It’s Homecoming Week

I am an only child.  For as long as I can remember I have been  fascinated by sibling relationships.  My Mom will tell you that since I was 9 years old, I would tell her that I was going to have 4 children so that they would have someone to play with.

What is most amazing to me is how different all four of my children are.  How is it possible that four children raised by the same parents, with the same values can be such extremes in personalities?

This week is Homecoming week for Ronnie a Junior in High School.  The difference between Ronnie and his older sister in their take on Homecoming week says it all.

Last year at this time, I was running around dress shopping, buying t-shirts to tie-dye, scouring thrift stores looking for furniture  to decorate the halls.  It was truly a major event in my daughter’s life.

Homecoming Week for Ronnie:

  • Day 1 Inanimate Object: Ronnie comes out of his room dressed in basketball shorts and a t-shirt… “What object are you supposed to be?” Ronnie, “I have my Snuggie in my backpack… I’m a Snuggie.”
  • Day 2 Career Day: Ronnie comes out of his room dressed in basketball shorts and a t-shirt….” What is your career?” Ronnie, “I’m a stay at home Dad.”
  • Day 3 History Day: Ronnie comes out of his room dressed in basketball shorts and a University of Florida t-shirt …”What historical character are you?” Ronnie, “I’m an ancient UF student.  They’ve been around for a long time.”
  • Day 4 Spirit Day: Ronnie comes out of his room dressed in basketball shorts and a t-shirt with his school name… “You’re really feeling the school spirit today.” Ronnie, “Maybe, I’ll wear my Football Jersey instead.”

Ronnie truly has the ability to make something out of nothing.  This is a child that never complains, rarely asks for anything…. easy cheesy!

As his Mom, what I love most about Ronnie is his laid back and easy personality!  Wherever we go Everyone Loves Ronnie!  He truly is the best!

As his Mom, what drives me crazy about Ronnie, his laid back and easy personality! We still don’t know what he is wearing to the dance on Saturday….. if I’m lucky, he may let me know by 4:00 the day of!

I used to think that the difference was a boy/girl thing but I have complete opposite personalities again with my 3rd and 4th children.  They are both boys and one is a take charge kind of guy and the other is as laid back as can be… Here we go again!

Although we have such different personalities in our home, the values and traditions bring us all together.

That love is apparent when we gather Around the Family Table and joke about how Alexandra can get a bee in her bonnet like nobody’s business and nothing can phase Ronnie.

It keeps us laughing and we realize the main thing is…Never lose your sense of humor as a parent!

Ronnie’s favorite kind of meal is anything over pasta.  Here is one of his favorites:

Pork in a Lemon Wine Sauce over Pasta

8 thin slices of pork tenderloin*

1/2 cup all purpose flour w/ salt & pepper to paste

2 eggs well beaten

1/2 cup olive oil

2 TBS minced garlic

1 cup of white wine

2 cups of chicken broth

1 large lemon

2 springs of parsley

1 lb angel hair pasta cooked

parmesan cheese to taste

Dip the Pork in the well beaten egg and coat with the flour, salt and pepper mixture.

Saute in the well heated frying pan.  I like to use a large electric frying pan because I can cook all the pork at once.

Remove pork from frying pan when crispy on both sides. 

Drain the majority of the Olive Oil.

Saute the garlic until soft and add the lemon, wine and chicken broth.  Sprinkle with the parsley and reduce in 1/2.

Add the cooked Angel Hair Pasta to the sauce.

Plate the Pork over the Angel Hair Pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.

Serve with Caesar Salad

Kid Ratings: Ronnie 10, Reis 9.5, Riley 9

*I like to use thin cuts of meats because they truly are a time saver

This is one of those recipes that will be reinvented into a masterpiece!


Around the Family Table with @emeril and @jimjosephexp

I woke up this morning at my usual time 4:30 am. Got ready to meet my friend for our daily walk …. and realized I had a little extra pep in my step for a Monday Morning!

Nothing excites me more than Food Around The Family Table and today is the day that Emeril will air his new show Emeril’s Table!

Today is also the day that I am honored to be a guest blogger on Jim Joseph’s Blog!

I have loved Emeril for as long as I can remember… He loves food, loves to cook for his family, values time Around the Family Table and he’s Portuguese….what’s there not to love?

I love Jim’s take on Marketing, he believes  “marketing is a spectator sport” and we can learn from each other!  …. He also loves food, loves to cook for his family, values time Around the Family Table and boy is he on the cutting edge of  any new trend!  You have no idea how much it meant to me when you asked me to be featured on your blog.

