Brazilian Pastels

Pastels are Brazilian empanadas that are deep fried, light, crispy, and flaky. They are blistery and crackly, and that comes from using either lard or vegetable shortening, letting it set for about 20-30 minutes before rolling it out and then rolling the dough out very thin .

I made my pastels last night, but when I fried them up today, I got sidetracked and forgot to take pictures of them. These were all that was left.

Pastels are found all throughout Brazil and are a part of everyday life. They are usually considered a fast-food dish to satisfy a pang of hunger in between meals, or is part of a traditional Sunday activity – going to a local farmer’s market and eating a pastel with a cup of sugar cane juice.  Pastels that are round or half circles are the local tapas found in a lot of bars. Pastels that are rectangular are usually the ones found in street markets or vendors. They can be either sweet or savory and are filled with all kinds of fillings, from cheese to meats and vegetables or seafood to fruit and custards. Pastels are found everyday, but it is a tradition to eat them on Sundays, at the local farmers’ market.

No one knows exactly how pastels became so popular in Brazil, but it’s said that the pastel came to Brazil along with Japanese immigration. When the Japanese arrived in Brazil, they adapted the Chinese wontons to sell as snacks at the weekly street markets to earn a living in their new country. Despite time moving on, the pastel has remained the same as it was when it was first introduced and will continue to play an important role in the Brazilian gastronomic scene.

The Pastel Dough

2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for rolling out the dough

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup lard or vegetable shortening

1 TBSP white vinegar

2/3 cup warm water

I mixed everything together in my food processor by pulsing the flour, salt and vegetable shortening together first, then adding the water. Pulse until you have a soft dough that forms into a ball.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let set in the refrigerator for at least 20-30 minutes before rolling it out, then let it rest again. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out very thin. Cut the dough with a cookie cutter. I actually made mine like a sandwich and used two pieces of dough that I combined together to make my pastels.

I added 1 heaping tsp of filling in the center of the dough. I placed the other piece of dough on top and then shaped them and pinched the ends with an egg wash and a fork.

I used up the rest of my leftovers from the 4th of July A Feast for the 4th as my filling. I minced sausage, pork ribs, chicken, my corn salad, 1 jalapeno, cilantro, rice and my lemon caper vinaigrette Mediterranean Steak Salad with Caper Vinaigrette and tossed it all together. But you can literally fill these with anything you like and you can make them sweet or savory.

I let my pastels set in the refrigerator over night, and then fried them up when my company came over. Use vegetable oil and bring it to 350* F or 170* C, then carefully place the pastels in the hot oil. Make sure you do not over crowd them. Cook them for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until they are golden brown, then carefully flip them over so the other side cooks too. Once they are done, drain them on a paper towel. Eat immediately. These do not store well when cooked and are most definitely best when eaten hot. You can freeze them before cooking them, though, so you can use them at a later date and time.

Stay cool, stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Waving the Magic Leftover Wand

When we had our 4th of July feast A Feast for the 4th we cooked a ton of food for only a small gathering. This means we had a ton of leftovers to go through as well. As usual, when I am in this situation, which happens quite often, I call on The Queen of Leftovers to come over and wave her magic leftover wand to create delicious recreations out of the “firstovers”. She never lets me down, and once again, she came to the rescue. Out of a wide range of leftovers, “we” came up with a delicious cool summer salad.

I cut up my lettuce, used some of my tomato slices and red onions, and my corn salad along with some of the smoked chicken to create this deliciously cool summer salad. Larry likes cheese on his salads, I don’t, but I like avocado slices on mine and he doesn’t. Other than those minor differences, our salads were the same. I also topped mine with some roasted pepita seeds. Our dressing was my leftover lemon caper dressing Mediterranean Steak Salad with Caper Vinaigrette. It was so cool and refreshing and was just perfect for dinner at the end of a scorcher of a day.

Once everything was cut up, I just started layering it all until my salads were made, then added the dressing. All that was needed was some bread, which were again leftover brioche hamburger buns, and some cool crisp chardonnay on the side. I cleaned out a lot of my leftovers and dinner was only minutes away. On a hot summer’s day, this is my favorite way to “cook”. 🙂

There is absolutely no need to slave away in a hot kitchen worrying about what to have for dinner. Keep it cool and keep it simple and just enjoy the “fruits of your labor”, while still enjoying the day. 🙂

Stay cool, stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Another Meet, Another Win

