Tag Archives: 44D

Watch 82nd Academy Awards Live Chat on 44-D’s

The 82nd Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will honor the best films of 2009 and will take place March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California and will be televised in the United States on ABC. Actors Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin will serve as co-hosts for the show.

44-D’rs will be live chatting the ceremony as well. Please visit www.chatroll.com to set up your chat account (this only takes about 10 seconds), and then come back here to join us in all the fun!

If you didn’t already download/print your Oscars ballot, please click here.

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Wishing him the best birthday ever!!
Our fellow founder and friend, GeoT!
Please have a virtual slice 🙂

82nd Academy Awards and the winners are…

Best Motion Picture

Best Actor

Best Supporting Actor

Best Actress

Best Supporting Actress

Best Director

Best Documentary Feature

Best Documentary Short

Best Animated Feature

Best Foreign Language Film

Best Original Screenplay

Best Adapted Screenplay

Best in Cinematography

Best in Art Direction

Best Animated Short

Best Live Action Short

Best in Visual Effects

Best in Costume Design

Best in Film Editing

Best In Sound Mixing

Best in Sound Editing

Best in Music (Original Score)

Best in Music (Original Song)

Best in Makeup

44-D’s Blogs the Oscars Credits

Director/Producer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Audiegrl
Graphic Designer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . GeoT
Web Development and Layout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Audiegrl
Research and Writing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BlueDog89
Videology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Buellboy

Reviewers include: Betsm, Ogenec, TheLCster, Geot, Audiegrl, WillieBeyond, and more…

Many thanks to all who made the 44-D’s Blogs the Oscars project possible 🙂

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44-D’s Best Music of 2009

Blogpost by: Ogenec

Never, ever on schedule, but always on time.” – Nas

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Hey y’all, Happy New Year!  I’ve been promising the list for some time, and I’ve been slacking.  Especially in the wake of AG’s most excellent best books list.  But like Kanye, “you should be honored by my lateness.”  🙂  What follows is a highly personal take on the best music of 2009.    The profusion in the quality and quantity of recorded music is mind-blowing.  And I especially love to be turned on to new stuff.  So I’m hoping you guys will chip in with your own suggestions.   Here we go.

Noisettes, Wild Young Hearts:  I’d never even heard of the Noisettes before Summer 09. But I heard their song “Atticus” at a store somewhere and went in furious search of the group.  Even though rock is not my genre, this is probably my favorite disc of the year.  Of course, calling this is a rock album is a serious disservice.  Most commentators call it a hybrid mesh of rock, blues, disco, and old school r&b.  They’re probably right, but it just sounds like the future to me.  The lead singer is DOPE, and I can’t wait to catch their live show.  Favorite cut: Atticus.

Mos Def, The Ecstatic:  He’s baaaack!!  Mos has floundered a little bit since his magnificent opus, Black on Both Sides.   I get it — he’s been distracted by his acting career (and weird appearances on Bill Maher).  And I liked The New Danger more than most folks.  But this is that classic Mos that we know and love.  Favorite cut: Auditorium.  Also love the remake of Roses with Georgia Anne Muldrow.

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Q-Tip, Kamaal The Abstract: The genuises at Q-Tip’s record label have to explain why they shelved this album for more than eight years.  I think it’s even better than last year’s The Renaissance.  Another hybrid album, this time with elements of r&b, soul, rock, and jazz.  Sounds like future Prince or Stevie Wonder.  Favorite cut: Do You Dig U?

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Drake, So Far Gone: Okay, this is a bit of a cheat.  The mixtape, which I’m still geeking over, came out in 2008.  But he re-released certain of the mixtape cuts on CD and itunes in 2009, so it qualifies.  As a bonus, the re-release contains an unreleased track “Fear,” which is bananas.  Hottest kid in the rap game right now, and with good reason.  Favorite cut: Fear.  Shout-out to DJ Khalil.

Lee Fields, My World: I gotta thank the good people of HBO’s Entourage for this one.  When I heard “Ladies” during the credits of one of the episodes, I lost my sh*t.  I had to cop the album.  Gutbucket soul, set to the sweetest harmonies you’ve ever heard.  And hey — I detect a little of the hip-hop influence as well.  Looks like the old school is learning from the new school, not just vice-versa.  I am a big fan of the ’60s renaissance in music.  If you love Amy Whitehouse, Joss Stone etc., check this OG out.  While you’re at it, check out Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings too.  Favorite cut: Ladies.

Rafael Saadiq, The Way I See It: I’m sticking with the retro soul angle here.  I’ve been down with Ray-Ray since Tony Toni Tone.  This is his masterpiece.  Again, if you like the Motown doo-wop sound, you’ve gotta check this out.  And while you’re at it, get the Live from the Artist’s Den DVD.  It’s fantastic.  Favorite cut: 100 Yard Dash.

