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!

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Tea Party/Book Club: Marmalade Rolls

So last October, every Wednesday, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club. We started on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, and when we finished moved on to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I have been reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on). 

For the third week we decided to go with the dinner meal that the beavers serve the Pevensie children. 

“Just as the frying pan was nicely hissing Peter and Mr. Beaver came in with the fish which Mr. Beaver had already opened with his knife and cleaned out in the open air. You can think how good the new-caught fish smelled while they were frying and how the hungry children longed for them to be done and how very much hungrier still they had become before Mrs. Beaver said, “Now we’re nearly ready.” Susan drained the potatoes and then put them all back in the empty pot to dry on the side of the range while Lucy was helping Mrs. Beaver to dish up the trout, so that in a very few minutes everyone was drawing up stools (it was all three-legged stools in the Beavers’ house except for Mrs. Beaver’s own special rocking chair beside the fire) and preparing to enjoy themselves. There was a jug of creamy milk for the children (Mr. Beaver stuck to beer) and a great big lump of deep yellow butter in the middle of the table from which everyone took as much as he wanted to go with his potatoes and all the children thought—and I agree with them—that there’s nothing to beat good freshwater fish if you eat it when it has been alive half an hour ago and has come out of the pan half a minute ago. And when they had finished the fish Mrs. Beaver brought unexpectedly out of the oven a great and gloriously sticky marmalade roll, steaming hot, and at the same time moved the kettle on to the fire, so that when they had finished the marmalade roll the tea was made and ready to be poured out. And when each person had got his (or her) cup of tea, each person shoved back his (or her) stool so as to be able to lean against the wall and gave a long sigh of contentment.

For this week we had Chami Tea Winter Apple Spice Tea, a loaf of Dutch Crust bread, trout (and chicken for the non-fish eaters), boiled potatoes, and marmalade rolls.

One thing I will be doing differently here than in my earlier posts, is that I will be sharing discussion questions that your group can discuss as you read and eat. I didn’t post discussion questions in the previous posts on The Magician’s Nephew, as I wasn’t in charge of that book. For discussion questions, click on this link. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Discussion Questions Chapter 7-9.pdfDownload

This recipe is inspired by The Pioneer Woman but is much faster and easier.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400°F (or 375°F for nonstick pan).
  2. Grease round cake pan.
  3. Unroll cinnamon roll dough and add orange marmalade.
  4. Roll dough back up.
  5. Place rolls in pan, cinnamon topping up.
  6. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Spread with icing.

These were absolutely delicious! I ate so many, and I’m not even super into sweets. I had zero willpower regarding these and had such a hard time not consuming a whole pan. I definitely recommend them.

No, stop! Alright.

For more from our The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe teas, go to What Excellent Boiled Potatoes

For more recipes, go to Blueberry Yogurt Scones

For more desserts, go to Turkish Delight

For more tea posts, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Party Favors II

What Excellent Boiled Potatoes

So last October, every Wednesday, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club. We started on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, and when we finished moved on to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. 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 were inspired by the tea party between Mr. Tumnus and Lucy Pevensie. 

Now, Daughter of Eve!” said the Faun. And really it was a wonderful tea. There was a nice brown egg, lightly boiled, for each of them, and then sardines on toast, and then buttered toast, and then toast with honey, and then a sugar-topped cake. And when Lucy was tired of eating the Faun began to talk. 

We had Chami Tea’s Winter Grey: Deviled Eggs(for brown egg lightly boiled); Salmon, Cucumber, and Radish Canapés (in place of sardines on toast); Bagels (buttered toast), Honey French Toast (for toast with honey); and a Bear Claw Coffee Cake (for sugar topped cake).

And food to go with.

The second week we were inspired by the time Edmund spends with the White Witch. 

“It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating,” said the Queen presently. “What would you like best to eat?”

‘Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty,” said Edmund.

