Feliz Día de Muertos: Celebrando con Mi Ofrenda de Jane Austen

Hoy es Dia de Los Muertos y yo honrando Jane Austen. Lo siento mi Espanol es no bueno. Lucho con Gramática del español

Today is Day of the Dead and I am honoring Jane Austen. Being biracial I love blending of cultures, and thought this year I would blend my background with my love of Jane Austen. I wanted to do a larger, and let’s be honest, more impressive altar, but I just moved and haven’t had a chance to unpack my belongings as my new place needed some extra work done.

If you’ve been reading for a while you probably know this, but for all you who have started following me recently, I am biracial, being half Mexican.

As I am of Mexican descent I celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, and thought this year I would honor Jane Austen. For those of you who might not know of the holiday, I am going to go over a brief history, share how to make your own altar, and how to make pan de Muerto (bread of the dead).

Van y Vienen

Y las ves pasar

Bailan por ahí

Platican por allá…

Es su día

Y van a festejar

They’re coming and they’re going

And you see them passing by.

They’re dancing over here,

They’re chatting over there…

It’s their day

And they’re going to have a good time.

Some people hear day of the dead or see the calaveras (skulls) and think it is a scary holiday; but it is a very sweet and pleasant one. It is a time to gather with your family or friends and remember those who have passed on. Typically one would make an ofrenda, or altar, for a deceased family member, but you can make one for anybody you would like to honor that is no longer with us.

Dia de Los Muertos is an ancient tradition that started in Mexico. Dia de Los Muertos begins on November 1st and ends on November 3rd. The first day, November 1st, is Dia de los Angelitos, when one honors and remembers the children that have passed on. The legend is that their spirits are granted 24 hours on which to reunite with their families. Often on these ofrendas one will leave their favorite toys, games, and food.

November 2nd is Día de los Difuntos, honoring the adults that have passed on. People will lay their favorite things on the altar; along with Pan de Muerto, tequila, and atole. People will talk, laugh, and share stories about their loved ones.

November 3rd is Día de los Muertos, the day that the whole community would get involved, have parades, people dress up as Catrina, etc.


Calaveras (Skulls)

There are a few particular symbols associated with Dia de Los Muertos. First is the calaveras, the skills, which will be made out of sugar, foam, paper, or painted on someone’s face. The skulls are always smiling as they laugh at death (they no longer have any fear as they have moved on) and are happy to be with their families again. The skulls are also a memento mori, reminding us that we too will die-but in this case they are a cheerful reminder; letting us know that we will all be together again someday.

Most celebrations will have Flor de Muerto, flowers of the dead, which are bright Orange and red marigolds. Marigolds symbolize beauty, the fragility of life, and are used as a way to make a path to guide the dead.


La Catrina

Another symbol of Dia de Los Muertos is La Catrina. Even though the calacas figures (Day of the Dead skeletons) were a part of Dia de Los Muertos, the Catrina figure used today has only been around for about 100 years. José Guadalupe Posada was a controversial Mexican artist who liked to draw satirical cartoons with people as skeletons. He drew the first Catrina in a negative sketch against Porfirio Diaz, the President of Mexico, who was really bringing the country to ruin. (My great grandfather fought along Pancho Villa to try to roust Diaz out, and later ended up immigrating to America.) This image of Catrina wasn’t turned into a popularized one connected to Dia de Los Muertos until the 1940s when Diego Rivera did a mural about the history of Mexico. Now you see Catrinas every year.


The Ofrenda (The Altar)

There are as many ways to make an ofrenda as there is imagination. You can make it any way you desire, but there are a few key things to include. You need a table or box to be your altar, one that you can have set out for days. You also need to have a picture of the person you would like to celebrate, it’s best to put it in the center of your display where all can see it right away. You should also include objects that symbolize what they liked or did in life. You can also decorate with sugar skulls, papel picado, Pan de Muerto, and hot chocolate.

