Diva Tasting: Sweet Potato Muffins Dessert Or Breakfast….

Sweet Potato Muffins Dessert Or Breakfast
1 1/2 Cups Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
4 Cups Canned Shredded Sweet Potato
1/2 Cup Raisins (Optional)
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease muffin tins to hold 12 muffins.
  2. Whisk together brown sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs in a small bowl.
  3. Mix together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt, and grated sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the egg mixture. Stir the egg mixture, gradually incorporating it with the flour mixture. Stir in the raisins and walnuts
  4. Spoon the batter into the tins. I like to fill each tin to the rim to make a large cap. Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Take the muffins out of the oven and run a paring knife carefully around each muffin, then invert the pan, and knock one edge against your work surface to release the muffins. Serve the muffins right away.  Whip Cream or Vanilla Ice cream on side for desserts.

Diva Musing: Literary Updates….

I’m a bit of a literary snob all year round.  But tis the season for updates.  I’m not a fan of changing the Queen’s English but here you have it…..
2019 Words of the Year
Dictionary publisher Collins announces its word of the year on Thursday – and there’s no shortage of terms they could pick for 2019.
Every year, brand new words or phrases emerge to reflect the changes in society or technology. Selfie was invented with the rise of smartphones. Or Brexit, when a pithy term was called for to describe the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Collins Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) are both set to announce their words of the year soon. Contenders can be a brand new word, an old word that has made a comeback, or two existing words that have been joined together and taken on new meaning (like photobomb).
The OED says the chosen word should be “reflective of the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of this past year, but as having lasting potential as a word of cultural significance”.
The debate is one of the highlights of the year for Gyles Brandreth, co-host of Something Rhymes With Purple, a podcast all about language and its evolution.
Language is power, language is what defines us, makes us the people who we are,” he says. “We’re so blessed that the English language is our parent tongue, because it is the richest language in the world.
New words are coming into the language all the time and have been for thousands of years. Some very old words have survived a long time, some others have disappeared, and some new ones come along. And it’s always fun to discover which are the ones which have bubbled to the surface this year.”
Woke could be in with a shot this year. So could influencer. Phrases like cancel culture, where a celebrity’s career is damaged after saying something distinctly un-woke, may also be nominated. Changing gender norms and definitions could also see a term like non-binary recognised.
The Cambridge Dictionary has already announced upcycling as its own winner, based on which word resonated most with their Instagram followers.
The Guardian’s nominations, meanwhile, include femtech and sadfishing, but also a older words like pronoun (which it says “has become a signifier of the new gender politics”) and people.
People is a pretty ordinary word – and one with a long history… but the way the idea of ‘the people’ has been used over the past year, often cynically, makes it thoroughly contemporary,” wrote David Shariatmadari.
It’s also possible that something that isn’t even a word at all could again be named word of the year.
I was intrigued by the conversation that followed Oxford choosing the crying-with-laughter emoji as its word of the year [in 2015],” says lexicographer Susie Dent, Brandreth’s podcast co-host. “It sparked such controversy, people were up in arms saying, ‘It’s not a word, how could Oxford have dumbed down to this extent?’
But actually the OED’s answer was really interesting, because they said humans have been using pictorial representations of words for millennia. We have ancient hieroglyphics that show people have communicated through pictures, and who’s to say that emojis are any different? And they add nuance to words on a screen. I wouldn’t say it was my favourite word of the year by a long shot, but I loved the discussions that followed.”
Brandreth recalls some favourites of his own. “I loved Yolo when it came round,” he says. “YOLO!” he joyfully shouts down the phone a second time for effect. “Which means ‘you only live once’. I loved that one. And amazeballs, I liked that for a while.”
The Oxford English Dictionary selected toxic in 2018, a word which has been around since the mid-17th Century. The OED said the “sheer scope of its application” in recent years was notable because its use had increased dramatically in both literal and more metaphorical senses.
In 2017, it opted for Youthquake – a significant cultural, political or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people. Prior to that, it chose post-truthvape and the cry-laughing emoji.
Perhaps the most glorious winner, however, was omnishambles, which won in 2012 after its use by the bad-tempered spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in political comedy The Thick of It.
Collins Dictionary, meanwhile, has a habit of making two words its word of the year.
Sometimes this is a result of hyphenation, such as single-use last year. Ironically, the term has had a dramatic increase in use as concerns about the environment have been expressed in recent years.
Binge-watch, was victorious in 2015, as more and more viewers chose to watch their favourite TV shows in one sitting. But 2017’s winner, fake news, didn’t even have a hyphen, instead being two separate words that form a new term used regularly by US President Donald Trump.
Other previous Collins winners include photobomb and Brexit, which was naturally word of the year in 2016, when the UK voted in the EU referendum.
Speaking ahead of this year’s announcement, Dent says: “There’s one I’m hoping won’t win but I think could be a contender, and it’s from the 15th Century, so it’s a good example of a word that’s been revived.
Boris [Johnson, the prime minister] is always behind the revival of old words, like mugwump and so on. But this one was Parliament proroguing. I think prorogue will be on the shortlist this year, but it’s very very old.”
Of course, the development of language, which often involves traditional grammar going out the window, is the cause of irritation to some who care deeply about protecting the basic principles of English.
But both Dent and Brandreth say the evolution of language is precisely what excites them.
I’ve decided to be less irritated and more intrigued by the way that language changes,” says Dent. “But one of the things Gyles and I are always talking about on our podcast is how modern gripes are actually not so modern.
The ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ debate has been going on for centuries. And whether we say ‘nuclear’ or ‘nuc-u-lar’. ‘Aitch’ or ‘haitch’. And ‘disinterested’ and ‘uninterested’. Those terms have been confused for centuries.
My big bugbear used to be mischievous or mischievous, because people were putting an ‘i’ in to rhyme it with devious. I used to hate it, but now I’ve decided it’s a really fascinating snapshot of how pronunciation changes and leaves spelling behind.”
Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

