I’m Taking a Photography Class 📸

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I signed up for iPhone academy. My main goal is to get better at taking photos with my phone because it is really hard to haul a camera up the side of a mountain, without killing any of my family members🤣😂🤣

We have a lot of plans this summer, that involve outdoor activities. Some of those activities could be considered a tad dangerous,😉 but I still want to get some shots of all of us together. With college graduations, new jobs and boyfriends/girlfriends, it is getting tougher to corral the family for these special moments.

Last night it was as if the sky was on fire! I wanted to take a panorama and catch both the moon and the sun.

Here is the original:

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I used Snapseed to warm it up a little, the goal was to make sure it still looked natural. Can you see the moon? Hope so!

Wish me luck as I try to figure out all these apps!!

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Coffee is Life! How to Make a Café Bombón

This post just said it all to me this morning! ☕️ ❤️

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Coffee is life, at least for me!

So, I asked my beautiful cousin, Magda, about recipes for Spanish coffee.  After all, she married into a Spanish family, so I figured – who will know better?!  And within minutes, I had SO many coffee ideas that I will seriously be trying a different coffee every week;)  And not just Spanish!  Thank you Magda!

Coffee Quote - Mish Mash Lifestyle Blog

Today, I am making Café Bombón.

I did a bit of research before making this pretty drink and it turns out Café Bombón started its roots in Valencia, Spain, and was then carried throughout the entire country.

Bombón derives its name from the Spanish term that means “confection.”  So, basically – sweet coffee.  Works for me!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 part sweet condensed milk
  • 1 part espresso

The ratio of milk to espresso should really depend on your preference.  For a stronger, less sweet coffee, use 1 part milk, 2…

View original post 65 more words

Roda’s Critter Connection Challenge

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Now that spring is in full swing, I am actually finding some critters again!

Believe it or not, this is the same hummingbird in all three pictures! Apparently, this species will “flash” his colors when he is irritated, or trying to find a mate. I am guessing he was mad, as opposed to attracted to me😳

My iPhone8 camera was fast enough to capture him as he went from green to fuscia, and the transition color in-between! The hummingbird accomplishes this cool trick by flipping some key neck feathers at break neck speed (see what I did there, 😝)

Have a great week everyone! 💕

Sally’s Baking Addiction: May, 2018 Challenge: Classic Cheesecake 🍰

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Last month we made croissants, which was pretty time consuming. I think Sally took pity on us and assigned a much less cumbersome challenge for May: the classic cheesecake.

If you have ever made a cheesecake, you know that they are not that difficult. There are very few ingredients, the only tricky part is baking it in such a way that you don’t have a giant crack in the center. It is not that hard really. You just need to use a water bath and be sure to avoid over mixing the cheese cake filling.

I didn’t want a huge cake, so I opted for these mini cakes so my hubby could unload take them to his coworkers! I didn’t need to create the water bath, just had to keep an eye on them while they were in the oven. I also decided to top each with chocolate ganache, which absolved me of any cracking issues 😉

First up, the graham cracker crust. The crushed cracker crumbs were combined with vanilla sugar and butter. Sally used regular sugar, I just prefer to reinforce the vanilla flavor by baking with the vanilla sugar I always keep on hand for dessert preparations.

The result is a sandy, textured mix that is spooned into a paper lined muffin tin.

 

This recipe makes about 9 cakes, and they were pre-baked for 5 minutes at 350ºF.

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While these cooled, I made the filling. This was so fast and easy! Cream cheese, more vanilla sugar, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice and an egg were placed into the bowl and mixed until just combined.

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Try not to whip this! No extra air should be incorporated to avoid cracking while baking and this is a very thick mixture. Just a few tablespoons are needed to cover each of the crusts.

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The pan goes into the 350ºF oven for about 20 minutes. The cakes are done when the edges are just set, and the center is still a little jiggly (just like a full cheesecake). Make sure these cool completely by placing them in the fridge for, at least, 2 hours. I actually made the cakes and refrigerated overnight. They will sink a little in the center, but just add a topping of fruit or chocolate and they will be perfect!

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So easy and tasty 😋! Another awesome Sally recipe. Try either the full cake, or these minis, for a fast and delicious dessert, and let me know what you think👩🏻‍🍳 💕

A to Z Challenge: Reflections post!

A-to-Z Reflection [2018]

Did I scare you? Did you think I was going to write a bunch of health and fitness posts again 😊!

No, not to worry! The challenge is truly over, but part of this was for me to learn some things, and here is what I found out.

  1. Blogging everyday is hard! This is not really a surprise to me, but I thought it should be said out loud. I am sure I could have made this easier on myself by creating shorter posts, or leaving out some details. But the teacher/researcher in me took over. It is hard to short cut the process when you are talking about a subject you really care about ❤️.
  2. This would have been easier if I had not had house guests and painted several rooms in my home at the same time. Also, suspending some of my training activities, or not going on a three day road trip that month, would have freed up some time 🏋🏻‍♀️🥊🧘🏻‍♀️🧗‍♀️ But I can’t not workout, just not wired that way😅.
  3. I did learn how to schedule posts in advance, which was really helpful!
  4. Researching certain topics brought me up to date with new technologies and scientific findings, which was great!
  5. I realized how wonderful and supportive my fellow bloggers are!! Thank you, so much for your likes and comments. You really kept my spirits up when I was getting tired.😊💕

 

The A to Z Challenge folks are asking that we choose our favorite post to participate in the “Road Show”. I would love your help, one more time, in selecting the post to submit.

