Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Georgia is having another growth spurt. She is in the 90th percentile for height. And we are always trying to squeeze an extra wear out of her continuously too small clothes. This morning I put her in red high top sneakers to disguise the "avoiding flood" length of her jeans. It worked.

But when I tried to come up with a fashionable take on the reach of her gray sweatshirt sleeves, I realized I was pushing it. And I tossed the garment in the "?" box. Then I looked at it again. You see, it still fit her mid-section rather well.

Enter: recycle and re-use. I hacked off the sleeves and put a ruffle of tulle in their place.

Georgia loved the result. (She is still in the ballerina phase.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookie Favors

I made some classic chocolate chip cookies and threw in some walnuts.
They are bigger than your average palm.
So just one in each bag.

Will you share?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Eye Opening

I'm back. An injured cornea stole my vision for a few days. My friend Lina managed to put the pain in words for me: "It is like having a potato chip in your eye." I'm not sure if the discomfort was worse than the frustration of sitting (with my eyes bandaged) in the dark doing nothing. I missed a cake deadline and felt utterly useless. But I am choosing to see the calamity through rose tinted spectacles. Highlights:

1. Georgia's gentle manner with Mommy's "boo-boos" and her charming ability to lead me around our apartment with her little hands.

2. My husband's delight: I sat next to him (blind) on the sofa during an entire World Cup match.

3. I am shopping for new glasses (contacts are forbidden for a while). And I like black nerdy spectacles--whether they are still "in" or not.

And why am I posting a photo of a wedding dress? Aside from longing for some gorgeous visuals after the blackout, I have a new project: decorations and sweets for a wedding. During my initial brainstorming sessions, I realized that the dress is the starting point. It tells a lot about the bride and event. What will it be? Vintage, Modern Princess? Edgy? Decidedly NOT white (wow!)?

I'm having fun imagining--and I don't even need 20/20 vision for that.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Girl's Best Friend: Simple


In Brazil, it is tradition to wear a simple band (usually not embellished) on your right hand ring finger when you are engaged--switching to the left hand after "I do." Men don't have to sweat out a year's salary to buy the "rock." And women don't spend inordinate amounts of time sizing up each other's rings. I think it is actually a relief for all parties (okay, maybe the men more than the women). And also there is a lovely tradition here of receiving jewelry with the passage of time and monumental life moments as a couple. You sort of earn the "bling."

I have a simple ring. And I love it. I do not covet big diamonds as I wouldn't feel very comfortable wearing one in São Paulo (crime). But, honest to goodness when I saw this ring. I changed my mind fast.

Simple. Gorgeous. And waiting for a monumental moment (me, that is!)...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy First Birthday Bettinha!


We have been singing and singing and finally--gray days take a break and temperatures inch upward. We refuse to take off our shades and we play.

Oh Mister Sun, Sun,
Mister Golden Sun,
Please shine down on me

Oh Mister Sun, Sun,
Mister Golden Sun,
Hiding behind a tree...

These little children
Are asking you
To please come out
So we can play with you

Weekend highlights (although we were pleased enough with the appearance of Mister Sun) include:

1. Brazil winning the second game of the world cup. This time I peeled the skin from blanched almonds during the game (seriously) but I was near the TV. I still haven't purchased a coronet at the stop lights but promised Felipe (if he bought me one) I would wear a soccer jersey and watch--provided Brazil continues the winning streak. If only there was a half time show...

2. Following Georgia up the spiral steps to the top of a mega slide: "Georgia, Mommy cannot go down this slide." To which she responded: "Mommy, you really don't need to be afraid."

3. My brave two year old is growing so fast. Everything is "Georgia do by self." But we have our relapses. After two wonderful months of sleeping through the night and summonsing me in the morning, she has a new habit. For the last seven nights straight, she comes flying into our room (usually around 3 am) with a ball that flashes disco lights, illuminating like a party. Of course, she demands a spot in our bed. And, of course, I am too tired to refuse. But with my growing belly, space is limited. And she snores like my husband. What to do?

It was a really quiet and languid weekend. It seems all we needed was some sun on our cheeks. Hope your weekend sun was chocolate-melting-warm. xo

Thursday, June 17, 2010

One for all

Baby Boy

Bensimon Sneakers. Trés Chic.
I'll let my husband pick out his own sneakers.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Bucket full of Tangerines

"Mexerica! 3 Reias O Balde! Tangerines! 3 Reais ($1.70) a bucket."

São Paulo is full of impromptu "farmer's markets." And today, in the middle of a busy street, a man in a straw hat stood in the bed of his pickup swooping bucket after bucket of tangerines whilst singing (into a megaphone) about their sweetness and cheapness. Convinced me pretty easily.

What to do with a bucket full of tangerines? I contemplated scones and jelly. But since I have been rather generously making up for my first trimester of morning sickness, I decided it might be a good idea to incorporate them into a salad. Loving the combination of salty and sweet, I decided to marry the tangerines and olives today.

The recipe:
4-6 tangerines, pith ed, peeled and sliced
1 cup of pitted kalamata style olives
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of fine herbs
Salt, Pepper

Mix together. Toss on top of some arugula. I am planning on serving this salad with steaks tonight.

I still have 3/4 of a bucket of tangerines to go....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Father Daughter Thing

Brazil is closed today. No school. No banking. No supermarket.
The team plays North Korea in the World Cup.
This South American country has grown to feel like my home, but at these moments I feel like the foreigner I am. I haven't bought a coronet nor a tee shirt from the guy at the stoplight. I am not glued to the TV.

