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Oh, Fudge!

5 Dec

You Can Do It

The first sweet treat on the mind this Holiday season is fudge. It’s creamy, it’s delicious, and it’s simple to make.

The first recipe I’m going to show you has been a family secret for generations. My great grandmother passed it down to me, and her grandmother to her. And as they say, things only get better with age. Now, I’m here to pass this amazing peanut butter fudge recipe onto you.

Fudge is surprisingly easy to make. This recipe has little ingredients and does not require a lot of prep or cook time. Any one can do it, so give it a try!

Ingredients

¾ Cups milk

2 Cups sugar

½ TSP Cream of tartar

1 TSP Vanilla Extract

2 Giant Spoonfuls of Peanut Butter

Directions

  1. Combine the milk, sugar, and tartar in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk until incorporated.
  3. Stir occasionally till it comes to a soft boil.
  4. Add room-temperature water to a clear container, then perform the softball test. (See video to learn how.)
  5. Once the mixture sticks, quickly add in the vanilla and peanut butter.
  6. Whisk until smooth.
  7. Pour into unprepared pie tin or desired shape.
  8. It will harden as it cools, no need to refrigerate.

Nutrition Conscious

For a lower calorie and lower fat option, try substituting skim milk for the regular milk. You could also try mixing real sugar with an artificial sweetener to create a blend. This should not interfere with the cooking process.

There are other fudge recipes that require no sugar at all. See here for the recipe.

Or, if a guest or family member has diabetes, try this amazing diabetes appropriate fudge recipe.

If Fudge doesn’t interest you, try these other recipes instead, here and here.

Bake away the Holidays

30 Nov

Sam’s Secret Butterscotch Cookies

These cookies are as delicious as they look.

These cookies are as delicious as they look.

Make an impression

Let’s be honest here, the Holidays has a fair amount of competition. Who has the best lights? Who can bake the best desserts? Who wore the best Holiday sweater?

This Holiday season, blow the competition away with this amazing cookie recipe I came up with, and, if adding on a few pounds during the holidays is a worry, see the bottom of the post for the lower calorie and fat option.

 Ingredients

2 Cups Brown Sugar

6 TBSP Sugar

1 Cup Butter

2 Eggs

1 TSP Vanilla Extract

1 TSP Salt

1 TSP Baking Soda

1 TSP Baking Powder

3 ½ Cups All-Purpose Flour

Butterscotch Chips or Preferred Flavor

Step-by-Step

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
  3. Combine sugars and soft butter in a large bowl or mixer and blend until smooth.
  4. Whip in the eggs.
  5. Mix in the vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until smooth.
  6. Add in the flour gradually until incorporated.
  7. Mix in the chips.
  8. Use a spoon or ice cream scoop to place the dough on the prepared tray.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes or until done.
  10. Allow to cool before enjoying or decorating.

For some extra flare, melt dipping chocolate and drizzle or dunk the cookies once cool.

Full Calories vs. Reduced

The batch will wield about 24 cookies, and has 5,888 calories and 262 grams of fat. That means approximately 245 calories and 11 grams of fat per cookie.

Substitute

  1. 2 eggs for ½ cup egg whites.
  2. 2 cups brown sugar for 1 cup of brown sugar Splenda mix.
  3. 6 TBSP sugar for 3 TBSP Splenda.
  4. 1 cup I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter for butter.

These changes will lower the calories to 4,403 and the fat to 193 grams. That is equivalent to 183 calories and 8.25 grams of fat per cookie. Below is a breakdown of the high calorie and fat dense ingredients. (Numbers courtesy of the USDA.)

 Ingredient Calories Fat (Grams)
2 Eggs

½ Cup Egg Whites

144

62

9.6

0.2

6 TBSP Sugar

3 TBSP Splenda

288

0

0

0

2 Cups Brown Sugar

1 Cup Splenda Brown Sugar

1,102

480

0

0

1 Cup Butter

1 Cup I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter

1,627

1,134

184

129.6

Cathedral accused of housing ghosts

7 Nov

The legend

St. Marks Episcopal Church has been situated at 1908 Central Avenue since 1886, when it became Cheyenne’s first Anglican church. It was not completed, however, till 1924 when the bell tower was finally completed.

