The Passion Story + Hot Cross Buns

Approximately 2000 years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified and died for our sins. Judas Iscariot, for 30 pieces of silver betrayed him into the hands of temple guards. Jesus was then trailed, mocked, beaten and nailed to the cross. As a result today is recognized as Good Friday.

Christians all over the globe commemorate this day in many ways. Some attend church services and plays or dedicate the day to prayer, fasting and meditation. Others, like myself, also enjoy celebrating little traditions like eating hot cross buns for breakfast.

I don’t know the history behind hot cross buns nor will I pretend to. What I do know is that their soft, fluffy, cinnamon body, topped with the perfect consistency of icing and unfortunately filled with raisins, which I religiously pick out, beat any breakfast muffin at a five star hotel. Maybe not any muffin… but you get the point.

Word of advice, if you’re like me and raisins remind you of rat turds and taste like grapes that have been left in the sun far too long – see what I did there? – be sure to half the amount of raisins used in the recipe. Although, half turned out to be more than I cared for. Otherwise, just skip them out altogether or replace them with craisins. Wish I’d thought of that before I made these.

But you’re in for a yummy treat if you like ze hot cross le bun buns. I got this recipe from sophistimom, five kudos for that cool lady. Get it. Make it. Eat it. Enjoy it. However you choose to celebrate this good day, I hope that you take some time to reflect on Jesus’ selfless act on that old rugged cross.

“In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine, a wondrous beauty I see, for ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died, to pardon and sanctify me.” 

Easter Tradition

I always feel a teeny bit guilty whenever I take a break from blogging. It isn’t a healthy response but I do. Long story short, I headed back to Trinidad for a short while, still here actually and things were a bit busy. Fear not, I’ve got your serving of blog-meat this week.

It’s my favourite time of year! Easter has been and still is my favourite holiday for a couple of reasons:

  1. When I was younger my family got together, ate and spent time together. What I looked forward to the most were our traditions. The family on my dad’s side would gather together at one uncle’s house. His wife always cooked a yummy fish dish accompanied by other local traditional Easter foods and another aunt always made us (cousins) Easter treat bags full of sweets and chocolates.
  2. Every year my parents bought us those huge, hollow, chocolate bunnies that would put you in a sugar coma if you tried eating it all in one day.
  3. My sister and I had an unhealthy obsession with eggs. Random fact: we used to collect lizard eggs and “babysit” them until one of us accidentally broke them. Anything egg shaped or egg like we “eeeped” about and were drawn to magnetically. So a holiday that celebrated eggs was the godfather of holidays.
  4. In my latter teen years, I befriended the Man behind this season. His death and resurrection is the reason we celebrate and I am grateful for the blood He shed for us.

However, there is one tradition that is original to Trinidad and I’ve heard people talk about and witnessed but never partook in. It’s called “Beat the Bobolee.” The word bobolee (yeps, sounds just as its spelt… now say it fast 10 times) is used to describe a person who is taken advantage of by others.

On Good Friday, some residents of T&T would create a dummy of Judas Iscariot made from old clothes that is stuffed with rags or dried grass. It is placed in a public place and anyone who passes, young and old, is welcomed to “beat the bobolee” with sticks, kicks or slaps. The beating symbolised retribution for Judas for betraying Jesus Christ but is done purely for fun and jokingly.

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Yeppers. I wanted to beat a bobolee. So naturally, I made mine into a piñata.

If you have 6 hours in your life to spare, try making a piñata. Then add it to your professional resume under skills. I’m sure it will make a notable impression on your future employer. To keep this light, I’ll omit the details of my piñata-making experience. As per usual, I took photos to tell the story. You know the routine, hover over photos for commentary.

 

We all had a fun time beating Mr. Bobolee. At one point we were concerned that it wouldn’t burst. I guess my piñata making skill is superb. I could open ah small shop man. Plus, the rewards were very much enjoyed. For more on Easter Traditions in T&T click here.

What are some Easter Traditions you celebrate? I’d love to hear your stories! I pray that your Easter weekend would be blessed, fun and reflective.

He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ – Luke 24:6-7.

Candy, Candy quite Dandy, how does your garden grow?

So I started a new project this weekend. It involved getting dirty and a whole lot of waiting for results. I planted my very own strawberry plants. My granny would be so proud of me! *gloats* I’m both excited and nervous about the outcome. See, I’ve owned two plants prior in my lifetime. A good friend of mine bought me a Poinsettia for Christmas once. It was lovely but lasted 2 weeks. The next year he bought me a cactus thinking it would be impossible to kill…  Ha. I showed him. That lasted 4 weeks. Then I was told that I shouldn’t own a dog or have a child. On the contrary, dogs and children are programmed to remind you of their existence.