Of course as that only mentions one thing to eat, we ended up adding other recipes that sounded good. We decided to go with: Rose Petal and Green Tea, Rose Petal Earl Grey Tea, Blueberry Rose Petal Scones, Radish Ruffle Canapés, Zuppa Toscana Soup, Meatloaf, and Turkish Delight.

For the third week we decided to go with the dinner meal that the beavers serve the Pevensie children.

“Just as the frying pan was nicely hissing Peter and Mr. Beaver came in with the fish which Mr. Beaver had already opened with his knife and cleaned out in the open air. You can think how good the new-caught fish smelled while they were frying and how the hungry children longed for them to be done and how very much hungrier still they had become before Mrs. Beaver said, “Now we’re nearly ready.” Susan drained the potatoes and then put them all back in the empty pot to dry on the side of the range while Lucy was helping Mrs. Beaver to dish up the trout, so that in a very few minutes everyone was drawing up stools (it was all three-legged stools in the Beavers’ house except for Mrs. Beaver’s own special rocking chair beside the fire) and preparing to enjoy themselves. There was a jug of creamy milk for the children (Mr. Beaver stuck to beer) and a great big lump of deep yellow butter in the middle of the table from which everyone took as much as he wanted to go with his potatoes and all the children thought—and I agree with them—that there’s nothing to beat good freshwater fish if you eat it when it has been alive half an hour ago and has come out of the pan half a minute ago. And when they had finished the fish Mrs. Beaver brought unexpectedly out of the oven a great and gloriously sticky marmalade roll, steaming hot, and at the same time moved the kettle on to the fire, so that when they had finished the marmalade roll the tea was made and ready to be poured out. And when each person had got his (or her) cup of tea, each person shoved back his (or her) stool so as to be able to lean against the wall and gave a long sigh of contentment.

For this week we had Chami Tea Winter Apple Spice Tea, a loaf of Dutch Crust bread, trout (and chicken for the non-fish eaters), boiled potatoes, and marmalade roll.

One thing I will be doing differently here than in my earlier posts, is that I will be sharing discussion questions that your group can discuss as you read and eat. I didn’t post discussion questions in the previous posts on The Magician’s Nephew, as I wasn’t in charge of that book. For discussion questions, click on this link.

This recipe comes from Thriving Home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds small baby potatoes (preferably an assortment of red, blue, and yellow)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley, or 1/2 teaspoondried parsley flakes
  • Optional: 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. If your potatoes are not bite-sized, then cut them in half.
  2. In a large pot, add enough water to cover your baby potatoes by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil over high heat (put on the lid to help it boil faster). Then, salt the water liberally once it’s boiling.
  3. Boil the baby (or small) potatoes until they are fork tender, about 10 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes.
  4. Drain the potatoes in a colander over the sink and then return them to the pot.
  5. Gently toss the potatoes with the butter, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, the pepper, the garlic powder, and the parsley.
  6. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or garlic powder, as desired.
  7. Stir in Parmesan, if desired.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.

These were delicious but I think Mr. Collins said it best:

For more from our The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe teas, go to Turkish Delight

For more recipes, go to Blueberry Yogurt Oat Scones

For more potato recipes, go to Baked Potato Soup

For more tea posts, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party Music & Party Review

Blueberry Yogurt Oat Scones

So my sister and I started Period Drama Saturdays last year during the stay at home orders.

At first we would just have tea but then that grew to adding snacks to our teatime.

One Saturday we were planning on watching Outlander and I had really been wanting to try out some oat scones from Plum Deluxe, and I felt like what better time than the present? After all oats and Scotland seemed to go well together.

But then I started baking and after I had already started mixing my ingredients, I realized my Sour Cream had expired, so instead I had to use a substitute.

From Clueless

I searched the internet and my fridge and ended up substituting with blueberry Greek yogurt. And because I was no longer following the recipe and had some frozen blueberries I decided to throw them in too. That’s also why these scones came out an interesting color.

YUM!

