Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Lorenzo!


Camilla's (Sucatinha de Luxo!) son Lorenzo has a big party tomorrow--a third birthday with lots of animals in attendance. I am certain his Mommy is going to put on a wonderful bash. Georgia and I cannot wait to go.

And we are so happy that our sweets will be part of the mix.

Happy Birthday Lorenzo!

Antonio is 3, too!


Been a busy moment for third birthday parties! I've frosted so many little cars in the last 24 hours that I dreamt of automobiles in my kitchen--and not these little colorful dough guys.

Beep beep! Green means "let's go to Antonio's party, favor bags!"

Feliz Aniversário Antonio!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Quality Weekend


With the exception of the onset of another cold, the weekend was simple, lovely.

Homemade Clay.
Magic Markers. (with the exception of the sofa)
Buttered Toast.
A rose filled wedding. A 3rd Birthday Party.
Lots of family time.
And a little girl who carries her own purse and is practically, officially,
potty trained.

Can it get any better?

The calm before the storm--500 cookies and some cakes--by Wednesday. Hope your Saturday + Sunday was quality, too. Catch up with you soon....xo.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Aside from a lot of baking this week, I am potty training.

Georgia should probably have been out of diapers a long time ago. I imagine a toddler that is capable of correcting her Mother's difficulty asserting the feminine and masculine in Portuguese ("Mommy, Pirulit-0 not Piriulit-a"), should not be wearing Pampers. I suppose I have the same excuse with toilet training as with learning the correct gender of words, I imagine I'll get there some day soon. (Give me some credit though--we use "the" for everything in English.)

Anyway...On our recent trip to the USA, Georgia saw her cousin Reese adeptly using the toilet. And my girl promptly informed me that she would be using the privy from now on, too. (Although I won't share what happened when she saw the dog pooping in the yard or her boy cousin using the urinal.) She basically trained me because I kept forgetting to even ask my little girl (every half an hour--as most Mothers do). Off she went, declaring her need to use the bathroom. She managed alone to pull her underpants down and climb on the throne. In fact, I wasn't allowed in the bathroom while she did her business. "Mommy, NO! Georgia by self." I was almost waiting for her to take a magazine with her. The kid was that good.

She "allowed" me back in to help with the wiping, washing of hands, and to participate in her celebratory glee of success. Mission accomplished I thought smugly. But then we got on the plane. Back in Brazil, there were no more big cousins to mimic. I'll confess: I put her diaper back on and Georgia no longer felt like training me.

So this week I decided that I would have to "do the whole potty training thing." Bummer. We are no different than most--having accidents everywhere (and I am asking every half hour). We take changes of clothes on all outings. And, although, I would probably lean toward buying only white cotton undies (like photo), I am learning that the ones with the princesses and mermaids are a blessing. Georgia promised me she wouldn't have an accident on Snow White today after a pretty grim day yesterday.

I am hopeful that Snow White can put our potty training back in the realms of a fairy tale.

We will get there.



I've promised to deliver a sampler to an incredibly hip new restaurant today. So I've been sifting, stirring, beating, shelling...baking/baking/baking all week. The final contents of the box:

Mini three layer almond cake with apricot filling and buttercream frosting
Chocolate, sugar, ginger cut out cookies
Pistachio and cherry muffins (I got a new cherry pitter and can't say enough about it!)
Devil's food chocolate cupcakes with choco-buttercream frosting
Triple chocolate (light, dark, and white) cookies with pressed pecans

I tried to base my confections on the design and feeling of the space. I have to say it was one of my favorite projects, with the exception of the perilous cab ride...dodging sun rays and pot holes.

It is out of my hands now....delivered. Ufa!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Double - Triple

Working on new recipes today.
Three kinds of chocolate: Dark, Milk, and White
Two Pecans Pressed
Salty. Sweet.
Can a cookie be hedonistic?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunrise Surprise


It was very hard to convince Georgia that she couldn't have cupcakes for breakfast (at 6:45 am, okay) --especially when morning deliveries contain a large box of Minnie and Princesses that magically appeared in our kitchen last night.

"Mommy did you make these for a party?"

"Yes...yes, I did--while you were fast asleep. I saved one for you--for after lunch..."

And that was how our week started.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sprinkle Shortage

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The weekend started off with a bang and threatened a sprinkle shortage. Georgia hosted a cookie decorating party for her buddies from down the street. All in all (moms excluded), a group of four--ages 1, 2, 3, and 4--created some sugar masterpieces.

And well that was the activity of the weekend. I'm really trying to follow my doctor's mandate (and belly) to slow down. It hasn't been easy.

But I am trying.

Hope your weekend was sprinkled with color and fun. xo

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It took me a while


My Aunt Cindy's pastries are always delicious. I think it is the antique bottle of homemade vanilla extract she keeps in the darkest corner of her pantry. I used to ask her about it at every family bake-off. She always marveled that I didn't make my own because it was so easy. But it always seemed so intimidating to me. Maybe it was just the dark closet or the distilled spirits involved.

Like all sweet aunties she encouraged me and sent a sealed bag of numerous vanilla pods from Madagascar. The beans sat fragrantly in my cupboard for a year or more. (Naturally she stopped asking me.) But this morning when I was adding vanilla to my grocery list, I suddenly wanted to make my own extract today.

I don't know what took me so long. Because really it was the absolute easiest thing I have ever done in my culinary ventures. Are you ready?