For my ofrenda I have my Jane Austen Catrina pumpkin as my centerpiece as I couldn’t find my picture. I also haven’t unpacked my Jane Austen items so it only has Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. I also included my faux quill pen and my corona de flores, that I made for dia de Los Muertos. I also have my Jane Austen Catrina mug made by MadsenCreations, MadsenCreations té de Rosa azucar (for dia de Los Muertos), and one of the Pan de Muerto I made a few weeks ago (and froze for the occasion).


Pan de Muertos

This was my first year making Pan de Muertos as I was always scared to try it as it seems difficult. But it is just as easy as making scones. I used the recipe from Mexico in my Kitchen. Although I did do a few substitutions.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups All Purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons active-dry yeast
  • ½ cup of Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup of butter at room temperature + 1/4 cup to brush the bread after baking.
  • 1 Cup of unsalted margarineroom temperature plus more for bowl and pans.
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • Orange zest from 2 oranges
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • Zest of 1 orange or 1 teaspoon orange blossom water or orange essence
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten to brush the bread
  • Sugar to decorate the bread at the end.

Directions:

  1. Place the 4 eggs, margarine, salt and half of the sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the dough, working it for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the All-purpose flour in small amounts alternating with the water. Add the dry active yeast and mix until well combined.
  4. Continue now by adding one at a time the butter, the orange zest, the rest of the sugar and the orange blossom essence or extra orange zest, mixing well after each addition until soft dough forms.
  5. Get the dough out of the mixer bowl and place onto work surface; knead until smooth, dusting work surface lightly with flour as needed if the dough begins to stick. Knead for a couple more minutes.
  6. Coat the interior of a large bowl with margarine; transfer dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. Transfer the dough from the bowl onto working surface, separate a portion of the dough to form the decorative bones later on. Cut the rest of the dough into two equal pieces. Prepare 2 greased baking sheets, set aside.
  8. Take portions of the dough and place in the palm of your hand, shaping each piece into a tight ball rolling the dough on the surface. This is called “bolear” in Spanish. Place on prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Press the dough slightly.
  9. Take the remaining dough set aside and roll into small logs putting a little pressure with the fingers to form the bones. You need 2 for each bread.
  10. Place the bones on top of each roll, forming a cross.
  11. And finally, with the leftover dough form small balls and put the ball in the center. Cover baking sheets with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  12. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  13. Add a pinch of salt to our mix of egg and water and brush the buns before placing in the oven. Transfer buns to oven and bake until golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes.
  14. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
  15. Once your Pan de Muerto bread has a completely cooled brush with the remaining butter and then dust with sugar.

I struggled with shaping them, but this video helped a lot.

I had Flat Jane when I made them and then I froze them so they would be ready for today.

Feliz dia de Los Muertos!

Jane Austen Birthday Party Menu, Plus How to Dip Cookies in Chocolate, and a Sugar Cookie Recipe

So as you know if you have been following my page, I just celebrated my 29th birthday with a Jane Austen Garden Tea Party.

Some of you might be wondering why I am so extensively going through all the party planning and it was because I had been planning to have this two years ago, but life got in the way so I decided to wait and now I’ve finally been able to have it.

Party time!

So far we have gone over invitations, decorations, prizes, activities to have, how to make your own piñata, etc. Before we go over the games I thought I would share the menu.

So starting with sandwiches, remember how we’ve been having those The Magician’s Nephew Bible study/book club/tea party? Well, those have also been a dry run for me as it gives me a chance to try out recipes and see which ones I really love. I decided to start off with one I really loved: Curried Egg Salad Triple Stacks Sandwiches

I also really love cucumber sandwiches and wanted to use the recipe from Spend With Pennies but to save time I used Chive and Onion Cream Cheese Spread.

I know not everyone will be into them so I needed some regular sandwiches. I decided on Turkey-Apple Tea Sandwiches:

And I rounded it out with Tea Time Magazine’s Ham and Cheese Tea Sandwiches:

Out of all of them, the Ham and Cheese did the best. They were all gone before the party’s end.

