Honey Lavender Hot Chocolate ~ Chocolate Quente com Mel e Lavanda

Recipe by FitFoodieFinds Blog, Photo by Priscillakittycat

Ooooooooo!  I just discovered something so great.  Okay, the discovery actually happened last November when I was in Asheville, NC.  First let me tell you how I ended up in Asheville.  I was there to deliver a very special sentient being named Harley to his new family.  I had helped rescue Harley (and another 9 cats) from a very scary situation in Miami and my good friend Jessy and her partner, Monica, offered to give Harley, a 16 year old kitty, a happy home to live out the rest of his life.  Elated to report that one year later, Harley, who they’ve named Little Buddy, stole the hearts of his family.  He receives so much love and affection.  Little Buddy has a kitty sister, Cutie.  They rule over the household and daily activities revolve around them.  If you’re reading this, “Thank you, Jess and Monica, for all the love you give to Little Buddy!”

Now that you know why I was in Asheville, let’s talk about the hot chocolate part of the story.  There’s this chocolate place called the French Broad in Asheville’s town center.  The name sounded funny and I became curious when the girls told me about it.  I imagined it would be owned by a French Broad or some rough or maybe eccentric red-haired woman with an interesting past.  (Remember, I like to make up my own stories).  Turns out, the history of the French Broad is so unrelated to the story I had come up with.  If you’re curious about the real story, ask Uncle Google.

While at the French Broad, I ordered a Honey Lavender Hot Chocolate.  You can choose to have yours with milk chocolate or dark chocolate.  I love dark chocolate and ohhh boy, do I love lavender.  It was divine!  When I returned to Miami I ordered a bag of Lavender flowers online…but never got around to reproducing the French Broad’s hot chocolate…until today.

Yeah, so what if the temperature in Miami is in the high 70s right now.  In these here parts you can’t wait for cold weather.  Besides, I really want to share this recipe with you…because everyone should have lavender honey simple syrup on hand.  You can use it to sweeten tea, lemonade or anything you’d like.  Make the simple syrup one night ahead of your hot chocolate party. Trust me on this one.  Lavender Honey Hot Chocolate is the cat’s meow!

For the Lavender-Infused Honey Simple Syrup

½ cup filtered water
½ cup all-natural honey
1 tablespoon dried lavender (I used 2 tablespoons)

For the Honey Lavender Hot Chocolate

2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 ounce 60% dark chocolate (i used high quality chocolate)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (if you use high quality cocoa, which i did, then use only 2 tbsps)
3 tablespoons honey lavender simple syrup (i added a little more)

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and turn to medium/high heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Stirring consistently until honey dissolves into water.

Place into a container and into the fridge. Let sit overnight or for at least 8 hours to let the lavender infuse even more. Strain lavender before serving.

Place 2 cups of almond milk and 1 ounce of dark chocolate in a small saucepan and turn to medium/high heat. Whisk until dissolved.  Add in cocoa powder and honey lavender simple syrup and whisk until dissolved. Continue whisking until hot cocoa comes to a simmer.

Ahhhhh, descobri algo maravilhoso!  Bem, a descoberta aconteceu na Carolina do Norte, nos EUA em novembro de 2017.  Vou explicar.  Eu fui para a Carolina do Norte para fazer uma entrega muito importante.  A entrega se chamava “Harley”.  Eu tinha resgatado o Harley e mais 8 gatos de uma situação muito perigosa em Miami.

A viagem até Asheville durou 13 horas.  Enquanto eu dirigia, o Harley, muito carinhoso, dormia no meu colo ou no banco do meu lado.  Demoramos mas chegamos bem.  Entregei o Harley, que hoje chama “Little Buddy”, para as novas mãs dele, a Jessica e a Monica.  Não tem nada melhor do que quando a gente encontra uma casa boa para um animal.  Hoje o Little Buddy tem uma irmã e vive como um rei.  Agradeço muito a Jessica e a Monica pelo amor que elas tem proporcionado a ele.

Agora que está explicado como fui parar na Carolina do Norte, podemos falar sobre o chocolate quente.  Na cidade de Asheville tem uma loja de chocolates chamada, “The French Broad”.  Eu logo imaginei que a dona do lugar fosse uma francesa velha, durona, porque o termo “broad” em inglês pode significar uma mulher desse tipo.  A história que inventei estava completamente errada.  Se você quizer saber o que é French Broad…pergunte para o Tio Google.

Okay, voltando ao assunto: chocolate quente.  Quando fomos ao French Broad pedi um chocolate quente com lavanda e mel.  Pense numa coisa dos deuses!  Quando voltei para Miami procurei a receita e comprei as flores de lavanda pela Amazon.  Isso faz tanto tempo.  Ainda bem que as flores de lavanda duram dois anos na embalagem.

Para a Calda de Mel e Lavanda

Esta calda pode ser usada para adoçicar limonada ou até suco de maracuja.  Faça a calda no dia antes ou varios dias antes de fazer o chocolate.
1/2 copo de agua filtrada
1/2 copo mel natural
1 colher de sopa flores de lavanda (eu usei 2 colheres)

Para o Chocolate Quente
2 copos de leite de amendoa sem açucar
1 oz (aproximadamente 30 gramas) de chocolate amargo (60 a 70%)
3 colheres de sopa pó de cacao (eu usei só 2 colheres porque o chocolate era de alta qualidade o que faz o sabor ser mais forte)
3 ou 4 colheres da calda de mel e lavanda

Para a calda de Mel e Lavanda
Coloque todos os ingredientes numa panela pequena e ligue o fogão para o fogo meio alto.  Deixe ferver, reduz o fogo e deixe fervilhar durante 5 minutos sempre mexendo até o mel dissolver na água.

