pen rainbow

Monday, May 28, 2012

Friday—The Art Gallery

My latest Photoshop artwork from my online texture class with Kim Klassen


Apollo moonsuit A7L_photo taken on the USS Hornet
25 July 2009_the day we met Buzz Aldrin

Alameda Point_photo taken on the USS Hornet
25 July 2009

CAL Memorial Stadium_20 Nov 1982

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thursday's Mini-Post: Critter BFFs

Animals have BFF's, too!  This vid was taken at Busch Gardens, Tampa, posted 23 December 2011 — Enjoy!  



Wednesday—Good For You, Good For the Home: Graduation Etiquette

dontstealmypen
1980 UC Berkeley, Linguistics
Graduation Gift Etiquette 


It's graduation time!  Whether it is from high school or from college, graduation is an important time in anyone's life.  Little kid graduations are special, too, but they represent childhood accomplishments, and let's face it, those tend to add up.  Growing up is not the same as graduating.  

High school graduation represents a formal transition from childhood.  College graduation represents an achievement at an adult level.  Advanced degrees not only represent the next stage in someone's career, but they signify that the graduate intends to make a serious contribution at a professional level.  All are worthy personal achievements and deserve the proper recogition.

When my kids were graduating from high school, I was pretty clear on graduation etiquette:

A.)  Send out announcements;
B.)  Friends and relatives send back graduation cards and small monetary gifts;
C.)  Thank you notes are returned

dontstealmypen jr. 2006

Easy-peasy!  But, after a while, things started to get complicated.

Questions
•  Should I send grad money to obscure relatives I've never met (e.g. step-children of in-laws)?

•  Are immediate family members (aunts, uncles & grandparents) obligated to send grad money?  If so, how much?

•  What about my old high school pals?  Should I expect my best friends from high school to send cards & money for graduations?  What if they have a lot more kids than I do, and I've never met any of them?  Do each of them get money?  If so, how much?

•  Since I've sent grad money, wedding presents, and baby gifts to the children of friends and relatives for the past several years, shouldn't the friends/relatives reciprocate when my kids graduate?

•  If my adult child doesn't want to send announcements, should I drop hints with the relatives, anyway?

Answers
The safe answer is YES to all of the above, except for the obscure step-in-laws.  In that case, it's in poor taste to send announcements to anyone who really does not have a relationship with the grad or with his/her parent.  But, if there is a congenial, family relationship between the grad and at least one parent, an acknowledgement is in order.  The same goes for long, lost friends with whom you've lost touch.  It's uncool for them to send you a grad announcement, but if they do, you are under no obligation to respond.  If you want to keep the friend, send a card and money, anyway.  Let the value of the friendship guide your response.

I checked various etiquette websites for the basics on graduation gift giving— Emily Post, Miss Manners, Ask.com, College Confidential, Fox Business, eHow, and Yahoo! Voices.  Here's what I came up with:

Proper Etiquette
To Give or Not to Give
There seems to be general agreement that receiving a graduation announcement does not mean that you have to give a gift.  A card without money is a nice acknowledgement—cheap, but nice.  A card with money is really the gracious and more socially acceptable response.

If you receive an invitation to the graduation ceremony or to a grad party, you should give either cash or a small, thoughtful gift, whether you can attend or not.  Why?  Because an invitation to the event is a more personal sentiment than an announcement.  A small bouquet of flowers or a Hawiian lei given at the ceremony, in addition to the gift, is a classy touch when you have a close relationship with the grad.

Don't forget about the graduating boyfriends, girlfriends, and best friends!  Again, the closeness of your relationship to the significant others is what guides the amount.  Just don't give them as much as the grad, if he/she is your family member.

How Much?
$25 is an acceptable amount for a high school grad, $50 if the grad is a close family member or close friend (best friends of your kids, kids you've worked with, nieces & nephews).  There seems to be general agreement that $50 is the acceptable amount for a college graduate, whether you know him/her or not.  For advanced degrees, $100 is appropriate for close family & friends.  

If you're not sure about the amount, consider the relationship that you have with either the grad or with the grad's parent(s).  Think about the message that you'll be sending if you cheap out.  Will it matter if you go with the smaller amount?  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, "Yes, it will."

dontstealmypen high school grad 1975

Rules of Thumb

•  High school grad — $25 if you don't know the grad that well; $50 for close family & friends
•  College grad — $50 whether you know the grad, or not
•  Advanced degrees — $100 for close family & friends

Stick with the above rules, and you'll be fine.  If your close friends &/or family don't reciprocate when your kids graduate, don't send anything the next time you get an annoucement.  The rules of etiquette work both ways!