The truth is…. you both had me at…. loves food!

I thank you both for inspiring me in my love for food and the importance of branding.

Jim tried my Portuguese Meatballs Around his Family Table this past Sunday and gave them a raving review on his blog: Jim Joseph Around the Family Table

Food is Love and whether you like Italian Meatballs or Portuguese Meatballs what really matters is the time Spent Around The Family Table nurturing conversation and values.

What a great day this is!  What do you think about making 09-26-11 National Portuguese Meatball Day?

Who knew? iPads and Meatballs have so much in common….

My son’s  school has exploded with a new iPad Pilot Program. What an exciting time for our  children  …some  parents were so EXCITED, we were jumping up and down …The 6th graders were given iPads and the traditional way of teaching is being challenged by new technology.

We have chosen a Catholic School Education for our family. If you know anything about most Catholics, we love Tradition.  So to say that we always embrace change with open arms is quite a stretch. Let’s just say that not everyone was ready to throw the pencil and paper aside and start downloading apps.

One of our families favorite meals for Sunday Supper  is good old fashioned Italian Meatballs. My family loves my Italian Meatballs…they are so yummy and we are so comfortable with them…we can’t imagine anything  better Around the Family Table.

The Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree… I’ve raised Foodies and we get sooo excited over a new recipe.

Recently I cooked Almondegas or Portuguese Meatballs and our Family taste buds were jumping up and down with excitement….

When I mentioned this new spin on Meatballs  to some of my best friends who happen to be Italian, they were grounded in their tradition that Italian Meatballs are the only real Meatballs!

I explained that Portuguese Meatballs are delicious, they have Chorizo in them and the sauce is to die for… wine, garlic, chorizo… your house will never smell better… and you serve them over Portuguese Rice…

ahhh! Fugettaboutit it’s one thing to reinvent the Meatball but now you want to serve it over rice instead of Macaroni???….and a wine sauce instead of Gravy???… What? This is just nuts!

That’s when I realized there is a part of us that will  embrace change and a part of us will always hang on to the comfort of tradition…

While I want my children  to experiment and be open to new things… I want them to be grounded in the traditions we have nurtured in our home…

The table is set….whether doing homework on the iPad or breaking bread with our family… what matters is the Traditions that are grounded within our families and how we embrace the change that is inevitable in our homes and in our lives…

Did I mention that some of our friends are from Sweden… and they believe the Swedish meatball is the real Meatball?

Family Foodie Portuguese Meatballs

2 lbs. Ground Pork
1 Small Onion
1 tsp Paprika
4 eggs
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Olive Oil (Portuguese if you can get it)
3 oz. Chorizo (2 small links)
2 small garlic cloves finely chopped
2 Bay leaves
2 Cups Red Wine
2 TBS butter
Sea Salt to taste

-Finely chop the onion in a food processor
-Finely chop the the chorizo in a food processor
-Combine the Pork, Onion, Paprika, 2 eggs and half of the chopped chorizo
-Form into balls
-Add Olive Oil to large frying pan on medium heat
-Dip meatballs into beaten eggs
-Flour the Meatballs
-Brown Meatballs on all sides in batches
-When all Meatballs are well browned, don’t worry about them being cooked all the way, remove from frying pan and sprinkle lightly with Sea Salt
-Remove Olive Oil from pan but do not wipe clean
-Add garlic and chorizo and brown
-Add Bay Leaves, Meatballs and wine
-Simmer on low until sauce is reduced in half
-Remove Bay leaf
Cook Portuguese Rice and serve Meatball and Chorizo Sauce over the Rice
A Green Salad and Portuguese Sangria or Vinho Verde are perfect for this meal.

Family Foodie Kids Ratings: Alexandra 10, Ronnie 8.5, Reis 9.5, Riley 10

Losing the Student Council Election is the Recipe for Success

My 12 year old came home last week very excited about the Student Council Election. It’s his first year in Middle School …. so this is a big deal! He wanted to run for Publicity.

We made the Vote for Reis stickers, made the large poster boards and wrote the speech…. let me tell you, this was no easy task!

He was so excited and of course, desperately wanted to win!

As soon as I pulled up in car line, I knew.  He didn’t say anything in the car.  When we got home, he told me that he had lost.

As a Mom, my heart was sad for him. What else can you say but… “I’m sorry Buddy, I know that must be hard.”  He said “I’m a little sad, but I will try again next year.”   Every once in a while, we have a moment that we learn and get inspired by our children.

