El D Eats

by TAYLOR HIGGINS
Staff Writer

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Frosting
This is, hands down, my favorite cupcake recipe ever! Both the cake recipe and the frosting recipe are very easy, and the results are always delicious. Caution: you will need several bowls for this recipe.
Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounces of 60% cacao chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar

Ingredients for frosting:

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare your cupcake pan by placing one cupcake liner in each well. Preheat oven to 350. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Whisk until the chocolate is melted. Let this mixture cool for fifteen minutes, or until the bowl no longer feels warm. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk and vanilla together, then set it aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high speed until foamy, for about two minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the oil, whisking until combined. Raise the speed to medium and whisk until fully incorporated, about thirty seconds longer. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and vanilla mixture. Add the sugar and whisk until the batter is smooth, for about two minutes. Stop the mixer. Remove the bowl and add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated, preferably by folding it by hand. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again just briefly by hand. The batter may still look slightly lumpy, but stop mixing. Divide the batter into the cups, filling each about ¾ of the way. Cook for about ten minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Transfer to wire racks, and cool completely before decorating.
Frosting directions:
Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. Stir the sugar to dissolve, then begin heating it over medium-low heat. Have a heat-proof measuring cup sitting nearby. Put the egg whites and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When the sugar reaches 240 degrees F, immediately pour it into the measuring cup to prevent it from getting hotter. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites, aiming for the side of the bowl rather than the whisk. When all the syrup is added, turn the mixture to medium-high and whisk until the icing becomes thick and holds a firm peak. Continue to whisk until the icing is just slightly warm and very thick, about ten minutes total. Do not continue to beat, or the icing will become too thick. Immediately dispense into a Ziploc bag with the tip cut off and pipe onto the cupcakes as you please. This frosting must be used fresh, and cannot be stored. Enjoy!

How to pull an all-nighter

by ASHLEY CORREIA
Staff Writer

Still have hours of cramming left for a big test? Channel your inner “brainiac-self” to make a sleepless night a success. No one really wants to stay up all night. I know I would love to bury myself under a minimum of five pillows for a solid nine hours when I get the chance, but sometimes an all-nighter is crucial. Whether you are writing an essay or studying for a big high school exam that you know is half of your grade (or at least that is what your teachers have been telling you). Well, here are a few tricks that I have learned to make it a little less painful.

  • Eat a Snack

 

But try to avoid unhealthy foods such as chips. The last thing you want to be is bloated at 3 a.m. so go for almonds, a banana, or any other healthy stuff that your parents have stored in your kitchen. The key is natural energy!

  • Make a Playlist!

 

You will need a soundtrack to keep the sleep-inducing silence at bay while you are working the night away. Mix it up with upbeat songs that will keep you awake but also not to distract you from your work either and throw a headbanger in there for good measures. (Check out M83’s new album- its perfect for almost any occasion!)

  • Whatever you do, “Do NOT Stop To “Rest Your Eyes.” We all know what you are really trying to do…
  • If you start to feel extra-drowsy, Wake Up Your Body with some push-ups, squats, or (my personal favorite) jumping jacks to keep your blood pumping.
  • When you take your first break, Shower, pick out your clothes and set your coffee maker. You need to prep for the dreaded crash- when you wake up and have only five minutes to get ready. (I know this all to well!)
  • Use Clear Eyes for dry, red eyes. (The commercials don’t lie.) As long as your eyes aren’t burning, you can tell yourself that you aren’t missing out on your usual night sleep.
  • And finally, it’s show time! Grab a Coffee or a green tea, get in your car, and blast that radio on the way to school because you know you got this!

Where are all the good samaritans?

by MIRIAM SANDERS

Staff Writer

Look all around you to the fellow citizens you share this humongous world with. Who are the good people, and who are the bad? Who are your friends and who are your foes? We go through life thinking that we have all of these friends beside us, only to realize that the true good person sticks around in the good times as well as the bad ones. So when you fall, will there be someone to pick you up, or are there no more good Samaritans around in society?

There was once a parable told in the Bible about a man who was robbed, beaten, and almost dead. Two of his own people passed him, yet they did not stop to help; one even stepped to the other side of the road. The third passer did help him, though. The astonishing fact is that he was a different race, often seen as an enemy to the race of the beaten man. The helper was a Samaritan, and this is why it is called the good Samaritan. The question is: why did he help some random guy? No one really knows, but it is that act of bold kindness that inspires the world to be a better place.

