Shrimp Bisque in Puff Pastry for a Special #SundaySupper

This was no ordinary Sunday Supper.  After all, it was Christmas Day.  I love, love, love planning our Christmas Menu.  Although, I have to admit, there really isn’t much to plan.  We have our traditional meal and very rarely deviate.

Sure we will try a new vegetable dish or add a second dish…but our menu is pretty much set in stone.

Our Crown Pork Roast is always the main dish.  If you haven’t tried making a Crown Pork Roast, you really should.  It is so easy but so amazingly juicy and tender.  It just melts in your mouth.  Mashed Potatoes and Slow Roasted Carrots are a must.

The Port Wine Gravy is the perfect addition to the Crown Pork Roast and Taters.

Just so we didn’t get bored, this year, I added Grouper over thinly sliced Sweet Potatoes. It was amazing and we loved having a little Surf and Turf action!

Our all time favorite, showstopper, the thing we crave all year and makes our mouths water is….

The Shrimp Bisque in Puff Pastry …. I am not kidding… You have not lived until you try this amazing soup.  You don’t just eat it like regular Soup, you have to break up the buttery croissant topping and fold it into the Soup.  When mixed with the chunks of shrimp and the creamy soup….It really is that good!

It is amazing how our Holiday Dinners change as the kids get older.  We enjoyed sitting around the dinner table chatting with them for hours.  My Dad loves to hold court during our meals.  We enjoyed hearing him talk about his days on the vineyards in Portugal,hunting, fishing and sharing his world with us.


The memories that were made this year at Christmas will last a lifetime….My children were truly blessed to have spent another Christmas with their Grandparents… This truly is the best Christmas gift of all!









  • 4 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 2 Green Onions chopped
  • 1 pound of shrimp, I prefer fresh, not cooked
  • 2 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 2 32 oz containers of Chicken Broth, warmed
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine or Sherry
  • 8 oz of tomato sauce*
  • 16 oz container of  Half and Half
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 Tablespoons of fresh parsley
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper to taste
  • 2 packages of Crescent Rolls
In a large heavy pot heat oil. 
Add Shrimp and Green Onions and Saute lightly.
Remove Shrimp to plate.
Add flour and mix the roux well.
Add warm Chicken Broth and mix constantly until there are no lumps.
Add Sherry or Wine.
Add Tomato Sauce and continue to stir.
Add the Parmesan Cheese and stir until smooth. If consistency is too thin, more parmesan cheese may be added.
Chop the shrimp in 3 and add to soup.
Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste and stir well.
Simmer on low for 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Unroll the crescent rolls and combine 2 triangles to make a rectangle, making sure the seams are sealed.
Ladle the soup into oven proof ramekins and place the Crest Rolls on top making sure it is a tight seal all the way around.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until pastry is puffy and golden brown.
Kid Ratings: Alexandra 10, Ronnie 10, Reis 10, Riley 9.5 ~ Even the Adults wanted to rate it ~ Ron 10, Isabel 10, Vovo 10, Vo 10
*This recipe was already amazing and made even better by using Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes.


Bolo Rei The King of Christmas Desserts

It wouldn’t be Christmas in Portugal without a Bolo Rei Around the Family Table.  Some will even go as far saying there is no Christmas without Bolo Rei.

Although it is called a cake. Bolo Rei  is more like a sweet bread.  Traditionally there is a broad bean, usually large fava bean, and a coin placed inside the Bolo Rei.

One of the explanations for the tradition comes from a legend regarding the Three Kings as they followed the Star of Bethlehem on their way to greet baby Jesus.  On their travels, they met a baker who gave them a loaf of bread with a broad bean hidden inside it.  He told them that the one who ended up with the slice of bread with the bean should give baby Jesus his present first.

So the tradition continues and it is made clear that whoever ends up with the bean is expected to make the Bolo Rei for the following year.

Whoever wins the coin is said to be blessed with good luck.   Hmmmm….wonder why I always wind up with the bean?

We had so much fun baking Bolo Rei with Vovo.  Although this is a time consuming recipe, it is totally worth it to do once a year.  I love the tradition behind it and love that three generations spend the day baking Around the Family Table.