My mom made a salad for a side and then we went to the strawberry farm down the street and bought a ton of strawberries. Yep, I wanted it to be like Donwell Abbey.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any scones. I had wanted to make some, but I ran out of time. I had also planned to buy some, but when I went to the store they were all out.

But I had lots of desserts! I had made them a few weeks earlier and put them in the freezer until the day before the party. The first cookie I made was Crispy, Chewy, Matcha Green Tea Cookies.

People didn’t really like these as much as the other cookies, but I love them. They were eaten, just not as much as all the others.

The next cookie I made was Basic Shortbread:

But I used a cookie cutter to make them into teapot shape; along with cutting the other half of the cookies into a teabag shape. And I dipped them in chocolate

Chocolate Dipped Cookies:

  1. Have your cookies baked and cooled.
  2. Using a double broiler, melt a chocolate bar or chocolate chips.
  3. If you do not have a double broiler, get two pots about the same size or have one be slightly smaller than the other. Heat water in one until it boils. Turn down the flame and take the other pot and hold it over the one with boiled water. Place the chocolate in the top pot and stir until melted.
  4. When chocolate is melted, dip cookies and lay on wax paper. Put cookies in freezer or fridge to get chocolate to harden.

The last cookie I made was Better Home and Gardens Sugar Cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 Cup of Shortening
  • 3/4 Cups of Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 Teaspoons of Milk
  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour (Sifted)
  • 1.5 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

Directions:

  1. Throughly cream shortening, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Add egg; beat until mixture light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in milk.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Blend dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  6. Divide dough in half.
  7. Chill for one hour.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 of an inch thickness.
  9. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.
  10. Bake on greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees F for 6-8 minutes.
  11. Cool slightly, then remove from pan.

I had wanted to make Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake but I ran out of time and I ended up just buying an Almond Poppyseed cake from Raleys. It was good, but not as amazing as the Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake.

My friend also made Carrot Cake (my favorite) and carrot cake cupcakes. I didn’t take a picture of the cake (so good) but in the picture below, where the cupcakes are is where the cake was placed. All the cupcakes were gone by the end of the party. The recipe is a secret or else I would have shared that too.

I’ve been having so much fun sharing all these things with you, and even though the party has ended I will be continuing to share all my other party plans!

For more of my Jane Austen Birthday plans, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Croquet

For more Jane Austen party ideas, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Paper Fan Making

For more desserts, go to Melt-in-Your-Mouth Buttermilk Chocolate Cookies

For more cookie recipes, go to The Picture of Earl Grey Tea Cookies

For more recipes, go to Savory Beef Hand Pies

The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club: Cinnamon Bun Scones

So every Wednesday, starting last October, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I was reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on). The first week we had Cederberg Tea Company Rooibos + Ginger Tea, Cranberry-Spice Scones with Maple Cream, Tea Time Magazine’s Ham and Cheese Tea Sandwiches, Cucumber-Four Peppercorn Goat Cheese Canapés, Fotina & Pork Puffed Pastry, and Mini Apple Pies.

The second week we had Chami Spice Ginger Plum Tea, Dark Chocolate Ginger SconesCurried Egg Salad Triple Stacks SandwichesTurkey-Apple Tea SandwichesFotina Flower Puffed Pastry, and Lemon Gingerbread Cake.

The third week we had Organic India Tulsi Masala Chai Tea, Parmesan and Chive SconesCucumber Aioli CanapésHam, Cheddar, and Apple Tea SandwichesCranberry, Brie, and Rosemary Bites, and Mini Pumpkin Crème Brûlée.

And now to the fourth week. This week we had Tiesta Tea Victorian Earl Grey, Lavender and Earl Grey Scones, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Tomato Hummus Salad, Cranberry Feta Pinwheels, and Triple Berry Salad.

Week five we had NovelTea Tins The Picture of Earl Grey, Haarlem Tea Room’s Cheddar Scones, Eating Well’s Radish Tea Sandwiches, Tea Time Magazine’s Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Brisket and Slaw Roulades, and Easy Fruit Tarts.