Homemade Vanilla

1. Cut 3 vanilla beans down the center leaving a bit of room on either end
2. Split them apart a little to let the beans "see out"
3. Twist them into a glass jar
4. Pour a cup of vodka over them
5. Hide the jar in a dark nook in your home

I think the hardest part is yet to come: wait for two months. That is it. You don't need a sorcerer's cap to concoct. It seems so impressive, lasts for years, and your homemade gets even more homemade.

Thank you Aunt Cindy xo!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Little G

Georgia in her school's new video.
Couldn't resist sharing...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Waist not but want....

This is exactly how I want to dress when I have a waist again.

My sincere apologies because I have lost the source of this photo....help?

Intellectual Stimulation

4/365 Maximum Ride &lt;3

I cringe just thinking about my lackluster reading habits since becoming a mother. I used to breeze through a book a week. And now I cannot even get through the brain candy novels once reserved for the beach. At night, I curl under the covers with the nightlight on and read the same sentence for a month before falling asleep in seconds. I'm nervous this will never end because I am pregnant again. Am I the only one with Mommy brain/lack of concentration?

So I am resorting to magazines. The other night I read a somewhat news-worthy affair. And when I saw this list of all time best magazine articles on one of my favorite blogs. I decided that I could perhaps resort to reading short articles instead of books--a sort of training for the future novel that I hope to read before baby boy arrives.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mom Jackpot


Georgia's favorite bedtime book (this week) is How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers. I am quite smitten with the sweet story and illustrations as well. Inspired, actually. Enough to stay up well past my pregnancy bedtime last night to turn the story into cookies for a gift for her (and a dear friend's son).

In terms of her delight over my efforts, I'd say I hit the mom jackpot....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fig Chutney

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Aside from being beautiful subjects of still life photos, figs are the symbol of abundance, fertility, and sweetness....a good reason to include them in your life and diet. Plus they are delicious. Here is a recipe for fig chutney. I usually make big batches at a time and freeze some. It is great with all types of cheese on toasted bread (salty and sweet), on top of salads, and paired with meats--especially a dollop on your turkey or pork.

450 grams of fresh figs cut in pieces (about 8 figs)
200 grams of dried figs
1 minced onion
2 cubed pears or apples (preferably green)
1 teaspoon of all-spice
1 teaspoon of lemon peel
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
250 ml of red wine vinegar or apple vinegar
100 ml of water

Place all of the ingredients in a pot and cook on medium/high until the mixture begins to boil. Then reduce heat to low, allowing chutney to simmer, stirring constantly until the smells start to take over your kitchen and the liquid is dissolved. If needed add a bit more water. Let cool.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Dia dos Pais in Brazil


Father's Day 2010: First adventure in the park with new red tricycle, lunch twice (plus second helpings of chocolate cake), and an afternoon at Grandpa and Grandma's house...

Feliz Dia das Pais, Daddy! Adorei!
Love, G

Saturday, August 7, 2010



I just returned from the USA with an embarrassingly huge haul. I'll blame it largely on Grandma--plus the fact that Georgia (now a paying flyer) has her own suitcase allowance and, of course, sales. Suffice to say that baby boy (no name yet...help?) has a smart little wardrobe with lots of navy and white and little G's closet continues to be so much better than mine. She really needs nothing.

Except maybe some printed tops? I just can't get over hand sewn floral blouses. And I figure that I really need to take advantage of the precious time remaining, where I get to pick out her clothes every morning. I'm still dressing dolly...and soon sewing for our little boy.

Rock and Roll Suave


I love getting orders from Daniela. She always tells me to "do what I want" creatively and she is probably one of the hippest Moms I know....so I feel like I can be a bit more inventive.

Well today Daniela is having a birthday party--her last of the 30's. She told me it would be rock and roll suave. So I gave the pink frosting a rest...and put some "edge" in my frosting tip. I hope she likes it...

But most of all I hope she has a rockin' birthday party tonight!

Happy Birthday Dani! xo

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bem-vinda Larissa!


Welcome Larissa! Chocolate bears in a bag and fluffy rose cupcakes to celebrate your arrival. Another party at the maternity ward...this is Brazil!

Congratulations Chris, Adriano, and big sister Nicole!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Need help?

Georgia's gourmet phase is so over. I longingly remember when she didn't mind anchovies on her pizza and ate kale by the handful. Now she is more likely to fish a millimeter of parsley out of the rice in her full mouth and generously return it to the cook (me)--declaring everything too "spicy."

And I am trying not to get frustrated nor feel guilty. (Is it because there is too much baking going on in my house...her blissful discovery of sugar?) I am hoping it is just a phase...a real short one at that. I am starting to think of creative solutions and packaging. Kids only want what sparkles gimmick. Naturally she wanted the princess plastic tricycle over the retro red classic. (I insisted Grandma buy the red one--shame on me.) It is obvious why Mr. Ronald McDonald's "Happy Meal" sells and there are prizes and cool shapes in children's cereal boxes (particularly the sugary variety). So I am going to draw on her banana today. And I am going to make healthy just a little cuter, use some marketing strategies in my own kitchen.

Even if my mom smiles knowingly and tells me I used to be an extremely picky little eater....

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lulu: Tea and Two


Lulu turned two today. She is quite the grown up celebrating with an afternoon tea party.

Parabéns Lulu!