December 17th National Maple Syrup Day

Very few of us actually have ever tasted real maple syrup. Now I know, all those pancake syrups list themselves as maple syrup and some, the better of them, actually taste like real maple syrup but few are actually made from maple syrup.

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Native Americans have been using maple syrup since long before the European settlers came across the ocean. They flavored many of their meals with the sap of the maple tree. The process is time consuming and not effective for companies that place quantity over quality.

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The sap is gathered from the trees between Feb. and March so it is a bit curious why Maple Syrup Day is celebrated in December. It’s sort of like celebrating the 4th of July in April but I guess it really doesn’t matter so long as it gets celebrated.

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Still, real or not and whether in the right month or not, Maple Syrup Day is a treasure for anyone actually wanting to eat the real thing! We all know it tastes great on pancakes or waffles but try it on ice cream or cookies or even in a cake, not the fake stuff but the real stuff.

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How to celebrate – Find some “real” Maple Syrup. Try adding the syrup to chicken or in tea or on practically any food you serve. Try getting you own sap from a Maple Tree and learn how to turn it into Maple Syrup.

 

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December 16th National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

Not that we need the added tonnage these days before Christmas but today is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day. It is a day where you can drown anything in chocolate and eat it, serving your country as you do. (Well, not really your country as it isn’t official but you can pretend anyway.

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Pretzels work well. The combination of sweet and salty is always a welcome treat. Chocolate covered potato chips, broccoli, nuts… you name it and it can be covered in chocolate. I suppose you could even cover chocolate with chocolate if you so choose

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You can even cover up things so that you can’t tell what they once were. I hope this was once a banana but who knows? The fact is that you could cover anything and leave it to the consumer to guess what it is. Probably wouldn’t matter much since most people are actually just after the chocolate anyway!

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Strawberries are always a favorite. In fact, nearly every fruit works well with chocolate. Blueberries, raspberries, grapes… you name it, it works. White chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate… it’s all good. And now you have a national day to celebrate it on.chocolate-covered-raspberries-6

How to celebrate – Take whatever you may have in the house and cover it in chocolate! Send your loved one some chocolate covered strawberries. Experiment with different items you would not normally sample with chocolate.

 

 

December 15th Bill of Rights Day

On March 4th, 1789 the Constitution was ratified. On September 25, 1789 12 Amendments were proposed to the Constitution. On December 15th, 1791 10 of those Amendments were ratified becoming a part of the Constitution.

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Among those 10 are: 1.) The Freedom of Speech, Press and Religion. 2.) The right to bear arms. 3.) Protection of homeowners from quartering troops, except during war. 4.) The right and protection against unreasonable search and seizure. 5.) The right of due process of law, protection against double jeopardy, self incrimination.

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6.) The right of a speedy trial by jury of peers and rights of the accused. 7.) The right to trail by jury in civil cases. 8.) Protection from cruel and unusual punishment, excessive bail. 9.) Protection of rights not specified in the Bill of Rights. 10.) States rights, power of the States.

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It is amazing how this group of men could write a document that has lasted so long and been right so many times. There have been many additional amendments but these first 10 cover so much of what we honor even today. (By the way, amendment 10 is the real cause of the Civil War and an issue we still deal with today.)

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Oh, and the two that were not adopted… well both had to do with how many Congressmen there would be and what they were to be paid. Had the amendment been accepted there would be over 6,000 Congressmen today!

How to celebrate – Read and understand what the Bill of Rights mean, don’t just assume you know because of what someone else has told you. Name one other country that has a better constitution and bill of rights. Salute the flag that stands for the constitution and bill of rights.

December 15th National Lemon Cupcake Day

As we approach Christmas we may not have the time to make complicated deserts with all the shopping, wrapping and snow shoveling to do. The simple answer is making cupcakes (Or better yet, just buying them in the store). Though that said, there is nothing like smelling a fresh cupcake being baked.

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Cupcakes are little more than butter, sugar, eggs and flour. As simple as they are, they really didn’t appear on earth until Amelia Simmons revealed them in her cook book, American Cookery in 1796. I would have thought cupcakes came about a lot earlier, and maybe they did but were just not mentioned.