What a great attitude!  If only, as adults, we could see life through a 12 years olds eyes… Not winning an election is not a failure.  In our highly competitive “winning is everything culture” sometimes we lose sight of the fact that giving it your all and having the courage to do it all over again is a reason to celebrate!

So that night, we celebrated by enjoying one of our favorite family meals…

Food is Love and there is no better way to celebrate than Around The Family Table.

A couple of days later, he came home with a big smile on his face… “You’re not going to believe it! I got voted 6th grade Class Representative!”

My baby is growing up and with that process comes the ups and downs that life will bring.


Sometimes the simplest dishes are the most satisfying.  This is truly a Family Favorite!

8 Chicken Tenderloins

2 Eggs

1 1/2 cups Seasoned Bread Crumbs

1/2 Cup Olive Oil *

1 large Red Onion

3 cups Chicken Broth

Dip the Chicken Breast into the well beaten eggs.

Coat with the bread crumbs.

Add to the Hot Oil in large frying pan or electric frying pan.  Flip when nicely browned.

Cut Onion into thin slices.

When chicken is done, remove any excess oil from the frying pan.  Add the onion and lightly brown.

Add the chicken breasts to the pan and pour Chicken broth over the chicken and onion.

Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour.

Serve over Portuguese Rice

Kid Ratings:  Everyone in the house give it a Perfect 10

This is one of those dishes I always double.  It is even better as a Leftover Meal!

* I love cooking with Portuguese Olive Oil.  Gustare has a great selection

Reinventing Leftovers into a new Masterpiece

I love to Reinvent Leftovers.  I make it a habit to cook extra the first time around with the intention of that something new will be reinvented the second time around.

We cooked way too many steaks this past weekend.  I was left with the dilemma of what masterpiece to create the second time around.

I tweeted out “What to reinvent with my leftover Steak?” and got some great suggestions from my Tweets:

@specialforksndy suggested steak sliced on top of green salad or rolled in tortillas with salsa… What a great suggestion! … except I didn’t have greens or salsa in the house and did not have time to run out.

@4everfoodie and @jackknightcooks suggested Fajitas!  My kids would love fajitas but I did not have the veggies & condiments required.

How about a Stir Fry over rice @burdladi suggested.. Another great idea but I did not have all the ingredients without running out.

Then @msmary1962 suggested some type of Beef & Pasta, perhaps soup…. Aha! I love creating new recipes and this was just the inspiration that I needed!

I’ve got steak, I’ve got seashell pasta….just need to come up with a great sauce…

I will save the Fajitas & stir fries for another night for sure…

Nothing Fancy Schmancy but a great Pre-Football Practice Easy Meal…

Reinvented Steak in a Creamy Red Wine Sauce

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

3 Green Onions (I love to grow mine, so I always have some on hand)

3 Cooked Steaks sliced thinly

1 Cup of Red Wine

2 Cups of water

2 Tablespoons of Wondra Flour

1 lb pasta cooked (shells work great because they hold the sauce inside)

Saute green onions in the olive oil.

Add the steak and brown slightly.

Add red wine and reduce in half.

Mix water and wondra flour and add to steak mixture.

Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add cooked pasta and simmer.

I made this pasta dish with a side of  Broccoli  sauted in garlic.

Awesome, easy weeknight meal!  It may be even better than the first time around!

Kid Ratings: Ronnie 8.5, Reis 8, Riley 7.5

What is it about reinventing leftovers that warms my heart?  Maybe because I’ve had to reinvent myself …. and know that I have become a better person due to the reinvention…. the second time around can be an even better choice!

Reflections on 9/11 as an Immigrant to this Country

Forty years ago Vo, my Dad, left the comfort of his Family in Portugal and came to the United States.  I was four years old and can still remember the day he departed to this unknown world.

He came with $100 in his pocket and hoped for the best.  As I got older, I never truly understood why you would leave the comfort of your family and friends to come to an unknown country.  From what I can remember, we lived a really nice life in Portugal.  Vo was a pharmacist and VoVo, my Mom, was a seamstress.  We had a nice home and I can’t remember ever wanting for anything.

When you ask Vo, he will tell you that he always wanted to Live the American Dream… He had heard so much about New York City that he just couldn’t imagine his life would be complete without experiencing life in the United States.

Two years later, Vo felt that he had settled into life in the US and I left the comfort of living on a farm with my grandparents to come to the United States.  I will never forget the site of New York City when the plane was descending.  I had never seen such large buildings, so many lights, so many cars and could those squiggly things shaped like the number 8 really be roads that the cars were driving on?  I remember asking Vo what are those blue things behind some of the houses?… he said they are swimming pools and that is when I realized I was coming to the best country in the World!  You could have your own swimming pool in your own back yard!  I just couldn’t comprehend such a thing.

