Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dia de los muertos

Happy November 1st! I hope all of you were able to make healthy breakfast decisions. Me not so much. It's not my fault! There's a giant bowl of candy on the counter. I think a mini payday goes PERFECT with a warm cup of coffee on a cold morning.

Also hello sugar rush. After a few months of trying to take it easy on the carbs and removing gluten from my diet all this candy in the house has made me into the unblinking mama. Scary.

We had a blast trick or treating the neighborhood last night. This is the first time we've lived where people still do that! The door to door bit! Most places we've lived our neighbors didn't encourage treaters and the kids went to other neighborhoods to do it. I'm pretty sure our neighbors figured out who we are or will later. I imagine the conversations will go like this:

"Ey did you guys get some kids last night that talk funny?"
"Oh yeah yaknow there's some new people here. From Tennessee or Kentucky or somewhere. They moved in this summer."
"Ohhh that's why they don't know how to say bayg. And those kids! They say 'thank you' all the time!"

Or at least that's what I'm imagining. And we still say bag like b-ah-g unless the kids are teasing me or D and then they said b-ay-g. It's the little things.

But now that we're on to the first of November I wanted to do some little thing to celebrate today. We're starting out with making horchata. I love this stuff in a pretty amazing way. Not that I'd trade a kid for some. Well, at least not on most days. 

First I needed some cinnamon. 

Weirdly enough I had two types on hand. One was a mexican cinnamon that I bought for a great price at one of my favorite discount grocery stores. It had a very woody smell when I opened it so I hadn't cooked with it yet. It's also... different. 

Instead of a traditional single roll it is a very dense roll of thin layers. I was showing the kids and talking about it and I broke two sticks in half. The traditional cinnamon smelled like a cinnamon roll. Earthy and deep. The specialty cinnamon smelled like red hots candy. Sweeter and a higher note. 

To begin I put a cup of rice in a jar and added the stick of specialty cinnamon. I imagine that regular cinnamon would work just fine but since I have it on hand I thought why not! Let's give it a whirl!

Next I added two and a half cups of hot water. Really hot.

Then I put the lid on and am going to let it sit for several hours. Suppose to be overnight but by the end of the night I'm fried like hashbrowns at Waffle House. Scattered and smothered. I never get things ready at night or do any sort of planning then.


So later in the afternoon I revisited my mix. I cut up a vanilla bean to add some flavor.

Then I checked on my jar. Sorry about the incredible changes in lighting! Hours had gone by.

It had turned really milky. After I added the vanilla and gave it a shake it looked a lot worse. Not like something you would ever drink. Ever.

So I took the mix and dumped it into the blender. Then I poured it through a small tea strainer. After a few filtering sessions it became smooth. I then added 2 cups of water and a half cup of sugar.

The final mix was smooth and wonderful. The cinnamon was too strong though, so I don't know if I should blend it differently or what. Even Fi tried it and said it was much better than the color looked. I think instead of the extra 2 cups of water it'd be fantastic with 2 cups of milk. Then it'd be like a thin eggnog. 

I'm totally going to try this again! I'll mix it up with other things and keep perfecting it until I get it right.  Anyone else tried to make their own? 

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