As Hurricane Sandy harasses the East Coast and we are still experiencing warm temperatures here in Southern California, Halloween is almost here and Election Day is soon to follow. But before the ghouls and politicians, there are indulgences to be had.
For your Ears:
Ever since it became available last week, I cannot get enough of Taylor Swift’s new album, Red. She seems to have matured on these sixteen tunes and doesn’t call out any of her exes by name as she has done so frequently in the past. The songs are about the good and the bad of love and relationships. Of course, everyone has already heard the super catchy “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” played endlessly on the radio. “Stay Stay Stay” is equally, if not more, catchy and paints the picture of a relationship where fights may happen, but both participants are committed to not going anywhere. Then there is my favorite of the mellower tunes, “I Almost Do” about the temptation to pick up a relationship that has ended (sample lyric: “And I wish I could run to you/And I hope you know that every time I don’t/I almost do”). Taylor has come a long, long way since her self-titled debut in 2006 and she’s still going full-steam ahead. Now, if she could only control her surprised face.
For your Taste Buds:
Since October is almost over and November is right around the corner, it’s time to recognize the traditional fall flavor: pumpkin. Sorry, Thoughtsy! It seems like everything is flavored with the orange squash (yes, pumpkin is a squash—I looked it up) or at least shaped like it. You’ve got lattes, breads, pie, cheesecake, soups, milkshakes, you name it, it’s pumpkin-flavored. I’ve already indulged in my first piece of pumpkin pie and have purchased the fixin’s for pumpkin bread. I might even make some pumpkin bars again this year. They were a big hit last year and I will be nice enough to share the recipe with all of you.
My Oh My, Not Quite Pumpkin Pie Bars
- 6 tablespoons of melted and cooled butter
- 4 eggs
- ¾ cup canned pumpkin
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 ¾ cup pumpkin bread mix
- 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 jar of pumpkin butter (available at Trader Joe’s)
- 3 tablespoons of milk
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a large bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add pumpkin, 2 eggs, and water until well blended. Slowly add pumpkin bread mix and baking powder. Beat mixture until well blended. Spread batter evenly in a large rectangular (9×13 or larger) buttered and floured baking pan.
In another bowl, beat cream cheese, 1 egg and sugar until creamy and smooth.
Spread pumpkin bread mixture into the baking pan.
In a third bowl, mix together remaining egg, pumpkin butter, and milk using electric mixer.
Alternately drop dollops of the cream cheese and pumpkin butter mixtures over the pumpkin cake batter. Create swirl designs by dragging the knife through the filling.
Bake about 35 minutes until the center of pumpkin batter (not cream cheese mixture) comes clean with a cake tester. Let cool completely in pan. Cut and serve. Refrigerate leftovers.
*Please note: This is not an original recipe, but I can’t remember where I got it which is why there is no credit. Sorry!
For your Enjoyment:
After years of resisting and proclaiming my love for Blackberry, I have finally come to the dark side and gotten an iPhone. And I could kick myself for waiting this long. I never wanted an iPhone because I didn’t like the idea of a touch screen-only phone (my last phone was a Blackberry Torch—touch and keyboard), but over the last few months, I’ve seen an array of cool features and apps that my Blackberry was excluded from. I wanted to play Words with Friends and Angry Birds, take pictures with cool filters through Instagram, and talk to Siri. I just couldn’t do that with my not-as-smart smart phone. I’ve had my new iPhone 5 for three days and am completely in love. It’s faster than any other phone I’ve had, is very user-friendly, and I don’t even miss the buttons. Shame on me for waiting so long to drink the iPhone Kool-Aid.
Enjoy the last few days of October, Wonderlings!