Sunday, April 13, 2014

Apple Jack (Cheese) Bread Pudding Recipe

Have you tried apple-cheddar crepes? You haven't? They are just the right amount of savory-sweet, crisp and gooey. Likewise, the following Monterey Jack Cheese and Fuji Apple bread pudding is excellent hot and oh-so-good cold.
Photo Credit: SGL Media Podcaster Pilot Apple Jack (Cheese) Bread Pudding


3-inch deep foil baking pans (one large, one small)
cutting boards
mixing bowl
tin foil
metal cookie sheet

14 oz can condensed milk
8 oz water
1 pint heavy cream
8 eggs
3/4 stick of melted unsalted butter

1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1 capful of real rum
1 pound of peel-on, thinly-sliced Fuji apples
1 loaf of stale bread (preferably Challah)
1/4 tsp sea salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Tear the stale bread with clean hands and toast in larger foil pan in oven until lightly toasted (12 minutes).
Remove from oven and drizzle the entire can of condensed milk on the toasted bread pieces.
Combine heavy cream, eggs, rum and molasses in mixing bowl. Beat this custard batter with a fork. 
Pour the batter over the bread. Add the apple pieces to the damp bread.
Cube 8 oz of jack cheese and mold into the bread pudding. 
Oil the smaller foil pan with canola. Transfer the raw mixture and pat down. 
Rinse the larger foil pan to use as the water bath for the pudding. 
Steady the larger foil pan onto the cookie sheet. Fill with an inch of clean tap water. Float the smaller pan on top. 
Use tin foil to create a steam-trap over the two foil pans. Turn down the heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until the custard is set (60 minutes). Remove the foil and let the apples brown for 10 minutes. 
Serve hot or allow it to cool. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

SmartyFella Humor: Love, Luck and Smarts

What are your thoughts? A Valentine Quiz for Readers:

How do you describe yourself?

a) Unlucky in love. Haven’t learned the lessons that can be learned.
b) There’s no such thing as luck or love.
c) Average experience with love. You win some. You lose some.

SGL Editors assume that SmartyFellas and SmartyGirls are mostly A and C. It’s a journey, right? We Editors don’t have this love thing all figured out either but here are some thought-starters we are pondering too.
Photo Credit: Bandaid Heart Valentine Cupcake via Pinterest

Unlucky in Love? Define favorable luck first. Explain unfavorable luck next. Give an example of each.

Luck is about recognizing what can be controlled and what freedom is given to the other. If someone left or if you chose to end a relationship, then this might be a fortunate thing. Freedom was exercised. You used your best judgment with the data you were given at the time, right? So there is no real loss. You’ve gained wisdom.

There’s no such thing as luck or love?

Define luck. Does that mean the individual believes he/she is 100% in control of every outcome? This person might be overly-controlling or have a delusional god-complex. No one gets what he/she wants 100% of the time. How does he/she imagine the partner’s role in the relationship? Is it a relationship at all if one of the two parties gets 100% of what he/she wants every time? Allergic to wheat? Too bad. Offended by the b-word at this concert? Tough for you. In this case one might be Shift and the other might be Puzzle. True, one is an ass but the other is one monkey of a nemesis in literature. If all outcomes can be controlled by one party, including thunderbolts, then this doesn’t seem to be a peer-to-peer network.

Define love. Love is about fostering the well-being and happiness of the other. If one person is forced 100% of the time to give into the other’s preferences then this is not mutual love. Kids who are socialized in public school are taught to take turns, share and wait.

If love cannot be given or received than all affection is false and a mere transaction. This leads some to pay for a love transaction. SGL Media does not support the sex trafficking industry.

Average experience with love? Define average. Describe what it means to win. Give an illustration of losing.

Average is showing as much affection as you receive. Average is accepting rejection as much as you brave making a request. Average is having a sober assessment of yourself and knowing that you are not an outlier in charisma or disenfranchised as an exile. To win might mean that you and past partners have gotten along well for a season until one or both of you chose to call it quits.

You remain friends. Real friends. This means you even recommend friends to them for dates. If love was lost because life was lost in war, an accident or natural causes, then that was bad luck, something outside the control of humans. This requires a period of mourning the loss of a love.

