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Canadian Cupcake day!

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Beaver Cupcakes
These treats are quick and easy to make and decorate. So keep the kids as busy as a beaver with an afternoon of fun.
Source: Canadian Living Magazine: July 2008

Portion size 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

1/2 cup (125 mL) cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1-1/4 cups (300 mL) sifted cake and pastry flour
1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, softened

Chocolate Icing:

3/4 cup (175 mL) butter, softened
1/4 cup (60 mL) whipping cream
1/2 tsp (2 mL) maple extract or vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) icing sugar
1 oz (28 g) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

Decorations:

24 candy-sprinkled dark chocolates, (such as pearls)
24 coloured quins or small candy
12 chocolate-covered cashews
24 blanched sliced almonds
12 small milk chocolate-covered digestive biscuits

Earth/Sky Big Bird ;)

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A bird bigger than Big Bird wandered through the winter twilight of the high Arctic some 53 million years ago
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A new study has confirmed that a flightless bird weighing several hundred pounds roamed Ellesmere Island in the high Arctic about 50 million years ago. Image credit: Illustration by Marlin Peterson
A new study describes a bird bigger than Big Bird that once lived above the Arctic Circle. The flightless bird, known as Gastornis, roamed Ellesmere Island next to Greenland about 50 million years ago, even during the twilight months of winter. Once thought to be a menacing predator, Gastornis – which weighed several hundred pounds – was more likely a vegan that munched on foliage, nuts, seeds and fruits.
A new study about Gastornis by a team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Colorado was published ( http://www.nature.com/articles/srep20912 ) in the journal Scientific Reports on February 12, 2016.
The environment on Ellesmere Island 50 million years ago during the early Eocene Epoch was probably similar to cypress swamps in the southeast U.S. today, say the researchers. Fossil evidence indicates the Arctic island back then also hosted a menagerie of turtles, alligators, primates, tapirs and even large hippo-like and rhino-like mammals.
Today Ellesmere Island is one of the coldest, driest environments on Earth, where temperatures can drop to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit in winter.
While the diversity of plants and animals on Ellesmere was surprisingly high in the early Eocene, one of the biggest challenges to life on the island may have been the Arctic winters.
Researcher Jaelyn Eberle is an associate professor in the geological sciences department at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Eberle said:
    Since Ellesmere Island is high above the Arctic Circle, the lights still went out there for several months of the year, just as they do today.
In the new study, researchers described the first and only fossil evidence of Gastornis in the Arctic – a toe bone picked up on Ellesmere Island by a science team in the 1970s. Eberle said:
    We knew there were a few bird fossils from up there, but we also knew they were extremely rare.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie

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A yummy goodie from my friend, Skeen! 😀 thank you so very much!!<3 x ❤ x 😉

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Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie
Source: Canadian Living Magazine: June 2007

Portion size 12
Ingredients:
    2 cups (500 mL) chocolate wafer crumbs
1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, melted
1/3 cup (75 mL) chocolate sauce
4 cups (1 L) mint chocolate chip ice cream, softened
3/4 cup (175 mL) whipping cream
1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) chocolate sprinkles
Preparation
In bowl, moisten crumbs with butter; press over bottom and up side of 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate. Bake in centre of 325°F (160°C) oven until set, about 12 minutes; let cool. Spread with chocolate sauce.
In bowl and using wooden spoon, beat ice cream until smooth; spread over chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap; freeze until firm, about 1 hour.
In separate bowl, whip cream with sugar; spread over ice cream. Freeze until set, about 1 hour. Garnish with chocolate sprinkles. (Make-ahead: Cover with plastic wrap then heavy-duty foil; freeze for up to 1 day.)
For today’s Mint Chocolate Chip day!! 😉

Earth/Sky News

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Hidden galaxies, Mars lakes, uncertain asteroid

Deborah Byrd explains the science behind recent headlines:

Plum Pudding

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Plum Pudding History – Christmas Pudding Recipe
 Plum pudding is a steamed or boiled pudding frequently served at holiday times. Plum pudding has never contained plums. The name Christmas pudding is first recorded in 1858 in a novel by Anthony Trollope.
Why is Plum Pudding called Plum Pudding when there are no plums in it?
In the 17th century, plums referred to raisins or other fruits. Plumb is another spelling of plum. Prune is actually derived from the same word as plum – the Latin word was pruna, which changed in the Germanic languages into pluma. But the terms were quite confused in the 16th and 17th centuries and people talked about growing prunes in their garden.
    Definition of “plum” in the Oxford English Dictionary:
A dried grape or raisin as used for puddings, cakes, etc.  This use probably arose from the substitution of raisins for dried plums or prunes as an ingredient in plum-broth, porridge, etc., with retention of  the name ‘plum’ for the substituted article. The OED then goes on to list occurrences of this use in literature.  Samuel Johnson defined a “plum” as “raisin; grape dried in the sun.”
    Quote from The Gourmets Guide:
“Nowadays served only at Christmas, and so-called exclusively Christmas pudding, this was formerly a common year-round pudding (albeit not always as rich as the festive version); indeed, in 1748 Pehr Kalm, a Swedish visitor to England, noted that “the art of cooking as practised by Englishmen does not extend much beyond roast beef and plum pudding”. And in 1814, one of the traditional English delicacies introduced to the French by Antoine Beauvilliers in his L´art du cuisiner was plomb-poutingue.”
During the Puritan reign in England, plum pudding was outlawed as “sinfully rich.” Traditionally in England, small silver charms were baked in the plum pudding. A silver coin would bring wealth in the coming year; a tiny wishbone, good luck; a silver thimble, thrift; an anchor, safe harbor. By Victorian times, only the silver coin remained. In England these tiny charms can still be bought by families who make their own puddings. It is also traditional for every one who lives in the household to simultaneously hold onto the wooden spoon, help stir the batter for the pudding, and make a wish.
Grandma Fisher’s Plum Pudding Recipe:
Great-great-grandmother recipe adapted this to modern standards.
Recipe Type: Christmas Pudding
Cuisine: English
Yields: 2 plum puddings
Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 4 hr
Ingredients:
1 cup granulated Sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup milk*
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup molasses
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
1 1/2 cups raisins, finely chopped
1 cup dates, chopped
1/2 cup nuts, chopped
3 tablespoons candied orange or lemon citron, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped apples
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Boiling Water
Nutmeg Sauce (see recipe below)
* 1/2 cup fruit juice and 1/2 cup brandy may be substituted for the milk if desired.
Preparation:
Grease two 2-pound coffee cans, two 2-quart pudding molds, or two 2-quart oven-proof deep dishes.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, butter, milk, eggs, molasses, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and flour; add raisins, dates, nuts, candied orange or lemon citron, apples, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
Fill each greased pan 1/2 full of batter. Cover tops of pans with lids or 2 layers of aluminum foil. In a large pot or roaster, place molds on trivets or a rack and add boiling water 2/3 up the side of the mold; bring rapidly to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot or roaster, and boil gently 4 to 4 1/2 hours (add more boiling water as necessary) or until fork comes out clean when put into center of pudding.
Remove from heat and cool. Store in refrigerator, covered, until time to serve. NOTE: These also freeze well.
To serve, steam for 1 hour before serving to heat thoroughly. Unmold and serve hot with Nutmeg Sauce.
Yields 2 puddings.
Nutmeg Sauce Recipe:
2/3 cup granulated sugar*
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* Brown sugar may be substituted for the granulated sugar if desired.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add boiling water and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes until ingredients are well blended.
What’s Cooking America© copyright 2004-2016 by Linda Stradley
and a Thank you to Skeen, for sharing this with us!

EarthSky Pluto

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EarthSky // Science Wire, Space     Release Date: Feb 08, 2016
The hills are thought to be fragments of Pluto’s rugged uplands that have broken away and are being carried along the flow paths of glaciers.
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Hills of water ice on Pluto ‘float’ in a sea of frozen nitrogen. They’re thought to move slowly over time, somewhat like icebergs in Earth’s Arctic Ocean. For the scale here, notice the feature informally named Challenger Colles – honoring the crew of the lost Space Shuttle Challenger. It appears to be an especially large accumulation of these hills, measuring 37 by 22 miles (60 by 35 km). Image via NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
Just when you think Pluto couldn’t get any more fascinating, it does. NASA said on February 4, 2016 that numerous, isolated hills – possibly fragments of water ice from Pluto’s surrounding uplands – are floating on the nitrogen ice glaciers on the little world’s surface. This is happening in the beautiful heart-shaped feature on Pluto known as Sputnik Planum. NASA said the hills individually measure one to several miles or kilometers across. The images suggesting them come, of course, from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which streaked past Pluto last July and is still sending its data back to Earth. In a statement, NASA said the hills are:
    … likely miniature versions of the larger, jumbled mountains on Sputnik Planum’s western border. They are yet another example of Pluto’s fascinating and abundant geological activity.
    Because water ice is less dense than nitrogen-dominated ice, scientists believe these water ice hills are floating in a sea of frozen nitrogen and move over time like icebergs in Earth’s Arctic Ocean.
    The hills are likely fragments of the rugged uplands that have broken away and are being carried by the nitrogen glaciers into Sputnik Planum. ‘Chains’ of the drifting hills are formed along the flow paths of the glaciers.
    When the hills enter the cellular terrain of central Sputnik Planum, they become subject to the convective motions of the nitrogen ice, and are pushed to the edges of the cells, where the hills cluster in groups …
New Horizons obtained the inset image above – showing the hills – at a range of approximately 9,950 miles (16,000 km) from Pluto, about 12 minutes before New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015.
Thank you very much, Skeen! I appreciate these articles! You’re awesome!! 😀

Prithvi

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Indonesian depiction of Prithvi in ancient regal attire as Ibu Pertiwi at the Indonesian National Monument
Prithvi (Sanskrit: prthvī, also prthivī) “the Vast One” is the Sanskrit name for the earth as well as the name of a Devi in Hinduism and Buddhism.
As Prthvī Mātā “Mother Earth” she contrasts with Dyaus Pita “father sky”. In the Rigveda, Heaven and Earth are primarily addressed in the dual as Dyavaprthivi.
She is a national personification in Indonesia, where she is known as Ibu Pertiwi (Mother Earth).

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