Monday, October 31, 2011


Southern Living Pumpkin Recipes: Mini Pumpkin Cakes

   Delicious pumpkin flavor and pumpkin pie spices make this treat a yummy way to celebrate the season. With only 30 minutes of hands-on time it's doable for a special dinner party or just a fun treat for the kids. This recipe is brought to you by www.myrecipes.com

   Hands-On Time: 30 min.; Total Time: 1 hr., 44 min. (including Caramel-Rum Glaze).


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Caramel-Rum Glaze*
  • Or Vanilla Glaze
  • Caramel Stems, Leaves, and Vines (optional, instructions below)


  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla.
  • 2. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Spoon batter into 2 lightly greased pumpkin-shaped muffin pans, filling three-fourths full.
  • 3. Bake at 350° for 24 to 26 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 5 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 30 minutes).
  • 4. Cut rounded tops off muffins to make them flat. Invert top muffins onto bottom muffins, forming pumpkins. Drizzle Caramel-Rum Glaze over pumpkins. Decorate with Caramel Stems, Leaves, and Vines, if desired.
  • *Vanilla Glaze may be substituted.
  • CARAMEL STEM: Press 1 caramel between fingers, lengthening to 1 1/2 to 2 inches to form a stem. Curl stem gently.
  • CARAMEL LEAVES: Roll caramels into 2-inch squares on a flat surface, using a rolling pin. Cut into leaves, using a paring knife. Gently press tips of leaves to flatten, if desired. Score leaves, using a paring knife. Pinch bottoms of leaves together.
  • CARAMEL VINES: Cut 1 caramel into 3 equal pieces. Squeeze each piece gently to flatten, and roll between hands or on a flat surface into a long thin rope. Twist ends to curl.


   Wouldn't it be nice to celebrate a different holiday everyday? Well, you can celebrate a national holiday everyday. There is a national food holiday for everyday of the year. That means that you can do something unique and serve a fun food that goes along with that day's holiday. November is one of the best times to celebrate national food holidays. Not only do we get to celebrate Thanksgiving, but there are 29 more days of great food holidays.

National Vinegar Day November 1:
 This can easily be one of the best food holidays, if you know some fabulous recipes. For example, make coleslaw or make pickled sausages. There are so many great ways to use this tangy ingredient.

National Deviled Egg Day November 2:
 Now this food holiday was definitely made for Southerners. To make delicious deviled eggs simply boil your eggs and then combine the yolks with some mayonnaise and crumbled bacon.

National Sandwich Day November 3: Skip the complicated dinner you had planned and serve everyone's favorite sandwich.

National Candy Day November 4:
Go all out on this food holiday and buy all your favorite candies. Even better, hit your local pharmacies and department stores and stock up on leftover Halloween candy that has been marked down.

National Doughnut Day November 5:
Instead of a breakfast of granola and fruit, stop by your favorite doughnut shop and indulge in your favorite flavor.

National Nachos Day November 6:
 November is filled with fatty food holidays, but on this day you can make things a little healthier by making nachos with 93% lean hamburger meat, fat-free refried beans, cheese sauce, tomatoes, green onions, and low-fat sour cream.

Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day November 7:
Almonds and bittersweet chocolate are both good for you. On this food holiday, visit your favorite candy shop and buy a small box of yummy treats.

National Cappuccino Day November 8:
This is the perfect food holiday to celebrate during November. If you're pressed for time, just grab a cappuccino from your local Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts.

Cook Something Bold & Pungent Day November 9:
 I have to admit, this is a weird food holiday. But, if you want something truly bold and pungent, make chicken with 40 cloves. After the dish is cooked, take the garlic and spread it on toasted French bread.

National Vanilla Cupcake Day November 10:
There is something wonderful about a plain vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting. Just stop by your local bakery and pick up a dozen (or two).

National Sundae Day November 11:
This is such a fun food holiday to celebrate. Just buy all your favorite sundae toppings, your favorite ice cream, and enjoy.

National Pizza With Everything Day (Except Anchovies) November 12:
 Don't stress too much on this food holiday, just call your local pizza restaurant and kick back with a good movie.

National Indian Pudding Day November 13:
 If you happen to be part Native, this is a time to get in touch with your roots. Even if you're not part Native, this is a delicious dish to make.

