Homemade Twinkies Recipe

For all those who grew up with Twinkies and are now missing them. Here is a homemade Twinkie recipe that comes courtesy of Good Day on Fox 29 Philadelphia.

Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29 (http://www NULL.myfoxphilly NULL.com)

Ingredients
  • Nonstick cooking spray or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk, preferably whole
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • Banana cream frosting
Directions
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position.
  • 2. To make your shiny, single-use Twinkie molds, start with a piece of aluminum foil, preferably heavy-duty, that’s approximately 14 inches long. It should be just a little longer than it is wide. Fold the foil in half lengthwise, then fold it in half again to create a rectangle that’s about 6 inches long and 7 inches wide. Repeat to make a dozen rectangles.
  • 3. Place 1 sheet of folded foil on your work surface, with the long side facing you. Place a standard-size plastic or glass spice jar on its side in the center of the foil, the jar’s long side also facing you. Bring the long sides of the foil up around the jar. The foil won’t reach all the way around, and that’s okay. Fold the foil in around both top and bottom ends of the spice jar, nice and tight. You’ll end up with a sort of trough situation. (Cookbook author Todd Wilbur has a video of the process here (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=-yeyy4mQoes); if you’re impatient, fast forward to 1:10, where the action starts.) Repeat until you have 12 foil Twinkie molds. Spritz the molds with an obscenely generous amount of nonstick spray or use your fingertips to coat the molds with vegetable oil. Place the Twinkie molds on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan.
  • 4. Whisk the flours, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  • 5. Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter melts. Remove from the heat add the vanilla. Cover to keep warm.
  • 6. Separate the eggs, placing the whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or, if using a hand mixer or whisk, a large mixing bowl) and reserving the yolks in another bowl. Beat the whites on high-speed until foamy. Gradually add 6 tablespoons of the sugar and the cream of tartar and continue to beat until the whites reach soft, moist peaks.
  • 7. Transfer the beaten egg whites to a large bowl and add the egg yolks to the standing mixer bowl—there’s no need to clean the bowl (or, if using a hand mixer or whisk, simply place the egg yolks in a separate large bowl). Beat the egg yolks with the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is very thick and a pale lemon color, about 5 minutes. Add the beaten egg whites to the yolks, but do not mix.
  • 8. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg whites and then mix everything on low-speed for just 10 seconds (or, if using a hand mixer or whisk, until blended but not thoroughly combined). Remove the bowl from the mixer, make a well in one side of the batter, and pour the melted butter mixture into the bowl. Fold gently with a large rubber spatula until the batter shows no trace of flour and the whites and yolks are evenly mixed, about 8 strokes.
  • 9. Immediately scrape the batter into the prepared molds, filling each with about 3/4 inch of batter. Bake until the cake tops are light brown and feel firm and spring back when touched, 13 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pan containing the molds to a wire rack and allow the cakes to cool in the molds.
  • 10. Just before filling, remove each cake from the foil. Using the end of a chopstick, poke three holes in the bottom of each cake, just like in the bottom of real Twinkies. Wiggle the tip of the chopstick around quite a lot to make room for the filling. (Again, you can see this in action here (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=-yeyy4mQoes), beginning at minute 3.)
  • 11. Transfer the pastry cream to a pastry bag fit with a small tip (about 1/4 inch across). Pipe the frosting into the holes you created in the bottom of the cakes. As you fill each cake, hold it in your hand and press your palm gently around it so you can feel the cake expand, taking care not to overfill and crack the cake.
  • 12. Unlike real Twinkies, these won’t last indefinitely. They’re best served still slightly warm.

Marshmallow filling
2 teaspoons very hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (one 7-ounce jar) marshmallow creme
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Combine salt with hot water in a small bowl and stir until salt is dissolved. Let cool.
Combine the marshmallow creme, shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl and beat until fluffy, using an electric mixer on high speed.
Add salt water and beat to combine.
When the cakes are cool, use a skewer or a chopstick to make three holes along the bottom, moving the stick around slightly to create space inside the cake. Fit a pastry bag with a small tip and fill it with the marshmallow creme mixture (or scoop it into a resealable bag and snip off a tiny bit of one corner; pipe filling into each cake, using the three holes.

Source: Good Day Philadelphia (http://www NULL.myfoxphilly NULL.com/category/233493/good-day)

How Taleo Can Affect Your Job Search

      You would think that all you had to worry about when job hunting is your education, or skill set, or your experience. However, there is a 4th skill that could make education, skills, and experience irrelevant, and most people don’t even realize it.  What is this skill that people miss? The skill is writing a successful Taleo application.

     What is this Taleo I speak of? Here is the following description from Taleo’s own LinkedIn page (http://www NULL.linkedin NULL.com/company/taleo)

Taleo’s cloud-based talent management platform unites products, services and an ecosystem to drive business performance through Talent Intelligence. Over 5,000 customers use Taleo for talent acquisition, performance, development and compensation management, including 47 of the Fortune 100.

