Watermelon Hints

The best part of the summer season for me is that it is watermelon season, too. Yes, in California, you can find a watermelon most any time of the year but the summer ones are always the best. We discovered one problem, however. Since we revamped our diet and now indulge in more fruits and vegetables, our refrigerator is always full with absolutely no room for a watermelon. Not wanting to deal with a watermelon addict in withdrawal, my husband came up with the idea of keeping the melon in a cooler with four or five frozen bottles of water. Every evening, he switches out the bottles for the back up one in the freezer and this has kept my watermelon in a healthy state of coldness leaving room in the refrigerator for that pesky broccoli, squash, and carrots.

Also, an annual word to the wise. Always thoroughly wash the melons you bring home from the store before storing them either in a cooler or refrigerator. It is not enough to merely use a clean knife for cutting a delectable piece of melon as the knife is cutting through the ‘dirty’ outside of the melon and scraping any germs/virus right across that slice of deliciousness you are about to enjoy. Just think about where that watermelon has been on it’s way to your home! I use a dab or Dawn dish detergent as it rinses clean, doesn’t have a lingering scent and really gets the surface of the melon clean.

Fantasy, Politics, and the World of Today

With every news report facing us each morning, most of us realize there is something really wrong going on in our world today. The fact that so many people seem to think everything is fine and work even harder toward causing division in the world is beyond belief especially when you consider the good such people could accomplish with common sense and a Christian attitude. Pipe dreams aside, you probably have trouble understanding the whys of so many events today.

The major issue that has always caused wrinkled foreheads trying to decipher the why of it all is the fact that if you hurt or kill a pregnant woman and, subsequently her unborn baby, you will be liable for murder of both the woman and the child. BUT, legally and up to the point of birth in some situations, it is very legal in our country to kill a baby in the womb without a problem of legality or a case of murder. When a concerned citizen exposed the selling of baby parts with proof in the Planned Parenthood clinics, the concerned citizen faces lawsuits and Planned Parenthood seems to be the victim . . . and babies still die needlessly.

Now we are faced with a lot of changes in our country and a multitude of refugees are flooding our borders. As good Americans, these people are provided for . . . while our veterans continue to receive substandard treatment in some cases and so many are actually homeless and mistreated. When I was growing up, my mother was generous with the little we had at the time but the family still came first even if we cut back a bit in order to help another. That doesn’t seem to be a priority today with the men and women who come back from war situations and have to fight for their lives to live here.

Although not nearly as rampant as Europe, we are experiencing hurt and death from some of the refugees who seek refuge here. Towns and cities are expected to take up the slack on this while the government keeps allowing more in than can be dealt with right now. Many of the Muslim refugees will not assimilate so we face many of their religious requirements that are not in line with life in America today. Welfare was stretching quite thin before this influx of refugees and isn’t getting any better now. You have to stop and think about how many citizens in our country do pay taxes and how much longer can we consider having the government look good and gracious on our hard-earned dime.

So many of the politicians we, the people, have voted into office care more about their agenda than represent the interests of the people who voted for them. Just this week, one politician was leading a crowd in chanting about impeaching the President. I know this isn’t a perfect world but with several other countries who wouldn’t mind seeing the United States fail and a small country who keeps trying to get their missiles to hit our coast, you would think petty difference and post-traumatic shock from the presidential election would be put aside in trying to protect and save our country.

The name calling, abrasive behavior, the distorted truths fire off from the losing side of the November 2016 election isn’t changing anyone’s mind about the way the votes went last year. They thwart every move President Trump makes and blurs the needs that have to be dealt with while they continue to obsess over the country’s rejection of their candidate’s election to office. There are gatherings (aka riots) most every week in mourning for their fantasies about how the world could have been perfect . . . if only.
Guess that common sense isn’t readily available these days. It certainly doesn’t seem to be coming from the halls of higher learning. We have a good many problems that need to be addressed soon in our country if only the world could come up with a miracle . . . not for the fountain of youth but for the sense needed to finally grow up.

Cinnamon Crumb Top Cake

Even with the rise in temperatures, we still have some baking going on around here. Hey, that’s why we got the air conditioning system fixed, right! Don’t want to waste cool air on a summer day!

We are huge fans of cinnamon and spice and if we can put all that into one cake, we’ve put in a good day’s work. This makes a small, 8x8x2 inch cake so there is enough for a surprise dessert and a slice or two for whoever gets up first in the morning.

Crumb Topping
1/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until the mixture is crumbly but mixed. Scatter over cake before putting it in the oven.

Cinnamon Crumb Top Cake
1/3 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
Finely shredded zest of one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Vegetable oil spray a square 8x8x2 inch baking pan.

Combine the butter, sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl. Beat together until mixture is light and fluffy. Blend together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to butter mixture, stir in lightly, and then add remaining ingredients (except the nuts!) and beat until just smooth. Fold in the nuts and smooth into prepared pan. Sprinkle over the topping mixture and bake approximately 30 minutes or until done. Let cool a bit before servings.

*If you are gluten-free, King Arthur’s Cup for Cup Gluten-Free flour blend would probably work well in this recipe. Although I haven’t tried it yet, the success I’ve had with other recipes using the King Arthur’s blend were successful.