National Guacamole Day November 14:
 Guacamole, tortilla chips, a football game, and a comfy chair are all your need on this food holiday.

National Raisin Bran Cereal Day November 15:
Finally, something healthy. Have a nice big bowl and you won't feel so guilty about the first half of November.

National Fast Food Day November 16:
 Only in American would you find a food holiday like this. Just hit your favorite fast food place and don't forget to check the healthy side of the menu.

Homemade Bread Day November 17:
This is a food holiday that everyone should celebrate. Not only is homemade bread delicious, but it's fun to make as well.

National Vichyssoise Day November 18:
 Vichyssoise is basically a chilled potato and leek soup. There are several recipes available online.

Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day November 19:
Relax with a nice cold pop on this food holiday.

National Peanut Butter Fudge Day November 20:
 On this holiday, take some time and actually get in the kitchen to prepare a delicious pan of fudge.

Gingerbread Day November 21:
 Gingerbread Day is a wonderful food holiday to celebrate towards the end of November. The taste helps get your ready for the big holidays.

National Cashew Day November 22:
Snack on them plain or get chocolate covered cashews.

Eat a Cranberry Day November 23:
Serve cranberry sauce with roast chicken. It's the perfect meal to serve around Thanksgiving.

National Sardines Day November 24:
I'm sorry, but I really can't give any suggestions for this food holiday, but if you like this food, you'll think of something easily.

National Parfait Day November 25:
Here's another chance to eat something healthy in November. Make a parfait using yogurt, berries, and granola.

National Cake Day November 26:
 This food holiday doesn't have to be complicated. Just use your favorite cake mix and store bought frosting.

National Bavarian Cream Pie Day November 27:
This is another great time to visit your local bakery.

National French Toast Day November 28:
Do something decadent and try stuffed French toast.

National Lemon Creme Pie Day November 29:
Do something really easy and pick up a Mrs. Smith's Lemon Meringue Pie.

National Mousse Day November 30:
On the last day of November enjoy an easy chocolate mousse by combining chocolate pudding and whipped cream.


   This is a listing of actual holidays, believe it or not. Several web sites even offer electronic cards for you to send to friends and relatives to help celebrate !

November 1 - Bra Day
Whatever you do, don't burn your bra today! This holiday commemorates the date that Mary Jacob invented the first modern brassiere circa 1913 in New York.

November 2 - Practice Being Psychic Day
Today is "Practice Being Psychic" Day, and I am reading your mind right now. You are thinking "Why would anyone think up such a silly celebration?" I'm pretty good, don't you think?

November 3 - Sandwich Day
Happy Sandwich Day! This holiday celebrates the emergence of the sandwich, popularized in 1762 by the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montague, an 18th century English aristocrat.

November 4 - Bad Mood Day
On this day, I suppose it is permissible to be in a bad mood for a 24 hour period. Celebrate this holiday at your own risk!

November 5 - National Doughnut Day
Today's celebration calls for a trip to your local doughnut shop! Have doughnuts for breakfast, or take a few dozen to the office with you to share with your co-workers! Even the weight-conscious will want to participate in this holiday!

November 6th - Peanut Butter Lovers Day
I imagine this was one of Elvis Presley's favorite holidays! Bake some peanut butter cookies and share them with a neighbor today! Don't make the mistake of including your dog in this celebration, though. They get confused when the peanut butter sticks to the roof of their mouth. Try a peanut butter flavored dog biscuit, instead.

November 7th - Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day is a day you can indulge in a sweet treat without guilt. Dark chocolate is good for you, you know.

November 8th - X-Ray Discovery Day
Happy X-ray Day! (I see you... all of you! Nice undies!) On this day in 1895 Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen discovered the medical marvel of St. Aedh Mac Breic, the patron saint of headache sufferers.

November 11th - Ones Day
Ones Day is truly a special day that only comes once a year. Why? The secret is in the 4 ones that make up the date of November 11th (11/11). Have a Happy Ones Day... spend it with the Ones you love.

November 12th - Happy Hour Day
On this day in 1745, the very first happy hour was held at a pub in the country of Ireland. You can celebrate this holiday easily, as most good bars have their own happy hour. And, if you aren't a drinker, then just be happy for an hour! Happiness is the theme of this holiday, after all.

