An Untraditional Dead Bread

An Untraditional Dead Bread

posted in: Breakfast, Desserts, Food, Snacks | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Growing up in the southwest we learned Spanish in school and at the start of every November we would celebrate Día de los Muertos with our class. Día de los Muertos is a three day celebration in Mexico, during which families celebrate their relatives that have passed. It is believed that during these three days, family members return to the living world to visit, therefore offerings are made to help them celebrate. You can read more about Día de los Muertos here. One of the most common food offerings is Pan de Muerto, or Dead Bread.

During school we would make and eat this bread at our Spanish class festivities. Traditional Dead Bread is an enriched yeast bread, made wth milk and eggs and flavored with anise seeds. However today we wanted to present an alternative to the traditional Dead Bread.

Our first variance from the tradition is the omission of anise seeds. Al is not a fan of anything licorice tasting at all, therefore we left them out.

Our next variance was born purely out of an accident. Our original recipe included sweetened condensed milk instead of whole milk. While perusing the options at the grocery store, we picked out a couple of cans of our go to brand, Eagle Brand but then we also decided to try a different brand, La Lechera. The La Lechera brand also had some other interesting options including Dulce de Leche Caramel. Very pleased with our purchases of all the different options, we waltzed home to make our Dead Bread. We decided to try the La Lechera sweetened condensed milk but with all the cans looking similar, instead of opening the correct can, we opened the Dulce de Leche Caramel. This is probably the best baking mistake we have ever made! The bread turned out extra moist with a deeper yellow color than other versions we have made with whole milk or sweetened condensed milk.

Another switch we made from tradition is the finishing of the bread with granulated sugar, which is usually sprinkled on right right after the loaf comes out of the oven. We love cinnamon so we decided to substitute cinnamon sugar and then we helped it adhere better by brushing melted butter on the top then sprinkling the cinnamon sugar onto the loaf.

Forming the shape of the Dead Bread is probably the most challenging step of this whole process. Traditionally the loaf is topped with a skull and crossbones. How elaborate this decoration is, is up to the baker. We kept it pretty simple. We took 8 ounces of the dough after the first rise and separated it into 5 pieces. With the remaining dough, we formed it into a round loaf and then made a golf ball sized indentation in the middle. Next, we formed the skull and crossbones. We rolled four of the pieces into cylinders, lightly brushed one side with water and placed them on the main loaf, meeting in the middle. The fifth piece we rolled into a ball and then flattened it slightly. We also brushed a little bit of water on the underside of this piece and placed it in the center, covering the mesh points of the crossbones, to be the skull.

One last tip before we share our recipe. While baking, leave the loaf uncovered for the first half of the baking time to allow the loaf to brown, then tent the loaf with a piece of aluminum foil to protect it from over browning and drying out.

An Untraditional Pan de Muerto

An Untraditional Pan de Muerto

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water (110-115°F)
  • 1 packet (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup La Lechera Dulce de Leche Caramel
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 scant tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Pour the warm water into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add yeast and pinch of sugar. Mix to wet the yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In a small sauce pan, heat butter on low until just melted. Add Dulce de Leche Caramel. Whisk to combine. Make sure not to heat over 115°F.
  3. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl, whisk in salt and the warm butter and caramel mixture.
  4. Carefully add the egg mixture to the yeast mixing bowl.
  5. With dough hook attachment, mix to combine all of the liquid ingredients.
  6. While mixing, slowly add the flour a cup at a time. Once you have added 4 cups, keep adding a little until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl.
  7. Let the dough knead fro 5 minutes in the stand mixer.
  8. Spray a large mixing bowl with oil. Add the dough and cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap. Let rise for an hour, until doubled.
  9. Cover a sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper.
  10. Remove 8 ounces of the dough and set aside.
  11. With the remaining dough, shape by folding it onto itself, forming a round loaf. Place on prepared baking sheet. Make an indentation in the center of the loaf about the size of a golf ball.
  12. Divide the 8 ounces of dough into 5 pieces (1.6 ounces) roll four into long cylinders (bones), roll the fifth portion into a ball (skull).
  13. Brush a small amount of water onto one side of each of the long cylinders (bones) and form a cross with each piece meeting in the indentation of the main loaf. Brush a small amount of water on the ball (skull) and press into center of loaf.
  14. Cover with oiled piece of plastic wrap and let rise for 40-60 minutes, until doubled.
  15. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  16. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 200°F. Tent the loaf halfway through baking to avoid over browning.
  17. Remove loaf from oven.
  18. Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.
  19. Working in sections, brush melted butter onto the loaf and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
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Our newest Banana Bread obsession

