Wednesday, May 1, 2013


   Easter is a special event celebrated by Christians.  It is the celebration of the resurrection of  Christ.  Easter is celebrated in many countries all over the world, however not all traditions are the same.

America and Canada

   In America and Canada, Easter is pretty much celebrated the same.  Decorated eggs are hunted for or exchanged as well as other gifts they may include money and chocolates.  Easter baskets and bonnets are made and decorated, then entered into contests.
   The Easter bunny is very popular in both countries.  Stores line their shelves with stuffed bunnies to give as gifts as well as chocolate, decorations and gifts for the Easter holiday.


   In Germany, Eater is called Ostern.  Besides Christmas, Easter is the most important holiday in Germany.  Spring cleaning is done in the household, decorations are brought in and hung up.  Small Easter trees are brought int o the home as well and decorated with eggs.
   Parents hide Easter baskets with small presents, sweets and eggs.  Hand decorated eggs are exchanged among family and friends.  A great meal is had, where many people eat fish and light big Easter bonfires.


   In Mexico, Easter is actually two big events combined, Semana Santa (Palm Sunday to Easter Saturday, or Holy Week) and Pascua (Resurrection Sunday until the following Saturday).
   Many Mexicans use these two weeks as a time for vacation, while other prefer to stay for the events.  Many communities stage the full Passion play including the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Judgment, the Procession of the 12 Stations of the Cross, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.


   In Romania, Easter is the most important celebration.  Men and women each have their own tasks to complete.  The men mend fences, bring in water, take out the garbage and butcher the lambs.  Women clean the house, do laundry and decorate the eggs.  A few weeks before Eater, the young women and girls sew new shirts for the men, parents and children.
   A special Easter cake called "Pasca" is baked, the lamb is cooked and special decorated eggs are exchanged.  Lit candles are held during mass and only put out once the one holding it returned home.  It is said that if one sleeps on Easter day, they will be sleepy all year long.


   In Ireland, a competition would be held to see who could eat the most duck eggs.  Dancers in beautiful outfits dance in the streets and compete for a cake prize.  Easter is a time of fasting and prayer.  At church on Easter Saturday, hundreds of little candles are lit off of the blessed Paschal candle.  Priests sprinkle holy water on each member of the household, then the house and cattle.
   Eggs that had been decorated and painted with faces are rolled down a hill.  A quiet traditional meal of lent soup and roasted Spring lamb is eaten on Easter Sunday.  On Easter Monday, many fairs are held and many use this day to go on a day trip.


   In Russia, Easter is celebrated on a different Sunday, than it is in the West.  In the West, the Gregorian calendar is used as well as in many places of the East, but the Julian calendar is still used and at present, is 13 days behind the Gregorian calender.  Normally Easter in the East, is one week later than the West, however this year is one of the few, rare times that they will fall on the same Sunday.
   Children dye eggs red, symbolizing the blood of Christ.  The eggs are cracked open using nails and the whites are exposed.  People are reminded of the death  of Christ and that the blood of Christ, cleanses them from sin.
   Worship at the church begins Saturday evening.  At midnight, the priests throw open the doors and shout out "Christ has risen"!  The congregation then comes to life shouting back, "He is risen indeed"!  After worship and Easter celebrations, the family Easter dinner takes place.  It is a huge picnic, where everyone in the congregation brings food to share.  Here everyone is reminded that all members of the body of Christ belong to one another.


Oxford and Cambridge Crews

   The event generally known as "The Boat Race" is a rowing race in England between the Oxford University Boat Club and the Cambridge University Boat Club, rowed between competing eights each spring on the Thames in London.  It takes place generally on the last Saturday of March or the first Saturday of April.  The formal title of the event is the Xchanging Boat Race, and it is also known as the University Boat Race and the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.
   In 2010 an estimated quarter of a million people watched the race live from the banks of the river and millions on television.

   Members of both teams are traditionally known as blues and each boat as a "Blue Boat", with Cambridge in light blue and Oxford dark blue.  The race was in 1829 and it has been held annually since 1856, with the exception of the two world wars.  The most recent race was on Saturday, March 26th 2011, with Oxford winning.  The 2012 event is to be confirmed.
   The race is governed by a Joint Understanding between Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Clubs.


   The tradition was started in 1829 by Charles Merivale, a student at St. John's College, Cambridge, and his schoolfriend Charles Wordsworth, who was at Oxford.  Cambridge challenged Oxford to a race at Henly-on-Thames.  The second race occurred in 1836, with the venue moved to be from Westminster to Putney.  Over the next couple of years, there was a disagreement over where the race should be held, with Oxford preferring Henly and Cambridge preferring London.  Cambridge therefore raced the Leander Club in 1837 and 1838.  Following the formation of the Oxford University Boat Club, racing between the two universities resumed and the tradition continues to the present day, with the loser challenging the winner to a re-match annually.

   The race in 1877, was declared a dead heat.  Legend in Oxford has is that the judge, "Honest John" Phelps, was asleep under a bush when the race finished, leading him to announce the result as a "dead heat to Oxford by four feet". 
   Cambridge produced one of the legends of the Boat Race and of rowing worldwide.  Stanley Muttlebury, whose crew won the race in the first four of the five years he was a member, 1886-1890.  He was viewed as "the finest oarsman to have ever sat in a boat".