Are there still those good people out there, though? Let’s say you trip, fall, and need desperate help. Is someone going to lend you a hand and help you out? Not always, but sometimes, yes. A tragic cruise ship accident occurred not long ago. Good Samaritans were aboard that ship, waiting to help others. During this terrible panic, some people let some elderly people have their life jackets instead of jumping off the boat to get out of this nightmare. Some good Samaritans, putting their safety after others, allowed others to board the lifeboats before them. It is tragedy that some good Samaritans passed away because of their act of kindness, but it will be certain that they will be in the hearts of the saved and remembered forever.

It is ironic that we must have a tragedy to reveal if our society is still somewhat pure or if it has gone to the dumps. We surround ourselves with friends, only to find out sometimes those friends are the ones that end up being there in the bad times. Good Samaritans cannot live without your help, though. Whenever you see someone in need, you need to be a good Samaritan to them. If everyone did an act of kindness a day, this world would be a better place. Let us remember “treat others as we would want to be treated” and when people are in need, let us help them. Most importantly, thank your good Samaritans who have helped you in your desperate time of need.

Wii vs. Xbox 360

by ALYSSA PENA and JULIA VALDEPENA
Staff Writers

Xbox Dominates

When the Wii came out in 2006, people went crazy for it. because of its motion controllers and the the whole idea of moving around while playing a fun game with the family. But after maybe a year, the Wii became really old, really fast. The Xbox 360 is still very popular, and it came out a year before the Wii. Now, it even has the Kinect which is pretty much all the Wii is, but better. Why is the Xbox 360 and the Kinect better than the Wii? Well, let’s see.
The whole idea of being up and moving around while playing a video game is what made Wii so special, right? Well, while playing the Wii, as many people have found, you don’t even have to stand up. I’ve seen pictures of people who are lying on their living room couch waving their arm around with the Wii controller, getting a good score on a dancing game. What is the point in that? I thought the whole point of the Wii was to make it so you are up and playing actively? Playing dance games using the Kinect for Xbox 360 allows people to get a lot more into the dancing. You also can’t even play with multiple people unless you have enough controllers. With Xbox 360’s Kinect, all it requires you to have is yourself. Therefore you do not need to spend extra money buying controllers when you have friends over. There’s no one handed controller, your hand is the controller (which means there’s also no annoying wrist strap that dangles from the remote as you are playing, and no risk of someone letting go and breaking the T.V). And another plus, you don’t even have to manually turn on the Kinect! When you turn on your Xbox 360, all you have to do is say “Kinect” and it automatically turns on. Can’t talk to your Wii, can you?

Also with the Kinect, if you are playing a game such as Kinect Adventures with your friends or family, the Kinect’s sensor takes pictures as you are playing. So later after you finish playing, you can go back and look at all the pictures and laugh about how funny you look mid-jump. And if you like the whole idea of creating an avatar for yourself like on the Wii, which they call Mii’s, Xbox 360 allows you to create an avatar for yourself when you create your own account and they are much more detailed.
This is another thing. With Xbox 360, you can create your own account and get Xbox Live. Sure, the Wii has internet, but no one really uses the Wii for browsing on the Internet, and if they do, it isn’t half as good as what Xbox Live offers. With Xbox Live, you can go online and play with people all over the world, and you can talk to them, too. Xbox Live also offers so many new upgrades and packages for almost every game they release like Call of Duty or Battlefield 3. Also, unlike the Wii, the Xbox 360 has games for the more serious gamer. You don’t see a lot of people playing first-person shooter games like Call of Duty on the Wii.
With Xbox Live you don’t even have to go to the store to pay for games you want. You can just sit down and download the game you want right then and there. You can also download other things onto your Xbox 360, like Netflix, and you can even go onto Facebook, Youtube,  or Twitter from your account. You can also play DVD’s and CD’s on the Xbox 360.
Not only does the Xbox 360 pretty much dominate everything the Wii carries, it comes with better perks, and more of them, too.

