Recipe: Christmas Jewels

jewelbars

These are easy to make – and so rewarding to the eyes and the taste-buds!

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cold butter or margarine
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups salted mixed nuts
1 1/2 cups halved green & red candied cherries
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking pan.
3. In a bowl, combine flour and 1/3 cup brown sugar; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into prepared baking pan.
4. Bake for 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat egg. Add salt, remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar. Stir in the nuts, cherries and chocolate chips. Spoon evenly over crust.
6. Bake for another 20 minutes.
7. Cool on a wire rack, and cut into squares (about 1×2 is a good size – smaller ones may crumble!)
Makes 3 dozen.

 

Other Treats:

Festive Baking Brownies – https://cour10eynoonan.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/festive-baking-brownies-%f0%9f%8e/

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Recipe: Ginger Snaps

I love this Ginger Snap recipe because it uses extra ginger for a zesty full of Christmas burst of flavour!

3/4 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons white vinegar
3 3/4 cups all-purpose white flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon table salt

*parchment paper

1) Pre-heat oven to 325F (160C)
In large mixing bowl using electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar.
2) Beat in eggs, molasses, and vinegar.
3) In another mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
4) Add dry mixture to butter mixture in small batches.
5) Using a tablespoon to scoop dough, roll between palms into 3/4 inch (2 cm) balls, then flatten slightly with palms and place about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on parchment lined baking sheet. For thinner cookies use a the bottom of a glass (lightly floured) to flatten the cookies some more.
6) Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes, or until desired doneness. Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing from baking sheets. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Stores well in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Baked cookies can also be frozen.
Makes about 8 dozen cookies.


POEM: Cold Reality

Mesquita, repeat ad infinitum

Harvest moon fading away
leaves twirling to the ground
time moves forward
circles in circles
rhythms in rhythms
layers on layers
every day thematic
deja vu of yesterday
last week
last month
last year
in the same pattern
of cold reality

Each morning thinking
today will be different
as it all unfolds
silently unchanged
yet again
to see again
this really is
forever and ever
all there is
for me
wash
rinse
repeat
ad infinitum
ad nauseum


Rex Murphy: Check your bigotry

merlinspielen:

Rex Murphy addresses “Check Your Privilege ” more eloquently than I can ever hope to encapsulate!

Originally posted on National Post | Full Comment:

It was called by some the ouroboros — a serpent that swallows its own tail. For some it was an early emblem of utter futility. And I think about it when I hear some of the strange, absurd and utterly self-contradictory reports from North American campuses, particularly those that come filed under the “anti-racism” banner.

[np_storybar title=”Check your privilege! Has social media’s favourite debate-stopper started to falter?” link=”http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/05/06/check-your-privilege-has-social-medias-favourite-debate-stopper-started-to-falter/”]Earlier this year, University of Ottawa students were invited to participate in an anti-racism exercise. The event, called In My Skin, had “racialized” students sit in one room to discuss their experiences with racism, and white students sit in another room to do the same. At a later time, the group merged.

The attempt to bring students together backfired and sparked cries of segregation and reverse racism. The event continued, but the Facebook invitation page was taken down, not before flooding with outraged…

View original 855 more words


Ramble: Check Your Privilege: Political Correctness Returns

Do you remember the Political Correctness fad of 1990s? Where language needed to be deconstructed and reconstructed to avoid hurting people’s feelings and protecting cherished sacred cows? Like all sociologically driven fads designed to bring about change it started from a sincere place in making people recognize that language shapes thinking, and personal biases are in turn reflected in the language we chose to use.

From its roots English is a Politically Incorrect language. The history of words capturing the essence of the patriarchal and xenophobic societies that contributed to the development of English. This is why the gender-neutral pronoun was “he/him/his.” Yes there is a real gender-neutral pronoun of “it”  – but that is also the pronoun for an animal, vegetable or mineral. We generally find that being referred to as “it” doesn’t really work. There is also the use of “one” as a pronoun, so that one might say “one can drive 10 miles and get to one’s house.” The use of “one” often simply creates an awkward sentence reeking of third person distance.