I grew up in Kearny, NJ.  We had a beautiful view of the NYC skyline every day…. To this day the NYC skyline, in my mind, consists of seeing the Empire State Building and the Twin Towers.

I can remember cutting school as a teenager and taking the Path Train into the City and getting off at the World Trade Center… There was no better feeling at that age … a day of fun at the Greatest City in the World.

On September 11, 2001 I was watching Oprah with Riley, an infant then, on my lap.  Reis, at 2 was building Legos in front of me and Alexandra, 8 was home from school sick and laying next to me.  We were living the perfect life in the Suburbs of FL.

That defining moment when  you know your world will never be the same happened … the fist tower was hit…the scenes of the people running down the street…. I knew exactly where they were, I had walked that path many times.  I said to Alexandra, “what a tragic accident”… no sooner were the words out of my mouth …that I realized this was no accident… the second tower had been hit.

Time stood still and all I could think was I want my family together…. my 6 year old, Ronnie, was at school and my husband wasn’t home…. and I had not spoken to VoVo and Vo yet that day…

I could only imagine how so many families felt just waiting for the news of their loved one….. the unthinkable was taking place in this country and we would never be the same..

Vo had sacrificed so much to bring us all to the most amazing and safest place in the world….How could this be happening?  This was not part of his American Dream.

No matter who we are or where we came from, we all knew, we would never be the same.

We learned to hug a little longer, say I love you more often, forgive a little quicker and spend more time Around The Family Table.

Although the American Dream has a new meaning, there is no place I would rather raise my Family than here in the United States.

Just like a family, Our Country, was changed on September 11, 2001.  We learned to give a little more, love a little more and never miss the opportunity to make a difference in each others lives.

My boys enjoying the company of Vo-Vo & Vo

Our Wedding Anniversary is Gone

We haven’t had a Wedding Anniversary in 12 Years!

No, we didn’t get divorced… 12 years ago at 12:03 am our third child, Reis, was born.  This is when August 31st became Reis’s Birthday and no longer our Anniversary!

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…. Reis is a total Foodie just like his Mama!

It is a tradition at our home that you choose your Birthday Menu.  This year, I decided to surprise Reis with his Birthday Dinner.

I had just received the most beautiful Veal Scallopini from Strauss free raised and was dying to use them in a new recipe. Gustare Oils and Vinegars had found out that I adore Portuguese Olive Oil and they sent me an incredible Organic Olive Oil…. I had all the inspiration I needed in order to make a great Birthday Dinner! Scaloppine with in a Cabernet Caper Sauce over Pasta….I’m excited!

Scaloppine a la Family Foodie

2 cups all purpose flour

2 lbs Strauss Free Raised Veal Cutlets (pounded very thin)

2 lbs Chicken Cutlets (pounded very thin)

1/2 Cup Gustare Portuguese Olive Oil

2 teaspoons of garlic

2 teaspoons of rosemary chopped fine*

2 teaspoons of parsley chopped fine*

8 oz Capers

2 Cups Cabernet Wine

2 tablespoon butter

Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper to season

Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of pasta

1 lb of pasta of your choice

Cook pasta while preparing this recipe.

Spread the flour out on large platter and season it with salt and pepper.  Press both sides of each piece of veal and chicken into the seasoned flour.

We are a large family so I like to cook dishes like this in my electric frying pan. Heat Olive Oil in frying Pan and cook chicken and veal for one minute on each side.   Remove Chicken & Veal.

Add capers, garlic, rosemary, 1/2 of parsley to frying pan and mix well with the flour mixture that is left at the bottom.  Add wine and simmer while stirring.  When sauce thickens slightly, whisk in the butter.

Pour the sauce over the pasta, the veal and the chicken.  Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and serve. I served it with sauted spinach on the side.

Let your dish be the hit of your Celebration!

Not only was this a perfect Birthday and Anniversary Meal, this recipe is a keeper…. we all loved it!

Kid Ratings: Ronnie 10, Reis 10, Riley 10

Don’t feel too bad for Ron and I… we enjoyed a great lunch out while the kids were at school.

Food is love and there is no better way to show your love for your family than Around the Family Table!

Visit for Free to roam Veal

Visit for great selections of Organic Olive Oil & Vinegars

I would highly recommend both companies!

* It is so easy and inexpensive to grow Rosemary I grow it right in the middle of all my plants and enjoy the great flavor it adds to my dishes….. I also grow Parsley but for some reason, it does not grow as well for me.