Quando esfriar, transfira para uma jarrinha de vidro e leve para a geladeira durante pelo menos 8 horas.  A calda pode ficar na geladeira varias semanas.

Para o Chocolate Quente
Coloque 2 copos do leite de amendoa e 30 gramas de chocolate numa panela pequena.  Acenda o fogo (meio alto) Use o batedor (não a batedeira) para bater o chocolate no leite até o chocolate derreter.  Adicione o chocolate em pó e o mel (coado).  Bata com o batedor até o leite ferventar.



Recipe by Betty Crocker, Photo by Priscillakittycat

On weekends and holiday mornings, you can find me running the perimeter of the campus where I work.  “Why run?” you ask.  The answer is in the photo.  These morsels have “no sugar added”…except for the indirect sugar content in 2 cans of condensed milk-166 grams of sugar per can.

You could look at the positives.  Chug 1 can of condensed milk and you will have satisfied 86% of the daily requirement for calcium, 16% for Vitamin A, 13% Vitamin C…and 48% of Protein.

Brigadeiros are the staple at every Brazilian birthday party.  The ones pictured were produced for Thanksgiving.  To get the recipe, find the June 13, 2013 entry or use the search bar and enter: “Brigadeiro”.

In summary:  It is wise to exercise to get your cardio…but this girl runs to indulge in sugar.

Nos finais de semana e feriados eu corro ao redor do campus onde trabalho.  Me pergunte por que corro.  A resposta está na foto.  A receita de brigadeiro não inclue açucar como ingrediente…só o açucar das duas latas de leite condensado (166 gramas cada lata)…Aí é outra história.  Corro para poder comer Brigadeiro sem limites!

Olhando pelo lado positivo, uma lata de leite condensado contém 85% do valor diário recomendado de cálcio, 16% Vitamina A, 13% Vitamina C e 48% proteina.

Você encontrará a receita se inserir “brigadeiro” na barra de pesquisa do blog.



Cherries Poached in Red Wine ~ Cerejas Escalfadas no Vinho Tinto

Recipe by Food & Wine Magazine, Photos by Priscillakittycat

The color of cherries makes me think of medieval times.  Those deep-colored, velvet royal cloaks, the echo of voices and footsteps inside cold stone castles.  Long wooden tables overflowing with hearty food and plenty to drink…

Cherries happen to be in season.  So…to commemorate the last week of the Brazilian soap opera, “Deus Salve o Rei” (God Save the King) we will have Cherries Poached in Red Wine.  In our home (not exactly a stone castle where you can wear a cloak but more like a sunlit sauna) the approval rating for this dessert was very high.  My dad made two comments:  “What is this dessert called?” and “This tastes perfect.” Dad knows his sweets.  Mom liked the aroma of wine and savoured her serving of cherries with vanilla ice cream…then she added whipped cream for good measure.

2 1/4 cups red wine
1 cup sugar
1 1-by-3-inch strip orange zest
2 pounds sweet cherries, halved and pitted

In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add the cherries and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the cherries are just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour into a glass or stainless-steel bowl so the cherries don’t overcook.  Place in glass serving bowls and add a dollop of whipped cream.  Or…if you’re feeling inspired, mix 2 1/2 tablespoons of honey with 1 cup of mascarpone cheese.

*When I halved and pitted the cherries, I didn’t use gloves on purpose.  I wanted to color my hands and get my fingernails dirty…like they did back in those times.  It’s cool.

Esta é a ultima semana da novela, “Deus Salve o Rei”.  A cor das cerejas me faz imaginar como era naquela época…os tempos medievais. Eram tão lindas as roupas que usavam.  As capas de veludo que vestiam os membros da realeza, os castelos feitos de pedras pesadas, o frio e o eco dos passos de quem caminhava pelos corredores.  E na sala de jantar… mesas compridas transbordando de comida e bebida.  Para comemorar o final da novela e para destacar a cor daquela época, escolhi esta sobremesa de cerejas.  Foi aprovada por todos aqui em casa.  O meu pai é uma pessoa de poucas palavras.  Ele fez dois comentários:  “Como se chama esta sobremesa?” e “Esta perfeita!”  A mãe saboreou as cerejas e a calda de vinho, ainda quente, com sorvete de baunilha…e depois ela adicionou chantilly.

2 copos e meio de vinho tinto
1 copo de açucar
1 tira de raspa de laranja
1 kilo de cerejas doces, retiradas as sementes, partidas no metade

Numa panela inoxidável, junte o vinho, o açucar, e a raspa de laranja.  Quando começar a ferver, adicione as cerejas e deixe ferver novamente.  Reduz o fogo, tampe a panela parcialmente, e ferva levemente durante uns 5 minutos ou até as cerejas amoleçerem. Despeje-as numa tigela de vidro ou inox para evitar que as cerejas cozinhem demais.  Sirva (frio ou quente) em taças de vidro acompanhadas de chantilly, sorvete de baunilha ou queijo mascarpone com mel.

Easter ~ A Páscoa

Photos by Priscillakittycat

There is so much to do, so little time.  They say the older we get, the faster time passes.  I concur.  Today, for the first time in several months, I am home on a Saturday night…and I have time to do nothing at all.  I could just sit and watch Diners, Drive-ins and Dives but it seems like a good night to catch up and share some recipes.  By the way, just as I sat down and switched the channel to Guy’s show…he was at the Shrimp Shack in Islamorada.  The Shrimp Shack is now on my list of spots to visit.  I never was into the whole fine dining drama.  Flip flops and t-shirts are so much better.  Besides, what’s the point of paying more for less.

