Monthly Archives: April 2013

Muffin Monday Banana Granola Chocolate Chip

Bananna Granola Chocolate Chip

Muffin inside

Ingredients:

  • 2 Bananas

Banannas

  • 1 cup of Granola

Granola

  • 1/2 cup of Milk

milk

  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 cup Peanut Oil

egg and oil

  • 3 tablespoons Demerara Sugar (or raw or brown sugar)

3 tbls Demarcaced sugar

  • 1 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder

flour baking powder

  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips

Choc Chips

Part 1: Pre-heat the oven  to 425 f. Put muffin pants into the muffin tin and spray lightly.

preheat to 425

Part 2: Mash Bananas in a large bowl. Mix in Granola and Milk and let sit for 5 minutes.

Mash banannas

Part 3: Mix Oil and Egg in a measuring cup. Add the Sugar.

Part 4: Add the Whole Wheat and Buck Wheat Flour and the Baking Powder.

Mix well

Part 5: Fold in Chocolate Chips.

all 12 muffins done

Part 6: Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before enjoying. (Makes 12).

Single muffin

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James Monroe 4.28.13 Thought of the Day

“The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil.”–James Monroe

James Madison, Hamilton's major collaborator, ...

James Madison, Hamilton’s major collaborator, later President of the United States and “Father of the Constitution” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

James Monroe was born on this day in Westmoreland County, Virginia, USA in 1758. Today is the 258th anniversary of his birth.
Monroe’s was born to Spence and Elizabeth Monroe a moderately well to do couple of Scottish, Welsh and French Huguenot descent. His father was a planter and carpenter. Elizabeth tutored her children at home, and James didn’t start school until he was 11, when he went to “Campbelltown Academy between 1769 and 1774,” [Biography.com]

In 1774 his father died and Monroe inherited the family’s plantation and slaves.  His mother passed soon after. James and his brothers  be came ward of uncle.  the same  year he entered the College of William and Mary. William and Mary is in Williamsburg, Virginia, which was then the capital of the colony of the State. It was quiet an interesting time to be studying in the city. The Royal Governor  and his family had fled the city, the arsenal and Governor’s Palace had been looted and ‘revolution’ was in the air. Monroe was part of a group of men who raided the Governor’s Palace and liberated its cash of weapons. They used the weapons to form the Williamsburg Militia.

In Winter of 1776 he left school and volunteered with the Continental Army.  He was shot in the shoulder at the Battle of Trenton, New Jersey.  And he fought with distinction throughout the war.

He met Thomas Jefferson during the war, and Monroe studied law under the Virginia statesman when the Revolution drew to a close. After passing the bar he was quickly elected to the Virginia Assembly  (probably through Jefferson’s influence.)

Elected to the Continental Congress in 1783, Monroe worked for expanding the power of Congress, organizing government for the western country, and protecting American navigation on the Mississippi River. [Mille Center.org]

He was initially opposed to the ratification of the Constitution and fought to have senators and the President directly elected. He also fought for the inclusion of a Bill of Rights.

As a youthful politician, he joined the anti-Federalists in the Virginia Convention which ratified the Constitution, and in 1790, an advocate of Jeffersonian policies, was elected United States Senator. [Whitehouse.gov]

He lost the 1790 race for the US House of Representatives to James Madison, but “was quickly elected by the Virginia legislature as a United States senator.” [Biography.com] Jefferson, Madision and Monroe joined forces to oppose Federalist policies of Vice President John Adams and Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton.

James Monroe, fifth President of the United States

James Monroe, fifth President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monroe served as Minister to France from 1794-1796 and he helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase.

In 1816 he ran for  president with the blessing of his friend and  outgoing POTUS Madison. He won, becoming the 5th president of the United States. (4 of the first 5 US presidents were from Virginia, Monroe is the last of the “Virginia Dynasty”.)

His term started with a honeymoon dubbed the “Era of Good Feelings.” However, Economic depression and slavery disputes meant that the honeymoon didn’t last long.