This Friday the 14th, we wish our friends a Happy Heart Day. Celebrate singleness and/or do an assessment on the wellness of your current relationship!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Let Winter 2014 Be Your Creative Breakthrough Year: 3 Easy Ways to Create in Your Neighborhood

Are you a Maker? You might be!
Photo Credit: SGL Media Blue Door Beads Sign Made from Embroidery Floss and Nails

On January 9th in Las Vegas at the International CES Variety Breakthrough of the Year Awards, two speeches resonated with SGL Media. Our mission is to bring our SmartyGirl and SmartyFella readers hilarious and enheartening tutorials to improve the home and widen a sphere of influence. Note: None of these businesses paid SGL Media to mention their products or services.
Photo Credit: SGL Media Editor Erica Tyler Actor Will Forte at Variety Breakthrough of the Year Awards

Photo Credit: SGL Media Editor Erica Tyler Musician Janelle Monae at CES 2014

Speech #1: Comedian/Actor Will Forte

His award speech acknowledged how fortunate he feels to be receiving a breakthrough award for his creative projects as he just turned 42. His movie, "Nebraska" launched Fall 2013. He referenced his age because he spent 8 years at SNL and before that he was behind the camera as a writer. Will Forte said that he felt so lucky to still be taking creative risks, at an Hollywood age, where it is unexpected after one's 20s. As New Media journalists and early adopters, our Editors felt a kinship with this idea of taking creative risks. His presenters were two of his lifelong creative accomplices who remember writer Will being willing to perform an avante garde Abe Lincoln.

Speech #2: Musician Janelle Monae

The same Electric Lady who seasons her Afro-funk lyrics with science fiction gems from Philip K. Dick and Aldous Huxley honors space-pioneer Sally ride and space-opera crewmember Nichelle Nichols as her forerunners. Janelle Monae's eloquence as an artist and exuberance as a performer make me feel blessed to witness this newest iteration of awesome!

So what if you are not a comedy writer, song-writer or actor? Both speakers encouraged the audience to create, not waiting for permission or altering who you are for reward.

Here are 3 Creative Spots I found in the Piedmont Ave. neighborhood of Oakland, CA:

1. Fenton's Creamery
Photo Credit: SGL Media Editor-in-Chief Renee Marchol at Fenton's Creamery in Oakland, CA

A CEO-friend and skateboard specialist likes to meet here for business lunches. Considering Fenton's added to the sweetness of Pixar's "Up", won't Fenton's Mint Cookie add agile thinking?

2. Piedmont Yarn and Apparel
Photo Credit: Neil Gaiman The Wolves in the Walls Dave McKean's Pig Puppet via Pinterest

Yarn-cozy for a 16 oz. paper cup of your favorite coffee? Meh. One that looks like the pig puppet from Neil Gaiman's The Wolves in the Walls? Must learn to make! Instructions are available for purchase at the brick-and-mortar store or online.
Photo Credit: Etsy Feline Fibers

Come in to feel a skein of Feline Fibers. Yes, it's cat hair woven into the craft supply. That's transforming a cat hair nuisance into a lovely novelty. Right?

3. Blue Door Beads
Photo Credit: SGL Media Blue Door Bead Enterpreneurs

Equally interested in hammering nails as you are decorating manicures? The colorful Make + Create sign inside this beadery and workshop is made with nails wound with embroidery floss. The co-owners encourage DIY of their customers and sponsor 6 resident artists.
Photo Credit: SGL Media Blue Door Beads DIY in-store tray

How does it work for a beginner to jewelry-making? First, take a wooden tray. Next, select your beads and carry them in the tray to the counter. Or, stay and use the workshop tools to make your accessory right there in the shop! The staff is there to answer questions and you might be able to buy scraps of leather for dangling earrings if an artist-in-resident would like to share materials.

Respect your creative self and be a producer of art not only a consumer! Comment below to share your project before it hits Etsy or Instructables. Join our community on SGL Facebook for creative camaraderie!

Friday, November 22, 2013

An Interview with Anita Bemi: 3 Pet Tips for the Holidays

Photo Credit: Facebook Anita Bemi, Iko and Doc
When I met Anita, for the first time, she had two jam-filled cookies carefully preserved in a paper napkin. We were set to go to dinner together with four mutual friends and I volunteered to be the driver. One of jam-cookies was for me!