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Fela, The Best of the Black President: “Eh-heh, let us get down.  Into another underground spiritual game….”  I have to show some love to the greatest Nigerian musician of all time.  If you want to know the meaning of “underground spiritual game,” you need to check out Fela!, the best show on Broadway.  This album will hold you over until you can.  It’s a compilation of Fela’s most popular cuts.  Note, however, that these are mostly edits: many of Fela’s songs run 20-30 minutes long, and you owe it to yourself to listen to the unedited versions.  Still, an excellent way to get familiar with the genius that is Fela.  Favorite cut: Water No Get Enemy.

Robert Glasper, Double Booked: And now we segue from Afrobeat to jazz (actually, less of a transition than you might think).  Robert Glasper is my favorite jazz pianist right now.  He’s just so melodic.  He’s also incredible live — the missus and I saw him last year at the Kennedy Center.  He can play everything from straight-ahead to fusion to soul jazz to hip-hop.  And here, he does.  The first half is an acoustic trio setting; the second, “The Experiment,” a fusion exercise with Bilal and Mos Def making vocal appearances.  Wonderful stuff.  Favorite cut: No Worries.

Roy Hargrove, Emergence: A little more jazz.  I’ve loved this guy ever since I saw him play in St. Louis many moons ago.  Like Glasper, Hargrove does all variety of jazz, soul and hip-hop-inflected music.  Indeed, my favorite album of his is Crisol, a Latin jazz homage.  Here, Hargrove goes big band.  I’m not generally a fan of the big band genre, but I love this.  Especially the treatment of Mambo for Roy from the Crisol album.  Favorite cut: Mambo for Roy.

Maxwell, Blacksummersnight: Maxwell returns.  He’s lost the neo-soul affectations of his first few albums, and is in full-on grown man mode.  I love it, and you will too.  The harmonies, the live instrumentation, the trumpets, it’s all so gorgeous.  And if you missed his North American tour, you missed the best concert of the year.  Period.  Favorite cut: Bad Habits.

Me’Shell Ndegeocello, Devil’s Halo: I think of this album as sort of a bookend to Bitter.  I liked Bitter, but found it to be a little dark for me.  This is dark too, but it’s not so depressing.  Just deep, slow, and sensual.  You know, kinda like Me’Shell herself.  Favorite cut: Love You Down (wonderful remake of the Ready for the World song).

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The Dream, Love vs Money: I don’t listen to a lot of commercial radio.  Obviously.  🙂  It’s virtually all dreck to me.  But I love me some The-Dream.  I don’t think there’s anyone else in R&B working at his level.  He’s behind most of the hits you’ve danced to, from Rihanna’s Umbrella to Beyonce’s Single Ladies.  But he saved the best for himself on this album.  The-Dream is the future of R&B.  Favorite cut: Fancy.

Major Lazer, Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do: I don’t even know how to classify this one.  Reggae meets rock meets electronica?  Dancehall meets punk?  I heard someone call it “electro reggae.”  Let’s go with that.  This album, from MIA’s producers Diplo and Switch, rocks HARD.  Just get it already.  Favorite cut: What U Like(WARNING: This is a VERY explicit and raunchy song.   Not for delicate ears!!!)

Raekwon, Only Built for Cuban Linx 2: The second installment of the Wu-Gambino crime-soaked masterpiece.  This is for all you who claim not to like gangsta rap.  Indulge your id and have a little fun with this one.  It’s not real, any more than playing Grand Theft Auto or watching Scarface is.  But it’s an escapist treat. Amazon says “Blazing tracks…delivered with Raekwon’s melodic flows and street oriented delivery.”  Werd.  Favorite track: We Will Rob You.

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Filed under Culture, Entertainment, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Latin, Music, Pop, Pop Culture, R & B, Rock & Roll, Uncategorized

44 Diaries wishes everyone a…


Welcome to 44-D’s Annual Thanksgiving-Palooza 2009. Whether you’re looking for turkey recipes, stuffing, side dishes, pies or other desserts, we’ve got you covered. Find great advice and Thanksgiving recipes to plan your Thanksgiving dinner menu. Also, please feel free to add your own special family recipes in the comments section!


Click here to read: Thanksgiving Letter From First Lady Michelle Obama

Giving Thanks to Our Heroes This Holiday

Posted by Dr. Jill Biden

There is nothing like the warmth of home during the holidays. In this spirit, the Vice President and I hosted an early Thanksgiving Dinner last night for servicemembers and their families at our home, the U.S. Naval Observatory. It was the Biden family’s small way of saying thank you to these heroes, and we could not have been more honored to share a table with this group. As my husband said, “Never before has this place been accorded such an honor as tonight. No individual group has walked through that door that has lent more dignity than you.”

read more: The White House Blog

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10 Easy Preparation Tips for Thanksgiving

Make desserts the day before Thanksgiving. This really makes sense. It’s so hard to bake everything at the same time because everything seems to bake at different temperatures. Even if you aren’t baking this easy preparation tip comes in handy. Having your pies, candy, etc already made will give you more time to work on preparing the turkey, vegetables, etc.

Peel potatoes the day before Thanksgiving. This easy preparation tip may not seem to save a lot of time, but it really does. The day before Thanksgiving I peel the potatoes, place them in a bowl of water, and then put them in the refrigerator. This way, they won’t oxidize and turn brown. When you are ready to cook your potatoes, simply drain off the water and cook them like normal.

