Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pink Panther party de la Pantera Rosa

Pink Panther party de la Pantera Rosa

Lately, I decided that it was time for my kids to be introduced to the REAL pink panther….not just the fun retro cartoons.  They have been watching those for years; the good ones, where Pink Panther does not have a voice (can’t stand those!).

I mean, of course, the classic Pink Panther Movies starring Peter Sellers.  I’m afraid that we watched those a lot when we were growing up, heh heh!  My favorite is the Return of the Pink Panther.  These movies will always remind me of my dad, and hearing him laugh his head off while watching those “old” movies with Inspector Clouseau!  (good times!)  I recently watched the Return of the Pink Panther alone, and just hearing the music (the other music, not just the theme by Henry Mancini) was a like a breeze from the past…and I realized how much my childhood perceptions were shaped by that movie!

I was telling the kids about Chief Inspector Dreyfus, the originator (in my opinion) of the “eye-tick” which is seen in every single cartoon produced today.  So many slapstick moments!

Also, I think that the starring actress, Catherine Schell, would be the embodiment of the 1970’s woman.  I don’t even know how to phrase that, but it’s what I thought when I re-watched the movie.

I can’t remember all the Pink Panther movies, though I just read about them on wikipedia, I’d have to see them to remember.  Ahem, I am not saying that you should rent these movies for your kids, or even that I’m going to let my kids watch all of them, I know, I know, there was a fair amount of grown-up content in some of them!  But we watched them with my Dad, who never failed to point out why the situations were inappropriate and how we shouldn’t believe (or emmulate) everything we watch on tv. Ahh, those teachable moments!

So we watched the Return, and I told my kids about watching it with Grandpa, and pointed out the best moments.  I think my love of “heist” movies probably started with this one!  And of course I had to mention the funny pun which is only made when you watch the Spanish dubbed version of the movie (which we used to watch on tv in Guate…”que cera sera?”)

I decided to make it a Pink Panther mini party, so this is what we had:A Pink Panther supper, starring pink rice (few drops of food coloring really livens up plain old food!!)Even the smallest things can make supper a bit more fun!

But of course I couldn’t leave it at that and had to go over the top and continue on and make cake pops for dessert (I had lots of leftover cake and icing sitting around here! really, it took hardly any time at all….)a glace cherry cut up nicely for the noses…other facial bits made from marshmallow fondant…my fave is the scared expression “oh no!”Forgot to mention the pink lemonade!!! (strawberry limeade actually) that sure pleased the troops!And we ate and watched the movie.  I think the kids kinda enjoyed it….the food anyways.  We all talked a lot through the movie, so it was a fun family night.  I didn’t make pink popcorn, which would have been cool (have no idea how to do that), but we did continue Pink Panther day the next morning at breakfast…He looks a lot like Tigger I think…And add some blueberries!

I’m really not trying to show off by sharing these (weird) things we do at my house….(if you saw the horrible mess that the kitchen was left in after this…yikes, you’d feel sorry for me and my fam!)

I just thought maybe someone else might have Pink Panther memories….or even be inspired to take a memory from your childhood and tell your kids about it…so they can share it, too.  Just add a few drops of food coloring to the rice (unless your kids get hyper from red coloring!hee), or to the cheesecake, or to the biscuits or bread…..(my dad never wanted to eat the green and pink versions of the food my mom used to make!)

Sometimes it takes only a tiny bit of effort to shake things up a bit!!  I hope these are the things that the kids will remember…and not the mess in the kitchen, gulp!!  (They do remember the green eggs and ham, though, I know! )

Refried black beans: frijoles negros


I lived in Guatemala for 17 years…and wouldn’t eat black beans.  My mom tried to trick us into eating them, but I wouldn’t.  About a month before I moved away, I finally tried them (of my own accord) and realized…they aren’t that bad!  I almost liked them!  Crazy, isn’t it?  And even crazier: refried black beans and rice are my favorite meal nowadays!

When I lived in Guate, and after I married Henry, my boss used to tease me and ask if I had prepared black beans for my husband yet…I always said “no way!! we eat McDonalds!”  (and that’s what explains the rapid weight gain after getting married!)  Now I make refried beans about once a week, and am so very happy that my kids eat them!!  Sorry Mom, for being so picky when I was little!  My kids aren’t totally perfect, but they sure are better eaters than I was!! Haha.

Anyways, about beans….and not just any beans.  They have to be black beans.  That’s what they eat in Guatemala.  I think in Mexico red beans are used more, and some other beans in El Salvador…I can’t quite remember which they prefer there….every place has their favorite beans!  Don’t think that I’m such a great cook and spend hours making beans from scratch….sorry to disappoint!  I make them from a can…it’s just easier and faster…and that’s what I’m all about.

When we came back from visiting our family in Guatemala at Christmas time, I squeezed 2 precious cans into my suitcase…

They taste soooo good!  These have already been refried, and are all ready to eat.  I haven’t been able to buy these where I shop, so I buy the whole beans and start with them.

