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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 09/21/12

Friday, September 21, 2012

BEST BROWNIES!

   This recipe was found at www.allrecipes.com .  Mmmmmmm Brrrroooowwnniiieesss!








Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
  4. To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm.

OWLS-THE MAGICAL BIRD!!






    The owl has attracted the fascination and awe of many cults and cultures, down through the ages and many different and contradictory beliefs have survived to the present day. Many associations link the owl with witchcraft, medicine, the weather, birth and even death; thus, many superstitions and fears about the owl remain. In the past it was thought to have been wise yet foolish, feared but venerated and despised whilst being admired.
    The owl is a nocturnal, predatory bird distinguished by a large flat face, eyes surrounded by stiff, feathered disks, a short, hooked beak, feathered legs with sharp talons, and soft plumage which facilitates soundless flight. Its large eyes are encased in a capsule of bone called the "sclerotic ring" which directs the eyes forward allowing restricted movement. To enable a sideways look, the owl must turn its entire head. Its neck, being relatively long and flexible, allows the head to rotate through 270 degrees. As few owls hunt their prey in full daylight, their hearing is particularly important. Many owls have asymmetrical skulls with the ear openings at different levels, enabling them to pin-point the slightest sound made by the prey they are hunting.
    Owl nesting habits are highly variable. Some nest in holes in trees or rock croppings and their are even some that make burrows and next underground. Owls feed entirely on live prey or animals, such as insects, rodents, snakes, rabbits and even fish. Indigestible parts of their food such as bones, hair and feathers are compressed and regurgitated as compact pellets. Owls lay pure white eggs.
    In Greek Mythology, the owl was the preferred bird of the Goddess Athena, the daughter of Zeus. Her preferred species was the Little Owl, which often accompanied her perched on her shoulder. The owl had the ability to light up Athena's blind side revealing to her unseen truths and thus expanding her natural wisdom. Due to its association with Athena, the owl gained protected status in Athens. The owl became thought of as a protector, its symbol adopted by Greek armies as inspiration for their daily lives. Before a battle, if an owl flew over, it was taken as a sign that victory was immanent. It was also depicted on different Greek coins.

SOME OF THE WORLD'S OWL MYTHS

  • Abyssinia-The Hamites held the Owl sacred.

  • Afghanistan-The Owl gave Man flint and iron to make fire, and in exchange, Man gave the Owl his feathers.

  • Africa, Central-The Owl is the familiar of wizards to the Bantu.

  • Africa, East-The Swahili believe the Owl brings illness to children.

  • Africa, South-Zulus recognise the Owl as the Sorcerers' Bird.

  • Africa, West-Messenger of Wizards and Witches, the Owl's cry presages evil.

  • Algeria-Place the right eye of an Eagle Owl in the hand of a sleeping woman and she will tell all.

  • Arabia-The Owl is a bird of ill omen; the embodiment of evil spirits that carries off children at night. According to an ancient Arabic treatise, from each female Owl supposedly came two eggs, one held the power to cause hair to fall out; the other, the power to restore it.(the early men's hair club)

  • Arctic Circle-A little girl having been turned into a bird with a long beak by magick, but was so frightened she flapped about madly and flew into a wall, flattening her face and beak, thus creating the owl.

  • Australia-Aborigines believe bats represent the soul of men and Owls the souls of women. Owls are therefore sacred, because your sister is an Owl-and the Owl is your sister.

  • Aztecs-One of their evil gods wore a Screech Owl on his head.

  • Babylon-Owl amulets protected women during childbirth.

  • Belgium-Legend has it that a priest offered the Owl his church tower to live i if the bird would get rid of the rats and mice that plagued his church.

  • Bordeaux-Throw salt in the fire to avoid the Owl's curse.

  • Borneo-The Supreme Being turned his wife into a Owl as a punishment for telling secrets to mortals.

  • Burma-During a quarrel among the birds, the Owl was jumped upon and so his face was flattened.

  • Cameroon-Too evil to name, the Owl is known only as "the bird that makes you afraid".

  • Celtic-The Owl was a sign of the Underworld.

  • China-The Owl is associated with lightning because it brightens the night, and with the drum because it breaks the silence. Placing Owl effigies in each corner of the home protects it against lightning. The Owl is a symbol of Too much Yang....positive, masculine, bright, active energy.

  • Ethiopia-A condemned man was taken to a table on which an Owl was painted, and then expected to take his own life.

  • France-When a pregnant woman hears an Owl, it is an omen that her child will be a girl.

