Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pray-leen, Praw-line or Prah-lean

The word for today is "praline". No other spelling other than p-r-a-l-i-n-e. How you pronounce it is an entirely different and somewhat debatable subject matter. Pray-leen, praw-line or prah-lean? In the good ol' USA, the most acceptable pronunciation is "pray-leen". You know...just like something you do in church. Along the East Coast of Georgia, it's pronounced "praw-line" if you please. In Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast, the tendency leans more toward the southern “prah-leen” because of the French cultural influence in the area. The candy's namesake after all is du Plessis-Praslin, a 17th century French nobleman. No matter how you pronounce it, praline candy makes for a mighty fine treat.

June 24...
National Pralines Day

Take a really close look at the image above...a closer look! At first glance you might think you are seeing a chunk of praline candy but it actually more closely resembles a hunk of pecan brittle. Let your eyes scan down pass the glazed pecans on top and focus solely on the bottom upon which the sugary goodness rests. Yep! That's not candy at all but fish. Not just any fish but succulent salmon! Of course, another giveaway is the roasted asparagus to the left and brown rice on the right. Don't think anyone would serve a portion of praline candy as the main course meat. Last I heard candy is not considered a meat substitute. Want the recipe? Click HERE for Praline-Glazed Salmon...

What IS praline?
For those who’ve enjoyed pralines from the U.S. state of Louisiana, one source reports this candy being primarily a melted blend of sugars, butter, cream and pecans. Another basically describes praline as caramelized sugar with toasted nuts developed in the 17th Century in France. Differing from the US version, in France, pralines are made with almonds or hazelnuts. When French settlers brought the recipe to Louisiana, pecans were substituted for the almonds and  cream added to the sugar syrup.
Is praline the same as brittle?

Click the image for an even different recipe

Pecan Pralines

1 lb. brown sugar
1/8 t. salt
3/4 c. evaporated milk
1 T. butter
2 c. pecan halves
Mix sugar, salt, milk and butter in a saucepan.  Cook over high heat until sugar dissolves.  Add pecans, and cook to soft ball stage.  Cool for 5 minutes.  Stir until thick and starting to coat pecans.  Drop by spoonful onto foil or parchment paper.  If mixture hardens too soon, stir in small amounts of hot water.
Click image for Pecan Brittle

Peanut Brittle

2 c. sugar
1 c. white corn syrup
1/2 c. water
2 c. raw Spanish peanuts
1 T. butter
1 t. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
In large saucepan, cook sugar, syrup and water to hard ball stage.  Add peanuts and cook until golden brown.  Add butter and vanilla.  Stir until well mixed.  Add soda and stir well.  Do not stir too long after adding soda.  Pour into buttered 10 x 15 x 1 jellyroll pan.  Yield:  2 pounds.

As with any foodie celebration, there are many adaptations for a classic recipe.

~Recipe Time~

Southern Pecan Praline Cake Recipe
 Cinnamon Honey Butter Praline Cupcakes Recipe
Hazelnut Praline Cupcakes Recipe
 Pecan Praline Pie Recipe
 Pecan Jellyroll Cake with Praline Mousse Recipe
 Pecan Praline Bites Recipe
  Pecan Praline Tart Recipe
Pecan Praline Cookies Recipe
 Praline Ice Cream Cake Recipe
If you rather watch a video, here are but a few...
Oh, my! I DO pray-leen, praw-line & prah-lean!

Women of the Wild West

Today's History Lesson...a look into the Women of the American West
"These women of the Wild West shot down the view that life as a female pioneer was about cooking, sewing, cleaning and caring for children." ~Women of the Wild West

When we study or reflect back on historical events, we do not necessarily examine only what happened on that particular day. Everywhere in the history books at some point in time lies a piece of someone's story. In the stories of the wild, wild West lie many phenomenal women...the nonconforming women, those who were mavericks, loners, adventurers, eccentrics with a will to stand on their own and stronger will to survive. It took guts for women to traverse cross country often leaving behind an aristocratic Eastern life of high society settling for a much different way of life in the Western Frontier. At the heart of their adventure was always a true love!

Celia Ann "Mattie" Blaylock

Mattie Blaylock was a farm girl from Iowa with large bones and a fine face. Not long after going West, she was working in Dodge City as a dance hall girl. She did okay, but like most girls on the line she wanted to find the right guy and leave that way of life. She met a local police officer and moved in with him. She was happy to be off the streets. He soon tired of the low pay of police work and became a bartender, gambling on the side. He bought Mattie a mine with his winnings and named it 'The Mattie Blaylock.' They traveled together as man and wife, following the gambling circuit. It was good for quite a while, but then things went south in their relationship, and he left her for another woman. She eventually took her own life. 
The man: Wyatt Earp The other woman...