Wii Rules
Just think for a minute what life would be like without the classics. Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda. If you only have the Xbox, you do not have to think, you know. How can people argue that the X-Box is better when those Nintendo classics are gone for them? Here are just a few reasons on the Wii trumps not only the Xbox, but all video game consoles alive!
As I previously mentioned, on the Wii you can play those Nintendo games, Mario Kart, Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong. You can’t race past Bowser or slash through Demise on the Xbox. Sure, you can blow people’s heads off, but where is the fun and creativity in that? And if you do like blowing people’s heads off, you can still play it on the Wii. Black Ops and action games are available on the Wii.
On the Wii there are also those magnificent and lovable Mii characters. You can make a little cartoon person of your whole entire family or of celebrities and characters from movies. There is even a website miicharacters.com on which you can find the steps to make characters like Scooby-Doo and Batman. Or even make a Harry Potter and Voldemort and pit them in a baseball game of epic proportions. There are so many possible ideas for characters, and the Wii really brings out a persons creative side.
The Wii was the first video game console to come out with motion controls. If you think about it, the Xbox, with its Kinect, is just a poser. You even have to buy the Kinect separately for $150 along with the Xbox 360. The Wii already comes with the function to pick up motion. The Kinect is still pretty glitchy too. For Just Dance 3, to be able to dance you have to make sure that no other people are around or else it will pick up their body and automatically put them in the game against their will.
People say that with the Wii dancing games you can get points with out even dancing. Although that may be true, you only get really low points, so to truly ensure a high score, you have to get into it!
You can also download games on the Wii by using the Wii shop. You can download all those old games that are rare to find now, such as Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time or the old versions of Mario games. And you can download Netflix on the Wii so you are ensured to be able to lay back and relax with a good movie. You can also download pictures from your cell phone or camera with a memory card to the Wii and make puzzles out of family pictures or a slide show to show at parties.
Another great party idea with the Wii is Pictionary! The Wii comes with the tablet to draw so you can display the pictures on your t.v. The Xbox does not come with any kind of tablet to draw on.
The Wii, overall is the best! It enhances your artistic talents and is great at parties. All the classics are available so it brings you to the good ol’ days of video games.

Hybrid Cars

by CHRIS TERCERO
Staff Writer

Everybody is looking for ways to save money in our difficult economic times. One way to save on gas money is buying a hybrid car. They may be more expensive at first, but they pay off in the long run because they use less gas.
On a hybrid car there are many features that help save gas money. One of the many features is that the car uses less gas and more electricity. When you drive in town you are using electricity and when you drive on the freeway you use gas. This saves you big time on gas because when you drive it’s only using gas when needed and the electricity is a substitution for the gas. Another feature is when the car stops, the battery charges and runs on electricity instead of gas. This is really good because when you stop you are recharging the car and creating energy to start the car when the light turns green. The shape of the car is also innovative to the gas consumption. All car shapes are different; however, all hybrid cars are shaped so they can cut through the air faster causing the engine to work less and thus saving energy and gas.

Because there are so many advantages to having a hybrid car, many would ask why not buy one? The answer to that is simple, the car is more expensive than the others so many people can not afford them or they are way out of their price range. The good thing is that because of how many hybrid cars there are out there on the market now, the cost will become cheaper because there will be more competition, so to win over the customers sellers will lower the cost. Hopefully, this will happen soon because the hybrid cars are the ones everyone should have in this tough economy.

Hair chalk

by MEGAN “ KARL” MOORE
Staff Writer
When I first heard of hair chalking, I pictured a little kid covered in chalk after a long day of coloring sidewalks. I wondered what could have possibly possessed someone to become so insane that they would put chalk in their hair; that is, until I tried it myself. Hair chalking is the cheapest and most creative way to dye hair for special occasions that allows you to color your hair without commitment.

When chalking hair one would either need chalk or soft chalk pastels to create the color they desire. The hair must be wet or the pastels needs to be soaked in lukewarm water. The chalk product is then rubbed onto the section of hair. If using wax pastels then the hair color needs to be set with heat. If a regular piece of chalk is used then the hair must be hair sprayed.

Most teens are not allowed to permanently dye their hair silly colors so they resort to using temporary hair dyes. Unfortunately, the dyes that are supposed to last a day are hopeless. Instead of washing out fully, they leave a strange tint to ones hair. After trying chalk for the first time, one will most likely vow to never use temporary hair dye again. It will be the easiest and cleanest hair dye ever used. Hair chalk does not act like normal dye. It cannot damage your hair, especially if you use deep conditioner the next day, and it always washes out fully when applied correctly. Perhaps this is why hair chalk has made a rise in popularity. That, and it is little effort for nice color.

Soft chalks can be found at any local craft store; however, here is a warning. Do not get soft chalk pastels confused with oils pastels, because oil pastels will cause your hair to become sticky and the color may not come out as well. If you’re confused ask a sales person, it would be better to ask for help rather than damage your hair. If you have blond hair, don’t use water because if you do the color may stay permanently. Lastly, absolutely do not chalk your hair on a rainy day unless you want the color to run out onto your shirt.

Hair chalking looks the best if you twirl the lock of hair as you apply the chalk. If not the color seems to look chunky. Also, one should try sporting a hair style such as the fishtail braid or the fun bun to add more style as they sport their hair chalk style.