  • Germany-If an Owl hoots as a child is born, the infant will have an unhappy life.

  • Incas-The Incas venerated the Owl for its beautiful eyes and head.

  • India-Seizures in children could be treated with a broth made from Owl eyes. Rheumatism pain was treated with a gel made from Owl meat. Owl meat could also be eaten as a natural aphrodisiac. In northern India, if one ate the eyes of an Owl, they would be able to see in the dark. In southern India, the cries of an Owl were interpreted by number: One hoot was an omen of impending death; tow meant success in anything that would be started soon after; three represented a woman being married into the family; four indicated a disturbance; five denoted coming travel; six meant guests were on the way; seven was a sign of mental distress; eight foretold sudden death; and nine symbolized good fortune. In parts of the Indian sub-continent people believed that the Owl was married to the bat.

FIESTAS PATRIAS-INDEPENDENCE DAY IN MEXICO!






    Fiestas Patrias is much like the American 4th of July in that it celebrates the creation of an independent country free of their colonial masters. Mexico's celebration of independence doesn't celebrate the actual day of independence but the call to be an independent nation. On September 16, 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo the parish priest of the small town of Dolores, issued his call for Mexicans to rise up and overthrow Spanish rule. This call for independence is known as "El Grito", the cry, and is widely celebrated all over Mexico today. Today it is simply rendered as "Mexicanos, Viva Mexico" and the crowds answer back with loud cries of "Viva Mexico" and much celebrating. In Mexico City the president gives the "El Grito" to thronged masses gathered in the Zocolo and the same act is repeated in small towns and big cities across Mexico. Today in Mexico the "El Grito" is delivered on Sept. 15 around 11 PM followed by a fireworks display and bands playing. The next day, Sept. 16, is given over to a grand fiesta.









    The town of San Miguel de Allende, then known as San Miguel el Grande, played an important role in the early days of the rebellion. The town's most famous resident, Don Ignacio de Allende, a Captain in the Spanish army, played an important role in the conspiracy and leading the rebellion in the early days. The first target of the newly born revolution was to march on the town of San Miguel el Grande where Allende hoped to secure the support of his troops. Other citizens of San Miguel el Grande were also to play important roles in the rebellion. Since the town of San Miguel el Grande played such an important role in the early days of the movement towards Mexican










independence the present day residents take great pride in putting on a really grand fiesta to remember the those early days. The fiesta takes the form of a pageant in the streets of San Miguel de Allende where the events are reenacted in approximately the proper time line.
    The early days of the Independence movement: In the early 1800's in the larger tows of Mexico there were literary clubs where intellectuals gathered to discuss the latest in books and culture. In many places they became centers for the discussion of breaking free from Spain. The Literary Club of Queretaro was particularly active in plotting the overthrow of Spain. Allende was the president of the club and Hidalgo was also member. They had been planning to start the rebellion in December but their plot was









discovered by the Spanish authorities. On Sept. 15 Allende hurried to Dolores to warn Hidalgo that their plot had been discovered. Hidalgo decided that the struggle must begin right away. In the early morning hours of Sept. 16, 1810 Hidalgo called together his parishioners and issued his now famous call for the people to rise up and overthrow Spain. This call to arms became the "El Grito" that is now celebrated all over Mexico. Hidalgo's "army" was composed of Indians, and lower class Mestizos mostly armed with clubs and machetes, none with any military training. That morning, some 600 strong, the marched to the Santuario de Atotonilco, a long time shrine and pilgrimage center, where they took a banner with the image of the Virgin De Guadalupe on it and this became the battle flag of the revolutionary movement. After Atotonilco the insurgents moved on to nearby San Miguel el Grande where Allende hoped to recruit his military unit in the insurrection. All these events of the first few days are acted out in the Fiestas Patrias.










    While September 16 is the day that is celebrated in Fiestas Patrias the actual Fiesta takes 3 days in San Miguel de Allende with lectures and presentations both preceding and following the Fiesta. On Sept. 14 the Conspirators cavalcade from Queretaro come riding into town and putting on a pretty good horse show in the streets. Sept. 15 there are various events including an athletic completion, in the evening there is a dance performance of traditional Mexican dances. The big event happens around 11 PM when the Mayor delivers the "El Grito" address to the gathered crowds in the Jardín followed by a grand pyrotechnic display with both aerial rockets and the burning of the traditional Mexican Castillos and much celebrating by the crowds. Sept. 16 the Fiesta continues with a military parade and the re-enactment of Hidalgo's insurgents entering the city. In the evening there are more dance performances and another fireworks display.