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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 03/13/12

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

CHOCOLATE ITALIAN CREAM CAKE, WHAT AN ITALIAN DREAM!

   The original recipe for Italian Cream Cake had no rivals. But then we stirred in a little chocolate!



Chocolate Italian Cream Cake
               

Ingredients

  • 5 large eggs, separateD
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Garnish: pecan halves

Preparation

  1. Beat egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  2. Beat butter and shortening until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
  3. Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in coconut, chopped pecans, and vanilla. Fold in egg whites. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cakepans.
  4. Bake at 325° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove cake layers to wire racks, and cool completely.
  5. Spread Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish, if desired.        

TOP 10 BEST CHRISTMAS DUETS!!

  

   This is a nice light list of songs to increase your Christmas spirit on this wonderful holiday. It includes some songs that commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, and some that are more modern in concept – but regardless of the type, they are all great songs and perfect for the first prize of our competition. Merry Christmas!



10. Josh Groban and Brian McKnight/Angels We Have Heard on High




   This is quite a great Christmas carol that is sung beautifully by Josh Groban and Brian McKnight. “The words of the song are based on a traditional French carol known as Les Anges dans nos Campagnes (literally, The Angels in our Countryside). Its most common English version was translated in 1862 by James Chadwick.



9. Billy Porter and Vanessa Williams/Joy To The World




   “Joy to the World” is one of the best-known and best-loved of Christmas carols. It contains a message of joy and love replacing sin and sorrow. It may also be interpreted to be about life after the second coming of Christ. The hymn is significant for its widespread use throughout Christian denominations and for the musical stature of the people who created it.
   This is a great Christmas carol everyone can sing along to, and the duet by Billy Porter and Vanessa Williams is amazing.



8. The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl/ Fairytale of New York




   This is a popular and lovely Christmas song by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl that was released in 1987.



7. Olivia Newton-John and Jon Secada/ Every Time It Snows




   Olivia Newton-John and Jon Secada duet to a beautiful and gorgeous song with lovely lyrics.



6. Christina Aguilera and Brian McKnight/ Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas




   “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is a Christmas song written for the MGM Musical, Meet Me In St. Louis. This nice duet by Christina Aguilera and Brain McKnight is quite fabulous.




5. Alan Jackson and Alison Krauss /The Angels Cried




   This is a wonderful and touching duet that is simply magnificent.



4. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan/ Baby It’s Cold Outside




   I think “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is a fantastic duet that can be sung by any male and female singer. It’s such a fun and awesome song and the duet by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan is great.



3. David Bowie and Bing Crosby /Little Drummer Boy/ Peace on Earth




   “The Little Drummer Boy” is a popular Christmas song, with words and music by Katherine K. Davis. One of the most popular versions of this song is the “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” duet by the unusual paring of Bing Crosby and David Bowie. The duet was recorded in 1977 for a Bing Crosby Christmas special, and reappears annually in holiday music rotations.



2. Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion/ The Prayer




   The Prayer is an amazing duet by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. They are both fantastic singers and the song is so beautiful.



1. Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra /White Christmas




   This is a classic and terrific duet by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.





CARNAVAL DE ORURO FROM BOLIVIA!!



    The Carnaval de Oruro (or Carnival of Oruro), is the biggest annual cultural event in Bolivia.
    Celebrated in Oruro, the folklore capital of Bolivia, the carnival marks the Ito festival for the Uru people. Its ceremonies stem from Andean customs, the ancient invocations centering around Pachamama (Mother Earth, transformed into the Virgin Mary due to Christian syncretism) and Tio Supay (Uncle God of the Mountains, transformed into the Devil). The native Ito ceremonies were stopped in the 17th century by the Spanish, who were ruling the territory of upper Peru at the time. However, the Uru continued to observe the festival in the form of a Catholic ritual on Candlemas, in the first week of each February. Christian icons were used to conceal portrayals of Andean gods, and the Christian saints represented other Andean minor divinities. The ceremony begins 40 days before Easter.





    Legend also has it that in 1789, a mural of the Virgin Mary miraculously appeared in a mineshaft of the richest silver mine in Oruro. Ever since, the Carnival has been observed in honor of the Virgen de la Candelaria (Virgin of the Candle Mass) or Virgen del Socavon (Virgin of the Mineshaft). The most important elements of the Carnival now occur in and around the Sanctuaria del Socavon (The Church of the Mineshaft).




    The carnival starts with a ceremony dedicated to the Virgen del Socavon. Marching bands, compete simultaneously in the grotto of Pie de Gallo on Sunday, which is the greeting to the Virgin. The highlight of the Carnival is conducted over three days and nights, with 50 groups parading through the city over a route of 4 kilometers. The groups represent various indigenous dance forms, and are accompanied by several bands. Over 28,000 dancers and 10,000 musicians participate in the procession that lasts over 20 hours. The dances include Caporales, Diablada, Kantus, Kullawada, Llamerada, Morenada, Potolo, Pujllay, Suri Sikuris, Tinku, Tobas, Waca Waca and La Diablada (Dance of the devils). These demonic dancers are dressed in extravagant garb. The design and creation of Diablada costumes has become an art form in Oruro, and several Diablada clubs, consisting of members from all levels of Oruro society, are sponsored by local businesses. There are anywhere from 40 to 300 dancing participants, whose costumes may cost several hundreds of dollars each.





    The main event kicks off on Saturday before Ash Wednesday, with the spectacular entrada (entrance procession), led by the brightly costumed San Miguel character. Behind him, dancing and marching, come the famous devils and a host of bears and condors. The chief devil, Lucifer, wears the most extravagant costume, complete with a velvet cape and an ornate mask. Faithfully at his side are two other devils, including Supay, an Andean god of evil that inhabits the hills and mineshafts. The procession is followed by other dance groups, vehicles adorned with jewels, coins and silverware (in commemorating of the achura rites, in which the Inca offered their treasures to Inti, the sun, in the festival of Inti Raymi, and the miners offer the year's highest quality mineral to El Tio, the demonic character who is owner of all underground minerals and precious metals. Behind them, follows the Inca characters and a group of conquistador's, including Franciso Pizarro and Diego de Almagro.





    When the devils and the archangel arrive at the soccer stadium, they engage in a series of dances that tell the story of the ultimate battle between good and evil. After it becomes apparent that good has triumphed over evil, the dancers retire to the Santuario de la Virgen del Socavon at dawn on Sunday, and a mass is held in honor of the Virgin, who pronounces that good has prevailed.





    There's another, less spectacular entrada on Sunday afternoon, and more dance displays on Monday. The next day, Shrove Tuesday, is marked by family reunions and cha'lla libations, in which alcohol is sprinkled over worldly goods to invoke a blessing. The next day people make their way into the surrounding countryside where 4 rock formations, the Toad, the Viper, the Condor and the Lizard, are also subjected to cha'lla as an offering to Pachamama. Plenty of the spirit is sprinkled down the revelers' throats as well.
    Oruro's Carnival has become Bolivia's most renowned and largest annual celebrations. It's a great time to visit, when this somewhat unfashionable mining city becomes the focus of the nation's attention. In a broad sense, these festivities can be called re-enactments. The festival is so interlaced with threads of both Christian and indigenous myths, fables, deities and traditions that it would be inaccurate to oversimplify it in this way.





    Ceremonies begin several weeks before Carnaval Oruro itself, with a solemn pledge of loyalty to the Virgin in the sanctuary. From this date on, there are various candelite processions and dance groups practice boisterously in the city's streets.