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Cranberry Bars


I have a habit that sometimes saves my life. I collect food magazines. Not sure if it is a good or a bad one yet because pretty soon I will have to move back to Brazil and it is going to be a challenge either to leave or take them with me.

For now they are here, by my side, giving me some advice for what I have to do next. I’ve been accumulating them since we moved to the United States, about four years ago. They started as a source for me to learn English and became a strong source of visual stimulation and recipe inspiration.

Looking back and flipping the pages of these “old” magazines, it is kind of curious to notice how the world we see has changed while the one we taste is quite the same.  Not the magazines fault, I guess. We are always looking for new ways to decorate the traditional vanilla cake or to present the same good old friend turkey. And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love trying new things and usually I am the first one to order that weird – but delicious – olive oil ice cream on the menu. But on a daily basis, tradition is the word.

I think that’s what made me choose, without much thought, this recipe for cranberry bar from Gourmet Nov, 2007 edition. As a Brazilian, I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving. Turkey is, in my unconscious, a Christmas thing. Cranberries are different; they are, in my mind, the elegant taste of fall.

These bars are quite simple compared to our cranberry cake from last year. No nuts, no almond paste, just cranberries pronounced by the addition of lemon zests (not part of the original recipe). Perfect if you are looking for an easier yet vastly tasty dessert for your Thanksgiving table.

Churros and Hot Chocolate


Thanks for your patience! I can say I’m totally back now; I just needed some time to put things on their right place.

It’s always good to go to Brazil and to see family again but all the talk about hospitals and health care just made me want my home back very badly. But among not so pleasant stuff I did eat things I love and visited a few new (to me) restaurants that gave me a lot of ideas for future posts and pics.

Thanks to Bar da Dona Onça, churros are one of them. When those hot and crispy little churros with a bowl of dulce de leche came to our table I immediately knew I was about to start my 2012 off on my right foot.

You won’t believe what a batch of churros can do for you!! It can even bright a cloudy and cold winter day! So, this recipe was carefully created to help you get over your problems and put a smile in your face.

World Of Cranberries


Last Thanksgiving I had decided this year I was going to meet the “Misses cranberries”. And by meet I mean knocking at their door, getting to know their place, having some talk and, with some luck, share a cup of coffee, just as Brazilians like to do.

So, October 7th we left home towards central Wisconsin, towards the Cranberry Hwy, a vast wetland stretched for almost 50 miles between Wisconsin Rapids and Warrens – yeah, because any fruit that worth its salt has its own highway.

What I should have guessed though is cranberries have a real character and strong personality. They don’t show up in each corner, they kind of preserve their privacy, unlike apples or pumpkins. After few hours of driving, dozens of century-old beds, a hundred thousand vines, we had spotted not a single berry. Furthermore, we were late for the show, mostly festivals had happened a week earlier and cranberries were already tired of acting like a fall celebrity.

Holiday Classics


We’re at home, in Brazil, and as I already thought, it’s been hard to write. And even harder is to keep focused and to choose the right recipe to share. Here we eat all day long, believe me!!!!!

Finally, I thought it’d be good to celebrate one more time the meeting between Brazil and United States. And for this celebration, brigadeiro!!!! Brigadeiro is a classic Brazilian candy, a kind of caramel traditionally made with sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter.

Known as a “child birthday party candy”, brigadeiro is getting its merited place on the red carpet and showing its face in luscious and important parties, wearing a simple black dress or designer clothes. (Check this spectacular store in Sao Paulo: Maria Brigadeiro). Here, wearing its eggnog, gingerbread and peppermint outfit, brigadeiros are ready for the holidays!!!

Before, starting, just one general rule for making brigadeiros. They are better cooked in low to medium heat. Never try to accelerate the process otherwise they are going to be lumpy and grainy. Have it in mind, patience is the key!!