Redeeming Your Health

by MARY PARK
Graphics Editor
   
Last year, I learned my uncle came down with pains and kept suffering worsening symptoms. Every time I was updated about his health condition, it has been getting worse and worse. Currently, it is now to the point where he is on the edge and he could be diagnosed with kidney cancer. As much as I have been praying for him day by day, it made me realize that he has been playing with fire his whole life, stemming from his eating habits. With the burden of financial problems and constantly working literally a whole day, it is understandable that one would like to reward themselves with delicious food.

But we all have to keep in mind parents and grandparents who came down with cancer and bad kidney problems now have been a lot healthier than the generation now. I am emphasizing that we need to really pay attention and become alerted about our food habits now.

WAKE UP EVERYONE.  As babies, we were already exposed to varieties of fast food chains and the promotion of eating healthy and exercising has been going down the drain. In other words, if you keep up your junk food diet, you might not even see age sixty without decaying health and organs. You know how you have that one friend or relative who is not doing well because they were diagnosed with diabetes or their kidney is failing? Yeah, you could have it a lot worse even before you reach their age when they received the bad news. And that is very bad, seriously.

Kidneys are so important because it gets rid of wastes, prevents bacteria and viruses to sustain your health. It works to also keep your blood circulation going and clean. Most of all it stabilizes your blood pressure. You may ask, what is the number one leading cause to kidney cancer? Smoking, being overweight, and not exercising. Want to become more scared? My uncle was never really overweight and quit smoking ten years ago. So how could he have retrieved these serious conditions? You can blame, stress, fatigue, and no exercise. About a sixth of our students play sports and third exercise at the gym or home. So what happens to the rest?

    Although our school promotes exercise and sells healthy meals, we need to take it upon ourselves to follow a healthier diet. We are the lab rats for junk foods and sodas, because no one can measure how a product affects one’s health over the course of their lifetime since it has been released in this generation.
    I’m not saying attempt a total one-eighty and start only eating grains, fruits, and diet. But I recommend maybe start by eating smaller portion meals, or limiting going off campus to Chipotle or McDonald’s everyday for lunch. Don’t drink soda everyday and try drinking lots of water instead (just not gallons at once, but here and there), because your taste buds will adjust, eventually making you satisfied with your meals. Even the slightest change in your bad junk food diet, may add on more years to your life. You can even swap certain foods for healthier options, there are so many alternatives and sources you can check out online.
    As we all get older we all will encounter the stress and fatigue from work in order to maintain financial stability for our future families. I always used the excuse, “You only live once,” to eat and do whatever I want. But now I take my health seriously, because we all live once and we all want to live a long, healthy life, so it is best to watch our health in order to live greatly.

Vegan Recipe: Tofu-Veggie Mania!

By DARIAN PAYNE
Staff Writer

Ingredients:
8 oz of your favorite brand of tofu (preferably FIRM or EXTRA-FIRM)
2 cups of broccoli
1/3 of an onion
1 ½ cup of mushrooms
2 zucchinis
8-10 baby carrots
10-12 cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Your favorite seasonings!

Directions:

1.       Rinse all of your veggies. Take the tofu out of the package and place it in a towel to soak up the extra water.

2.       While the tofu sits, chop the zucchini, into circles and then chop the circles in half. Dice the baby carrots into fours and chop the broccoli and mushrooms as desired.

3.       Cover a medium (or large) sized pan with 3/4 tablespoon olive oil and turn the heat on low. Now put the chopped veggies into the pan and sprinkle on your seasonings. cook slowly and stir.

4.       Then cut off 1/3 of the onion (and save the other 2/3 for future recipes). Take off the inside layer and top two layers. Separate the remaining layers and lay them on top of the other ingredients in the pan to add some flavor. (Keeping the onions a large size is good because many people who don’t like onions can easily pick them out). Add a little more seasoning and cook on low heat.

5.       While the veggies simmer, slice each of the cherry tomatoes in half. Squeeze the juice of each tomato onto the veggies before dropping them in. The veggies should look very juicy and moist. (Like the tomato juice is about to start boiling). You can raise the heat a tiny bit but if it starts to sizzle too much then turn it back down. Cover the pan while they simmer.

6.       While the veggies simmer, cut your tofu into little tiny squares. Add a little olive oil to another pan; just enough to cover the surface. Put the tofu in the pan on low-medium heat and begin to fry them. Sprinkle the top side with sea salt (or regular salt or seasoning) then flip it over and sprinkle the other side. Keep flipping and cooking until golden brown (like cooking a pancake!)

