Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!!!

It was yesterday, but we were busy eating this yummy chocolate cake, so I came to post it here today!!
The recipe for the cake I already posted before but will post again, just because it is a super delicious chocolate cake! (to see the other post, click here)
And, besides the goodness, it makes a small square cake, which is the perfect size for the three of us. Yesterday I used a 9-inch round pan and it came out perfect; simple, but so rich and delicious... it was the best birthday cake ever paired with the strawberries and some vanilla ice cream.
You really have to make this one!

Chocolate Fudge Snack Cake
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, softened (if using salted butter then omit the salt from the recipe)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°.
Coat an 8-inch square baking pan (or a 9-inch round!!!) with cooking spray; dust with the 2 teaspoons flour.
In a bowl mix together flours, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, stirring, reserve.
With a mixer beat butter until smooth, add vanilla and granulated sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat for 3 minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
While beating at low speed, add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat just until everything is smooth and incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 28 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Yield: 9 servings

Adapted from Cooking Light, March 2003

This cake is already delicious plain, but if it is also your birthday and you love chocolate as much as I do, then go ahead and make your slice even more special!! And don't forget the vanilla ice cream - which I forgot to put on before taking the picture...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Carrot Couscous!

I was going to make couscous last week to serve with fish but wanted to change it a bit... you know, when you are going to make the basic because its easy and quick but you do want to add something extra just to make it feel a little more special?
Well, on a situation like that you open the fridge and start looking around, and then... you find some carrot juice just sitting there and smiling (ok, not smiling per se...), waiting to be put to a good use.
And to a great purpose it served, I made couscous with it!
For 1 cup of couscous I used 1 cup carrot juice and 1/4 cup water. Bring the juice and water to a boil together with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat, add couscous, stir a bit, cover and let it sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and it is ready to serve!
I mixed some green onions into our couscous and I really liked the flavors, and color, it added to it.
So here it is, an easy and simple idea, just to add that little something to the beloved easy-and-quick-to-make couscous.
Oh, and don't worry if you are not the biggest carrot fan, the couscous doesn't taste "carroty" at all. The flavor is so subtle that my husband couldn't even guess what was on it. In fact, next time I make this (which I will for sure) I will use all carrot juice, as I believe more of its flavor would've been very nice.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mickey Mouse Fun!!

Since we took Matheus to Disney World for the first time last year he got an addoration for all things Mickey!
But hey, there is no way one would not like these Mickey raviolis... aren't they cute?! And I have to say, they are yummy! But no, I didn't make them, we found them at the grocery store.
However, we have been making Mickey Pancakes at home!
Easy and fun, just pour your pancake batter as usual in the pan/griddle and then add a little bit of batter to each side of the pancake to make the ears. Flip as you would normally do with your regular pancakes and eat them with an even bigger smile on your face!
Oh, and if you would like a healthy and wholesome pancake recipe, take a look here for one I have posted before: Whole Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce.

I tell you, having kids and being a mommy is a lot of fun! Even breakfast makes you smile!!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

It was a Happy Happy Birthday!

A party with some free throws, great passes, one we definitely scored!
Matheus turned 6 on March 25... six... I still cannot believe, he is growing so fast.
However, I am enjoying each and every day of these first years of his life, while he still near me, smiling, playing around, always with a hug and some kisses to make his mommy happy!
We had a birthday party for him and his friends from school at a bounce-house-type-party-place and after one and a half hours playing, jumping, and running around, the kids were more than ready for some juice and cake - which this year turned out to be a Basketball Court (or half of it...).
Matheus enjoyed his party, his cake, and more than everything having fun with his friends, and that was more than enough and made me as happy as one could be!
And since I have been sharing my latest creations in the cake world with you I decided to post this one too. Inside it was a Chocolate Cake filled with whipped cream. I wanted to take a picture of a slice but I have to tell you, there were NO slices left.... the kids loved the cake and it was gone. My husband saved a piece, which I quickly took a bite and was happy to see why, it did came out very yummy!
For the cake recipe in English, the Cocoa Cake is posted here, and it is the same one I made for last years soccer birthday cake too.
If you would like to see a recipe in Portuguese, take a look at Eliana's blog, she has a yummy chocolate cake recipe posted here, which is where I got the idea to use whipped cream for the filling of mine. Super simple and the end result is perfect, so delicious and the kids really enjoyed! (and for birthday parties you can't ask for more than that!)
Hope you like it too!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Spring Break Lunch!
Matheus is on Spring Break this week and we are enjoying a full week of doing nothing - he is liking it quite a lot actually!
So our lunches have been simple and easy this week, even more so since it's been raining a lot and basically all we have been able to do is stay home and eat...
Today however, it was sunny outside, so we went out and came back with nice pieces of halibut for lunch.
The fish was simply seasoned with salt, pepper and olive oil and roasted in the oven until done.
With the oven on, I also roasted some asparagus (because Spring is asparagus time and this is Matheus' favorite vegetable - and we have been having it everyday this week!), a few baby carrots cut into coins (to roast more quickly), and a juicy tomato for each of us, filled with some leftover brown rice Parmesan risotto and sprinkled with some more Parmesan on top, yum!
Me and Matheus both love bok choy and for some reason I always think about greens when I buy fish. Well, it ended up there were no bok choy for us at whole foods today, so we came back with a pretty bunch of chard instead. It was actually my first time cooking red swiss chard, and it reminded me a lot of beet greens in terms of flavor.
The halibut and stuffed tomato were definitely the stars of the meal. The tomato was juicy and the Parmesan on top together with the rice formed the most delicious crusty topping we could have asked for. Matheus already asked for a repeat on this one! :0)
And the halibut was so moist and tender, flaky and delicious... yummm! When you have good fish fillets you really don't need to fuss much over it.
Simple, easy, and best of all, I only had one pan dirty, and that was because I decided to sautee the chard. Otherwise I would only have our plates and cutlery to wash, since all I had used was the baking sheet, which was purposely lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
Can't get much better (and flavorful) than that!