DOUBLE LAYER PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
- PREP 30 mins
- COOK 40 mins
- READY IN 4 hrs 10 mins
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
- In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
- Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.
QUICK DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
1 box devil’s food cake mix, such as Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
2 to 3 cups White Faux Buttercream, recipe follows, colored or swirled with your favorite color
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
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
National No Bra Day is observed annually on October 13. This is a day to leave your bra at home.
National No Bra Day is meant to promote breast cancer awareness and to help raise money for research. Many women who have survived breast cancer are unable to go without a bra as they need it to hold their prosthesis after surgery. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National No Bra Day should serve as a reminder for all women to be screened for breast cancer.
Make an appointment for a mammogram. Use #NoBraDay or #NationalNoBraDay when posting on social media. Make a contribution to the American Cancer Society or Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
LOUISIANA SEAFOOD GUMBO
Olive oil, for sauteing
1 1/2 medium-sized onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup celery, cut crosswise into 1/3 (use the middle 1/3 only) and coarsely chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
6 cups baked okra, sliced 1/4-inch thick and baked for about 10 minutes in baking pan
Roux, recipe follows
6 tomatoes, roughly chopped
Stock, recipe follows
1 pound shrimp heads reserved for stock
2 or 3 crabs, cleaned,and chopped into chunks
Chopped green onions
Serving suggestion: with rice or as a soup
Coat a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with oil and cook the onions until translucent. Add the celery, garlic, bell peppers, and okra. Add the roux and mix thoroughly to pick up all the excess oil in the pot.
Next add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. When mixed, strain the stock and add it to the pot, mixing thoroughly to prevent lumps. Cover with lid, bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes. Clean the shrimp and saute in a separate pan to get rid of any excess moisture. When they have turned pink add the shrimp and crab to the gumbo. Cook for 10 minutes. Lastly, add lemon slices and chopped green onions
1/2 cup flour
Combine the ingredients in a separate pan. Brown on a medium high heat until it turns light brown.
9 cups water
1 stalk celery
1 bay leaf
3 basil leaves
Creole seasoning (recommended: Dash)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine ingredients in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour.
Yield: 6 servings
According to CBS News, A 22-year-old Ohio man called 911 last Friday evening and told officers he was “too high” on marijuana.
According to the police report, when cops arrived at the man’s home, his grandfather directed them upstairs where they found the man moaning, curled in the fetal position, and “surrounded by a plethora of Doritos, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, and Chips Ahoy cookies.”
CBS News obtained the audio of the 911 call. In the audio, the operator asks the man what he took, he eventually responds with saying it was weed.
The man told police he “smoked too much weed” and couldn’t feel his hands. He directed officers to his car, where they found a glass pipe with marijuana residue, rolling papers and a glass jar of pot.
So far, no arrests have been made.
We’ve all heard that if we eat too many calories, we’ll get fat. But there’s more to it: it’s not just the calories, but the chemicals, in our food that contribute to obesity.
Some of these chemicals — called “obesogens” — trigger our bodies to store fat even though we might be restricting calories. The effects are complex: some of these chemicals increase the number of fat cells, others expand the size of fat cells and still others influence appetite, cravings, fullness and how well the body burns calories. In addition to obesogens, other synthetic food ingredients have been shown to help us pack on the pounds and leave us feeling depressed, even when when we think we’re eating healthy.
To stop feeling that way, here are the top five chemicals to avoid in food.
- Growth Hormones & Antibiotics
Several drugs, growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics are routinely given to conventionally raised animals to fatten them up on less food. Residues from some of these drugs have been found in meat samples, so you very well could be eating these growth-promoting drugs every time you eat a steak. These drugs are believed to contribute to the obesity epidemic and are poorly regulated in the U.S.
How to avoid: Choose only certified organic grass-fed meat and dairy products (preferably local). Treatment with growth hormones and growth-promoting antibiotics isn’t permitted in organically grown animals. As an added benefit, organic grass-fed beef has been shown to contain more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may actually help you lose weight.
- Artificial & Natural Flavors
All of the chemicals that make processed food taste good — monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial flavors and natural flavors — are just cheap replacements for the real thing and can cause you to eat more than you would otherwise.
With the innocuous-sounding term “natural flavors,” companies can put whatever they want in your food that’s generally recognized as safe, including naturally occurring glutamate bi-products like MSG, known excitotoxins. These excitotoxins cause your taste buds to experience irresistibility when it comes to food.
How to avoid: Steer clear of processed foods, particularly those that have artificial flavors, natural flavors, monosodium glutamate or other “processed free glutamic acid” additives like autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed proteins.
- Artificial Sweeteners
Think you’re going to lose weight by switching from regular soda to diet? Think again. Researchers have discovered that artificial sweeteners like those in Diet Coke, can affect gut bacteria, leading to more weight gain. If that isn’t bad enough, the artificial sweetener Aspartame has been linked to mood swings and depression.
How to avoid: Don’t eat anything with artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, saccharin) in the ingredient list. Limit your sugar intake overall, but choose unrefined sweeteners such as coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, raw honey and dried fruits such as dates.
Out of all the common pesticides Americans are regularly exposed to, the majority of them are “endocrine disruptors“, making them obesogens. Even in tiny amounts, endocrine disruptors have the ability to disrupt major weight controlling hormones (catecholamines), interfere with the natural hormone systems that regulate metabolism and lead to weight gain.
How to avoid: Minimize your exposure to pesticides by choosing certified organic produce and products. (Synthetic pesticides are prohibited in organic farming.) If organic isn’t available, choose fresh produce that’s on the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15″ list of produce with the least pesticide residue.
Whether it’s a bottle of salad dressing or container of leftovers, most of us are exposed to plastics on a daily basis. Many of these plastics contain substances such as phthalates or bisphenol A (BPA), known endocrine disruptors that have beendirectly linked to increased fat storage. These chemicals have the ability to leach into food and have infiltrated our society so much that they’ve been found 93% of urine samples tested in America.
How to avoid: Choose your water bottles, storage containers, straws and eating utensils wisely, and stock up on those made from glass or stainless steel instead of plastic. Glass jars make an affordable option for storing food.
Credit: Mind Body Green