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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 09/29/14

Monday, September 29, 2014

BAKED PUMPKIN DONUTS!

   This recipe was found at www.culinarycory.com .   A little something to start off the fall season.



Baked Pumpkin Donuts

Baked Pumpkin Cake Donuts
I can’t help it. There are days when I’m just drawn to it. Those four big letters glistening in the yellow glow and sparkle of retail extravaganza. I don’t care if I have to wade through the text messaging hoards of 12 year olds just to find it. I see it there, hidden in the back corner of the store covered with red tags and crossed out retail pricing. Oh, glorious SALE.
While partaking in some retail therapy, I couldn’t resist exploring a kitchen store for yet another gadget to purchase. I thumbed through shelves of “miracle devices” guaranteed to perfectly cook anything in the microwave. I even glanced through the mountains of magic spices Paula Deen decided to slap her face on this week. Finally, I came across a set of mini donut pans for a cool 5 bucks in the clearance section. A crisp Lincoln was tossed at the cashier as I headed home to create these flavorful pumpkin donuts.




Baked Pumpkin Cake Donuts
Baked Pumpkin Donuts
Ingredients

2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
2 Tbl. milk
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside. Cream together the brown sugar, canned pumpkin, eggs, milk, butter and vanilla extract until the butter is well incorporated. With your mixer on medium low speed, slowly add the dry sifted ingredients to the wet mixture. Mix until just barely combined. Be careful of over mixing.
Spray the donut pan with cooking spray and fill each donut mold halfway with the pumpkin batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 6 – 8 minutes or until the exterior springs back when touched. Allow to cool completely and top each donut with cinnamon glaze.

Cinnamon Glaze

½ cup powdered sugar
1 Tbl. milk
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
Mix until smooth and creamy. The glaze should pour easily from a spoon. You may need to add additional milk or powder sugar to get the right consistency.
Authors Note:
  There is no need to fret if you do not own donut pans. This recipe can be easy converted into pumpkin muffins. You may need to adjust the baking time accordingly. When using paper liners, lightly spray the liners with cooking spray just before filling them with batter. It makes a world of difference.

KRAMPUS, SANTA'S EVIL HELPER (AT LEAST IN SOME PARTS OF THE WORLD)!



    Krampus is not a muscle contraction that causes unpleasant pain, but Krampus does apparently inflict painful experiences or death to children who do not behave. This mythical creature has been a tool people have used to promote scare tactics in children.  Krampus is in cahoots with Santa Claus. In some parts of the world, Santa has plural helpers called Krampi.





   Krampus is depicted as an evil demon that has a long tail, horns, a long tongue, hooves, and carries a black bag or basket.  As a child, I never heard of Krampus. Not until I picked up a random National Geographic magazine at the doctor's office had I ever heard of Krampus. This creature originated in Austria and is still very popular in Germany.  Krampus is also related to fertility.






   The Americanized Santa Claus does not have these helpers. In other parts of the world, Santa's group of Krampi would be considered similar to American Santa's elves, except for the obvious differences that elves are merry, very small, and gleefully make toys, while Krampi are large and terrifying. Usually, the Americanized helper elves will secretly watch children throughout the year and report good and bad behavior back to Santa. These behavior reports help Santa decide whether or not to give children gifts or not. Spying elves seem creepy.








   Compared to what Krampi do, however, elves don't score as high on the creep-o-meter. Krampi warn and punish bad children (Wikipedia, 2010). They have the authority, per St. Nicolas, to take presents away from naughty children or, if they have misbehaved badly enough, Krampus will hurt them physically, lock them in chains, and stuff them in his black sack or basket and take them away. The children the Krampi determine are very bad will be whisked off for a not-so-special holiday in a dark, scary forest where they will live forever, tortured by the Krampi of the dark forest or possibly, be killed.






   Krampus pre-dates Christianity. He is still feared by some Austrians today and is believed to be an ancient god (Seven Trees, 2008). Other pagan things have been incorporated into Christian holidays, and so has Krampus in his correlation with St. Nicholas. Remember all the while we thought those hooves were from Santa's cute, flying reindeer? It seems we were wrong! Those hooves are from the feet of the Krampi who travel with Santa.






   So parents, from now on if the threat of receiving coal on Christmas no longer holds any fear, you may want to consider sharing the story of the demonic Krampus with your disobedient child. For extra effect, don't forget the furry costume complete with horns, long tongue, chains, black sack, and scary demon mask while you lurk outside the window some night to prove to your child that Krampi do, in fact, exist. Or you might try not being sadistic. Besides, in places where Krampus is still "celebrated", children have taken to dressing in black rags and chains, running through streets and terrorizing people. Some of them seem to have overcome their fear of the creature and have taken back the Yuletide and the night. The true origins of Christmas are pagan; this is one example of that fact.

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.