All of Vovo’s recipes are in Portuguese, so the first thing we had to do is figure out the conversions.  Thank good Alexandra and Vo are so smart and figured it all out!







Port wine is a big part of any dessert in Portugal.  Bolo Rei is no different.  We soaked our dates, candied fruit and nuts in it for this recipe.








Riley helps us get started by measuring the flour and sugar.








Then it’s time to get serious. The kneading of the dough is no easy task and we all have to take turns. Vovo goes first.  After a while she is exhausted.










Then it’s Reis’s turn. What a workout!








After Vovo and Reis are completely exhausted, Vo comes to the rescue! Truly a team effort by all.










The dough must be left to rise over night.  We couldn’t believe how much it had grown!







Then we shaped the dough  into a ring and it is so much fun to decorate.  We used candied fruit and Natural Delights Medjool Dates added the perfect touch.







Of course, we couldn’t just make one.  One for our home, one for Vovo and Vo’s home and one to share with friends!







Our Bolo Rei is ready for the oven.  We can’t wait to try it.  The best part is that after a couple of days, you can toast it and add a butter and it is perfect with a cup of coffee or afternoon tea.


1/2 Cup candied citrus fruit 3 T. raisins  1/2 Cup Pine Nuts and Walnuts

1/3 Cup plus 2 Teaspoons Port Wine

2 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast 

1/3 Cup plus 2 teaspoons milk

3 1/2 Cups unbleached flour

1 1/2 teaspoon salt 

7 Teaspoon unsalted butter, softened 

1/3 Cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar 

Grated zest of 2 oranges

3 eggs, beaten 

1 dried fava bean and Large Coin 


1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water 

10 candied cherries 

1 package of Natural Delights Medjool Dates 

Powdered sugar for garnish 

To prepare bread: 
Soak candied fruit, raisins and pine nuts in Port Wine overnight or until plump. Sprinkle yeast into milk in bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve.

Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Make well in center and pour in dissolved yeast. Use wooden spoon to draw enough flour into dissolved yeast to form soft paste. Cover bowl with dish towel and let stand until “sponge” is frothy and slightly risen, about 20 minutes.

In separate bowl, beat butter with sugar and lemon and orange zests until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat well after each addition. Add mixture to flour mixture and mix in flour from sides to until dough is soft. 

 Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until soft, smooth, silky and elastic, about 10 minutes. Knead in dried fruit and pine nuts until evenly distributed.

Place dough into clean bowl and cover with dish towel. Let rise until doubled in size. We usually let it sit overnight, but as little as 2 hours is usually ok. Punch down, then let rest 10 minutes. Shape dough into ring and place on buttered baking sheet. Wrap dried fava bean or trinket separately in wax paper. Insert tiny package into bottom of shaped dough. Cover with dish towel and set aside until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
To prepare topping:
Brush dough with egg glaze and decorate with candied fruit and powdered sugar. Bake at 350°F. 45 minutes until golden.  Cool on wire rack.
Makes 1 Loaf

Kid Ratings: Alexandra 10, Ronnie 9, Reis 9.5, Riley 8.5

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?



Santa Claus is always in Vovô’s Kitchen

My Mom is a true baker.  She is passionate about her desserts.  You will never stop by her house without having some type of homemade delicacy waiting for you.  I literally mean, never! My Dad has such a sweet tooth, it is unbelievable.

My kids will tell you that stopping by Vovô’s and Vô’s house is like visiting Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  They are always jolly, full of love and there are always treats waiting for them.  It is such a pleasure to gather Around the Family Table at their home.

I spent the day yesterday cooking in Vovô’s Cozinha. What a great day we had cooking  traditional Portuguese Christmas Desserts. The kids were all in school so it was just the three of us.  It was so wonderful to hear them talking about their childhood and  the tradition behind each recipe.  Both in their 70’s and coming to the US from Portugal, their life truly has been a journey.  They love to talk about it and I love to listen.

It’s hard to believe that their Mother’s didn’t own electric mixers.  They would mix the batters by hand. Their ovens were brick ovens built into the wall. I can still remember watching my Grandmother bake bread and I couldn’t wait for it to come out of the great big wood burning oven.  It was hard and crusty on the outside and soft and light on the inside.  Add a tad of butter….mmmm… to this day, it is still one of the most amazing things I have ever eaten.

