April 16th – Happy Easter

April 16, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning bunnies. Today is Sunday, April 16, 2017.  Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Easter

Unless you are just emerging from a life-long home in a hidden cave deep in the Himalayas, you know that today is Easter. Easter is a Christian holiday. The date of Easter varies from year to year. Basically, Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal (spring) Equinox. To Christians, Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion. It is the most significant of the religious holidays. The birth date of Jesus (Christmas) is important, but Easter represents the hope for eternal life through Jesus’ rising from the grave and his ascension to Heaven.
The Easter Bunny became a symbol for the Easter holiday in Germany during the 1600’s. Children would make nests for Easter Sunday and if they were well-behaved the Easter Bunny would fill them with brightly colored eggs. German settlers brought this tradition to America during the 1700’s. Over the years, the Easter nests evolved into decorated baskets, and the Easter Bunny’s morning deliveries expanded to include gifts, candy, and chocolate. Today, Easter is one of the highest grossing candy holidays, second only to Halloween.
To children, Easter is all about the Easter Bunny and all of the baskets, candy, and festively dyed eggs that he/she left strewn in their yards. (The gender of the Easter Bunny is ambiguous). To chocoholics like me, it represents an excuse to over-indulge in my favorite confection…chocolate. It is also a good excuse to make Deviled Eggs.

Save The Elephant Day

Save The Elephant Day provides an opportunity to show support for these beloved giants and raise awareness of the threats to their future in both Africa and Asia, including ivory poachers and traffickers, loss of habitat, and mistreatment in captivity.
Although elephants are the world’s largest land mammal, sadly, they are in crisis today. Providing better protection for elephants in the wild, improving enforcement policies regarding the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, better treatment for captive elephants and, when appropriate, reintroducing captive elephants into natural, protected sanctuaries are the goals of Save The Elephant Day.
Save The Elephant Day was founded by the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation, based in Thailand in 2012. Working together with Canadian filmmaker Patricia Sims, the launch of this international initiative saw the release of the documentary film ‘Return to the Forest’, narrated by legendary actor William Shatner.

National Stress Awareness Day

Stress Awareness Day was started by the Health Resource Network in 1992 to raise awareness of stress. It is always celebrated on the 16th of April (or the day after the Income Tax deadline if the 15th fall on a weekend). This is one of the most stressful times for many Americans. Take a look at the causes of stress in your life and learn to deal with them in a healthy manner.
Here are some ways to effectively deal with stress:

  • Prioritize. Deal with the larger causes of stress in your life first. In other words, “don’t sweat the small stuff”. This will give you a greater sense of accomplishment.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t get through all of the things you have planned for one day. As long as you remain focused on the most important things on your list first, you are making progress.
  • Take a break. Take a day off from the list occasionally and spend the day in a stress-free way with your loved ones.
  • Go nowhere. Plan a day at home doing absolutely nothing. Stock the fridge the day before with easy to prepare meals. Rent or buy stress-free movies. Clean your most comfortable clothes and get in them. Sleep in late and stay in bed or lounge on the couch all day. Pamper yourself with a nice, long, hot bath and relax in the tub until you become a “happy prune”.
  • Take up a new hobby, something that you enjoy doing, but that doesn’t create any stress in your life.

National Librarian Day

National Librarian Day, as the title infers, honors librarians and is observed annually on April 16th. I found no connection in my sources linking this holiday to National Library Week last week.
Librarians need to possess a vast amount of knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. They are there to help you in any way they can. Chances are, if you have a question on any given subject, the librarian will be able to direct you to the exact book or reference material you need.
To celebrate National Librarian Day, visit your local library today…and don’t forget to tell the librarian how much you appreciate them and what they do.

National Baked Ham with Pineapple Day  

National Baked Ham with Pineapple Day is a “floating” holiday that is always celebrated on Easter Sunday. I don’t know where or when serving ham w/ pineapple became an Easter tradition, but the why isn’t hard to figure out. The combination of salty ham with sweet, yet tangy, pineapple is a match made in Heaven. Easter marks the end of Lent, and Catholics can finally end their nearly 6-week fast and begin eating “real food” again…and Baked Ham with Pineapple is a good a way as any to do that.
For many families, Easter isn’t Easter without serving baked ham for dinner (I know that it was a tradition in my family growing up).
Author’s Note: If you are a keen observer and a regular reader of this BLOG, you probably noticed that this is the second day in a row with a holiday featuring ham. This is due to the fact that one holiday is celebrated on a fixed date each year, and the other is a floating holiday always celebrated on Easter.