I learned something new about canned beans when I was there.  I was in the kitchen one day, and my sweet little sister-in-law was going to prepare some canned refried beans (we were in a hurry!  usually they cook them from scratch) she opened a big can of them, then flipped them over, grabbed a very large knife and whack! whacked 2 holes in the bottom of the can!  It surprised me…I had never seen this done, and she seemed so at home with that large knife…and then she held the can over the pan and blew into the holes, and out popped the beans and into the pan!  Slick trick! 🙂

I was determined to try this little trick when I got home.  So I packed my cans of refried beans, flew for a day to get home, and waited for the right moment…

When the craving for beans came apon me, I grabbed my biggest knife and whack! whack!Oh, I guess that first I opened the tin…  If you should be fortunate enough to have a can of refried beans, this is a handy way of preparing it!Not sure if it matters what order you do it in, oh wait, yes, because you should be whacking it with the knife over the pan, but since I had my camera in one hand, I had to set the tin down on the countertop!

So really, you should already have your pan sizzling full of onions and garlic….plenty of chopped onions and garlic browning up in oil!Then whack your can!  (Children, do not try this at home. Let your parent do it, so if they accidently whack their hand with the knife, they are responsible to get themselves the necessary first aid.  I am super squeamish about first aid, so I whack very carefully!)Now invert the can over the pan, and give a big puff and blow through the knife holes!And the contents should plop out just like this!  Doesn’t that look appetizing?Now mash it up…

Add some more oil…you will need this to brown them up a bit more and start the final step…making the “maleta” (that means suitcase).I am so not an expert…I’ve seen experts flip this around, brown it a bit, then flip the frying pan in the air to flip the maleta over….it looks great, but no photos of that part!

Here’s a photo of the “maleta” of refried beans that we ate on New Years Eve…(this was several cans of beans)Prepared by my husband for the kids’ New Years’ Eve brunch out on the patio (enjoying perfect outdoor weather I must add…)Yum!!  I love these beans!

Here’s how I serve them back here in Canada:I don’t usually make rice how I learned in Guate, usually I make plain basmati rice, then serve them with (bought) salsa and sour cream or lately, cream cheese and tortilla chips (and sometimes scrambled eggs).  It’s my favorite meal and I could eat it every day….if it wasn’t for certain side-effects of beans….anyways…..Here’s my baby and her plate of beans…she really loves them, she was just sitting there waiting for me to finish photographing her food so she could eat it already!!!  Hmmm….I’m thinking of lunch now…wonder if I have any cans of beans in the cupboard….?

When I make them from the whole canned beans, I just cook them up with the onions and garlic, then use one of those little hand-held blender things (for making beverages and stuff) and blend up the beans in the pot.  Sometimes I add oil and fry them up a bit, and sometimes not.  Add salt!! that is necessary, even if you skimp out on the oil.

Since I’m trying to get my iron up, I’ve been trying to eat liver pate on toast in the mornings…well, the other day, I thought, maybe I should add some refried beans to my liver toast…and some cream cheese!  So I did, but I felt like I was having to choke it down…was I just getting tired of liver?  The only way I was able to eat it, was to smother my liver-bean-cream-cheese toast in Dorito chips…And it still wasn’t that good.   Later on that day, Henry looked at the liver pate in the fridge and told me that it had gone bad….I guess that explains it…and explains why my stomach felt “off” the rest of the day…

oh well, I ingested a fair amount of iron that day, what with the liver and beans and all….

I think I might just stick to the refried beans, though.

Hope this (first part of the post) has made you want to try some yummy refried beans!!  Hey…I just remembered the black bean volcano that I made for my son’s bday party…wonder if I have a photo…nope, couldn’t find it…I’ll post it another day…when I hear back about how many people love refried black beans!!! 🙂

How do you eat/prepare beans?  Do you have a Bean Tradition in your family?  Do your kids eat them?

Gibson Electric Guitar cake


I had an unexpected project this last weekend.  A friend called me up and asked if I could make a guitar cake for her brother’s 40th birthday, and could it be life-sized?  What a challenge!  Right away I googled “guitar cakes” to see what was online, then my friend sent me a photo of one of her brother’s guitars.  So I did a bit of research, since I didn’t even know what a Gibson guitar was.  And now I know a few more things about these electric guitars…like that the color is called Chicago Blue!

I found my trusty old cake pan (trusty, not rusty) that my mom and I used to use for wedding cakes…For some reason, I wanted to make a chocolate and cherry cake, so decided to make different layers.  This took a bit of experimenting.  The big round cake for the body, and then I did a couple of loaf pan cakes for the neck of the guitar…My brain was twisting, trying to figure out the best way of doing this…putting the cake on the cake board and cutting it, or shaping it before putting it on the board….??  I ended up filling and stacking the cakes while they were still on the baking racks…It seemed like a good idea…the chocolate layer with choco-brandy icing went ok, then the cherry layer with gooey cherry icing…And then I had to flip the vanilla layer upsidedown and position it over the cherry layer……waaaahh!!!It didn’t work!  Honestly, this was the point that I was going to burst into tears!  But I knew that “time was of the essence” so I just kept on….I had to cut the top layer up a bit, to get it back on properly, so the top of the cake was a bit patched up…

