Tag Archives: cooking

From our Mexican-American-Brazilian household to yours: Happy Cinco de Mayo!



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Sweet contribution to a progressive dinner: Trio of Licorice Desserts… yummy!


Well, Carnaval is over, but the celebrations continue! The same week we offered a typical Brazilian Feijoada for a group of friends and their kids, our family celebrated the 5th Birthday of our Valentine’s Girl, with special ‘mommy-made’ cupcakes… and to top it all off, why not take part at a 16-couple Progressive Dinner? 😮

A bit of background: This type of moving feast offers hours of entertainment with a limited amount of prep work. It’s a great way to entertain a group of friends or neighbors without shouldering the whole responsibility (or cost) of a multi-course dinner party — all because a progressive dinner party was held at 16 different homes in succession, with a single course served at each one. In our case, we hosted Dessert.

What was prepared for our special guests?

Considering I’m a mom of 3 very active little kids, with not a lot of ‘free time‘ on any given Saturday, cooking time had to be carefully planned, and all three desserts needed to be simple, easy and tasty. That said, had all kids in the kitchen during prep time, and before I knew it, Voilá – we’re done! ♥

A first-timer Trio of Desserts, each one including a different type of liqueur... [totally made that up… instead of going with one type of dessert for all guests, decided to try something different, and offer a light variety of flavors: dark chocolate, light caramel/’dulce de leche’ and a fruity option, with not-so-sweet elements, for a fresher taste. What’s the deal with the different kinds of liquor – Rum, Kahlua [coffee liqueur] and Brandy? It’s part of the fun… something unusual, something to talk home about!]

Besides the ‘sampler desserts’, guests had an opportunity to enjoy some freshly brewed Brazilian coffee!




Liquorish mix of fruits:

Peaches, raisins in rum, Maraschino cherries [as wished], and caramelized peanuts, as the ‘crunchy element‘…




Dark chocolate and Kahlua mousse




Pudim de Dulce de Leche (Caramel Pudding) with Brandy

From our “Paceña Kitchen”, to yours… 😮 Curious about the simple & easy recipes? Send me a comment with your email and I’ll be happy to share the tips to all “busy bees” out there! 


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More about “getting high on cupcakes”!


Cupcake Cocktails? 😮

My ‘transcontinental’ margarita cupcakes: approved by Brazilians, Mexicans & Americans!

Taking up on another cooking challenge: our middle daughter’s Valentine’s birthday… and nothing could go better than… cupcakes! ♥

Scrumptious, rich, yellow cake, strawberry and vanilla-based, topped with chocolate frosting or a simple butter cream…

Both my oldest kids (7 and 5) had a blast ‘helping me’ decorate the mini cakes! They came up with interesting choices for toppings – scroll down to check the pics out! I guess, at the end, it all worked well…

That said, for this Friday, I’m getting back into baking. High altitude [and attitude!] baking.


cupcake tower keeps getting higher and higher! 😮

Moving on to the preparations. Simply followed regular yellow cake and vanilla recipes [oh, you, Martha Stewart!], as well as, a simple lemon pound cake recipe, and a fantastic recipe for strawberry cupcakes, from Yummy Cakes from Lynn, discovering [through extensive online research] a few tips/adjustments for baking at high altitudes.

La Paz, Bolivia, can be a great example of how frustrating it might be for a rookie baker! In order to remain in good terms with my kitchen oven, my ‘overactive kids assistants and I’ decided to go for a ‘new & improved first-timer’ cake (batter) step-by-step: 😮

Flour: Increased by 2 Tbs per cup of batter

Baking Powder/Soda: Decreased by 1/4 tsp per tsp of mix

Sugar: Decreased by 2 Tbs per cup of mix [we’re always advised to go light on the sugar here, it’s healthier and better for the body’s blood pressure…]

Milk: Increased by 2 Tbs per cup of mix

Extra egg: added one more to the usual 3

Oven Temperature: Increased by 25 degrees

Baking Time: Decreased by five minutes per 30 minutes of baking time.

It looks like a lot of math, right? Adding this, subtracting that…. raising the oven temperature, decreasing the baking time… But it all makes sense – you’re looking for a less ‘runny’ cake mix/batter, and with  hotter oven, it’s logical (!!) to leave your ‘lovies’ in there for less time. At the end, it’s all about a great deal of TLC! ♥

Curious about the results?

Take a look, and let me know how you think this Valentine’s Birthday Bash went with another batch of the ‘highest cupcakes I’ve ever baked’! 😮




In the mood for still more? Take a look at these unique recipes for high altitude baking: from my kitchen to yours! ♥

Cupcakes filled with ‘dulce de leche’ (very popular in Latinamerica, similar to caramel)

Below, strawberry cupcakes, filled with fruit (jam) and topped with ‘bubble gum’ frosting [just came up with this recipe today… let me know if you’re curious about it!]

cupcakes topped with caramel

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Illustrated ‘Bolivian-style’ adapted cooking: Green Bean Casserole!