Yes, the Easter holiday has come and gone.  Even so, I believe it’s worth sharing these cookies.  They are the same kind I bake all the time…Maybe you will like the new shapes and get some ideas.  There might be some underlying reason, like repressed childhood desires, to explain this fascination with cookies.  Or it could just be that everywhere I go there are cute-shaped cookie cutters…and I give in to the urge to buy them.  Just Google “cookies” on this blog’s search box and the recipe will pop up.


Até tinha esquecido como é bom passar um sabado a noite em casa, sem tarefas para fazer ou compromissos para cumprir.  Na televisão está passando “Triple-D”, um show de Guy Fieri: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  Quem me conhece sabe que prefiro um “copo sujo” do que qualquer restaurante chique.  Por coincidencia, neste episódio o Guy visita o Shrimp Shack de Islamorada.  Fica perto de Miami.  Posso ir.

A Páscoa foi boa.  Eu fiz cookies.  Já deu para perceber que gosto de fazer cookies?  É que tenho todo tipo de fôrminha que você possa imaginar.  Sempre uso a mesma receita para os cookies.  Procure nas postagens anteriores!

Valentine’s Day Cookies ~ Cookies Para o Dia dos Namorados

Cookie Recipe by Taste of Home, Icing Recipe by Allrecipes, Photo by Priscillakittycat

Just when you think life is going smoothly…the road gets bumpy.  Things you never thought would happen, happen.  There are two ways I see life.  When all is in order, I picture a white sand beach, gentle waves, sunshine and a light, cool breeze.  After the beach, a nap.  When there is disorder, it’s like a mass of people with muddy sneakers and greasy hair in the street, indulging in food, drink and other pleasurable activities.

Lately it has been a mix of both.  A trip for work here, a vacation there.  A sick pet today, a healthy one tomorrow.  Family in town to brighten two weeks of your life…and help you indulge in the food, drink and other pleasurable activities.  Then the house is quiet again…almost sad.

Red roses surprise you on Valentine’s Day.  Your nephew, even though he is less than one month old, smiles when you say “’Tia Kittycat’ loves you.”  You plan your days and wish there were more time to accomplish all the things you want to do.  Paint, run, practice yoga, cook, write on the blog, play with cats, rescue cats, grant wishes, go to the beach and practice Italian.  Tomorrow I will do this, the next day I will do that.  Then the Ferris Wheel of Life makes another round and you acknowledge that the best days are those you don’t plan for.

I prepared the dough for these cookies on a Monday and planned to bake them that same night so they could be iced on Tuesday…for someone special on Valentine’s Day (Wednesday).  I watched a Brazilian soap opera (novella) while I prepared the dough on Monday night (bad decision) I messed up the dough because—oops, I doubled the amount of butter.  I was sorta (it’s sorta not a proper word) able to fix the error by adding more flour and sugar…but there wasn’t enough time to roll out the dough and bake the cookies.

I left the dough in the fridge and called it a night.  I expected it to become solid as cement and useless for baking the next day.  Valentine’s Day would surely be ruined.  LOL

After work on Tuesday, I took out the dough and let it sit for an hour.  Guess what?  It became workable.  I rolled out the dough, cut out the heart shapes, baked, iced, and decorated the cookies, all on the same night.  What a feat!  Remember, the best days are those that aren’t planned.  By the way, calm and chaos are the best combination.

Note: To find the recipe for the cookies and icing, just type cookies into the search bar and the recipe will pop up.  Or go to the post dated May 26, 2016.

Vejo a vida de duas formas.  As vezes é um dia tranquilo de sol, areia branca, ondas calmas e outras vezes é um carnaval agitado em que as pessoas brincam na rua, soadas, de cabelo molhado e tênis sujo. Ultimamente tem sido as duas coisas.  Um viagem a trabalho aqui, férias alí.  Um gatinho doente hoje, outro com saúde amanha.  A familia chega do Brasil para alegrar a vida, depois vai embora e deixa saudade.  A casa fica triste.

Chega uma caixa de rosas vermelhas no trabalho de surpresa.  O sobrinho lindo sorri quando a tia faz gracinha para ele.  As coisas boas sobressaem.
Estes cookies foram feitos numa semana muito caotica.  Quase desisiti…e chutei o balde.  Resolvi fazer outra tentativa.  Quando é feito com carinho, tudo da certo.
Obs. A receita já esta no blog, em uma postagem anterior…de maio 2016.


S’mores Pops

Recipe by Inspired Taste, Photo by Priscillakittycat

I should be studying for Italian class but CSI Miami is on.  I love Horatio Caine.  Tomorrow morning there’s yoga.  Then the ‘Canes game.  Followed by Fritz & Franz for Oktoberfest.  Will there be time for Italian on Sunday?

I made these S’mores Pops for my brother and his wife’s Baby Shower.  They called it a Baby Q.  It was a Barbecue.  Get it?  Baby Q.  It was cute…and the S’mores match the theme.  No effort required for these delectable treats.  The spongy, sweetness in the marshmallow, the silky texture of high-quality dark chocolate and the crunchiness of grahams.  I borrowed this recipe, if you want to call it an official recipe, from a blog called Inspired Taste.

Eu devia estar estudando para a aula de italiano mas tá passando CSI Miami na televisão.  Adoro o Horatio Caine.  O fim de semana promete.  Tem yoga amanha cêdo.  Depois vou no jogo de futebol americano dos Miami Hurricanes.  No bar alemão (Fritz & Franz) tem festa de Oktoberfest.  Será que vou ter tempo para estudar no Domingo?