Our summer swim league is quickly coming to an end. Today was our last home meet. We swam against the Elks. Both sides put up valiant swims and did a great job, but in the end, my Lafayette Seals won. This meet was even more fun than usual because at the end of the meet I invited parents, family members and coaches to take a dip in the pool and swim for the cause. There were quite a few parents who were willing to take the plunge for their teams. Some of my older kids swam the fun relay in their tutus too. It was hilarious. I tried to make a video, but my phone was acting up because of the heat. My tutu squad all said they had a good time, but swimming with their tutus was really challenging.

selfie seals sea lion marine life seal poster  Lucia image 0


American Elk Stock Photo by mattcuda | PhotoDune

I did not go into the pool today l but one of my other coaches did. We only had 2 coaches today and someone had to stay on deck. I volunteered. Besides the chlorine would have wreaked havoc on my purple hair and the new do. 🙂

Have a great day Everyone. Stay safe, stay well and stay cool. And … Just keep swimmin’, just keep swimmin’, just keep swimmin”.

Supporting the Team

Last night’s dinner was at the Smashburger in Lafayette, Colorado. They were gracious enough to allow us to participate in a team fundraiser. We won’t know exactly how much we made for the team for at least a few more days, but it was fun to see so many of my swimmers and their parents participate in this delicious team fundraising event. Our friends Janet and Bob came with us as well, to help the support the team, The Lafayette Seals.

For those of you unfamiliar with Smashburger, they are an innovative burger restaurant that offers fresh handcrafted menu items ranging from smashed-to-order burgers, handspun Haagen-Dazs milkshakes, chicken sandwiches, salads, and sides made with fresh, premium ingredients and served in less than six minutes. They are putting the burger back at the center of the consumer dining experience, with every tasty burger, French fry, tater tot and shake they sell. They also offer mouth watering salads too.

May be an image of 2 people, burger and french fries

Smashburgers are popping up al over the place, but the one located at 2755 Dagny Way, in Lafayette, Colorado is the one that is most dear to us. They are open until 10:00 PM and can be reached either by phone at (303) 926-9700 or online at

SMASHBURGER - 45 Photos & 106 Reviews - Burgers - 2755 Dagny Way, Lafayette,  CO - Restaurant Reviews - Phone Number - Menu
SMASHBURGER - 45 Photos & 106 Reviews - Burgers - 2755 Dagny Way, Lafayette,  CO - Restaurant Reviews - Phone Number - Menu

Many thanks for supporting our Lafayette Seals Swim Team. Your generosity goes a long, long way. We are very appreciative of you and your support for our team (I am the head Coach for the team as well as Jeanne from A Jeanne in the Kitchen). Swimming works up quite an appetite, and a great place to feed those hungry appetites is at Smashburger in Lafayette.

selfie seals sea lion marine life seal poster  Lucia image 0

Just keep swimmin’, just keep swimmin’ just keep swimmin’.

Crab and Shrimp Cakes

Crab cakes are an all time favorite around my house. Shrimp are another favorite. We eat shrimp in many, many different ways. I had only a little bit of both shrimp and crab left, with not enough of either to make a meal for the two of us. So I did what I always do, and combined them. I served them over some leftover rice and sauteed vegetables and then topped them with my herbed tomato vinaigrette. The Queen would be so proud. I used up so many of my leftovers , not just for one meal, but for two.

The only difference between these seafood cakes and other crab cakes is the blending of both the crab and the shrimp.

Crab and Shrimp Cakes

1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and devained

1/2 lb lump crab

1-2 jalapenos, seeded

1/4 red bell pepper

1 cup flour

3/4 cup bread crumbs

3 TBSP lime juice

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup cilantro

1-2 cups vegetable oil for cooking

I added all the bigger ingredients first, and pulsed them in the food processor. Then I added the flour, bread crumbs, mayonnaise and lime juice and pulsed everything together again until it was well blended. It doesn’t have to be completely diced, just well blended. In fact, I much prefer the rustic version to the “perfect” version.

Once everything is blended together, shape the crab mix into patties and flatten them out. Place them on wax paper and let them set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

When ready to cook, heat the oil in a deep skillet, to about 350* F or about 170* C. When the oil is hot, carefully place the cakes into the hot oil and cook for about 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and a light crust has formed.

You can make these crab and shrimp cakes any size you like and can enjoy them as an appetizer or as a meal. This time, I served them over rice and vegetables. But I made enough for two meals’ worth. The next time I served them on top of a salad. I also used up some of my leftovers from our feast on the 4th A Feast for the 4th for the salad. Since I was serving seafood, I served it with a cool, crisp chardonnay on the side to make for a perfectly simply and delicious summer meal.