Rob was my assistant gardener. Which in fact really means, he did three quarts of the work: uprooted most of the weeds, toiled the soil, trimmed the rosebush that was threatening half of my planting space, dug the holes, planted most of the babies and watered them once we were done. I managed the operation, made a minor contribution to the labour and took an impractical amount of pictures. Yes, yes. I know exactly what you’re thinking. We make an effective team.

My greatest concern right now is the weather. Its bipolarosity continues to wreak havoc with many a plan of local Houstonians, I am sure. Saturday’s 78 degrees was welcomed with board shorts, tank tops & sandals. Then there was Sunday night. We were heading out to make our weekly grocery run and got “female-dog” slapped in the face by an impertinent rush of 38 degree air. Made my eyes water and all. Needless to say yesterday’s weather barely fluctuated. PLUS… there’s a winter storm warning and we’ve received gifts such as freezing rain; sleet and gross Dallas like temperatures – no offense Dallas. If you’re new and reading this you may think I’m an insane person grumbling about 30-degree weather but where I come from is called paradise, with typical temperatures of 80 degrees. All the time. I know I’ve complained a considerable amount this winter but spring is almost here so today marks my final gripe. Promise.

On the upside, the possible ruin of my plants won’t be any fault of mine, this time. Anyhow, I’ll see what happens and pray that I at least get to taste ONE fruit of my… err… our labour. In the mean time, check out our new babies.

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Baking this week? Why yes.

chocolatechipcookies

These yummylicious chocolate chip cookies are a fav in our household. Got the recipe here. Try them. Enjoy them. And they do go that fast.

Cherrio chaps! Do have a blessed week.

Mini Hummingbird Cakes

cute and nummy

Hummingbird Cake. Don’t write it off until you’ve tried it. The first time I heard about hummingbird cake, I was very much in opposition of it. Bananas, pineapple and crushed pecans? Why would anyone put those ingredients in cake… all at once? It wasn’t until a couple weeks ago I over heard some friends talking about its scrumdiddlyumptiousness, that I became curious and concluded that trying it was the only way to be sure it is all that they say it is.

Sit back, pull out your recipe book and start scribbling the awesome that is hummingbird cake.  

HEAR YE, HEAR YE!: This recipe calls for self-rising flour. Don’t do like me and use regular all purpose flour, only to realise the dim-witted mistake you made 5 minutes after putting your batter into the oven.

After an effortless search, I found a recipe to make your own self-rising flour here. Then my cakes were perfection.

What you need:

For the cake

Butter & flour for greasing & flouring ramekins

1 ½ c. self-rising flour

1 c. granulated sugar

¼ & 1/8 c. vegetable oil

¼ c. finely chopped pecans

1 very large ripe banana, mashed

4-ounces crushed pineapple, with juice

½ tsp pure vanilla extract

½ tsp group cinnamon

2 large eggs, beaten

For the frosting

¼ c. shortening

¼ c. (half stick) unsalted butter @ room temperature

4 oz. cream cheese @ room temperature

½ tbls white vanilla extract

4 c. powder sugar

¼ tsp salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour eight-5oz. ramekin, tapping out excess flour; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir to combine self-rising flour, sugar, oil, pecans, bananas, pineapple, vanilla, cinnamon and eggs.
  3. Divide batter evenly between prepared ramekins. Bake for 28 – 30 minutes.
  4. After removal from oven, let cool in ramekins for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. While cakes are cooling, prepare frosting. Cream together shortening, butter and cream cheese until nice and smooth. Add vanilla into mixture and combine. Sift together sugar and salt and slowly add to shortening, butter and cream cheese mixture. Make sure all sugar is incorporated.
  6. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Spread frosting on top of first mini cake, and then place your second mini cake on top of first. Spread frosting on both cakes and set aside. Repeat for remaining 6 cakes until you have 4 mini cakes with two layers, fully frosted. Optional: Sprinkle tops with crushed pecans. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 Bon Appétit.

            Makes 8 mini Hummingbird Cakes. Cake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

I used some flowers from my V-day arrangement to decorate the cakes. I figured the decor should represent some aspect of a hummingbird and flowers did the trick! Aren’t they cute? And the cakes taste just as good as they look too! If you’re concerned about what type of flowers to use these links here & here helped me. 

