Monday, March 24, 2008

One Birthday, Two Cakes

Miranda had her first birthday this past Thursday and we had a small family celebration with Papa, Jove, Abuela Tati and a close family friend. I made the simple cake pictured here, an Orange-Yogurt Cake that was yummy and simple to make (recipe to follow). When Jove turned one I didn't let him have any cake because I was way too uptight. Oh, how a second child has forced me to relax. Needless to say, Miranda ate it and loved it.

On Easter Sunday, we had a bigger family celebration with Jove and Miranda's Cousins (five of them), Jupiter's cousins, mom, sisters and dad who was visiting from the Dominican Republic. We got an amazing cake from a Greek bakery in Queens. I was too scared to make a big frosted cake for so many people. The party was more of an Easter party for kids with a birthday cake cutting thrown in for Miranda. It was really a great day of playing, egg hunting (hilarious!) and decorating, talking and letting many loving arms hold Miranda.

I got this cake recipe from a blog called Orangette and modified it slightly to make it an orange cake instead of lemon.

Orange-Yogurt Cake

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup white sugar
3 large eggs
1 and 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. grated orange zest
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tbsp. orange extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the first three ingredients and stir until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder and zest and mix only to combine. Add the oil and extract and stir to incorporate. Pour the batter into a round, buttered 9 inch cake pan. I also put buttered parchment paper in the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is firm in the middle and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack for at least twenty minutes. Turn it out of the pan onto a cake plate.

Optional glaze:

I made a simple glaze/sauce out of orange juice, sugar and some orange extract that I reduced over medium heat for about ten minutes and then I slowly poured about a cup of the liquid over the cake. Punching a few holes with a fork will allow the mixture to soak in and not run off the cake.

This cake is easy and tastes delicious.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The bare necessities

We have been pretty busy at our home lately: busy good (a vacation, family gatherings, keeping up with Miranda) and busy not-so-good (sick, taxes, keeping up with Miranda lol). I still make dinner pretty much every night, but I have reverted to cooking my standard dishes. I don't seem to have time to look up new recipes or make elaborate grocery lists. I haven't posted any recipes lately because I have no new recipes to share. I do plan on making a birthday cake for the smaller of two family celebrations of Miranda's first birthday, I'll keep you updated on how that turns out.

I will leave you with my weekly menu for the coming week:

Monday: Garbanzos in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Basmati Rice
Tuesday: Veggie Lasagna and a Green Salad with Goddess Dressing
Wednesday: Corn Tacos with Beans, Pepper Jack Cheese, Guacamole and Chicken-less Strips
Thursday: Curried Cous Cous Salad and Frittata and Birthday Cake!!
Friday: Red Lentil Soup with Rice or Crusty Bread

The weekends I leave open because I have more time and help to allow me to cook with ease. I find it comforting right now to make foods that I have made many, many times and soon I'm sure I will be ready to experiment again.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My new hobbie

Jupiter and I want our children to understand, speak, read and write Spanish. We are doing a pretty good job with the first one, but the other three tasks are considerably harder to accomplish. Jove speaks some Spanish, understands that it is a different language than English and that some people only speak Spanish. Jupiter only speaks Spanish to him, but of course Jove responds in English. This is passive bilingualism and we want active bilingualism, where Jove initiates speaking in Spanish without being prompted.
He is so dominant in English that I decided to work hard to increase his Spanish skills. I have been reading to him in Spanish, speaking only Spanish as the family language the days that my MIL stays with us and we have been singing a lot of Latin American children's songs. My husband and MIL didn't know the words to many of them, so I have been on a research mission. We have gotten CDs, looked up lyrics and found animated videos of the songs on youtube. We have been singing them in the car and watching the videos everyday. The quality of the videos isn't that great, but Jove is starting to sing the songs and ask me to sing them to him. Woo Hoo!!!

This is one of Jove's favorites and one he knows.
Los Pollitos
(The Baby Chicks)

This is one of my favorites:
La Orquestra de los Peces
(The Fish Orchestra)

I realize that this music is pretty cheesy, for that matter, I am pretty cheesy lately. When Jove gets a little older I'll teach him the words to Latin music for grown ups, bit for right now it is a little too abstract for him to relate to.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Letter Man

My little man Jove is pretty obsessed with letters these days; he spices up his discussions of letters with a few rhyming words. He is almost completely disinterested in writing letters, but he loves to make letters out of household objects and toys. One day he uses train tracks (pictured above), or he'll use pieces of paper, sticks, anything really. He also likes to look out the window and find letters in what he sees; one day he tells me a TV antenna on top of a house looks like a lower case t. I say to myself "lower case, when did he learn that?" So I asked him where he learned about upper and lower case letters and he tells me on the computer.

Jove got a cool bag from his Auntie Heather for Christmas this year and when we got it I told him we could use it as a library book bag and he tells me, "No, it is my superhero bag." Ok, Superhero Jove. He says he needs it to carry around his superhero stuff. One rainy day we were playing mailman, he wrote letters and delivered them to "mailboxes" around the house and he said he needed an outfit to pretend to be a mailman, so he wore his cape and his superhero bag. Go Mailman Jove!!