I love traditions and there is nothing more valuable than spending time doing what you love with your Family.

Filhozes are a traditional Christmas Dessert in Portugal.  It wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without having them on your dessert table. They are made with Flour, Eggs, Orange Zest and Pumpkin.  They are just amazing!

This recipe has been in my Mom’s family for generations and will continue to be passed down.


4 Cups of Flour

2 Cups of cooked Pumpkin pureed or 1 16 oz can of Pumpkin

Juice of 2 Oranges and zest of the outside of one

3 Eggs

1 package of Active Dry Yeast 

1/4 Cup of Port Wine or Brandy

1/4 Cup of Reserved Pumpkin water or plain water

Oil for frying

Cinnamon and powdered Sugar 

  • Cook Pumpkin and puree with food processor (if using fresh pumpkin.) Reserve water.
  • Mix Pumpkin, Orange Juice, Orange Zest, Eggs
  • Shift Flour and Yeast and add to the pumpkin mixture, one spoon at a time
  • Mix flour and all ingredients are mixed well
  • Set aside for at least one hour to rise
  • Heat oil in fryer or frying pan
  • Dip mixture into the oil by the tablespoon
  • Fry until golden brown
  • Drain on paper towels 
  • Sprinkle with Cinnamon and Sugar while warm

Aren’t they amazing?  Who would think that the combination of Flour, Pumpkin and Orange could be this delish!

Kids Ratings: Alexandra 10, Ronnie 9, Reis 10, Riley 9.5

The Ultimate Dining Experience @Rosenhotels

Every once in a while, we need to take a look at ourselves and our priorities.  I have come to the realization that I have become so consumed with my family and professional life that I left little time for friends.  It is easy to justify, I have four children who are the core of my world.  Between work and Family there is just no extra time.

One thing I have learned is that balance is the key to a life well lived.  I  started making it a priority to take more time for myself and sharing that time with good friends.  My friend Lou Anne and I have been friends since my oldest was in first grade. Like most Moms, finding time to ourselves can be a challenge.   We decided, a much needed girls night away was in order.

I had always wanted to go to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  Being the Foodie that I am this seemed the perfect destination. Especially when I heard Portugal was taking part in the Festival for the first time. You know you have a good friend, when they are as excited about your passion, as you are.   Truly we were like 2 kids in a Candy Store.  I think Lou Anne took as many foodie pictures as I did.

We had the pleasure of  being invited to dine at  Rosen Shingle Creek in their  AAA Four Diamond A Land Remembered Classic Steakhouse.   This restaurant and it’s staff understands that the Dining Experience is about so much more than just food.

We loved our waiter from the minute he greeted us.  Bob knew everything there was to know about the food, wine and the entire hospitality indsutry.   He was so entertaining and told us  how he had gone to Culinary School but  just couldn’t stay in the kitchen, away from people.  I think he found his calling in life… it is obvious he is a people person and loves what he does!  We asked him to choose our menu and he did not disappoint.


He had me at the first course…  Alligator Stew. I love to try new foods and I had never tried Alligator Meat. It was so tender and juicy. The chowder with white beans was perfect.









Next we were treated to delicious lightly breaded asparagus….delish!










Ohhhh and the flatbreads…. absolutely amazing!








Our Ben Hogan Sliced Marinated Skirt Steak was perfectly marinated and oh so tender…







And then….

The most amazing cake I have ever tasted…. a delicious light and flully Chocolate Mousse Cake… oh my! I love attention to detail and their logo had been stenciled on the plate with chocolate powder. Spectacular!









Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better…

This amazing assorment of desserts appeared in a horse shoe: Creme Brulee,  Key Lime Pie, Banana Cream Pie, Stawberry Cheesecake and Fresh Berries….  All I can say is …… one was better than the next.








Although the Food was out of this world, the highlight of my day was meeting Mr. Rosen. I love meeting people who have made a difference in the world.




I was intrigued when I heard about  Mr. Rosen’s Philanthropic Pizza for Schools.  Mr. Rosen combined two of his longtime passions, healthy living and philantropy.  He wants to be known for healthy pizza within the Orange County Schools.  Profits from sales of the pizzas go toward the Harris Rosen Foundation, which provides educational scholarships for disadvantaged youth.