Diva Chilling: Lunch at the Table….

Heading for lunch at the new Table Coffee House on campus.  Convenient and all food from scratch.  Dessert today is my “Fig Cake with Caramel Sauce” posted a week or so ago.  A must have for the Holidays.  Yum, big time.  Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Diva Tasting: Majik Bars …

Majik Bars in Layers dessert
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
2 Cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips
2 Cups Butterscotch Chips
1 Cup Flaked Coconut
1 Cup Salted Peanuts
1 (14 Ounce) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan or microwave; pour into a 9×13-inch baking dish, tilting to coat. Sprinkle on the graham cracker crumbs; press mixture with your hands to form a crust.
  3. Layer the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, and peanuts over the graham cracker crust. Pour the condensed milk over the layers.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until edges begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

Diva Tasting: Cheesy Potatoes Romanov…

Cheesy Potatoes Romanov; Great Side for the Holidays
1 Teaspoon Butter, Or As Needed
1 Large Bag Of Frozen Steakhouse Potatoes
2 Shallots Minced
3 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper, Or To Taste
3 Cups Grated Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
2 Cups Sour Cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Pulse potatoes a food processor until large bits remain. Place into a large bowl.
  3. Mince shallots to get 1/4 to 1/3 cup.
  4. Add shallots in with the potatoes; season with salt, pepper, and cayenne and garlic. Toss with two forks until well combined. Add Cheddar cheese and mix well. Gently toss in sour cream until barely combined. Transfer mixture into the prepared baking dish, piling it up high, then patting it down very lightly.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until piping hot and top is browned, 30 to 35 minutes.
NOTE: You may use 4 large Yukon potatoes peeled and baked in foil if you do not want to use frozen. Served with steak or a great side for Thanksgiving.

Diva Tasting: Fall Salad…

Fall Salad
1 Acorn Squash – Peeled, Seeded, And Cut Into 1-Inch Cubes
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Teaspoon Grated Orange Zest
1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 (5 Ounce) Package Baby Arugula
1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/4 Cup Chopped Pistachios
2 Ounces Crumbled Chevre (goat Cheese)
Position a rack into the center position of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
In a resealable bag toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, add cinnamon, onion powder, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, sprinkle spice mixture over squash cubes, shake in bag until coated. Spread acorn squash cubes onto prepared parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake on the center rack of preheated oven until squash are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Whisk apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, orange zest, garam masala, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl until thoroughly combined; slowly drizzle olive oil into vinegar mixture, whisking constantly, until olive oil incorporates into the dressing. Refrigerate while completing remaining steps.
Toss cooked acorn squash cubes, baby arugula, cranberries, pistachios, and goat cheese in a salad bowl; drizzle with dressing and serve.

Diva Tasting: Noni’s Zuppa Toscana…

Zuppa Toscana
1 Pound Bulk Mild Italian Sausage
1 Pound Lean Ground Beef
1 Teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 8 Oz Packages Of Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
1 Large Onion, Diced
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
3 Quarts Chicken Broth
1 Bag Fingerling Potatoes Halved
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Bunch Fresh Spinach, Tough Stems Removed
  1. Cook the Italian sausage and red pepper flakes in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crumbly, browned, and no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Save a couple of tablespoons of grease then Drain and set aside.
  2. In reserved drippings, Stir in the onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add Mushrooms cook until tender.
  3. Pour the chicken broth into the Dutch oven with onion, mushroom mixture; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the heavy cream and the cooked meats; heat through. Mix the spinach into the soup just before serving. Serve with polenta or Garlic Toast.