Pumpkin Pie Lasagna

Over the weekend, I was invited to a social gathering and asked to bring a dessert. It is nearly Halloween, the air is a bit cooler, and I was thinking that something that embraced the season would be appropriate (and hopefully, delicious).

In my search for desserts involving pumpkin (I didn’t want to just make a pumpkin pie), I found omgchocolatedesserts.com

Vera, who runs the site, is a fantastic storyteller and her story of what she calls Pumpkin Lasagna caught my attention.

After making it and serving it, I’ve decided to call it Pumpkin Pie Lasagna. I was told at the party that if Fall had a flavor, it would be THIS dessert.

When I took my first bite, I was instantly transported to a kitchen table in a small home late on a Thursday afternoon. My grandmother’s house. Thanksgiving day. The first taste of her amazing pumpkin pie.

I made only slight modifications to the recipe, which I’ll indicate below. If you’re looking for a dessert for a Halloween party or even a new twist for Thanksgiving, this IS it!

THE RECIPE:
Author: OMGChocolateDesserts.com

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
For crust:
  • 1 cup flour (I used two cups, b/c I made this in a 9×13 pan)
  • ½ cup butter-softened (again, I used one cup, making it for a larger size crust)
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts (or pecans)-chopped (I used pecans)
For cheesecake layer:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese- softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup whipped topping
  • SG: I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla
For pumpkin layer:
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 3 small pkgs. vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 15 oz Pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • SG: I also added some allspice (a dash or two) and some nutmeg — I feel this gives it more of that “pumpkin pie” flavor
For topping:
  • 1 cups whipped topping
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts (or pecans)-chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 350 F and spray 8×8 inch baking dish. (NOTES : I made Pumpkin Lasagna with these ingredients in 8×8 inch baking dish, but some people have commented that they have a problem to fit it, so I suggest you to avoid this potential problem using a 9×9 inch baking dish)
  2. Mix flour, butter and ½ cup walnuts, press into a sprayed baking dish and bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and let it cool completely.
  3. Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until it’s light and fluffy, add 1 cup whipped topping and spread over cooled crust. Set in the fridge while making pumpkin mixture.
  4. Mix milk and vanilla instant pudding mix, add pumpkin puree and cinnamon and mix until it’s smooth. Spread over top of cheesecake layer.
  5. Spread remaining 1 cup of whipped topping and sprinkle chopped walnuts and set in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

 

For more great recipes, go to omgchocolatedesserts.com

For more on living the gentleman’s lifestyle, follow @SterlingGent

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Fall is here and pumpkin spice lattes are back! It’s also a great time to add healthy pumpkin to your cooking. Pumpkin tastes great, is packed with fiber and vitamins, and it just tastes like autumn.

So, here’s my recipe for delicious Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins:

Ingredients

1/2 Cup brown sugar

1/4 Cup white sugar

2 eggs

3/4 Cup canned pumpkin

1/4 Cup water

1/4 Cup butter, melted

1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 Cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.

2. Mix sugars, butter, and eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.

3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

 

These are simple to make, delicious, and a great snack or breakfast. They are amazing with a cup of coffee.

Enjoy these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and a cool, crisp autumn.

For more on the lifestyle of a gentleman, follow @SterlingGent

How to Keep a Girl Interested

This column is aimed at younger (college age) guys who want to know how to keep a girl interested. It comes to Sterling Gentleman by way of a lovely young lady in grad school — that’s right, she’s both lovely and smart. That’s a killer combination. Here’s her advice:

You were lucky enough to get the first date and you didn’t screw up and you’ve had a second date and beyond. So now what? Now you have to be on your tiptop game to keep her around. Girls get bored of guys just like guys get bored of girls so here is some advance for you to keep her attention and earn her affection.

 

First off, show interest in her! You don’t have to send her a good morning text everyday but if you are making her text you first every single day she will get pissed at that and stop talking to you. We don’t want to feel like we are bugging you so don’t be dull when texting. Show us that you are actually interested in getting to know us as a person! If you just want us for our body then you might as well just say BYE BYE right now!!