November 13th - World Kindness Day
November 13 has been designated as World Kindness Day. Today, do your part to help make this world we all share a kinder, more compassionate place to live.

November 14th - Monet Day
Today's celebration is in honor of the birthday of Impressionist artist Claude Monet, who was born in 1840. This would be a good day to visit your local art museum, and perhaps admire some of Monet's works.

November 15th - Great American Smokeout Day
November 15th is the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout, a holiday of sorts where smokers are challenged to smoke less, or quit smoking for at least this one day.

November 16th - Birth of the Blues Day
Today we celebrate the birthday of W.C. Handy. He was born in Memphis, TN in 1873, and is considered the "Father of the Blues" for making blues music popular among Americans. Listen to some blues today, and say a silent thank you to Mr. Handy.

November 17th - Coping with Uncertainty Day
I'm really a little uncertain as to how I should describe this holiday. Should I even call it a holiday? Maybe I should say it's a celebration of things unknown instead? Whatever you want to call it, have a great one!

November 18th - Teddy Bear Day
Today's holiday commemorates a day that should be dear to the hearts of all kids - and kids at heart. On this day in 1902, toy maker Morris Michton named a cute stuffed bear toy "Teddy Bear" after President Teddy Roosevelt. Celebrate today by hugging a teddy bear, or buying one for someone dear to you.

November 19th - Pencil Day
Come on now... what's the point of this holiday, anyway? Pencil point, that is! On this day in 1895, the pencil as we know it was invented.

November 20th - Traffic Light Day
Today we celebrate the day in 1923 when Garrett Morgan of Cleveland, Ohio, patented the traffic light in 1923. You can thank Garrett today as you are waiting at a red light on your way to work. Without his invention, you might not get there in time!

November 21st - Pumpkin Pie Day
November 21st is National Pumpkin Pie Day. I wonder why they made this holiday so close to Thanksgiving? Don't they think people get enough pumpkin pie on that holiday? Maybe there's a conspiracy going on here to get people to eat more pumpkin, or perhaps this day is meant to start a trend toward another traditional Turkey Day dessert? Who knows? Have some pumpkin pie today, anyway!

November 22nd - Hockey Day
Hockey fans, rejoice! On this day in 1917, the National Hockey League was established, bringing the sport more into the limelight than ever before. Today, celebrate by kicking back, relaxing, and watching some hockey on television. Oh, and be thankful you are in your nice warm house, and not out on that cold ice!

November 23rd - Paranoia Day
Today is the day when the paranoia that all of us have to a certain extent is allowed to come out in full force. It is perfectly acceptable for you to be suspicious of your coworkers, hear strange sounds, and be absolutely certain someone is following you. Aren't you glad this holiday only lasts for one day?

November 24th - National Espresso Day
Today is National Espresso Day! Grab a cup and help yourself to a hearty dose of caffeine! Starbucks should celebrate this day, too. If espresso isn't your thing, just drink a few extra cups of regular coffee today to get the same effect.

November 25th - Shopping Reminder Day
November 25th has been designated as Shopping Reminder Day! The sole purpose of this day is to remind you that there are only 30 more shopping days left until Christmas. Your task today is to tell as many people as possible about this holiday. Who knows... your diligence could pay off well come Christmas!

November 26th - Good Grief Day
On this aptly named holiday, we remember that legendary cartoonist Charles M. Schultz, who was born on this day in 1922. Celebrate the life of this comic genius by reading some of his works... or by wearing your favorite Snoopy t shirt.

November 27th - Electric Guitar Day
This holiday was created in honor of legendary guitarist and songwriter Jimi Hendrix. It's a perfect opportunity to enjoy some of Jimi's many fine compositions and honor his musical abilities.

November 28th - Auto Race Day
Today marks the occasion of the first automobile race in the United States. This momentous event was held in Illinois in 1895. Race fans, unite on this holiday, and share the fun and excitement of this popular spectator sport.

November 29th - Customer is Wrong Day
This could turn out to be a dangerous holiday, as the required antics may have you hunting for a new job tomorrow! If you work in retail, celebrate it at your own risk! You'll receive some long-overdue satisfaction, to be sure, but weigh the risks and the benefits before you began your mantra of "The Customer is Always Wrong."