       So what does that mean? That means Taleo is a “Gatekeeper”. The software takes details out of the information you entered and puts it into a database that business can then access. Once your info has been stripped down and entered, and HR person from the company you applied for can use additional key words to filter down candidates even more.  For businesses that great as they don’t have to go through piles of applications to look for that 1 new hire, but for those looking for work, it is possible that your application wont even get to be seen by the HR department, unless you meet all of the gate keepers requirements, and the problem is that they don’t always tell you all of the requirements.

     In order to make it past the gatekeeper, you must make sure that your application matches the language on the job posting as exactly as (legitimately) possible. Your application must show that you have all the skills, experience, and qualifications that they list. If you come across an opening that says that they want 5 years experience and a XYZ certification, then your application must show 5 years experience and the certifications, or Taleo will basically filter you out of being seen.  So what if you have 10 years of experience but not the certification? In cases like that, you need to make sure you list that you “intend to take the training needed to get the XYZ certification”. At least, if certification is one of the gatekeeper filters, you will have a fighting chance to have your application seen by an actual human, and that’s what we all hope for, the chance to present ourselves in front of someone in HR. 

     Another key piece of advice is “READ THE JOB OPENING INFORMATION MORE THAN ONE TIME”. There is actually a specific reason to that, and that is that you want to use the exact same verbiage on your resume and application, that the job opening is using.  If the application says they are looking for CLIENT support, DON’T SAY that you have CUSTOMER experience, say that you have CLIENT experience. It’s simple things like that, which could filter out of being seen by an actual HR person. 

     My post focused on Taleo, as that’s the application that I see most during my job search, but they aren’t the only ones that do gatekeeping for HR departments. You will come across gatekeepers from HRsmart, Bullhorn, HRM Direct, Main Sequence Technologies, Burning Glass, Daxtra, Sovren Group, Textkernel, Hireability, iCIMS (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/ICIMS) and others, depending on your line of work. They all essentially do the same thing.

     So how do you know if the company you are applying with is using Taleo (or one of the other gatekeepers)? When you are on the job opening results page, scroll to the bottom of the page. If the company is using a gatekeeper then you will find something like Powered by …. showing at the bottom of the page.

image (http://techgeekandmor NULL.wpengine NULL.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/image NULL.png)

     Lastly, Just to make it perfectly clear, I ‘m still learning my Taleo skills. I have 16 years of Technology experience, and I’m now coming up on my 1st month as a member of the unemployed club, and I’m still looking for my next career opportunity.  If you are looking for work, I hope something I wrote will assist you in being able to get employed.  GOOD LUCK!

Strangest Tech Support Call I’ve Ever Taken

In search for employment, I went to a local call center to “test” for an opening they had for a CSR 1 (That would be a Customer Service Rep). When I started my technology career (in the 90s), I started as a CSR, so this would be going back to the start, but hey it’s a pay check. So as I sat in the testing lab for this call center, I started thinking back to all the “You have got to be kidding me” calls that I have taken over the years. I understand most people usually cringe at the idea of calling customer service or tech support. However, I do believe that most people would have a different opinion of customer support or tech support people if they heard the kind of calls that CSR’s and Tech Support take (quite often). This is just one example…….

While working the tech support line for a Major Printer Manufacture, I received a call that started with me saying “Hello, How Can I He…….”, I was unable to finish saying the word help as the customer broke into a yelling and cursing speech about how the printer (bleep) and how our products (bleep) and how all of this was (bleep), and so on and so on (you get the idea). He lasted a good 10 min before I was able to get a word in.

NOTE: Procedure was that we were allowed to hang up on anyone we felt was abusive, but since I have a thick skin and was curious what would get someone so worked up that I stuck it out, and I’m glad I did.

Finally after about 10 min, I got him to listen to me long enough to get him to understand he needed to work with me if I was going to be able to do anything for him.  He was still complaining but he agreed. Here is the rest of the conversation as I remember it

Me: What is the problem with the printer that has you so upset sir

Customer: I spent a lot of money on this printer the other day, my daughter needs something for school, we have been at it for hours and we can’t seem to get anything but a loud grinding noise to come from the printer. I’ve only printed the test page and maybe 1 or 2 pages when I installed it, and I can’t believe it’s already broken

***At which point I asked him for the model and yes indeed he had bought a brand new model which was the top of the line system.

Me: OK Please turn it on, which he did

***He wasn’t kidding, thru the phone it sounded like a grinder, it was loud even over the phone.

ME: OK sir, power off and unplug the printer. Once unplugged open the printer cover and take the print head with your hand and slowly move it to the left.