7.       While you cook the tofu, you should be stirring the veggies. Move all the veggies to one side of the pan and tip the pan so that all of the juice is separate from the veggies. Extract the extra juice with a spoon and save it in a bowl. (Or to make it 10 times easier, if you have a metal strainer then just strain the veggies and let the juice drain into a bowl. Save the extra juice).

8.       Now that the extra juice is gone you can turn up the heat and cook those veggies dry(ish). Don’t forget to keep cooking your tofu (and if you need more oil for the next round of tofu, go for it!)

9.       Once the veggies are cooked, turn off the heat. Drizzle in that extra veggie/ tomato juice and let it sit with the veggies for a few minutes (cover the pan) while you finish up the tofu.

10.   Now, serve and enjoy!

What to consider when buying a car

by RYAN SEYMOUR
Staff Writer

    Buying your first car is an extremely memorable and hopefully positive experience. However, a lot of people don’t realize how much you actually need to take into consideration when purchasing a car, especially if you’re buying a used one.

The first thing you should consider is how much you actually plan on spending on the car. Craigslist is a great site to get an idea of what you’ll probably be able to purchase with the amount set. (On a side note, when browsing any online site that has user generated sales, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is). You can buy a pretty decent car for about $2,500- 4,000 from there. If you do decide to buy a car from there, you need to look into the details of the ad. Avoid spending too much time on an ad that has no picture, an excess amount of miles, excessive damage, and especially avoid cars that have had a replaced engine.

When thinking about what is too many miles, a lot of people use a simple formula. Assume about 10,000 miles for every year the car is old. So, say we have a 2001 Hyundai Elantra. Based on this, the car should have about 100,000 miles give or take some. This formula is usually for cars only, trucks tend to have more miles and it’s generally more acceptable for them to have 150k plus if they’re 12, 13, or 14 years old. Don’t think that once you pay the owner of the car, that’s the end of the fees. You still may need to have the car smogged as well as other fees.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, avoid cars with excess damage as you may have to pay for it yourself to be fixed, just adding to the cost out of your pocket. I, personally avoid looking at cars that have had the engine replaced because that just means a lot of problems for the car and expensive problems at that. Probably the last thing you need to factor in is what exactly you’ll be using the car for. If you’re simply driving it to and from work, you don’t need a large truck with a v-8 engine. That’ll simply suck up gas and cost you more. Stick with a v-6 sedan. You’ll save money.

Valentine’s Day Tips

by KRISTIN GONZALES & AILEEN GALDAMEZ
Tip Writers

What’s up love birds? With Valentine’s day creeping around the corner you may be wondering how to woo your precious Valentine.  With these miraculous tips you will win your way to that special person’s heart in a split second.

1. Roses.  Roses may seem cliche, but they will sure make knees turn into jello.  Red roses mean love, beauty, and respect, a single red rose meaning “I Love You,”  white means “happy love,” yellow means “falling in love,” and orange means “desire.”  So pick the rose that suits for affections.

2. Chocolate.  Everybody loves chocolate and if they say otherwise, they are lying (unless they are vegan).  It is almost impossible to screw up a present that comes with chocolatey goodness.  It is so nice and sweet, and melts in your mouth, and it just makes the world go around.

3. Gift Basket.  You can’t go wrong with gift baskets.  Get all of your lover’s favorite items, stuff it in a basket, and call it good.  It could be movies, CDs, tickets, candy, lotions, nail polish, candles, and memorable pictures.  

4. Date.  Plan a special date with your hubby for just the two of you. Plan something sentimental that your partner will remember for years to come.  And make sure it is just the two of you, Valentine’s Day is not the time for a double date!

5. Surprise.  Surprises show that you are spontaneous and that you put a lot of thought into this special day.  Make sure that they have a lot of detail, personalization, and make sure it actually surprises them.  Nothing is worse than a nonsurprising surprise.

6. Mix it up.  Do something other than a movie and dinner, don’t be like every other couple.  Be adventurous and go on a day trip, sky dive, or a night picnic.  There is nothing more romantic than taking a trip and star gazing with sparkling cider.

7. Chivalry.  This one’s for the guys: chivalry is not dead.  Open doors, compliment new hair cuts, pull out chairs, tell her she’s beautiful every five minutes, and just be a gentlemen.  Basically, do everything that your dad told you and that your grandma would be proud of.

8. Jewelry. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.  Get her something sparkly and worth thousands of dollars and you will surely win her heart.  Nothing brings a smile faster on a girl’s face than a big rock.