Our newest Banana Bread obsession

posted in: Breakfast, Desserts, Food, Snacks | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

We have previously posted several banana based recipes: Banana Chocolate Chip Scones, Banana Oatmeal Muffins, even dog treats. We have also featured our “Best” Banana Bread. However, the previous recipe for the “Best” Banana Bread has been dethroned as the “Best.” We still love that recipe but the one we are sharing today is even better.

Our new, favorite banana bread has walnuts in it, we had NO idea what we were missing out on! Use a food processor to pulse your nuts to get them finely chopped but be careful not to over process or you won’t be able to taste them in the bread.


Another lesson we have finally learned is lining the loaf pan with parchment paper before pouring the batter in. This makes the removal so much easier and you no longer have to hold your breath hoping the loaf comes out perfectly.

Our last tip is letting the eggs come to room temperature. Room temperature eggs allow for the incorporation of air and sugar to volumize the bread.

Best Banana Bread

Best Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (255 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups (255 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 2 T sour cream
  • 1 T vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, salt and walnuts. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk sugar and eggs on medium speed until they are light, fluffy and an off white color. About 10 minutes.
  4. While waiting for the sugar and egg mixture to whip, mash bananas and add sour cream and vanilla extract.
  5. After 10 minutes, while still whisking, drizzle in vegetable oil.
  6. Reduce speed to low, carefully add the banana mixture.
  7. Remove mixing bowl from stand mixer and gently fold in flour mixture.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 75-85 minutes. Time will be dependent on how large your bananas are. Be careful not to overbake.
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Fluffy and Delicious Dinner Rolls

Fluffy and Delicious Dinner Rolls

posted in: Food, Side Dishes | 1 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away and if you are like us, you are probably in the beginning stages of assembling your menu. One major part of our Thanksgiving menu is rolls. We are devout carb lovers therefore a holiday dinner is not complete without fluffy dinner rolls.

Fluffy Dinner Rolls

When we were younger, we always bought Pillsbury Flaky Layers Biscuits to consume with our turkey and gravy. While these biscuits are delicious, they just aren’t the same as homemade bread. In a pinch or a nostalgic moment, we still eat these biscuits.

But since Thanksgiving is a great time to try new things on your menu, give these dinner rolls a try. They are simple to make and the end result is delicious.


To start, mix warm water and yeast in stand mixer bowl. Let sit for 10-15 minutes covered with a tea towel, until frothy.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together milk, egg, vegetable oil, sugar and salt.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Add the liquid mix to the yeast mixture. Stir to combine using the dough hook attachment.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Add all of the flour and mix until a shaggy dough has formed on level 2.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Continue kneading the dough for 8-10 minutes on level 2. Dough will be smooth, slightly tacky and will spring back when poked.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Spray large mixing bowl and a piece of plastic wrap with oil. Place dough in prepared bowl, then cover with the plastic wrap. Gently press the wrap onto the dough surface so it stays moist.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Cover bowl with tea towel and let rise 45-60 minutes, until doubled in size.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Carefully remove plastic wrap and place aside to reuse. Flour a cutting board and dump dough out.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Cut into 12 pieces. Fold each piece onto itself to form a smooth to then roll into balls. Place into 11×7 pan.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Cover pan with saved plastic wrap and tea towel. Let rise again about 30 minutes until pillowy and doubled in size.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt tablespoon of butter and gently brush onto tops of the risen rolls.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Devour one or three!
Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Fluffy and Delicious Dinner Rolls

