#SundaySupper Progressive Dinner Will Make You Droooool!











I have always known that eating Supper Around the Family Table is the best nourishment we can give our families. It is about so much more than just the food that is served.  It is something that the entire family looks forward to. It is about commitment to each other, positive communication and time together. In my heart I know that this is the most important thing I have done for my family.

What I did not realize until recently is how powerful food can be. I have met, connected and shared recipes with an amazing group of people that were brought together by our love for food, family, friendship and mutual respect for each other.

I am honored to say that we are kicking off the first #SundaySupper of 2012 with a Progressive Dinner hosted by some of the most amazing Cooks, Chefs, Moms, Dads, Wine Connoisseurs.   Their recipes and blogs will blow you away!

They have put together the most impressive #SundaySupper that I could ever have imagined!

  • We are starting off our Progressive Dinner Cocktail Hour with Oyster Shooters by my friend Jeff @catholicfoodie ~ www.catholicfoodie.com Seriously, how fun is that! Who wouldn’t want to join us for this Progressive Dinner
  • Valerie @ValerieMCathell  from http://artc1heartnsoul.blogspot.com/ is bringing some amazing appetizers: Prosciutto Puffs & Stuffed Mushrooms…Yum!
  •  Have I mentioned that we have our own wine connoisseur, Eileen @wineeveryday from www.wineeveryday.net  She has a passion and knowledge for wine that is second to none.  Eileen  paired Valerie’s mouth watering appetizers with  Mumm Napa Brut Prestige … What could possibly be better?
  • Sue @ssunithi from http://www.suesnutritionbuzz.com/ is keeping us healthy! I love her recipes and when she decided to contribute her Tuscan Chicken, Bean and Spinach Soup and Eileen paired it with 2010 Rooster Hill Vineyards Medium Sweet Riesling … it truly was a match made in Heaven!
  • Salad time brings us to Renee’s @reneedobbs  www.magnoliadays.com  scrumptious creation of  Pear and Stilton Salad Paired with Perrin Reserve 2010 Cotes du Rhone Blanc.  Renee’s recipes are so inspiring.  I love her photography, creativity and most of all inspiration!
  • I am excited to be bringing the Main Course to our #SundaySupper Progressive Dinner  and am honored to say I am cooking a Rustic Chicken Dish inspired by Mario Battali joining us for #SundaySupper on 12/5/11.  He whipped up and tweeted the most amazing Rustic Chicken….Seriously, who wouldn’t want some?  Click here to see his  #SundaySupper Rustic Chicken . Eileen suggested I pair it with  2009 Annabella Caneros Pinor Noir  
  • And with that yummy Wine Sauce in the Chicken… you need some bread to go along… Luckily Donna @dbcurrie from http://cookistry.blogspot.com/ was baking some fresh Brioche for us… Is there anything better than homemade fresh baked bread….totally drooling!
  • Just when we think we can’t eat another bite… Erin @bigfatbaker http://bigfatbaker.com/blog/ brings us …. Lavender Shortbread Cookies.  Not only is Erin an amazing baker and cook, she is a student at Purdue.  Her blog is just fabulous and she amazes me with her energy! Eileen suggests we pair the yummy cookies with  Cupcake Prosecco.  What a way to end our meal!
 It is so true that Food brings us together and I am so fortunate to be breaking bread this #SundaySupper Around the Family Table with such a great group!
Join us today and every Sunday as we bring #SundaySupper Around the Family Table to your home!
You can follow our blogs and recipes here:


Do you love to bake or cook? Inspired by @hersheyskisses #cookiehq I baked Cookies for Santa

They say “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
In my case, it really did!  My Mom loves to bake.  She is an amazing baker and you can see her recipes under VoVo’s Cozinha.  Me, not so much. While I love to cook and create recipes, I am not so enthused about baking.

I really think whether you are a baker or a cook says so much about your personality. Rarely does someone really enjoy doing both.

Most people that are good at baking have a personality that is very patient and precise.  Most of us that love to cook and create recipes, our personality tends to be more creative and perhaps “fly by the seed of your pants.”