Congrats to all of this year's grads!  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday's Cupboard—Retro Pies

My #1 easiest summer pie
A summer's worth of retro pies!  


#1 — Easy Key Lime Pie 


An oldie, but a goodie!  I got this recipe from my gramma Pearle when I was living with her in Boulder City during the blistering hot summers I spent lifeguarding while I was in college.


It is a delicious, no-bake, frozen dessert that goes together super-fast!  These also make nifty little tarts.  If you have any leftover pie filling, use it as a fruit dip for fresh strawberries.  
Serves 8
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours before serving


Nellie & Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice
available at Whole Foods


Ingredients
•  1 (10 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
•  1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
•  1/2 c. key lime juice (bottled regular lime juice is fine or use a bag of fresh key limes (about 15, juiced)
•  1 (16 oz.) container of frozen whipped topping, thawed

Mix sweetened condensed milk & lime juice

Make It
1.  Mix together condensed milk & lime juice in a large mixing bowl.

2.  Fold in whipped topping and mix until smooth.

3.  Pour into graham cracker crust.  Freeze for 1 to 2 hours before serving.  If desired, this pie can also be served refrigerated rather than frozen.  I think it's much better when frozen!

Add Cool Whip (defrost 5-10 mins) & mix until smooth
I whip it together in my Kitchen Aid on medium for about 2 mins
Nice Touch
**  If you use fresh limes, zest enough to sprinkle on top of the pie before you pop it into the freezer.  For extra pucker, add a few paper-thin slices of lime on top.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Monday—The Movie Corner

INCEPTION 
★  ★  ★  ★ ★  
(2010) Written & Directed by Christopher Nolan

This reality-bending, psychological thriller is even more fun after the movie is over!  

Inception starring Leonardo DeCaprio

I loved this movie when I saw it.  I loved it even more an hour afterwards!  Now, I'm kind of obsessed with it.    

Man, it is DEEP.  Like a deep, dreamless sleep.  Like washing up on the shores of your subconcious—deep.  Like a shot of Propofol—deep.  In the movie, they call this level of unconsciousness "limbo."  And, it's even more fun when you watch it with someone else.  

The discussion that will erupt afterwards (and it will, so plan on it) is totally worth having because this movie grabs you by the prefrontal cortex—the part of your brain that tries to make sense of things—and spins it like a top.  It makes you think, and after it's all over, the movie slowly begins to make sense, in excrutiating increments of understanding as details start to emerge, and your mind gleefully stitches them together.

It is a cinematic adventure that will stretch your imagination and leave you feeling like Robert Langdon from The Da Vinci Code (2006).  Watch for clues. (<--That's a clue...Hans Zimmer, who wrote the score for this movie, also wrote the score for The Da Vinci Code.)  Pay attention to every word.  Pay attention to the music.    

This movie won 4 Academy Awards for cinematography, sound editing, sound mixing, and visual effects.  It was nominated for art direction, best music written for a movie, best picture, and best writing for an original screenplay.    

Leonardo DiCaprio is utterly riveting as the main character, Dom Cobb.  You may recognize Joseph Gordon-Levitt from his TV role as Tommy Solomon on 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN.  You'll also recognize Lukas Haas, who starred as the startling little Amish boy in WITNESS.  

The character, Eames, played by British actor, Tom Hardy, stands out as a loyal street soldier who is low on IQ, but high on EQ.  Ellen Page, as the young and brilliant architect, is perfectly cast against the otherwise all-male, older team members.  Veteran actors Ken Watanabe and Michael Caine round out the stellar cast.

Back to the music.  I'm obsessed with this movie because of its depth and its layers of real and implied meaning.  Prolific, German-born composer, Hans Zimmer, received the Oscar this year for the musical score of INCEPTION.  The music was never intended to be enigmatic, although like pretty much everything else in the movie, it was constructed out of parts taken from something else.  What am I babbling about?  Stay with me...