Stay cool, stay well and stay safe Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Cherry Almond Cake

I have been real good about not making any cookies or desserts for quite some time now. But I figured since it was a holiday, that I could bend this a bit. It was a celebration, after all, and celebrations always needs sweets and treats. I made my decadently rich chocolate peanut butter brownies, Decadently Rich Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies and I also made a cherry almond cake. Both were a big hit with our guests.

This cake is another recipe from one of my Costco cookbooks. And just like everything else with the Costco name on it, it was very tasty and delicious, with just a few basic ingredients needed.

Cherry Almond Cake

1 cup almond flour

1 cup four

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter

3/4 cup sugar, plus a little for dusting the top

1/4-1/3 cup almond slivers

3 eggs

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 lb cherries, pitted and cut in half

powdered sugar for dusting

Mix the flours together with the salt and baking powder and set aside.

Mix together the butter, sugar, then add the eggs, 1 at a time and beat well in between each egg. Add the vanilla and the almond extract and beat again. Then add the flour mixture 1/2 at a time, beating in between.

Preheat the oven to 350* F.

Spray a 9 inch springform cake pan with cooking spray.

Pour the cake batter into the cake pan. Place the cherries on top of the batter.

Spread the almond slivers over the top of the cherries and then sprinkle with sugar.

Add the sugar to the almonds and bake for about 45 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

When the cake is completely cooled, you can remove it from the pan and then dust with powdered sugar. Slice it up and enjoy.

It can be eaten as a breakfast cake or as a dessert cake, especially when served with ice cream. Either way, I am pretty sure you are really going to enjoy it.

Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

A Feast for the 4th

The 4th of July is America’s birthday. This year, America celebrated her 245 birthday. We helped her celebrate her special day with good friends and family and a ton of typical American food. I was expecting more guests, and as usual, we had enough to feed a small army. None of you came over. 🙂 That’s OK. I promise you, none of it will go to waste, unless of course, it would be going to my waist.

Larry grilled and smoked chicken, ribs, burgers, veggie burgers and brats. Of course we had all the fixin’s to go with them them too, including cheese, mushrooms and bacon for the burgers. I made potato salad, a corn and tomato salad, a cherry almond cake, and my decadent chocolate peanut butter brownies. Decadently Rich Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies. We had chips, salsa and guacamole too. Our friend Shannon made a rocky road pie and Cora made some vegan cupcakes. Needless to say, we had a ton of food, both literally and figuratively. And of course, I added a lot of patriotic touches to everything as well to help make the day’s celebrations more festive.

Tehvia and Nahila eagerly awaiting dessert.

Sitting down to enjoy the day’s feast and celebrations.

After the feasting was completed and our tummies were VERY full, we were treated to some spectacular fireworks from all around.

Calls for new restrictions on fireworks - BBC News
2019 Fireworks and Fire Restrictions | Cedar Hills

Happy Birthday America. I hope we will still be celebrating you for at least another 245 years to come. God Bless America!

Decadently Rich Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to post today, but I got a lot of my stuff done yesterday, which allowed me some time time to post today. Larry is marinating the chicken as we speak (He likes to be in charge when it is anything to be grilled or smoked). I made the potato salad already, the baked beans are already prepared, I made a cherry and almond cake and my decadent chocolate peanut butter brownies. All that is left for me to make is my corn and tomato salad and my guacamole, and then clean and straighten up the house before our guests start arriving.

Brownies are about as American as you can get. We Americans just can’t seem to get enough of them. So with The 4th of July being America’s birthday, I thought it only fitting to add brownies to my American menu. Peanut butter is another American tradition and combining peanut butter with brownies, well, that’s just about as good as it gets.

I found this recipe in one of my Costco cookbooks. Yes, they have cookbooks too. They used to just give them away at the beginning of December, on a first come first serve basis. I haven’t seen them in awhile though. Just like Costco, itself, the cookbooks are filled with all kinds of good things. Believe it or not, these ooey-gooey decadent brownies only require 6 ingredients. And since it is a Costco cookbook, most of the ingredients can easily be found at Costco.

Decadently Rich Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

1 package of Ghirardelli triple chocolate brownie mix

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup chopped peanuts

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup peanut butter

Preheat the oven to 350* F or 170* C.

Spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray.

Mix the eggs and oil together and then combine with the brownie mix and the chopped peanuts.

Combine the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk and set aside. This is the filling for the brownies.

Spoon about 1/2 of the brownie mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Then evenly spread the peanut butter mixture over the brownie mix. Spoon the rest of the brownie mix over the filling and again, evenly spread and swirl the brownie mixture over the peanut butter filling.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until it is set. Let cool completely before slicing. You should get 24 brownie squares.