Fiz estes S’mores Pops para o Chá de Bebê de meu futuro sobrinho.  Foi um “Baby Q“.  (Barbecue).  Os Americanos fazem s’mores a noite, sentados ao redor da fogueira.  Bolachas Graham, marshmallow e chocolate.  A versão tradicional parece um sanduiche. (Veja no Google) Copiei a receita de um blog chamado Inspired Taste.  É só derreter chocolate de alta qualidade, molhar o marshmallow rapidamente no chocolate, e passar nas bolachas amassadas.

Cinnamon and Sugar-Dusted Cookies ~ Biscoitinhos de Nata com Canela e Açucar

Recipe by Tudogostoso.com, Photo by Priscillakittycat

Recipe by Tudogostoso.com, Photo by Priscillakittycat

In December of every year I remember something important I forgot to do at Christmas-time.  Quite some time ago I had the idea of hosting a Christmas party at an orphanage in my mom’s hometown, Januária.  When the holidays roll around I get so upset with myself for forgetting to save up and plan the party for the kids at the orphanage.  I haven’t been back to Januária since September 2012.  (Guilty conscience)

Sooo…at the suggestion of my friend Jessy, on January 1, 2017 I created a vision board for my wall.  (If you’re reading this Miss. Jess, thank you!)  On the vision board is a colorful combination of words that summarize, sometimes with secret initials and acronyms, my goals for 2017.  It is said that if you write down your goals and see them every day…you are more likely to accomplish them.  Yep, there’s always hope and it’s never too late to learn.

My intentions for 2017 include the orphanage party.  I will dress as Mrs. Claus.  (I hope that by then I can recruit a good-spirited, kind-hearted and possibly white-bearded Santa Claus to hand out gifts and take pictures with the kids.)  Other intentions for the year:  Continue learning Italian, become better and more consistent with yoga practice, take up painting, grant more wishes for The Make A Wish Foundation, be kinder to others, laugh more, communicate and express myself better and spend less money on clothing and frivolous things, among others.  Oh, I almost forgot.  I also hope to share recipes and write on this blog more often.  If cookies had feelings, these would be happy cookies.  They are great because you can leave them unwrapped on a cooked plate over several days and they still taste good.  Santa may decide to visit more than once.

1 cup of fresh whippping cream
3 cups of flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp margarine
2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 heaping tsp of cinnamon to dust the cookies

Mix and knead all the ingredients until a dough forms.  Break off pieces and form the cookies.  Place the cookies on a buttered and floured cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes (time will vary depending on the oven).  When the cookies begin to turn golden remove them from the oven and roll them in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Faz tempo que eu não visito a cidade da minha mãe.  Estou com a conciência pesada.  Há alguns anos atrás tive a ideia de oferecer uma festa de natal para as crianças do orfanato de Januária.  Mas todo ano quando chega a época de natal eu me lembro que esqueçi de guardar dinheiro e fazer os planos.  Fico tão chateada comigo mesma.

Uma amiga sugeriu que eu criasse uma parede de metas.  Aceitei a sugestão.  Na lista colorida de metas para 2017 esta a festa no orfanato.  Espero que ate lá consigo recrutar um Papai Noel bem bonitinho, e bonzinho, talvez com a barba bem branquinha para me ajudar distribuir os presentes e tirar fotografias com as crianças.

Alem da festa, em 2017 pretendo continuar com as aulas de Italiano, aperfeiçoar as poses de Yoga, gastar menos em bobagens, comunicar melhor com as pessoas, ser mais amável, rir mais, e conhecer outros estados na América. Outra meta importante é compartilhar mais receitas no blog.

Se os biscoitos tivessem personalidade, estes seriam biscoitos felizes.  Ofereça para o Papai Noel e ele sempre voltará.

1 xícara (chá) de nata
3 xícaras (chá) de farinha de trigo
1 colher (sopa) de pó royal.
2 colheres (sopa) de margarina
2 colheres (sopa) de açúcar
1/2 xícara (chá) de açúcar e 1 colher (chá) bem cheia de canela em pó

Amasse todos os ingredientes juntos, até o ponto de enrolar.  Faça os biscoitos.  Coloque numa assadeira untada e polvilhada.  asse em forno regular.  O tempo de preparo varia de forno para forno.  Quando estiverem dourados por baixo, ja estarão prontos.

Depois de assados, passe-os na mistura de açucar e canela.

Serendipity: Finding something good without looking for it. ~ Encontramos as coisas boas da vida sem ter que procurar.

Porto - On the Douro River. O Cais da Ribeira

Porto – On the Douro River. O Cais da Ribeira

We are well into our trip to Portugal and so far we have only good things to say.  When we landed in Porto it felt like home.  It was kind of strange for all of us, we later discussed.  My mom loved the fact that we could walk anywhere and that the nearest cold beer was down the stairs from our apartment.  The water, the cool breeze on the Douro River, the sunshine, the wine.  We felt completely relaxed.  Time for sleep was scarce but that didn’t seem to affect our moods.

I couldn’t wait to be on this trip because I intended to entice you with photos of succulent cuisine and accompanying recipes.  But actually, this first post isn’t at all about food.

We spent our last day in Porto at the Ribeira (the banks of the Douro River),   which happens to be one of my favorite places on the planet.  We watched the people walking past, we drank beer and we chatted with the waiters.  By the time we left (and thanks to my mom), we were friends with the entire place.