Make cornbread for homemade dressing the day before Thanksgiving. I can’t believe I went so many Thanksgivings without doing this. I used to bake my cornbread while my turkey was baking and hope I could get my dressing mixed and baked before the turkey was done. Now, I always bake my cornbread the day before and then all I have to do is mix up the ingredients and bake the dressing.

Cut up vegetables the day before Thanksgiving: This also saves a lot of time. Whether you need vegetables for homemade dressing or you’re putting out a vegetable platter, this is an easy preparation tip that will make your Thanksgiving more enjoyable.

Thaw turkey well ahead of time. Nothing is worse than going to fix your turkey on Thanksgiving and it’s still partially frozen. By following this easy preparation tip, this Thanksgiving, you will be able to get everything finished on time rather than having to wait longer because you turkey still isn’t done.

Purchase rolls rather than making them from scratch. You may be completely against this easy preparation tip, but believe me you can buy rolls that will be just as good as homemade. There are rolls in the freezer section that you thaw and then let rise. There’s also wonderful crescent rolls found in the dairy section next to the biscuits. If you honestly cannot do this, prepare you dough in advance and freeze it before it rises. Then remove it from the freezer and allow it to thaw and rise before baking.

Buy desserts from a local bakery. If you think making desserts from scratch will drive you over the edge this Thanksgiving, use this easy preparation tip. Go to a local bakery and choose desserts that you can pass off as homemade.

Have someone else do the little things. Whether it’s buying precut vegetables from the produce section or buying pre-made mashed potatoes, this is an easy preparation tip that just makes sense. Why should you waste your time this Thanksgiving cutting vegetables or baking rolls?

Share the responsibility. This Thanksgiving ask your friends and family to bring different dishes and then all you have to do is cook the turkey. This is an easy preparation tip that will truly allow you to have an enjoyable Thanksgiving.

Order a Thanksgiving dinner from the store. In this day and time you can get wonderful Thanksgiving dinners from your local grocery store. If you aren’t comfortable with having the whole dinner catered, only buy the items you dread making the most.

I hope these easy preparation tips will help you easily get through Thanksgiving this year and many years to come.

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Food Network Star’s Thanksgiving Menus

Alton Brown’s Thanksgiving Menu
Alton Brown’s flair in the kitchen developed early with guidance from his mother and grandmother, a budding culinary talent he skillfully used later as a way to get dates in college. On Feasting On Asphalt, Alton had only his motorcycle, a few buddies and the clothes on his back during a nostalgic trip across the country to rediscover the disappearing people, places and stories of great American road food.

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Alton Brown shares the best techniques for carving the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.

Paula Deen’s Thanksgiving Menu
Who would think that a housewife from Albany, Ga., with no formal training in food, would become one of the country’s most beloved celebrity chefs? Paula Deen is a self-made success story who learned the secrets of Southern cooking from her Grandmother some 30 years ago. She had no idea at the time that the love for Southern cooking her grandmother instilled in her would lead to a life-long career.

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Download Paula’s free Holiday Hosting Guide

Paula Deen bakes a terrific sausage stuffing for a Thanksgiving feast.

Good Old Country Stuffing Recipe

Ina Garten’s Thanksgiving Menu
In 1978, Ina Garten went from working on nuclear energy policy to running a small specialty food store in the Hamptons. Ina has been a columnist for Martha Stewart Living magazine and O, the Oprah magazine. Since March, 2006 she has been a columnist for House Beautiful. She shares her cooking expertise in a series of cookbooks and on her show, Barefoot Contessa.

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Ina remembers her favorite Thanksgiving memory, favorite dessert (Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart), favorite place to be at Thanksgiving, favorite Thanksgiving meal highlight, favorite Thanksgiving short cut, and her Thanksgiving confession.

Giada De Laurentiis’s Thanksgiving Menu
Born in Rome, Giada grew up in a large Italian family where the culture of food was a staple in and of itself. As the granddaughter of film producer Dino De Laurentiis, Giada consistently found herself in the family’s kitchen. Giada is a master at transforming simple, everyday ingredients into dishes that are quick, healthy and satisfying.

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Try her recipe for Turkey with Herbes de Provence and Citrus.

Rachael Ray’s Thanksgiving Menu
According to Rachael Ray, she grew up in food. “My first vivid memory is watching my mom in a restaurant kitchen. She was flipping something with a spatula. I tried to copy her and ended up grilling my right thumb! I was 3 or 4,” says Rachael, who insists that cooking is a way of life she was simply born into. Rachael has parlayed that birthright into a wildly successful career as an iconic Food Network television personality, bestselling cookbook author and editor–in-chief of her own lifestyle magazine.

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Rachael Ray whips up the best and creamiest butternut squash soup.