Anyone have a favorite “A to Z” topic of mine? I am taking suggestions😃

Aging, a huge thank you, to all my friends and I hope to get caught up on all your posts soon 🙏

Jay Has Done It Again! “Father Figure” Is Sure To Be The Next Big Hit 📚 💕

Book Cover

Did you love “Watching Glass Shatter” as much as I did!😀 Then I have fantastic news! Our favorite author has struck gold again with the release of his second novel, “FATHER FIGURE”

 

The Story

Publication Date: April 2, 2018

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Drama

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James J. Cudney, Author

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town, and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly. Struggling to survive in a claustrophobic, unforgiving world, they embark on a journey to overcome all the pain, disappointment, and horror of their experiences.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown, connect with others, and fall in love. Contemplating an impending loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia suffers devastating, life-altering tragedies. No matter where she turns, someone or something always steals her hope of finding happiness, protection, and love.

Brianna Porter, a sassy yet angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to determine her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. All the confusion stems from desperately needing to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, but an unexpected discovery of a journal leads Brianna to a shocking revelation about her missing parent. Unfortunately, by casting the net to find him, she’s unleashed a tragic history that was meant to stay buried and might now completely change everyone’s futures.

Through alternating chapters set two decades apart, each girl’s plight unfolds revealing the parallels between their lives and the subsequent collision that is bound to happen. In an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense, fate intervenes forcing someone to make a dreadful decision that will leave permanent scars.

Sounds great right? Can’t wait to start reading? Find it at Goodreads right now!

 

Giveaway!

 

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Father Figure will be available FREE from 5/6 thru 5/10! Don’t miss out on this opportunity! Also, if you haven’t read James’ fantastic debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, pick it up on sale for only $0.99 on Amazon from 5/6 thru 5/10!!!

 

Still not fast enough for you?

Enter to win a free digital copy of “Father Figure” even sooner. Click the link below!

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e5ee1a921/?

 

About the Author

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James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com

What do I do outside of writing: I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have over 500 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?

Connect with Jay

Author Links

Blog:https://thisismytruthnow.com

Author Website:https://jamesjcudney.com

Social Media Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jamescudney4/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jamescudney4

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamescudney4

 

On a personal note

Jay is not only a fantastic writer but a wonderful, loyal and supportive friend. A truly caring person who deserves all the best. Thank you for inviting me into your world💕.

 

A to Z Challenges: Z is for Zero Calorie Sweeteners

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Here we are! Finally at the letter Z😊

I didn’t have a lot of options with this letter, but I think this is a great way to wrap up this A to Z challenge.

Currently, the FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. It has also approved one natural low-calorie sweetener, stevia (my personal favorite😊)

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Check out the last column. Obviously not all sweeteners are the same! The fact that each of these is so much sweeter than natural occurring sugar, without the same calorie cost, may be causing some significant problems.

One theory is that the use of these products has changed the way we percieve sweetness. Since a small amount of each of these can elicit a sweet sensation, hundreds to thousands of times greater than real sugar, 1479516236410the receptors in our brains that register the presence of sugar, are altered over time. Once they are changed the binding of natural sugar cannot meet that threshold, so we take in more sugar. Fruit can no longer taste sweet enough and vegetables may be unpalatable.

We then crave more sweetness, so we tend to choose sweets over whole nutritious foods to meet that new higher threshold.

There are many studies that back up this theory. In one human study participants who drank more than 21 diet drinks per week were twice as likely to become overweight or obese, than those who did not drink any at all.

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Of course there have been numerous animal studies which have linked artificial sweeteners to that same reward pathway in the brain. The result show that artificial sweeteners may be addictive. Rats were exposed to cocaine then given the choice of cocaine or saccharine, most chose saccharine.

Of course, rodent studies don’t always translate to people, it is important to remember that! However, the links to obesity, metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes can not be overlooked. One human study showed a 36% correlation with metabolic syndrome and 67% correlation to type II diabetes, which are quite high percentages! Additionally artificial sweeteners have been shown to interfere with the absorption of certain medicines and may harm the beneficial gut flora needed for overall digestive health.

Can zero calorie sweeteners be part of a healthy weight loss plan?

Yes, but moderation is the key! Study participants did loose weight, in the short term, when using diet drinks sparingly and as part of a healthy eating plan. The goal is to not treat them as “free foods”, there is a cost associated with all consumables.

One of the misperceptions is that diet drinks don’t count. The attitude that if I have a diet drink, I have room in my diet for cake, is not correct! I have been out with friends who have used this rationale many times, and then complain that they have been so good, but can’t loose weight. 😳

“Artificial sweeteners [are] a crutch that don’t force people to deal with deeper issues of regulating calorie intake and making healthier food choices,” says psychologist Ramani Durvasula author of You Are WHY You Eat: Change Your Food Attitude, Change Your Life.

If you have a 12oz. of Diet Coke a day, or use a packet of Splenda in your morning cup of coffee, you can still have a healthy diet. But, think about cutting back here or there, see if you really notice that reduction, and if not, then more power to you😊

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/artificial-sweeteners-sugar-free-but-at-what-cost-201207165030

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/artificial-sweeteners/art-20046936

https://www.thedailybeast.com/are-artificial-sweeteners-wrecking-your-diet

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10937404.2013.842523

https://www.fooducate.com/app#!page=post&id=57A354C9-A79D-A168-48E8-8DE562947252