Shrimp & Sauteed Cannellini Beans

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I love the simplicity of this dish, let's face it, nothing is more simple than beans. But simple can also be elegant and filled with flavor, that's what this dish is. The combination of cannellini beans and shrimp is perfect. Take a look:

Recipe adapted from Food&Wine Cookbook

1 pound shrimp, shelled
1 small onion, diced very small
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 (15 oz.) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 seafood seasoning
A handful of parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

1. In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup of olive oil, lemon juice, 1/2 of the minced garlic, seafood seasoning, salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and toss really well. Set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium/high heat. Add the remaining garlic and onions, sauté until translucent. Add the beans, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the chopped parsley and mix it well. Remove from heat.
3. Thread the marinated shrimp onto skewers. Grill or broil the shrimp, turning once, until just done, about 5 minutes. Serve the shrimp over the beans. Enjoy!

*tip*: if you use bamboo skewers, soak them in water for ten minutes before using them so that they don't burn up.

A Spring Day at The Park

Monday, April 29, 2013

 It was a beautiful day this past Saturday and 
we decided to visit our nearby park. 
We took a walk around the pond, 
spot some fish and frogs,
saw gorgeous trees blooming, 
took a look at the creek and 
enjoyed the playground.
It was a very nice afternoon, 
take a look:

My little fashionista! She loved the sunglasses that grandma and auntie gave her.

I loved Sophia's little outfit, the combination of colors are so spring-y!

Taking a better look of the creek.

She was amazed to see the fish and little frogs too.

Gorgeous Dogwood trees in full bloom. Aren't they beautiful?

 this is my favorite photo from our trip to the park.

What did you do this weekend?

Barley, Tomato & Chickpea Salad

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Here's another variation salad with barley. I love eating salads with barley because it makes me feel so full after eating it, not to mention how healty it is too. Take a look:

Recipe by Sweet Caroline

Ingredients:2 cups cooked and cooled barley (3/4 raw)
1 can (15.5 oz) chick peas, rinsed
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
pinch of oregano

1. In a large bowl, combine the barley, chick peas, tomatoes and onion.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and oregano. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss really well. Serve and enjoy.

Quick Cinnamon Rolls (Without Yeast)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I love eating cinnamon rolls but sometimes I don't like to wait a couple hours for the dough to rise. That's why I was looking for a quick way to make these delicious rolls without yeast and the big wait too. Take a look:

Recipe adapted from


For Dough
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup milk

For Filling

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon

For Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for filling, mix really well into a crumbly mixture and reserve. In another bowl, add and mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter, use your hands to mix the butter really well into the flour mixture until crumbly. Stir in the milk to form a soft and sticky dough. Transfer dough to a floured surface and roll out dough into a rectangle. Sprinkle half of the filling mixture onto the rolled out dough. Roll up the dough to form a long log, cut log into slices with a knife. In a baking dish (I used a 9x13 baking dish), sprinkle the remaining filling mixture in the bottom, add place the rolls onto top and bake for 20-25 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Drizzle the graze over the rolls when comes out of the oven. Serve warm and enjoy!

Tomato Stuffed with Barley & Mixed Vegetables

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Last week, I was craving some healthy food but wanted to try something different. That's when I came up with this idea in my head and tried to recreated, results were fantastic and pretty tasty too! Take a look:

Recipe by Sweet Caroline

Ingredients (makes 8):
4 roma tomatoes, cut in half and hallowed out
1 cup cooked pearled barley (1/3 cup raw)
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (greens, corn and carrots), completely thawed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and let it cook for about 1 minute. Add the mixed vegetables and sauté. Remove from heat. In a bowl, add the sautéed vegetables, cooked barley, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss everything really well together. Fill tomatoes with mixture and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Decor: Tables for Breakfast

Friday, April 19, 2013

Breakfast is an essential meal of the day, but sometimes, we are always in a hurry or just don't have time. Whenever I get a chance, I like to set up a pretty table and enjoy my beautiful breakfast. Here are some tips for creating a beautiful table for your breakfast.

1. One of the things I like the best are the white dishes. The white dishes are simple but always elegant, a classic that just need some details like candles and flowers to make the table become even more beautiful!

                                                                          Source: via Sherri on Pinterest

                                                                        Source: via Stefanie on Pinterest

2. Another tip is to add flowers to the table to create a cheerful and lovely atmosphere. Flowers are always a great option in decorating.

                                                                    Source: via The Design Junkie on Pinterest

3. Fruits are also essential for breakfast, you can even use them as arrangements as well.

                                                   Source: via As You Desire Weddingplanner on Pinterest

I hope you like the tips!

(photo source:

Beef Stew

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

This beef stew recipe can be done in 30 minutes, it's fairly easy to make. I used a pressure cooker to speed up the process and it works like magic. If you've never used one before don't be intimidated, just make sure to read all the instructions on how to properly use the pressure cooker before you begin (it's very important!).

Recipe by Sweet Caroline's Kitchen

1-1/2 lb. cubes beef for stew
3 medium red potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 beef bouillon
4 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Season meat with a good amount of salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a pressure cooker over medium/high heat. Add the garlic and saute until golden in color.
2. Stir in the beef and let it brown. Add potatoes, carrots and onions. Mix it well.
3. Add water and beef bouillon. Cover pan really well and cook for about 25-30 minutes. Remove lid, dissolve the cornstarch with a tablespoon of water. Add it to the pan, mix it well and let it cook until sauce thickens.
4. Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve warm.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Quindim is a very popular Brazilian dessert made from egg yolks, sugar and coconut, like a custard. It can be found in many bakeries and pastry shops in Brazil. It's really simple to make this custard, take a look:

Recipe by Sweet Caroline

Ingredients (makes 7):
7 egg yolks*
7 tablespoons sugar (plus more for dusting the cupcake molds)
2 tablespoons butter *
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup milk*

*make sure ingredients are at room temperature


1. Using 1 tablespoon butter, rub the inside of cupcake molds.  Sprinkle sugar liberally all over the molds, then turn the pan over and tap out the excess.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and heat a pot of water on the stove top.
3. Beat the yolks and sugar until creamy.
4. Add the butter, coconut and milk. Beat again.
5. Fill each cupcake with the mixture. Place the cupcake pan inside of a larger pan with sides. Pour the hot water into the larger pan (creating a water bath).
6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
7. Let it cool completely. To remove custards, run a knife around the edge to loosen them from the pan and flip. Serve chilled. Enjoy.