November 30th - Computer Security DayAlso known as Monitor Your Monitor Day
 This holiday reminds us to make sure our computers are protected from spy ware, viruses, and ad ware. This will be a good day to run all your virus scans, disk defrags, etc, and make sure your computer is in tip-top shape!


 This recipe is brought to us by www.cakejournal.com .  Enjoy a piece of poison cake on Halloween, it's to die for! AH! AH! AH!

Halloween poison cake recipe

Almond cake coloured green for Halloween

I know that many of you have seen vibrant coloured cakes for years. But back in the days when I was a kid, a cake with this colour was very special. This (Danish) cake bring back so many childhood memories to me and I have always known it as the The Poison Cake!

Basically it’s just an almond flavoured cake, coloured green. Green and perfect for Halloween! The cake is super moist and I like to eat it with a big glass of cold milk on the side.
On top of the cake is a thin spread of cocoa powder icing (powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder) If you want it a little more festive, you can sprinkle some fun Halloween sprinkles on top.

Halloween poison cake
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)
9″x13″rectangle cake pan, prepared with parchment paper or cake release.

375 grams sugar (2 cups)
250 grams soft unsalted butter (9 oz)
3 large eggs
250 grams all purpose flour (1 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
250 ml milk (room temperature) (1 1/8 cup)
2-3 teaspoons almond extract (Vanilla can be used instead)
Green food colouring

Cocoa powder icing:
Powdered sugar
unsweetened cocoa powder
I don’t really use any specific recipe for the icing. I just take 2-3 cups of powdered sugar. About 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and whisk it well together. Then I add 1-2 tablespoons of cooled boiled water and mix it in. Add more water if its to thick and more powdered sugar if its too thin. It should have a thick pouring consistency, that is easy to spread on with a spatula.

Step 1:
In a bowl sift together the all purpose flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

Step 2:
In another bowl cream the unsalted butter and sugar well together.

Step 3:
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well in between. Scrape down the sides when needed.

Step 4:
Next add the flour mix in three parts and the milk in two. Mix well in between.

Step 5:
Stir in the almond flavour. Then add drops of green food colouring. Be careful not to use too much food colouring as the colour gets a little more dark while baking.

Step 6:
Pour the green cake batter into the cake pan and smooth with a rubber spatula. To avoid the cake from getting too brown, place the cake on the lowest rack in the oven. Bake the cake for about 40-60 minutes and a cake tester comes out clean.

Step 7:
Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool completely before you spread on the cocoa powder icing. Cut the cake into squares and enjoy.


   This diy project comes from www.styrofoamcrafts.com. Good luck and have fun making this one of a kind Jack o' lantern.

   It’s October – let the season for Halloween crafts begin. And, what better way to start than with Halloween decorating ideas featuring pumpkins? First up is our Glittering Jack-’o-Lantern made with Krylon’s new Glitter Blast. When Krylon sent me sample cans of this sparkly, spray-on glitter finish, I knew I had to try it out on STYROFOAM Brand Foam. Glitter Blast is totally safe for STYROFOAM Brand Foam and comes in a dozen colors – imagine how it will make your holiday crafts shimmer!

Halloween decorating ideas.

Make several glittering jack-'o-lanterns and stand them in a row.

To make the Glittering Jack-‘o-Lantern, you’ll need:

  • STYROFOAM Brand Foam, 12” x 5” cone (or other size of your choice)
  • Krylon Gitter Blast: Starry Night, Orange Burst
  • Contact paper
  • Glittered, sheer black ribbon
  • Green, glittered floral pick
  • Glittered raven
  • Newspaper
  • Low temp glue gun & glue sticks
  • Tools: Scissors; rubber gloves; wire cutters

To make the Glittering Jack-’o-Lantern:

