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Quick Recipe – Black Forest Trifle

Baking, One hour
Hey there!  Time again for an easy and awesome dessert recipe.  This one is made even cooler by the mouth-watering name: black forest trifle.  For those of you that aren’t quite sure what a trifle is, it is basically a layered mix of cake, pudding or pastry crème, and usually fruit.  Of course, this is a very loose definition, because the only fruit in this recipe are cherry preserves and a maraschino cherry on top.  In the near future I will teach you how confusing trifles are with its two nearly identical sisters: fools and parfaits. Back to it, though.  We will be cheating a LOT in this recipe, but I promise it is easy and superb.  First, gather the ingredients.  For this hour you will be quite busy (looking). …
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The True History of Valentine’s day, or Yes, I Love Research

History, Inspiration
Ready for Valentine's Day? Want to know the reason for all the love, displayed in overly tacky decor and so much red everywhere it looks like cherubs were sacrificed in all the major stores. But what does it mean to celebrate love on this day? The story goes that Valentine was a Christian priest who performed marriages for young people when it was deemed illegal by the Roman Emperor (usually Claudius, for obvious reasons). When he was found out, he was incarcerated and then grotesquely killed. His last words were written in a letter to one of his followers, signed “from your Valentine.” First off, let's get one thing clear for all of us non-Catholic people; this is the feast day of the Valentines. Feast days of saints often commemorate…
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Music Writing: Transferring from MuseScore to Sibelius 7

Arrangement, Music Writing, Transferring, Transpose, Trouble Shooting
I have been in the process of transferring all the music I have written over the past year from MuseScore (awesome free music software) to Sibelius 7.  The piano music transfers have been going fine.  Piano to piano translates pretty well.  The problem has occurred when I have tried to transfer the chamber and orchestral scores.  When I played them in Sibelius, many of the instruments were transposed to another key, even though the music looked exactly the same.  And a couple of instruments did not play at all. When I realized what had happened, I felt so foolish.  So, in an effort to keep anyone else from being foolish, here are the two major problems and how to fix them. First, open the file of your choice in MuseScore. …
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Quick Recipes – Baklava Cups

Baking, Inspiration, One hour, Pastry Making
No, these aren’t actually baklava.  But yes, they are made with (almost) the same ingredients.  The two big differences here is that the pastry sheets have been preformed by a machine somewhere into the cutest little fluted cups, and there is no layering involved.  So it is easy to make a little treat that tastes like baklava without all the hassle of making the million layer delicacy. I really love baklava, and was preparing to make my first batch (ever) from scratch by getting the ingredients from the store when I found these: [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="295"] I love it when I find a cheat while trying to be proper...[/caption] So I thought: “Can I make something taste like baklava while making it super quick?” I took them home and,…
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From Bread to Cake – A Simple Story of Evolution

Baking, Evolution, History
I could go on for quite a long (and boring) time about how baking evolved, because I think it is pretty fascinating.  But, this is supposed to be a “simple” story, so I will keep it to the bones as much as possible.  This is a look at how bread – specifically leavened breads – turned into the wonderfully addicting party favorites we know today.  Links to my research (and some of my favorite sites) are listed at the bottom, if you would like to delve further into cake ancestry. Before we dive in, you need to know that it is more difficult than one might think to classify a “cake” from a “bread,” and it depends upon who or where you ask as to which is which. The best…
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Easy Halloween Treat: Eyeball Cake Pops

Nothing screams Halloween like something super sweet on a stick.  I immediately thought about making cake pops for an office treat. The traditional cake pop recipe uses icing to keep the crumbled cake together in that little ball.  That just sounds like too many calories for such a small sucker.  Two bites and it is gone, to live forever on your hips.  I scoured the internet for a better cake pop recipe.. and I found it.  Mixing the cake crumbs with peanut butter will give the same sticky effect with a little less calories.  It is still a little high in calorie, but the peanut butter makes up for it with health benefits.  If you want, you could just as easily exchange the peanut butter with other nut butters.  I…
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Making Music with Sibelius 7

Arrangement, Inspiration, Music Writing, Writing music
With my New Year’s resolution now in effect, I cannot spend any money on my crafts, and that includes my music.  Thankfully, Brant purchased me a really wonderful Christmas gift of professional music software.  For those that are interested, I got the Sibelius 7 professional music writing software.  Brant is my number one fan when it comes to music writing, and he wants my music to sound as realistic as it can, as do I.  This is the most amazing software that I have ever used. I have shown you in previous posts how I use the free software, MuseScore.  In fact, you can reread the posts here, here and here.  I still really like this software.  Much of the writing in MuseScore uses the same features as Sibelius, to…
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(Late) New Year’s Resolutions: Crafting with What you Have

I know it has been quite a long… long time since I have written a blog post.  Well, let’s just say that the title of my blog is no joke.  Jobs change, priorities change, and suddenly it is a new year.  And, as usual, I am already behind.  I finally got around to making my New Year’s resolutions, and there is one in particular I want to post to the public via my blog: I hereby resolve to: not spend any money on crafting supplies during 2013. Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I just read it out loud.  As someone just 13 cats away from hoarder status, that is saying something.  Ask anyone who I have lived with (good luck, that is a short list) and they will tell…
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Halloween Cupcakes: How to Decorate

Baking, Creative, One hour, Uncategorized
Hey there!  I know that everyone loves the gross food traditionally offered on Halloween.  No?  Okay, maybe it is just me.  But not everyone wants to take the time to ugly up the food they work so hard on, to the point that no one will eat it.  So, how about just making the food cute and theme appropriate?  Yeah, I thought you might like that better.   Today’s blog will be a comparison of two simple decorative themes on cupcakes.  One is a store bought decorating kit, and the other is homemade. To start, we need cupcakes.  My time was much shorter than I had planned, so I went to my friendly neighborhood Publix and bought 24 pre-made cupcakes, 12 chocolate and 12 vanilla.  Next, I picked out what decorations…
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Music Writing: Ave Maria Sheet Music

Music Writing, Writing music
So, I have continued to work on the Ave Maria, and decided not to go overboard on the harmonizing. At least, not until I have finished the definitive melody, which I am keeping on the alto line. This is for three reasons. One, I am an alto, and this song is really for me (if I am being honest). Two, I have noticed in most of the songs we sing in my choir, the alto line pretty much just tap dances around the first line E. BORING! Third, I want to let the soprano and mezzosoprano (or soprano 1 and 2) to have a descant and just flit from note to note. Those high warblers like that kind of thing. And the men will be the main harmony to the…
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