But my daughter is Brazilian. And she will grow to feel the fever of the game. It will be as much a part of her as my husband who never leaves work at 3 pm--except today.
Today is a father daughter day.

So far she seems more interested in the snacks and her new tee.
I think she gets it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weekend Prose

Could my mood be lifting...the hormones in harmony? Not sure. But instead of focusing solely on food, I also noticed flowers (which means I left the house for social events):

1. Table side arrangements as pretty as Gisela at her shower, pregnant with twin boys. Georgia has spent the weekend contemplating: "Gi has belly--two baby boys. Mommy just one."

2. Flowered branches attempting to brighten a dull gray sky. I can't believe I ventured out to walk. But then is as cold outside as inside.

3. House plants stealing the rare Sunday afternoon sunlight, giving us hope for warmer days ahead and a generous sliver to sit in and warm our bones. Hello Brazil? Tropical countries do get cold. I'm sleeping in long johns and dreaming of central heating in my home. The only help I've found is hot tea, blow dryers, and long rides with the heat on in the car.

3. Flowers in the bride's hair on Saturday night. Did I mention I left the house for social events. I even wore lipstick and a maternity dress.

Maternity dress? That is what happens when you to continue focus on the food. The belly grows faster second time around. For the Feijoada on Sunday: Blueberry Cheesecake Cupcakes. Cherry Mini Cheesecake Cupcakes.

Hope you had flowers in your weekend...and a good dose of sun! xo

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Son! A Brother!


A baby boy is on the way....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An Angel?

Does this look like a little girl who would squirt a tube of diaper rash ointment into the gap of the posterior portion of Mommy's pants while her very hungry Mommy was trying to eat lunch?

Roll 'em out

Is there a limit to the number of marshmallows one can bring across the border?
I hope not.
Been slowly diminishing the stock and gearing up for another party.
Fondant: Stars, Flowers, Hearts and Numbers.
Monotonous work but rather calming.
My hands used to be calloused from a ballet bar.
And now....from a rolling pin!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wardrobe Rantings

Although it is cold in South America, I've found the perfect dress to make the most of (hide, for now) my "I just look bloated" belly.
I would wear it until it fills up
and I have to run from my tent.
And then?
Black tank dresses that stretch and mold around the middle.
Black Strapless empire waist dresses.
Grey Tanks. Black Tanks. White Tanks.
Cashmere wraps for the chill.
Black leggings and maternity jeans.
Flat shoes.
I wouldn't mind some great accessories, too.
That's the plan.

Still cooking: Morrocan Chicken

There are many reasons why I am posting another food shot.

1. My own cooking no longer makes me nauseous.
2. I am starting to eat things other than tomatoes (although I made the third batch of salsa alongside this Moroccan Chicken dish.)
3. I am pregnant and I am hungry.

So sorry if I am boring you. But if you are looking for something new to do with chicken, try this. It is my own recipe and I lack strict measuring units. But I am going to try my best here. It really is an easy recipe.

How to do it: Take a large chicken breast or two (I always prefer breasts with bones because the flavor is just better.) and brown it in a large pot with a diced onion and about a tablespoon of minced garlic. Once browned, add water and two bouillon cubes until the chicken is covered. Let simmer until chicken is cooked through. Once cooked, remove chicken breast and save your (now) broth for later.

While the chicken is cooling, slice about 3/4 cup of raw almonds. If you are able grind a bit of the almonds so you can have "almond flour" to add to the sliced pieces, it is a nice touch (but don't worry if you don't). Sauté the sliced almonds (and almond flour) in a generous pat of butter until toasted. Go back to your cooled chicken and shred it.

Take out another large skillet and saute another small onion half and a bit more garlic. Add the shredded chicken. Add your broth. Add your almonds. Add a generous teaspoon or more of cinnamon. Add sliced dry dates or raisins (3/4 cup or so). And if you have some "Zathar" spice add that (but don't worry if you don't). Let simmer. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice or couscous. And to make the meal really perfect, accompany this main dish with hummus and coalhada seca (sour cream) or even plain yogurt.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I have to admit that I have been giving into my cravings: pickles, passion fruit Popsicles and Doritos. I've also been eating cans of whole peeled tomatoes. It seems I am into sour, citrus, and acid. Sounds delicious, no?

Today at the supermarket, a jar of salsa sang to me. It had a ray of light illuminating it...demanding a place in my cart. And even though I don't consider myself cheap, It was ten bucks for a single jar (imported products in Brazil are taxed and taxed and, quite simply, a rip off). It might be worth it if I savored the product over time. But I know it would be polished off in one sitting. And next to my salsa sat a meager bag (think peanuts on a plane size) of tortilla chips for another ten. I'd consider paying that price for those mega bags that you lose your elbow in (found primarily in American supermarkets) but even those are about $2.99 and the chips are shaped like little scoops for your salsa! So I left frustrated. And then, five minutes later, I returned to the market to buy all the ingredients to make my own salsa and chips--a party.

All you need is tomatoes, onions, cilantro (or parsley), cumin, peppers, lemon juice...and a bit of taste-testing. The chips were more complicated. I cut some flour tortillas in triangles and dusted them with oil and salt, baking them under the broiler for a healthier version.

Because, of course, I ate just about everything in one sitting.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Squeeze it in

I really don't have room in my office for another spool of thread.
I can't fit another spice jar in my kitchen.
So I bought a cotton candy machine.
Of course.