Friday, November 25, 2011

I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars

Ingredients for bars:
1 cup butter (2 sticks, very soft)
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange extract OR 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Ingredients for frosting:
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon orange extract OR vanilla extract 

Ingredients for topping:
1/3 cup craisins, chopped
1-2 tablespoon grated orange rind
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon canola oil 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 for a glass or dark pan). Prepare a 10x15 by lining it with parchment paper or use a non-stick spray.
  2. BARS: With an electric mixer, beat together softened butter and sugars 3-5 minutes until light; gently blend in eggs and orange extract (don't overbeat eggs). Add the flour, baking powder, and ginger and beat briefly. Add the cranberries and chips, stirring just until incorporated.
  3. Spread thick batter in prepared 10x15 pan. Bake 350 for 20-24 minutes until light brown AT EDGES and a skewer tests clean. Don't overbake or your bars will be dry. Let it cool completely. NOTE: If you use a 9x13 pan, the bars will be thicker and will take 26-28 minutes.
  4. FROSTING: Blend cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add orange extract and confectioner├»¿½s sugar and beat until frosting is fluffy and spreadable (adding 1 t. milk if needed). Spread evenly over COOLED bars.
  5. GARNISH: Use a zester to remove rind from an orange; sprinkle zest over frosted bars. Chop 1/3 cup Craisins coarsely; sprinkle over frosted bars.
  6. DRIZZLE: Mix white chocolate and oil in a glass measuring cup. Microwave 1 minute; stir until melted. Use a fork or whisk to drizzle the white chocolate diagonally across the bars.
  7. Allow one hour for the white chocolate to set before cutting. **To make signature Starbuck triangles, cut into 20 large squares (5 cuts by 4 cuts with the knife). Then cut each square in half diagonally to create triangles.

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Home-made calendar!

I just wanted to show off a project that I just finished tonight for Layout and Typography! I made this whole calendar myself (including the rose), on InDesign. I'm really happy with how it turned out :) I made two copies, I'm going to give one to my mom for christmas. My mom said it reminded her of a valentines day calendar! 

If you have any questions on the tools I used for how to make the calendar, feel free to message me. Have a lovely day everyone!

CNN documentary: Nepal's Stolen Children

Nepal's Stolen Children: A CNN Freedom Project... by CNN_International

Hollywood actress Demi Moore partners with CNN Freedom Project for a documentary to give a voice to human trafficking victims.

The 2010 CNN Hero of the Year, Anuradha Koirala and the girls that she helps are the stars of the documentary. The girls are rescued from prostitution and other forms of slavery. Anuradha Koirala herself is a victim of human trafficking, now using her knowledge of the secret world to help other girls in trouble.

Watch this heart-wrenching documentary and hear the stories of these women.

CNN excerpts from the documentary

Anuradha Koirala - Meet the hero, learn about her story, get involved

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Health benefits of eggplant

With the holidays coming up, many people will be packing on the pounds. Add eggplant to your diet to counteract all the sugary christmas sweets! Here are 5 benefits of eggplant:

1. Eggplant increases satiety and absorbs fat: Eggplant is extremely high in a type of viscous fibre that has the ability to bind to fat and create a feeling of fullness, with just 20 calories per cup of cubed eggplant. This makes eggplant an amazing addition to any weight-loss regimen! 

2. Eggplant is high in the amino acid GABA:
 GABA (gama-aminobutyric acid) is an amino acid that has the ability to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and quiet a racing mind. This makes eggplant a perfect relaxation food for the holiday season.

3. Eggplant skin contains high-powered antioxidants: Eggplants contain an antioxidant called nasunin, found in the vegetable's skin. Nasunin protects against premature aging, cardiovascular disease, and the physical effects of emotional stress.

4. Eggplant is a source of potassium: Potassium has always been necessary for maintaining a healthy blood pressure, but has now been shown to help prevent gum disease as well. Potassium is a key component in fighting inflammation of the gums and arteries.

5. Eggplant extracts are traditionally used to lower cholesterol: Eggplant extract stimulates bile production and allows for increased metabolism and elimination of cholesterol from the system. Eggplant extracts are considered an ethnomedicine because of their traditional uses in the treatment of high cholesterol.

More information