Next stop was a restaurant, also on the river’s bank.  Before the Portuguese waiter could get our drink orders, my mom complimented his good looks and asked for a photo.  When we joked with her about the waiter and the kiss on the cheek that he gave her…mom told us we were just jealous because no one else in our group had stolen a kiss from a gorgeous Portuguese man.  Okay, better not argue with mom.

We saw some young boys, probably ages 8 or 9, jump off the pier and into the water.  The sun shone on the river and it glistened.  A man played with his dog, a Dalmatian.  A musician with his guitar sat in front of the restaurant and plucked a tune.  After dinner we left a little sad, knowing that it would be our last day in Porto.  I was in a slight daze, half conscious of my surroundings but half-mesmerized by the magic of the sunset.  The sunset is faithful; beautiful every time.  I had my back to the water and heard the voices of children play-fighting.  Something brushed against my back.  When I turned to look, it was the same young boys from the dock, one very blond, the other had light brown hair.  They wore pastel-colored swimming shorts.  One of the boys pulled the other in my direction while the boy twisted and turned trying to free himself.  But before he could get away, his friend pointed to him, then to me and made a heart shape with his two hands.  I giggled and gave him my heart back.  My little love and his friend ran off, laughing and playing.  And just like that…a boy on the Douro River stole my heart.  Life’s most beautiful moments happen unexpectedly.  Spontaneous yet familiar, embracing while freeing.  That is Porto.

Estamos aproveitando muito desta viagem ao Portugal.  Todos os passeios tem sido lindos e os Portugueses sempre acolhedores.  Quando o avião aterissou sentimos que estávamos em casa.  A minha mãe achou otimo a fartura de cerveja bem na praça onde ficava nosso hotel.  Era só descer a escada do apartamento.  A brisa do Rio Douro, o sol, o vinho…Estávamos completamente relaxadas.  Tivemos muito pouco tempo para dormir mas isto não afetou o nosso humor.

Eu esperei tanto esta viagem porque queria provocar você com fotos das comidas e as receitas portuguesas.  Ao invés disso resolvi falar sobre a beleza do Porto.  Quando menos esperamos, aparecem as coisas boas da vida.  Visitei o Porto pela primeira vez porque fui atrás de um amor.  Ele nao me quiz.  Doeu muito.  Mas o resultado positivo desta paixão foi que aprendi mais sobre um pais maravilhoso e agora tenho o prazer de compartilhar com a família e os amigos.  Conhecemos pessoas muito especiais e nos divertimos muito.

As crianças da foto estavam descansando depois de terem passado o dia brincando de pular do cais.  A recordação que marcou muito durante a viagem ao Portugal foi da felicidade de um amor espontâneo e inesperado.  O Porto me ensinou que a vida as vezes tira uma pessoa de nosso caminho sem explicação.  E que talvez um dia virá outra para alegrar o coração e preencher o vazio.


Rocky Road Ice Cream and Sardines

Häagen Daz Ice Cream from Publix. Italia Language Book, Sentieri.

Häagen Daz Ice Cream from Publix. Italian Language Book, Sentieri.

The work-week was long and intense.  My physical body was about to give out on Friday afternoon.  What kept it going was the mental image of a pint of Häagen Daz Rocky Road and a big spoon.  On my way out I wished my colleagues a good weekend.  When they asked about my plans…I didn’t give the answer a second thought.

“Eat a pint of Rocky Road ice cream and watch re-runs of NCIS, CSI or Law and Order…in that order.”

The good apple of the three 40-somethings said I should resist the urge, have some fruit and go for a run.  The one with more sense (divorced and lives life to the fullest) said I should save some Rocky Road for her.  She’s my donut-cravings confidant, the one who sends a happy face reply when I text a photo of the box of donuts in my car…on the way to the office.

The craving became stronger on Saturday.  I knew I needed that ice cream.  At the end of the day, after I had run errands and made frivolous purchases, I drove to the Winn-Dixie near my home.  I was in the pets aisle first and picked up those expensive little cans of cat food, some treats and two boxes of cat litter.  Then I stood in the frozen foods section.  I opened each of the tall glass doors and read the names of the flavors one by one.  There were two ladies (40-somethings, too) dressed in sweat pants and hoodies in the same aisle.  They smiled empathetically at me, as if saying, “I know how you feel”.  They discussed their options and chose two different flavors: double chocolate as well as mint chocolate.  I felt a connection to them.  It was Saturday night, the three of us had a worn look.  We wanted to be on our couches, wrapped in blankets and watching TV.  I could be wrong about them and their plans for the evening, but I’m pretty good at understanding people.

Satisfied with their choices the ladies left the ice cream aisle.  I stayed behind for a bit, still searching.  No Rocky Road.  I got in the check-out line behind the two ladies.   Some big, strong, good looking guy got in the same line behind me.  He had a twelve-pack of beer.  I laughed at myself (internally) and smiled at him; I probably looked so pathetic with…a shopping cart full of cat food, cat treats, cat litter…lettuce and kale (for the rabbit).  Oh well.

One of the ice cream ladies smiled and asked if I found anything.

I smiled and pouted at the same time “No, there isn’t any Rocky Road.”

“Oh but they have it!  It was one freezer over.  You must have missed it.”

“Yeah, I saw that…but I want Häagen Daz brand.  I’m going to Publix.”

She laughed.  I got a thumbs up and this response: “Now that’s commitment.  I like that.”