National Eggs Benedict Day

Eggs Benedict is a dish, traditionally eaten at breakfast or brunch, that made with two toasted English muffin halves topped with poached eggs, Canadian bacon or ham, and tangy Hollandaise sauce.
No one knows for sure who invented Eggs Benedict. According to one story, in 1894, a Wall Street broker named Lemuel Benedict went to the Waldorf Hotel to find a cure for his hangover. At the hotel restaurant, he ordered buttered toast, poached eggs, crisp bacon, and Hollandaise. The restaurant chef Oscar Tschirky loved the dish so much that he added it to the menu and named it after Mr. Benedict.
Another account comes from a man named Edward P. Montgomery. In 1967, he wrote a letter to The New York Times Magazine claiming that he’d discovered the true inventor of Eggs Benedict. Montgomery’s note contained a recipe created by Commodore E.C. Benedict before his death in 1920. Montgomery received the recipe from his mother who was an acquaintance of the Commodore.
A third account says that, in the early 18th century, Pope Benedict XIII liked created this egg dish due to dietary restrictions he had due to illness – hence the name Eggs Benedict.
Today, there are many different variations on the traditional Eggs Benedict. You can change or swap out pretty much any of the components; from using bread instead of muffins, using fried or scrambled eggs instead of poached, to cheese sauce instead of Hollandaise sauce. As chefs become more creative, I have seen some pretty exotic “Benedicts” appearing on restaurant menus…including one using pulled pork and another using a salmon patty. One of my favorite variations is listed on some menus as a Country Benedict. It changes about every component of the recipe. The English muffin is replaced with a biscuit, split in half and lightly toasted, the ham is replaced with sausage patties, the eggs are scrambled, and the Hollandaise sauce is replaced with sausage gravy. It’s yummy!
Celebrate National Eggs Benedict Day by having traditional Eggs Benedict, or one of its variations, for breakfast.

Day of the Mushroom

Three Cheers for the “fungus among us”! Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium. They are also a good source of vitamin D, which helps build and maintain strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium. Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because sunlight is also a good source of vitamin D.
In the not too distant past, white button mushrooms were seemingly the only variety of fresh mushroom available in most markets, and you were considered a “gourmet home chef” if you used them, instead of canned. However, today, there are a number of different varieties of mushrooms, each with their own distinct flavor and texture, available in most supermarkets. Besides the standard white button mushrooms, you can also find Crimini, Shiitake, and Portobello mushrooms readily available in most supermarkets – And, you can find, even more, exotic varieties like Maitake, Oyster, Beech, Enoki, and Wild Mushrooms in specialty shops.
Below are some tips for selecting, storing, and cleaning your mushrooms.

  • Selecting:
  1. A closed veil under the cap indicates a delicate flavor, while an open veil and exposed gills mean a richer flavor.
  2. Surfaces should be dry, but not dried out, and appear plump.
  3. Purchase mushrooms that are firm with a fresh, smooth appearance.
  • Storing:
  1. Store mushrooms in their original packaging or in a porous paper bag for prolonged shelf-life.
  2. Some mushrooms may keep for up to one week in the refrigerator.
  3. Fresh mushrooms should never be frozen, but frozen sautéed mushrooms will keep for up to one month.
  • Cleaning:
  1. Brush off any peat moss with your fingers or a damp paper towel, or rinse the mushrooms briefly under running water and pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Do not soak mushrooms in water as they easily absorb moisture.
  3. If the stem is tough, trim it before using. For shiitake mushrooms, stems should be removed before use.
  4. For Portobello mushrooms, gills may be removed upon preference, as they store a large amount of moisture. Many people prefer to keep the gills intact for more flavor.

To celebrate Day of the Mushroom, enjoy some fresh mushrooms today. Toss some in a salad, add some to a hearty soup or stew, or how about some Beef Stroganoff? And, don’t be afraid to experiment with some of the new varieties available these days.