As legend has it, during the original construction of the tower, two immigrant workers were hired for their impressive skills. One worker fell to his death, and, fearing blame and deportation, the other worker sealed the body into the wall of the tower. Once the construction restarted almost 40 years later, there were accounts of weird activity and the construction had to be stopped and restarted several more times. The workers even created a hidden room for the spirit, which seemed to appease the fallen worker.

Supposedly, whispering and hammering can be heard from within the church, especially the tower. There has also been allegations that a pipe organ, which was removed years ago, has been heard and the bell has rung when no one was inside.

For more on the ghostly history, see here.

My experience

I was blown away immediately when I walked into the church. It felt warm and inviting, very far from the stories I had heard.

I walked around and inside the building with my EMF reader, and it didn’t pick up anything. I didn’t hear anything unusual either, but I was not allowed in the tower where most of the stories came from. It is currently boarded off because the stairs are unstable.

The church is also no longer condoning the allegations. In the past, they had allowed haunted tours and advertised their church in this way. Now, they feel it is a bad image and refuse to acknowledge the allegations.

First person account

One Halloween, a psychic Lou Wright tried to stay the night in the tower. Ms. Wright said she immediately felt an unfriendly presence, saw unexplainable lights, and heard strange noises. She even said a strange substance oozed from the floors. She promptly fled the building after hearing from a strange voice, “Get out of here while you still have your mind!”

She later speculated that the spirit was not malicious, just angry that somebody was trespassing in his tower. Read more about her experience here.

Figure seen in school’s window

24 Oct

The Legend

The Deming Elementary School, located on715 W Fifth Street, isn’t as innocent as it seems, according to legends. Throughout the years I have heard countless rumors from friends, and friends of friends, who used to attend the elementary school. They tell of the old man who roams the building.

People have reported lights flickering from within the school at night, clanging noises, and the most surprising of all is the rumor that a man’s figure can be seen next your own reflection if you look into a window at night, according to Americanghoststories.com.

This entity is the apparition of a man who died in the furnace room. The building has been around since 1945, so it is not unlikely that a death has occurred on the premises.

First Person Account

Aaron Nowotny, a former student at Deming, said, “I swear I saw a ghost there once. It was a man’s figure in the window, and he was behind me, but when I turned around there was nothing there. I’ve believed in ghosts ever since.” When I asked Nowotny if it could have been childhood imagination, he insisted it was real.

He has no account of seeing flickering lights or hearing strange clanking noises, however.

My Investigation

My research into the supposed death that occurred there turned up nothing. I could find no records, obituaries, or newspaper articles on the subject.

Armed with my EMF reader and an open mind I ventured to the school at 10 p.m. to test the rumors anyway. The reader didn’t pick up any activity as I walked the perimeter of the school. I also did not see any flickering or hear any noises besides the gravel crunching under my feet.

My last test was to try and see the apparition for myself. I found a large enough window to capture my reflection; and I closed my eyes; and I waited; and there was nothing. Listen below for my reaction as it was happening.

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My Conclusion

  • No EMF detected
  • Saw no flickering lights
  • Heard no clanking
  • No apparition appeared in the window
  • No evidence that the death occurred
  • Probably not haunted

Plains Hotel haunted by entities

10 Oct

Ghost stories

The Plains Hotel has been around for 103 years, and in that time quite a few entities have attached themselves to the building. According to legends, of course.

The first deaths occurred shortly after the hotel was established. A newlywed couple stayed in a second story room for their honeymoon. It was cut short, however, when she discovered him with a prostitute. The new wife, Rose, distraught with grief, shot the two in the prostitutes room on the fourth floor, went back to the honeymoon suit on the second floor and killed herself as well. Witnesses have seen all three haunting the halls, Rose on the second floor in a blue gown, her husband in his wedding attire all over the hotel, and the prostitute in a revealing red dress with white lace is seen along the second floor. Wailing, laughter and crying come from the old honeymoon suite, even when it is empty.

Two jumpers still haunt their rooms. The first is a mystery. It has been argued whether the person was pushed, or jumped. Little is really known, however. But occupants of room 444 have experienced moving furniture, a sudden smell of cigar smoke, self-powering appliances, and doors that seem to lock by themselves.  The second was 43-year-old Fern Blaylock. This former model was under the influence of Veronal, a common pharmaceutical drug at the time. She fell out of the window in room 530. Most believe it was suicide, but some theories suggest her ex-husband pushed her. The manager reports continuous 911 calls coming from her room 80 years after her death. Even when the phone was removed, the calls continued for several more days before stopping.