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That brings us to week six, when we had Cinnamon Bun Scones, Curry Egg Salad Triple Stack Sandwiches, Cranberry Feta Cheese Pinwheels, Meat Pies, and Melt-in-Your-Mouth Buttermilk Chocolate Cookies.

As I was unable to share these earlier I’m catching up now and am starting with scones of course!

jamaicainneatfooddinner

This comes from Bake or Break.

StirsTea
Emma (1996)

Ingredients Scones:

  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (99g) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup (177ml) milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients Glaze:

  • 3/4 Cup of Confectioners’ Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
  • 3/4 Teaspoons of Milk

Directions for Scones:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Line baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add the butter and mix with a pastry blender or a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  6. Combine the milk, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl.
  7. Add to the flour mixture and stir just until combined.
  8. Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over the dough.
  9. Gently stir until the batter is just swirled with the cinnamon mixture.
  10. Drop the dough by 1/4-cup portions onto prepared pans. Leave about 2 inches between scones.
  11. Bake 11 to 13 minutes, or until golden brown.
  12. Cool the scones on a wire rack for 5 minutes while you make the glaze.

Directions for Glaze:

  1. Combine the confectioners’ sugar with 3 teaspoons milk. Add more milk if needed to achieve pouring consistency.
  2. Add to scones.
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These were extremely delicious and easy to make. We all couldn’t resist them.

Emma1996tableeating

For more from The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club, go to Easy Fruit Tarts

For more recipes, go to Brisket and Slaw Roulades

For more scone recipes, go to Lavender and Earl Grey Scones

For more tea posts, go to Eating Well’s Radish Tea Sandwiches

The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club: Lavender and Earl Grey Scones

So every Wednesday, starting in October, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I have been reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on). The first week we had Cederberg Tea Company Rooibos + Ginger Tea, Cranberry-Spice Scones with Maple Cream, Tea Time Magazine’s Ham and Cheese Tea Sandwiches, Cucumber-Four Peppercorn Goat Cheese Canapés, Fotina & Pork Puffed Pastry, and Mini Apple Pies.

The second week we had Chami Spice Ginger Plum Tea, Dark Chocolate Ginger Scones, Curried Egg Salad Triple Stacks Sandwiches, Turkey-Apple Tea Sandwiches, Fotina Flower Puffed Pastry, and Lemon Gingerbread Cake.

The third week we had Organic India Tulsi Masala Chai Tea, Parmesan and Chive Scones, Cucumber Aioli Canapés, Ham, Cheddar, and Apple Tea Sandwiches, Cranberry, Brie, and Rosemary Bites, and Mini Pumpkin Crème Brûlée.

And now to the fourth week. This week we had Tiesta Tea Victorian Earl Grey, Lavender and Earl Grey Scones, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Pinwheels, Hummus Tomato Salad, and Triple Berry Salad.

I couldn’t share the recipes in October as I was in the middle of Horrorfst IX, so I am catching up and of course we always start with scones.

This comes from Flour Covered Apron.

And something yummy to eat with it. 🙂

Ingredients for Earl Grey Lavender Scones:

  • 2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3 Tea Bags of Earl Grey Tea Blend or ~3 Teaspoons of Loose Leaf Earl Grey Tea
  • 1/2 Cup of Butter, Frozen
  • 1/2 Cup of Whipping Cream
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Ingredients for Earl Grey Lavender Glaze:

  • 1.5 Teaspoons Culinary Lavender, plus more for garnishing
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • 2 Tea Bags or 2 Tsps of Loose Leaf Earl Grey
  • 1 1/4 Powdered Sugar