 

Second thing, most girls love to be spoiled (well all girls do)! When I say spoiled I’m not talking about you spending every last dime you have to buy us everything we want. That is actually the complete opposite of what I mean when I say spoil her. The right girl won’t want you spending every last dime you have on her and she will even offer to pay sometimes, the right girl will want you to spoil her with your love and attention. YOUR ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS GUYS!! You can tell her things all you want but if you can’t back it up you won’t get far with us and you can say goodbye while we walk out the door.

 

Third thing, don’t tell us who we can and cannot be friends with! If something was to happen with a friend of ours it would have already happened, so trust us when we tell you, they are just a friend.

 

One of my biggest deal breakers is if all you want is to have sex with me! You might as well just go back to having never known me. If she is the right girl don’t rush things! Sometimes getting physical can ruin a relationship. If you want to keep her around for a really long time take it slow and hold off on doing physical things, but make sure she knows that you are attracted to her in that way.

 

When you are with your boys and she is with you, show her off. No matter where you go and who you are with SHOW HER OFF! She is dating you and only you! Make every guy out there jealous that you have her and they don’t! Some types of public displays of affection are good. She wants to know that you aren’t embarrassed to be with her and that you are comfortable with being emotional or romantic around your friends.

 

Hopefully this will help you guys get a girl and keep her around. Don’t be an asshole! Girls like the good guys that are gentleman and know how to treat her right!

Review: U2 Songs of Innocence

So, like 500 million other people, I’ve had U2′s Songs of Innocence on my phone for the last couple of days.

The thing is, I’m actually a fan of U2. Have been since I got my hands on The Joshua Tree back in 1987.

So, I’ve listened to it. The whole album, all 11 songs. I’ve been playing around with it in my head and listening in my car and at the office.

I’m not far from 40, so U2 is generationally appropriate for me.

But, how does it stack up?

First, the songs are all absolutely beautiful. The music is very nice and the lyrics are incredible, a return to Bono’s greatness in songwriting.

This is, in my view, the best U2 album since All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Maybe better than that one.

Here’s the thing: U2 may never again catch the magic that produced The Joshua Tree and then just a few years later Achtung Baby. Those are two albums that are pure magic from start to finish.

But, with Songs of Innocence, U2 has produced an outstanding album full of beautiful music.

The story behind the music is that this is U2 looking at the world when they were in their teens. What it feels like is a group of guys looking back on their formative years and recpaturing a few moments of innocence. In either case, the emotions it evokes are intense.

The album is very personal, introspective, and a bit haunting.

The last 5 songs (starting with Raised by Wolves) are simply superb. U2 magic. Like the way I felt when I heard the first 5 songs of War. If this were a cassette like the ones I bought in the 80s, I’d be playing side 2 a lot.

I’ve listened quite a bit in the last few days, and I’m coming to the conclusion that my favorite song is Cedarwood Road. First, the song kicks some ass. It opens with tremendous promise and when I first heard it, I turned the radio up. While it does not go full on with its rock potential, it has a driving beat and great guitar sound and it is worth playing loud. Plus, lyrically, it’s pretty interesting. The boy standing at home, waiting to face the world. Being defined for life by the years spent at home.

Raised by Wolves is U2 and political commentary. Ireland and war. And here again, the Edge is on fire.

Sleep Like a Baby Tonight may be the second best song on the album. It is haunting and dream-like and special. Plus, it ends with some guitar magic by the Edge.

The Troubles is also haunting and special. In fact, the album’s introspective nature makes it somewhat melancholy and maybe a bit angry. I guess not unlike a teenage boy trying to figure out the world.

Song for Someone (an early track), reminds me of nights spent in the car at the end of a date with someone special. Someone beginning to really like you. I can see myself hearing that song at 17 and melting under the emotion and excitement it conveys.