1959 Oxford Mutiny

   Oxford in the Autumn of 1958, had a large and talented squad.  It included eleven returning Blues plus Yale oarsmen Reed Rubin and Charlie Grimes, a gold medallist at the 1956 Olympics.  Ronnie Howard was elected OUBB President by the College Captains, beating Rubin.  In 1958, Howard had rowed in the Isis crew coach by H.R.A. "Jumbo" Edwards, which had frequently beaten the Blue Boat in training.
   Howard's first act was to appoint Edwards as coach.  Edwards was a coach with a strong record, but he also imposed strict standards of obedience, behavior and dress on the trialists which many of them found childish.  As an example, Grimes withdrew from the squad after Edwards insisted he remove his "locomotive driver's hat" in training.

The Prize

   With selection for the crew highly competitive, the squad split along the lines of the presidential election.  A group of dissidents called a press conference, announcing that they wanted to form a separate crew, led by Rubin and with a different coach.  They then wished to race off with Howard's crew to decide who would face Cambridge.
  Faced with this challenge, Ronnie Howard returned to the College Captains for a vote of confidence in his selected crew and the decision not to race off with the Rubin crew.  He won the vote decisively and the Cambridge president also declared that his crew would only race the Howard eight.
   Three of the dissidents returned and Oxford went on to wind by six lengths.

1987 Oxford Mutiny

   In 1987, another disagreement arose amongst the Oxford team.  A number of top class American oarsmen refused to row when a fellow American was dropped in preference for the Scottish President, Donald Macdonald.  They became embroiled in a conflict with Macdonald and with coach Dan Topolski over his training and selection methods.  This eventually led most of the Americans to protest what they perceived to be the president's abuse of power, by withdrawing six weeks before the race was due to start.

   To the surprise of many, Oxford, with a crew partially composed of oarsmen from the reserve team, went on to win the race.  One aspect of the race was Topolski's tactic , communicated tot he cox while the crews were on the start, for Oxford to take shelter from the rough water in the middle of the river at the start of the race, ignoring conventional wisdom that center steam is fastest even if rowing conditions are poor.


The course is four miles and 374 yards from Putney to Mortlake, passing Hammersmith and Barnes; it is sometimes referred to as the Championship course, and follows ans S shape, east to west.  The start and finish are marked by the University Boat Race Stones on the south bank.  The clubs' presidents toss a coin  (the 1829 sovereign) before the race for the right to choose which side of the river (station) they will row on: their decision is based on the day's weather conditions and how the various bends in the course might favor their crew's pace.  The north station has the advantage of the first and last bends, and the south station the longer middle bend.

   The race is rowed upstream, but is timed to start on the incoming flood tide so that the crews are rowing with the fastest possible current.  If a strong wind is blowing form the west it will be against the tide in places along the course, causing the water to become very rough.  The conditions are sometimes such that internationals regatta would be cancelled, but the Boat Race has a tradition of proceeding even in potential sinking conditions.  Several races have featured one, or both of the crews sinking.  This
happened to Cambridge in 1859 and 1978, and to Oxford in 1925 and 1951.  Both boats sank in 1912, and the race was re-run, and in 1984 Cambridge sank after crashing into a stationary barge while warming up before the race.

   The race is for heavyweight eights (for eight rowers with a cox steering, and no restrictions on weight).  Female coxes are permitted, the first to appear in the Boat Race being Sue Brown for Oxford in 1981.  In fact female rowers would be permitted in the men's boat race, thought the reverse is not true.



So I am back to my old tricks.
2 ingredient stuff.
Because I am lazy.
But what I have decided is that you are lazy too…
Because you seem to like my other 2 ingredient stuff like this, and this, and this annndthese to name a few.

And also because it’s pumpkin season-ish and the blogger-nets have already blown up with pumpkin stuff.
And I don’t want to be left behind.
Because I’m a follower.
A lazy follower.
A lazy follower with brownies…
So I’m kind of a winner too.

And what’s also winning about this recipe is that you don’t add oil to your pumpkin mix, so that must make them semi-healthy-ish, right?  And isn’t pumpkin filled with like, lots of nutrients and all?
So seriously, I have made you brownies that only have 2 ingredients and will also make you healthy.
We can totally sit around and be lazy, skinny people together while we eat brownies.
Are you thanking the universe for introducing us or what?

Oh wait…I frosted them.
Scratch the healthy part.  I decided to replace the oil calories with frosting calories.
So it’s still a win.

But if you’re allergic to frosting, or are really TRYING to be healthy, just don’t add that part.
But we can’t be friends anymore.
Just sayin.
2 Ingredient Pumpkin Brownies.
All you need is Brownie mix and a can of pumpkin.  2 ingredients people.
PhotobucketMix them together…
And spread it in a lined pan.
Then bake it up.
If you really want to amp up the pumkin flavor go ahead and add in some pumpkin pie spice…about a 1/2 teaspoon to a whole teaspoon…it’s up to you.
If you don’t want to add it, totally fine.
PhotobucketAnd about that frosting…yeah…
So short story long… these brownies certainly are a little different than a regular brownie…so if you’re expecting the usual you need to, well…add normal ingredients.
These turn out fudgy and denser than a normal brownie, but they’re good.  Trust me.
AND, my kids couldn’t tell the difference.
Alls I am saying is, please don’t email me and be all, these aren’t regular brownies…they taste different.  Well no duh.  They ARE different. They’re 2 ingredient pumpkin brownies.
Makes 25 brownies
  • 1 "Family Size" box (19.5 oz) brownie mix
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
  • Frosting - optional
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
How to Make
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line a 9x9 pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. In a bowl mix together brownie mix and pumpkin until smooth.
  4. Spread batter into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until set.
  5. Let cool completely. Frost if desired.
  6. Frosting
  7. Cream butter and pumpkin pie spice until smooth.
  8. Turn mixer to low and add in powdered sugar
  9. Turn mixer up to medium and beat until fluffy.
  10. Spread on brownies, if desired.