Eclipsing the 60 Blog

Bonnie Tyler:  I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark.  We’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks.  I really need you tonight.  

What more can I say about today’s eclipse that hasn’t already been said?  Here are some of the irreverent and inspired comments I read today:

Funny comments:

  • If you have trouble pronouncing “s” sounds today, you have an eclisp.
  • How does the man in the moon cut his hair?  Eclipse it.
  • What does one put on a retina burn?  Iloe.
  • CNN host talking to Bonnie Tyler (who sang her iconic song on a cruise ship today):  How does a total eclipse of the heart differ from a total eclipse of the sun?
  • Hostess has declared Golden Cupcakes the official snack cake of the eclipse?  What?  Not Moon Pies?
  • A woman on a news livestream just said “It’s so amazing that we live at the same time as the moon.”  #waitwhat
  • Huge congrats to the eclipse!
  • I totally need to hire whoever the publicist was for the eclipse.
  • I wanna stare at it so so so so bad.
  • Got tired of waiting for the solar eclipse, so I put a piece of baloney on the window.

Celebrity comments:

  • (Ellen DeGeneres)  I just invested in an eclipse sunglass company.  Does anyone know when the next one is?
  • (Steve Martin)  Now working on my new single “Cloud Cover” for release in 2024.
  • (Rainbow Rowell) I’m at an eclipse viewing/minor league baseball game and the music has been excellent.  The organ’s playing “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.”
  • (Madeleine Albright)  Enjoyed watching #Eclipse2017.  A great reminder that all darkness is temporary.

And finally, regional comments:

  • (Oregon)  I was a little bummed I didn’t go for totality. Beforehand, I didn’t think it could make that much difference.  It definitely did.  The silence of the birds was the most striking thing!
  • (Georgia) I will have to live vicariously through everyone’s eclipse posts.  No viewing glasses for me.  I think I will survive though.
  • (Wisconsin) Nice surprise when I got back from lunch today:  Sun Chips and Eclipse cookies.
  • (California) It didn’t get very dark here at the office, but people on our garage roof had boxes on their heads!
  • (West Virginia) Amazing moon shadows.  Whoa….Cat Stevens!
  • (Tennessee) Come on totality!
  • (Oklahoma) Nikon through the cheap glasses turned out okay!
  • (California) Don’t miss it!  Don’t look at it!  Don’t miss it!  Don’t look at it!  Don’t miss it!  Don’t look at it!
  • (Kansas) Today’s the day all your pets go blind and also the magical eclipse rays will get up in your business and do terrible things to your faces.  Good luck!
  • (Washington)  Sun Chips and moon pies!
  • (Nevada) Of all the days for it to be cloudy in Las Vegas.  Why today?
  • (South Carolina) The clouds blocked most of our experience but we did get to see the “end of it.”  Just a sign to me that we need to plan for the next one in 2024.
  • (Washington, D.C.)  Confession:  I looked.  (Hint:  Not President Trump.)
  • (Tennessee)  Nobody told me a total solar eclipse could make my neck hurt.
  • (Florida) So, the crickets in my hard are confused.  Well played, Solar Eclipse.

So get your glasses ready.  Another total solar eclipse will take place in the United States on April 8, 2024.  The next eclipse will travel a different path and will be visible in a diagonal path crossing from Texas to Maine.  Cities in Texas (Austin, Dallas), Arkansas (Little Rock), New York (Rochester, Buffalo) and Ohio (Cleveland, Toledo, Akron) will be in the path of totality.  Start making your travel arrangements now!

 

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Baking the 60 Blog

Image result for great british baking show

Procastibaking:  The art of making cupcakes instead of doing something else you should be doing.

When we were growing up, my mother loved to bake.  Cookies, cake, but never pies. She was not a fancy baker, but we loved it.  She had recipe cards for everything and Leslie and I look at those cards periodically.  We say “we should make those bar cookies,” or “remember her apple cake?” but we never get around to finding all the tools and ingredients.

Maybe because my mother was such a good cook and baker, Leslie and I love to watch cooking shows.  We started early with The Galloping Gourmet.  Then came Unwrapped, Next Food Network Star, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, Top Chef, Cupcake Wars. We tried watching Great American Food Truck Race and Hell’s Kitchen, but those were too over-the-top.  Also, how did Guy Fieri become a TV star?