Fluffy and Delicious Dinner Rolls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c warm water (105-110°F)
  • 1 T active dry yeast
  • 1/2 c milk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 16 oz all purpose flour
  • 1 T butter
  • Special equipment: Stand mixer with dough hook

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixing bowl, combine warm water and yeast, stir to mix then cover with tea towel. Let sit 10-15 minutes until frothy.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, egg, vegetable oil, sugar and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture.
  3. Stir a couple of times with the dough hook attachment to incorporate.
  4. Carefully add all of the flour to the mixing bowl. Mix until a shaggy dough forms.
  5. Then knead on level 2 for 8-10 minutes. Dough will be smooth, slightly tacky and will spring back when poked.
  6. Spray a large mixing bowl and a piece of plastic wrap with oil. Transfer dough to prepared bowl and cover the dough with the plastic wrap, pressing it around the dough. Cover bowl with tea towel and let rise for 45-60 minutes, until doubled in size.
  7. Lightly flour a cutting board. Carefully remove the plastic wrap and set aside to use again.
  8. Dump dough onto cutting board. Cut into 12 pieces, fold the pieces onto themselves and roll into balls. Place in an 11x7 pan.
  9. Cover with the oiled plastic wrap again and cover with tea towel. Let rise for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size and pillowy looking.
  10. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  11. Melt tablespoon of butter and lightly brush onto the risen rolls.
  12. Bake 15-18 minutes until lightly golden.
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Homemade Pita Bread

Homemade Pita Bread

posted in: Food, Side Dishes | 8 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

After years of purchasing pita bread from the store, we decided to try making it ourselves. We discovered that not only is it easy to make, it is also much more tasty when it is fresh out of the oven.
super-simple-homemade-pita-bread
Fresh pita is delicious by itself, but also works well when slathered with our Cool and Tangy Tzatziki or stuffed with our Delicious Grilled Chicken SouvlakiPita is by definition a flatbread; it is made with flour, water and salt, and has a pocket in between the layers.

We previously blogged about our love for the Great British Bake Off. This weekend, we finished bingeing on season 6, and in episode 5 “Alternative Ingredients,” the bakers made gluten-free pitta bread using psyllium powder and nigella seeds. We recognized psyllium from that well known powder that keeps you regular, Metamucil. We had never heard of nigella seeds. Apparently, they are also know as “black cumin”- sounds good; we love cumin!

So if you are looking for a gluten-free version of pita, Paul Hollywood’s version seems like a beautiful option. It looks pleasantly hearty!


The first step to creating perfect pita is to mix some water and sugar.
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Add yeast and 70 grams all purpose flour, mix. Let sit 15 minutes.
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After 15 minutes, the mixture will be frothy. Add salt, olive oil, and the remaining flour.
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Mix until shaggy ball is formed, then mix two minutes. The dough will look like the photo below. If dough is too wet, add more flour.  Let rest 10 minutes.
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After ten minutes, the dough will have risen slightly. Mix for another two minutes.
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Put dough into large mixing bowl that has been oiled and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
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Let dough double in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.
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Punch down and portion into 8 balls. Cover with tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
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Balls will have risen slightly.
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Keep dough balls covered as you work so they won’t dry out.
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Work one ball at a time.
pita-bread-11
Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness.
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Carefully place dough onto preheated baking sheet.
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Bake for two minutes, bread will be puffed up. Flip.
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and cook 1 minute more.
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A perfect pile of pita!
pita-bread-16

Homemade Pita Bread

Homemade Pita Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 c lukewarm water (between 105-110°F)
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 2 t active dry yeast
  • 410 grams all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Special Equipment: Kitchen Aid Mixer and heavy duty baking sheet

