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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 05/14/12

Monday, May 14, 2012

HOMEMADE FREEZER JAM!

   This recipe comes from www.theidearoom.net . Make a batch for freinds and family, and enjoy it on a PB and J sandwich. I just love homemade jams and jellies, they are 100 times better than store bought stuff.
   Not me! My sister made all these beautiful jars of freezer jam this past week. She was kind enough to share her pictures of them with us. Now…this girl can take amazing pictures. Seeing her photography is what inspired me to learn to improve my own.







Anyways, I love freezer jam! If you have never made any, you need to…NOW! It is seriously so easy! I totally prefer freezer jam to cooked jams and especially store bought jams. The only exception for me is apricot jam. Apricot jam is so much better cooked.
My sister has inspired me to make some more freezer jam as I did not make any last year. So next week, this is what I will spend one of my afternoons (during naptime) accomplishing. I can’t wait!!


Here is What You’ll Need:

4 lbs. of Fresh Berries or fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, plums, peaches)
1.5 cups of Sugar (amount will vary according to fruit and pectin used. There are some pectins that can be used to make low-sugar or no sugar versions of jam. Read your directions in the pectin package closely).
1 Pkg. Ball Freezer Jam Pectin
lemon juice (see recipe that comes with Pectin; some need it some don’t)
Freezer-safe canning jars or small tupperware containers.
Wash, stem & slice fruit, then place in a shallow pan.
Use masher to crush berries {consistency will depend on how chunky you like your jam}.
In separate bowl, mix together pectin and sugar.
Add mashed fruit to your mixture and stir for 3 minutes.
Scoop jam into small freezer-safe jars or tupperware containers. Let the jam set for 30 minutes, then store in your freezer or refrigerator. Store in your freezer for up to 1 year, or in refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Recipe makes approximately six 8 oz. jars or twelve 4 oz. jars.
Try mixing a couple of different fruits together for a yummy, unique flavor! A jar of jam makes a great gift for friends, neighbors and especially sisters…hint, hint!







Here is a link to another freezer jam recipe using honey and agar flakes.

LADY BATHORY "COUNTESS OF BLOOD"!!



   Lady Bathory, "Countess of Blood", the first female vampire, may have been the bloodiest of all. She married into nobility and was the distant cousin of the vampire that started it all in modern time, Vlad Dracula, "Vlad the Impaler". She lived a life of leisure and peace in her Hungarian castle home.
    That is until, so they say, a servant girl spilled a drop of her own blood upon her while bathing and grooming her. The countess noticed how the young servants blood made her skin seem rejuvenated and fell in love with its hypnotic effect.
    Soon the countess was luring more and more local females to her mountain perch to be sacrificed to her. When the local flesh started drying up, the countess started a so-called "finishing school" for daughters of nobility and continued her reign of terror until she was caught in the early 1600's.
    She devised many ways to make this harvest of blood more painful and efficient, she did this by including tools that pulled chunks of flesh from victims that were hoisted high above her bath. She did this all with the help of her four loyal servants.
Though there is some confusion on why she killed the girls, it was rumored that they were all killed so that the countess could bathe in their blood. It was said that the town's people hated her so much that she seldom left the confines of the castle.
    When brought to trial most of her co-conspirators were found guilty and sentenced to death but Elizabeth because of her nobility was allowed to escape the executioner. She died a couple of years later. It is rumored that she was allowed to live out her life in the castle with no sunlight or mirrors and it was boarded up with only a small slot where food was placed once a day.
    Tales of the pealing of flesh from live victims and the feasts of blood have added much to folklore, movies and dime novels for centuries, how much if it is true is hard to say.
Much of this tale is shrouded in folklore and fact, so details are hard to uncover, it is best just to say that the lady was truly depraved.

ARAQUIO FESTIVAL FROM THE PHILIPPINES!!


some of the moors costumes


    Araquio festival is a celebration traditionally held every May in Nueva Ecija. The festival dates back to the Spanish colonial period and is celebrated with a theatrical/religious presentation similar to Spanish zarzuelas, dramatizing the spread of Christianity in the country and the war between Christians and Muslims.




Some of the Costumes

History and Customs

    The name Araquio is said to have come from "Heraclio", the name of a bishop during the time of Constantine the Great. The first Araquio presentation took place in the town of PeƱaranda, Nueva Ecija over 120 years ago. Before modern musical instruments were available, the bands used instruments made from indigenous materials like bamboo. According to Francisco Vergara Padilla, director of the Araquio group in the barangay of St. Tomas in PeƱaranda, during his grandfather's time they used basins and utensils as substitutes.








    Araquio is usually presented in May, during the feast of the Cross. The date of the feast varies from one town to another. This festival starts with a mass and ends with the elaborate Flores de Mayo celebration. Each performing group is given a day or two to perform in the town plaza, making it a weeklong presentation. Local wealthy families usually make it their spiritual duty to sponsor the festival, sometimes giving no less than fifty thousand pesos.

Performances

    Festival performers sing, act and dance while a brass band plays. The choice of songs and choreography varies, but the script has remained the same since the tradition started. It tells of the feud between Muslims and Christians that started over territory. In the play, Christians use the power of the cross, symbolizing their faith, to defeat the Muslims, who later retaliate by stealing the cross. After many battles, the cross is recovered, and the Muslims are Christened.






    Normally, there are 16 performers in each Araquio group. Nine of these play Christians led by Reyna (Queen) Elena and Haring (King) Constantine. The Reyna Elena has two servants, Laida and Blanca. The rest are soldiers named Alberto, Arsenio, Rosauro, Fernando and Leonato. The Muslim group, on the other hand, is composed of seven people, led by Ordalisa or Erlisa and the Emperor. Their soldiers are Emir, Dublar, Marmolin, Engras and Sagmar. The male Muslims wear red costumes with feathered headdresses, while the male Christians wear either blue pants and white top or black pants and blue top. The female costumes are similar for both Muslims and Christians, except that the Christian women wear a sash or "banda" while the Muslim women wear feathered headdresses similar to their male counterparts.
    The players stand on an elevated stage, either wood or concrete, during their performance. The presentation also allows for crowd participation. The band plays on and the performers continue their choreography but pause their dialogue to give way to the dancing audience.