We had never watched The Great British Baking Show until this season that just ended on Sunday (in the U.S.).  Recently, ABC renamed it The Great American Baking Show, which we watched, of course.  Same show with American hosts and American contestants.  Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood appeared on the American version and they are characters.

The British show is the one to watch.  The British hosts are very engaging and Paul and Mary love to issue royal challenges to the contestants.  Sunday’s “star baker challenge” was to prepare a picnic fit for a queen.  In five hours, the three finalists had to prepare a total of 49 items to theoretically put into a picnic hamper.

Andrew is a good baker and very meticulous.  He created a color-coordinated spreadsheet telling him how to spend every five-minute increment of those five hours.  After the first half-hour, he was already five minutes behind.  He wasn’t as creative as the other two finalists and we knew he wasn’t going to win.

Jane is a home baker and her two grown children think she’s the best mom ever.  She seemed a bit disorganized and it appeared she didn’t measure a lot of her dry ingredients.  What kind of a monster is she?  She promised to make a white chocolate collar for her four-tier chocolate cake and, for the second time this season, the collar didn’t work out for Jane.

Candice is the star of the show.  Each week, she made each challenge look easy and she always seemed to make more than what was asked for.  She made a peacock out of a five-tier cake covered in multi-colors of marzipan.  I would have loved to have a bite of that!  One of the items to prepare for the royal picnic was sausage rolls, and she actually made hers look like little piggies with eyes, a nose and a tail!  Candice went home at the end of the day with a bouquet of flowers and an engraved pie plate.

Did we learn anything watching this show?  There are two kinds of marzipan.  Two kinds of meringue.  Making 49 items in five hours in a large tent is nearly impossible.  I sure hope that there were cash prizes given, because these bakers worked their tartlets off.

 

 

 

 

 

Sweetening the 60 Blog

Image result for halloween candy image

Don’t forget to buy your Halloween candy early so you have time to buy more after you eat it all.

Late last week, a friend in New York lamented on Facebook that it was just a little too early for the stores to be putting out Halloween candy.  Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute!  It’s a month until Labor Day, followed by two more months until Halloween.  What the hell is going on here?

I think it’s acceptable to start seeing Halloween candy in late September-early October.  In 2010, it was estimated that Americans would spend about $2 billion on candy during the Halloween season.  In 2016, that number rose to $8.4 billion.  Think about that.  Candy corn.  Bite-size candy bars.  Pumpkin-spice kisses.  Likely, we wouldn’t even dream of eating candy corn any other time of the year because it tastes like crap!

The California Milk Processors Board states that “an average Jack-O-Lantern bucket carries about 250 pieces of candy amounting about 9,000 calories and about three pounds of sugar.”

And since we’re talking about candy, we may as well discuss how trick-or-treating has changed over the years.  Given that candy will be everywhere in the next few months, it is hard to imagine that 100 years ago, Halloween looked quite different from the candy avalanche we know today.  Trick-or-treating is a quite recent American invention. The ritual of costumes, doorbell-ringing, and expectation of booty appeared for the first time in different locations throughout the country in the late 1930s and early 1940s.  It wasn’t until the late 1940s that trick-or-treating became widespread on a national scale. And even then, candy wasn’t the obvious treat.

Kids ringing a stranger’s doorbell in 1948 or 1952 received all sorts of tribute: Coins, nuts, fruit, cookies, cakes, and toys were as likely as candy.  In the 1950s, Kool-Aid and Kellogg’s promoted their decisively non-candy products as trick-or-treat options, while Brach’s once ran ads for chocolate-covered peanuts during the last week of October that didn’t mention Halloween at all.

It took a while for candy to become what it is today, the very essence of Halloween.  Going back even farther to the early decades of the century, before trick-or-treating spread across the land, candy didn’t have any special role to play in Halloween observance.

For youth, and especially boys, Halloween was the one night of the year when communities generally tolerated pranking, which might range from the clever or playful to the dangerous or destructive. Mailboxes, fences, streetcars, and gravestones were popular targets. The point was to cause mischief, not to gather treats. Halloween also wasn’t a gift-giving holiday, which in the case of Christmas and other early candy holidays provided the candy “hook.”

