Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Full-throated, Robust Baritone

Within Awakenings is a LOT of music and music history. Tomorrow not only begins a new month but is the last month in yet another year. Let's step back in time to some great recording artists and hits that left an indelible mark in the music world, which touched and continues to touch our lives
Special NOTE: At the bottom of the post is a link that goes to the next day's music spotlight. This format will continue to the end of December where it will begin again with the new year.
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...

Today in Music History: December 1, 1966

Pop, rock, R&B, show tunes, country, dance, techno, soul and gospel, all have unique sounds of their own. Recording artists cross over from one genre to another but not all master multiple genres with No.1 hits. In other words, only a few have sung it all. In today's spotlight is a full-throated, robust baritone who is one such singing legend.


Tom Jones: a Welsh rock, pop, blues and soul singing legend best known as a hit maker over the last five decades in the U.S. and U.K.

Welsh singer Sir Thomas Jones Woodward is best known by his stage name Tom Jones. Emerging from the British Invasion in the mid-1960s Jones became one of the most popular vocalists of the era. Tom Jones began singing at an early age, regularly singing at family gatherings, weddings and in his school choir. At 12 years old, Jones developed tuberculosis. Many years later he said: "I spent two years in bed recovering. It was the worst time of my life." During convalescence he could do little else but listen to music and draw.

Since then he has sung nearly every form of popular music – pop, rock, R&B, show tunes, country, dance, techno, soul and gospel – and sold over 100 million records. Jones' bluesy singing style developed out of the sound of American soul music. His early influences included blues and R&B singers.

1966 Tom Jones was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with his version of 'Green Green Grass Of Home'. It stayed at No.1 for seven weeks giving Decca records its first million selling single by a British artist. The song was also a No.1 in Germany for nine weeks and a No.11 hit in the US.
More on this day...

  • 1958 The Teddy Bears were at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘To Know Him is to Love Him'. The title of the Phil Spector song came from words on his father’s tombstone.
  • 1973 The Carpenters went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Top Of The World', their second US No.1, which was also a No.5 hit in the UK. Country singer Lynn Anderson covered the song and her version became her first hit when it reached No.2 on the US country singles charts in mid-1973.

  • 1984 Jim Diamond was at No.1 in the UK singles chart with 'I Should Have Known Better'. The song was displaced after one week by Band Aid's charity single 'Do They Know It's Christmas’. Diamond publicly requested that people not buy his single, but instead buy 'Do They Know It's Christmas’'
  • 1990 Vanilla Ice started a four-week run at No.1 in the UK with the single 'Ice Ice Baby'. The track sampled the bass intro to the Queen and David Bowie No.1 'Under Pressure'. 'Ice Ice Baby' was initially released as the B-side to the rapper's cover of 'Play That Funky Music', and became the A-side after US DJ's started playing it.
  • 1990 Whitney Houston went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'I'm Your Baby Tonight', her 8th US No.1 and the first for writers and producers Reid and Babyface.
1987 A Kentucky teacher lost her appeal in the US Supreme Court over her sacking after showing Pink Floyd's film 'The Wall' to her class. The court decided that the film was not suitable for minors with its bad language and sexual content.
1997 Kenny G set a new world record when he held a note on his saxophone for 45 minutes and 47 seconds. (The record has since been broken by Geovanny Escalante, who held a note for 1 hour, 30 minutes and 45 seconds, using a technique that allows him to blow and breathe at the same time).
Beginning the Christmas Spirit...

2008 Wham's 'Last Christmas' was the most played festive track of the last five years. The Performing Right Society put the 1984 hit at the top of their chart of seasonal songs, just ahead of Band Aid's 'Do They Know It's Christmas'. The Pogues came third with 'Fairytale of New York', recorded with the late Kirsty MacColl and first released in 1987. Other featured artists include Slade, Mariah Carey and Bruce Springsteen.

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Shopping madness continues but this time no more having to fight the crowds or wait in lo-o-o-o-ong lines. No more battling the weather in areas where rain or snow might be prevailing. Today you get to shop in the comfort of your own home and stay in your PJs if you so desire while taking advantage of HUGE sales.

November 30 is ...