While I also enjoy Every Breaking Wave, which is lyrically brilliant and sonically interesting, it comes in the opening trio of pop songs that all run together. Sure, Miracle (of Joey Ramone) and California (There is no end to love) are individually good songs, but when you play Miracle, Wave, and California in order, they merge into a singular pop intro to the album. Fun, interesting, and perhaps forgettable.

Iris is powerful if for no other reason than the subject — Bono’s mother who died when he was 14.

Volcano is the “meh” of the group. Though I appreciate the chorus evoking the sounds of Glastonbury, a song the band wrote for the Glastonbury festival and played sometimes on the 360 tour. They should have just recorded Glastonbury as it was and left Volcano out.

All in all, the album is quite good. It gets into your head, and that’s what good music does. Some of the songs could be soundtracks to your life or to particularly fond or difficult moments. And, if there’s another album, as Bono has promised (Songs of Experience), the world could be in for some quite exciting U2 sounds for the next few years.

Review of Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille

Guest writer Lynn has a few words to say about Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille.

Any man aspiring to be a true gentleman must attend to details such as fragrance, and Tom Ford’s offering is certainly one to be considered.

Here’s Lynn’s take:

 

Remember the old-timey tobacco shops… shops with tables upon tables of loose pipe tobacco… rows upon rows of perfectly aligned cigars… the tobacco shop many  gentlemen would frequent after a hard week’s work?  This is what Tom Ford Tobacco and Vanille brings to mind immediately after spraying it on, and throughout the day.  The scent of vanilla is very, very subtle… almost undetectable other than enhancing the tobacco, hence the name, Tobacco Vanille, not Tobacco & Vanille.  A powerfully subdued scent of sweet tobacco that you would imagine wafting from Gregory Peck’s pipe.

It is sold as a men’s cologne; however, it is can easily be worn by a women without giving off a macho scent.  The finesse of the tobacco makes for an equality of femininity and masculinity.  It can be worn effortlessly by either sex and appreciated by both, so be prepared to have men and women alike to ask you what scent you are wearing!

SG Says: This fragrance is exquisite and can certainly be worn by a woman — but ONLY if you want to be tantalizing to those around you.

Find Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille and make it your own:

 

 

 

Quercus Bath and Shower Gel

I’ve written before about a man and his shower.

And, I’ve also written about a warm season fragrance I love, Quercus by Penhaligon’s.

And despite the late season snow yesterday, it is spring.

Now, about Quercus Bath & Shower Gel.

First, it is pitched as a unisex scent.  This is certainly true and I’ve had the pleasure of sensing it on a woman.  Luxurious, indeed.

Quercus is also strong, refreshing, and powerful. A man who has finished a long day at the office and wants a warm, welcoming shower will appreciate Quercus. As will the man who spent his day working under the car or tending to the landscaping.

When combined with heat and steam, Quercus is simply exquisite. It is a vacation unto itself.

As I’ve written before, Quercus cologne goes great with sweat and heat.  Its power is intensified when your body heats up.  Likewise, the shower gel gains strength and force when matched with a hot, steamy shower.

For a shower experience you’ll relish every single time, Quercus is for you.

 

For more on the gentleman’s lifestyle, follow @SterlingGent 

Dreadnought Shaving Cream

What is the best shave cream for men? Do premium shaving creams really offer a noticeable difference?

Here, I attempt to answer these questions.

I was first made aware of Dreadnought Shaving Cream by @HeyClurra.

While I’ve used some higher-end shaving creams before, I usually stick to the Aveeno Active Naturals stuff — it’s about $4, so a little on the higher end for the store.  There’s no added scent, and it smells a touch like an oatmeal cookie — a hint of vanilla and a fragrance that quickly dissipates post-shave.  It’s a good, solid shave and it’s not that expensive.

Dreadnought shaving cream comes in at $18.  Not the most premium price point, but not cheap, either.

Dreadnought shaving cream comes in a delightful canister.  It’s perfect for using a shaving brush, but I just added a dot to the palm of my hand and used some warm water to work up a lather.

I was impressed by how thick and rich the lather was.  The scent was definitely present.  It’s a light, soapy scent.  A traditional men’s shaving smell to be sure.  After working the stuff into my face, I shaved as I normally do.