I was honored and excited when I was contacted by Hershey’s to interview two of their Baking Experts from their Cookie Headquarter. I so want to create the Tradition of Baking with my kids Around the Family Table during the Holidays and I hoped that they would give me the inspiration that I needed.

The Baking Experts, Linda Stahl and Kristen Olson, were fabulous!  I loved chatting with them and boy did they inspire me to not only bake but host a cookie exchange.  I love that they suggested a cookie exchange with meaning…where we donate the cookies to a good cause.

I was nervous about the interview but The Baking Experts made it a piece of cake…

I was so inspired that Reis and decided  we needed to bake some cookies. In this case, the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree…

Reis wanted to come up with his own Cookie Reisipe. I explained to him what The Baking Experts had explained to me. As long as you use a basic recipe that works, you can adjust it a little.

Huge score for Reis…these cookies were amazing! Really light and crispy and then the soft frosting….mmmmmmm!

Christmas Cookies by Reis

1 Stick Butter

1 Cup Sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

1 1/4 cup Flour

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 Cup Hershey’s Cocoa Powder

Cream butter, sugar and Cocoa.  Add flour, baking soda and salt. Place on baking sheet and insert in a 350 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes.


3 Cups Powdered Sugar

3 Tablespoons of Milk

1 stick of Butter

1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

1/4 Cup Hershey’s Cocoa Powder

Simple. Just combine everything and frost cookies while still warm.

Kid Ratings: Alexandra 10, Ronnie 10, Reis 10, Riley 10….even Mom and Dad gave this a 10!

Reis is one Smart Cookie and our house is now ready for Santa!

To Give Teachers A Small Chatski or a Small Gift Card is the Question!

At this same time every year, I find myself wondering what would my kids teachers prefer as a Christmas Gift?  Teachers are one of the greatest people that can impact our children’s lives.  They give selflessly and no matter what we do, it just doesn’t seem enough.

This question is not so difficult in the younger years as there are only 2 or 3 teachers.  As the kids get into Middle School and have multiple teachers, it really is hard to decide. Of course, we want to acknowledge each teacher but with 4 children, some of us need a layaway program just for teacher’s gifts!

Somehow, I don’t think I am the only one wondering what Teachers would prefer… a small Chatski or a small Gift Card…

This year, I have decided to bake my Banana Bread with Lindt Hint of Sea Salt Chocolate and White Coconut Chocolate  and attach a small gift card from one of our local shops… It really is a Match Made in Heaven!

Is it about the gift or the message…. Thank you for inspiring my children to be the best they can possibly be!

How do you show your appreciation to your child’s teacher?



Flan and Candied Raspberries Holiday Dessert

At our home. It’s not a Holiday unless we have Flan Pudding.  This is a very traditional recipe that Vo-Vo loves to makes.  She is so good at it…that honestly no one can make it quite as good as her.

If you have never had Flan, you have no idea what you are missing.  It is so creamy and smooth and delish….oh, and carmel sauce that goes on top…You just have to try it!

Our Holidays wouldn’t be complete without it.  I have a feeling when you try it…it will be a Holiday Favorite in your Home too!


  • 8 Eggs
  • 1 14 oz can Condensed Milk
  • 2 Cups of Milk (2% or whole milk) Or if you do like Vo-Vo, just fill 2 cans full
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
Optional: 6 oz Raspberries & 1/2 Cup of granulated sugar

Mix Eggs, both milks and vanilla on low until well blended.

Pour sugar and water in the bottom of a bundt pan.  Place pan on the stove and wait for sugar to bubble and turn a golden brown.

Swirl the liquid sugar around the sides of the pan until all sides are covered.

Let sugar cool for 5 minutes.  Add the Egg mixture to the Bundt Pan.

Place a large shallow pot filled half way with water on the stove and bring water to a boil.

Lower heat to medium-low  and place bundt pan in the pot and cover.

Let Flan cook on stove for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out dry.

Let cool completely and invert into a serving dish with a lip.

If adding Raspberries, lightly dampen with water and roll in the sugar.  Place on a baking rack and broil for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle on top of the Flan.