Eggnog: combine the first four ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook stirring constantly ‘til you are able to see the bottom of the pan, approximately 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, add the run and stir ‘til well combined. Let it chill, shape into balls and roll in small pieces of white chocolate.

Gingerbread: In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and cook for approximately 20 minutes, stirring constantly. Let it chill, shape into balls and roll in crushed toasted pecans.

Peppermint:  start with a classic brigadeiro recipe. Combine in a medium saucepan the condensed milk, butter, honey and cocoa powder.  Cook stirring constantly ‘til you are able to see the bottom of the pan, approximately 20 minutes. Let it chill, shape into balls and roll in small pieces of crushed candy canes. For a deeper peppermint flavor, use peppermint extract.

All the recipes can be used as a cake filling or a relief for PMS!!

Pumpkin And Goat Cheese Pies


If I could choose one thing from the Northern hemisphere to take with me it would be the changing of seasons. I’m really, really jealous about each tiny aspect of it. The breeze that announces summer is over and berries that announce summer just began again; melting and muddy snow telling winter’s gone and its same hard flakes predicting a cold and grey winter came to stay.

Spring, well, it’s an entirely new concept to me now. It’s not all about flowers – we do have flowers in Brazil, and they adorn my precious land all year round – but the expectation of it, the little tiny springs beginning to show up to colour the trees, the hidden sun starting to shine,  warming us up and giving the real meaning winter is over.

And last but not least, there’s fall. It is not the grey season anymore, stopping summer to play around, showing we have responsibilities and life can’t be a timeless picnic – or carnival, depending on where you are. Instead, fall is unusual (to me) palette of colours that combined with chilly air and the sound of crunch leaves makes me a hungry girl!!

So, these little pumpkin and goat cheese pocket pies are just the beginning, an appetizer to welcome the tastiest season of all!!

5 Creative Food Photography Ideas You Should Try at Home

Food Photography

Food-centric blogs are increasing in number to improve the overall experience of exploring new cuisines and tastes. We have plenty of websites on the internet, offering an overarching view of the various flavors available in the market. One of the elements promoting the online content is the images attached along with the written pieces. Visual enticement has always had a greater impact than the imagination evoked by reading. Photography has various areas to be explored, and if you are inclined to the prospect of building a career from food, certain aspects must be learned before foraying into it. Creative food photography is tricky, and it requires attention to detail. Several aspects have to be borne in mind when you capture shots of foods. Here are a few ideas that you can try at home to improve your creative photography skills.

1.      Create the Best Atmosphere for the Food

Finding the scraps and design elements that will help create an immersive atmosphere for the food. Understanding the origins of the food or the regions where it is usually consumed can become the baseline to begin. When you have a coffee-powder brand to promote with the photographs, you can use the raw beans and a dark mood to suit the brown hue within the frame. Elements that fit into that frame perfectly can be selected and placed to enhance the overall impact.

2.      Rotten Food Images

This is an idea not many people capitalized on until a few years back. Rotten food images can be captured using your camera to indicate the effect of time on the various ingredients and natural products. Stale items would look beautiful in a frame with minimal design elements. Make sure to focus on the color of the food to make it easily noticeable.

3.      Use Colorful Food

Colorful Food

When you have enough food at home to play with on the table, this is an option you can rely on. It doesn’t mean you should waste the products used; try placing them in such a way that they appear aesthetically appealing to the senses. The effective idea is to use spices or colorful sweets to throw it up or down in the air over a dark background. Tossing them in the air will fill the frame with vibrant colors.

4.      Message through Foods

Drawing and writing using foods will infuse the image with a special element of dynamism. When you do so, make sure to draw and write something related to the food used. If chilli powder is placed on the board, try creating a picture of chilli with its writing to grab the attention of the viewers right away. Other symbols can also be used against a white background to improve the impact.

Message through Foods

5.      Piles of Food

Creating a fresh perspective by piling foods isn’t an easy task, but when you have the best design elements and lights, everything is possible. Try adding more colors to the image to make the image more appealing.

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