must-do.

Paley Center for Media
This is so LA; formerly known as the Museum of Television & Radio, the Paley Center has recordings of old TV and radio shows running during opening hours, plus a library where you can request a private screening of any show in history. Like the Science Center, the Paley has a suggested donation posted, but admission is free every day.

Wells Fargo History Museum
The free Wells Fargo History Museum connects the bank’s history to the Gold Rush and early southern California, with displays that include an 1868 Wells Fargo stagecoach and rare gold coins and nuggets. A telegraph machine in the corner on the first floor allows kids to send messages between two tables using a Morse code chart.

Glendale College Planetarium Public Shows
A series of free astronomy presentations for both the GCC community and the general public covers a variety of topics every Wednesday (Spring 2013) from 12:30pm-1pm in the GCC planetarium (CS257). Topics for the different presentations explore our solar system, lunar phases, and the possibility of life on other planets.

SAMO The Whale
Santa Monica Place has a free play area called SAMO’s Clubhouse, designed by the same team that brought us the Skirball’s Noah’s Ark. The enormous play-on, play-in, play-around whale is built to scale, created using recycled materials, and keeps kids up to age 8 or so entertained for a surprisingly long time. The whale is on the top floor, in the food court, with plenty of natural light and plenty of seating for parents.

Watch a hockey game or figure skating at the Toyota Sports Center
The Toyota Sports Center has three different ice rinks with constant action, and two of them are observable from a heated cafe area above the rinks. Check the schedule; if you time it right, one rink could have an action-packed hockey game going on while the other has top-level figure skaters in a freestyle practice session. You can watch both for free, or spend a few coins on hot chocolate and arcade games while you watch.

Getty Center or Villa
The key to either Getty museum is that the seemingly hefty price is only for parking. This means that if you can get a ride, carpool, or take the bus, a day at the Getty can be free – and there is plenty going on at both locations to fill a lot more than a day.

The Fashion Institute of Design Museum
Admission is always free for families to check out the historical garments and costumes at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Museum. Expect to see literally thousands of threads worn in movies through the ages.

Credit: Mommy Poppins

Forget me not – John Lennon “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…”

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John Ono Lennon, MBE, born John Winston Lennon; (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980), was an English musician, singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a founder member of the rock band the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. With Paul McCartney, he formed a songwriting partnership that is one of the most celebrated of the 20th century.

Born and raised in Liverpool, as a teenager Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze; his first band, the Quarrymen, evolved into the Beatles in 1960. When the group disbanded in 1970, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced the critically acclaimed albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and iconic songs such as “Give Peace a Chance” and “Working Class Hero“. After his marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name to John Ono Lennon. Lennon disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to raise his infant son Sean, but re-emerged with Ono in 1980 with the new album Double Fantasy. He was murdered three weeks after its release.

According to Rolling Stone during a recent appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show, Paul McCartney recounted how he found out about the death of John Lennon. The Beatle was murdered outside of his New York City apartment 34 years ago today.

“I was at home, and I got a phone call,” McCartney told the talk-show host. “It was early in the morning…. I think it was like that for everyone. It was just so horrific that you couldn’t take it in – I couldn’t take it in. Just for days, you just couldn’t think that he was gone. So, yeah, it was just a huge shock and then I had to tell Linda and the kids. It was very difficult. It was really difficult for everyone. That was like a really big shock, I think, in most people’s lives. A bit like Kennedy, there were certain moments like that.”

Credit: Wikipedia

Lennon Legend: The Very Best of John Lennon

Happy National Chocolate Brownie Day!!! – HERSHEY’S Ultimate Chocolate Brownies Recipe

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HERSHEY’S Ultimate Chocolate Brownies Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted and divided
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ONE-BOWL BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (recipe follows)
  • Additional HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (optional)

    Directions

    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan or two 8-inch square baking pans.

    2. Stir together cocoa and baking soda in large bowl; stir in 1/3 cup butter. Add boiling water; stir until mixture thickens. Stir in sugar, eggs and remaining 1/3 cup butter; stir until smooth. Add flour, vanilla and salt; blend completely. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan.

    3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan, 30 to 35 minutes for square pans or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Frost with ONE-BOWL BUTTERCREAM FROSTING. Garnish with chocolate chips, if desired. Cut into squares. Makes about 24 brownies.

    ONE-BOWL BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

    6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

    2-2/3 cups powdered sugar

    1/2 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa

    1/3 cup milk

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Beat butter in medium bowl. Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk,

    beating to spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed). Stir in vanilla.

    About 2 cups frosting.

    Credit: Hersey’s

    KitchenAid Classic 17-piece Tools and Gadget Set, Black

    Happy National Pastry Day!!! – Tell us what’s your favorite Pastry!!!

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