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Bobby Flay’s Thanksgiving Menu
Bobby Flay’s versatility is evident in the multiple talents he brings to the field as a chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, and media personality. He is also the Resident Chef and Lifestyle Correspondent for The Early Show on CBS and CBS Sunday Morning, where he regularly informs a national audience about seasonal dishes and ingredients. Bobby works tirelessly to challenge the way Americans view and taste food – making it bold, zesty and always fun.

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Bobby Flay helps viewer Elizabeth prepare Thanksgiving appetizers for the love of her life.

Pat and Gina Neely’s Thanksgiving Menu
As co-owners of Neely’s Bar-B-Que, Pat and Gina Neely have turned their family restaurant into one of the most successful barbecue restaurants in the South. Now they share the secrets behind their favorite dishes and their passion for food, family, and fun on Food Network’s Down Home with the Neelys. The Neelys launched a second Food Network show in July 2008, Road Tasted with the Neelys, a cross-country search for specialty stores and family-run businesses that make hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind edibles. In May 2009, the Neelys released their first cookbook entitled Down Home with the Neelys, which quickly earned a place on The New York Times‘ best-seller list.

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On Road Tasted with the Neeley’s Thanksgiving Special David and Barbara Barber’s Three Square Grill and Picklopolis are featured. This is a great way to ease the amount of work you have to do for Thanksgiving, order it from a professional.

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Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes from the 44-D Family

Audiegrl’s Broccoli Cornbread

Ingredients:

  • 2 (8.5-ounce) boxes corn muffin mix
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 (8-ounce) container cottage cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Cheddar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed but not drained

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix together all ingredients except 2 tablespoons Cheddar to create a batter in a bowl.

In a 10-inch cast iron skillet melt butter. Saute onions and broccoli until soft. Pour batter over the vegetable mixture and sprinkle top evenly with remaining cheese. You can also place the ingredients in an 11 by 17-inch baking dish.

Bake in oven until golden, 30 minutes. Note: this tastes better in a cast iron skillet, but if you don’t have one, you can use another pan.

Creamy Cornbread CasseroleBluedog89’s Creamy Cornbread Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 (8.5 ounce) package dry corn bread mix
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14.75 ounce) can creamed corn
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbls sugar (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and lightly grease a 9×9 inch baking dish.

2. In a medium bowl, combine butter, eggs, corn bread mix, whole and creamed corn, sour cream and sugar . Spoon mixture into prepared dish.

3. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown.

Buellboy’s Cavatappi-n-Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 3 pinches kosher salt, for pasta water
  • 1 pound Cavatappi pasta, cooked al dente
  • 6 tablespoons butter (for roux)
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour (for roux)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 pound 8oz Velveeta cheese
  • 12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup sugar (to taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In large pot filled with water add 3 pinches of salt and the macaroni and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and let cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Sprinkle flour over butter and cook 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat, whisking until a roux or paste forms. Add cold milk and whisk vigorously until dissolved. Cook sauce on medium-low heat until thick and bubbly. Add heavy cream, Velveeta and 1 cup Monterey Jack cheeses. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until cheeses are fully melted, stirring occasionally.

Pour half the pasta and then half the melted cheese sauce in a greased 13 by 9 baking dish. Repeat with the remaining pasta and cheese sauce. Top with remaining 4 oz of Monterey Jack cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: If your family does not like Monterey Jack cheese, please feel free to substitute with Sharp/Mild Cheddar, Asiago, Romano, or White Cheddar cheeses.

Cardinals19’s Cowboy Beans

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) pork and beans
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) lima or butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 lb thick bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, bacon, beans, onion, green pepper, brown sugar and ketchup. Transfer to a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 hour. Uncover, bake 30 minutes longer.

COgene’s Thanksgiving Poundcake with Pomegranate Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (use special “baking sugar” found in baking isle in grocery store – cake comes out smoother)
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter. With mixer on medium speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Beat in cream cheese. Add flour, alternating with the eggs. Stir in the vanilla. Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt cake pan. Bake at 325° for about 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 25 minutes, until a wooden pick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup POM 100% Pomegranate Juice

Gradually stir the juice into the cup of powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Drizzle over warm cake.

GeoT’s ‘How to Brine a Turkey

The purpose of brining is to tenderize the meat while adding flavor. A solution of salt is dissolved in water and meat is then submerged for a set amount of time, changing the cell structure and making it more moist and, often, more flavorful. The basic formula for a brine is 1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cups kosher salt for every gallon of liquid (whether water, juice, stock or beer). You can also add sugar and any other seasonings to taste; try herbs, garlic or peppercorns. Brining saturates the meat with the flavor of these seasonings. Unlike marinating, which flavors the outside, brining gives you deeper flavor and increased moisture.

The larger the meat, the longer it should brine; while shrimp only need about half an hour, a whole turkey takes 6 to 8 hours or so. Add ice to the brine to keep it under 40 degrees Fahrenheit in case you don’t have room in the refrigerator.

Once you’re done brining, remove the meat from the brine, pat it dry and cook it the same way you would otherwise.

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GiaT’s Holiday Cranberry Punch

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 gallon cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1 large can pineapple juice
  • 1 6 ounce can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 1-2 bottles club soda (to taste)

Mix together cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and frozen limeade.
Chill for one hour, then add club soda and serve.