She sang Nat King Cole's "L-O-V-E" in my car with her boyfriend Josh. I find them to be a comic duo worth a wait in a trendy West Hollywood ticket line.
Photo Credit: Facebook Comedy Duo Anita & Josh

On the way to the restaurant, pet parents dining alfresco at other eateries were just as beguiled by Anita as I was. She spoke to their dogs as if they were people.

Anita is a kind, gentle, fun-spirited expert on dogs. It's her profession. She received her training from the Animal Behavior Institute of North Carolina. 

What is one thing more you must know about Anita? When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, her answer was, "a puppy!" If anyone deserves to be an honorary puppy, it's this expert.
Photo Credit: Facebook Anita Bemi and twin with holiday turkey

SGL asked Anita for 3 Pet Tips for the Holidays via Facebook Chat on Monday, November 18th

Q: What can I do if I receive a gift puppy for Christmas that I can't keep?

This is actually a sad question, but a very good one.

First off, who gave you this puppy? Maybe, they want it back.... ; )

Secondly, Is this a purebred puppy? If so, the breeder is usually the one that will take the puppy back. If not, look for a dog breed rescue. That goes for whether it's purebred or not. Usually, rescues will take in dogs that are part whatever their breed rescue is. This can help ensure the puppy gets placed into a home where they are wanted.Is the puppy a purebred from a breeder? If so, the breeder should be able to take it back. If not, look for a dog breed rescue. That goes for whether it's a purebred or not. Usually, rescues will take in dogs that are part whatever their breed rescue is. This can help ensure the puppy gets placed into a home where they are wanted.
Photo Credit: Old English Bulldog Puppy via Pinterest

Q: If I am already a pet owner, how do I instruct my pet sitter to play with your dog daily if I must leave for holiday vacation?

A: Whether the pet sitter is coming to you or you to them, it's probably best to write down all the information you want them to do and know about your dog. Show the person how you play with the dog. Let them see the toys and how they're played with. A quick demonstration may be needed.

If you have very strict rules for "play-time", be sure to write them down. For example, if you don't let Rex "win" when playing tug o' war, or Peppy plays fetch for 20 minutes each day, etc.

Or, if you'd like, let the sitter simply play with your dog however they feel is appropriate. Remember this is a holiday for your dog too. It may learn new games and to play with new toys; which, can be very enriching.
A good, positive association can be made through play with the sitter. It's really great if the dog is shy of new people.
Play safely. Let them know if your dog has any fears, and how it usually reacts around those things. Also, let them know if the dog is friendly with strangers, children, and/or with other dogs. Make sure all are safe.

Q: What are some suggestions for transitioning my dog to a new schedule with a new sitter?

A: Building up a positive association with the sitter would be the best way to make the transition easiest. I recommend that your dog meets the person who will be watching it.  Let that person come into your home and be mindful of how they react to the dogs presence and be mindful of how the dog responds to theirs. Give the sitter a treat or toy to give to or play with. That will be a great start to this vacation.
Watching dogs is a great deal of fun; but it can be stressful for all who are involved; especially, if you have a very shy dog. So, building up that positive association is important.

But,  because this is usually a very short and temporary thing, owners and sitters should try not to stress too much. Everyone should try to have fun and be in the moment. It's what's best for the owner, sitter, and dog alike.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Week 7: Bike Pretty to Work SGL Fall Fitness Challenge to Write-on

Melissa Davies of Bike Pretty, how did you catch a photo of my doubleganger in the dotted skirt and tight brights?
Photo Credit: Facebook Bike Pretty Old Navy Tights

I'm pretty sure my good twin is bicycling to work, on my behalf, to complete the last 3 weeks of the SGL Bike to Work Challenge to Benefit Saving Innocence. Note that is not Teal Tornado in the photo with Ms. Doubleganger.
Photo Credit: SGL Editor-in-Chief Renee's Quizzical Selfie
After 6 weeks of victorious fundraising for Saving Innocence using StayClassy and cream soda enticements at the office, my bicycling came to a halt. After work one Friday evening, I disembarked the public bus. I lifted Teal Tornado off the bus's bike rack and pedaled as usual towards home. I wore oversized shoes that day. I missed the pedal, managed to do a cartwheel with Teal Tornado and broke a toe.

