August 7th, 2009

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Poetry Fishbowl Report for Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This month's prompts came with an early surge and then a few later. The fishbowl started late because our Internet connection was out in the morning, but we managed to get someone to fix it that day. I started at 1:30 PM and continued until midnight; accounting for lunch and supper breaks, that's 9 1/2 hours. I wrote a total of 18 poems, mostly medium; there were a few short poems and only one epic-length poem. All of the poems this time were free verse except for one acrostic. Some used two or more prompts, others only one.

This time, 11 people sent prompts; but alas, there were no new prompters. (Those of you who are spreading the word about the fishbowls, please don't be discouraged and please do continue: repetition is the foundation of successful promotion.) There were 39 comments including mine.

EDIT 8/9/09: added poem and donor.
EDIT 8/10/09: added poem.
EDIT 8/11/09: added poems.

The following fishbowl poems have been published:
"The Activist After Death"
"Life Beyond Life"
"Life's Ledger"
"The Meaning of the Chain"
"A Moment of Maturity"
"Mother and Child(ren)"
"A Night's Courage"
"Ugly Ducklings"

There is no generally sponsored poetry poll planned as yet; so far the only donations have sponsored individual poems.

This month's donors include: ellenmillion, talix18, minorarchitect, and janetmiles. So far there are no first-time donors. I'll get a donor perk-post written presently.

The permanent landing page for this project is here.
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Blogging Tips from Problogger

Problogger is a wonderful source of educational resources for serious bloggers. This is especially useful for folks doing cyberfunded creativity, which relies heavily on audience interaction. Some recent gems include:

"How to Get Featured by the Press (Repeatedly) Even If Your Blog Is New"
"How to Build Compelling Content By Leaving Readers Wanting More"
"How to Build Compelling Content By Leaving Readers Wanting More"
"How I'm Increasing Reader Engagement on My Blog"
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Recipe: "Strawberry Bread Pudding"

Encouraged by yesterday's success, I decided to try making a flavored bread pudding. This is different than most flavored bread puddings, which put the fruit in the sauce or mix it in with plain bread -- this is made with actual flavored bread, and plain topping. A while back we got several bags of mini bagels, ate some of them, got bored and stuffed the rest in the freezer. So I thought it would be fun to take out a couple of the strawberry ones and experiment with them. We are delighted with the results, quite delicious, slightly more solid than yesterday's custard-like bread pudding. And now re-pleased to have a quantity of those little things in the freezer!


Strawberry Bread Pudding


Ingredients:
2 stale strawberry mini bagels
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla pudding cup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Put cooking spray in 4 holes of a muffin tin. Tear 2 stale strawberry mini bagels into small pieces, using half a bagel to fill each muffin hole.

In a small pot, cook 1 cup half-and-half until a skin forms. Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons butter. Stir until butter melts. Allow to cool to lukewarm.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine 1 egg, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat with a fork for about a minute. Gradually add the half-and-half mixture, continuing to beat with the fork, until fully mixed.

Pour the batter over the bagel pieces, distributing it evenly among the 4 holes. Gently press the bagel bits into the batter so they soak it up.

Bake at 350ºF for about 30 minutes, until the tops of the bread puddings are lightly browned and no longer wet.

Remove from oven; place muffin tin on a rack and cool for 3-5 minutes. Scoop each bread pudding out of the muffin hole and transfer to a dessert bowl. Top with a spoonful of vanilla pudding, distributing the contents of the pudding cup equally across the four bread puddings.


Notes:

I happened to have strawberry mini bagels. If you don’t have mini bagels, substitute one normal-sized bagel for two mini bagels. This recipe would probably taste just as good with blueberry or other fruit bagels. It’s designed so that most of the flavor lies in the bread.

If your bagels are very fresh, you can dry them by toasting them lightly and then letting them sit for a while. But bagels tend to be on the tough, dry side so usually they work fine in bread pudding without that step.

I originally intended to make just 2 servings, but forgot how much bread expands when torn into bits. This was just as well since the mix came out right with a single egg – to halve this recipe, you’d either need to use half of a broken egg or work with egg replacer instead of fresh egg. But you could probably add another mini bagel and a bit more half-and-half to get 6 servings, or just double the whole thing for 8.

Yes, I cheated and used store-bought vanilla pudding, since we like pudding cups. It seemed like the best way to get a small amount of pudding. Feel free to make your own pudding, especially if you’re increasing the number of servings.