Krylon Glitter Blast on cone

Spray only the area of the cone where you will add your jack-'o-lantern face.
1. Before you start, carefully read the label on the can of Glitter Blast. Cover work area with newspapers.
2. Spray front of cone with Starry Night Glitter Blast. Let dry. (Glitter Blast darkens as it dries, so be careful to not overspray. If you overspray, the finish can run. Yes, I learned the hard way . . .) If you would like more color, spray on a second coat.
3. Cut jack-‘o-lantern face from contact paper. Remove backing from contact paper and adhere facial features to the painted area of the cone. Pay special attention to the edges of your pattern pieces.
4. Spray entire cone with Orange Burst Glitter Blast. It might take more than one coat to cover the Starry Night Glitter Blast. Let dry. Add second coat, if necessary.
5. Wrap top of cone with sheer, glittery black ribbon and glue ends with low temp glue.
6. Cut stem with leaves from floral pick. Insert stem into cone.
7. Glue raven to top of cone.


   Since 1997, the Celtic Colours International Festival has featured hundreds of musicians from all over the Celtic world and attracted tens of thousands of visitors to Cape Breton Island. For nine days in October, Cape Breton Island is home to a unique celebration of music and culture as the Celtic Colours International Festival presents dozens of concerts all over the island, an extensive line-up of workshops, a visual art series of exhibitions, and a nightly Festival Club. Over the years, artists have traveled from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, Brittany, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and Cuba as well as from across the United States and Canada to join the finest of Cape Breton's musicians, singers, dancers, storytellers and tradition-bearers for the annual Autumn celebration.
   One of the things that sets Celtic Colours apart from the vast majority of festivals taking place around the globe is that it isn't limited to just one location. Communities around Cape Breton Island host concerts and workshops at a time when the fall leaves are at their most brilliant and traveling around the island offers one breathtaking view after another. These communities are the places where the culture has been nurtured for over 200 years providing context for the roots of the music and celebrating each community's contribution to our living Celtic culture.
   In many of these communities, the local fire hall, parish hall or community centre has hosted musical events for generations, in some cases, literally moving the fire trucks out of the hall to accommodate a dance. Venues for Celtic Colours vary from an 18th Century reconstructed French Chapel to brand new state of the art performance facilities to community halls, but all venues share in common the prominent place each holds in the community it serves. The Celtic culture of music, dance and story telling lives on in these communities and provides foundation for the celebration of living culture that is the Celtic Colours International Festival.

   With Celtic Colours International Festival's ambitious schedule (as many as six concerts each day), it is simply impossible to see and hear everything. The organizers of the Festival realize this and take special care in the programming of each show so that it is possible to get a taste of all that the Festival has to offer on any given day. Whether it's Gaelic singing you are most interested in, or Cape Breton fiddling, or local dance traditions, outstanding accordion playing, perhaps, or an afternoon of world-class bagpiping, Celtic Colours festival-goers can tailor their musical experience to suit their tastes.
   Celtic music has seen a resurgence of interest in North America during recent years. Fueled in part by the success and popularity of entertainers like Natalie MacMaster, Buddy MacMaster, the Barra MacNeils, Ashley MacIsaac, the Rankin Family and Rita MacNeil, this interest has focused attention on Cape Breton Island, its music, its people and its culture. Celtic Colours offers the opportunity for visitors to go beyond simply listening to the music. Workshops, offered in many aspects of Celtic and Gaelic culture, allow visitors and residents alike to get the hands-on experience they desire. Host communities around the island present workshops in Gaelic language and song, components of tradition, instrument instruction and traditional dance, as well as offering cultural tours, ceilidhs and a lecture series. They also organize an extensive array of community events including meals and dances.
   One of the most popular features of the Celtic Colours International Festival every year is the Festival Club. Located at the Gaelic College in St. Ann's, the Festival Club opens as the evening concerts are closing, offering an opportunity for Festival artists to perform in a more informal setting, or to get a session in with friends and colleagues from near and far. Performance is by invitation only and depends upon artist availability on any given night. Although the license only allows the bar to stay open until 3:00 am, the music has been known to continue well beyond that time.