Once the brownies have cooled and have been sliced, all that is left to do is to sit back and enjoy. These are definitely brownies to share with others. they are way to good to keep all to one’s self.

Have a great, safe and happy 4th Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Happy 245th Birthday America

Tomorrow is the 4th of July. It is a big to-do here in America. It is our official birthday. It was 245 years ago when the 13 original colonies gained their independence and created The United States of America. They fought in a Revolutionary War to gain their independence from oppressive British rule. The federal holiday commemorates the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776 when our forefathers decided to get independence and become a place for freedom. The Colonial Patriots fought a long, hard, bloody battle for their freedom and independence. Things that are still treasured today and are part of our DNA, and hopefully things we will forever treasure and fight to preserve.

List of 4th of July Celebrations Across Alabama - Alabama News

The Declaration of Independence – Preamble

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.”

These stirring words were designed to convince Americans to put their lives on the line for the cause. Separation from the mother country threatened their sense of security, economic stability, and identity. The preamble sought to inspire and unite them through the vision of a better life.

Resolution of Independence

The most important and dramatic statement comes near the end: “That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.” It declares a complete break with Britain and its King and claims the powers of an independent country.

Today, as has been our tradition since our humble beginnings, we celebrate this day with parades, fireworks and gathering together with friends and family. There is almost always a large amount of parties, picnics and BBQ’s to be found all over the country. And our house will be no exception. We will be hosting a gathering tomorrow where a big BBQ will take center stage. More than likely, I will not be able to post anything tomorrow because of all the festivities, as well as the preparations and clean-up afterwards. We will be serving all kinds of traditional American foods, such as burgers, chicken, brats, and of course, all the fixin’s to go with them. Come one, come all. I always have more than enough food to feed a small army.

The Tiny Town That's Home to America's Oldest July 4th Celebration | Mental  Floss

This is a typical BBQ found just about everywhere in the United States on this day of independence.

2,744 Fourth Of July Picnic Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images -  iStock
Things To Do In San Francisco With Kids This Weekend + BONUS 4TH Of July  Fireworks Guide - Page 8 of 8 - Kid 101

Happy Birthday America! Happy Birthday to the land I proudly call HOME! I hope we are still celebrating our freedoms and independence for at least another 245 years to come.

Free Fourth Of July, Download Free Fourth Of July png images, Free ClipArts  on Clipart Library
4th of July Celebrations 2019 Near Columbia TN - Roberts Toyota

Then and Now

This is the little itty-bitty house I grew up in Pasadena, California. My parents bought it in 1969 for $17,000. It was a good little house, and it was all we needed. It is a little 2 bedroom, one bathroom bungalow style house that was popular in Southern California. We owned it until just about 13 years ago. I sold it not long after both of my parents passed away.

When we sold the house, we sold it for $460,000. We paid for our big house outright, here in Colorado, from the sale of my old family home, and we have 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 5,000 square feet (counting the basement), and we have the open space and lakes for our backyard (you have all seen many, many pictures of our lakes). We have not owed any money on our house pretty much since we bought it. The only thing we have to pay for are all the repairs that go with owning a house, which as any homeowner knows, can be very pricey. (We are buying new windows for only 1/3 of the house at $30,000. The other windows will be purchased in installments, later on down the road.) Thank you Mom and Daddy. This would not have been possible without you and your love and generosity.

Today, the house has been sold yet again, after many remodels and necessary repairs and upgrades. This is what it looks like now. This house that we originally bought for $17,000 just sold for $880,000. The current monthly house payments are $3,743. My parents paid $103.00 a month. When I first saw the house, I did not even recognize it. The improvements they made are absolutely gorgeous. But it is still only an 830 square foot house, with only 2 bedrooms/or 1 office and 1 bathroom and a tiny detached garage. It just goes to show, it is all about location, location, location.

This was my parents’ bedroom.

This was my bedroom, which has been converted into an office now.

Needless to say, the house looks NOTHING like it did when I was growing up. The changes are breathtaking and stunning.

This is the back porch. We used to have a little enclosed area, and then it would go directly into the back yard.

The best thing about this tiny house was the big back yard. We used to have a big oak tree right in the center of the yard, with no neighbors to the right or behind us and we lived at the end of a cul-de-sac. There was a lot of privacy all around the house, with lots of trees and shade.

It’s amazing how things change so much over time. This tiny little house has definitely been given a new lease on life and it looks amazing. Nothing stays the same, and change is often a good thing. It certainly was for this tiny little house in Pasadena, California.

Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘TIl next time.