Posts Tagged ‘cheesecake’

Random Friday Thoughts — August 3, 2018

Welcome to the first weekend of August.  Summer is chugging right along and before you know it, fall will be here.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts!

THANK GOD FOR RBG!

Fantastic news this week from 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years.”

This is a major sigh of relief after the sad news earlier this summer that Anthony Kennedy is stepping down, which might allow 45 to make the court more conservative!

Come on Democrats, give the Republicans a dose of their own medicine like in 2016 when President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland didn’t get confirmed.

Back to Ginsburg — she was appointed by President Bill Clinton and was confirmed by a 96 to 3 vote in August 1993.

“RBG”, a documentary about Justice Ginsburg this year has already grossed $13.1 million and will be released to DVD on August 28, 2018.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT FROM MY IDOL

President Jimmy Carter recently spoke at the Carter Center and he stated that the U.S. has lost its long-term commitment to human rights.

He says, “We should be the champion of human rights. We’re a superpower, not based solely on military power; part of that definition should be a commitment to human rights.”

And, this is from earlier this year!

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NATIONAL CHEESECAKE DAY

Earlier this week, it was “National Cheesecake Day”.  Here are four of my favorites that I’ve made over the years.

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SHADE (AND I LOVE IT)

You already know that while I love their food, I won’t pay to eat at Chick-fil-A because of its well known history of being anti-LGBTQ.

A new store is opening soon in Glastonbury, Connecticut, and their next door neighbor, McDonalds, wants people to know that, at the golden arches, “WE WELCOME EVERYONE”.

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While the other side of the sign advertises Quarter Pounders, the message is clear with Chick-fil-A in the background!

McDonald’s manager says with a smile that it didn’t mean anything to the anti-gay chain restaurant,  “It just means that everyone is welcome, young old, everyone.”

“A SHADE SHADY (NOW PRANCE)”

Perfect time for RuPaul’s 1993 #1 Billboard Dance Club Songs hit, “A Shady Shade (Now Prance)”.

This was the follow-up to the international hit, “Supermodel (You Better Work)” (1992, #2 Billboard Dance Club Songs) and “Back To My Roots” (1993, #1 Billboard Dance Club Songs).

“SHARP OBJECTS”

Amy Adams comes to television in a big way on HBO’s “Sharp Objects”, based on Gillian Flynn’s first novel.

Many of you know the former “Entertainment Weekly” writer from her blockbuster novel and movie, “Gone Girl”.

In “Sharp Objects”, there are more gone girls, but these young girls turn up dead!

Adams plays Camille Preaker, a St. Louis newspaper reporter and alcoholic, sent back to her small hometown in the southeast Missouri Boothill to cover the tragedy unfolding in Wind Gap.

Also, Camille was recently discharged from a psychiatric hospital and is a “cutter”.  It’s especially painful to watch when she’s carving into her own body!

On a happier note, it’s great seeing Adams and the stunning and sexy Chris Messina together again.

They played a married couple in 2009’s “Julie and Julia”, about chef Julia Child.

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DEMI LOVATO

Since Amy Adams’ character is into “cutting” and in light of singer Demi Lovato’s recent drug overdose, I want to share this information. (Lovato is an admitted “cutter”.)

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There’s a nationally-recognized self-harm help program called S.A.F.E. (Self-Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives.

The toll-free information hotline number is 1-800-DON’T-CUT (366-8288).

“OZARK”

Season 2 of the amazing Netflix series “Ozark” starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, one of my all-time favorites, is less than a month away.

The killer new season premieres August 31st.

The show picked up four Emmy nominations including one for Bateman for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.  Both Bateman and Linney are nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards!

In the new trailer, it’s chilling when Wendy says, “We do not kill people.”

FUN LIQUOR BOTTLES 

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AND, I DEFINITELY WANT TO TRY….

these Ketel One flavors:  Peach & Orange Blossom, Grapefruit & Rose, and Cucumber & Mint.

I just have to catch them on sale!

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“GOD’S OWN COUNTRY”

You can watch this stunning English drama on Netflix starring Englishman Josh O’Connor and Romanian Alec Secareanu.

O’Connor plays Johnny, a young man living with his father and grandmother on the family farm in northern England.  Johnny now has more responsibility after his father’s stroke.

He leads a lonely existence and drowns his sorrows in alcohol and cheap, meaningless sex.

The family hires Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant worker, for the upcoming lambing season and sparks begin to fly between the two young men.

But, can Johnny admit his feelings for Gheorghe and come out to his family that may or may not be accepting?

O’Connor won the British Independent Film Award for Best Actor beating out his co-star for the honor.

GRADE: B+

“THE CROWN”

By the way, O’Connor was just cast to play Prince Charles in seasons 3 and 4 of the incredible Netflix series, “The Crown”, which returns in 2019.

“BORG VS. McENROE”

As a teenager, I played tennis by returning volleys against my grandparent’s garage.  Bjorn Borg did the same thing in Sweden.  Guess which one became one of the greatest tennis players of all time? 🙂

I remembered being glued to the television for the 1980 Wimbledon final between Borg and John McEnroe.

Borg was going for his fifth consecutive Wimbledon final.  Believe it or not, at the time, I had pride in my country and was rooting for McEnroe.

But, after seeing the incredible and nail-biting “Borg vs. McEnroe”, in retrospective, I would have rooted for Borg all the way!

Sverrir Gudnason plays Borg and Shia LaBeouf plays McEnroe.

GRADE:  A

WHAT?  NEVER PLAYED TENNIS???

Swedish actor (of Icelandic origin) Sverrir Gudnason plays Borg in “Borg vs. McEnroe” and he’s absolutely gorgeous and captivating!

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When the soon-to-be 40-year-old landed the role, here’s what he had to say, “I had never even been on a tennis court in my life and I didn’t just learn to play tennis, I learned to play tennis like Bjorn Borg.”  (By the way, he plays Borg at 26-years-old!)

Gudnason’s next big role comes this November as Mikael Blomkvist in “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”, the second movie in the Millennium series following “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2009/2011).

FORMER “REBA” STAR GOES TO BAT FOR OUR TEAM!

Some of you may know Steve Howey from “Shameless”.  I know him from playing Van Montgomery, Reba’s son-in-law on the WB/CW comedy, “Reba”, from 2001-2006.

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The straight, married father of twins shocked some and confused many when he tweeted four words, “I’m gay and proud”.

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Howey, who isn’t gay, says “My whole point was to be a champion, a supporter, of the movement.  I can say it and have no problem with it.  If you are, be proud and say it.  I’m just here to hold the flag up and say I’m in support.  If that helps you come out or say it with pride, that’s all my intention was.”

Howey goes on to tell “The Advocate” (June/July 2018), “If it’s difficult to come out of the closet in Los Angeles, it’s got to be f*cking terrifying in Des Moines, Iowa; or Boulder, Colorado.”

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

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It’s Not Too Early For Christmas Thoughts

So, Christmas is now less than three months away!

That should come as no surprise because I saw Christmas decorations in the “seasonal” aisle at Walgreen’s with the Halloween costumes and candy this past weekend!

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The good news is that we’re going to be seeing very warm temperatures for this first weekend of autumn in the Quad Cities and across much of the country.

But, now that I’ve mentioned Christmas, I want to talk about my favorite holiday of the year!

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The first thing I do is look ahead to see what new Christmas albums I want to buy for the season.

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Last year, my favorite Christmas album was “Snow Globe” by Erasure.

Erasure is my favorite band and this week, they just released a fantastic new dance album called “The Violet Flame” and I’m excited to see them in concert in Chicago next weekend, October 4th.

My other two favorite Christmas albums last year were “Wrapped In Red” by Kelly Clarkson and “Christmas, With Love” by Leona Lewis.

Idina Holiday Wishes

Idina Menzel, who had huge success last year with the motion picture and soundtrack, “Frozen”, and the hit “Let It Go”, is releasing her first Christmas album in mid-October.

It was produced by Grammy Award-winner Walter Afanasieff, who has worked with Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey, Josh Groban, and so many more.

The track list reportedly includes “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, “A Holly Jolly Christmas”, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and many more classics and non-traditional songs.

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Seth MacFarlane is behind some of the biggest shows on television (“Family Guy” and “The Cleveland Show”), the blockbuster movie, “Ted”, and, in 2013, he hosted the Oscars.

He also sings!  In 2011, he released “Music Is Better Than Words”, an amazing jazz album and on September 30th, his first Christmas album, “Holiday For Swing” comes out.

It’ll feature holiday standards like “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, plus many other classics.

MacFarlane gets some assistance from Norah Jones and Sara Bareilles (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”).

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Jim Brickman is one of the best-selling pianist of all-time and he’s collected 27 hits on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts!

Not only is he his getting his latest collection of Christmas songs ready for release on October 7th, but he’ll be playing at the Adler Theatre in Davenport, Iowa, on December 28th!

“On A Winter’s Night” features appearances from John Oates and Kenny Rogers and holiday classics like “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, “Blue Christmas”, and “Away In The Manger”.

Also, the album will have many less familiar tunes.

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I also love writing out Christmas cards to my friends across the country and I always look forward to the new Christmas stamp selections.  This year, the United States Postal Service will celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” with a stamp.

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But, the ones that I’m going to purchase are called “Winter Fun Contemporary Christmas”.  Those definitely look fun!

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And, I’m still deciding on what flavor cheesecake to make this year.

A couple of years ago, I made a red velvet cheesecake for Christmas.  While it was beautiful and tasty, I want something new and exciting this year.

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Finally, my Christmas shopping list is smaller this year because Ray, Gretel, Tammy and I are getting away before the holidays for some fun in the sun and on the high seas.  That is our gift to each other this year.

So, in honor of that, here’s a little less wintry-sounding Christmas song.

Merry Christmas!  Oh wait, that’s still about three months away.

Anthony

I Don’t Need a Factory For Cheesecake

As you know, I love movies, music, fun potent potables, buffets, and desserts.

A couple of Christmases ago, I asked Santa for cheesecake pans and I ended up getting five!  Springform pans are the best!

Well, after the Christmas generosity, it still took me about more than a year-and-a-half before I ventured to make my first cheesecake.

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In July 2012, I made a Lemon Cheesecake when we invited our friends Vickie and Eric, and Tom, Katy, and Lena over for dinner.

Since I had never made a cheesecake before, I didn’t know it should have been a red flag when the recipe called for almost as much instant pudding mix as it did cream cheese.  While the cake was good and tasted very lemony, the texture was not creamy.  It was more chewy!

GRADE:  C

Months later, for Thanksgiving, I decided to make a Sweet Potato-Pecan Cheesecake.

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This one called for all cream cheese and no pudding mix.  It turned out very nice, but I didn’t like the rubbery crust.  However, I was following the directions.

GRADE:  A-

On Christmas Eve, after getting back home around midnight from our western Caribbean cruise, flying back from New Orleans to St. Louis to Chicago, and driving back from Chicago, I made a Red Velvet Cheesecake before we went to bed.

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This one was almost perfect and was amazing.  The only problem was the crust.  The recipe had a typo in it and I didn’t catch it.  It called for so much butter in the crust that I ended adding so many more crushed chocolate cookies and who knows how many more calories just to soak up the butter.

Once I find this recipe, I’ll post it.  It’s worth making.

GRADE:  A

And, just this past weekend, I made my best cheesecake ever for us and for our friends Andy and Michelle, Chloe, Steve, Cassy, and Maddy.

Okay, this cheesecake was the best of the four that I’ve made.

It was a Citrus-Cranberry Cheesecake and the crust (graham crackers, sugar, and butter) turned out perfect.  That will be my new standard.

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GRADE:  A+

Anthony

Spontaneous “Thanksgiving” Thoughts

Happy Black Friday to you!!  Are you having fun?

In my “Fringe”-inspired parallel universe, it’s still Thanksgiving for us since we’re cooking today.

My biggest contribution to our feast is finished.  My “Sweet Potato Pecan Cheesecake” turned out beautifully.  I can’t wait until noon to sample it.

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Ray is making the pretty and very dead turkey.

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With about two hours left to bake, here’s what “Tom Turkey” looks like.

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And, here is the final product.

Our Turkey 2012

My sister is making the dressing, green beans with ham, and deviled eggs.  Okay, she called them “scrambled deviled eggs” because she dropped them.  I’m not sure I’ll try those. 🙂

WE’RE CHRISTMASING, TOO

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While we’re cooking, we’re listening to the angelic voice of Faith Hill and her 2008 Christmas CD, “Joy To The World”.

Santa Ray did some shopping online for Miss Gretel and I bought the movie “Rock of Ages”, season two of “Justified”, and Blake Shelton’s “Cheers, It’s Christmas”, all on sale and for free.  I used my birthday money from my mother-and-father-in-law, Donna and Ray.

WHAT, IT’S SNOWING????

Speaking of the in-laws, we’re heading to Fort Dodge later today until Sunday for Thanksgiving.

While it’s very breezy in the Quad Cities with variable clouds, light snow is falling in Mason City, Iowa, and it’s only 18° at mid-morning.  Closer to Fort Dodge, there are some snow flurries.  “Tis the season!

My friends, have a great Thanksgiving weekend.  Worry with the weight gain Monday.  I’m not counting calories this weekend.

Love,

Anthony

Oh No, He’s Thinking About Random Things

Most of my blogs are specific to one topic.  However, every once in a while, I like to do what I call a “this and that” blog where I write a little bit about whatever I’m thinking about it.  So, continue reading and enjoy.

