Although most of you are in the giddy early stages of fall, here in Los Angeles it’s still over 90 degrees. So what the rest of the country is referring to as "Fall," I am calling Pumpkin Season. And to curb my near constant urge to shove as much pumpkin into everything I consume, I have elected to only make pumpkin from scratch, no cans.
It’s only really helped a little. It’s pretty easy to roast a pumpkin and turn it into massive quantities of pumpkin treats.
If you haven’t roasted your own, don’t be intimidated, its pretty simple.
Start with a pie pumpkin. They go by various other names, but they are not Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins used for carving. They are small, about the size of a cantaloupe.
Preheat oven to 375.
Remove the stem by running a butter knife around the edges and then prying it off. The most stubborn one I removed by whacking it on the edge of the counter. Popped right off.
Cut the pumpkin in half, right through the hole left by the stem.
Scoop the seeds out with a spoon.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place pumpkins on baking sheets, cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast at 375 for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until a fork can easily slide into the skin.
Allow to cool and sccop the flesh out.
For a smoother texture, process in a food processor for about 3 minutes.
I figured out that although I eat pretty well most of the week, I let myself eat whatever I want at my Saturday morning breakfast, making me want to get the most bang for my bite. Hence, breakfast and dessert crammed into one plate. I hope you don’t mind too much.
And if you want to get craaaazy, go ahead and top this with vanilla ice cream. And sprinkle it with bacon. But make sure and invite me over.
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup milk (divided in half)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, divided
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturers specifications.
Get out three bowls.
In the largest bowl, add the flour, baking powder,cocoa powder, and salt, stir.
In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and 1/2 cup milk. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted. Add the remaining milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and only the yolks of the two eggs.
Add the whites to the third bowl, along with the sugar. Whip with a hand mixer until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.
Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the chocolate milk mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold into the egg whites until just incorporated.
Cook in waffle iron according to manufacturers specifications, using butter flavored cooking spray if indicated.
And I recommend topping with whipped cream, or ice cream, or frosting, or chocolate chips, or all of it.
Don’t Feed The Trolls: How to Survive Online Bullies
In the age of living online, the greatest gift are the people you meet. The biggest drawback? The people you meet. Once a skeptic of online friendships, I’ve felt the connections made across the globe from one screen to another. A richness lent to my world through knowing people who live in such far off places, we never could have connected, seen our similarities, shared our thoughts and support, had it not been for two lap tops with internet connections. I’ve also seen the dark side of the vail that the computer brings, an entire society of online bullies waiting with snark and nastiness to prey on anyone with a voice.
The blog comments I’ve seen from online bullies rage wildly from strange with a twist of insanity, to angry and hateful. The following is a list of comments I’ve seen posted to online blogs, to people who get paid little or nothing for the recipes that they post:
"I hope your baby dies. I hate you"
"Ugh, I can’t stand this girl. Will you just shut up already?!"
"This recipe sucks, it’s probably why your husband left you."
"I bet you just adopted that baby so you could get more blog hits."
"This is the most disgusting recipe I’ve ever made in my life. I substituted [lists 3 major substitutions] and it was horrible! Think before you blog, you stupid B—-!"
"It’s no wonder her husband died if she cooks like this! She pretty much killed him herself, is she trying to kill my husband too?"
I know. Horrifying. People fail to realize that another human, possibly a stay at home Mom looking for a connection to the outside world, a widow, an introvert with crippling agoraphobia, or just and average joe, will read that and be incredibly hurt. We all remember the worst comment that was ever posted to our blogs, the sting from a complete stranger who’s hate has invaded our world. I’ve recently seen two celebrities melt down on Twitter, responding to the nasty comments, defending themselves, lashing out, retweeting insults, indulging those Trolls who seek to disperse hate.
Celebrity, blogger, or just an average mom with a twitter following, here are some rules to help us all cope:
Five Rules to Survive Online Bullies
1. Don’t Feed the Trolls. Don’t respond, engage or even post comments made out of sheer hate and anger. If a comment is just made to hurt, there is no reason to post it and you have no moral or civic obligation to do so. Delete the comment and shake the thought of it from your head.
2. Find Power In Silence. To stay silent and to be silenced are not the same thing. There is powder in silence, feel it. There is no response to a bully or a nasty comment that makes you look cool or superior, you are only wallowing in the mud by responding.
3. Feel Pity. Child Actor turned writer, Mara Wilson said on her blog recently: "Very few intelligent, successful, attractive, confident, happy people spend their time bashing people they have never met. Just be glad you are not that person." A comment a stranger makes about you says a lot more about them then it will ever say about you.
4. Strangers Will Defend You. More often than not, when I see a nasty comment posted on a blog, I watch others rush to the aid of the blogger. People who don’t know that blogger or the commenter, but who do know right from wrong, and are quick to rush to your defense.