My husband helped me out so much getting this cake together (well, not in stacking up the layers, heh heh).  He traced out our paper blueprints for the guitar.  Later, I made up a list of all the little parts/knobs and stuff that needed to go onto it.Out of the rolled out marshmellow fondant, I started cutting out all the “hardware” for the guitar.Some tiny details…Trying out the silver edible spray paint:

Here are some action shots of me flipping the cake…they were quite heavy, but had to be flipped around to get it on the cake board.This is the one thing that I’m good at: keeping my cupboard doors closed…wouldn’t you know that because I was rushing around, one was open and appeared in the photo…that’s why I blurred it out!Carefully cutting through the layers..It ended up that there was enough layer cake from trimming the body, to use on the neck of the guitar, with only a bit of chocolate loaf cake for the head.After that things were so crazy busy there wasn’t even a second to snap some photos.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my husband’s help.  We slapped it together pretty quick….it was all the prep work that took forever…

Here’s some of the marshmallow fondant, and then skipping to the finished cake:Of course I didn’t notice till I saw the photos that some of the strings were twisted, they jumped a bit when the cake was moved.Working up to the last second:I called the filling “cherry neapolitan”What a big cake challenge, but fun, in a crazy kinda way!

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!


What a lovely day…Mother’s Day! 🙂  But I’m afraid that I was so busy letting my kids spoil me today, that I didn’t email my own Mom! 😦  Sorry Mom!

She is far far away, on a fun trip enjoying herself…it’s not like she’s home alone, sitting by the phone waiting for me to call…but I still feel sad for not talking to her today!  I hope that, being a Mom herself, she understands how crazy things can get.  I was so pleased to see that my kids actually were making an effort to pamper me…like serving me scrambled eggs and toast in bed…I just had to soak it in!  Then there was the moment when I had to jump in and help find socks, iron clothes, pack a picnic, make supper, clean up, etc, etc. and suddenly the day was gone and I was exhausted.

I hope you understand, Mom.  I thought about you so many times today, when I was doing things for my kids that I remember you doing for me.  I made home-made Tang sherbert, and that first taste took me straight back to when I was little and you used to make it for us!  And a song came on that you used to sing, and it was like I could hear your voice.  So I belted out the song, so my kids could hear me sing it, just like I used to listen to you sing it.  So many little things that I do and say are just like you, and even when I’m doing them, I’m aware how much I sound like you, and do things like you!!  🙂  I frequently think about that saying about how we turn into our mothers!!  Good thing you have always been such a wonderful mother! 🙂

Thanks, Mom, thank you for everything!  I love you!

Mi Novia Se Me Esta Poniendo Vieja


Here’s a music video for Mothers…from their sons.  Ricardo Arjona is from Guate, and I remember hearing his voice when I was young…

for many reasons, I cried my way through the video.  (The commercial before it is cute, too)  It’s sweet (when you understand the words, but even just seeing the images will give you the idea).

Este video esta lindo, del hijo a su madre.  Ricardo Arjona es de Guate, y desde joven oia su voz en todos lados…. por varias razones llore al ver el video este.  (el anuncio al principio esta bonito tambien! ja)  El Arjona se me esta poniendo viejo, tambien, eh?!  Que disfruten!

! Feliz Dia de la Madre!


Today, the 10th of May, is Mother’s Day in Guatemala.  And also in much of South America, (but not Argentina, that’s in October)  Mexico, Bahrain, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates, according to what I found on the internet.  I hope my info is right!  (Mexico might be the 8th of May…?)

So happy Mother’s Day to all our friends and relatives everywhere!!

I especially want to say a special Happy Mother’s Day to my very special Mother-in-Law!  I have been so blessed to have her in my life, as a friend, a sister in Christ, the mother of my husband, the abuelita to my children and as the woman who prayed for me even before I was born (for years before I was born!). Thank you for all your love and support, Mamita!

Quiero mandar un saludo especial en este Dia de La Madre para mi Querida Suegra!  He sido tan bendecida de tenerte en mi vida, como una amiga, como una hermana en Cristo, como la madre de mi esposo y la abuelita de mis hijos, y tambien como la mujer que ha orado por mi aun antes de que naciera (por a~nos antes de que naci!).  Gracias por todo tu amor y cari~no Mamita!


Rainbow cake, bunting and banners…


This is what I was up to after our little Cinco de Mayo celebration:  a baby shower.  I find myself going crazy for cakes, cupcakes, party banners and pretty much anything to do with party decorations.  Sometimes, it’s all I think about.  I’m not sure why, all of a sudden, but there you go….anyone need a cake/cupcakes for a party?  Just let me know!  And if you live far away and would like me to create some party printables for you, just let me know, too! 😉

For this baby shower, I used a digital kit called “i (heart) animals” from Ju Kneipp Designs.  I tried to make the cake match the decorations!  This shower was supposed to be “gender neutralish” because no one knew who baby is yet: he or she?  I thought this was a fun kit to work with, with cute colors, especially the dash of orange!  (I had wanted to make an orange layer for the cake, that would have been super dooper, but wasn’t able to squeeze that out of my time and energy….heh heh).