November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Very different from Thanksgiving 2011 that was just my hubby and me, this year I had 10 people (and two little people!) over to celebrate this amazing date!

Preparations began on the previous week doing the decor (and a great excuse to chat with friends, eat and drink!)

Each one was responsible for one or more dishes and I got the turkey.
I did the same process of brining and preparing the turkey. I also made cranberry sauce (this one was better than last year: I got a recipe with Porto wine!) and farofa (a Brazilian version of stuffing)
The menu included: caramelized root vegetables, mashed potatoes, rice with almonds, arugula salad with beets, goat cheese and hazelnuts.

As starters, we had a better version of my baked brie (with peach jam!), prosciutto, salami, fresh-baked breads and burrata.

Nobody cared much for dessert but we had fruits, ice cream, pie and I made a mint brownie that was very good!

We also gave special attention to drinks and prepared several cocktails, and sparkling wine which is a must in all my celebrations!

They were delicious hours surrounded by people we care. While away - geographically - from our families, we have friends we can count on. And because of that and all the other good things that happen everyday in our lives that hubby and I couldn't pass on this date, celebrate and give thanks!

November 18, 2012

The HAPPY movie

Yesterday I watched a really touching and interesting documentary called HAPPY (available on Netflix).

It presents the results of several studies on happiness and what people want / need to be happy. And four points caught my attention:
1 - of all the cases, people who have very simple lives and less money are the happiest.
2 - from the moment you have enough money for your basic needs, no matter if you earn $ 1 million or $ 10 million that it doesn't make you a happier person.
3 - everyday things are the ones that make you happy. Taking different routes to work, including something that you really enjoy doing (exercising, dancing, volunteering ...) brings more happiness.
4 - a community thinking makes you happier. Feeling like you're part of something bigger and that one act of yours can change the life of another person brings great pleasure.

Fortunately, I can say that I'm already practicing some of the points above for quite some time. I'm still far from what I'd like to be, but I'll get there! Others, I still need to work on and you bet I will (accepting that we need to improve is a first step, right?). Anyway, the documentary has a nice message which can actually be applied in our daily lives if we're open to it. Loved it!

November 13, 2012

This week's DELIGHT: Orange (or Passion Fruit) Sauce

With the holidays coming, nothing better than a quick recipe that can help you spice up your bird (be it turkey, chicken, turfey) and even your every day dish: Orange Sauce (in my case, Passion Fruit Sauce!)

My mother in law gave me this recipe after my hubby has tried at her house and loved it! I tested it and it really is a delicious sauce!
Since we had leftover, on the next day I made a sweet-savory brown rice: I added the passion fruit sauce directly into the water I cooked the brown rice with corn, grated carrot and shredded chicken.

The picture is not very good, but the rice... mmm... yummy!

November 04, 2012


After about 6 years, I returned to one of the most beautiful places in the world: Hawaii!

Some things have changed a lot, but the most important thing remains the same: the island is still amazing!
We went - again- to Oahu. Considered the most touristic island, Oahu is almost always the last option for those who want to relax, enjoy extreme outdoor sports and stay away from crowds. But I managed to do it all! (except for the extreme sports - I wasn't born with the adventurous gene ;)
The secret is to stay in a resort a little further away. And since the island is very small, you can get pretty quickly anywhere!
Here's a little of what this trip was. As you can see, there were no restaurants, bars, fancy places. Only beach, sea, bikini, sun, blue sky and informal food!

Tree with twisted and intricate stems

A tribute to Duke Kahanamoku (Hawaiian surfer who helped popularize modern surfing), Waikiki Beach

Believe it or not but here is where the giant waves annual championship happens! (Banzai Pipeline)

Downtown Haleiwa, North Shore.

Rainbow, North Shore.

"Pumpkin Trees" (don't ask me how...)

The most famous shrimp in Oahu: Giovanni's Shrimp Truck

Two of the three dishes they serve: shrimp with garlic and oil, and shrimp with butter (the third is a spicy one. And I guess it's very spicy because they have a sign saying they will not refund anyone...)

I don't know how I could have waited that much to return to this amazing island... Mahalo (thank you in Hawaiian) and see you soon!