Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Experience # 6

Pumpkin Experience # 6 was the Pumpkin Whoopie Pie from Cleveland Cake and Coffee Co.  My daughter had a friend over and they both had the traditional version of the whoopie pie with super chocolately cake and a really sweet creamy middle. My pumpkin version is the one wedged in the middle. It was sweet to say the least (I'm on carb overload), but it was good. It's really hard to beat the original version, but the pumpkin whoopie pie is worth a try during the season.

Pumpkinocity: 5 out of 10
Witty Second Rating: Unavailable

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Experience # 5

The Fresh Market is to food lovers what crack is to a junkie. That's a good analogy for all of you who may be trying to prep for the SAT's. My Pumpkin Experience # 5 was the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pound Cake from The Fresh Market. It's really hard to go wrong with anything from The Fresh Market, and this was no exception. They've had a wild berry pound cake in the past that I liked better, but pumpkin and chocolate chips go together like Duke University and deep unending hatred, that is perfectly.

Pumpkinocity: 6 out of 10
The dark and evil nature of Duke: unending

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Experience # 4

My daughter and I have fallen into a semi-weekly tradition of stopping in for some doughnuts on the way to church on Sundays, and it was there that I ran into Pumpkin Experience # 4: the Pumpkin Doughnut at Dunkin' Donuts. First, let me get this off my chest... I don't know who started the horrible myth of DD having really good coffee, but I just don't agree. I love coffee, and DD just doesn't work for me. If a goat learned to play golf, and became really good, and wore those really great plaid pants and a Scottish hat with a huge tassel on it, and then if that goat washed his ball in the ball cleaner in between holes at a really nice course, the water in that ball washer would be as close to what DD coffee tastes like as I can describe. Anyway....I liked the doughnut. It was one of their cake-like doughnuts, kinda dense with a light glaze on the outside. It was just the right amount of pumpkiny, and my daughter really enjoyed it as well.

Pumpkinocity: 7 out of 10
The amount I would pay to see a goat play golf: $1247.89

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Experience #3

I dropped back by Cleveland Cake and Coffee Co. to grab the rest of their pumpkin offerings, and found Pumpkin Experience #3: The Pumpkin Empanada. Picture a fried pie, but baked and not so heavy. The pumpkin filling was delicious, but the crust was a bit bready. I love the creativity though, and will be a devoted disciple of Cleveland Cake and Coffee Co. for many years to come as a result. If only they could make a huge one, I would use it as a tasty pillow to sleep on at night.  But then again, if they had that here, why would we want to go to heaven?

Pumpkinocity: 5 out of 10.
Sweet Dreams as a Result: 37

Love Motivates

Only one of the twelve disciples had the courage to show up at the crucifixion of Jesus. Judas had already sold out. Peter had already been broken by his betrayal. Fear scattered the rest. But John who spoke of love more than any New Testament writer, stuck with Jesus until the end. I don't think that it's a coincidence that John stood his ground. (Many thanks to Frank Viola in his book From Eternity to Here for opening up this idea) The truth is that the only true motivator in our lives is to be deeply and truly loved. Fear motivates for a while, but in the end causes us to run away from rather than to what matters most. Money can motivate us but as Judas found, will utlimately leave us empty. Love motivates us to follow. Love will allow us to face our fears and will calm our doubts. Love alone can lead us to the type of obedience that is not poisoned by legalism. May we all love well, from the depths of love that God has poured into our souls.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fair Food

While Michael continues his adventure to seek out the most exotic pumpkin flavored food around, I, on the other hand, have visited the state fair and eaten exactly the same thing for the last 15 years. This year was no exception. Our family tradition is to get french fries from Al’s French Fries (located near the northeast corner of the Jim Graham Bldg.). A pork chop sandwich from the Pork Chop Shop (located between the education building and the Dorton Arena). This is followed by corn on the cob. We have tried various places but I believe the best by far is from Connie’s Sweet White Roasted Corn (across from the lunch stands that back up to the race track). Amanda always gets an ice cream cone. It is the vanilla rectangle of ice cream atop a cake cone, dipped in chocolate and rolled in sprinkles or peanut chips (sold at various locations around the fair). Martha always gets a country ham biscuit. This year she was especially impressed with the home made buttermilk ham biscuit from Hunnicutts (one of the lunch stands that backs up to the race track). My brother Mike swears by the Carolina Packer Brand hot dogs served at Kings hot dog stand (across from the grand stand). He likes his dog’s with mustard and chili and believe me, he is an expert on hot dogs. We highly recommend each of these items. Give them a try.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pumpkin Experience #2

Pumpkin Experience #2 was unexpected, but totally amazing. I dropped into Cleveland Cake and Coffee Company for a quick cup of coffee (they use Cup-of-Joe beans, best in Raleigh), and I noticed among their bakery goodies a shining beacon of taste and hope. Pumpkin Experience #2 was the Pumpkin Scone at Cleveland Cake and Coffee Company. It was soft and moist, with just the right hint of pumpkin. It had a light glaze on top which added to the taste, but didn't make it too sweet. (I can't stand scones that are too sweet). It was brilliant and gave me hope for future generations of people yet to walk on this planet.

