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Memories and Musings

By Cheri Sims
One of my favorite things about YouTube” (a site on the computer) is watching music videos and most especially resurrected video of 1960/1980 concerts I could not afford to attend. Hubby was a rock musician at the time and played all the music from many of the bands I liked but that was not the same as seeing the real thing. (Sorry Hubby) I am talking about groups like the Mammas and the Pappas, Genesis, Queen, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Elvis and many more. Before Hubby and I met he and his band mates did get to quite a lot of concerts but my parents thought that was an unseemly lifestyle and I was not allowed the privilege. To my parents credit they did three things concerning music for which I am forever grateful; they took me to see Ricky Nelson at the State fair in Springfield, they drove me and a friend to Chicago to see the Beatles in concert and then they allowed me to marry Hubby even though he was a musician and had long hair.

After years of wishing I had been able to go to the “big” concerts including helping our son earn enough money to attend as many as we could afford while he was growing up; the band Chicago came to EIU and we attended, I was thrilled; the concert was all I could have imagined and the music was magnificent. Hubby said I looked like a statue sitting there in abject concentration. Many years would pass before I would get to attend another live concert. At this time it was not the cost that kept me away but the fact that Hubby had band jobs every weekend and could not get away to go hear another band.

Hubby and I were avid fans of the TV show “American Idol” partially because they produced many of my favorite songs and had guest bands of which I was quite fond. In 2009, during the first show of that season, we both picked who we thought would be the winner, Adam Lambert. Luckily all the coffee girls liked the show and with one exception we were all rooting for Adam so we had a lot to talk about at morning coffee. Hubby said if Adam won he would take me to the “American Idol” tour concert, if one came close to Charleston. Well Adam was runner up and on the night the tour was close to us Hubby had a band job so here again I did not get to go to a concert. I was following Adam on his web site when I learned he was going to have a concert tour of his own and lucky, for me, the night he played in Evansville, Indiana, Hubby did not have a booking and we went to the concert. Once again Hubby had the enjoyment of watching me, as I sat transfixed on the stage for a whole hour, (his words).

A couple years later Adam joined the band “Queen” who had already had a very long career beginning in 1970 but I was not a fan of this band with the exception of a couple songs I thought were pretty good I still did not follow them regularly. Adam had actually performed a “Queen” song for his audition for “American Idol” and “Queen” had been one of the guest bands on said show along with “Kiss” and I really enjoyed those two shows. Incidentally both Hubby and son had seen “Kiss” and “Queen” in concert in their early years. Finally in 2013 I realized my dream of seeing a “real” concert when it was announced that “Queen” and Adam Lambert would be playing in Montreal, Canada the same weekend we were planning to be there on our vacation.

The price of two tickets and a two night hotel stay, near the venue, was more than many of our previous vacations had cost but I was determined to go to this concert even if it meant that we would have to cut the whole trip short and just go to Montreal. Hubby agreed to the plan and I was in seventh heaven for many months leading up to the date. I was not disappointed. I had listened to all the “Queen” albums during those months waiting for the concert. I did not want to be the only person in the concert hall who did not know the songs but I was still not a big fan of the band. Long story short, I was blown away; I did not sit transfixed as I had the few other times I had been to smaller concerts. I might have been 65 but I felt like I was 16. Adam’s spectacular voice fit the songs perfectly and the entire concert hall attendees were on their feet the whole two hours. Finally, I got to experience the concert of my dreams!

I have watched many great concerts on “YouTube” but the last couple years they have been somewhat sad. Many of my favorite singers and bands are my age and older and are promoting their “final” tours. Geezzzz, I didn’t get to see them in their prime and now I am watching their final shows. I did not get to see Phil Collins and “Genesis” in my youth and I watched their final show last night, I cried. Mr. Collins, an amazing drummer and singer, has experienced many health challenges in the last year and was forced to sit the entire concert. He also stated that he could barely hold a drum stick now and did not play the drums in his last stage appearance. Recently singer Tony Bennett had his final concert and Elton John is doing his final concert tour. Band reunion tours are a big thing the last few years and I was stunned to see how some of us have aged. Some of the last tours and reunion tours, in my opinion, should not have taken place. One of the saddest situations I have witnessed is the fading talent of some of the musicians. Sadly, for him, Hubby was not afforded the chance for a final band tour; he had been one of the best rock guitarists in the Midwest and had performed with many great bands as a stand in guitarist. In retrospect, I am glad he did not go on stage with less ability than he had in his prime. Rock on!

It is time for another Easter recipe. I have scoured the internet for new recipes and found one I think I just might try this year. I enjoy the colorful presentations of Easter websites and I miss making pretty frosted cookies and bunny shaped cakes for the family, but the enjoyment of these websites makes up for the lack of actual baking. The “Purple Pumpkin Blog” ( has a great carrot cake truffle recipe complete with a video and great pictures. They have also recorded every step with instructions for the novice baker. I love carrot cake and these perfect bites are so cute too.

Enjoy spring!

Carrot Cake Truffles


For the Carrot Cake

* 1 cup sugar

* 1/2 cup canola or

 vegetable oil

* 2 large eggs

* 1 cup all-purpose flour 


* 1/2 tsp baking soda 

(bicarbonate of soda)

* 1/2 tsp baking powder

* 1/4 tsp salt

* 1 tsp cinnamon

* 1 cup grated carrots

* 1/2 cup chopped 

walnuts, plus more for 


For Making the Truffles

* 2-3 Tbsp cream cheese 


* 1 (16-oz/450g) bag of 

white chocolate melting 



1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Spray a 9×9” baking dish with nonstick baking spray and set it aside.

2.      Using an electric hand or standing mixer, beat together the sugar, oil, and eggs until well combined.

3.      Sift or whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon into another bowl, then gradually beat into the wet ingredients until combined.

4.      Fold in the grated carrots and half-cup of chopped walnuts.

5.      Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

6.      Leave the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

7.      When the cake has cooled, crumble it into fine crumbs into a large mixing bowl.

8.      Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.

9.      To form the truffles, mix the cream cheese frosting, a spoonful at a time until a dough forms.

10.  Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop out some of the cake mixture and roll into 1½” balls. Place onto prepared cookie sheet. Continue until all cake dough has been used

11.  Place into the fridge for 1 hour to harden.

12.  Melt the chocolate wafers according to the package instructions (or use a double boiler).

13.  Remove the carrot cake balls from the fridge.

14.  Dip each cake ball into the melted chocolate using a fork. Lightly tap to get rid of excess chocolate.

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