More Holidays

On This Date

  • In 1705 – Queen Anne of England knighted Isaac Newton.
  • In 1818 – The Senate ratified Rush-Bagot amendment to form an unarmed U.S.-Canada border.
  • In 1862 – Confederate President Jefferson Davis approved the conscription act for white males between 18 and 35.
  • In 1900 – The first book of postage stamps was issued. The two-cent stamps were available in books of 12, 24 and 48 stamps.
  • 1905 – Andrew Carnegie donated $10,000,000 of personal money to set up the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
  • In 1912 – Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. She died at the age of 37 when her plane crashed in Massachusetts.
  • In 1917 – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin returned to Russia to start Bolshevik Revolution after years of exile. The communist revolutionary became the leader of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic later that year. He was the first Premier of the Soviet Union.
  • In 1922 – Annie Oakley shot 100 clay targets in a row, to set a women’s record.
  • In 1940 – The first no-hit, no-run game to be thrown on an opening day of the major league baseball season was earned by Bob Feller. The Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 1-0.
  • In 1943 – In Basel, Switzerland, chemist Albert Hoffman accidently discovered the hallucinogenic effects of LSD-25 while working on the medicinal value of lysergic acid. [Those of my generation know how well that worked out].
  • In 1947 – In Texas City, TX, the French ship Grandcamp, carrying ammonium nitrate fertilizer, caught fire and blew up. The explosions and resulting fires killed 576 people
  • In 1953 – The British royal yacht Britannia was launched.
  • In 1962 – Walter Cronkite began anchoring “The CBS Evening News”.
  • In 1964 – The Rolling Stones released their debut album. The album was titled “The Rolling Stones” and topped the UK charts for twelve weeks.
  • In 1968 – Major league baseball’s longest night game was played when the Houston Astros defeated the New York Mets 1-0. The 24 innings took six hours, six minutes to play.
  • In 1972 – Two giants pandas arrived in the U.S. from China.
  • In 1982 – Queen Elizabeth proclaimed Canada’s new constitution in effect. The act severed the last colonial links with Britain.
  • In 1985 – Mickey Mantle was reinstated after being banned from baseball for several years.
  • In 1987 – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sternly warned U.S. radio stations to watch the use of indecent language on the airwaves.
  • In 1987 – The United States Patent Office began allowing the patenting of new animals created by genetic engineering.
  • In 1992 – The House ethics committee listed 303 current and former lawmakers who had overdrawn their House bank accounts.
  • In 1996 – Britain’s Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah, the Duchess of York, announced that they were in the process of getting a divorce.
  • In 2002 – The Supreme Court overturned major parts of a 1996 child pornography law based on rights to free speech.
  • In 2003 – Ten new member states were admitted to the European Union. The Treaty of Accession admitted countries like Poland, Cyprus, and the Czech Republic to the EU. Its original title contains 99 words.
  • In 2007 – In Blacksburg, VA, a student killed 33 people at Virginia Tech before killing himself.
  • In 2012 – The trial against Anders Behring Breivik began in Oslo Norway. The right-wing extremist had killed 77 people, mostly teenagers, in Oslo with a car bomb and at a youth camp on Utøya island. After doubts about his mental health emerged before the trial, he was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

  • Wilbur Wright 1867 – Pioneer aviator.
  • Charlie Chaplin 1889 – Actor, comedian.
  • Les Tremayne 1913 – Actor.
  • John Hodiak 1914 – Actor.
  • Barry Nelson 1917 – Actor.
  • Sir Peter Ustinov 1921 – Actor.
  • Henri Mancini 1924 – Composer.
  • Edie Adams 1927 – Actress.
  • Herbie Mann 1930 – Jazz musician.
  • Bobby Vinton 1935 – Singer.
  • Dusty Springfield 1939 – Singer.
  • Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabar) 1947 – Basketball player.
  • Gerry Rafferty 1947 – Singer, songwriter.
  • Jay O. Sanders 1953 – Actor.
  • Ellen Barkin 1954 – Actress.
  • Jimmy Osmond 1963 – Singer.
  • John Cryer 1965 – Actor.
  • Peter Billingsley 1972 – Actor.
  • Lukas Haas 1976 – Actor.
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