Perfect with:

Supplies:

  • 1 large freezer-safe Bundt® pan or ring mold
  • 1 12-oz. bag of Fresh Cranberries
  • Fresh mint leaves, if desired
  • Water *

Directions:

Rinse cranberries in cold water. Drain.

Fill pan 1/2 inch to 1 inch deep with water. Place on even surface in freezer and freeze until solid. Remove pan from freezer. Add an additional 1/4 inch water over the ice surface. Arrange cranberries and mint leaves in desired pattern then return pan to freezer. Once set, add an additional 1/2 inch to 1 inch of water and freeze until solid.

Note: Cranberries float, so if you add all the water at once, the cranberries will float to the surface. When you unmold the frozen ring, the decoration will be on the bottom of the ring.

To unmold, run briefly under warm water to loosen.

* Note: Ice ring can also be made with White Cranberry Juice Drink instead of water.

HerselWellingtonIV’s Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Garnish with chopped pecans and/or a fresh raspberry or strawberry.

LibbyShaw’s Texas Pecan Pie

If you live in Texas and have a pecan tree, gather up enough pecans for at least 2 cups of pecans. 🙂

Make your favorite pie crust. If in a time crunch I recommend the prepared Pillsbury crusts in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.

Glaze pie crust with egg yoke.
Place in 350 degree oven until warm.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of pecans
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½-1 C light corn syrup
  • ½-1 C of sugar
  • (I use only ½ of each b/c pecan pie tends to be too sweet for my family’s taste)

  • 5T unsalted butter
  • 1t of vanilla extract or 1 T dark rum. (I use the rum.)
  • ½ t salt

Directions:

Toast the pecans at 350 for about 6-10 minutes.

After removing the pecans turn oven up to 450.

Combine all ingredients above except for the pecans.

After they are toasted, add the pecans.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and bake for 35-45 minutes.

Let cool for 1 ½ hours before eating.

Some recipes call for brown sugar instead of white. I use white for a lighter texture and taste.

Bon appetite and Happy Thanksgiving!

Ogenec’s Vodka-Marinated Rib Roast

Ingredients:

  • One 11- to 12-pound prime rib roast (5 ribs), chine bone removed
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Set the roast in a large roasting pan, fat side up. Using a sharp knife, make 12 shallow slits in the fat and insert the bay leaves. Rub the vodka, salt and pepper all over the roast and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Roast the meat in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and continue to roast for about 1 3/4 hours longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 120° for rare to medium-rare meat. Transfer the roast to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.

Set the roast on its side and run a long, sharp knife between the bones and the meat; remove the bones. Turn the roast right side up. Carve the roast into thick slices and transfer to plates. Pour any carving juices over the meat and serve at once.

Notes:

Although rib roast is carried at many butcher shops and supermarkets, you may have to order this cut in advance, so plan ahead. Because the meat is so simply prepared, buy the best beef you can, preferably USDA Prime. Lobel’s Prime Meats in New York City is a great mail order source (lobels.com).

Removing the bones after cooking as described in this recipe makes carving quite easy, but don’t discard them. The meat nearest to the bone is tastiest, so pile the bones on a platter next to the carved meat for people to eat them like spareribs.

Shanti2’s Spinach and Green Apple Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 5 cups lightly packed)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple

Directions:

1/3 cup walnut pieces, toasted in a dry skillet over a medium-high flame until fragrant, about 2 minutes

In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the spinach with the dressing until evenly coated then divide the spinach among 4 serving plates.

Core the apple and slice it into matchsticks. Sprinkle a quarter of the apple pieces on top of each salad. Follow with the walnut pieces. Serve immediately.

SouthernGirl2’s Mustard Greens

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1/4 salt or to taste
  • 1/4 pepper
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 slices of chopped bacon
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lb Mustards washed thoroughly & torn into pieces

Directions:

Cook until Mustard Greens are done and wilted.

TheLCster’s Pumpkin Crunch

Ingredients:

  • 1 tspn Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tspn Salt
  • 1 cup Butter (2 sticks)
  • Whipped Topping
  • 1 package (box) Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 can (15 oz) Solid Pack Pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 oz) Evaporated Milk
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Pecans (halves)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom of a 9×13 inch pan. Combine pumpkin evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Pour into a 9×13 inch pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans. Drizzle melted butter over pecans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool…serve chilled. Top with whipped topping when served.

President Obama Pardons White House Turkey

The President grants the traditional Thanksgiving pardon to Courage, this year’s Official White House Turkey in a ceremony on the North Portico of the White House. November 25, 2009.

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44-D Friday Night Video Jukebox Edition

Brought to you by BuellBoy

jukenight-copy copy

Feels So Good – Chuck Mangione

Chuck Mangione-Feels So GoodOff the 1978 album of the same name, the song hit #4 in June 1978. The song was nominated for Song of the Year, but lost out to Billy Joel’s “Just The Way You Are“. Chuck plays a brass instrument that resembles a trumpet, but is actually called a “flugelhorn” which is considered by many to be a part of the sax family of instruments. Chuck’s band was hit with a double loss on 2/12/09 when guitarist Coleman Mellett and saxophonist Gerry Niewood both died in the Continental Airlines Flight 3407 plane crash just outside of Buffalo, NY.