The music was designed to cue the viewers whenever the characters were moving to another level of consciousness.  That in itself is not that significant or unusual.  Music is frequently used to signal events in movies, like scary music right before the ax murderer jumps out of the closet.  It's not quite that simple in this movie.

What is going on here is that the score of the movie was built on a single beat consisting of 2 notes from the classical French song by Édith Piaf entitled, "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien."  That very same song is used throughout the movie to wake up the dreamers.  Pretty cool, huh?  A song within a score constructed from the song.  It's a musical Möbias strip, a song scored on a Penrose staircase.  What's even cooler is that the original Piaf song when played at a slower speed sounds just like the repetitive measures of Zimmer's score...(original YouTube upload by camiam321)



What we have, my friends, is what this movie is all about:  layers upon layers of discovery...and a real kick!  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday's Cupboard—It's Grilling Season!

Sweet corn with Queso Cotija and chipotle 
Grilled sweet corn in the husk with crumbled Queso Cotija & sirloin burgers over mesquite coals


First, some background...

With the national employment rate for young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 at an all-time low (at 54 percent), a lot of GenYs are moving back home.

According to a recent survey released in March by the Pew Research Center (a non-partisan, independent public opinion research group based in Washington, D.C.), boomers and their adult kids are, nevertheless, making it a positive experience.  While 12 percent of the GenY respondents said that it has hurt their relationship with their parents, 41 percent said that it has had a positive effect.  I think that's interesting, don't you?

Having said that, our 24-year old son moved back from New York City last month.  He's back, now a trained French chef, and he's cooking for us.  He's been preparing some of the incredible foods that he made in NYC, and today's post is about one of them.

BARBEQUE

The Menu
★  Grilled sweet corn in the husk with Queso Cotija
★  Sirloin cheeseburgers with smoked fontina or cheddar
★  Fresh watermelon chunks

The wood
Mesquite gives the food a sweet, light, smokey flavor.  Mesquite coals smell absolutely wonderful, too!  They stay hot for a long time, so be sure to spray down the coals to make sure that they're out after you're finished cooking.  Also, don't overload the grill with wood.  Mesquite coals produce a smokey, hot grill.

The corn
1.  Start with fresh corn in the husk.  Peel off a few of the outer husks, but leave enough to cover the corn.
2.  Soak the corn in cold water (fully submerged) for 30 minutes.  This will soften the husks and create steam for cooking.
3.  Peel back the husks and remove the silk.
4.  Rub the corn with sweet butter, olive oil, or duck fat (available at Mexican markets).  Mash in crumbled Queso Cotija, which is a seasonal artisan cheese from Mexico made only between the months of July and October when the cows graze on lush grass that grows on the mountainsides during the rainy season.  It's similar to Greek feta, so if you don't have a good Mexican grocery nearby, feta is a reasonable substitute.  This cheese is dry & crumbly, so pack it in as best you can.  ;o)
5.  Sprinkle with chipotle powder.
6.  Pull the husks back up around the cob, tie securely with a spare husk, and roast over hot coals until the husks are brown on all sides (about 15 minutes).  Cool for 5 mins. before serving.

Toasted sesame buns & a cheddar burger

The cheeseburgers
Purchase good quality lean ground sirloin.  The burgers in these pix were as good as they look!

1.  Zak brushed the burgers with butter or duck fat on each side while on the grill.
2.  He melted a slice of smoked fontina over mine and a slice of cheddar over his, then served them on toasted sesame buns.
3.  Mayo on one side, Dijon on the other.
4.  Thinly sliced shallots, grilled Roma tomato slices, and thin slices of avocado went on top of each cheeseburger.  Then, a handful of fresh spring greens.

Serve with a good Mexican beer or a glass of sparkling water over ice and fresh watermelon.

Enjoy!

Monday—The Movie Corner: The Avengers in 3D

This film set a new record for the biggest opening weekend in North America.  It's REALLY GOOD!  

i ♥︎ the movies

Get your large, lightly-buttered popcorn and your bottle of water.  Napkins...check.  3D glasses...check.  Find a good seat, preferably in the middle of the theater, sit back and get ready for 143 minutes of Superfun!!!

All I can say is...IT'S AWESOME!  Based on Stan Lee's Marvel Comics series, this movie has not one, but 5 super-heroes.



CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
Chris Evans is Captain America.  What's not to love?  If you're not up to speed on his long comic book history, he was an average, scrawny, comic book illustrator who submits to secret military medical experimentation and becomes the perfect human specimen.  In this movie, Captain America assumes a leadership role on the Avengers team.

IRON MAN
Robert Downey, Jr., is Iron Man.  Downey plays it as sharp and irascible as he did in the IRON MAN movie (2008).  For anyone who grooves on really neat special fx, this movie delivers big time.  I never get tired of watching RDJ's character, Tony Stark, work on his 3D invisible workspace.  In this movie, suiting up and suiting down is taken to a new and delightful level.

BLACK WIDOW
Scarlett Johansson is super-spywoman, Natalia Romanova, a.k.a. Black Widow.  Sparks fly (figuratively speaking) whenever she's on screen.  I really love a smart, strong, female superhero, don't you?  She is full of surprises, and she plays it wickedly smart. Her friend and Avengers compatriot, super-archery guy, Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner, is as equally mysterious and lethal.  Together, they're an interesting pair who stand out amongst the fractious Avengers.  In this movie, Hawkeye gets zapped by the evil badguy, Loki, and becomes one of his minions.  In a nice subplot, Natalia is bound by conscience to save him.

THE INCREDIBLE HULK
Everyone loves The Incredible Hulk, who when he's not busting up city blocks and chasing after pretty much anything that moves, is the sweet and unpretentious, but emotionally tortured genius /physicist, Doctor Bruce Banner—played to perfection by Mark Ruffalo.

THOR
Chris Hemsworth is the Norse god, Thor, one of the original five founding members of The Avengers, along with the Hulk, Iron Man, Wasp, and Ant-Man.  He is the do-gooder biological son of Odin and the ruler of his home planet, Asgard, as well as the caretaker / ruler of Earth.

His adoptive brother, LOKI, played lusciously evil by Cambridge-educated English actor, Tom Hiddleston, is the black sheep of the family and Thor's perpetual nemesis.  He comes to Earth on occasion to wreak havoc and destroy Humanity.  Thor and Loki are demi-gods, whereas the rest of the Avengers are humans with super-human powers.  As a side note, the Hulk can kick both of their puny asses.  ;o)

Last, but not least, Samuel L. Jackson plays NICK FURY, the executive director of S.H.I.E.L.D (Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate).  To retrieve the stolen Tesseract, an ancient Asgardian artifact with unlimited power, Nick Fury calls in five members of the Avengers team to retrieve it from Loki and save Humanity.  

I definitely plan to see the movie again.  And, I plan to see all of the other Avenger-related movies that I haven't yet seen.  I may have to start a small collection of comic books!  This may give me a reason to go to Comic-Con 2012 which is in San Diego this July.

Click here for a link to the Marvel Universe wiki which gives detailed descriptions and backgrounds on all of the Avengers.  There are a whole bunch of them, including those in the movie, and they have a long history together.


BACKGROUND AVENGER MOVIES
Captain America, The First Avenger (2011)  Starring Chris Evans

Thor (2011)  Directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Chris Hemsworth

Iron Man 2 (2010)   Scarlett Johansson makes her first appearance as Black Widow

The Incredible Hulk (2008)  Starring Edward Norton as the Hulk


What more can I say?  THE AVENGERS is Marvel-ous!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tuesday's Cupboard—Zucchini & Corn Latkes

Fresh & easy menus for delicious summer suppers!


Zucchini-corn pancakes make great leftovers!
THE MENU

★  Zucchini - Corn Pancakes (Latkes) on Greens with Store-Bought Fresh Salsa
★  Fresh cut-up fruit
★  Sliced avocados with cilantro, lime & sour cream sauce
★  Sparkling Lime Water




ZUCCHINI — CORN PANCAKES (LATKES)
Makes 10 to 12 three-inch pancakes — 4 servings (2 - 3 pancakes each)
Adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine © 1998


Ingredients
EGG MIXTURE
•  2 small zucchini, shredded
•  1 c. fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernals
•  2 eggs, lightly beaten (or 1/2 c. egg substitute)
•  1/4 c. nonfat milk
•  1 small bunch of green onions, cleaned & chopped

FLOUR MIXTURE
•  1/2 c. all-purpose white flour
•  1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
•  2 T. chopped fresh oregano
•  1 tsp. baking powder
•  1/2 tsp. kosher salt
•  1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
•  1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
•  1/8 tsp. cayenne