Instructions

  1. Mix water and sugar in Kitchen Aid mixing bowl.
  2. Add yeast to water then add 70 grams flour and whisk.
  3. Cover bowl with clean tea towel and let sit for 15 minutes in a warm place, until mixture is frothy.
  4. Add salt, kosher salt and remaining flour to the mixing bowl.
  5. Using dough hook attachment, mix until a shaggy ball has formed then mix for two minutes. If dough looks too wet add a little more flour.
  6. After the two minutes, cover with tea towel again and let sit for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove tea towel and mix for another two minutes.
  8. Coat large mixing bowl with a thin layer of olive oil.
  9. Remove dough from mixing bowl and place into oiled bowl.
  10. Lightly oil a piece of plastic wrap and then place it over the dough and tuck it around the edges so the dough is completely covered.
  11. Cover bowl with tea towel, place bowl in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Leave until the dough has doubled in size.
  12. Prepare the oven: Remove all racks except one on the lowest level possible, place heavy duty baking sheet on the rack, preheat oven to 500°F.
  13. Punch down dough and divide into 8 pieces on a floured surface.
  14. Form into balls and place on a floured surface, cover with tea towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
  15. Working with one ball at a time, roll until about 1/8 inch thick.
  16. Carefully pick up circle and place onto hot baking sheet.
  17. After 2 minutes the dough will be puffed up, turn and bake 1 minute more.
  18. Repeat with remaining balls.
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Super Easy and Yummy French Dip Sandwiches!

Super Easy and Yummy French Dip Sandwiches!

posted in: Food, Main Dishes | 3 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

French Dip sandwiches are always one of our top choices when we go to a cafe. They seem quite fancy, but they are easy to make for fine dining at home, especially if you make a brief stop at the deli.

You only need a couple of ingredients before you can devour this delicious sandwich: beef au jus, a soft hoagie roll, roast beef and cheese.
Super Easy French Dip Sandwiches

For the Au Jus

Beef au jus seems like a really fancy ingredient but today, it is very easy to come by without slaving over the stove. You can buy dry packet mixes to make the au jus, but recently we discovered this jar of amazingness: Better Than Bouillon Roasted Beef Base.
french-dip-sandwiches-1
Even though it is labelled as reduced sodium, we found it to be perfectly salty, and very meaty tasting. The preparation is also very simple, scoop a heaping tablespoon of the base into 2 cups of boiling water, stir and it’s done.
french-dip-sandwiches-2

Toast the Roll

The perfect roll for a French Dip is soft and easy to bite. These Francisco French sandwich rolls are perfect!
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Heat some butter in a frying pan to toast the inside of the roll.
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The end result is a beautifully toasted golden roll.
french-dip-sandwiches-5

Like Arby’s, We Have the Meats

We love Costco and we just recently discovered they have sliced deli meat that is both inexpensive and tasty. This roast beef is very yummy.
french-dip-sandwiches-6
To heat the beef, let it take a quick dip in the au jus made in the first step.
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Then put it directly onto the toasted bread.
french-dip-sandwiches-8

And Now, Some Cheese

Some people don’t put cheese on their French Dip sandwiches, but we are cheese lovers so we can’t resist. We went with this velvety baby swiss.
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Put the cheese onto the heated beef and let it melt.
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The last step is to ladle some of the au jus into a bowl.
french-dip-sandwiches-11

Et voilà!

A feast!
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Beautiful layers of beef.
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Going in for a dunk in the delicious au jus.
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The bread soaks up the au jus, making for a perfect bite.
french-dip-sandwiches-15

Super Easy and Yummy French Dip Sandwiches!

Super Easy and Yummy French Dip Sandwiches!

