Friday, October 29, 2010

Pan de Muertos - Mexican bread of the dead

Bailey wanted some extra credit for her Spanish class and she asked her teacher what she could do. Her teacher told her that she could make this bread.

November 2 is Dian de los Muertos or Day of the Dead in Mexico. And don't ask me any more about that because that's all I know on that subject.

While I don't think it turned out looking the way it was supposed to, the bread itself was good and fairly easy to make. However, Bailey said that the kids at school didn't like the liquorice taste, so if you are not a fan of that, just leave out the anise seeds.

The original recipe is here.

1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons anise seed
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons white sugar

1.Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add them warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).
2.In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.
3.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. We did not do this - we just kept the dough in the mixer a while longer.
4.Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.
5.Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly then brush with glaze.
6.To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.

Bailey used my Kitchen Aid to mix the bread up, so we skipped kneading part. We just let the Kitchen Aid do it's thing.

Here's the dough before it's first rise.

And here's the final bread, before Bailey sprinkled sugar on it.

And here it is with the sugar on top.

And a slice. You can see the anise seeds in the bread.

I think I will try to make this again - it was super easy and the consistency turned out quite nice.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Current Obsession

Food wise - I tend to find something I really like, and then eat it as much as possible until I'm completely sick of it.

My current obsession is tomato, basil, mozzarella cheese sandwiches.

Yum - fresh tomato slices with just a sprinkling of kosher salt.

Notice that I put just a touch of olive oil on the bread as well - just because.

Then it's time to bring on the fresh basil.

Now for some sliced mozzarella. Oh man.

Doesn't this look good! Oh - and these grapes - they were to die for!

The other thing I'm currently enjoying doing is putting stuff on my cat.
For example, the other day I was doing laundry. See anything odd here?
I set a shirt on the bed and Twister jumped up and got on the warm clothes. So, I just continued to put more clothes on top of him.

I don't think he minded one bit.

He's quite content under the nice warm clothes.

Yup - time for a nap.

One day we had a shoe box lying around. Anyone who has a cat knows that boxes are the best cat beds.

He was looking too comfortable, so I put an old shoe on top of him.

That didn't seem to bother him at all, so on goes another shoe. (hee hee)

He's momentarily bothered.

Really - only for a second.

If he weren't so comfortable, he might get up.

Nah - back to sleep.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Yesterday I wanted to play in the kitchen. So I made cupcakes.

And in honor of my little sister, who just became a Mom on Friday, I made cupcakes with baby blue icing. Bailey thinks the "B" cupcake above is for her, but it's really for baby boy. Shhh, don't tell her.

It's so hard to believe that my little sister is now a mother. I so wish I was there with her and the family to see my new little nephew. I hear he's adorable.

So, since I can't be there in person, I'm baking. Every happy occasion deserves baked goods.

Yeah, I know it doesn't make any sense, but oh well. That's how I roll.

I started with chocolate cupcakes.

And then I went a little crazy.

The sprinkles make the icing crunchy.

And then for the baby blue designs.

I had fun making the swirls.

You will notice that one cupcake is already missing. Bailey!

And a special note to my sister (who won't see this for a while because she just had a baby!) - I am so very happy for you and John. I can't wait to meet your son!
I love you!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Oh dear - we've created a monster!

We have a house cat named Twister (or Cow if you are my brother David). He's a completely indoors cat, we don't let him outside.

However, the other day it was quite nice outside. There was a cool breeze and the sun was shinning. It was a beautiful day.

We decided to let Twister outside for just a minute. You can tell he hated the warm cement.

Then it was time for him to explore our backyard. Oh was that fun!

We kept a pretty close eye on him the whole time.

Bailey didn't let him get too far away.

Back to the cement. He loved rubbing all over it. Who knew a cat could twist like that?

Oh yeah - that's the spot!

Wait - bug!

Nah, I'll just stay here.

I'll use my mind powers to get the bug.

Or, maybe not.

The only problem is that now he occasionally meow's at the backdoor wanting to go back out. Oh well, it was worth it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Surprise! Kinda.

Tomorrow is my brother Eddie's 30th birthday. To celebrate his birthday, we had a surprise party for him last night.

Well, that was our plan at least. He arrived a bit early and only a few people where here. On top of that, our front door was unlocked and he walked right in. So, we didn't get to yell, "surprise!"

I think he still had a great time.

Here he is on the left, enjoying a Fat Tire beer with Rominal, Chris, and Tommy.

Bailey loved playing catch with Tommy's son, and he didn't seem to mind playing with Bailey either.

Here's some of the crowd.

And Rominal thanking everyone for coming out to wish Eddie a happy birthday.

More crowd shots.

I didn't have 30 candles, so we made do with as many as I had.

And I didn't even use the trick candles that I had. (You can thank me later, Eddie)

After a bit, Rominal and Bailey danced for everyone. Steve has a video of this and I hope to post it at some point.

It was amusing to everyone.

Then Rominal decided to show everyone another dance, at least that's what he called it.

Steve had to show us one too.

Then Bailey and Brittany did the Cupid Shuffle.

And before long, Rominal had joined in on that too.

And the cutest party attendee award goes to Juvy's daughter.

She seemed to have a good time too.

Happy Birthday Eddie! I hope you had a wonderful time!