OIL
•  2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

LIME-CREAM SAUCE
•  1 c. nonfat sour cream or 1 small container of Fage nonfat Greek yogurt
•  1 lime, juiced (about 1 tablespoon)

TOPPINGS
•  1/2 c. of fresh cilantro, rinsed & chopped
•  1 container of your favorite deli-case (refrigerated) salsa
•  paprika

TRIMMINGS
•  fresh baby spinach or spring greens
•  1 container of cut-up fresh fruit
•  2 avocados, peeled & sliced
•  Your favorite flavor of sparkling water over ice

Make It
1.  EGG MIXTURE:  In a medium bowl, mix the zucchini, corn, eggs, milk and green onions.

2.  FLOUR MIXTURE:  In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, oregano, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, black pepper & cayenne.

3.  Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until blended.

4.  Add the olive oil to a nonstick skillet & heat over med-high.  Scoop 1/3 c. sized spoonfuls into the skillet and flatten into 1/2-inch thick pancakes with the back of the scoop.  Brown on one side & gently flip to brown on the other side (about 2 minutes on each side).  Place on a foil-covered cookie sheet or  pizza pan and set in the oven to keep warm (325°F) while you cook the remainder of the batch.

Cream Sauce
Combine 1 c. of nonfat sour cream or plain nonfat Greek yogurt with the juice of 1 lime (about 1 T.)

Serve It
1.  Plate a handful of fresh greens onto each plate.  Slide 2 or 3 warm pancakes onto the bed of greens.  Top with cream sauce & fresh salsa.

2.  Slice avocados into thin slices & distribute evenly on the plates.  Top each with lime-cream sauce, sprinkle with paprika, cracked pepper, and a generous pinch of fresh cilantro on top.

3.  Serve fresh cut-up fruit on the side.

4.  Pour sparkling water over ice & serve with a twist of lime, a sprig of fresh oregano, or steal a berry or a grape from your fresh fruit mixture!

Bon Appétit  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Monday—The Reading Corner

And he sailed off through night and day
and in and out of weeks
and almost over a year
to where the wild things are.

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak


The Wild Things...we all know who they are.  They're the kids in class who don't quite fit in, the ones who wail in the corridor when they're having a bad day.  The ones who would rather play in the mud than go inside for circle time.

They gnash their teeth, clench their jaws, and spit at the computer screen when it doesn't do what it's supposed to do.  They cause a wild rumpus, and they run in packs.  The Wild Things find one another because they do not fit in with the successful, well-behaved children.

They spend a lot of time mouthing apologies in the principal's office.  They go off-script at assemblies.  They wear their favorite jackets on hot days.  Other parents secretly hope that their children won't swing with the Wild Things, especially as the children grow older.

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak was written for these kids.  And, it was written for the parents of Wild Things who struggle to raise their little beasts in a disciplinarian world that, when it comes down to it, prefers to send children to bed without supper when they won't behave.

The story ends with the little boy, Max, returning home to his room after becoming the king of the Wild Things, and his dinner is waiting—and it is still hot.  Max is allowed to be who he truly is—the king of the Wild Things—and he returns home safe and sound where there is a hot meal waiting for him.  Nurturing in every way, this insightful little book provides great comfort not only for headstrong, unruly kids who misbehave, but for their exasperated parents, as well.

For the parents of the Wild Things, there is an underlying sense of acceptance and letting go.  Choose your battles and stick to the basics—love, nurture, and do your best.  And, to the Wild Things, the message of this book is clear—Be yourself.

Maurice Sendak died on Sunday at the age of 83 after a prolific, 61-year career as a children's book author, illustrator, set designer, costume designer, and opera aficiando.

I highly recommend listening to this gentle and illuminating, 20-minute NPR interview with him from last September when his last children's book was being published.  The book, entitled BUMBLE-ARDY, is about a little pig who throws a rowdy birthday party for himself while his aunt is at work...

An interview with Maurice Sendak

Mayhem ensues.  When his aunt returns, she throws everyone out and says,
"Okay, smarty.  You've had your party, but never again!"

Bumble-ardy says in tears, "I promise,  I swear... I won't ever turn ten."

Ahhgh...The poignant plea made by every Wild Thing who's ever been caught.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wednesday—Good4 You, Good4 the Home

Time to take out the trash compactor
How to take out the trash...


When I came back from my sister visit in Florida last week, I decided to tackle a home improvement project that we've been putting off since last Fall.  The 23-year old trash masher had to go!  It was grody, and the door no longer closed all the way.  It still worked, but it groaned and complained so much every time we tried to use it that it was no longer worth the trouble of turning it on.

I knew that it was in there tight because I had watched the contractor who installed it scratch the Hartco wood floor when he shoved it into place underneath the kitchen counter.  I managed to pull it  halfway out before it refused to budge another centimeter.

Long story short, it came out, but it took a 4-inch piece of laminated particle board along with it.  The contractor had secured the trash compactor into place by driving several screws into the particle board skirting on each side.  The screws were not visible from the outside, so when the piece broke, it exposed the inside screws.

An unexpected development...
i ❤ cordless tools

With help from my trusty cordless electric screwdriver, I removed the remaining screws and released the trash masher.  I must admit, it was satisfying to haul that piece of junk out of the house and finally get rid of 23-years worth of grunge.  I like grungy textures in Photoshop, but not in my kitchen.

Adios, stinky old trash compactor!
Part deux of this project is going to involve removing a small section of subfloor to even out the flooring.  I'll use my Dremel hand-held saw, a hammer and a chisel to remove the subfloor.  Then, I'll tack up a piece of white laminated particle board along the drywall in back for a consistent look.  To finish it all off, I'll lay a 3/4" piece of primed particle board on the floor to create a new base that will match the cabintry.  We still have some leftover Hartco quarter round that matches the floor panels, so I'll use that to hide the seam between the kitchen floor and the new space.  Some inexpensive primed quarter round around the inside edges, and it'll look as good as new.

Voilà!  Where there's a will, there's a way.  Take care of your house and DIY!

Happy Spring cleaning!  ;o)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuesday's Cupboard—My Best Cornbread

Delicious with Heidi's taco soup!
Mrs. Cushing's Cornbread ~ Recipe from Steve's grandma, Ethel Mills


This recipe is (hold on a sec...I'm counting)...32 years old!  At least, since Ethel gave it to me in 1980.  I'm not sure how long Ethel had the recipe, but she told me that she got it from her neighbor, Mrs. Cushing.  Who knows where Mrs. Cushing got it, but I like Ethel's note about letting the butter melt in the pan while the oven is preheating.  Practical Midwestern kitchen sense, if you ask me.  ;o)

It takes about 20-25 minutes to bake in a metal pan, 15-18 mins. in a glass pan.  Figure about 10 minutes for prep time.

Last week, I posted Heidi's wonderful taco soup recipe.  It's SO EASY and GOOD!  After I got back from our sister visit in Florida last week, I made her taco soup and whipped up a quick batch of this cornbread.  They're a perfect match!  They're both easy, hearty & delicious.

Heidi's taco soup 
I like a little kick with my cornbread (heh, you know what I mean), so I sprinkled chili powder on top before I popped it into the oven.  Serve with butter and homemade jam.  Seriously g----ood!


MRS. CUSHING'S CORNBREAD

Makes 1 - 8"x 8" pan, 9 (3-1/2 inch) squares
Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 mins.
Cooking Time:  20-25 mins (5 mins. less if you use a glass pan or a muffin tin)

MAKE IT
Melt
•  2 T. butter
Spray an 8"x 8" square baking pan with PAM.  Put the cold butter in the baking pan & let it melt in the oven while the oven preheats.  Preheat oven to 425°F.  Combine the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl & mix in the melted butter before baking.

Mix
•  3/8 cup sugar
•  1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
•  1 egg
•  2 tsp. baking powder
•  1/2 c. nonfat milk
•  1/2 tsp. kosher salt
•  1 c. unbleached white baker's flour

BAKE IT
Mix ingreds. together with a fork until smooth; add melted butter. Pour batter back into the pan, sprinkle with chili powder, if desired, & bake 20-25 mins. @425°F in an 8"x 8" METAL PAN.

GLASS PAN:  Bake 15-18 mins.  MUFFIN PAN:  15-18 mins.  Bake until light brown around the edges & a toothpick comes out clean.

Serve
Cut into 9 squares (if you're using a nonstick pan, use a non-scratch knife to cut the squares).  Serve warm with butter & homemade jam or honey.

Enjoy!