Here it is, time once again to ponder all our blessings and give thanks for them.
It’s usually always the same for me – my family, my friends, my health, etc. This year I can be thankful for my recent, albeit hesitant decision to send a bit of required personal information into cyber-space to gain access to scads of on-line grocery coupons. I don’t like to give out any information over the Internet, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and the newspaper coupons are so chintzy anymore, they’re not worth the effort to cut them out.
This time around I have yet another reason to be thankful. For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention, there was a presidential election a few weeks ago. Without telling whose name I checked in the sanctity of the voting booth, I will say this: Considering the outcome, I’m thankful I don’t have to move to Canada. Woo-Hoo!!
The election isn’t the only big news this month. There’s been a lot going on, including the discovery of a new “rogue” planet. It’s supposed to be the closest one to earth yet – like only 130 light years away. Despite being newly discovered, the planet itself isn’t so new, estimated to be from 20 to 200 million years old. I’m not sure why they’ve described it as “rogue’ unless they’re comparing it to – what’s her name, now? – Oh yeah, Sarah Palin. She claimed that title in her book, “Going Rogue” so I guess it means floating around the universe for years without making any significant contribution.
Then there’s the big scandal about the CIA Director (and former General in charge of the war in Afghanistan) having an affair a year ago. The FBI just recently found out about it, scurried around to investigate, and in their haste, forgot to mention it to the president. So now the whole Congress is in an uproar over who’s to blame for keeping it all a secret. Pardon me, but that’s how the CIA operates, isn’t it – keeping everything secret?
An even bigger scandal breaking this month is the final demise of the Twinkie. Hostess Bakery is going out of business!! In a few weeks, this dual packaged, little yellow cake with it’s sweet, gooey filling will be reduced to just a fond memory in the hearts and minds of Twinkie aficionados all over the world. (Pause here and bow your head for a moment of respectful silence.)
Now that’s something I’m not particularly thankful for, since it means the Hostess Bakery outlet store will be closing and I won’t have anywhere to buy cheap out-of-date bread to feed the 200 or so hungry birds who gather in my back yard every morning waiting for me to appear with their breakfast. It also means my dearly beloved will have to rely solely on Little Debbie to sate his sweet tooth cravings for bargain-basement priced cakes and cookies. And considering that Debbie’s prices aren’t as “little” as they once were, that means I may be baking more often.
Maybe this is a good time for both of us to go on a diet - but not before I try these home made Twinkie look-alikes. I’ve checked out several Twinkie knock-off recipes, one so complicated that you even had to make little aluminum foil cake pans for them, and finally settled on this easy cake mix version that doesn’t require so much time and effort.
1/2 Cup milk 2-1/2 Tbsp. flour 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 cup shortening 1/4 cup cold butter
1/2 tsp. Vanilla 1 Jiffy yellow cake mix* or margarine
Prepare cake mix as directed on box and bake in 8” square cake pan for time stated. Meanwhile, make filling. Mix flour with milk, bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. (It should be very thick.) COOL COMPLETELY, then whisk or beat until fluffy. Mix butter and shortening together until well combined. Add sugar, salt and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Combine with cooked mixture; mix well. Split COOLED cake into two layers. (I insert a few toothpicks where I want to cut, then cut through with a sharp bread knife or a piece of thread.) Spread filling on bottom layer and place top layer back over filling. Cover well and let set a few hours or over night to develop flavors. Cut into bars and wrap individually in Saran Wrap.
*I use half a regular cake mix and save the rest for something else, like Boston Cream Pie.