The Cake

Thank you all for the wonderful birthday wishes. I had a great night with my family. The kids spent the evening in Grammie’s craft box making me bouquets of flowers, cakes, ice cream and decorative plates. They had so much fun! My dad worked the grill, as the sun finally poked its head out. He made a delicious barbecue chicken with Vidalia onion bbq sauce. It was super juicy and grilled to perfection. The whole evening was perfect – lots of great food, laughter and reminiscence.

In the kitchen with my dad. Now he’s a climbing apparatus for my kids!

But now on to why you came here today. The cake. It’s not fancy and it’s not a batter from scratch, but my goodness if this isn’t the best darn cake out there. Well, maybe there are better ones, but you’ll never convince me otherwise. It’s so moist and so darned full of wonderful pumpkin and spice flavors, and it’s covered in cream cheese frosting! Continue reading

Reflections

Today is my birthday and tonight I’ll be spending it with Mr. N and Miss A (Mike will be at work) at my mom and dad’s house. I believe Grandpa will even be joining us.

Grandpa making a surprise visit one summer.

I’m going to enjoy a home cooked meal and a birthday cake made especially for me by my dad. I’ll share pics and the recipe with you all soon.

A home cooked meal at mom and dad’s. And yes, there is usually still a giant bottle of ketchup on the table.

Continue reading

It’s the Great Pumpkin

Okay, so it’s not quite the great pumpkin. It’s more like a tiny pumpkin. But if Mr. N and Miss A have taught us anything it’s that great things can come in tiny packages. 

Our cooking experience with Ecuador has taught us some helpful child rearing techniques. First we learned that serving popcorn with dinner is a way to ward off any complaints about dinner – even one that includes their least favorite ingredients, tomatoes and onions. We also learned that the quickest way to stop a three-year old’s tantrum in its tracks is to cut open a pumpkin. 

Our last Ecuadorian recipe on this little culinary tour is a dessert (of course!). We found tonight’s recipe, Dulce de Calabaza, while perusing Laylita’s Recipes and thought it sounded both fun and seasonal. The first step in the sweet pumpkin dessert is to remove the seeds and pulp from the pumpkin. I’m telling you, this step put an instant end to the so-called “witching hour” described by Parents magazine as “when the day’s stresses catch up with the whole family, turning well-mannered children into kidzillas.” Continue reading

Make It Pop

Our brief exploration into Ecuador has taught us quite a bit. For instance, it is one of only two countries in South America that does not border Brazil and it also includes the Galapagos Islands. Mr. N was even able to point out Ecuador in his social studies class this past week! We’ve also learned that Ecuador is known for its variety of seafood ceviches and particularly for its shrimp ceviche, or Ceviche de Camaron.

This recipe couldn’t be any easier, making it great for a weeknight meal or a dinner party appetizer. We started by thinly slicing a few tomatoes and a red onion. 

We tossed them into a bowl and Miss A added our juices – key lime juice (but regular lime would work just as well) and bitter orange juice. Continue reading

How Sweet It Is

Fall in rural Michigan.

It’s state night again and believe it or not, we’re done featuring all of our deliciousness from Maine. While we’re sad to see it go, we’re excited to press on with some new stateside adventures. In this post we will however be revisiting another state  – Michigan.  Only this time we’re not cooking with cherries, rather we’re going with some juicy Michigan blueberries (not to be confused with Maine blueberries ;) ) and peaches.

My mom and dad recently enjoyed a weekend getaway to the Traverse City area of Michigan, and when they came back my dad made a delicious blueberry and peach cobbler. My dad doesn’t bake often, but when he does you know it’s going to be something good (and usually something terribly caloric). Peach cobblers, banana breads and my birthday cake (which I’m looking forward to next week!) are some of his specialties.

Dad found this particular recipe in a magazine while they were away. It’s not a surprise that it caught his eye. And since we enjoyed it so much, we brought the idea home and put our own twist on it. We first made a visit to our farmer’s market to grab up some Michigan peaches and blueberries, the we got to work making our Blueberry-Peach Crisp. Continue reading

Ecuador!

This post’s title is dedicated to Charles at Five Euro Food who posted a link to this video in his comments on our Ecuadorian beans. Since then, I cannot say the word “Ecuador” without yelling it in my head (or out loud) just like in the song. Fortunately it makes me laugh every time too, so I’m not annoyed…yet. But I’ll give you fair warning, if you listen to the song you will never hear the word Ecuador the same way again. Ever.

In addition to our bean stew on Sunday, we also made a wonderful fruit dish. This recipe is again adapted from Laylita’s Recipes and would be wonderful on a hot summer day. We also thought it would be a great complement to our hearty and spicy beans. (Translation – just in case I hated the beans, I needed something to fall back on!)

The dish is called Come y Bebe, or Eat and Drink. It’s a brilliant concept for a fruit salad. It’s basically an Ecuadorian drinkable fruit salad with a name that the kids loved to say! Especially Miss A who loves all things “baby,” never mind it didn’t mean that kind of baby. Continue reading