Creamy Chicken with Mushrooms and Onions

Friday, April 12, 2013

I love quick and simple recipes that are filled with flavor, just like this one. I usually eat chicken many times during the week, so I've tried new ways to improve or innovate some recipes. This recipe should take about 10-15 minutes to make. Take a look:

Recipe by Sweet Caroline
1 pound boneless chicken breast, diced
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1 cup white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon brown gravy mix
1/3 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
a pinch dry oregano
salt and pepper

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
2. In a medium/large sauce pan oven medium/high heat, add the oil and garlic and saute for about 1 minute.
3. Add the chicken, cook until it's well done. Stir in the onions and mushrooms, saute.
4. Dissolve the brown gravy mix into the milk. Stir in the milk to the pan and bring to a boil, sauce should thicken quickly.
5. Ajust seasoning with necessary, add the oregano.
6. Serve hot with some white rice. Enjoy.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Tarts

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I made these delicious little tarts to serve at Easter lunch that I had prepared for my family. They're completely easy and quick to make, I decided to make it the night before since I would be making other dishes on Easter as well. You can substitute the blueberry for any other flavor that you prefer or serve it just plain, I decided to make it half with the blueberry jam and the other half plain, that way people could choose whichever they wanted to eat. Take a look:

Recipe by Paula Deen

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
18 vanilla wafers
1 cup blueberry jam or pie filling of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a paper cupcake liner in each cup of a muffin pan. Beat cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Place a vanilla wafer, flat side down, in each muffin cup. Spoon cream cheese mixture over wafers, filling about 2/3 of each cup. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow tarts to cool completely. Serve with blueberry jam or pie filling on top.

Salpicão: A Brazilian Chicken Salad

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Here's one of the dishes I made to serve for my family on Easter Sunday. Salpicão is a tradional brazilian chicken salad, while many people have different versions of it, this is my favorite. You can add other ingredients to this chicken salad if you like, such as: shredded carrots, peas or apples. But what makes this salad different and Salpicão, it's the shoestring potatoes, a must in this dish. Take a look:

Recipe by Sweet Caroline

2 whole chicken breast, boneless and skinless
10 ham slices, diced
1 (15.5 oz) can corn kernels, rinsed
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 chicken bouillon
A handful of parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 standard package shoestring potatoes

In a sauce pan; add the chicken and chicken bouillon, cover with enough water and cook the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked, allow it to cool and shred the chicken into pieces. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, ham, corn, and raisins. Stir well with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the mayo and parsley and stir until everything is well combined and coated with the mayo. Season with salt and pepper. Before serving sprinkle the shoestring potatoes over the top for a crunchy factor.

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Easter Recap...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Our Easter Sunday was very relaxing,
I prepared a delicious Easter lunch (I'll be sharing some recipes soon)
 at our home for our family, my parents and sister
come over to celebrate with us.

I created a little egg hunt for the kids, Sophia had plenty of fun 
finding the little eggs scattered throughout the house. 
My parents and sister gave the kids a basket for each, 
filled with little toys, candy and plenty
of chocolate!

At night, we all attended the church service
and celebrated the true meaning of Easter:
our lord Jesus.
Take a look:

How was your Easter?

♥ ♥ 

Homemade Tortilla

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I'd never thought that making homemade tortilla was a easy thing to do but I was so wrong. Not only is easy but I had fun using my rolling pin (I had never used before), it's a great way to get your stress out of the way!

I found this recipe at TastyKitchen.

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup hot water

1. In a bowl mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.
2. Add the oil and mix with your fingers until crumbly.
3. Pour in the hot water and mix until a ball is formed. Cover with plastic or a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll out on a floured surface, make it as thin as possible.
5. Cook on a hot, ungreased non-stick pan over medium-high heat for about two minutes on each side. Serve warm.

* Tip *:
1. If you prefer and want to make the dough ahead of time you can let the dough rest overnight. I tried it and it works perfectly.
2. Enjoy as tacos, quesadillas, fajitas and burritos.

I served my tortillas as tacos with some white rice and fresh cooked beans. It was delish!

Zucchini & Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm always trying to make my kids eat more veggies, since they love cookies so much, I decided to make a cookie that would incorporate some veggie too. The results were great, they loved and swallowed everything. Take a look:

1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix together the baking powder, cinnamon, salt and flour, set it aside. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer. Add and beat the egg, vanilla extract and zucchini (make sure to squeeze all the water from it before adding to the mix). Add flour one cup at a time to the batter until well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop the dough by the tablespoons onto cookie sheet, leave a few inches between each cookie. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool.

Here is the Deepest Secret Nobody Knows...

Whenever I hold my kids really tight, which is very often, I take very deep breaths, caress their cheeks and breathe in their sweet scent and for some reason I always remember this poem, and everything comes into sense. 

(top photo: Sophia with 8 months, bottom photo: Ian with 1 year)

i carry your heart with me 
by E. E. Cummings
   i carry your heart with me (i carry it in 
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

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