5. Feel Important. No one throws rocks at Tiny Tim. If you are a blogger or a celebrity, the negative comments you receive will rise in direct proportion to how important people think you are. If they didn’t think of you as successful, they wouldn’t even bother. Negative comments are a direct result of doing something right, try to think of it that way.
I try to follow these rules on both this blog, as well as my other blog, The Beeroness, which has garnered a much higher level of praise as well as exponentially higher level of nastiness. With the good comes the bad, finding your own inner filter will help you enjoy more of the experience.
In a completely unrelated note, these Jalapeno Corn Waffles are perfect for brunch, or to serve with Fried Chicken. And you’ll want to drink the Sriracha Maple syrup on it’s own.
Jalapeno Corn Waffles with Sriracha Maple Syrup
1 cup fine yellow corn meal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup corn kernels
1 large jalapeno, chopped, stem and seeds removed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1 tbs brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 tbs canola oil
For the Syrup:
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 tsp sriracha chili sauce
Preheat your waffle iron.
In a bowl, combine the corn meal, flour, baking powder, corn, jalapeno, salt, cheese, and brown sugar, mix. In a separate bowl, add the melted butter, milk, oil and the egg, beat until well combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and mix until just barely combined. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray if recommended, cook in waffle iron according to manufactures specifications.
Mix the maple syrup and sriracha and serve with the waffles.
I had a couple of crack dealers show up at my door the other day. Looking all smug in their green little uniforms, pretending to be nothing more than just innocent little children. But they knew what they were doing, trying to force me to buy their crack. Or Girl Scout cookies. Whatever. I don’t need this guy with his cartoon gun to help me choose my favorite cookie, that’s easy: Samoas.
And you need to get creative when you have 17 boxes of cookies because you remember what it was like to try and sell stuff as a kid, and people shut their door in your face or calculated the cost per ounce and then told you it wasn’t a "good buy" as if that was the point, then once you grow up, you are a total sucker for kids selling crack. I mean cookies.
I’ll tell you my brilliant selling strategy I used when I was a kid.
Late 1980’s, tiny, blond, innocent looking elementary school kid with huge blue eyes outside the grocery store. My target was hip looking men in their early 20’s.
Me: "Sir, will you help us raise money for Rick Dees?"
Him: "What happened to Rick Dees?"
Me: "He’s in the hospital, he fell off the Top 40."
Worked every time. They laughed and then bought cookies. Humor and crack cookies are a dangerous combination.
Another dangerous combo? Waffles and crack cookies.
Girl Scout Samoas Waffles With Coconut Caramel Sauce
Firefighters are a rare beast. The perfect combination of rugged bravery and compassion driven sensitivity. A sports watching, beer drinking guys-guy, who is also the first in line to pull a shivering puppy from a frozen river and then make a batch of tender homemade scones.
So what do you do if you find yourself on the daylight side of a fantastic evening, eye to eye with one these hungry beasts?
Not just any waffles, beer waffles. With beer caramel sauce.
Somehow, it seems to be a rule that every fire house has at least two resident fire fighting chefs, ready for a culinary battle at all times. Making it a near certainty that the beast you woke up with is used to eating, or cooking, great food on a regular basis. Your average breakfast just won’t do.
And keep a healthy stock of Fireman’s Brew handy. Not only is it made by real life Firefighters, they even donate a portion of their profits to causes that support families of fallen Firefighters. Craft beer with a cause.
Great beer and a warm fuzzy feeling. Fireman sold separately.
Beer Waffles with Amber Ale Caramel Sauce
What To Make A Fireman For Breakfast: Beer Waffles with Amber Ale Caramel Sauce
12ozBlonde Ale or Pilsnersuch as Firemans Blonde Lager
12ozAmber Alesuch as Firemans Amber Ale
Make the caramel sauce: Add the beer to a pot over high heat and bring to a strong boil, reducing the beer to about 1 cup, about 6-10 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the brown sugar, stir until dissolved. Add a thermometer with a clip to the side of you pan, submerging the tip in the liquid, but making sure it does not hit the bottom of the pan.
Boil, without stirring (swirl the pan occasionally to redistribute the caramel sauce), until the temperature reaches between 230 degrees. Remove from heat and stir until the bubbling subsides. Add the cream, vanilla and butter, stir to combine. Allow to cool.
Make the waffles:
Heat your waffle iron according to manufacture directions.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. In another bowl, stir together the butter, milk and egg yolks, in a third bowl add the egg whites and a pinch of salt.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the milk mixture. Stir to combine. Add the Pilsner (there will be significant bubbling) stir until just combined, a few lumps are to be expected.
Whip the egg whites until light and fluffy and tripled in volume. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, whip until well combined. Stir the egg whites into the waffle batter.
Using the waffle iron, cook waffles according to manufacture directions (make sure to use butter flavored cooking spray, if called for).