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Welcome to the Blog— 44’D’s Halloween Special

Cick Here: 44-D Alert: N.Y. Republican Scozzafava Throws Support to Democratic Candidate–Palin pick gets stiffed

Halloween Night at the White(Orange)house

click image above for a Halloween at the White house slide show

moonanibatFor all of their stomach-turning gore, horror films and haunted houses attract people in droves, why?

Well, people just LOVE to be scared: their hearts race, their breath quickens, their muscles tense… must be human nature ….

Join us now for a multifaceted look at the History of Halloween, all the ghosts, witches, goblins, scary movies, and real life adventures that are all part of what must be the scariest— most exciting, holiday of the year…

Your Index of Horror


pumpkinsmallThe Symbols of Halloween


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spookysmallHalloween Around The World

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batssmall44-D’s Scariest Movies

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ghostsmall44-D’s Haunted Library

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skeletonsmallSpooky Halloween Story From My Childhood

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littlewitchHaunted Salem! Your Guide to the Witch City

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Werewolfsmals2The History of Werewolves

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truebloodsmallHBO’s True Blood: Our Guiltiest Pleasure

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vampiresmallHow Vampires Rose From Myth to Modern Obsession

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frankenstinesmallThe Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

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obamapumpkinwhitehouseHalloween at the White House 2009

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halloweenicons1Punkins, Punkins, Punkins! The Coolest Pumpkins Evah!

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The Symbols of Halloween

jack-o-lantern2
When the Irish immigrants arrived in America, they brought with them the tradition of carving-out turnips (or, sometimes, a potato or rutabaga) and placing coals or a small candle inside the hollow. These were then displayed on doorsteps at Halloween to ward off evil spirits. However, the Irish quickly discovered that Jack O’Lanterns were much easier to carve out of the pumpkin which was a fruit native to their newly-adopted home…something of a blessing since turnips where nowhere near as plentiful or easy to find as they had been in Ireland. (The belief behind the Irish tradition of such carving is based upon the myth about a man called “Stingy Jack,” whose story may be accessed via the link below.) This practice spread swiftly among the general population in America and was soon an integral tradition of the Halloween festivities. The Jack O’Lantern is quite possibly the most well-known symbol of modern day Halloween.
The pumpkin (which is a fruit) has been growing on the earth for several thousand years. A type of squash, it is a member of the gourd family which also includes cucumbers, gherkins and melons. The pumpkin is indigenous to the Western Hemisphere and originated in Central America. It was used in olden times (and is still used today) as a food crop. Over the course of centuries, pumpkins spread their vines across the entire North and South America. When European immigrants arrived in the New World, they found the pumpkin to be in plentiful supply and used by Native Americans for culinary purposes. The seeds were later transported back to Europe where the pumpkin quickly became popular as a food source.

The origin of the custom of “trick or treating” is a controversial one. Some believe that the practice originated with the Druids who threatened dire consequences to residents who failed to respond generously to the demand for free goods or money. Since a similar tale stems from various historical roots among the countries which comprise the British Isles, it is probably safe to assume that the practice is ancient, even if its precise origin cannot be ascertained with any certainty. Another theory is that the Irish began the tradition of “trick or treating.” In preparation for All Hallow’s Eve, Irish townsfolk would visit neighbors and ask for contributions of food for a feast to be held in the village. Yet another possible origin is that the custom dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades which were held in England. During such festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for the promise to pray for the wealthier family’s departed relatives. Distribution of such “soul cakes” was encouraged by the Church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The custom was referred to as “going a-souling” and was eventually practiced only by the children who would visit the houses in their neighborhoods and be given gifts of ale, food and money.

Yet one more possible explanation for the present day custom of begging candy and other “treats” from neighbors on Halloween involves a Celtic figure by the name of Muck Olla. According to Irish custom, it is traditional to solicit contributions from others in the name of Muck Olla, who would be sure to punish those too greedy to disoblige.

No matter the exact origin of the custom, it is a commonly accepted concept that it was once believed the spirits of the departed returned to visit their old homes during Halloween and, in ancient times, people left food out for such spirits and arranged chairs so that they would be able to rest. For this reason, it has been suggested that it was this olden day custom which eventually evolved into the tradition of people masquerading as departed spirits and journeying from door-to-door in order to beg for treats.

The tradition of wearing costumes at Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. In ancient times, Winter was an uncertain and frightening season when food supplies often ran low. For many people who feared the dark, the short days of Winter were filled with constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that spirits returned to the earthly world, people would wear masks when they left their homes during the night hours. In this way, they would avoid being recognized by the ghosts and be mistaken merely for fellow spirits. During Samhain, Celtic villagers would don costumes to represent the souls of the dead and dance out of town, in the hope of leading the dead along with them. Similarly, in Christian religions, parishioners would dress as their favorite Saints and display relics of these departed souls.