I love my Eat Smart Precision pro Kitchen Scale it is the only way I can translate Portuguese measurements. Can’t live without it!

Kid Ratings: Ronnie 10, Reis 8, Riley 9

Mmmm….A Match Made in Heaven Banana Bread with a Touch of @lindt_chocolate Sea Salt Chocolate

I love traditions.  Fall always reminds me it is time to bake breads.  One of my favorites is Banana bread.  I have a recipe that has been passed down in our family for years by my Sister-in-law.  It is so well known and loved in our family that it is known as Aunt Mary Jo’s Banana Bread.

The Bananas were sitting on the counter waiting to become overly ripe so I could make my Banana Bread.  I received a nice surprise from Lindt Chocolates.  A beautiful package with the most delicious chocolates, truffles and desserts.  When I saw the Touch of Sea Salt Dark Chocolate, Black Currant Dark Chocolate and White Coconut Chocolate….I realized it was a Match Made in Heaven!

The funny thing is, our Wedding Favors were made by Lindt Chocolates.  I have been in  love with  their Chocolate Creations for over 20 years.

Incorporating the Chocolates into the Banana Bread was a huge success. It was really hard to choose between the White Coconut Chocolate Banana Bread and the Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Banana Bread. They were both incredibly delicious!   The Smooth White Coconut Chocolate was an amazing addition to the Banana Bread.  But, we all agreed that the surprise of the Sea Salt in the Banana and Chocolate combination was to die for!

Aunt Mary Jo’s Banana Bread

3 Very Ripe Bananas
1 cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 bar of Lindt A touch of Sea Salt Chocolate, Black Currant Chocolate and White Coconut Chocolate  (use entire bar if using large Loaf Pan)
I made 3 small loaves, each with a different flavored Chocolate
Preheat Oven 350 degrees
Mash the bananas and mix with Sugar and Oil
Add the remaining ingredients and mix until fairly smooth
Butter loaf pan. I like to use the minis, so i used 3 minis
Fold batter into the pans while adding the 3/4 of the Chocolate. Sprinkle 1/4 of the Chocolate on top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes
So here is your chance….Do you have an old family recipe you’d like to share?  Do you love to Bake? Are you a Chocoholic?

Lindt Chocolates is having a Fall Recipe Contest with great prizes!  Did I mention the Kitchen Aid Mixer? Take a peek…

Lindt Chocolate’s Fall Recipe Contest Details

I am looking forward to your family recipes and new creations!

Good Luck!


Every Teenager Must Have A Chocolate Cake

When my children turn 16, I highly encourage them to get a part-time job. Now, I didn’t say that I MAKE them, I just highly encourage them. It is amazing how encouraged they become when they realize that if they want to do all those fun things that they need spending money for, they need a little 6 to 10 hour a week part-time job.

My oldest worked at a Retirement Village until she was ready to leave for college.  What a great experience! She was a server in the dining hall and got to know the residents very well.  It is amazing the relationships that they develop. And the life lessons they acquire from their friendships. Although there is a huge age difference, bonds are made.

She would come home with recipes, cakes and articles that they cut out of the paper for her.  And yes, she came home on occasion crying that one of her favorite residents had passed.

While she was serving delicious desserts in the dining hall…

She would sometimes  come home with a cake baked with so much love….from one of her favorites.

Food is love and we should never deprive our children of Having Chocolate Cake! By working Part-Time, they are learning invaluable lessons and preparing for their future

This is one of Alex’s, favorite recipes ….

My second oldest, Ronnie,  just started working at the same place and I am excited that he too will enjoy his Chocolate Cake!

Make this Special Dessert for a Special Person!

Decadent Chocolate Cake

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat overn to 350. Butter and flour an 8-inch square or round cake pan.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda and make a well in the center.

Place the sour cream, oil, eggs and vanilla in the well and beat.

Place in greased pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Many times, I double the recipe and then add strawberries mixed with strawberry preserves to the middle.


1/2 cup heavy cream

4 ounces chocolate chips

Heat the cream and add the chocolate chips. Stir until smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. It will be thick but still pourable.

Kid Ratings: Alexandra 9.5, Ronnie 8, Reis 8, Riley 9