Saturday, October 16, 2010

Float like a Butterfly!!!!

     Ever notice that during the advent of fall, the most beautiful butterflies make their debut only to willow away south.  My pastor's son Travis, loves butterflies, and there is not one thing that he could not tell me about the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, he has raised and let go of many Monarchs.
The cool thing about the Monarch butterfly, is that they migrate over great distances to more temperate climates, and like the Pacific salmon never make more than one trip, before they wither and allow their offspring to pick up the journey.
     Two things are happening in Mexico each fall, the arrival of the Monarch and the Mexican holiday Los Dia de los Muertos.  It is said that the Monarch returns to Mexico for the protection of the climate and the oyamel fir trees, and the locals welcome the returning butterflies, because they believe that they bear the spirits of their dearly departed.  I, for one would buy that hook, line and sinker, because there is something so serene and omnipotent about a butterfly. It is graceful and divine all at the same time.  To have a Monarch grace your presence means change is coming, perhaps an old habit, a way of thinking or a lifestyle, a new beginning is coming, stop taking life so seriously...no one gets out alive :)
     Los Dias de los Muertos is translated the days of the dead, and is a traditional holiday honoring the dead, right around the same time as Halloween.   The townspeople dress up in the same way as we do, however it is for a very different party.  They parade through town carrying an open coffin and the local vendors toss in fruit, flowers and candy. In the townsfolk homes, families arrange "altars" or "ofrendas", with gifts of fruit, candy, bread and flowers, to honor the those that have left us.  In the afternoon, candles are lit in the honor of the dearly departed.
     The next day, the families travel to the cemeteries to clean the graves of their loved ones. They carry flowers, candles, baskets and blankets, the graves are weeded, the dirt raked smooth, tombs are scrubbed and swept clean.  Some families spend the entire night in the cemetery honoring their loved ones.
     The Aztecs believed in an afterlife, where their loved ones returned as hummingbirds or butterflies, and images have been discovered of the butterfly and hummingbird in Aztec tombs. One thing I remember from spanish class was " Pan de Muertos", and I hope that I am able to do it justice, because my good friend Yaeko, may have a bone to pick with me. ;)

Pan de Muertos

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water about 110 F
3 cups flour
2 packets of dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps anise seed
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsps orange zest
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbs orange zest
2 tbs sugar

Heat milk and butter in a saucepan, until butter is melted. Add warm water.  In another bowl add 1 cup flour, yeast, salt, anise and 1/4 cup sugar, beat in the warm milk then add eggs and orange zest and mix until well incorporated, Stir in 1/2 cup flour and and continue to add flour until  the dough is soft and elastic.  Turn out on to a floured surface and knead until smooth.  Place in a greased bowl and cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  Punch the dough down and shape into a large round loaf with a round knob on top.  Place on a baking sheet and loosely cover and let rise for an additional hour,  Bake in a 350 F oven for about 45 minutes, Remove from oven, cool and then glaze.  In a small saucepan combine sugar, orange zest, and orange juice and bring to a boil, boil long enough to dissolve the sugar, brush over the bread while still warm and sprinkle with more sugar.

Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average. Which means you have met your New Year's resolution. ~ Jay Leno

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