   The festival is held at the height of the island's spectacular fall colours, allowing visitors to enjoy breathtaking scenery as they travel to their next event. Traveling to an event may take a visitor around the pristine Bras d'Or Lakes, Canada's largest saltwater lake, or around the Cabot Trail, often called North America's most scenic drive. Wherever you go in Cape Breton at this time of year, you are bound to find amazing scenery around every turn.
   Celtic Colours International Festival is recognized as a world-class event, both locally and internationally. The Festival was named the Tourism Industry Association of Canada 2007 Event of the Year, has received four East Coast Music Awards for Event of the Year, (2005-2008), two Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia Crystal Awards (Events / Conferences 2002, the Golden Hospitality Award 2005), and was named American Bus Association's Top Event in Canada and Attractions Canada's Top Cultural Event in 2001. In recent years, Cape Breton Island has also been recognized by Conde Nast Magazine for its scenic beauty and friendly people (voted number one in the world by its readership) and by National Geographic Traveler as among the top travel destinations in the world.
   Since its 1997 debut, Celtic Colours International Festival has grown to become one of Canada's premiere musical events, and a cultural highlight of Nova Scotia's tourism season, collecting accolades from regional music awards to national and international tourism awards. In doing so, the nine-day Fall festival has introduced the musical culture of Cape Breton Island to visitors from more than two dozen countries and extended Cape Breton Island's tourism season by a full two weeks.

   By any measure, Celtic Colours International Festival has had a very successful run. Starting in 1997 with 27 concerts and 12 community workshops, the Festival has expanded to an impressive 45 concerts and 249 community events in 2010. Over 15,000 people attended the community cultural events and 17,958 tickets were sold to concerts in 33 communities around the island. The Festival attracted 6,214 off-island visitors who came from every province and territory in Canada, 50 American States and 19 other countries. International visitors increased by 1% in 2010, and 4% more Cape Breton residents came out to concerts, contributing to an audience expenditure, excluding ticket sales and transportation to Cape Breton, of $ 6.2 million.

Celtic Culture

   Gaelic Cape Breton has been described as "the most recent and far-flung outpost" of Gaelic Scotland. It is the only area in the world - outside of Scotland itself - where Gaelic continues as a living language and culture. Here the language, culture and traditions have been transmitted through five, six and even seven generations of separation from the Homeland. As such, Cape Breton holds a unique position within the larger Gaelic world.
   During the period 1775 - 1850, some twenty-five thousand Gaelic-speaking Scots from every region of the Highlands and Islands established thriving pioneer communities throughout Cape Breton and Eastern Nova Scotia.
   Gaelic culture thrived in Cape Breton. From the arrival of the first settlers through to the present, Cape Breton Gaels, like their counterparts in Scotland, have continued the development of their linguistic and cultural heritage.
   By the late 1800's Gaelic communities were firmly established throughout rural Cape Breton. The immigration to Cape Breton from Scotland had all but ended by 1860. The Clearances were finished and the Famine was past. The vast bulk of those who wished to leave Scotland had left, and those who remained in Scotland were fighting to win justice in their own country.

   In Cape Breton, Gaelic was alive and thriving. By 1880 the Gaelic speaking population of Cape Breton had swollen to 85,000. This population was comprised largely of first, second and third generation descendants of the original settlers and for the vast majority of these descendants, Gaelic was their first and only language.
   The opening years of the twentieth century saw many changes coming into life in the rural and urban communities of Cape Breton. Some of these changes were subtle; some were more obvious.
   For Cape Breton, the era of pioneer settlement was past. With the growing number of sawmills in the country, and the increased availability of iron and steel, timber-framed construction had all but replaced log construction as the main form of housing. Similarly, the brush-fence and the stake-fence were giving way to pole and even wire fencing. The single-lane tracks through the forest were developing into roads. And the closing years of the nineteenth century saw the opening of the railway as Cape Breton was connected to the rest of North America by an rathad iarainn "the iron road". Also, by 1900, the number of Gaelic speakers had dropped form eighty-five thousand to around seventy-five thousand people.
   There were other changes taking place as well. Beginning in the 1880's, a new pattern of out-migration began to appear - this time from areas such as rural Cape Breton. The coal mines of Cape Breton had been in operation before the Gaels arrived and it was usual for some people to go to work in the mines from time to time. Because of its rich deposits of coal and iron, Sydney and the surrounding townships were emerging as a major industrial region within North America. The opening of the Sydney Steel Plant in 1901 created a demand for industrial workers never before seen in Cape Breton and Sydney was dubbed, "the New York of the North".