While the hooligans were out wreaking havoc, the more genteel would celebrate Halloween with parties. The menus and décor for these early Halloween festivities emphasized seasonal fruits. Pumpkins and apples were especially important. Making popcorn balls and fudge was sometimes part of the festive activities, but if there was purchased candy along the lines of candy corn or jelly beans, it was an afterthought.

Thriving the 60 Blog

Paleo Blueberry Pie Recipe

Ella Fitzgerald:  A strawberry moon, blueberry sky.  Polka dot stars shining on high.  Everything’s right.  Oh, what a night for love.

Thrive + Tuesday = day to shop!

Over the weekend, we placed another Thrive Market order.  Coffee, aromatherapy, cat food, pine nuts.  All the essentials, right?

This week, you can get 25% off your order and free shipping when you click here 25% off and free shipping and shop from your couch.  Here’s a delicious recipe you can make for the upcoming long holiday weekend.

It’s berry season! When sweet, juicy blueberries are overflowing at the market, we can think of nothing better than baking them up in a decadent pie. A trio of gluten-free flours (almond, coconut, and tapioca), plus a scoop of lard from EPIC makes this a Paleo-friendly summertime treat for all those picnics, barbecues, and parties.  All the ingredients, except for the fresh blueberries and lemons, can be purchased from Thrive!

PALEO BLUEBERRY PIE

Yield: 7 to 9 servings
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours and 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the crust
1 cup superfine almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
½ cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lard, chilled in freezer for 30 minutes
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

For the filling
4 ½ to 5 cups blueberries, washed and drained
½ cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons tapioca flour
Zest 1 lemon
Juice of half a lemon

INSTRUCTIONS

Add the almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, and salt to a food processor; pulse a few times to combine. Add chilled lard and pulse until mixture is slightly crumbly. Add 3 tablespoons water and pulse, adding more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together by squeezing it between your fingers.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and form into a disk. Halve the disk (make one piece slightly larger than the other) and shape into rounds. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Remove larger disk from refrigerator and crumble it into a greased, 9-inch pie pan. Using your fingers, shape a crust by pressing dough onto bottom and sides of pan. Crimp edge of dough along the top of crust; refrigerate. Remove smaller disk of dough from refrigerator and place it between 2 slices of parchment paper. Roll out the dough to a 10-inch circle, about ¼-inch thick. Using a star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes and place on a sheet tray, 1-inch apart; refrigerate 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, add all ingredients for the filling; stir until blueberries are well-coated. Remove pie pan from the refrigerator and pour in the blueberry filling.

Cover edges of pie crust with foil, to protect it from burning. Bake pie for 50 to 55 minutes. During the last 8 to 10 minutes of baking, place sheet tray of cut out stars into the oven with the pie. Remove both the pie and stars and let cool 30 minutes. Place stars on top of pie before slicing.

Almond FlourOrganic Coconut FlourTapioca Flour

What time should I be at your house for dessert?

 

 

 

Womanizing the 60 Blog

 

About IWD

John Lewis:  We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us.

Today is International Woman’s Day.  Not your typical Hallmark holiday but it seems to be an important day around the world.  Some have also labeled the day “A Day Without A Woman” and I’m eager to see how businesses and schools may have been affected with women staying home today.

What exactly is International Woman’s Day?  Originally called International Working Women’s Day, March 8 commemorates the movement for women’s rights.  It’s a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

IWD has been observed since the early 1900s, a time of expansion in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. Today is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity.

And hence, as a modern call for gender parity, we come to A Day Without A Woman. Organizers say it was intended in the same spirit of “love and liberation” that inspired women’s marches worldwide.  But many are complaining that “A Day Without a Woman” may have left many women in a bind.  The day aims to draw attention to inequities working women face compared to men, from wage disparity to harassment to job insecurity.

Several school districts across the country are closing to allow staff and teachers the chance to participate. While some people in those communities applauded district leadership for the show of solidarity, others criticized them for leaving working families scrambling to find childcare.
Striking is not the only way organizers are encouraging people to participate.  People were encouraged to avoid shopping “with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses” or to wear red in solidarity.
Did you wear red?  Were you even aware of IWD or A Day Without a Woman?