May 27, 2016

A morning walk and the simplicity of an omelet

Last week, after so many cold and wet days, we finally had the perfect Spring weekend, cool early morning misty, late morning sunny. Such a pleasant weather!

I left early in the morning for a walk in the neighborhood. Quietness, broken only by the chirp-chirp of birds and the patter of squirrels.

How magical that morning was, the fog and sunrise quietly moving together. It was the loveliest of Spring days.

On my walk back home, I stopped by my friend's home, Lucia, who kindly went to her garden and picked some organic asparagus and collected some eggs to give to me.

Brady smiled when he saw me getting back home with a basket filled with asparagus and eggs, he knew it was a gift from our friends as every year they share some of their produce with us.

The next morning, I made this delicious baked asparagus omelet. Oh it tasted so rich, the distinctive sweetness of the asparagus was a good complement to the eggs. 

This decidedly has become a favorite omelet of mine.

It's nutritious,

It's flavorful,

and remarkably simple to make!

A tasty breakfast, Spring brunch, or light supper in no time, this omelet is baked individually so it is easy to serve.

Baked Asparagus Omelet
Makes about 5 Quich dishes

4 eggs
8 green asparagus, snipped
4 tbsp heavy cream
Havarti cheese, cubed
green onions, to taste
sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground is better
grated Parmesan, to taste
butter - to coat the dish(s)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the dishes with butter, and set them in a baking pan just big enough to hold them.

In a bowl, beat the eggs with the heavy cream until smooth.

Stir in the green onions, and season with salt and black pepper.

Divide mixture between prepared dishes, top each one with the asparagus and cubed cheese.

Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake the omelets, uncovered,  for about 20 minutes, until puffed and gold.

Tips: use the herbs of your choice or/and  the ones you have handy; the same goes for the cheeses - Gruyère, Feta, grated Cheddar, or Pecorino, are great choices as well.

May 17, 2016

DIY Faux Flower Gift Topper

This DIY is as easy as a DIY can be, it does not require any special skills.

Mind you, a few weeks ago I had a wedding to go, my wedding gift was packed in a big box, and I had a challenge, how to wrap a big box in a special way?  How to personalize it?

I wanted it to have flowers, a nice bouquet, but I was afraid the flowers would not look their best for the entire wedding ceremony and wedding party, that's when I thought of using faux flowers, but how to attach faux flowers on top of my package? That's another challenge, and that's when I thought of using styrofoam.

I had no idea if it would work, but it did work, and I loved how it looked, so much so that last weekend I made another one for another wedding gift - people do like to get married in May!

The final touch to this faux flower bouquet, to give it a more natural and fresh look, is to add some real flowers, flowers that keep looking their best for days, even weeks, without water, like craspedia globosa (billy button) and gypsophila (baby's breath).

You'll need:

This faux flower gift topper is so simple to make that I could not figure out how to take step by step pictures without them coming out looking silly. Basically, believe me, all the steps are shown on the picture below.

How to:
  • Consider the contours of the styrofoam and the pieces you have chosen for your arrangement.
  • Varying heights will give you the most natural looking display. Trim each flower as you go. Don't panic if you dislike how the arrangement is taking shape; simply re-position the flowers until it looks pleasing to you.  Work from the center out
  • For this project, flowers with hard stems are much easier to work with, they do not require a stick to make holes for them, easily they get inserted in the foam, and there is no need to glue them to the foam; on the other hand, flowers with soft stems need to be glued to the foam or they will not stay secured to it.
  • Cover the entire foam, including the sides, with flowers.
  •  Use small faux flowers and some natural flowers to both fill in any gaps and also to add movement and expression to your arrangement until it looks lush.
  • To attach the flower arrangement on the gift box, spread glue under the styrofoam using the foam brush and hold it firmly for a few seconds.

If you feel inspired to try and make this easy as a pie DIY, please let me know. I would love to see how you would customize your own faux flower gift topper .

May 5, 2016

Make yourself at home

My sister Neuza lives on the second floor of a two-story house in the heart of a Brazilian town. It's a noisy neighborhood, but when we step inside her home it's like stepping into another world, the house is colorful, warm, textural - simply cozy! Like magic the outside noise does not bother anymore.

It's a refreshing, casual, hippie style home, most pieces were gathered over time, some handed down by my mother and sisters. She favors the handcrafted and repurposed items, distressed and painted wood. Her home feels warm, livable and full of character.