   A Ceilidh-house was a favored gathering place in a community and each ceilidh-house would be known locally for its particular form of entertainment. This would most often be determined by the talents of the occupants of the house. A man or woman known for their singing abilities would attract other singers and those who enjoyed songs to that particular house. Hence, singing would be the main entertainment with story-telling, music and dance mixed in. Another house might be known primarily for story-telling, and yet another for music and dance.
   Whatever the favored entertainment, visitors would start arriving after the evening chores were finished. Each new arrival would be greeted in turn and invited to tell their news. The early hours were thus spent mainly in the discussion of the small and large events of the day. As the evening settled, the music, song and story-telling would commence and would continue through the evening and into the night.
   Often performance was followed by discussion. The history behind a story or a song, the meaning and nuances of a particular word or line, bowing styles, fingering techniques - these and other topics might be discussed and even debated. In this way, people shared their collective knowledge, for a Gaelic audience at its best is an informed audience capable of truly appreciating the individual style and talents of the performer within the parameters of the wider tradition. Even the person who might never "perform" participates in a valuable and valued way through his or her knowledge of the tradition.

   In this way, localized styles and repertoires of music, song, and story along with knowledge of tradition, history and genealogy were - and still are - maintained and developed within the "house ceilidh".


Overindulging in Halloween candy is bound to make anyone nauseous. Why not skip the teeth-rotting middleman and turn your stomach before you eat a thing? These ten repugnant candies should do the trick-or-treat.


1. Dracula Drool: This vile vial gets bonus gross-out points for its graphic name. It's not just blood, it's hemoglobin-stained saliva that dripped off the Count's slobbering fangs.


2. Vampire Hair: Candy hair would have made this list on its own; so would candy vampires. The combination in a flossy candy that explodes on your tongue puts it at No. 2. Also noteworthy is the revelation that Marge Simpson is indeed a vampire.


3. Forkz Candy Eyeballs: Who needs candy corn when you can get candy corneas? As if they're hors d'oeuvres at a monster mash party, these eyeballs have forks sticking out to really make them pop.


4. Pick 'n Lick: A giant sugar cotton swab gathers up globs of ear wax-colored powder. This is the eeriest candy here.


5. Toxic Waste: There's a classic trope of hazardous waste turning people into heinous mutants. This version turns kids into people who enjoy sucking on unpleasant, intensely sour candy. According to the barrel's chart, keeping one of these in your mouth for a minute makes you a full toxie head. If you last only 45 seconds you're just a toxie wannabe.


6. Slithering Snake Suckers: The disturbing part of this candy is not that its similarity in size, shape, and color to a real snake would elicit a double take from any unsuspecting passerby, but the fact that it "lasts all day." According to the box's printed gauge, if you start sucking at dawn, you'll only be halfway finished by noon. Sounds noxious.

7. French-Fried Gummy Candy Fingers with Liquid Candy Blood: Chicken fingers and french fries are kid-menu staples. This candy capitalizes on what children already desire, but with a revolting twist: They're human-shaped fingers stuffed in a french-fry box with a packet of blood as a condiment. That points it in the top-10 digits.


8. Blood Energy Potion: This sugary maroon liquid claims to have "similar nutritional content to natural blood." A serving does provide 55% of recommended daily iron value and 880mg of amino acids. It even tastes like blood, but only Franken Berry's blood. An impressive Web tie-inposes it as a synthetic blood substitute for vampires, an alternative to feasting on humans. With its microwave instructions to heat to 98.6°F and transfusion bag packaging, we give this an A(Rh)+ for commitment.


9. Body Parts Sushi: There's something about eyeballs, fingers, and ears topping seaweed-wrapped rice that gives us an extra kick of queasiness. Associating hacked body parts with customary fare legitimizes cannibalism in a way that puts us ill at ease. Also, the list of ingredients includes the word "pork." Wretch. Comes with chopsticks.


10. Harry Potter Bertie Bott's Beans: The Harry Potter series has ended, and so must this list. (Un)fortunately, the franchise leaves us with the grossest candy ever marketed: jelly beans made to taste like "dirt," "rotten eggs," and "vomit." You don't need to have consumed an earthworm to know that the Jelly Belly chefs nailed the flavor. It's obvious in its repulsiveness.