The use of witches and cats (together with ghosts) in the celebration of Halloween originates with the Druids, who believed that ghosts, spirits, fairies, witches, elves and all manner of supernatural manifestation emerged on Halloween night to possibly harm the living. It was a common Celtic belief that cats (particularly black ones) had once been human beings who had been transformed into felines as punishment for their evil deeds or through coming in contact with bad magick. Black cats were often tied with silver ropes because it was thought such creatures possessed the ability to protect sacred treasures. Catholic traditions blended with the Celtic beliefs and eventually turned the cat into a witch’s familiar, along with the theory that the witch herself had the mystical knowledge to transform herself into the form of a cat. The British once believed that elves rode upon the backs of villagers’ cats and would lock up the animals in order that the elves might not catch them. At one time, the British believed that it was the white cat who brought bad luck and not a black once, which was considered to be lucky.

Christianity painted the image of a witch as an ugly old hag, often sporting a wart on her nose. Considered by the Church as cohorts of the devil, witches were said to employ spells and charms in order to bring harm to good men and women. Aside from the association with cats, they were said to be assisted by bats or spiders or other creepy-crawly creatures while carrying out their wicked deeds, possessed of the demonic ability to adopt the form of such animals. It was also implied that witches often had need of baby fat in order to attain full power. However, this evil witch character is pure fiction. Witches may be traced back to at least the Celts…and possibly even further. In ancient times, the men and women who were designated as “witches” were considered to be wise people initiated in the mysteries if the spiritual world. They were also healers and experts in the art of medicines. Modern day witches are revivers of these old Pagan religions and related rituals.


In ancient times, Celtic priestesses would roam the countryside, chanting in order to frighten away the evil spirits thought to be abroad on Halloween night. It is believed that this old custom may be the origin of the Halloween Parade.


Apples have long been associated with female deities and with immortality, resurrection and knowledge. One reason being that if an apple is cut through its equator, it reveals a five-pointed star outlined at the center of each hemisphere, also known as a pentagram. The pentagram was a Goddess symbol to many cultures, including the Roma (gypsies), the Celts and the Egyptians.

With the coming of the Roman invasion into Celtic lands, came the Roman festival which honored Pomona and which was merged with the Druid celebration of Samhain. Pomona was the Roman Goddess who presided over Fruits and Gardens. She was invariably portrayed as a beautiful maiden whose arms were filled with fruit and who wore a crown of apples upon her head. It is generally accepted that it is from Pomono that the association of apples became aligned with Halloween, along with the custom of “bobbing” for this particular fruit and its close link to the Autumn harvests.

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Halloween Around The World



(courtesy: (www.novareinna.com)

As one of the world’s oldest holidays, Halloween is still celebrated today in several countries around the globe, but it is in North America and Canada that it maintains its highest level of popularity. Every year, 65% of Americans decorate their homes and offices for Halloween…a percentage exceeded only by Christmas. Halloween is the holiday when the most candy is sold and is second only to Christmas in terms of total sales.

Austria

In Austria, some people will leave bread, water and a lighted lamp on the table before retiring on Halloween night. The reason for this is because it was once believed such items would welcome the dead souls back to earth on a night which for the Austrians was considered to be brimming with strong cosmic energies.

Belgium

The Belgians believe that it is unlucky for a black cat to cross once’s path and also ulucky if it should enter a home or travel on a ship. The custom in Belgium on Halloween night is to light candles in memory of dead relatives.

Canada

Modern Halloween celebrations in Canada began with the arrival of Scottish and Irish immigrants in the 1800s. Jack O’Lanterns are carved and the festivities include parties, trick-or-treating and the decorating of homes with pumpkins and corn stalks.

China

In China, the Halloween festival is known as Teng Chieh. Food and water are placed in front of photographs of family members who have departed while bondires and lanterns are lit in order to light the paths of the spirits as they travel the earth on Haloween night. Worshippers in Buddhist temples fashion “boats of the law” from paper, some of which are very large, which are then burned in the evening hours. The purpose of this custom is twofold: as a remembrance of the dead and in order to free the spirits of the “pretas” in order that they might ascend to heaven. “Pretas” are the spirits of those who died as a result of an accident or drowning and whose bodies were consequently never buried. The presence of “pretas” among the living is thought by the Chinese to be dangerous. Under the guidance of Buddhist temples, societies are formed to carry out ceremonies for the “pretas,” which includes the lighting of lanterns. Monks are invited to recite sacred verses and offerings of fruit are presented.

Czechoslovakia

In Czechoslovakia, chairs are placed by the fireside on Halloween night. There is one chair for each living family member and one for each family member’s spririt.