 Josephine "Sadie" Marcus

A smolderingly good-looking woman born in 1861, Josephine Marcus came to Tombstone, Arizona, while touring with a theater group performing Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. The proposal to marry sheriff John Behan did not work out. When she met Wyatt Earp, they reportedly fell in love. This young lady was supposedly the reason behind the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral -- a 30-second flurry of gunfire involving Wild West superstars Doc Holliday, the Clayton Brothers, and the Earps. She passed away in 1944 and claimed until her dying day that Wyatt Earp was her one and only true love.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calamity_JaneMartha "Calamity Jane" Canary

Born Martha Jane Canary in Missouri around 1856, Jane was a sharpshooter by the time she was a young woman. She received her nickname, Calamity Jane, when she rescued an army captain in South Dakota after their camp was attacked by Native Americans. Jane was said to be a whiskey-drinking, "don't-mess-with-me" kind of gal. She is reported to have saved the lives of six stagecoach passengers in 1876 when they were attacked by Native Americans, and she joined Buffalo Bill's show in the mid-1890s. Though she married a man named Burk at age 33, when Jane died in 1903, she asked to be buried next to Wild Bill Hickok. Rumor has it that Hickok was the only man she ever loved.

                                   Belle Starr

Myra Maybelle Shirley Reed Starr was born in Carthage, Missouri in 1848. Frank & Jesse James's gang hid out at her family's farm when she was a kid, thus, her first introduction to outlaw life. Later, when her husband Jim Reed shot a man, the two went on the run, robbing banks and counterfeiting. In 1866, Belle met outlaw Cole Younger, who arrived with the James-Younger Gang. Younger would later deny their love affair, Belle obviously kept him in her heart naming her ranch in Indian Territory Younger’s Flats. Starr wore feathers in her hair, buckskins & a pistol on each hip. Riding her horse in 1889 she was shot in the back -- whether accident or murder remains a mystery.

Jennie Rogers

http://activerain.trulia.com/blogsview/2130797/historic-homes-of-denver--historic-homes-and-buildings---jennie-rogers---the-house-of-mirrors One of Denver, Colorado's most successful "Madams" in the 1880s was Jennie Rogers who built a 2 story building at 1942 Market St that became a luxury brothel called the "House of Mirrors". Standing 6 feet tall, Jennie Rogers never hesitated to use her stature to ruthlessly intimidate and blackmail Denver businessmen and she had a temper. When she caught her lover, Jack Wood, in the arms of another woman, Jennie shot him. She said she shot him because she loved him, and sure enough, when Jack recovered, she married him. 

Annie Oakley

A great deal of myth surrounds the lives of the women of the Wild West. "Little Sure Shot", as Annie Oakley was called, perhaps is the least overblown with only the 1950s television series presenting her corralling criminals on a regular basis. Oakley killed regularly but the hunt was for game to earn money, she paid off the mortgage on her family's farm in Darke County, Ohio by the age of 15. In 1875, she outshot 25 year old Frank Butler, the professional sharpshooter with a traveling show. Frank and Annie fell in love and married less than a year later. The couple traveled for years with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show. After a career which included performing for European royalty, Annie was injured in a train crash in 1901. She returned to the stage continuing to win shooting contests into her declining years.

Want more to their story?

  12 Renowned Women of the Wild West

6 Wild Women of the Wild West 

Wild West Legendary Women


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"In the pink"...

"In the pink"...an expression that has been around for centuries. The general usage of the phrase has shifted somewhat since its inception. Most contribute its meaning to feeling good or in the best of health. That, however, is not how it got its start. 
The earliest citations of 'in the pink' are from the 16th century and, at that time, the meaning was 'the very pinnacle of something', but not necessarily limited to health. The earliest example that I can find of pink being used with that meaning is from 1597 Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, 1597...
Source: Phrase Dictionary
So, what does this tidbit of information have to do with what's happenin' on this day?

June 23 is...