The Monroe Doctorine is his legacy in foreign affairs. Foreign powers  must leave the American continents alone and “henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European Power.”[Whitehouse.gov]

During his presidence five states were admitted to the Union: Mississippi (1817), Illinois (1818), Alabama (1819), Main (1820), and Missouri (1821).

Monroe died on the Fourth of July, 1831.

James Monroe County (New York)


Secondary Character Saturday: Anita (West Side Story)

So… Tomorrow night I’m going to go see Romeo and Juliet at the  Baltimore Shakespeare Factory and that got me thinking about West Side  Story. And THAT got me thinking about one of my favorite Secondary Characters… Anita.

———————————————————————-

Who: Anita

From: West Side Story

West Side Story

West Side Story (Photo credit: thejcgerm)

By: Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim,  and Leonard Bernstein

Produced: 1957 Broadway Premier / 1961 Film

Pros: feisty, spicy, self confident, beautiful, great dancer, great singer, realistic, loyal, great friend, gutsy,

Cons: A bit abrasive, assertive,  and hardly a saint.

Best Shining Moment: Singing AMERICA on the roof top. AND going into Jet territory to tell Tony to wait for Maria.

Least Shining Moment: When the Jets verbally, physically (and very nearly sexually) abuse her she lies to them (and thru them Tony) and tells them Maria is dead, setting up the tragic closing scenario. But that’s really on the Jets.


Ludwig Wittgenstein 4.26.13 Thought of the Day

“Knowledge is in the end based on acknowledgement.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein 2
Ludwig Wittgenstein 2 (Photo credit: Christiaan Tonnis)

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was born on this day in Vienna, Austria in 1889. Today is the 124th Anniversary of his birth.

Ludwig Wittgenstein's five siblings: (back) He...
Ludwig Wittgenstein’s five siblings: (back) Hermine, Helene, Margarete, (front) Paul and Ludwig. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ludwig was the youngest of 9 children born to Karl and Poldi Wittgenstein. The Wittgensteins were “a wealthy industrial family, well-situated in intellectual and cultural Viennese circles.”[Stanford.edu]

Karl Wittgenstein was one of the most successful businessmen in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, leading the iron and steel industry there. The Wittgensteins’ home attracted people of culture, especially musicians, including the composer Johannes Brahms, who was a friend of the family. [UTM.edu]

Young Ludwig was tutored at home for several years before studying mechanical engineering in Berlin, then aeronautical engineering  in Manchester. He went to Cambridge and studied under Bertrand Russel working on the philopsohy of pure mathematics and  the philosophy and  the foundations of logic.

When his father died in 1913 Wittgenstein gave away some of his inheritance. He moved to Skjolden Norway to isolate himself . There he wrote Logik .

When World War One broke out he volunteered with the Austrian Army. He saw heavy action on the Russian front.  He was decorated for bravery and military merit.

He was taken captive in 1917 and spent the remaining months of the war at a prison camp. It was during the war that he wrote the notes and drafts of his first important work, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. After the war the book was published in German and translated into English. [Stanford.edu]

After the war he return to home to Vienna. Always eccentric, now Wittgentstein seemed to cross over some invisible line to unstable. This brilliant man whose work in philosophy was revolutionizing the field suddenly wanted to teach elementary school. (Ironic, considering he had never even gone to elementary school.) He went back to college to get a teaching degree, and he went about getting rid of his fortune.  Wittgenstein worked as a gardener and then “as elementary school teacher in rural Austria, where his approach was strict and unpopular, but apparently effective.” [UTM.edu]

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He returned to Cambridge in 1929 and began to work on philosophy again, he became a professor a decade later.  He took a break from teaching during World War II  (when he worked in London as a hospital porter and in Newcastle as a research technician) but came back to Cambridge after VE day. In 1947 he decided to work on his writing full-time and he began to amass his Philosophical Investigations , which was published posthumously.

Wittgenstein died of prostate cancer in 1951.


Ella Fitzgerald 4.25.13 Thought of the Day

“It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.” — Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Sings Broadway

Ella Sings Broadway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ella Jane Fitzgerald was born on this day in Newport News, Va. in  1917.  Today is the  96th anniversary of her birth.

Her parents, William and Tempie Fitzgerald split when she was an infant and Ella and her mother moved to Yonkers, New York. Tempie fell in love with Joe Da Silva and the couple had a baby girl, Ella’s half-sister, Frances in 1923. When Joe couldn’t make ends meet with his part-time chauffeuring gig he dug ditches. Tempie worked at a laundromat. Even little Ella helped out, she was a runner for local gamblers.

Ella enjoyed sports as a child and liked to dance and sing with her friends. “some evenings they would take the train into Harlem and watch various acts at the Apollo Theater.” [The Official Website of Ella Fitzgerald] She was inspired by Louis Armstrong and the Boswell Sisters, a trio from New Orleans who specialized in tight harmonies and intricate rhythms.

She had to grow up fast  in 1932 when her mother died from injuries she received in a car crash. Joe died shortly thereafter, and Frances shortly after him. Ella lived with her Aunt Virginia for a while.

Her grades dropped dramatically, and she frequently skipped school. After getting into trouble with the police, she was taken into custody and sent to a reform school. ….Eventually Ella escaped from the reformatory. The 15-year-old found herself broke and alone during the Great Depression, and strove to endure….. [Ibid]

She was homeless for a while and on the run. But her luck turned around when she was 17. She was at the Apollo Theatre and her name was selected to compete at “Amateur Night.” Although she was planning to dance  she changed her mind when she saw another act  win the crowd over with their spectacular dancing. She would have to do something else. She decided to sing instead. She chose an old Boswell song, “Judy,” that she knew by heart.

Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald

Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ella could be shy off stage, but on stage she lit up like a Christmas Tree. The audience loved her song and demanded an encore (she did the song from the flip side of the Boswell record). She was fearless and she won the talent show and took home the $25 prize. “Once up there, I felt the acceptance and love from my audience,…I knew I wanted to sing before people the rest of my life.” [Ibid]

She began to enter every talent show she could find. And she won them all. She met drummer/bandleader Chick Webb and signed a contract with him to front his band for $12.50 a week. In 1936 she recorded “Love and Kisses” on the Decca label. At 21 She recorded “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” her first #1 hit.

When Webb died his band changed its name to “Ella and her Famous Orchestra.” She recorded 150 songs with the group, but it wasn’t until she left, in 1942 that her career really began to take off.  She signed with Decca records  and did a  series of “songbooks” by famous jazz composers. From Irving Berlin to Duke Ellington to Cole Porter she reinterpreted jazz standards for a new audience.

“I never knew how good our songs were until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing them,” Ira Gershwin once remarked. [Ibid]

She also began to work with Norman Granz on his Jazz at the Philharmonic and her sound morphed from big band to bebop and she began to master scat singing.

She received the National Medal of Arts from President Ronald Reagan in 1987. She gave her final concert in Carnegie Hall in 1991. She died on June 15, 1996 in Beverly Hills, California

Here she is scatting away and doing a Broadway standard:


Justin Wilson 4.24.13 Thought of the Day

“I GAR-ON-TEE!” -Justin Wilson

[Image courtesy: Smoking Meat Forum]
[Image courtesy: Smoking Meat Forum]

Justin E. Wilson was born on this day in Roseland, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, USA in 1914. Today is the 99th anniversary of his birth.

A storyteller at heart Justin Wilson worked as a safety engineer in south-western Louisiana’s Arcadia region. He found that people paid more attention to his safety lectures when he mixed in stories  of his youth so he began to drawl on the plethora of Cajun folktales he’d heard growing up.

He was so entertaining that he was asked to put out a comedy album of his stories. It sold over a million copies.

Justin was a “Humorist” who found something funny in almost everything. He did not laugh at his Cajun friends, but he laughed with them. His genuine admiration for them shined through in his stage, radio and television and 27 hilarious albums. But Mr. Wilson’s talent was not limited to his ability to tell stories.He composed 10 songs, as well as composing the background music for his world-renowned cooking show and recorded one album of Christmas songs with a jazz band. [Justin Wilson.com]

His passion for Cajun cooking lead to a PBS Television cooking show that was as much about Wilson’sfolksy story telling as it was about what ended up on the plate.

Wilson penned “seven best-selling Cajun cookbooks and two books of humorous Cajun stories” [Ibid] He also wrote music (including the theme song for his cooking show) and did Christmas album backed by a Jazz band.

Wilson died September 5, 2001


James Buchanan

“What is right and what is practicable are two different things.”– James Buchanan

English: I took photo of James Buchanan in Nat...
English: I took photo of James Buchanan in National Portrait Gallery with Canon camera. Public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

James Buchanan was born on this day in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania, USA in 1791. Today is the 222nd anniversary of his birth.

James Buchanan Log House

Although he was born in a log cabin Buchanan’s family was well to do. His father was a prosperous businessman. His father, James Buchanan, Sr. was a farmer, businessman and merchant, his mother, Elizabeth Speer, was intelligent and well-respected. James was the second of 11 children, 8 of whom lived to adulthood.

Young James attended school in the Mercersberg area, but his father’s business triumphs and his mother’s interest in education dictated better opportunities for the boy. At age sixteen, he entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, seventy miles from home. [the Miller Center.org]

After graduation in 1809 he went to Lancaster, PA, to study Law. He passed the bar in 1812.

Although he was against the War of 1812 (he thought it was unnecessary) He joined the light dragoon unit when the British invaded Maryland and helped defend the city of Baltimore. Although the Battle of Baltimore would later become famous because of Francis Scott Key’s poem The Star Spangled Banner, Buchanan’s unit didn’t see any action.

He returned to Lancaster after the war. At 23 he ran for Pennsylvania House of Representatives and won a seat as a Federalist.

Toward the end of his time in the legislature, Buchanan fell in love with Ann Caroline Coleman. … The young woman’s family opposed the match with Buchanan, however. … Ann Coleman sent him a letter breaking off the engagement. A few days later she died. The Coleman family turned its grief and guilt on the young lawyer and forbade him to attend the funeral. The experience severely shook Buchanan; he vowed he would not marry another, and he never became seriously involved with any other woman for the rest of his life, though he carried on many flirtations. He would be the nation’s first and only bachelor President. [the Miller Center.org]

He threw himself into his work and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1820.

He was elected five times to the House of Representatives; then, after an interlude as Minister to Russia, served for a decade in the Senate. He became Polk’s Secretary of State and Pierce’s Minister to Great Britain. [White House.gov]

Being out of the country during a contentious primary season helped Buchanan side step the bloody Slavery debate. “The overseas post enabled Buchanan to be unblemished by the political bloodshed that resulted from the disastrous Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.” [the Miller Center.org]  He became the Democratic Party’s nominee for President in 1856. He beat Republican John C. Frémont and took the White House on March 4, 1857 as the 15th president of the United States.

James Buchanan: Fifteenth President of the Uni...
James Buchanan: Fifteenth President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first crisis of his presidency happened when the Supreme Court handed down the Dread Scott Decision…

Asserting that Congress had no constitutional power to deprive persons of their property rights in slaves in the territories. Southerners were delighted, but the decision created a furor in the North. [White House.gov]

More slavery woes were in store in the territory of Kansas. The choice in Bleeding Kansas was between two rival state constitutions, the Free-Soil (anti-slavery settlers) took Topeka as their capital, those who were pro-slavery picked Lecompton as the seat of government. The Free-Soil party was in the majority but the Lecomptons managed (through a number of shady means) to get their platform passed.

Buchanan decided to end the troubles in Kansas by urging the admission of the territory as a slave state. Although he directed his Presidential authority to this goal, he further angered the Republicans and alienated members of his own party. Kansas remained a territory. [Ibid]

By the mid-term elections Buchanan’s political star had fallen and the Republican took the House and Senate. He was the lamest of lame ducks and the government was at a stalemate. In the presidential election of 1860 the Democrats split with Buchanan taking the Southern states and Douglas taking the Northern states.

Consequently, when the Republicans nominated Abraham Lincoln, it was a foregone conclusion that he would be elected even though his name appeared on no southern ballot. Rather than accept a Republican administration, the southern “fire-eaters” advocated secession…President Buchanan, dismayed and hesitant, denied the legal right of states to secede but held that the Federal Government legally could not prevent them. He hoped for compromise, but secessionist leaders did not want compromise. [White House.gov]

South Carolina was first to secede (on December 20, 1860.) Six other states joined South Carolina and formed the Confederate States of America. “When Buchanan left office on March 3, 1861, to retire to his estate outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he left the nation on the brink of civil war.” [Biography.com ]

James Buchanan
James Buchanan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He lived out the war at his home, Wheatland, in Lancaster, PA.

Rightly or wrongly, considerable blame for the Civil War fell upon him. His portrait had to be removed from the Capitol to keep vandals from damaging it, and posters captioned “Judas” depicted him with his neck in a hangman’s noose. A wave of second-guessing condemned Buchanan’s actions with regard to Fort Sumter. The Republican press attacked him while absolving the Republican Party and Lincoln from all responsibility for the conflict. Although Buchanan vocally supported the Union cause, many branded him an appeaser of the South and a lover of slavery.  [the Miller Center.org]

He died of respiratory failure in 1868. He 77.


Muffin Monday — Almond Cranberry Muffins (DF)

IMG_4800

Almond Cranberry Muffins (Dairy Free?)

I had to suggestions for this week’s Muffin Monday blog — something with Cranberries and something Dairy Free. I think I achieved both goals with these yummy Almond Cranberry Muffins. [Will my DF eaters double check me, please?]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup White Whole Wheat Flour

IMG_4692

  • 3/4 cup Almond Meal or Almond Flour

IMG_4683

  • 1 tsp Baking Powder

IMG_4704

  • 1/2 tsp Salt

IMG_4707

  • 4 tsp JUST WHITES (or 2 eggs)

IMG_4747

  • 1/4 c Water (don’t add this water if you use eggs)

IMG_4748

  • 1 tsp Vanilla or Almond Extract

IMG_4540

  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

IMG_4571

  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

maple syrup

  • 2/3 cup Dried Cranberries

IMG_4784

  • 1/2 cup Chopped Dry Dates

IMG_4782

  • 1 cup of Boiling Water

Step One: Put the cranberries and dates in the boiling water and stir. Let sit for 5 minutes to plump then drain. (You can reserve the cranberry juice add another cup of cold water and drink it. )

Step Two: Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Put muffin pants into the muffin tin and spray lightly.

Step Three: Mix the flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt and Just Whites in a medium-sized bowl

Step Four: Mix the 1/4 cup of water, the extract, the cooking oil, and the maple syrup in a small bowl (or measuring cup large enough to handle it)

Step Five: Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Don’t over mix.

IMG_4794

Step Six: Add the drained Cranberry and Date mixture.

IMG_4791

Step Seven: Spoon into the muffin tin.

IMG_4795

Step Eight: Bake for 25 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown at the top and they pass the toothpick test. Cool for 10 minutes before eating.

This recipe made 9 muffins.

IMG_4797

BONUS RECIPE:

IMG_4809

Chocolate Cranberry Muffins

For those of you who like a little Chocolate just change the top two ingredients…

  • 1 1/2 cup of White Whole Wheat Flour

IMG_4692

  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder

IMG_4788

Follow the recipe above.