An eight year old boy fell to his death from the old elevator shaft. It has also been rumored that he may have instead been accidentally hit with a pipe in the basement and died that way. Either way, the blonde boy has been seen in the basement and playing in the lobby.

Other scattered tales exist here and there of a mysterious translucent cowboy, a ghost that moves sheets in the basement, a mysterious old woman sewing in the basement, maids items being rearranged on their carts near room 310, a sighing ghost in the second story female bathroom and humming that refuses to be ignored.

My experience

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After a wonderful meal at the restaurant inside the hotel, The Capitol Grille, the employees allowed me to venture into the basement. The dimly lit labyrinth of laundry facilities and assorted random objects smelled of mildew and dust. Despite the space being in use by the kitchen staff, laundry and maintenance the space was still cluttered with old broken doors, obsolete cash registers, Christmas decorations, building supplies and an assortment of dusty furniture. Pipes leaked and the walls seemed to be crumbling around me.

The basement has several long corridors and various pitch black rooms. Each seemed to have invisible eyes staring at me as I walked past. The ambiance of the place was enough to make anyone shudder.

That being said, I did not experience any real activity besides the feeling of being watched. No noises were out-of-place, and nothing was out of the ordinary in the basement as well as in the hotel itself. The kitchen crew stated that they had not experienced anything out of the ordinary before, but had heard stories from other employees about noises, sightings, and moved objects.

Hotel facts

  • Built in 1911
  • Western style
  • Named after “The Magic City of the Plains”
  • Built and designed by William Dubois
  • Renovated in 1930 and 2002
  • Visited by Richard Nixon, Harry Truman, Ronald Regan, and more

‘The Maze Runner’ captivates audiences

26 Sep

maze runner poster

A Brief Overview (No Spoilers!)

The Maze Runner is a 2014 film by director Wes Ball. The Maze Runner is about a dystopian future where a handful of teen boys are trapped inside a maze. In the middle of this maze is their home, which they call the Glade. It may seem boring, but throw in some crazy maze monsters, called Grievers, and some angst and we have a pretty decent flick.

The story wastes no time and jumps right into the action. The protagonist, later known as Thomas, is immediately thrust into the Glade from an elevator shaft from underground. The opening scene leaves audiences just as confused and heart heavy as Thomas, who remembers nothing but his name. We find that this is the same with the other Glade residents.

Pretty soon after the initial shock of the first few scenes questions start to be answered and the world begins to make a little more sense as Thomas gets the tour and learns the rules. However, before long he breaks a few laws, makes some enemies, and is rewarded with becoming a Runner. During this time a girl arrives in the shaft with a mysterious note that changes everything. The story then unfolds as the teens battle Grievers, the maze, and even themselves in the ultimate plight to escape the treacherous maze.

 To the Book Lovers

This movie is based off of the first book in the Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner. The second book is called the Scorch Trials and the third, the Death Cure. A prequel called the Kill Order also exists. The reading level for these is under college level, but a good read nonetheless.

I have read these titles in the past and am pleased to say the first movie did the book justice. Of course, this has to be taken with a grain of salt considering it is practically impossible to have a movie and a book be identical. They were close enough to not have me or others mumbling angrily under our breaths during the movie. A few details and some scenes were left out, and some new ones added. Nothing major, however. Overall, I’d say that if you were a fan of the books it is safe to watch the movie and vice versa.

 The Good and the Bad

So, I have to start by saying that this film came loaded with some cheesiness. It was difficult to take the movie seriously sometimes because it was just too clichéd. This was only at a few scenes, however, so it didn’t draw from the overall product too much. Some cheese is essential for a good movie, anyway.

This film had the perfect amount of suspense without leaving viewers too lost. The immediate questions were answered quickly, which was a relief. This left viewers in the same shoes as the Gladers and totally absorbed into the film. The bigger questions were saved till the end and even some new ones introduced to keep people waiting anxiously for a second movie without leaving them confused or mad.

The acting is decent. The main character Thomas is played by Dylan O’Brien. For any Teen Wolf fans, this is a good reason to see the movie by itself. The cast isn’t exactly star studded, but actors like Will Poulter (Gally) and Thomas Sangster (Newt) have been seen in some popular titles before like We’re the Millers and Game of Thrones respectively.