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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 03/24/15

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

WINTER FESTIVALS IN QUEBEC, CANADA, EH!!!








   Visitors from all over the world will be playing in the snow and enjoying the winter festivities at one of the biggest winter celebrations that Canada has to offer.  Quebec, Canada has been host to the winter wonderland known to locals as "Carnaval de Quebec", for more than 50 years and shows no signs of slowing down anytime in the near future as this year's carnival will see more than 400 unique activities.  It has been dubbed as the "The coolest Part in the World", and why not?  It has all of the offerings that you would expect form traditions Nordic culture, only they have went all out and included events for people of all generations, tastes, and backgrounds.
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    The Winter Carnival got its start in 1894 and has grown each consecutive year by updating events and festivities to fit every lifestyle.  Starting at the end of January and lasting up until the middle of February.  Quebec opens its doors for a winter celebration that includes snow baths, glittering night parades, slide runs, ice fishing, concerts, snow rafting, snow sculpture competitions, a canoe race over the frozen St. Lawrence River, horse-drawn sleigh rides, husky powered dogsled rides, and skating.












      Music, dancing, live entertainment, deliciously prepared cuisine, rides and activities are also part of the Winter Carnival.  The activities are non-stop throughout the week, but the special events are typically held during the weekend.  If this isn't enough to tantalize your taste buds, then the city of Quebec itself might be what you are hungering for.  The medieval setting is something straight out of a book as you will delight in seeing everything from the French architecturally designed homes nestled along narrow, winding streets to the colorful and inviting restaurants and shops that demand your attention.  It is truly one of the most beautiful destinations that you will ever have the pleasure of laying your eyes on.














    The heart of the carnival is set up at the Plains of Abraham where the French and British once battled, but is now home to grazing cattle and the Winter Carnival.  A particular favorite is the St. Hubert Derby that easily draws crowds of people waiting to see the single and double championship drivers of the horse team competition.  While other visitors can't wait to chill out in the Ice Palace and see the one of a kind structure made up entirely of ice.  Children gather in large crowds awaiting the arrival of Bonhomme the snowman who  plays as Master of Ceremonies during the snow bath event where daring adventurists play in the snow the Eskimo way, in bathing suits.












   The city of Quebec not only offers fun winter festivities, but it also holds the allure of being the only walled city in North America.  More than 1.5 million visitors find their way to the Carnival de Quebec, and most of them will eventually find their way to the ancient part of the walled city that houses French neighborhoods that closely resemble a European village of sorts.  Brightly lit shops and local cuisine can be found along the heart of the city as well as scenic views of the lake and mountains.

ANGEL FOOD CUPCAKES WITH COOL WHIP FROSTING!





   This recipe comes from www.clairekcreations.com .  Two things that always go well together, cool whip and angel food cake (possibly with some strawberries)!



Today I am very excited to play host to my very first guest post! I discovered Mother Thyme a few months ago and I love reading her fabulous recipes. She’s the woman behind the delicious tomato pasta sauce and choc-ginger biscuits. Please make her feel welcome and be sure to stop by and check out all the fabulous recipes on Mother Thyme.




Hi everyone! I’m Jennifer from Mother Thyme. I am so thrilled to be guest posting on my foodie friend Claire’s fabulous site today!
Today I will be sharing with you a light and refreshing dessert that you can enjoy without the guilt, Angel Food Cupcakes. These cupcakes are light and airy and made with a few simple ingredients such as egg white, confectioners sugar, sugar, salt and vanilla. The egg whites are whipped to form stiff peaks that makes this batter light and airy.
Sure I could have topped these cupcakes off with a creamy, eat with a spoon buttercream frosting, but that defeats the purpose of composing a light cupcake. My first thought was to just add dollops of cool whip on top of these cupcakes with slices of strawberries, but after some experimenting and recipe developing I came up with this creamy, delicious cool whip frosting that is flavored with vanilla and a hint of almond. This frosting is creamy, tasty, and delicious without all the extra calories and fat. So instead of having one cupcake, let’s have two (or maybe three)!
Thanks for letting me share my recipe here with you today. Be sure to stop by and say Hi to me at Mother Thyme. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!
Enjoy!




Angel Food Cupcakes with Vanilla Almond Cool Whip Frosting
(Click here for a print friendly version)


Yield: 1 ½ dozen cupcakes
Angel Food Cupcakes
Ingredients
12 large egg whites (about 1 ½ cups)
1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup confectioners sugar (icing sugar)
½ cup sugar
1 cup cake flour (plain flour)


Directions

Preheat oven to 350F degrees (160C). Line cupcake tin with liners, set aside.
Using an electric mixer with whisk attachment combine egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla extract and salt in a large bowl. Blend on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until stiff peaks form. Gradually add in sugars and continue to blend until just combined. By hand fold in cake flour.
Pour batter into cupcake liners filling ¾ full. Bake for 15-18 minutes until cake tester comes out clean and top is firm. Do not overbake.
Cool on wire racks completely before frosting.
Vanilla Almond Cool Whip Frosting
Ingredients
1 3.4oz (90-120g) package of vanilla instant pudding
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 8oz tub (240) of cool whip, thawed (fat free, light or regular)

In a medium bowl combine pudding, milk and almond extract until smooth. Fold in cool whip until combined. Frost as desired.




THE TAIWAN LANTERN FESTIVAL!!!










    The 15th day of the first lunar month each year, known as "Yuan Xiao", it is one of the three major traditional festivals in Taiwan.  It is also the first festival celebration after the start of the Lunar New Year.  Special events include the Taiwan Lantern Festival, Pingxi Heavenly Lanterns, Taitung Bombing of the god Handan, the Beehive Rockets of Yanshui, the Taipei Lantern Festival, and traditional celebratory temple rituals.
   Since 1990, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau has organized the Taiwan Lantern Festival, and this year, the the festival enters its 22nd year.






Year of the Rabbit Lantern





   The centerpiece of the event is a giant themed lantern modeled on the Chinese zodiacal animal of the year, accompanied by subsidiary lanterns and special lantern areas such as the Hope & Wishes lantern section, the Fun Filled lantern section and many others, all of which successfully display the art of lantern making.  During the official opening ceremony, performing groups from Taiwan and overseas enliven the festivities, making this an event you don't want to miss.












History

   Starting in 1990, the Tourism Bureau integrated civilian and local governmental resources to conduct the event to celebrate the Lantern Festival (15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar).  The purpose of the festival is to spread the traditional folklore of the festival.





Image result for taiwan lantern festival 2015






   The firecrackers ceremony of the Wumiao Temple in Yenshui Township was held by ancient people in order to show respect for the exploits of Guan Yu.  Fengpao, is the ceremony to start the burning of thousands of firecrackers hung on  15 to 75 foot high wooden stands.  This ceremony starts from 6 p.m., and goes on until 5 the next morning.  Thousands of visitors attend the ceremony.