Happy Friday & Small Talk

Happy Second Friday in the month of February cookies!

vday

{This photo made me laugh unnecessarily loud}

 

The day is upon us. The day few people look forward to more than Christmas and even Thanksgiving. The day you see heart shaped chocolates, lollypops, jewelry and bouquets. The day the world seems to experience more love than Flavor Flav in his hit reality tv show, “Flavor of Love” *please say last three words in a deep romantic James Earl Jones voice *

While my valentine is away at work and I haven’t seen the fruit of today’s celebrations yet, I’m totin’ with all youse guys out there… until later this evening that is. I’m such a bandwangonist.

Anywho, time to check out this week’s Mr. & Mrs. Behind the Scenes. (Facebook needs to hop on the obvious train and tots get with whatever program they need to support gifs). 

{Must confess, we do enjoy the smooching}

And here’s the photo: Mr. & Mrs. Project: Week 8 | Late Night TV & Popcorn

Let’s recap what my last week & a half looked like:

Weather: Bipolar much. Back in Trinidad there was no need to check one’s smartphones every 10 minutes to be sure of weather conditions. It was either rain or sun. That’s it. In Texas, Monday – Wednesday, best you bundle up all day long, Mr. Sun went on vaca in Mexico. Thursday – Saturday makes you feel like relaxing by the poolside. Then there’s Sunday… steups. We’ll just stay in and miss church. (For the record, if you’re reading this mom, we’ve never done that).  OR you leave home in beautiful 50-degree weather, stay indoors for two hours and when you step outside again, you wonder who left their freezer door open. Dang, this poop just got real.

Exercise: Rob and I started working out with a trainer last week and let meh tell yuh, the thought of it was loads easier than the actual experience. For our first assessment we had a nice talk about goals, expectations and commitment with our trainer and he made everything seem so sweet and doable. After warming up for 5mins on the stair climber machine and 15mins of some strategic exercises, I was… faint. Literally. I couldn’t walk by myself. Rob had to help me as we walked toward our trainer’s desk to recap and the he even had to run and get me some orange juice to help raise my sugar levels. Talk ‘bout shame. Now, I go prepared with my trusty bottle of Gatorade.

Entertainment: Apart from Skyping with the fam back home, this week I found myself in front the tv re-watching one of the cheesiest-teeny-bopperiest movies ♫eveeeeeer♫. Boys and Girls, starring Freddie Prinze Jr and Claire Forlani. Simply put, two friends put their relationship in hot water after sleeping together. Typical. You know those movies that aren’t any good but you start watching and HAVE to finish it and you’re predicting every next scene but you still won’t stop watching? No? Well, that happens to me quite often. I remember liking that movie when I was younger – much, much younger – but the acting and storyline were so pitiable, I could only justify that my adolescent self didn’t know any better. Poor 15 year old me. Oh and I went to the zoo with a friend and her daughter. Instead of more words, here are some pictures from our zoo adventure. {Hover mouse over pics to read commentary}. 

Whaaaaat else?

Food: I had crawfish for the first time. We went to LA Crawfish after church with a friend two Sundays ago. It was surprisingly better than I expected. Reminded me of shrimp a bit but not entirely. Eating it was a chore but worth it. Oh and they have this in-house competition where they challenge brave customers to eat three pounds of their spiciest crawfish. The challenge accepter is not allowed help, can drink in between eating and must finish in 21mins. If you haven’t guessed it yet, Rob is planning to accept said challenge. I promise to record the entire thing for you. I’m quit curious to see how finishes. In an unrelated story, I’m in desperate need of a sushi fix. {Yes, more commentary – hover}. 

So there you have it. Two weeks summarized into one post. Hope you had a lovely week friends and have a Happy Second Friday in the month of February.

xoxoxo <<< {Love be sharing} 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Mini Pies

Happy Tuesday yal! Today’s February 4th which means two of many things! Some of you are probably eagerly looking at your calendars counting down the days, hours & minutes till Valentine’s Day. While… others are probably wishing the universe would magically do away with February 14th altogether.

With that being said, note that this post is in favour of the upcoming “pink & red” day. I want to share a sweet and easy dessert for you and your lover punch. It’s perfect for V-day or any other day for that matter, which ever you prefer.

Strawberry Mini Pies

This recipe has been adapted from two sources: A cookbook we got as a wedding present: Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook and a food blog It Bakes Me Happy.