I found the Häagen Daz Rocky Road at Publix.  I also picked up a pint of Butter Pecan. It must have been one of those “hot-guy-at-the-supermarket nights”.  This time, not one, but two big, strong and handsome eastern Europeans were in the check-out lane next to mine.  My eyes locked with the eyes of the taller one.  Thankfully, I didn’t have a cart-full of cat food.  Although it might actually be alright this time…Europeans tend to be okay with cats.  The French loves cats, for example.

I don’t want to go way off topic…but…do you remember that scene in Batman Returns, where Michelle Pfeiffer comes home looking like hell after being electrocuted when she bites an electrical wire and transfers the current to another man?  She stumbles into her apartment, turns on her answering machine and the only messages are from her mom. She recklessly opens her fridge…pours some milk for her kitties…and drinks the rest straight from the carton.  Cat woman then proceeds to sew her own black vinyl costume.

Well, the scene at my house wasn’t that dramatic, mostly because I already have a cat woman costume and I don’t drink milk.  You can view my scene in the photo above.  I got home, fed the cats, grabbed my Italian Language book, crawled onto the couch, turned on the TV and had half the pint of ice cream.  Happiness comes in small pints.

PS- I forgot to mention the Sardines.  I had them for dinner…with the Rocky Road ice cream.  An unlikely, but quite uplifting combination.


Strawberry Pavé ~ Pavê de Morango

Recipe by Rodrigo Hilbert, Tempero de Familia. Photo by Priscillakittycat

Recipe by Rodrigo Hilbert, Tempero de Familia. Photo by Priscillakittycat

C’et parti, Mon Kiki! (An inside joke at my job). It’s also perfectly fitting for this post and this occasion. It all began this week…on a bittersweet note. My absolutely amazing boss transitioned to a new position within our school and we, his direct reports, threw a little party for him. I prepared something with a French name—Strawberry Pavê.

It has been an enormous privilege to work with him and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from someone like him. I have never felt such complete admiration for a boss. He is an example in his personal and professional life. If I could be like someone when I grow up, it would be him. Among his noteworthy qualities, a very open yet highly focused and sharp mind, a great sense of humor, poise & elegance (it helps that he’s French) and a positive attitude. Most of all, though, the Frenchman’s most beautiful quality is the fact that he sees the good in everyone.  He treats all beings with kindness. For him, everyone deserves a second chance. I am very happy for him and the new role he will have…while at the same time sorry to see my mentor go.

We should trust in the circle of life. Everything happens when it is meant to happen. For years, and I am really serious when I say this, I’ve been looking for a good recipe for Strawberry Pavê. Pavê is a French word. The dessert is characterized by layers of cream, fruits slices, and lady finger cookies dipped in a liquid of choice (milk, fruit syrup, liqueur, etc) The neat thing is that I found this recipe while watching Brazilian TV. The show, Tempero de Familia was on the screen and the chef, Rodrigo Hilbert,—who by the way is cute—prepared this pavê, I could tell right a way that this would be a keeper recipe.

I knew I had to make it for the going away party we held for our boss. Sure enough, this Strawberry Pavé was a winner both at the party and at home. (Smiley face).

2 cups of milk
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can condensed milk
2 cans table cream
100 g milk chocolate
100 g bittersweet chocolate
2 cartons of strawberries, sliced
2 packages lady finger cookies
300 ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Place the milk, egg yolks, corn starch and vanilla in a heavy pot and turn the heat to medium. Add the condensed milk and stir continuously until the cream thickens, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and add one can table cream. Stir until blended and set aside.

Melt both chocolates in Bain Marie. Turn off the heat and add one can of table cream. Stir well until blended. Set aside.

Prepare the whipped cream by whipping the heavy cream with one tablespoon of sugar. Set it aside. Place one layer of the vanilla cream on the bottom of a large pyrex. One by one, dip the lady fingers in milk and spread them on top of the cream. Add another layer of the vanilla cream. Layer the strawberries over the cream. Spread the chocolate cream over the layer of strawberries. Add another layer of lady fingers dipped in milk. Top with the whipped cream.

Meu chefe: o melhor do universo. Esta semana foi a última em que trabalho com ele. Foram quase dois anos e foram os melhores anos de carreira que já tive. Ele possui todas as qualidades que admiro em uma pessoa. A melhor destas sendo a capacidade de ver o bem em todas as pessoas. Ele é do bem, da paz, da harmonia…um ser maravilhoso. Não pense que ele é bobo. Além da inteligência emocional, ele tem uma mente altamente produtiva e muito aberta. Pena que tudo que é bom acaba rápido. As despedidas são tristes.

Estou à procura de uma receita boa de Pavê de Morango há muito tempo. Finalmente encontrei. A espera por um chefe bom valeu a pena e agora a espera pela receita também valeu. Fiz este pavê para a festinha de despedida dele. O nome da sobremesa é apropriado pois o meu chefe é Frances. Com certeza vou usar esta receita muitas vezes.

2 xícaras (chá) de leite
2 gemas
2 colheres de amido de milho
15 gotas de baunilha
1 lata de leite condensado
2 latas de creme de leite
100g de chocolate ao leite
100g de chocolate meio amargo
2 caixas de morango
100g de biscoito champagne
300ml de creme de leite fresco
1 colher de açúcar

Em uma panela, leve ao fogo o leite, as gemas, o amido de milho e a baunilha. Acrescente o leite condensado já com o fogo ligado e mexa sem parar, até engrossar. Depois de desligar o fogo, acrescente uma lata de creme de leite e misture bem. Reserve.

Derreta o chocolate ao leite e o chocolate amargo em banho maria. Com o fogo desligado, acrescente uma lata de creme de leite e misture bem. Reserve. Em uma batedeira, prepare o chantilly, batendo o creme de leite fresco com uma colher de açúcar. Reserve.