My initial impression was positive. The glide was smooth and nice and the stubble cleared nicely. Plus, the scent made me feel fresh and clean.  I noticed less irritation than normal, so that’s a plus.

I applied my normal aftershave balm and went about my day.

I noticed my skin felt soft and smooth, seemingly more so than usual.

I used Dreadnought Shaving Cream for a full work week and found it pleasant.  Certainly, a good experience.

But, worth $18?

I decided to return to my old standby.  I used the old stuff for the weekend.  Still, a good, rich lather.  But the shave was slightly painful.  The irritation post-shave more apparent.  After two days, I went back to Dreadnought.

I love it! The shave is clean, the glide is great, the irritation is minimal, the scent is welcoming and I’m imagining will be even better on a warm summer morning.  I’d also imagine a woman leaning in for a kiss or to whisper something sweet might find the aroma inviting.

Is it worth 3 times what I used to pay for shave cream? I think so. It is supposed to last through 50 shaves, so about 2 months.  If it does, it’s definitely worth it.  For now, I’m using Dreadnought and loving it every single day.

 

 

For more on the gentleman’s lifestyle, follow @SterlingGent

The Gentleman’s Bag

From Louis Vuitton. In Cobalt. Details. Truly, The Gentleman’s bag.

For more on the gentleman’s lifestyle, follow @SterlingGent

 

 

The Fashion Police

Winter Cocktails

It’s cold. It’s a vortex of cold, even. And it’s not even February yet.  Places that have never, ever seen snow are getting hit hard with freezing rain and ice.

Nothing warms your better on a cold winter evening than a warm fire and a well-made cocktail.

Here, I outline four great winter cocktails all made with bourbon. Because, what else would you make them with?

The Old Fashioned
This is a classic, with a twist.  The original was crafted at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. 80% of the world’s bourbon is produced in Kentucky, so it’s no surprise the Old Fashioned would find it’s home there.  While the traditional version doesn’t contain any muddled fruit, newer variants do. And, in my view, it’s the muddled fruit that makes this cocktail amazing.
Place one orange slice in the bottom of an old fashioned glass.  Top with a dash of sugar. Add a splash of Sprite. Use a spoon to muddle this until the sugar is well-blended with the juices.
Top with ice. Add 1.5 oz of bourbon. Stir. Top off with Sprite or water. (Sprite will make it sweeter, of course). Garnish with a lime wedge and a cherry.
Whiskey Sour
Old Fashioned Whiskey Sour
Another classic, this is very simple to make and simply delicious. Very nicely warming on a cool winter night.
2 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. lime juice
1 TSP brown sugar
place in a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake.
Pour over ice in an old fashioned glass.
Egg Nog
Four Roses® Egg Nog
  • Beat separately yolks and whites of 6 eggs.
  • Add 1/2 cup of sugar to yolks while beating.
  • Add 1/4 cup of sugar to whites after they have been beaten very stiff.
  • Mix egg whites with yolks.
  • Stir in 1 pint of cream and 1 pint of milk.
  • Add a pint of bourbon and 1 oz. Jamaica Rum. Stir thoroughly.
Makes 5 pints — perfect for your any winter gathering, not just for the Holidays.
Serve very cold and top with grated nutmeg.
The Toasty Tobaggan
The Toasty Toboggan bourbon cocktail
A winter favorite, for sure!
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Hot Water
  • Fresh Grated Nutmeg

In a saucepan, heat 4 ounces of water, maple syrup and bourbon. Remove from heat. Add butter and stir until butter is melted. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and whipped cream.

For more on living the gentlemen’s lifestyle, follow @SterlingGent

 

The Perfect Shirt

The beautiful Reid Gingham from Ledbury

Yes, it is the perfect shirt.

These guys make amazing shirts, and this one is exceptional.  The color scheme is brilliant, it’s perfect for winter under a sweater or those cool spring days coming soon (not soon enough, right)?

For more on the gentleman’s lifestyle, follow @SterlingGent