Her home is complete with a cozy outdoor breakfast nook, and a sunny patio where she keeps her most valuable jewels, her plants. Definitely she has a green thumb. 

As we make our way towards to her patio, we are greeted on either side by planters bursting with stunning succulents and cactus in every shape, size and color. They thrive in her house, they look so pretty and precious.

She has created a true oasis in the middle of her noisy neighborhood.

I hope you have enjoyed this little peak into my sister's home and garden.

This is just a taste of the goodness that awaits you on when you allow your most authentic self come to life and with that have the ability to create freely and organically, driven by creativity and crafting.

April 29, 2016

Think outside the vase

No, definitely I did not planned it, but here I am, exactly a year later writing a post about the same thing, flowers. You see, it was my birthday again, and again my husband brought me flowers, not that he brings me flowers only on my birthdays, no, definitely not. 

He knows better, 

he knows how happy I feel when, unexpectedely, 

he gets home with the most beautiful flowers

You know my flower arrangements keep changing as I try to keep flowers around as long as possible, no need to buy new ones every week, yet always having flowers on display. 

This time, however, I had a small challenge to create a new lovely, long-lasting arrangement from my birthday flowers by simply following my system of cutting back the stems and removing leaves and flowers that have already died. The problem?  The flowers were placed in a basket, and to fit in the basket the stems were cut so short... 

What did I do? You know I always have some tin cans saved to reuse them in some other creative ways, and that's what I did. I used them to hold small bouquets with just a few blossoms in each one. The effect was a fresh, floral feeling all around the house, like this one I placed in the guest bathroom.

The old maxim 'less is more' is especially true when we place a big bloom alone in a small container.

You don't need to fuss with your flowers, just let their natural curves and tilts make the display look casual and cool.

How cute. Now I'm definitely feeling Springy!

When I did not have any more small tin can left, I used a small enamel cup my mother gave to me. Perfect on my nightstand.

Yes,  these are easy and budget-friendly ways to decorate and have flowers displayed at home. The key is to get creative and find simple, yet unique ways to add beauty and life to any space with fresh blooms, but mostly have fun while doing it.

April 11, 2016

Coming back home... from home

I returned from Brazil about a week ago, and my head and my heart are still full of memorable images of those days. Scenes of family, cooking, short trips, friends.

No schedules, no obligations, just free time to enjoy people I love and play with Joca and Pongo, the dogs.

A much different county, different culture, different climate, different food. I was home, and somehow I feel I am still there.

I was craving greenery and flowers and I found it there, especially in Tiradentes, where I went for a couple of days with two sisters and a brother-in-law. 

The first time I visited Tiradentes was with my parents, I was so young, and yet to these days I cherish those precious memories.

Tiradentes, and it's narrow hilly cobblestone streets is a charming small town surrounded by blue hills, everything looks so alive and colorful, it's impossible not to slow down and appreciate its good energy and vibration.

In the mornings, my sister Marilda and I would go for a walk while my sister Vera and her husband were still asleep.

Misty mornings... Quiet... Magical... Bliss...


I've been itching to share some of the photos I took with you, these images bring so much joy to me, they are memories of a special time I spent with the people I love.

It was such a wonderful time.  

March 26, 2016

Easter is coming

It was 5:00 o'clock in the morning when I started writing this post. I am sitting at the dining room table of my mother's home drinking some delicious Brazilian coffee. The morning air is cool and fresh after a rain storm last night.

It's been incredibly hot for this time of the year. Semana Santa translates as a time when we say goodbye to Summer and welcome the beginning of Autumn's mild weather, the way I remember when I lived in Brazil.

Rather than wait for the post I ended up not writing because I can't find the time while I am visiting my family in Brazil, I thought I would share some photos I took of our first family get together. I wish I had the recipes ready for you, but I promise they'll come later.

Fresh Tropical Salad served with Mustard and Honey Dressing

Two-Dressing Baked Salmon - Cashew and Butter Dressing and/or 
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Capers and Fresh Herbs Dressing

Chocolate (Brigadeiro) Pudding

I trust you have already planned delicious meals, whether elaborate or simple, with people you love, your family or friends.

Anyhow, if you celebrate it, I want to wish a Happy and Joyful Easter to you and your family... Feliz Páscoa!

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