Em uma travessa, coloque uma camada do creme de baunilha. Adicione uma camada do biscoito champagne molhado no leite e, em seguida, mais uma de creme de baunilha. Depois, distribua os morangos picados e o creme de chocolate e, por cima, mais uma camada de biscoito molhado no leite. Termine com uma camada de chantilly. Decore com morangos inteiros. Leve à geladeira e sirva gelado.

A Baby! Cookies and the Icing ~ Cookies para um Chá de Bebe!

Cookie Recipe by Taste of Home, Icing Recipe by Allrecipes, Photos by Priscillakittycat

Cookie Recipe by Taste of Home, Icing Recipe by Allrecipes, Photos by Priscillakittycat

My circle of friends that are within childbearing age is dwindling. Which means that whenever there’s a baby on the way…we have to celebrate and go all out! For this baby shower I prepared a number of dishes. I also put myself in charge of the games. I love to play board games, card games, dominoes, trivia games, and pretty much anything along those lines. The games were fun (borrowed from Pinterest) and the theme we chose for the shower was oh so cute, elephants.  Both recipes are fail proof!

Sugar Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill for 1 hour or until firm.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-in thickness. Cut out with Christmas cookie cutters of your choice. Using a floured spatula, transfer cookies to greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire racks.
  3. Decorate cookies with frosting and colored sugars.

Cookie Icing

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons milk (I used 3 or 4 tsps)
2 teaspoons light corn syrup (i used 3 or 4 tsps)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted icing coloring

  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  2. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.


On Papaya Cream and Hugs ~ Crème de Papaya e um Abraço

Papayas from our yard, Photos by Priscillakittycat

Papayas from our yard, Photos by Priscillakittycat


I bow to the beauty and bounty of nature and the blessings of life.  It is from the ground that we receive our nourishment, from the sun that we receive warmth and…from the special people in our lives we accept hugs to calm our fears.  This month marks my ninth year as a volunteer Wish Granter for the Make a Wish Foundation.  Nine must be my lucky number.

A few days ago I went to visit my “Chunky Monkey” (his nickname).  He’s nine years old and will soon celebrate his 10th year of life.  He says of his approaching birthday, “I’ll be in the double digits”.  When I come to visit, he’s waiting at the door.  With his arms stretched…he motions his hands forward for me to come in for a hug.  He hugs my wish partner with the same enthusiasm and begins to tells us about his wish.  We look at pictures and at the toys he received while he was on the trip…while he indulges in pizza, cheese sticks and spicy wings (he loves spicy wings).  We have something in common– a love for food.  He shows us his light saber and the moves he learned during Jedi training.  I never thought I would have a favorite wish child but the boy who is witty and smart has won my heart.

What do my Chunky Monkey and Papaya Cream have in common?  Well, they both make me really happy deep inside and they also remind me that nature gives rise to all forms of beauty.  There is the papaya fruit that gives rise to a lovely cream…And there are two people who meet by chance, fall in love and create a beautiful being whose hugs remind me what life is all about.  Happy Birthday, little Jedi!  May you be healthy and may you live as long as the Master Jedi.

Life is uncertain. Eat Dessert First. ~ Ernestine Ulmer (A vida é incerta. Coma a sobremesa primeiro.)

As the year comes to a close, it’s time to look back and be thankful.  There are literally millions of things to be thankful for.  A child that smiles at a stranger on the street and stops time.  The blades of grass that cool our bare feet.  The sun that rises faithfully every morning and sets in the evening.  The shimmering grains of sand on the beach.  A kitten sleeping peacefully on your favorite pillow.  Grandpa Elliott singing “Stand By Me” with Playing for a Change.

How sweet is the scent of someone you love coming in for a hug? Or the excitement you feel when a hand-written letter arrives in the mail and it’s from a friend you haven’t seen in a long time.  Tucked in the branches of the Christmas tree is an ornament you bought while strolling through quaint little shops in a foreign land.  A good laugh at your desk when you receive an email that says: “I’m interested in a Health Care Curse”.  There might be a vowel missing from the “curse”.

Of all the blessings of this life I am especially thankful for good health.  Most of us have two eyes that open when we wake each morning.  And we have legs that will take us on a scenic jog whenever our heart desires.  With good health we can enjoy and feel thankful for all the other things.

This Passion Fruit Mousse recipe is very easy to make and easier to eat…first.

Photos by Priscillakittycat, Recipe by Allrecipes.com

Photos by Priscillakittycat, Recipe by Allrecipes.com

8 Maracujás
1 colher de sopa de açucar
1 lata de leite condensado
2 copos de crème (whipping cream)

Tire a polpa dos maracujás, amacie com as mãos e coe para extrair o suco.  Acrescente o açucar e o leite condensado.

Numa tigela fria (coloque a tigela no freezer antes de usar) e bata o crème até formar um Chantilly.  Levemente acrescente um terço do crème à mistura do maracujá e logo acrescente o restante do crème até que desapareçam os traços e a cor fique uniforme.  Leve para gelar (na geladeira) durante uma hora.

Plum Upside-Down Cake ~ Bolo de Ameixa

Recipe by Food & Wine Magazine, Photos by Priscillakittycat

Recipe by Food & Wine Magazine, Photos by Priscillakittycat

IMG_1617 IMG_1637 IMG_1639

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 pounds medium plums (about 6), pitted and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges

1/2 cup crème fraîche
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, beaten
Whipped cream, for serving

Prepare the plums: Preheat oven 325 F.  In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil without stirring. Cook over high heat, washing down the side of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush, until an amber-colored caramel forms, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Immediately pour the caramel into a 9-inch (2 inches deep) metal cake pan. Carefully arrange the plum wedges in the caramel in concentric circles.

