Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's a Girl! Documentary Film

I have something important I must share.  The film, It's a Girl!, is so powerful.

You need to try to see it.  Please take the time to click on the website link and watch the trailer.  If you can find the movie in your area, attend a screening.  Or, the website tells you how you can host the film yourself.

It’s a Girl! Documentary Film – Official Website

This documentary shows how widespread the killing of baby girls has become, focusing mostly on India and China.


This woman killed 8 daughters.


In one scene, women in India were standing around talking with the interviewer, telling him the different ways they had killed their baby girls.  They did not seem remorseful and it was explained that they felt they'd been merciful as they knew their daughters would live miserable lives.

One of the highlighted problems was the dowry system.  Parents of girls, at the time of their marriage, must give money and possessions to the family of the groom.  Additionally, that family also gets their daughter.  Everyone wants a daughter-in-law as she will be there to care for them in their old age.  A daughter, however, just costs them money to raise and then they lose them, as well as the valuable dowry.  Also, if a bride has a baby girl, she is often pressured to kill it.  She herself may be killed for having girls.  What a messed up system!

Couples in China tell of forced abortions and forced sterilizations.  China now has something like 35,000 more men than women.  It would seem that women would then become more valued.  Well, sort of, but not in a good way.  Brothels are huge businesses.  Little girls are being stolen by families with sons, raised to be brides.  What a mess!

They are asking for our help, mainly to speak up.  If you have any social media power (Facebook, a blog, etc.) please consider using it to let others know how common these horrible practices have become.  Look around the website to learn of other ways to help.

Thanks for reading this. I know it wasn't my usual kind of post.  When asked to blog about it, though, I knew it was a story needing told from everyone with a voice.

Crock Pot Cake!! No, I'm Not Kidding!!!

I'm telling you, I am going to be your best friend now.  You will love, love, love me forever for what I am about to tell you.  I'm going to give you the secret to happiness.  Well, maybe that is a little overstated but I've got something sweet to tell you...something VERY sweet!

Before I start, and to help you understand just how important this is to me, let me tell you about my cake-baking history.  It's not pretty.  First, when Maria was turning 4, she was having a birthday party.  My mother-in-law was there to help (we were living in the Seattle area) and I was very pregnant with Ben.  I'm thinking I was a bit hormonal because everything about that day still kind of makes me feel discouraged.  However, the part about the cake...  I had baked a cake for the party and when I was turning it out of the pan, it broke into 5 parts.  That's right.  I managed to break it into that big of a mess.  I believe I started to weep.  Mike's Mom handed me some money and told me to go buy a cake, which I did.

Now, fast forward to Ben's 4th birthday.  We had just moved to Harlowton, MT a few weeks before his birthday.  He didn't really know enough kids to invite for a party so we invited the one little friend he had, a little cowboy named, J.C.  We also had J.C.'s whole family over as well.  When it came time for the cake Ben took a big breath and blew out his candles.  When I asked him to tell me his wish he again took a big breath and as he exhaled he muttered, "Iiiiiii Wiiiish for a better birthday cake."  Wait, what?!  Well, that gives you just a little background into my great cake-baking abilities.  Don't even ask me about frosting cakes.  Let's just say that no bakery has called me to come work for them.

So, last Saturday we were invited to a little get-together with friends.  I was to bring appetizers and a dessert.  That didn't sound scary until the hostess said something about the dessert being cake as we were celebrating some birthdays as well as the recent wedding of one couple.  OK, I guess dessert was expected to be cake.  Yikes!  Luckily, last week our local paper came out with some new crock pot recipes and one was for a cake!

I know what you are thinking, a slow cooker is not appropriate for cake-baking.  Well, in my desperation, I gave it a try.  I'm telling you, it was soooooo goooooooood, just writing about it makes my mouth all watery.  So, I'm going to share this magnificent find with you now.  Although I tweaked the recipe a bit (as always), the original one comes from "Best of Country Slow Cooker Recipes" by Reiman Publications.  I just want to be sure to give credit where credit is due.  Also, I'd like to mention that there are no eggs in this recipe so lick the bowl when you are done, with no worries about salmonella.  The chocolate chips, butter, milk and ice cream could all be switched out for vegan versions of the same.

Hot Fudge Cake

Use the recipe as written for a 3 quart crockpot.  I also have one of those larger, oval ones so I doubled everything and it worked great.  First, the ingredients (for the smaller version)...

1 3/4 cups packed brown sugar, divided                  2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour                                           1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons baking cocoa, divided                        1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons baking powder                                     1 3/4 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt                                                    Vanilla ice cream for topping
1/2 cup milk                                                           Cinnamon (my addition)

In a bowl, combine 1 cup of the brown sugar, flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder and salt.  I dumped in a lot of cinnamon as well, because I bought too much cinnamon and need to use it up, because it is good for you (as if that was my top concern here) and because I always change recipes in some way.

Use another bowl to combine the milk, butter and vanilla.  Mix stuff up together in their own bowls then mix the contents of the two bowls together just until combined.  Spread that mixture around the bottom of a 3-quart slow cooker (crock pot) that you've already sprayed with a nonstick cooking spray.  It looks like a weird thing to put in a crock pot but you're going to have to use some faith here.  It gets more strange yet.  Dump all the chocolate chips on top of the batter, spread around of course.

If you have left-over chocolate chips, eat them while you are working or just dump them on in.  The more the better as they become the hot fudge.

Grab one of those bowls you've already used.  Rinse it out if you feel you must but it doesn't matter.  Combine the remaining brown sugar and cocoa.  If you, too, have purchased two large containers of cinnamon, add more of it here.



Stir in the boiling water.



Now, pour that whole bowl of brown soup right on top of the chocolate chips.  It won't look right but don't panic.




Just put the lid on, set it on high and come back in about 4 hours.  In my case I had it on high for 3 hours then turned it to the lowest setting for a few more hours.  When I went to the party I plugged it in there and left it on low for another hour or more.  It worked out just fine.  I even bet it would work if you did 8-9 hours on only the low setting.  It won't matter if it is a bit crunchy around the edges or a bit gooey in the middle.  Serve it scooped into bowls.  It will taste perfect when topped with the ice cream.  The hard part is not eating so much of it that you make yourself sick!

So, go try this recipe.  Impress your friends!  Impress your family, and then tell me who your bff is now!