Duermete Mi Niño Lullaby, Go to Sleep My Child

The baby is Isis, I the grumpy toddler  
I had a goal of posting a recipe every week, but sometimes goals need to be modified, because life is to be lived and enjoyed as it happens. The last couple of weeks I have been spending time helping my daughter  with her new baby. I have made many meals (making extra to freeze for the days to come when she will be too busy to think of cooking), played  all kinds of games with the 3 year-old big brother, and got to hold and rock the baby! I find rocking a baby to be a very grounding experience. When rocking, singing, and caring for a little child, all other cares seem to fade into the background, and I am reminded of the things that really matter in life. I am so grateful to be able to enjoy this sacred time with my new grandchild.  
Mamina & Nina

So instead of a food recipe, this week I'm posting a recipe for putting babies to sleep! This is a lullaby my mother sang to my sisters and me. I can actually remember being in my mother's arms, as she rocked and sang to me. I don't know if this means I have a great memory, or if she continued to rock me until I was much more than a baby!  I put my children to sleep with this same song and now my grandchildren also hear it sung by me and by their parents. 

My children were surprised to hear that there were so many verses; they only remembered the first few. I guess they fell asleep and missed the rest! Several family members have asked for the words, here they are in Spanish, and then the translation (thank you Isis!). I'm afraid this will not be interesting unless you speak Spanish, it doesn't rhyme at all in English. 

Any Cubans out there (or anyone of Spanish descent) remember this song from their childhood? Did it originate in Spain? Are there any other verses? 

I don't know much about music, but a friend wrote up the notes for me. 

Duermete Mi Niña (or Niño)
CORO entre cada verso:  Duermete mi niña, duermete mi amor, 
                                   duermete pedazo de mi corazón.
Tu mamá te quiere, tu papá también,
todos en la casa te queremos bién.
Mamina with one of my sons.

Esta niña linda que nació de dia
quiere que la lleven a la dulcería.

Esta niña linda que nació de noche
quiere que la lleven a pasear en coche.           
Esta niña linda se quiere dormir y el picaro sueño no quiere venir.

Si el sueño no quiere venir por acá a ver ratoncito, a ver donde está.
Señora mi ama, yo lo vi bailando, con dos damas rubias en la casa real. 

Que venga enseguida y le daré yo un collar de plata y un limón de olor.
La loba, la loba le compró al lobito un calzón de seda y un gorro bonito.

La loba la loba salió de paseo, con su traje lindo y su niño feo. 
La luna, la luna se quiere casar con un pajarito de plata y coral.

Duermete mi niña tu iras a la boda peinada de moños y en traje de cola. 
Duermete mi niño para que la luna, se ponga contenta y te de aceituna. 

Duermete mi niño, para que el lucero te haga una almuadita de albahaca y romero.
Se enojó la luna, se enojó el lucero porque mi niñito riñó con el sueño.
Duermete mi niño que tengo que hacer, lavar los pañales, sentarme a coser

Señora mi ama, por que llora el niño, por una manzana que se le ha perdido.

Yo le daré una, yo le daré dós, una para el niño y otra para vós. 
Por la calle arriba vienen 3 luceros, San José, la virgen y el niño hechisero.

El niñito tiene los risos de luz, duermete mi niña sueña con Jesus.
Por los campos verdes de Jerusalem va un niñito rubio camino a Belén.

Le dán los pastores tortas de maíz, leche de sus cabras y pán con anís.

La virgen lavaba, San José tendia, el niño lloraba, San Juan lo mecía. 
Señor jardinero, deme usted a mí, una rosa blanca y otra carmecí.

Las pondre en la almuada, donde mi niñita unde sus mejillas rosadita y blancas.

Y al dia siguiente, tendrá usted así, dos rositas blancas y dos carmecí
Me & my new little grandson! 
TRANSLATION for  Duermete mi niña 
Chorus (sung between each verse): 
                                               Sleep my girl (boy), sleep my love
                                               Sleep piece of my heart.
Your Mother loves you, your Father too, everyone in the household loves you well.
This pretty girl (boy) who was born during the day wants to go to the pastry shop.
This pretty girl (boy) who was born at night wants to go for a carriage ride.
This pretty girl (boy) wants to go to sleep, and mischievous Sleep doesn’t want to come.

If Sleep doesn’t want to come here, go little mouse to see where he is. 
Mistress, I saw him dancing in the royal house with two blonde ladies. 

Tell him to come immediately and I will give him a silver necklace and a fragrant lemon.
The she-wolf bought silk pants and a pretty cap for the baby-wolf.

The she-wolf went for a walk in her pretty suit with her ugly child.
The moon, the moon, wants to marry a little silver and red bird. 

Sleep my girl you will go to the wedding with your hair done up and a dress with a train.
Sleep my girl (boy) so that the moon will be happy and give you olives. 

Sleep my girl (boy) so the brightest star will give you a pillow of basil and rosemary.
The moon was angered; the brightest star was angered because my little girl (boy) argued with Sleep.
Sleep my girl (boy) I have much to do, wash your diapers, sit and sew.
Mistress, why is the baby crying? Because he has lost an apple. 

 I will give him one, I will give him two, one for the baby and one for you.
Down the street come three bright stars, St. Joseph, the Virgin and the enchanting Child.

The little Boy has curls of light, sleep my girl (boy), dream of Jesus.
Through the green fields of Jerusalem goes a little blond Boy towards Bethlehem.

The shepherds give him corn muffins, milk from their goats and aniseed bread.
The Virgin washed the laundry, St. Joseph hung it on the line, the Baby cried and St. John rocked Him. 

Mr. Gardener give me a white rose and a crimson one.