IMG_4805

These muffins had a perfect flaky consistency and moisture content. Although usually a Chocolate girl myself, I actually prefered the almond version a bit more. But both were delicious.   Enjoy!

More I want to try:


The Samuel Mudd House

Home of Dr Samuel Mudd

Home of Dr Samuel Mudd (Photo credit: crazysanman.history)

A trip to Southern Maryland brought us to the door step of history today when we stopped by the Samuel Mudd House. You may remember that I profiled Mudd as a Thought of the Day bioBLOG on his birthday back in December (click HERE to read the bio) so when we saw the brown historical marker indicating that Mudd’s house was a few mile off Maryland’s Route 5 we had to make a side trip and explore.

Approaching the Mudd House.

Approaching the Mudd House.

You enter the Dr. Samuel Mudd House at the back of the house, at the gift shop. There a docent will greet you and take you on a tour of the house. Our docent, Russet Hodgkins, took us through the events of early April 16th when…

Docents Russet Hodgkins and Lynn Bounviri pose behind the Mudd House.

Docents Russet Hodgkins and Lynn Bounviri pose behind the Mudd House.

A knock at the door work the 31-year-old doctor and his wife “Frankie”  at 4:00 am.

Two men stood in the doorway, one in need of medical attention for a badly broken leg. It was David Herold and John Wilkes Booth. News of the previous night’s assassination had not reached sleepy Charles Country.  Mudd couldn’t have known that Booth had shot Lincoln. The doctor didn’t even recognize the men, who were traveling under aliases — though there was something familiar about the injured man. He had actually met Booth before (when the actor was looking to buy a horse and property in the area) but that night he was in disguise, and the poor light and a false beard fooled the doctor.

English: Broadside advertising reward for capt...

English: Broadside advertising reward for capture of Lincoln assassination conspirators, illustrated with photographic prints of John H. Surratt, John Wilkes Booth, and David E. Herold. Français : Avis de recherche avec prime de 100.000 $ pour la capture de John Wilkes Booth, le meurtrier du président Abraham Lincoln, et deux de ses complices, David Edgar Herold et John Harrison Surratt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He examined the stranger’s leg on a red couch that still sits in the House’s parlor, and had him taken upstairs where he set the leg.  The next day the two men acted suspiciously, turning their faces to the wall when Mudd’s wife brought them food.  After a few hours rest they left, headed toward Virginia where they were eventually found at the Garrett Farm.

Investigators followed Booth’s trail to Mudd’s house and the doctor was implicated in the Lincoln assignation.Mudd was convicted by a Military Commission and sentenced to life in prison. He was sent to the military prison at the Dry Tortugas, west of Key West, Florida. When a yellow fever outbreak hit the Dry Tortugas and the  prison doctor died of the disease Mudd took over. For his efforts during the epidemic President Andrew Johnson pardoned him.

Dr. Mudd as he appeared when working in the ca...

Dr. Mudd as he appeared when working in the carpenter’s shop in the prison at Fort Jefferson. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He went back to his wife and children and the Maryland farm. Mudd died of pneumonia in 1883.  He was 49 years old.

The house is decorated with furniture from several generations of Mudds, and it is interesting to see how this working farm passed down from generation to generation.

The mistake tombstone

The mistake tombstone

Don’t miss the outbuildings, especially the gravestone building (they made a mistake on his grave marker, and this “mistake” is housed at the museum.) Other outbuildings house period farm equipment, a tobacco barn, a Civil War display and more.

Outbuildings and barns to explore at the Mudd House

Outbuildings and barns to explore at the Mudd House

Dr.  Samuel A. Mudd House is a privately run museum and is open March to November on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11 to 4  and Sundays 12 to 3:30. (Closed on Easter.) The museum is also open the first weekend in December for a Victorian Christmas.

Call 1-301-274-9358 for more information.


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