National Pink Day


National Pink Day is a pinnacle of a day where everything should be basking in pink splendor! It's especially a day for the ladies, as pink is usually a girl's color, but guys don't have to feel left out. Tough guys wear pink! Did you know 'pink for girls' and 'blue for boys' is NOT how color gender started? In fact, it was just the opposite...
A June 1918 article from the trade publication Earnshaw's Infants' Department said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”
Source: Smithsonian.com

Pink Tie and Tales

Victorian era sports teams used variants of pink. In the expansion of private (now public) schools in England, there was a great deal of competition for school uniforms to have pink trimming. Pink mother-of-pearl cufflinks were all the rage, as were pink cravats, even suits. Pink became associated with girls - little girls at that - in the 60s, since which time, men's fashions have included pink, like the 80s. 

There is another connection to the color pink, a most important connection. Pink, symbolized by a pink ribbon, is aimed at raising breast cancer awareness. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month but an additional date has been added to the calendar for the aforementioned purpose. NationalPink Day serves as a reminder to everyone about the importance of breast health and to encourage people to play an active role in raising awareness.

On National Pink Day, wear your favorite pink! But, the pink doesn't have to be centered on just what to wear. There are a plethora of choices, which below you will find a few complete with recipe or source links.

Enjoy a Pink Lemonade!

Indulge in a Strawberry Donut!


Have a 'pink' of a day!

Enjoy your pink and eat it , too (or drink it)!

♫The 12 Year Old Genius♫

Some of our most awesome bands and musicians began their musical career at early ages. Many accompany their talented parents and/or siblings or have proteges that guide them along the way. Today's spotlight shines on a child prodigy blinded as a result of receiving too much oxygen in the incubator as a premature baby. Raised in inner-city Detroit, he was a skilled musician by the age of 8 years old. His first instrument was a harmonica given to him by his uncle, he would later be given a set of toy drums. Have you seen him play the drums? Amazing, absolutely amazing! Then, he mastered the piano! He was just 11 years old when he was discovered by Ronnie White of the Motown band the Miracles.

Welcome into the Spotlight...


"Little" Stevie Wonder Born Steveland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950, in Saginaw, Michigan, he was newly name "Little Stevie Wonder" in 1962. Stevie Wonder's early gift for music shone first with a church choir in Detroit, Michigan, where he and his family had settled when he was 4 years old. As mentioned in the beginning, he amazed everyone with a bevy of instruments, including the harmonica, drums, and piano, all of which he taught himself before age 10.

Working with a Motown songwriter, Wonder's debut album, Little Stevie Wonder the 12 Year Old Genius was released that same year. 
After dropping "Little" from his stage name in 1964, he churned out the successful single "Uptight (Everything's Alright)."
Today in music history takes us back to the year...
1963 13 year-old Little Stevie Wonder first entered the US singles chart as Little Stevie Wonder with 'Fingertips Parts One and Two'. 'Fingertips' which featured a young Marvin Gaye on drums was the first live, non-studio recording to reach No.1 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in the United States since Johnny Standley's 1952 comic monologue 'It's in the Book'.

Yes, it actually happened...
1956   Elvis Presley started a three-day run playing 10 shows at the Paramount Theater in Atlanta, Georgia. The stage manager was told; "Pull all white lights. Presley works all in color, Presley act has no encore. When he leaves the stage, immediately close curtains."
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

'Lightning' Dessert

The more than 4 bite éclair!
If already the thought of a chocolate éclair is making you crave this mouth-watering delicate pastry, read on for delightful, delicious, decadent recipes that take you beyond just four bites of pâte à choux and crème pâtissière. Um-m-m-m? Sounds a bit Frenchy. That's because the éclair is a French pastry. Knowing the 'make-up' of the éclair with its gleaming glaze, crispy exterior, hollow soft interior and sweet cream center provides easy translation for those who are not fluent in French: light pastry dough filled with thick, creamy custard.

 Do you dare indulge in an éclair? 
Pastry light as air, cream filling added flair
Naked and bare it does not stay 
with chocolate glaze its mainstay

June 22 is...
National Chocolate Éclair Day

Traditional French Chocolate Éclair Recipe
Éclair is the French word for 'lightning'. It is believed that the pastry received its name because it glistens when coated with confectioner's glaze. Not much is known about the origin of the éclair, but it is generally accepted that it originated in France around the turn of the nineteenth century.
By definition: “A cake, long in shape but short in duration.”

~Recipe Time~

 Chocolate Éclairs with Espresso Cream & Toffee Hazelnuts Recipe

 Chocolate Éclair Cake Recipe

Chocolate Éclair Cupcakes Recipe

Chocolate Éclair Graham Dessert Recipe

Chocolate Éclair in a Jar Recipe

Chocolate Éclair Bars Recipe
For those who rather watch éclairs being made rather than read a recipe...

Now, that's what I call...

yum, yum, yum . . . yummy!