I will put them on the pillow where my little girl rests her cheeks pink and white.

And the next day you shall have two white roses and two crimson ones. 

BOCADITOS-Small, Soft, Savory Sandwiches

On Mother's Day I got to be present for the birth of my new grandson! Few things equal the joy of being able to welcome a baby into the world. 

So this is celebration time and Bocaditos are Cuban party food! 

In Cuba BC (before Communism) and later in the US, my mother made bocaditos for birthday parties, trips to the beach, any celebration. When my parents came to live with us, she made them for my children. The children would ask Mamina for Bocaditos anytime a car trip was being planned, (especially to Lake Powell) and my mother was happy to oblige. We'd put them in a cooler and when hungry reached for a small bite.....or several! 

One time I told her not to worry about making them, I was beginning to be concerned about imposing on her as she got older. Plus I was busy packing everything else and didn't want to take the time to go buy the rolls. She was quite offended, and it's a good thing the children and their friends didn't know about it, or I would have had a mutiny on my hands! I repented and never again denied her the joy of making anything for her beloved grandchildren. 

My mother would approve of this post. She  loved children and joyfully helped me and my sister Nina raise our respective children with lots of loving and good food. I think it is also a cultural Cuban thing; children are treasured and spoiled (in good ways) by their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles!

Here is Mamina with my sister Isis.  

Bocadito is a small mouthful. They are small sandwiches made with soft rolls. They are always a hit and super easy to make. When I take them to a pot-luck, everyone wants the recipe. 

1 small can Deviled ham (4.25 oz)
1 package of cream cheese (8 oz)
1 bottle chopped pimentos (2 oz)
2 dozen soft dinner rolls, or potato rolls. 
If you are making them for a large group, go ahead and double the recipe. Use the larger can of Deviled ham and 4 oz bottle of pimentos, you will be glad you did!

Mix the first 3 ingredients well till you have a smooth paste. Cut the rolls in half and spread with the paste to make the little sandwiches. Enjoy! 

CHOCOLATICOS-Chocolate Squares

I've been reading my  friend Whitney Johnson's  new book, Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream,  and thinking about how our dreams affect those around us, and how other people's dreams can also bless our lives. In particular our parents dreams. The lives my sisters and I enjoy are the realization of our parents' dreams of freedom. I hope that my dreams have that kind of wonderful impact in my children's lives. 

I tell more about Whitney's book in my other blog, let me just say it is a wonderful recipe for a fulfilled life, and how excited I am that she included my story about Antoñica in her book! 

So thank you Whitney for including my story in your book, and thank you Mamina for helping me learn to dream. 

My mother loved anything sweet, especially chocolate.  Chocolaticos were one of her favorite treats to make. I loved watching her make these candies, it seemed like art. She made them often and kept them in empty cookie tins, lined with paper. 

I tried to make chocolaticos after Mamina passed away, because my son Jason loves them. I found out candy making is not one of my talents, maybe you need a sweet tooth (like my mother had and I lack) to be successful in candy making. Then I called my sister Nina, and she came over and whipped them up without any trouble! 

CHOCOLATICOS- Chocolate squares

These are not creamy like fudge, but more dry like a wafer. They keep very well in a glass or plastic container. 

4 cups of sugar

11/2 cups milk

4 Tablespoons cocoa

4 Tablespoons butter

4 Tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar, milk, cocoa and butter. Stir and heat to boil. Once it’s all blended and boiling, lower heat to med-low. Cook for about 20 minutes, do not stir, to hard ball stage (250°-260°-If you put a drop in a dish of water it will form a hard ball which will stay together even if you take it out of the water). Now add honey, keep stirring and cooking until you can see the bottom of the pan. Add vanilla. Spread on greased cookie sheet. When cool cut into squares. 

MOJO CRIOLLO-Cuban Marinade & Sauce

In my post last week, about Cuban Sandwiches, I mentioned "roast pork...seasoned with mojo". I had several people ask what I meant, so this week I'll tell you about Mojo (pronounced moho).

Mojo is a marinade/sauce made with olive oil, citrus juices and spices. I have heard that it originated in the Canary Islands, and was brought to Cuba by the many "Isleños" (Islanders) who immigrated to the Caribbean. 

In modern slang the word "mojo" is also used to mean "self-confidence" and that makes me think of my father and his ancestors. 

My father’s great-grandfather was one of five brothers who came from the Canary Islands to the Americas, to make their fortune. Once in the New World they went their separate ways and never saw each other again. My father told us that 3 of the brothers, (including his great-grandfather) ambitiously divided Cuba in thirds, each settling in a different area. Our great-grandfather in the central portion.

I think of those 5 brothers venturing into the New World, to create the life they wanted and I know that the same adventurous spirit and "make-it-happen" attitude was evident in my grandfather. Abuelo had little  formal education and only $20 when he married Abuela. By the time I was born, through dedicated hard work, he owned a successful sugar cane plantation, a dairy farm, multiple homes and other businesses...until Fidel took it all away. 

Then there was my father, (who I adore) known by most as Aldito but always Papillo to me. He was charming, the life of every party, hard-working, courageous, loved by all.....I'll tell you more about him another day.



A wonderful “criollo” marinade/sauce. You can buy it ready made, if you are fortunate enough to live near a market that sells Latin foods, but home-made is more flavorful. My mother used this as “adobo”or seasoning for meats. You can also use it to flavor Yuca (future recipe), as a dip for Chicharritas, Tostones, etc. 

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup orange juice

4-5 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup olive oil
Mix all ingredients in a food processor, until garlic is chopped very fine. Use right away or refrigerate. It will keep a few days. You can also freeze it and use later. By the way, did I mention I like garlic? 

I would love to know how you use MOJO.