Ingredients

  • Better Than Bouillon Roasted Beef Base
  • Water
  • Francisco French Rolls
  • Butter
  • Sliced Roast Beef
  • Sliced Baby Swiss

Instructions

  1. For au jus: Follow instructions on jar, you may need to add more base to your liking.
  2. Toast the roll: Heat butter in a frying pan, open roll to expose inside, place face down in butter and toast until brown.
  3. Heat roast beef in the prepared au jus.
  4. Place heated roast beef on toasted roll, then top with cheese.
  5. Ladle au jus into a small bowl.
  6. Serve warm.
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Our Best, Beautiful Banana Bread

Our Best, Beautiful Banana Bread

posted in: Breakfast, Desserts, Food, Snacks | 6 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

Our family loves bananas, we always have a supply on hand. Even when you eat them everyday, you can still get a couple that ripen too quickly and are better for baking than for eating alone. We have previously shared a couple of banana recipes: Banana Oatmeal Muffins and Banana Chocolate Chip Scones.

twitter beautiful banana bread

Today’s banana recipe is for the very best banana bread. We have tried lots of banana bread recipes and this is the only one that we can all agree tastes delicious. It is the same one our mom baked for us when we were little kids!

The most important ingredient in banana bread is of course B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Make sure to mash them up well, you don’t want too big of chunks in your bread.
banana bread - 1
The dry ingredients, flour and baking soda.
banana bread - 2
Softened butter and glorious granulated sugar.
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The butter and sugar creamed together.
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Add in the eggs and vanilla.
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The liquid mixture is now complete.
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Carefully add in the dry ingredients.
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Mix until incorporated.
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Now it’s time for the bananas.
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Take your time mixing in the bananas, at first it will be a little difficult but in the end, you have banana pieces all throughout.
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Pour the batter into a buttered loaf pan.
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Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
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Slice and enjoy!

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Grease a 5x9 loaf pan.
  3. Cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla.
  5. Combine flour and baking soda, then add to liquid mixture.
  6. Stir in mashed bananas.
  7. Pour into prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.
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High Carb, High Fat Breakfast of Champions: A Simple Pleasure

High Carb, High Fat Breakfast of Champions: A Simple Pleasure

posted in: Breakfast, Food | 0 | This post may contain referral links. See privacy policy for more.

In the low fat, low carb world we live in today, sometimes a girl just wants some carbs and some fat. I’ve had some buttered toast in my day, and to date this recipe is tops in my book. It starts with Sara Lee Artesano Style Bread.

butteredtoast1

The next ingredient is President butter. (Apparently France’s #1 Butter! I can certainly see why. Such salty, smooth goodness.)

butteredtoast5

The bread and butter cost $2.99 each at Safeway, bringing the total cost $5.98. “That seems like a lot for something so boring,” you might say. To some this may be true, but not to me. I believe it’s worth every penny.

I’ve tried the 99 cent bread with “healthy butter” made of oils. It’s just not the same. (And no, we’re not sponsored by Sara Lee or President.)

butteredtoast2

Look how thick that bread is! It’s practically homemade! It almost looks like Texas Toast. Hmm, speaking of Texas Toast…

butteredtoast3

I actually fell in love with buttered toast in Texas. I was about ten years old and our family drove out to El Paso for a fun family weekend trip.

We only ended up staying one night in a dirty room, sleeping on lumpy beds. After a terrible “continental breakfast” of buttered toast, run-ins with unfriendly hotel staff, and a shortage of suitable sights to see, we drove around the UTEP Campus and started driving back home.

butteredtoast4

The vacation became known as the “36 Hour Trip to El Paso” in family lore. El Paso is a lot like Tucson since they are both located in the desert southwest. Therefore, it was not a very interesting trip since it was just like home.

butteredtoast6

To me, however, the vacation became known as “the dawn of buttered toast.” I have loved it ever since. My favorite restaurant to get quality B.T. is Village Inn, where it comes to your table already buttered with nearly anything you order!

Sooooo goooood. Just add some Smuckers and you’re set. The breakfast of champions indeed!

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Do you enjoy buttered toast? What are your other high fat, high carb guilty pleasures?

High Carb, High Fat Breakfast of Champions

High Carb, High Fat Breakfast of Champions

Ingredients

  • 2 slices Sara Lee Artesano Bread
  • President Butter

Instructions

  1. Toast your bread
  2. Butter your bread
  3. Devour your high fat, high carb breakfast of champions!
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