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Ten Neat Things to Do With Apples

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Kouzinomageiremata

This is the list I started to work on last week when I got distracted by the history of apples. Now that you know how we came to have such wonderful apples, here's some things you can do with the bounteous harvest.

1. Bacon Apple Pie

You are, no doubt, very familiar with the basic American apple pie. Spice that recipe up with some bacon! Mission Hills Life has a recipe for Bacon Makes Everything Better Apple Pie, shown here, and a bonus recipe for Maple Bourbon Apple Pie with a Bacon Pecan Crust, if you want to really go all out.

2. Apple French Fries

It's just a raw red apple, but carved carefully, it becomes a reasonable facsimile of a serving of McDonalds French fries! Not that any kid will be fooled, but it may put some fun into eating fruit.

3. Bacon Apple Martini

The Bacon Apple Martini is made of bacon-infused vodka, applejack, apple cider, amaretto, and maple syrup, garnished with candied bacon. I believe that gets the message across.

4. Churro Apple Pie Waffles

If you can't decide whether you want a churro, a waffle, or some apple pie, make them all together! Churro waffles combine the cinnamon crispiness of a churro with the ease of waffles. Add apple filling, either canned or baked from your fresh apples, and you have Churro Apple Pie Waffles. Get the complete recipe at Chica Chocolatina.

5. Caramel-Apple Jello Shots

Here's a treat for an autumn party: Caramel-Apple Jello Shots. The jello contains hot cocoa mix, caramel, and vodka. The apple provides not only taste and crunch, but a container for the rest.

6. Ultimate Caramel Apples

The first obvious difference in these caramel apples from Cooking Classy is that they are coated with chocolate (white or dark) as well as caramel -and sprinkles. But it's homemade caramel, which the recipe explains how to make. That preservative-free buttery taste makes all the difference.

7. Apple Roses

Apple Roses are as tasty as apple dumplings, but also artistic enough to impress. This recipe is translated from Greek. When it says slice apples with a mandolin, they mean mandoline, or a food slicer. The short story is that you boil thin slices of apple to make them soft (and sugary, while you're at it), then arrange the roses atop your cinnamon-sprinkled pastry, and finally bake them.

8. Drunken French Toast

Nick at Dude Foods puts apples into his Drunken French Toast recipe. Start with beer bread, mix rum with your eggs, and top it with whiskey-soaked apples!

9. The Apple Puzzle

David Israel made a video to show you how his grandfather used to carve an apple with just four cuts to make an apple puzzle.  The kids will marvel over this, and then eat it!

10. Apple Dolls

Making apple dolls is an American folk art. All you do is peel an apple, carve a face into the fruit, and let it dry thoroughly. The dried apple will resemble an elderly version of the face you carved, so when you add a body and clothing, you'll want to make them age-appropriate. Or not, if you want to go against the traditional grain. Oh, yes, you can also carve hands and feet for your doll, and add them to the body and/or clothing when dried.

Bonus: Demonstrate Gravity

Remember the story about an apple falling on Sir Isaac Newton's head? That incident supposedly led to his discovery of gravity. This video compilation pays tribute to the concept. To celebrate Gravity Day (which was Monday), General Electric invited Vine users to record an apple drop, and then they strung the best of them together. Pay no attention to the fact that the apple changes color often. The whole idea is that it DROPS.

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Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?
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Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.

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