Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Last Night In Barcelona: Bo de B Sandwich Shop

  This is the second-to-last Barcelona post (only 3 months late, and I still need to write about our Spanish guitar concert experience!), and it's about our dinner on our final night in the city. It'll just be a blurb, since my memory is already a bit hazy on the details.
 Since we were tired (and had eaten a HUGE lunch at El Cangrejo Loco), Yuki ran out for food while I stayed with Keila in the apartment. He returned with some amazing (and amazingly HUGE) sandwiches from Bo de B. Little did we know that this place is said to be the best sandwich shop in town, but even without that knowledge, Yuki used his deductive powers to guess that they had to be pretty good if there was a big line in front.
 He got us a roasted chicken sandwich, and also a vegetarian/falafel-like option. Both really good, both loaded with veggies (at his request). Great food, cheap prices, no complaints from us!!! I would definitely go back--they're like the I Due Fratellini of Spain. (Click HERE if you have no idea as to what I'm talking about).

Bo de B
c/Fusteria 14 Merce 35, 08002 Barcelona

Half a chicken sandwich, and half a loaded veggie sandwich from Bo de B

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rainbow Cake and Origami Butterflies: Keila's Birthday Party

  While it's fresh, I'm going to post a few pics from Keila's birthday party yesterday. The theme was a rather loose rainbow butterfly combo, mostly because when I asked Keila what she wanted, she agreed to any and all options presented including 'purple', 'blue', 'animals' and 'pretty'. So there you go.
  The rainbow cake turned out to be both harder and easier than expected. I got the idea off the Martha Stewart website ( but used a basic white cake recipe and didn't stick with the recommended filling or frosting recipes, either. After all, who wants to use 19 (yes NINETEEN) eggs in total when baking a cake? Not me. Plus, we were avoiding dairy and soy for one of our guests, so I substituted oat milk for cow's milk and non-hydrogenated margarine for butter. (Question: how do they make margarine without hydrogenating the oil? I probably don't want to know, right? Am guessing it's still not incredibly healthy).
 The cake recipe is here:  I have to say, for a plain white cake, it turned out really well, quite tasty!
 For the frosting, I used this recipe:   Seeing as I was frosting and filling a 6-layer cake, I doubled the frosting recipe, using the UK's Sunflower Pure Margarine. Also found that I didn't need any rice milk to thin out the frosting, either. And I didn't use quite as much powdered sugar as they called for. But it was still a LOT of sugar!
 So, baking the cake itself wasn't really difficult, just time-consuming to divide up the batter, color it, and then bake it in six different pans. All of the colors came out great, besides the red. I used red gel food coloring too, so not sure why it wasn't stronger? Anyone? Anyway, it was still pretty.
 The problems began while I was frosting and stacking the layers. I'd left the layers on parchment paper and just flipped each one over onto the growing stack after frosting the layer below. All was going well until....the layers started sliding around like greased hockey pucks!! AHHHHHH! Had completely forgotten that margarine isn't as dense as butter and therefore softens up much faster at room temperature. I managed to get the layers all stacked up, but the whole cake was doing a good impression of the Leaning Tower of Pisa by then. I hurried and shoved it into the fridge (at which point it toppled over and came to rest against a container of almond milk; imagine the sounds emanating from our kitchen at that point!!). I had thankfully reserved a lot of frosting in another bowl (also put in the fridge) for the next morning, hoping that the cake could be fixed.
  12 hours later...I pulled the cake out, shoved the layers somewhat back into place, and skewered them into place with 2 chop sticks. Topped the chopsticks with butterflies, frosted over the mess as best I could, and added more origami butterflies to try and conceal the damage. All this really did was make a rather tacky butterfly/leaning cake mess, but it was the best I could manage with the time that was left!
  So....ready to completely write off the stupid rainbow cake (even though Keila yelled 'PRETTY' upon seeing it)...imagine my surprise upon cutting it. Perfect rainbow layers inside!
Lesson learned....just cut the cake and don't show it to anyone before serving individual slices. Or use real butter and refrigerate the frosting in between each layer!
   As for the origami butterflies: they're quite easy to make and very cute for a child's party. I used them as decor and also as toppers for the party favors. Click on this link if you want the step-by-step tutorial:
 Finally, for a craft, I had the kids (with mom's help) glue strips of pastel rainbow paper onto pre-cut clouds. They then topped the clouds with cotton balls for a fluffy realistic effect. Or they just ate the cotton balls and/or licked the glue.

  I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking!

                       Lopsided Butterfly Rainbow Cake

                       Rainbow Cake! Amazing layers

               Children's Party Favors: Rainbow markers topped with ribbon and rainbow butterflies

                                   Rainbow butterflies on our rubber tree

               Rainbow butterfly streamers for the birthday party

                   Kids' Party Craft: Rainbow Clouds

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Keila Is 2 Years Old!!!

  Keila is 2 years old today!!! We had a great day to celebrate, too. A party with her friends in the morning (decorating cupcakes, a craft, and lots of playing), plus Daddy came home early so she got to eat dinner with him for once. Plus of course all the presents and cards she received. Keila had so many gifts that she couldn't even open them all today! All in all a wonderful day for this new 2-year-old.
  Here's her progress report:
1. Language. This kid comes up with some hilarious comments now. I really need to start writing them down more often. Keila often has an ongoing narrative about what she's doing at the moment. For example, tonight it was 'Beast! Chase! Hold you!!!' as she chased Wasabi (Beast) through the downstairs hallway. She also still tells a lot of stories and has an amazing memory. Yesterday Keila was talking about Uncle Andrew and Aunt Joke's wedding; she reminded me that Aunt Joke had yellow and orange flowers, which were 'pretty'.
2. Those last 2 teeth are still holding out. Hopefully by next month?
3. Sleep.....yeah. Keila went through the night 3 nights in a row the week before last, then caught a cold and went back to multiple night-time wakeups. Plus napping is down to only about an hour. Maybe by the time she's 3??
4. Keila has started climbing a lot more things recently. I caught her on top of the toilet the other day. Other activities include playing kitchen in her new kitchen (thanks Grandma!), having baby doll use the toilet and get a sticker as a reward, carrying Wasabi around, and helping Mommy clean the house. Now I just need to teach her how to wash dishes and we're all set!
5. Keila is potty trained!!! I'm still finding it hard to believe, but it's been over a week since she's had an accident, save for an occassional sleep-time wee in the diaper. Keila even used the potty while we were Milan over the weekend; go Keila!!!
6. Totally forgot to check Keila's weight and height for today. Oops. She seems pretty average for both but I'll try to remember for next month.
  Happy Birthday Keila!!!!!
  See her blog for more pictures 

                             Harassing Wasabi

                              Thanks, Grandpa!!!

                         Eating Rainbow Birthday Cake