***You weren’t supposed to tell customers to do that, but this printer sounded so bad and I knew it was coming back, I figured we could just move the print head and see if magically we would see something or figure out if it was off track or who knows???????? Customer had calmed down at this point and was listening to me.

Customer: OK (Followed by) OH (bleep) OH (bleep) OH (bleep)….

***I think he said that for a few minutes, as I was thinking “Oh great now what”.

Customer: (Back on the phone with me) I would like to apologize for anything I said earlier. I have discovered the problem and it’s not the printers fault.

ME: (At this point thinking EXCUSE ME, what the…..) OK what happened sir, what did you see?

Customer: My daughters pet hamster has been missing for a couple of days. I believe we just found him.

ME: Excuse Me

Customer: Yes I see pieces of hamster all over the inside of the printer. Found it once you had me move the print head. I appreciate your assistance and again apologize for what I said.

***At which point he hung up. I talked to my supervisor at the time and the choice was made to let the customer call back.

And that is how my weirdest call center tech support call happened. At the call center we figured that somehow the hamster used the paper try to slipped into the printer, and the specific model that happened to was usually a little warm, even if you weren’t printing, as long as it was plugged in. We assume that the hamster just got drawn to the warm, and then couldn’t get out. Unfortunately it met its Horror Movie style death at the point the customer turned on the printer…. and no the customer never called back on that printer to my knowledge.

16 Years of Training and Tech Support Experience

Social Media and the Internet have done a lot of good over the years. They have sparked revolution, informed people during crisis, helped raise awareness for causes, and funds for those in need. Now I find myself in need of help from social media and the internet.

A few months ago I took a chance, and accepted a position at a startup company. I knew that it came with risk, but being someone who likes a challenge, I took a chance. On September 26, the risk I took came back failed as I became unemployed due to budget issues. I can’t say I have any regrets for taking the risk, because life itself is a risk. However I now find myself looking at unemployment with millions of others, who all face the same thing, the unknown.

Overall I have 16 years of experience in the technology field. My experience includes some of the following

  • 12 years of Systems Admin / Network Admin Experience
  • 10 years of Implementation Experience
  • 16 Years of Training and Tech Support Experience

I have worked on technology needs for a number of 5 star resorts. I’ve done implementation and training to open over 100 locations of a well-known restaurant chain. I’ve done Implementations at stadiums and arenas all across the US. I managed systems at a Major League Baseball stadium. Lastly, I have helped 1000s of non-technical people (both staff and management level) with technical issues, so that they could succeed at their jobs.

I’m not going to lie, my career has been difficult at times, as a large part of it has involved being a Road Warrior (Spending more than 80% of the time on the road). However, it has also had its benefits that I will always remember. I’ve had the privilege of going to a couple of World Series, going to an All Star Game in baseball, going to an NBA playoff series, and also seeing parts of North America (49 out of 50 states, 4 Canadian provinces, and many islands in the Caribbean) that I don’t think I would have ever been able to visit on my own.

So now comes the search for my next technology adventure, as I consider having to look for my next career choice as my current challenge. For those reading this, I appreciate the time you are taking to get to know me. If you or anyone you know needs a computer tech with hands on knowledge, who is able to explain technical issues to non-technical staff, who will give you everything he has on a daily basis, would you please take a look at my resume (http://techgeekandmor NULL.wpengine NULL.com/). All I ask is for an opportunity to show my skills, knowledge and abilities.

Thank you

Alex

Places I’ve Done Implementation, Training, and Support

Over a 16 year career in Technology, that involves travel, I’ve managed to rack up a lot of frequent flyer miles. I do get ask sometimes “where have you been”? Honestly I haven’t kept an exact track of everywhere I’ve been, but I can say that I’ve been to 49 out of 50 states (I’m still missing that assignment in Hawaii). On top of that I’ve been to 4 Canadian provinces, and a number of islands in the Caribbean. Here is just a partial list of places I’ve had the fortune and honor of going over 16 years.

  • Ritz Carlton Hotels (Various Locations Nationwide)
  • Panera Bread (Opened Over 100 Locations Nationwide) 
  • Aramark at Shea Stadium (New York)
  • Four Seasons Hotels (Various Locations Nationwide )
  • Aramark at the Verizon Center (Washington DC)
  • Water Country USA (Williamsburg, Va)
  • Coca-Cola Park / Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs AAA Minor League Team (Allentown, Pa)
  • Hugo Boss of Puerto Rico
  • Aramark at Minute Maid Park (Houston, TX)
  • Jillian’s Entertainment – Now part of Dave & Busters (Various Locations Nationwide)
  • Aramark at Wells Fargo Arena (Philadelphia, Pa)
  • Aramark at M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, Md)
  • Amon G. Carter Stadium / Sodexo at Texas Christian University (Ft. Worth, TX)
  • Levy at American Airlines Center (Dallas, TX)
  • Beaver Stadium / Penn St University (State College, Pa)