Cyber Monday occurs on the first Monday after Thanksgiving in the aftermath of Black Friday Insanity. Competition is still at its peak with businesses trying to out beat each other with who has the best deals. This is not just the end of the season closeout, leftovers that no one wanted or overstock account poor decisions, but the time of year to get the best prices on quality merchandise. Matching, slicing, advertising price reductions are all part of this shopping game. 

On this day it is easy to overspend! Necessity should always come before wants but that is often a difficult decision when the price is right. The deals won't last long nor will the top items. So, take advantage of some Helpful Tips. Following some very basic instincts might save a lot of stress later on when the credit card bills come due! They may also save headaches down the road from spammers that are only after your money with nothing to give in return for your investment. 

Make sure to check out the dedicated page for more Cyber Monday shopping tips and the article on Online Safety Tips/Precaution which are measures that can be taken when shopping online.

Remember...just about everything for sale is on sale somewhere!

Are you tired yet?

Next on the Calendar...#GivingTuesday

Moussing the Pumpkin & More

There are numerous variations/usages for pumpkin that extend way beyond the carvings on Halloween. In fact, pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins are everywhere, especially in scrumptious fall dessert recipes! First thought is perhaps the ever popular pumpkin pie. What about pumpkin ice cream? Maybe pumpkin cupcakes or spiced pumpkin layer cake? Of course, there is always pumpkin cheesecake. Nope! None of these. Looking ahead, pumpkin is absolutely the perfect addition for tomorrow's celebration! Want chocolate instead? Keep on reading, a day without chocolate is like a day without sunshine!

November 30 is...

National Mousse Day

What better mousse than Pumpkin Mousse at this time of year! Before delving into this light as air & perfect for fall recipe, let's examine exactly what encompasses the mousse.

  1. 1.
    a sweet or savory dish made as a smooth light mass with whipped cream and beaten eggs, flavored with chocolate, fish, etc., and typically served chilled.

What gives the mousse its lightness? It is not just the fact it is made with whipped cream and beaten eggs (some recipes call for the yolks, others the whites). Actually we can thank the teeny, tiny air bubbles formed from the whipping that gives mousse its signature delicateness. During the 1800s, chocolate mousse was a specialty in French restaurants and is probably the most popular mousse to this day. In the 21st century, it can be found in restaurants and prepared in home kitchens worldwide.

On to the pumpkin mousse...  

Pumpkin or sweet potato are common flavors associated with the holiday recipes. Variations according to taste makes either dish unique and personal.

Basic Pumpkin Mousse
Mousse is also referred to as a mass of tiny bubbles that forms on the top of a glass of champagne or sparkling wine. So, serve your mousse in a champagne glass for a unique presentation!

Even in the wintertime a cool dessert is pleasing to the pallet after a hot meal!

The spicy-sweet flavors of pumpkin pie are whipped to velvety, airy perfection in this five-star treat.

Pumpkin Mousse Parfait
The parfait makes The Perfect Snack!  Preparing in mason jars allows you to eat just the amount you want with some left over for later. Just cap it off and store in the fridge!

 Pumpkin Mousse-Filled Cupcakes

The mousse does not have to be served in a cup or glass. Have your cake and eat it too by piping the mousse into a cupcake!

This is the best way to eat sweet potatoes! The praline sauce is a perfect addition and the pecans add just the right crunchiness.

 Sweet Potato Mousse Cups
A deconstructed version of sweet potato pie - gingersnap crust, sweet potato pie filling, and marshmallow whipped cream

What about a combo?

This no-fuss mousse is an easy, decadent and nutritious recipe that can be enjoyed any time!

On to something different...

It is interesting that mousse is not limited to a dessert. As the definition points out, it can be sweet or savory. With that thought in mind, let's shift gears toward the savory.

The answer of what to do with the leftover turkey! If you didn't serve smoked turkey, add a little smoked paprika or black powder seasoning.

Lobster meat, cream and cayenne are chilled in a lobster-shaped mold to make this airy hors d'oeuvre, which can be garnished to create a whimsical appearance.

No way can we leave without chocolate - served in cup, espressoed a bit, baked in a pie, layered in a cake & peaked on top of cupcakes!

