Olive Oil Cake

Olive Oil Cake

My grandmother (Oma) was an amazing cook. Everything this woman prepared, was delicious. She cooked with all her heart and fed anyone that came through her door.  Oma didn’t own a single cook book, instead, she cherished a few handwritten recipes from her mother. She prepared simple dishes with simple ingredients. We never had a fancy meal. Roasted chicken, oven potatoes and carrots was our Sunday meal. Occasionally, we had apple strudel or plum cake for dessert. Frosting was reserved for birthday cakes, and she never sweetened whipping cream.

My grandmother’s grocery shopping looked very different than what’s in the typical grocery cart today.  Once a month, Oma and Opa did their “big” shopping. Their cart was filled with sugar, flour, olive oil, lettuce, apples, dry beans, fresh carrots, potatoes, milk, eggs,  fresh bread and fresh meats.  Today’s grocery shelves are packed with all kinds of boxes and bags, pouches and cans.  I’m not judging here, just noticing the changes.

Olive Oil Cake

This olive oil cake reminds me of the simple cakes my grandma used to bake. It’s quick and easy to make, without any “fancy” ingredients. The cake is so moist and delicious and tastes even better the second or third day. I love it with a cup of coffee. Never say no to cake for breakfast, right?!

You could frost it or add things like chocolate chips, blueberries, nuts, etc., but to me,  this cake is pretty in its own simple way.

Olive Oil Cake

Olive Oil Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 eggs

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup whole milk

2 tsp grated orange zest

Juice of one orange (about 1/4 cup)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan (or a regular 9-inch bake pan) with a thin layer of olive oil. Line  the bottom with parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl mix sugar and eggs until creamy, about 3 minutes.

Add olive oil, milk, orange zest, and juice.

Fold in flour mixture.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted into center comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.

Olive Oil Cake

 

Tips For Cleaning Brushes

Tips for cleaning brushesSpring is almost here and what better time to clean your beauty tools? Last weekend, I cleaned every hair, make up, and toothbrush in my house. While I try to clean my make up brushes at least once a month, for some reason, my hair brushes are often forgotten. They get pretty dirty with repeated use, especially if you’re using styling products. By cleaning your brushes regularly, you are going to remove gunk, oil, product buildup, and even dead skin. You can buy expensive brush cleansers, but I like to use simple household items to make my tools clean again.

Toothbrush

tips for cleaning brushes

Some germs go down the drain, but far too many remain on our toothbrushes. Soak your toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash. Rinse thoroughly before using again.

Makeup Brushes

Mix one part olive with one part dish soap. The olive oil will help condition and moisturize the bristles. Swirl the bristles around to break down any makeup residue.

tips for cleaning brushes

Rinse only the bristles.

Tips for cleaning brushes

Lay brush flat to dry.

This mixture also works great for cleaning beauty sponges.

Hair Brushes

tips for cleaning brushes

Back in the days, this was my grandmother’s method. Use a comb to remove hair. In a container, combine 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp shampoo and 1 cup of warm  water. Submerge the hair brush and soak for at least 30 minutes. Rinse with water.

Doesn’t it feel good to use a gunk-free, clean brush on your skin and hair?

 

How often do you clean your brushes? Do you have any tips and tricks you’d care to share?

 

Life Lessons From A Single Mom

single mom

As the country looks for clues about what turned Nikolas Cruz into a cold-hearted mass shooter, many “experts” blame his violent behavior on a “broken home”. According to numerous media accounts, the shooter came from a fatherless home.  Apparently, single moms are now the main cause of males becoming mass shooters. The unfair stereotype is still invoked: a single mom presides over a broken home that produces a troubled child.

As a single mom of three, I don’t agree with this popular prejudice. Many single parents do their job of parenting extremely well. My children are a good example. In May, my oldest daughter will graduate law school at just 23 years of age.  Her sister is getting ready to graduate college, summa cum laude. At 14, my son is a straight “A” high school freshman. My kids love life, people, and animals. They are responsible, hard-working, caring human beings. I’m incredibly proud of them.  Not all children raised by a single mother end up as mass shooters or drug dealers.

From my experience, when it comes to creating a healthy family, it’s not the number of parents in a home, but the quality of parenting a child receives that matters most. A home is only “broken” when healthy family dynamics break down: communication stops, love is absent, or destructive behavior sets in, for example.

What is true is that single mothers and fathers must take on additional family responsibility. However, by rising to this enormous challenge,  single parents develop remarkable skills and strengths  worthy of appreciation and recognition.

Here are just a few strengths/skills and ideas I have developed and (hopefully) passed down to my children.

single mom

1. Be resilient and never give up.

Since becoming a single mom, seven years ago, I’ve had to face all the challenges by myself.  As hard as things sometimes get, my kids picked up some significant perks from watching me do so much. They’ve learned how important it is to come up stronger every time they have a new, painful experience. My kids know about the art of taking life’s losses in stride. Learning the skill to recover quickly from difficult situations goes a long way with the ability to adapt and persevere.

2. Be financially savvy.

In my house we don’t waste money or food. Learning how to stretch a dollar – a skill which my kids learned at a young age – seems to come with the single mom territory.  My kids have developed a frugal mindset and have far less money stress than most people their age. These lessons go a long way in forging their path towards financial independence.

3. It’s ok to be alone.

People often ask me whether I date. The answer is “no”. I’m a happy, healthy, and busy woman, who doesn’t need a man to be happy . I tell my girls I may be alone, but I’m not lonely.  Doing things alone can be a wonderful thing. One of the best things my daughter Christy did while interning in New York was explore the city by herself. She was alone and independent… and she was incredibly happy. Meanwhile, my boy has learned to value my and his sisters’ strength and independence.

4. Develop multitasking.

My daughters are two of the best multitaskers I know. From the day I became a single mom, they knew that between work, home, and after school activities, their mom is juggling nonstop. My kids caught this skill automatically and will reap the benefits all through their lives.

5. Enjoy the small things.

When life has more challenges than luxury, everything is much more appreciated. Every little happiness calls for a celebration. I urge my kids to live a full and vibrant life. No point in waiting for things to happen down the road. I encourage them to be passionate, to love deeply and to live every day fully. In our house, memories and special moments triumph possessions. You can’t buy true joy or love.

6. Women are as capable as men.

My kids have seen me do just about anything: from gutting a bathroom to changing car filters, to cutting trees and mowing the lawn, to paying bills, to decorating a birthday cake, to curling my hair and applying make up. etc. This has given them an enlightened view of gender roles.

7. Be independent.

Watching me take care of our family on my own has taught my children to value their education, career and worth in an everlasting way. My kids don’t rely on other people to take care of them. It’s important to be able to be independent and do things on your own.

8. Stay organized.

Single parents manage a lot of responsibility. It takes organization and routines to run a home efficiently. As a result, all my kids thrive in a clutter-free, organized environment.

9. Your siblings are your “forever” friends.

I will not live forever, but I hope that my kids will always have the strongest bond with each other. After all they have been together through awkward, embarrassing, joyous, and miserable times.

10. Raising children alone is the hardest job in the world. 

It is always a privilege to be raised by both parents but sometimes life has something else in store for us.  Sure, our lives would have been different with two parents. But that doesn’t mean they would have been better. My kids learned about sadness and frustration from me. But they also learned about joy, determination, gratitude and love. So much love for all of them.

single mom

What are your thoughts on this controversial topic? Are you a single parent? I’d love to hear your thoughts.