Directions for Scones:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Open the 3 tea bags and empty the ground tea leaves directly into the flour mixture-whisk to combine. If using loose leaf tea, grind it down so that it is smaller.
  4. Grate the frozen butter and cut it into the flour mixture, using the pastry cutter until incorporated and the mixture has the texture of fine crumbs.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, egg, and vanilla extract.
  6. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, then mix together.
  7. Once completely combined, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it comes together.
  8. Shape the dough into a disc about 8 in in diameter.
  9. Slice into 8 wedges.
  10. Place the wedges about 2 inches apart on a lined baking sheet.
  11. Bake at 400 degrees F for 18-22 mins, or until scones are tall and golden brown.
  12. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Directions for Glaze:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the milk and lavender to a simmer.
  2. Remove from heat, then steep the two bags of Earl Grey teabags or loose leaf tea for about 7 mins.
  3. Using a small sieve, or infuser, strain the mixture and discard the lavender.
  4. Measure 1/4 cup of the steeped milk.
  5. Pour into a small bowl and whisk together with the powdered sugar. For a thicker glaze, add more powdered sugar until desired consistency and sweetness are reached.
  6. Once scones are cool, drizzle with glaze and sprinkle with lavender.

These were extremely delicious, espechially as my sister dried the lavender fresh from our garden. Everyone could not get enough of them.

For more from The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club, go to Mini Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

For more recipes, go to Cranberry, Brie, and Rosemary Bites

For more Earl Grey Tea recipes, go to Lavender Earl Grey Tea Shortbread Cookies

For more scones, go to Parmesan and Chive Scones

For more tea posts, go to How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea

The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club: Lemon Gingerbread Cake

So every Wednesday, starting in October, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I have been reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on). I also need to catch up on these recipes. Week two was Chami Spice Ginger Plum Tea, Dark Chocolate Ginger Scones, Curried Egg Salad Triple Stacks Sandwiches, Turkey-Apple Tea Sandwiches, Fotina Flower Puffed Pastry, and Lemon Gingerbread Cake.

I couldn’t share the recipes in October as I was in the middle of Horrorfest IX, so I am catching up and of course the last thing we have to review is dessert.

This comes from Tea Time Magazine andI actually screwed this dessert up as I thought it was cookies, but realized after I had already started the batter-it is cakelets. Not only did I read that wrong, but it turns out that I did not read through all the directions and did not have all the right supplies. There wasn’t time to go get other ingredients or do another recipe so instead I converted it into a cake, with some substitutions.

From Clueless

Oh, well!

Ingredients Cake Batter:

  • 2.5 Cups of Flour
  • 1/3 Cup of Granulated (White) Sugar
  • 1.5 Teaspoons of Ground Ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Tbsp of Fresh Lemon Zest
  • 3/4 Cup of Hot Water
  • 1/2 Cup of Molasses (Or Substitute with Honey)
  • 1/2 Cup of Honey
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Lemon Glaze Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups of Confectioner’s Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
  • 1/2 Cup of Fresh Lemon Juice

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray loaf pan with nonstick cooking spay or grease pan.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour sugar, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
  4. Add butter, egg, lemon zest, hot water, molasses or the substitute, honey, and vanilla extract.
  5. Beat mixture at low speed for about 30 seconds.
  6. Increase speed and beat for 3 minutes.
  7. Fill pan.
  8. Bake until for 20-30 minutes, continue baking until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let cake cool before pouring lemon glaze.

Directions for Lemon Glaze:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and lemon juice until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour over cake.

 

So because this was cooked in a pan instead of the little molds it took much longer to bake. It also was taking a really long time to bake so I ended up cutting the cake a bit so that it would cook faster and throughout. The frosting covered it, so I didn’t end up having to worry too much about the presentation.

Even though I made a few mistakes and this was not as the recipe intended it to be, it was extremely delicious and we all loved it. I had to send the leftovers with home with my friend as I couldn’t have it with me, I’d eat it all up.

For more from The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club, go to Fotina Flower Puffed Pastry

For more recipes, go to Turkey-Apple Tea Sandwiches

For more Tea Time Magazine Recipes, go to Curried Egg Salad Triple Stacks Sandwiches

For more Cake recipes, go to Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cake

For more dessert, go to Mini Apple Pies

For more tea posts, go to Dark Chocolate Ginger Scones