This delicate chocolaty mousse melts on your tongue exciting all your senses!

Of course, nothing goes better with chocolate than the flavor of coffee!

This is one of those confounding dishes in which a finished whipped mousse - cold, rich, a perfect balance of density & airiness - is popped into an oven.

The mousse texture in this cake is exactly the same from one layer to the next and the flavor so overpoweringly rich it's hard to finish simply a mere forkfuls.

A rich chocolate cake with a creamy mousse topping, this is a classic cupcake combo for chocolate lovers.


Is your mouth watering yet?
 You have plenty of time to do the shopping necessary, then, get to work and get it made! 

yum, yum, yum . . . yummy!

Next on the Calendar...Bite! Bite! Bite!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Food Fights for Freedom

First thoughts might be the "food fights" so familiar in a high school cafeteria with freedom being a day out of the classroom because of suspension! Not so in this case. Look at it again this time letting food act as a subject with fights serving as a verb. Reading it in this context sheds a whole different light on the topic. Um-m-m-m? That poses a question: How does 'food' fight? Ever heard of rationing?

  This Day in History: November 29, 1942

WWII on the Home Front: Rationing
War brings about changes, adaptations and often simply doing without amenities once taken for granted—daily routines, availability of food & clothing are no longer the same. During WWII, those on the home front made do with less in order for the troops serving overseas to have enough. Even though America was thought of as the land of abundance, times of rationing became necessary. Shortages began immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor during the winter of 1941-42. All U.S. citizens soon found themselves with limited supplies of meat, sugar, canned goods, fuel, shoes. Then, on November 29, 1942, the commodity hit was coffee.

Why coffee?

Brazil and other Latin American countries were producing bumper crops of coffee beans even during WWII so production was not the issue. The countries responsible were either American allies or neutral. The problem was the demands on the military on shipping. All available ships were being diverted to the war effort. In addition, German U-boats were patrolling the shipping lanes and sinking merchant ships. The coffee supply in the US was dwindling. To ensure men in uniform received enough, civilians had to make do with less.

Sales of coffee were halted to prevent hoarding. As a result, each citizen was assigned ration cards, which insured the equivalence of all concerned. Sugar rationing had already been put into effect the preceding May (War Ration Book One) so the concept was nothing new to citizens. Ration stamps were modified to adjust their value and stamps #19 - 28 were each designated for one pound of coffee during a specified five-week period. When the period expired, so did the stamp. Coffee stamps could only be redeemed for family members over the age of fifteen. 

One pound of coffee every five weeks = Less than one cup per day

For those who just could NOT make it on less than a cup depended heavily upon family and friends who were non-coffee drinkers. To help spread the amount a little further, the coffee was not brewed as strong (lesser measured amount of coffee), coffee grounds were 'reused' and substitutes such as chicory or Postem were brewed. 

http://windsorplaceantiques.typepad.com/windsor-place-antiques-and-ephemera/2012/12/the-vintage-caf%C3%A9-collectible-caffeiniana.htmlAnother 'coffee' victim was the familiar coffee can. In the '40s, there was also a shortage of tin so the coffee manufacturers packaged it in glass jars. Aluminum was in much demand by the military. There are some great collectibles from this era since the coffee 'jars' were of unusual, interesting shapes and sizes. The jars did have metal lids with many manufacturers advertising support of the military with slogans such as "Food Fights for Freedom".

Old Judge Coffee was owned by David Evans. It was actually called the David Evans Coffee Co. and was one of the best selling brands in the USA until it was purchased by Chock Full O' Nuts in 1969. The building is still located on the Saint Louis Landing and can be seen from I-70.

Even though rationing is not in effect today, there are ways to support our military who are serving overseas. Show them you care!

 How much do you know about the flags of the United States Armed Forces?

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

With anything good comes pluses and minuses, pros and cons, ins and outs! This can surely be said of our most favorite yummy morning, afternoon and sometimes evening savorings. Coffee, tea, hot cocoa yum-yum-m-m-m-m! Each carries with it a unique aroma and special goodness that is possibly only surpassed by one craving, that of pure chocolate! Ah-ha! Of course, there is the addition of extra chocolate to any of the aforementioned that makes it all the more sinful! Don't leave without the recipe at the end! 