England

At one time, English children made “punkies” out of large beetroots, upon which they carved a design of their choice. Then, they would carry their “punkies” through the streets while singing the “Punkie Night Song” as they knocked on doors and asked for money. In some rural areas, turnip lanterns were placed on gateposts to protect homes from the spirits who roamed on Halloween night. Another custom was to toss objects such as stones, vegetables and nuts into a bonfire to frighten away the spirits. These symbolic sacrifices were also employed as fortune-telling tools. If a pebble thrown into the flames at night was no longer visible in the morning, then it was believed that the person who tossed the pebble would not survive another year. If nuts tossed into the blaze by young lovers then exploded, it signified a quarrelsome marriage. For the most part however, the English ceased celebrating Halloween with the spread of Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation. Since followers of the new religion did not believe in Saints, they saw no reason to celebrate the Eve of All Saints’ Day. However, in recent years, the American “trick or treating” custom, together with the donning of costumes for going door-to-door, has become a relatively popular pasttime among English children at Halloween, although many of the adults (particularly the older generations) have little idea as to why they are being asked for sweets and are usually ill-prepared to accommodate their small and hopeful callers.

France

Unlike most nations of the world, Halloween is not celebrated by the French in order to honor the dead and departed ancestors. It is regarded as an “American” holiday in France and was virtually unknown in the country until around 1996.

Germany

In Germany, the people put away their knives on Halloween night. The reason for this is because they do not want to risk harm befalling the returning spirits.

Hong Kong

The Halloween celebration in Hong Kong is known as “Yue Lan” (Festival of the Hungry Ghosts) and is a time when it is believed that spirits roam the world for twenty-four hours. Some people burn pictures of fruit or money at this time, believing these images would reach the spirit world and bring comfort to the ghosts.

Ireland

In Ireland, believed to be the birthplace of Halloween, the tradition is still celebrated as much as it is in the United States. In rural areas, bonfires are lit as they were in the days of the Celts and children dress up in costumes to spend the evening “trick-or-treating” in their neighborhoods. After the visiting, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends. At these parties, many games are played, including “snap-apple,” in which an apple on a string is tied to a doorframe or tree, and players attempt to take a bite out of the suspended apple. In addition to bobbing for apples, parents often arrange treasure hunts with sweets or pastries as the “treasure.” The Irish also play a card game where cards are laid face-down on a table with sweets or coins beneath them. When a child selects a card, he or she receives whatever prize might be found there. A traditional food is eaten on Halloween called “barnbrack.” This is a type of fruitcake which can be baked at home or store-bought. A muslin-wrapped treat is baked inside the cake which, so it is said, can foretell the future of the one who finds it. If the prize is a ring, then that person will soon be wed and a piece of straw means a prosperous year is forthcoming. Children are also known to play tricks upon their neighbors on Halloween night. One of which is known as “knock-a-dolly,” where children knock on the doors of their neighbors but then run away before the door is opened.

Japan

The Japanese celebrate the “Obon Festival” (also known as “Matsuri” or “Urabon”) which is similar to Halloween festivities in that it is dedicated to the spirits of ancestors. Special foods are prepared and bright red lanterns are hung everywhere. Candles are lit and placed into lanterns which are then set afloat on rivers and seas. During the “Obon Festival,” a fire is lit every night in order to show the ancestors where their families might be found. “Obon” is one of the wo main occasions during the Japanese year when the dead are believed to return to their birthplaces. Memorial stones are cleaned and community dances performed. The “Obon Festival” takes place during July or August.

Korea

In Korea, the festival similar to Halloween is known as “Chusok.” It is at this time that families thank their ancestors for the fruits of their labor. The family pays respect to these ancestors by visiting their tombs and making offerings of rice and fruits. The “Chusok” festival takes place in the month of August.

Mexico, Latin America And Spain

Among Spanish-speaking nations, Halloween is known as “El Dia de los Muertos.” It is a joyous and happy holiday…a time to remember friends and family who have died. Officially commemorated on November 2 (All Souls’ Day), the three-day celebration actually begins on the evening of October 31. Designed to honor the dead who are believed to return to their homes on Halloween, many families construct an altar in their home and decorate it with candy, flowers, photographs, fresh water and samples of the deceased’s favorite foods and drinks. Frequently, a basin and towel are left out in order that the spirit can wash prior to indulging in the feast. Candles are incense are burned to help the departed find his or her way home. Relatives also tidy the gravesites of deceased family members, including snipping weeds, making repairs and painting. The grave is then adorned with flowers, wreaths or paper streamers. Often, a live person is placed inside a coffine which is then paraded through the streets while vendors toss fruit, flowers and candies into the casket. On November 2, relatives gather at the gravesite to picnic and reminisce. Some of these gatherings may even include tequila and a mariachi band although American Halloween customs are gradually taking over this celebration. In Mexico during the Autumn, countless numbers of Monarch butterflies return to the shelter of Mexico’s oyamel fir trees. It was the belief of the Aztecs that these butterflies bore the spirits of dead ancestors.

Sweden

In Sweden, Halloween is known as “Alla Helgons Dag” and is celebrated from October 31 until November 6. As with many other holidays, “Alla Helgons Dag” has an eve which is either celebrated or becomes a shortened working day. The Friday prior to All Saint’s Day is a short day for universities while school-age children are given a day of vacation.

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