First things first: Let’s make some dough!

 

MDP-3 MDP-7

Your needs:

1 ½ c bleached all-purpose flour {I used unbleached}

1 tbls sugar

1 tsp kosher salt {I used regular}

5 tbls cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼ -inch pieces

4 tbls cold solid vegetable shortening, such as Crisco

3 ½ to 4 ½ tbls ice water

Your Method:

Put the flour, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly to mix. Scatter the butter over the flour mixture and using a spoon, toss lightly to coat. Pulse 5 times at 1-second intervals. Add the shortening in small pieces and pulse about 4 more times at 1-second intervals. The texture should resemble course meal, with the butter and shortening bits no bigger than peas. Sprinkle 3 ½  tbls of water over the mixture and pulse until the dough begins to hold together, about 6 times. Pinch a small amount of dough and if it doesn’t hold together, add ½ tbls of water and pulse 3 times. Pinch the dough again, if necessary adding the remaining ½ tbls water and pulse 3 more times. When the dough holds together when pinched, it is ready. Do not allow it to form a ball in the processor. Transfer dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap, pressing gently, form the dough into a 5-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45mins, preferably overnight. (The dough maybe refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen up to 3 months.)

Next: Let’s make some strawberry filling!

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Your needs:

1 c strawberries, sliced

2 tbls sugar

2 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp lemon juice

1 egg, beaten

Your Method:

In a medium sized saucepan add the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice and cook for about 5 minutes, until thickened. Set aside to cool {or not}.

Lastly: Let’s make a pie.

Let the chilled dough soften at room temperature for 10 – 15 minutes (longer if frozen). Using the rolling pin, tap the dough firmly to flatten it. Divide dough in half, placing each half between two large pieces of plastic wrap and roll out to 1/8-inch thickness. Place a 5 ounce ramekin directly on the pastry. Using a knife cut two 1-inch circles wider than the bottom of the ramekin. Now you should have two circles from each half of dough. Roll out one piece of dough for each half. This is then draped over the ramekin and fitted until snug inside the ramekin, so it serves as your piecrust. You may or may not have dough draped over your ramekin. If you do, please cut off excess and put aside. Repeat with remaining ramekin/s. Scoop your strawberry filling into your crusted ramekins. Once filled, drape the pastry (your second circle), over the ramekins and seal by pressing gently on the sides of the ramekins. Cut pastry scraps into your lover-punch’s initials, into hearts, or other decorate shapes. Place on top of the extra pastry circle and brush with the beaten egg. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown, remove from the oven and cool; serve warm. And if you’re feeling a little daring, add a scoop of vanilla/chocolate ice cream to the side. Bon Appétit.

Yields 4 mini pies.

 

 

Small Talk & Behind the Scenes

Is it just I or do you leave home with the intention of buying one or two things at the grocery store and return with food/items you would probably never buy unless  you were hosting dinner for Paula Deen , the President or Jennifer Lawrence?

{Almost} every time Rob and I head to the grocery we end up buying more than we planned. Two nights ago we went for a rolling pin and returned with strawberries, a double griddle and coconut water in addition. I don’t have any uses for the double griddle in the near future and drinking coconut water is my equivalent to bath-time for a cat. Buuuuut I did put those strawberries to good use and I’ll have a little show and tell tomorrow to present my concoction.

In an unrelated story, below is this week’s Mr. & Mrs. Behind the Scenes. What in the yam am I talking about right? My apologies. For those of you who are not following me on The Book of Faces, I started a Mr. & Mrs. Project with the hubby as a means to challenge myself photography wise with the added bonus of having tons of pics that we can reminisce about in ten year or so and even showcase to our little pickney when we have them in the very far future. We’re at week 7, oops, I mean 8… but I’m just a smidgnit behind.

Anywho, here is this week’s Behind le Camera

If you really are curious, take a gander of what we’ve done so far:

Mr. & Mrs Project: Week 1 | In Remembrance of Movember.

Mr. & Mrs Project: Week 2 | Tides & Ties.

Mr. & Mrs Project: Week 3 | Island Christmas.

Mr. & Mrs Project: Week 4 | Hello 2014.

Mr. & Mrs Project: Week 5 | Safe & Snug.

Mr. & Mrs Project: Week 6 | Cheek to Cheek.

Mr. & Mrs Project: Week 7 | Nightly Reads.

That’s it for today. Au revoir Wordpress & beyond!