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, grated and frozen
  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour of choice
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup of Blueberry Yogurt
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons milk, if necessary
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 Cup of Frozen or Fresh Blueberries
  • Sugar for topping

Directions:

  1. Grate and freeze butter, storing in freezer until just before ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in large bowl.
  4. Add butter and toss with a fork until mixture is crumbly.
  5. Add yogurt, baking soda, and blueberries; mixing until just combined, being careful not to overwork the dough.
  6. If the dough is too crumbly and the flour does not incorporate, add a splash of milk to help bring it all together.
  7. Turn dough onto a greased baking sheet, and form into a one-inch thick disk. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar.
  8. Cut into 8 wedges, placed slightly apart on baking sheet.
  9. Refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes before baking (to re-chill the butter).
  10. Bake 18 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and set.

These were good, but not that sweet. Would I make them again? I’m not sure. They weren’t bad, but they were also not fantastic or memorable. I plan to retry this recipe in the future again, but this time I will make sure I have all the ingredients.

In other news, I made this recipe at the beginning of the month, when I had Flat Jane, so that means I’m a step closer to finishing. If only I could catch up on all my other lists. But as for now:

For more recipes, go to Turkish Delight

For more scones, go to Blueberry Rose Scones

For more blueberry scones, go to Irish Blueberry Scones

For more tea posts, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party Music & Party Review

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Tea Party/Book Club: Zuppa Toscana

So last October, every Wednesday, I have been a part of a Tea Party/Bible Study/Book Club. We started on The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, and when we finished moved on to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This is different from my book club and the Book Club Picks I have been reviewing (and desperately need to catch up on). 

Party time!

The second week we were inspired by the time Edmund spends with the White Witch. 

“Perhaps something hot to drink?” said the Queen. “Should you like that?”

Yes please, your Majesty,” said Edmund, whose teeth were chattering.

The Queen took from somewhere among her wrappings a very small bottle which looked as if it were made of copper. Then, holding out her arm, she let one drop fall from it on to the snow beside the sledge. Edmund saw the drop for a second in mid-air, shining like a diamond. But the moment it touched the snow there was a hissing sound and there stood a jewelled cup full of something that steamed. The Dwarf immediately took this and handed it to Edmund with a bow and a smile; not a very nice smile. Edmund felt much better as he began to sip the hot drink. It was something he had never tasted before, very sweet and foamy and creamy, and it warmed him right down to his toes.

‘It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating,” said the Queen presently. “What would you like best to eat?”

‘Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty,” said Edmund.

The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very centre and Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious. He was quite warm now, and very comfortable.

Of course as that only mentions one thing to eat, we ended up adding other recipes that sounded good. We decided to go with: Rose Petal and Green Tea, Rose Petal Earl Grey Tea, Blueberry Rose Petal Scones, Radish Ruffle Canapés, Zuppa Toscana Soup, Meatloaf, and Turkish Delight.

One thing I will be doing differently here than in my earlier posts, is that I will be sharing discussion questions that your group can discuss as you read and eat. I didn’t post discussion questions in the previous posts on The Magician’s Nephew, as I wasn’t in charge of that book. For discussion questions, click on this link.The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Discussion Questions Chapter 4-6.pdfDownload

This recipe comes from Slow Cooker Gourmet.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • ½ pound Yukon gold potatoes
  • ½ sweet yellow onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • Red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup frozen kale
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 pieces thick cut cooked bacon, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Add ground sausage to skillet over medium high heat and cook through.
  2. Transfer to slow cooker.
  3. Scrub and dice potatoes and add to slow cooker along with diced onion, garlic and red pepper flakes
  4. Add kale and chicken broth and cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8
  5. Stir in cream, cooked bacon and salt and pepper to taste

This soup was soooo good! I ate several bowls!

For more from our The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe teas, go to Radish Ruffle Canapés

For more recipes, go to Blueberry Rose Scones

For more soup recipes, go to Baked Potato Soup

For more tea posts, go to Honey French Toast