Now, on to the topic at hand, The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly of your favorite brews!

I think we will all pray to the first cup of the day. It's a silent prayer, sung while the mind is still foggy and blue. "O Magic Cup, " it might go, "carry me above the traffic jam. Keep me civil in the subway. And forgive my employer, as you forgive me." Amen. ~Stewert Lee Allen

The Good...

+ Coffee Reduces Your Risk of Diabetes
+ Coffee Fights Free Radicals
+ Coffee Improves Memory and Cognition
The Bad...
- Coffee can increase Osteoporosis
- Conventional
Coffee is Laden with Pesticides
The Ugly...
- - Coffee Causes Wrinkles
- - Coffee Can Actually Cause Weight Gain
Tidbits of Coffee Trivia:
25 Weird Coffee Trivia #10: By 1900 what could you expect to be delivered to your door in the United States by horse-pulled wagons besides blocks of ice? Coffee. Door-to-door salesmen, the kind you like to see coming.
Coffee Trivia: #100 The most widely accepted legend associated to the discovery of coffee is of the goat herder named Kaldi of Ethiopia. Around the year 800-850 A.D., Kaldi was amazed as he noticed his goats behaving in a frisky manner after eating the leaves and berries of a coffee shrub. And, of course, he had to try them!

More Coffee Trivia: Did you know in Turkey, wives can legally divorce if their husbands don’t provide a daily coffee quota?


Tea can be hot or cold, and is a virtually calorie free, sugar free, fat free, and sodium free drink, but yet is said to be an aromatic and satisfying drink!

The Good...
+ Drinking hot tea offers some of the same benefits as chicken soup.
+Tea is known as nature's 'wonder drug'.
+Tea can reduce stress levels by up to a quarter.
+ Drinking one cup of tea daily could help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
The Bad...
- Drinking steaming tea may cause throat cancer.
Drinking more than four cups of tea a day can increase women's risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
The Ugly...
- - Tea contains oxalates, over consumption of which can cause kidney stones.
Tidbits of Tea Trivia:
51 Tea Facts Every Tea Lover Should Know  
# 5: The art of reading tea leaves is called tasseography.
#13: For centuries, tea was used only as a medicine. It took almost 3,000 years for tea to become an everyday drink.
#51:  Pu-erh tea is supposed to be slurped. Slurping aerates the tea, increasing the flavors and allowing better contact with the taste buds.


Amidst the frosty temperatures of Winter, what could be better that putting your lips to a cup of steaming hot chocolate? While the silky richness of the hot chocolate is absolutely delicious, it also provides a shield from the wicked bursts of cold.

The Good...
+ Hot Cocoa/Chocolate reduces anxiety and anger due to phenyl ethylamine present in chocolate.
+ Hot Cocoa/Chocolate has a yummy taste and is consumed with pleasure.
+ Hot Cocoa/Chocolate is very good for digestion.
The Bad...
- Hot Cocoa/Chocolate contains caffeine which can be bad for the health.
The Ugly...
- - Hot Cocoa/Chocolate contains many calories because of high sugar and saturated fats that can lead to obesity.

Tidbits of Hot Cocoa/Chocolate Trivia: 
Fun Facts About Hot Chocolate: Hot Chocolate vs. Hot Cocoa—there IS a difference: (A) Hot chocolate is made directly from bar chocolate, which already contains cocoa, sugar and cocoa butter. (B) Hot cocoa is made from powder made by extracting most of the rich cocoa butter from the ground cacao beans.

Br-r-r-r-r-r! Is it freezing outside where you are? Not yet, you say. Well, you do not have to wait until cold weather to enjoy a cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa/chocolate. A jolt of caffeine is a great pick-me-up any day, any time of day! 

Drink the REAL stuff...
So what is your favorite 'poison'. . . Coffee, Tea or Hot Cocoa/Chocolate or neither? Which brew would you choose as being the most beneficial? 
I promised you a recipe, so here it is...GO FOR IT!
Related Articles:

7 Coffee Pros & Cons
Interesting Tea Trivia
Top 10 Health Benefits of Drinking Tea
Funtastic Facts About Chocolate