I like to think I was still pretty with my dark blue and black striped socks, skinny jeans, grey cashmere cardigan and spiffy bike helmet.
Photo Credit: Bike Pretty Blog 

When the blood soaked through my left sock I knew that Teal Tornado and I were likely to be put on a mandatory break.
Photo Credit: SGL Fall Fitness Challenge Partner Saving Innocence 

The doc, she laughed with me and told me that she would allow me to continue swimming. Unfortunately the 5K Turkey Trot I had in mind and conditioning for the bike portion of a triathalon in Spring would have to wait until after candy cane season. 

What is a Tendacious D(ogooder) to do? As a cousin of Horton the Elephant, "I meant what I said and said what I meant. An elephant is faithful 100%" I adopted a different challenge to write-out rather than ride-out my last 3 weeks as promised!

 I joined Nanowrimo at the suggestion of Associate Editor Erica Tyler who is monitoring Home & Community this season. She finds the writer community and the rider community to have a kinship!

So for those still willing to support Saving Innocence this Fall, please donate to the same site. This is my newest write-on/ride-on photo. The bicycle stamp represents 9,000 words completed for the write a novel in November challenge. Write-on! My goal is to reach 50,000 words by December 5th. 
Photo Credit: SGL Write-on Nanowrimo Substitute for Ride-on Bike Pretty SGL Fall Fitness Challenge
In you find yourself similarly sidelined as a SmartyGirl or SmartyFella athlete, may I suggest Nanowrimo as well? SGL is in your corner. I am cheering for RideSchwinn, Kevita and Bike Pretty!
Photo Credit: Nanowrimo Crest

Ms. Doubleganger, ride-on you pretty bicyclist! Make me proud!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Internet Privacy Act for Minors Senate Bill 568: SGL Home & Community Editor Erica Investigates

Photo Credit: Mashable's Kurt Wagner "Facebook Tweaks Privacy"
It is said that the nothing can be erased from the internet once it has been posted; while this may be an inconvenience for an adult, for a minor, it can be a lifelong mistake that has real world consequences.  The internet has become a daily part of our lives, whether at work, home or on the go- we are connected 24/7 by technology.  As the internet becomes increasingly more important in schools and children are introduced to it at younger and younger ages, how can they be protected from the dangers in this relatively new medium?  This is a question that Senator Darrell Steinberg answered with Senate Bill 568, a bill to protect minor’s privacy on the internet.  One of the bill’s proponents, Eileen Espejo, Director of Children Now helped us to shed more light on this bill and why it is so important.
Photo Credit: UK Family Lives Parent's Guide Social Media Trends via Pinterest
            Senate Bill 568 is the Internet Privacy Act for Minors.  The goal of this new law is to allow minors under the age of 18 the right to erase content from their online social media accounts, such as pictures and comments. According to Eileen Espejo, this bill is important as it provides the beginnings of a safety net for children online.  However, she stresses parental involvement and vigilance are the best defenses to ensure that your child is safe on the internet.  The goal of this bill is not to take away privacy, but rather to protect it.  Children should not be penalized for a mistake they make online, and this law, when it goes into effect in 2015, will address this.
Photo Credit: UK Anti-bullying Campaign about Sexting via Twitter and Pinterest

            When the law goes into effect, it will be interesting to see its long-term impact and assess whether it goes far enough.  Currently the internet is the electronic version of the Wild West; very few rules or regulation, something that many actually prefer.  However, for the children growing up where accessing the internet on their phone is the norm, it can be seen as an innocuous tool.  Unfortunately, that is not the case, so minors should be allowed for an extra layer of security.  Many teenagers don’t understand the consequences of posting a risqué picture online and before this law they would have very little recourse.  This bill allows children the right to make a mistake and not have it haunt them for the rest of their lives.  It is not perfect as it does not address issues such as behavioral advertizing but it is a great start. 
            Eileen offered some tips for parents on how to monitor their children’s internet habits to ensure for online safety:
1)    Check the ratings on video games and monitor which websites your children are on.
2)    Use cell phones with parental controls so that parents can program the phone, set limits on who can be called, the time spent online and even have it GPS enabled.
3)    Be vigilant: be aware of your child’s online activities and set limits.
In the future we will see if/when additional laws for consumer protection online will go into effect.  The beauty of the internet is the rather unfettered freedom of expression offered online, but finding the balance will be the key.
Special Thanks to Eileen Espejo of Children Now; to learn more about the organization please go to:

Please comment below. NPR's Talk of the Nation Science Friday "Tracking Privacy and Ownership in an Online World" featured an interview with Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) of DC.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Your Cool-season Vegetable Garden: 3 Fall Recipes from a Krop Mobile App Family

Photo Credit: Gamer Mom Amanda Ruhlman Lonas, Krop iphone app developer Justin Lonas and Damon Lonas sweet-face SmartyFella
Is your cool-season vegetable garden exploding with awesomeness this October? Do you have summer squash still producing enough bounty for you to make chocolate-squash muffins to fill every Halloween jack-o-lantern in your zipcode? 

Thankfully, we have SmartyGirls who garden and here's our first of 3 fall recipe posts. Amanda Ruhlman Lonas contributed 3 fun fall recipes to help you solve this veggie surplus. 

Are you sick and tired of the same old boring veggie and looking for something new to tingle your taste buds? Why not try a veggie that you may overlook. A squash! There are many different varieties available, each having their own unique taste. They are a delicious and healthy way to replace those starchy, carb filled sides you usually have with your meals. Here are three of my favorite varieties and a recipe on how to use them.

1.     Spaghetti Squash. 
As the name states, once cooked the flesh inside this squash looks like spaghetti, and can be used the same way. This is a healthy alternative to that carb-y pasta we usually have. To prepare this squash simply follow the steps below:
·       Preheat oven to 400 degrees
·       Cut top part of the squash off. This would be the part by where the stem is
·       Next place the squash on the flat side down, then cut the squash in half.
·       Scoop out all the seeds.
·       Place face down on a tray.  Cook in oven for 50 minutes.
·       Once squash is done let cool before scooping out all the flesh from the inside.  This is best done with a fork.
·       This squash is best served with a sauce, as alone the flesh can be bland in flavor.

2.     Butternut Squash
This squash is a great side to replace boring mashed potatoes, as well as being healthy for you. Once cooked this squash can be mashed up into a very sweet tasting dish.  To prepare this squash follow the steps below:
·       Preheat oven to 350 degrees
·       Cut top part of the squash off. This would be the part by where the stem is.
·       Next place the squash on the flat side down, then cut the squash in half.
·       Scoop out all the seeds.
·       Place face down on a tray.  Cook in oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until squash is tender and easy to pierce with a fork.
·       Once squash is done let cool before scooping out all the flesh from the inside into a large bowl. 
·       Mash the flesh, adding some butter and milk along the way. Not too much, but enough to make it the same consistency as mashed potatoes.

3.     Zucchini (Summer Squash)
Do you love chips but don’t want all the fat that come with eating them? How about replacing those potatoes with some zucchini instead. Using a zucchini to make chips is a great healthy snack that you don’t have to worry about having “just one more”. To prepare these chips please follow the steps below:
·       Preheat oven to 225 degrees and cover your pan with some parchment paper.
·       Slice your zucchini about the thickness of a quarter.
·       Drizzle the slices with olive oil and toss with hands in a bowl.
·       Season sparingly with salt and any other spice you want to make the chip your own.
·       Bake for 45 minutes , then rotate the chips and back for an additional 40 minutes or until golden brown.
·       Serve immediately as a healthy and delicious snack. After a few hours they tend to get soggy.

I do hope you enjoy these few recipes on how to replace some everyday meals with healthy alternatives.

Amanda Ruhlman Lonas has gamer SmartyGirl cred and her husband SmartyFella Justin Lonas has mobile app developer cred. How does this intersect in their SmartyHome? They make baby food for their youngling from fresh local veggies and their Krop app connects other local organic veggie growers to eager buyers in the same zipcode!
Photo Credit: Amanda Ruhlman Lonas, Justin Lonas and Damon Lonas