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Now you can use practically any flavoring you want… strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, avocado… but lemon is is probably one of the most favorite flavors ever created. It is light and yet filling (Cause of the cake!) and generally accepted by practically everyone. Here’s a recipe for you.

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There’s not much else to say. Make yellow a part of your Christmas this year by including the lemon cupcake. (Or you can really fool people by using food coloring and dying your lemon cupcake whatever color you want!)

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How to celebrate – Bake some cupcakes for your family today. Buy some cupcakes for your family today. Take some lemon cupcakes to your neighbor.

 

National Bouillabaisse Day

Bouillabaisse is fish stew or soup. It can be made many different ways but it must include fish, otherwise, it’s not bouillabaisse. If you want to learn how to make a bouillabaisse dish, here’s a recipe.

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Bouillabaisse comes to us from the Mediterranean Sea area where it is very popular as it should be since so much of the area’s economy comes from the sea and fish is plentiful. Generally accepted, Bouillabaisse should come from white fillets generally from cod, snapper, flounder, halibut, sea bass or monk fish.

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It is generally believed to have been first made in Marseilles, France since it is a large city on the Mediterranean Sea. Of course the French are known for putting nearly anything in a bowl and eating it, however they are also known for making some of the finest sauces in the world and what is a stew or soup but a sauce!?!

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Now I like fish, or at least some fish, but the idea of a fish soup or stew is not all that appealing to me. I suppose served with the right spices and including a fish that doesn’t smell too strong it is good. Since I have eaten a lot of food from Louisiana I have to assume I have had Bouillabaisse before. (See Louisiana was once French and they serve a lt of fish there.)

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But then I have had fish eyes floating in a bowl of sauce before which I would not eat.

How to celebrate – Enjoy a fish stew of soup today. (I wonder if Clam Chowder is a bouillabaisse dish?) Travel to Marseilles and sample their cuisine. Go for a cruise on the Mediterranean where most likely you will be served bouillabaisse.

December 13th National Violin Day

For years, the violin was to popular music what the guitar is today, and recently it has been making quite a comeback. A classical instrument by nature, it is widely used in concerts performed by orchestras, country music, and in some forms of rock. Now it is becoming popular in every medium.

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Probably the most widely known violinist today is Lindsey Stirling. She is not only a beautiful woman but a world-class violinist, dancer and performer. Such talent is rare to find anymore although she didn’t really become aware of her talent until she failed at America’s Got Talent and nearly quit. She owes much of her fame to YouTube.

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Celtic Woman also incorporate violins into their performances. It is key to most Irish music. It can be joyful, melancholy or symphonic when placed into the right hands. In hands of  a student it can also be quite annoying!

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Like any instrument, the finest ever made was hand crafted, made in the 1600’s by Stradivarius. They are widely sought after but astronomically priced as any piece of precious art.  And don’t trust that it is a Stradivarius just because it says it is.

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How to celebrate – Find out if you have any hidden talent for playing the violin. Most Christmas music will have a violin in it somewhere. Learn about what makes one violin better than another.

December 12th National Ding-A-Ling Day

Obviously we are coming into that time of year when very important holidays are popping daily. Today is National Ding-A-Ling Day, one of the more serious holidays we celebrate every year.

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Yet again, I am at a loss for words to explain today. He deeply rooted in our society and needs to be discuss in our current environment. Many define today in different ways, as it should be. A Ding-A-Ling can mean so many things to each of us.

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Some of us take the day personally, Chuck Berry gave us My Ding-A-Ling but while it was fun Ding-A-Ling Day is something for all of us, not just the singular soul. We all should share in our Ding-A-Ling experiences, even take pictures where possible and share stories around a roaring fire, preferably with marshmallows on a stick.

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National Ding-a-Ling Day is all about going crazy! It is the one day a year we reserve for even the most conservative of us to “go crazy”! It’s the day where we wear something odd, speaking in strange voices and do things we normally wouldn’t do. Now it shouldn’t be dangerous to anyone or cause any permanent harm but it’s the day we should let our inner self out to play.

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So expect the unexpected today, or become a part of the unexpected yourself. It is the day where you are allowed to be a Ding-A-Ling and so are your pets, even if they look like road kill.

How to celebrate – Allow your Ding-A-Ling to come out! (Careful since we all define that term a little differently) Wear two different shoes to work or school today. Create a Ding-A-Ling hair-do!