Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall = Holidays = FOOD

I love autumn. The air smells cleaner, it's cooler, and it's just really mellow. The fall season also means that:

  • the fair is coming up
  • halloween is approaching
  • Thanksgiving is approaching
  • Christmas is looming
  • the year is ending
The last one is cool because what's better than being able to survive another year and starting all over again? The first 4 deal with one of my favorite things in the world...FOOD. Halloween candy doesn't really classify as food, but I threw it in there anyway. I like pretty much anything that will leave me with the itis after eating it. That's when you know it's the good stuff. Haha!

One of my brothers had a school project that involved pumpkin seeds and since the actual pumpkin was cheaper than the prepackaged pumpkin seeds, we got ambitious and got all of the seeds out of a small pie pumpkin. Then we were left with a gutted out pumpkin & my brother ditched me after he got help with his project, so technically I was left with a gutted out pumpkin. Since I was off that weekend and feeling particularly crafty, I decided to do my research & make something using the pumpkin...including the puree.

Oh yes, your girl made everything from scratch. No canned goods up in here! The only prepackaged thing was the butterscotch chips. Anyway, here's the recipe for Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies*.
Sidenote: An electric mixer isn't necessary, but it will make things easier.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola or corn oil

1 cup canned pumpkin(OR pumpkin puree ;))

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup butterscotch chips

Position a rack in the middle of the oven . Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper.

Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it. Mix in the chips.

Using an ice cream scoop with a 1/4-cup capacity, scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2-inches apart. You could also simply use a 1/4-cup measuring cup if you don’t have a scoop. Use a thin metal spatula to smooth and flatten the rounds.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 16 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust the cooled cookies lightly with powdered sugar. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

They came out really nice and now I need to figure out what to do with the remaining butterscotch chips. I'm thinking butterscotch icing topped off with pecans for the cookies. Yes?

*recipe & image credit goes to Joy the Baker.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Raising Awareness

If you didn't know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's pretty important to me because fortunately, my Nana is a survivor of breast cancer. So in a way, I feel more "genuine" towards this cause because it has had an effect on me. On a lighter note, it kind of sucks how our best um... accessories can even have malfunctions. Sigh.

All of my people in their 20's, remember to self-check because early detection is the best way to fight it! Aren't sure how to conduct a self-examination? No problem, here's how, courtesy of
  • Lie down and place your right arm behind your head. The exam is done while lying down, not standing up. This is because when lying down the breast tissue spreads evenly over the chest wall and is as thin as possible, making it much easier to feel all the breast tissue.
  • Use the finger pads of the 3 middle fingers on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast. Use overlapping dime-sized circular motions of the finger pads to feel the breast tissue.
  • Use 3 different levels of pressure to feel all the breast tissue. Light pressure is needed to feel the tissue closest to the skin; medium pressure to feel a little deeper; and firm pressure to feel the tissue closest to the chest and ribs. It is normal to feel a firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast, but you should tell your doctor if you feel anything else out of the ordinary. Use each pressure level to feel the breast tissue before moving on to the next spot.
  • Move around the breast in an up and down pattern starting at an imaginary line drawn straight down your side from the underarm and moving across the breast to the middle of the chest bone (sternum or breastbone). Be sure to check the entire breast area going down until you feel only ribs and up to the neck or collar bone (clavicle).

Illustration of a breast self-exam

It's best to move in an "up-down" motion, so that you're less likely to miss any areas.

  • Repeat the exam on your left breast, putting your left arm behind your head and using the finger pads of your right hand to do the exam.
  • While standing in front of a mirror with your hands pressing firmly down on your hips, look at your breasts for any changes of size, shape, contour, or dimpling, or redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin. (The pressing down on the hips position contracts the chest wall muscles and enhances any breast changes.)

Cancer is one of those things that can creep up on you and once you discover it it's either extremely difficult to remove/control or even impossible to do so. So, I strongly advise everyone(not just women) to visit to learn more information not only about Breast Cancer but about the other forms of Cancer as well. Knowing is definitely half the battle when it comes to our health!