HEALTHY EATING

I’ve talked quite a bit in the past about the success that Ray and I are having with losing the weight we’ve gained over the past three years.  He lost about 30 pounds and I dropped 25.

When we went to his high school reunion two weekends ago, we ate whatever we wanted and didn’t count calories.  And, once we returned home, we haven’t been too diligent about eating healthy and it shows.  Since dropping back to 142.6 pounds, I’ve gained six of the pounds back and I lack motivation to lose them.

However, since Thursday was Miss Gretel’s first day back at school (look at how cute she is),

we took her to lunch at my favorite place, Osaka Buffet, in Moline.

I pigged out and since Ray’s birthday is this weekend, we got him a cheesecake.

After that, I’m determined to get back on track , drop those pounds, and maintain a weight of 145.  I’ve indulged long enough and now it’s time to work it off.  Bad boy!

THOUGHT PROVOKING?

TOO SOON TO THINK ABOUT FALL?

With the recent cool weather, I’m really been thinking about and blogging about fall.  I can’t wait to wear long sleeve pullover shirts and pajama bottoms, curl up on the couch as the days get shorter and the nights get longer, make soups and chili as it turns cooler, and watch the trees and peppers turn colors.

Here’s a picture from last fall with Miss ABBA enjoying her rawhide in a neighborhood yard decked out for Halloween.

NUCLEAR POWER

The world’s population is growing at an alarming rate and the same is happening in the United States.  The population in the U.S. is roughly 314 million.  That’s up from 281 million in 2000 — up about 11% in just 12 years.  With the price of coal, gas, and oil continuing to rise, I hope that we seriously starting considering alternative sources before it’s too late.

I stand behind nuclear energy, as does the president and about 70% of Americans polled, and I would not be opposed to living near a new reactor.  The United States has more nuclear reactors in operation than any other country in the world.  In March 2011, “Time” magazine stated that there were 104 in the United States and they supply 20% of the power in the country.  Several of those are located in Iowa and Illinois.  Yet, the last new reactor went into service in the U.S. in 1996.

Yes, we’ve heard the horror stories about Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979, which was the worst accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant history.

And, then in March 2011, the 9.0 earthquake and the tsunami that followed in Japan destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.  According to a June 2012 Standford University study, the radiation released could cause 130 deaths from cancer (the lower boundary for the estimate being 15 and the upper boundary at 1100) and 180 cancer cases (the lower boundary being 24 and the upper boundary 1800), mostly in Japan. Radiation exposure to workers at the plant was projected to result in 2 to 12 deaths.

I know that we can build nuclear power plants that would be safe from tsunamis in the United States, but the biggest problem will be the cost.  That is followed by the fear of nuclear plants.

NEW MUSIC THAT I’M INTO NOW

22-year-old German DJ/producer Zedd (Anton Zaslavski), who has opened for Lady Gaga on her “Born This Way Ball” Tour and remixed her hits, “Born This Way” and “Marry The Night” is now climbing the American charts with his first hit featuring singer Matthew Koma,  “Spectrum”.

“Spectrum” just hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart this week holding Madonna’s “Turn Up The Radio” at #2.  Madonna should top that chart next week and that will be her 43rd #1 dance hit, extending her lead over Janet Jackson in second place with 19.

Check out this amazing remix with Far East Movement, who scored at #1 hit in 2010 with “Like A G6”.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

Patrick Abner (left) and MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts are getting married this fall.  The couple met 12 years ago on September 30th.  I hope they choose that date to get married because I know another couple that will be celebrating their one year marriage anniversary on that same date! 🙂

I’M READY FOR MY VACATION SEASON TO START

It’s no secret that I love being a meteorologist, but I’m not shy about loving my time off, too.  Mom (Betty) is coming in a few weeks, we’re heading to Houston at the end of September, and then to Las Vegas to see Madonna for my birthday in October.

I’m excited about a few movies this fall and the first three I want to see are “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (limited release — September 21, 2012), “The Paperboy” (limited release — October 5, 2012), and while in Vegas, I want to see “Argo”  on opening day (October 12, 2012).

RECOMMENDED ALBUM

I bought a new album, “Hello” by Karmin, that I love.

It only has seven songs, but Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan are so hip and fun that the album will take you by surprise.

They’ve already scored a #1 dance hit, “Brokenhearted”, that reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Their new release, “Hello” is already racing up the top 40 and dance charts.

Both Amy and Nick have great voices and the music is fun.  However, what will really surprise you is that Nebraska-born Amy can rap with the best of them.  Watch out Nicki Minaj!

GRADE:  A-

AND, THE FINALE

Since I’ve ruffled a few feathers in the recent past!

Peace out!

Anthony