Pumpkinocity: 6 out of 10
Hope for the future: greatly improved

Pumpkin Experience #1

It's only fitting that Pumpkin Experience #1 this year if one of my pumpkin pleasures that I look forward to all year long. It's the amazing Pumpkin Cream Cheese at Bruegger's Bagel Bakery. I could eat buckets of it. My personal favorite is having it slathered on a hot Sesame Bagel, but I'll leave the bagel variety up to you. I could eat this stuff every day. If I could I would liquify if and run it through a IV, so that I could ingest it while I sleep. I'm tempted to use it as orange colored hair gel for what hair I have left, but I just can't bring myself to waste even an ounce of the pumpkiny goodness.

Pumpkinocity: 9 out of 10
Hair Gel Possibilities: 3 out of 10

The Great Pumpkin Quest 2010

So far as I can tell we have yet to weigh in of the food part of this blog, so here goes! Every year when Fall finally hits and the temperatures fall, and everything smells like football and fireplaces; restaurants, bakeries, and stores bring out 40 zillion pumpkin themed treats. I love it, I live for it. I may be obsessive, but pumpkin tastes soooo much better in October-November. So, over the next two months I will attempt to chronicle my pumpkin quest (hopefully with supporting pictures as I am able). I welcome any hidden pumpkin finds that you have happened upon!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Football Fashion

Since alliteration seems to be a hallmark of our blog, I am writing about the greatly debated topic of football fashion. Michael and I have discussed the best uniforms in college football and seem to have similar lists. When I mentioned it to my friend Daniel Freeman (who is 20), he immediately listed Oregon and Virginia Tech as two of his favorites (two teams that would be near my bottom ten.) It was clear to me that this may be a generational disagreement. I have a tendency to like the classics while Daniel liked the more radical “modern” look.  Regardless, I once read that a writer chose Penn State’s uniforms as the best because they were simple, iconic and classic. He then chose Penn State’s uniforms as the worst because they were boring and unimaginative. My criteria begins with a great helmet design. Then a uniform I find interesting. I have also included which version of the team’s uniform I like. So, here’s my top ten list. Let the debate begin…
1. Michigan (blue jersey-maize pants)
2. Southern Cal (cardinal jersey-gold pants)
3. Florida State (garnet jersey-gold pants)
4. LSU (purple jersey-gold pants)
5. Nebraska (cream jersey-scarlet pants)
6. UCLA (blue jersey-gold pants)
7. Alabama (crimson jersey-white pants)
9. Texas (white jersey-white pants)
9. Oklahoma (crimson jersey-cream pants)
10. Notre Dame / Navy (navy blue jerseys-gold pants)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Pillars of the Earth

“The Pillars of the Earth”, an epic written by Ken Follett a few years back, was very well received in most circles. It was so well received that a mini-series was spawned out of it. I generally have learned to back cautiously away from mini-series. They can be a huge waste of time and generally don’t live up to the hype. (See “Band of Brothers”, “John Adams”, and “From the Earth to the Moon” as exceptions to that rule.) So, I initially put off tackling the series. I took on episode 1 on a whim when I had nothing else really to watch and am very glad I did. The series does an admirable job telling an amazing story. The interweaving of faith as portrayed in cathedral building, and political corruption play well of each other. The series was also exceptionally well cast. Ian McShane was amazing as the dark and conflicted Bishop Wallerin. Matthew Madfayden shone as Prior Phillip, and the rest of the cast fit like perfect puzzle pieces. The story covers a lot of territory, so the first episode introduces a lot of people and starts their progression through the narrative. Hang on tight through that and the pace will pick up. Let me know what you think if you get a chance to see some or all of it. I highly recommend it as well worth your time!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Train Wreck Movies

Train wreck bad you can’t take your eyes off them. Thanks Dawn for a classification in which I am truly an expert. No one has seen as many bad movies as I have. Unlike Michael, who has a talent for finding the obscure great movie, I have the opposite ability. So here goes with my top ten all time guilty pleasure you can’t stop watching…
1. Road House
2. The Abominable Dr. Phibes
3. Starship Troopers
4. The Spy Who Loved Me
5. Varsity Blues
6. Re-Animator
7. Shogun Assassin
8. Our Man Flint
9. Them
10. Lair of the White Worm