Food Column: Peanut Butter Cup Blondies
By Caroline Lancaster               

Blondies have roughly the same texture as brownies. Although, If you don’t like chocolate, then these are a treat. 

I first made these last year when I got a new cookbook from the book fair. Everybody loved them and even when I brought them to school, they were a hit and almost gone by lunch.

“Oh my god, they were delicious!” said Angelica Cortes, “If you bring them in to school, I will be your bestest friend forever."

Even a teacher, art teacher Molly Layton, complimented me on them last year when I made them.

Prep time: 20 min Total Time: two hours

5.6 ounces all-purpose flour (1 ¼ cups)

1 cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 tablespoons 2% reduced-fat milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or more heehee)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cooking spray

4 (.75 ounces) peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next three ingredients (through salt), stirring well with a whisk. Combine peanut butter and next four ingredients (through eggs) in a separate bowl, stirring well. Add peanut butter mixture to flour mixture; stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Scrape batter into a nine-inch square metal baking pan lightly covered with cooking spray; arrange peanut butter cups over batter. Bake at 350 for 19 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pan or a wire rack. Cut into 20 bars. Serves 20.

The Butler: A historical journey
By Savannah Jones

The Butler was very inspirational. 

The movie included many historical time periods, and the struggle of African Americans from the early 1900’s to the present day.

While the movie was very political, it also held a lot of important moments in African American history, like the freedom of slaves, The “I have a dream” speech and death of Martin Luther King, and the beginning of boycotts and sit-ins.

The movie also involved the time periods of many famous presidents including Eisenhower, JFK, and Ronald Reagan. 

Though I would not recommend this for children younger than 12, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a gaze into history. 
Tech N9ne’s new album is awesome
By Tyler Stanley

The album Something Else by Tech N9ne is a truly a great album.

My favorite is “Colorado” because of the beat and the lyrics. “Fragile” is about his music and how he feels about it, and the people who judge it. “Believe” is probably the best song on the entire album it speaks truth about how our world works.

Something Else is the thirteenth studio album by American rapper Tech N9ne. The album was released on July 30, 2013 by Strange Music and RBC Records.

The album is broken up into three portions — Earth, Water & Fire.

Production of the album was handled during 2012 and 2013, primarily by frequent collaborator Seven, among others such as Young Fyre, Drumma Boy, and Fredwreck.

The album features guest appearances from B.o.B, Big K.R.I.T., Cee Lo Green, The Doors, Game, Kendrick Lamar, Serj Tankian, T-Pain, Trae tha Truth and Wiz Khalifa, among others including several artists from Tech N9ne's Strange Music imprint.

The songs from the album speak about how he feels about his music and the people in his way. 

Ask Makenna 
By Makenna Hammer

Q: How do you not fall into peer pressure?

A: Life is full of choices. A good way to stand strong against peer pressure is by knowing what you stand for and why. When people present you with an idea where you know you could get in trouble you have two choices. Go with the flow, or stand strong. Don’t be afraid to do what you know is right! You may lose friends along the way, but if that’s the price you pay for doing what’s right, it’s well worth it.

Q: People keep telling me I can’t play any sports, or I’m not athletic. I want to try out for a sport, but is it really worth it?

A: Sports can be very rewarding! I definitely think you should go for it. You may have a natural talent in a sport, so don’t let people influence a decision that is ultimately up to you! Prove the people telling you that you can’t wrong. There’s a sport out there for you! In the end I can almost guarantee you’ll benefit and it will be worth it.

Anyone who could benefit from Makenna's advice can submit a question via the contact box on the home page of this website, or anonymously drop off a question in the submission box in Miss McInnis' room in the high school building at NCS.
Smithfield area features many good coffee shops
By Duncan Ozturk

Coffee is one of the staples in a teenager’s diet. 

Since I’m new to the area, I went around town looking for good places for my morning coffee. I found three places to get really great coffee. Market Street Coffee and Bakery, Aversboro Coffee, and Orchard House Booksellers.

Aversboro Coffee is independently owned and operated. I have been there several times and the service is excellent. The staff is nice, and the atmosphere is inviting and relaxing. They have many interesting flavors of coffee and snacks to eat. 

Teachers of Wake and Johnston Counties receive a $1.00 off any latte every Tuesday. “We appreciate the time and effort you put forth to give our children a brighter future. Thank you from all of us at Aversboro Coffee and Catering," the staff writes on the cafe's website.

Aversboro Coffee is at 1401 Aversboro Road Suite 103 Garner, NC 27529.

Market Street Coffee and Bakery is privately owned and operated. The staff is sweet and welcoming. The owners are Neuse Charter School parents. They have a very nice shop, and the coffee is excellent. They recently made their first Pumpkin Pie Latte of the season. Their food is also delicious. 

Market Street Coffee and Bakery is located at 227 E Market Street, Smithfield, North Carolina 27577.

Orchard House Booksellers is a coffee shop and a bookstore mixed into one. They have a variety of high-quality coffees, pastries, and other good treats. They offer exclusive premium Ghirardelli flavors; they have imported coffees from around the world. 

Orchard House Booksellers is at 117 N. Third St, Smithfield, NC 27577.
Avenged Sevenfold’s album hits home
By Tyler Stanley

Avenged Sevenfold’s new album, Hail to the King, was released on August 27 in North America.

This is their first album released with their new drummer Arin Ilejay, who joined the band in 2011 for their tour and became a full member this year.

By incorporating background trumpets, a great feature in their music, Hail to the King brings back a classic style from the band.

The best song off the album is “Planets” because it has a different feel from what their usual music does. With full metal lyrics, it is more of a hardcore, angry song, full of guitar solos.

The album does have one flaw, though, and that is the song “Crimson Day.” It is a song with the same overused tone of their past work.

Many of the songs off Hail to the King reminded me of Metallica, especially with the solos and drumming. The album is great and I’m sure Avenge Sevenfold will continue to make great music.
Ask Makenna
By Makenna Hammer

Q: How do I stay out of drama?

A: That can be a hard thing to do in high school. An easy way to not let the drama affect you is to stay positive and not dwell on problems. Drama only becomes drama when people let small problems blow up! Be positive and you’ll notice a change in what fills your mind.

Q: I’m a freshman. I don’t know what to expect. Any tips?

A: Your freshman year truly is a learning experience. Understand in advance that you’re going to face obstacles and be prepared for them! For example, you’re likely going to receive a disappointing grade. Rather than becoming upset and giving up, you should learn from your mistakes and become motivated to do better next time! Setting goals and trying to meet them is a great way to take baby steps in the right direction. Being prepared for every situation will help you a great deal in the long run. 

Anyone who could benefit from Makenna's advice can submit a question via the contact box on the home page of this website, or anonymously drop off a question in the submission box in Miss McInnis' room in the high school building at NCS.