Now, updated with the promised images! Great fit for this week’s photo theme, as well. How I love coincidences!


Here is my ‘adapted’ recipe:

Green Bean Casserole, “Bolivian-Style”, totally vegetarian!


1 cup and some 5 oz of 1 can CAMPBELL’S® Miranda Family’s Kitchen homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

3/4 cup milk

1/8 tsp. black pepper

2 (9 oz. each) pkgs. frozen cut green beans, thawed* 1/2 kg (1 pound and some 4 oz) of freshly cut, cooked [with a bit of salt] green beans

1 1/3 cups FRENCH’S® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions homemade onion rings (yeah, that one, where you beat one egg with 3 Tb spoons of all-purpouse flour, and a bit of salt!) [hopefully, it’ll do the trick… gotta be original, at least!] 😮


MIX soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 – qt. baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup homemade onion rings (see the images for a real shock on my recently-discovered cooking skills!) 😮

BAKE at 350°F 375°F for 30 35 min.

STIR. Top with remaining 2/3 cup of onion chips/rings. Bake for some 5 min. or until onion chips are golden.

Liked the results? What about my first-time homemade onion rings for the topping? ♥

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Images and instructions for ‘Bolivian-style’ “camote” casserole [Thanksgiving cooking].

detail, Bolivian sweet potato (camote)

The last days of this week are all dedicated to my ‘adventures in the kitchen’… all the perks of a mom of 3 little ones! Again: pre-Thanksgiving recipes! [Using a kids’ school event as the perfect excuse for trying things out!] Ohh, the wonders of life in the foreign service…. 😮 Already shared my semi-successful attempt to make the well-know Green Bean Casserole. I guessed, it worked well – jury’s still out there! Note: HAD NEVER MADE IT BEFORE…. Now it’s time to try it in ‘breathless La Paz“! Here is my ‘adapted’ recipe:

‘Camote’ Casserole with Marshmallows, “Bolivian-Style”

1 (16 oz.) can sweet potatoes 1/2 kg (around 1 pound) of Camote, bought today at my dear neighbor, the Achumani Market
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
4 tbsp. melted butter
1 pkg. marshmallows

Step 1: Get the ‘sweet potatoes’ (camote) ready: cooked, peeled.

cooked and peeled ‘camotes’ (Bolivian sweet potato)

Step 2: Mix (potatoes, cinnamon, brown sugar, egg, butter) in a buttered baking tray, topped with slices of white marshmallows. Place 1/2 of mixture in dish. Dot with marshmallows, then add remaining mixture. Bake at 350 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven, dot top with marshmallows and replace in oven about 10 minutes or until brown.

after baking for 30 mins, cover the top layer with marshmallows, and allow them to melt for about 10 mins in the oven… hummm!


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Everyone loves a Fall Bake Sale!

Well, I already shared here my very first attempt to make Apple & Cinnamon Muffins for my kids school – a humble contribution to a great initiative to have a Fall Bake Sale, even though it feels like Fall, here in La Paz, Bolivia, we’re officially in the middle of Spring… Here is what I spotted during my time there, giving a hand to the other moms and enjoying a fantastic Pumpkin Latte (gotta get that recipe!) 😮


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Getting ‘high’ on [apple & cinnamon] muffins!

Again: my path towards learning how to bake goods in high altitude settings…

Another fundraising bake sale, and, this time, the theme is “FALL BAKE” [even though it’s Spring here!]. This week is all dedicated to my ‘adventures in the kitchen’… all the wonders of a mom of 3 little ones! 😮

La Paz, Bolivia, can be a great example of how frustrating it might be for a rookie baker! In order to remain in good terms with my kitchen oven, ‘we‘ decided to go for this ‘new & improved first-timer’ apple muffin mix, step-by-step: 😮 Following this post, I’ll share images from the actual bake sale, with all their goodies: caramel apple, pumpkin pies, pumpkin brownies, honey bread… hummm!

It yields between 12 and 15 muffins. The recipe has already been adapted to the altitude so I should have no problems with it, right? 😮

1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups chopped apples
For the topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp butter
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Prepare muffin tins.
In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl beat butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla extract and milk.
Stir in the chopped apples and gradually mix in the flour mixture. Spoon into prepared muffins tins.
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over muffin batter in tins.
Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before removing muffins from tins and letting cool completely on wire racks. At the end, it’s all about a great deal of TLC! ♥

Curious about the results?

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