Make the cake: In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche with the milk and vanilla. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, mix the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. At low speed, beat in the butter until the mixture resembles moist crumbs, about 30 seconds. Beat in the eggs at low speed until incorporated, then beat the batter at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute; scrape down the side of the bowl. At medium speed, beat in the crème fraîche mixture until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape the batter over the plums and gently spread 
in an even layer.

Bake the cake in the center of the oven for 55 to 60 minutes, until golden and springy. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.


¾  copo de açúcar
1/3 copo de agua
2 colheres de sopa de manteiga sem sal, amolecida
680 gramas de ameixas, sem a semente, cortadas em fatias de 1.3 cm

½ copo de creme fresco
2 colheres de sopa de leite integral
2 colheres de sopa de extrato de baunilha
1 ½ copos de farinha de trigo
2/3 copos de açúcar
1 colher de chá de fermento em pó
½ colher de chá de bicarbonato de sódio
½ colher de chá de sal
1 ½ tabletes de manteiga sem sal, amolecida (160 gr)
2 ovos grandes, batidos
Chantilly, para servir

Prepare as Ameixas:  Aqueça o forno, 325 F (160C).  Numa panela coloque o açúcar e a agua.  Deixe ferver sem mexer.  Enquanto a calda cozinha no fogo alto, use uma escova pastelaria molhado para molhar os lados da panela com agua até a calda ficar com a cor de âmbar (5-7 minutos).  Retire a panela do fogo, acrescente a manteiga sem sal e bata com o batedor.  Imediatamente despeje a calda numa fôrma de 23 cm de largura e 5 cm de altura.  Arranje as ameixas cuidadosamente em cima do caramelo.

Faça o Bolo: Numa tigela pequena bata o creme fresco com o leite e a baunilha.  Numa tigela grande, usando a batedeira elétrica, bata a farinha, o açúcar, pó Royal, bicarbonato e o sal.  Em velocidade mínima, acrescente a manteiga até a mistura parecer uma farofa, uns 30 segundos.  Ainda com a batedeira ligada na velocidade mínima, acrescente os ovos até incorporarem na massa e depois bata a massa na velocidade média até ficar leve e fofa (um minuto); pare a batedeira para raspar as beiradas da tigela e acrescente a mistura do creme fresco e bata na velocidade média até a massa ficar consistente (30 segundos).  Despeje a massa por cima das ameixas cuidadosamente.

Asse o bolo por 55-60 minutos.  O bolo deve ficar dourado.  Deixe esfriar na fôrma durante 30 minutos e depois vire no prato de servir.  Sirva ainda quente ou espere o bolo atingir temperatura ambiente.  Sirva com creme chantilly.

Rats on Cheesecake ~ Ratos no Cheesecake

2 rat

Recipe by Redbook Magazine, Photos by Priscillakittycat

Recipe by Redbook Magazine, Photos by Priscillakittycat

This cheesecake is awesome!  The little rats are so, so cute and they are entirely edible, made from strawberries covered in chocolate and sprinkled with black decorating sugar.  The ears and fangs are almonds.  The tails are made from gummy candy cut into thin strips and dipped in chocolate.  Halloween guests will beg for more “rats on cheese”.  I took the recipe from Redbook online, September 2007.

1½ c. ground chocolate wafers
4 tbsp. Sugar
5 tbsp. butter

2 package cream cheese
½ c. Sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp. grated orange zest
½ c. sour cream
Yellow food coloring

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.

Combine cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a medium bowl; stir well. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom and sides of prepared tart pan. Bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Beat cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and making sure to scrape sides of the bowl. Add orange zest and sour cream and beat until just blended.

Add 4 drops of yellow food coloring and stir well to blend. Remove 1/2 cup of the cheesecake batter and place into a small bowl. Add 5 drops of yellow food coloring to the 1/2 cup batter and stir well. Spoon into a resealable bag.

Pour light yellow batter into baked tart crust and smooth top. Snip a very small corner from bag with darker yellow batter. Pipe random spots of batter on top of the tart in a variety of sizes to make the cheese holes. Bake tart until lightly puffed and center is just set, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Serve with Chocolate Rats.

Chocolate Rats

8 large strawberries
sliced almonds
1 container dipping chocolate
½ c. black decorating sugar
Yellow and brown candy-coated chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
slivered almonds
Black licorice laces

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Trim a small piece from one side of each strawberry so they can rest horizontally on wax paper. Insert 2 sliced almonds — about 1 inch from pointed end of strawberry and about 1 inch apart — to make the ears of the rat.

Follow heating directions for dipping chocolate. Insert a fork into the large end of a strawberry. Holding strawberry on fork over container of dipping chocolate, spoon chocolate over strawberry to coat. Allow excess chocolate to drip off, tapping fork lightly. Sprinkle with black sugar to coat and transfer strawberry to prepared cookie sheet. Add yellow candies for the eyes, slivered almonds for the teeth, and brown candies for the nose. Repeat with the remaining 7 strawberries. Refrigerate rats until ready to serve.

Make a hole with a toothpick in back side of a chocolate-covered strawberry and insert one end of a 4-inch piece of black licorice for the tail. Repeat with the remaining 7 strawberries. Serve with Creepy Critter Cheesecake.


Versao em Portugues a seguir.