Mr. Rosen is grounded in his belief,  “The more success you achieve, the more good stuff you can do.”  It takes a special person to do just that!  We chatted about our families and realized we both have large families with 1 girl and 3 boys. We  agreed, it can be challenging at times, but so rewarding.  Time Around the Family Table was as important in his home as it is in mine.

We couldn’t eat another bite!  We were sent home with a Whole Wheat Low-fat Cheese, Turkey Pepperoni Pizza.  My kids were thrilled and absolutely love it!  There is no doubt this healthy pizza will be as successful as A Land Remembered!

Throughout this memorable experience, I thought about my friend, Jim Joseph.  In Jim’s book, The Experience Effect, he details the experiences he had at his favorite restaurant and how it changed over time. Jim is a big believer that restaurants are really another kind of brand and that it’s our experiences with them that make us loyal. Those experiences need to be enjoyable and consistent each time.  No doubt, he would have enjoyed A Land Remembered as much as we did.

Our afternoon at  A Land Remembered will not be forgotten!  I am thankful to have shared such a memorable experience with my good friend Lou Anne.

Kids Ratings on Philanthropic Pizza: Ronnie 10, Reis 9.5, Riley 9 (Alexandra was at College and can’t wait  try iton our next visit to Orlando)

Here is your Top 10 All time Favorite #Foodie Movie Scenes

If I wasn’t sure, I am now. We are so Passionate about our Food!  Who would have ever thought that asking the question…What is the greatest movie made with food in it?… would bring about 2 days of non-stop Twitter streaming!  I have to tell you, it was the funnest two days I have had on Twitter.  And I have had lots of fun on Twitter before!

Accordingly to my Twitter Followers, here are the Top Ten All Time Favorite Food Movie Scenes.  Just click on the name and you can view the scene.

1. BIG NIGHT …..“Mangia”


3. JULIE AND JULIA “What is it that you really like to do?….Eat!…and you are so good at it!” I could so relate!

4. RATATOUILLE “Ratatouille…you must be kidding!”

5. CHOCOLAT “To awaken the passion”

6. BABETTE’S FEAST “The best turtle Soup”

7. EAT PRAY LOVE….”He’s in the room with a naked girl…He’s won the Lottery!”

8. TORTILLA SOUP ….”What happened to we honor dinner time?”

9. ANIMAL HOUSE …. “That Boy is a P-I-G PIG!”

10. WHEN HARRY MET SALLY … “I want what she had”

Although I loved most of the movies above my two Favorite Movie Food scenes were not mentioned… not even once! I was so surprised.

11. MYSTIC PIZZA ….“Men!”

12. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING … “He don’t eat no meat?”

Anyone that follows my blog can guess why these two movies are my favorites!

Did we miss any?  What’s your favorite Movie scene featuring food?

What is the greatest Food Movie ever made?

I have had the funnest day ever on Twitter.  I am not kidding! Who knew that so many people would come up with so many great answers to this question! It is so true that Food nurtures our souls and so many aspects of our lives! We are more passionate about food than almost anything else.

My all time favorite “Food” Scene has been the same since the first time that I saw this movie…. Of course, this is also one of my all time Favorite Movies!  Being an immigrant, I totally related to this movie the first time that I saw it!

I could remember thinking my friends would think my family was so “weird”…. my Mom always cooked Portuguese Food and in an era where grilled cheese, PB&J & Spaghettios were the norm… Bacalhau, clams, chorizo & Pasteis De Nata were not something my friends were accustomed to eating.

I can still remember bringing Ron home from College for the first time to meet my parents.    Here I was bringing home this blond hair, blue eyed boyfriend to meet my parents who spoke broken English, cooked things he had never heard of and would greet him by kissing him on both sides of his face. Not to mention, they wanted me to marry a nice Portuguese boy!

I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now…. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING is my favorite food movie and the “He don’t eat no meat” is my favorite Food Scene…. I can relate to this movie on so many different levels.  You have no idea!

Every time that I even think about this scene, it just brings me back to my childhood.

What is your all time Favorite Food Movie or Scene?

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