English historically tended to create categories of people by ending the name of the grouping with “man”. As in: human. From there we go quickly into fireman, policeman, postman, milkman, and of course “the man.” Overall that historical bias of English made the other half of “man” (also know as “woman”) feel rather excluded. So words began to evolve to reflect a new reality of gender-equity. We know have firefighters, police, postal workers, and no more milkmen of any kind. Some words are harder to evolve so we do still have humans and humanists. And we still have women (although it may now be spelled womyn).

That evolution of language stirred some waves, but it was when that evolution of language morphed into Political Correctness that things went over the top. Short people became “vertically challenged”; fat people became “plus-sized”; and Christmas became “happy holidays”. The reality is that English did need to evolve to make words more inclusive, and ultimately simply more accurate in usage. The backlash against “politically correct” language eventually turned the phrase “Politically Correct” or “PC” into a pejorative term.

So here we are and look PC is dead; long-live “Check your Privilege”.

Now in the normal sense of the word a Privilege is “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people.” However, in this case “Check your Privilege” is all about an academic sociologically based reinvention of the word. Basically in this new context a “privilege” is to quote Wikipedia: “Privilege is the sociological concept that some groups of people have advantages relative to other groups. The term is commonly used in the context of social inequality, particularly with regards to race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability and social class.[1] Specific elements of privilege may be financial or material such as access to housing, education, and jobs,[1] as well as others that are emotional or psychological, such as a sense of personal self-confidence and comfortableness, or having a sense of belonging or worth in society.[2] It began as an academic concept, but has since become popular outside of academia.[3]

This concept of “privilege” actually has a lovely earnest and hopeful framework holding it up. Unfortunately the original clarity of the concept has been hijacked so that “Check your Privilege” is now simply a quick slap to shut-down an opinion one may not want to hear. The original goal of making people aware of social and cultural privilege was to make individuals aware of societal inequities that may create barriers or exclusions for some groups that do not fit the “norm.”

The current use of the term has turned that around so that those labelled as being “privileged” have an unearned advantage that has been enshrined as a societal norm. The phrase “check your privilege” is then used as a warning bell that the speaker has no right to speak on a topic because the speaker is viewed has having no “real experience” and so is speaking from a blind-vantage of “privilege”. A quick interjection of “Check Your Privilege” is just a clever way to say “Shut Up!”

The beauty of this quick slap-down is it can be quickly wielded at any time by identifying an individual as being part of a pre-defined “elite” group that has unfettered access to “privilege”. The most used categories is north american culture are the privileged properties of being “white”, “male”, “able-bodied”, “attractive”, or “christian”. If you can be slotted into any of these categories then you are auto-magically privileged no matter your real life experience.  It does not matter that you may never have been treated as a “white” or a “christian” if by appearances you can be slotted into the category. Please note one cannot pick their own category – others must decide for you if your are “white”, “male” and so on. Your own personal life experience does not matter – only the external view of those that dis-like your opinions matter.

This of course makes the entire concept of social privilege suspect and distracts from the real disparities that do exist in our cultures and societies. Yes there really is sexism, and racism, and a host if other biased concepts and attitudes in our world. Attempting to shame people, or even to guilt individuals, because of a “perceived” membership in a societal group does nothing for the discussion, and simply makes individuals invisible. My experience of the world is not your statistical analysis of the world!

A normative value will always exist in the middle-ground of a society – meaning that there will always be those that exceed the norm and those that are below the norm. Yet all individuals will fall on different parts of different measurements! Meaning no one person is ever fully privileged by all a society has to offer.

This is why the cry of “Check your Privilege” – like the PC fad from before – has gone off the rails. It takes a good idea, and then goes OCD on the implementation. If you think you can tell me to “Check my Privilege” the reality is it is your own “holier then thou” sense of entitlement that needs to be checked. Go check yourself – but please not in public.


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