Getting ready for Carnaval: Making food from Brazil!

Keeping this little tradition: Holidays, talk about food. This weekend, it’ll be no different.

Bolivia also celebrates Carnaval, and kids are off school, for a grand total of 5 days… (!). Work will also be off, for Monday and Fat Tuesday – the best thing to do? Get together with friends, and plan fantastic meals! Let’s see if I’ll be able to come up with a fairly decent Brazilian feijoada, using my Bolivian ingredients… More to come on this post, but for now, let’s just get our appetites ready for what could be in-store for us! 😮

Whenever I meet someone from Brazil, I ask them what their favorite food is. After steak (picanha), it is almost always feijoada. It’s an old bean, pork and beef recipe, brought to South America, like many foods in many places, by those intrepid, globetrotting spice traders, the Portuguese, and then enhanced, like many other foods in many other places, by African slaves and their descendants.

Feijoada Completa

1 1/2 cups dried black beans (turtle is preferred, for texture)
1/8 lb. carne seca/cesina (about the size of your flat hand)
1/8 lb. pork ribs (about 2 thick ribs)
1 pig foot, split
1-2 pig ears
1 pig tail (smoked, if possible)
4 strips smoked bacon, finely chopped
1 paio sausage, cut into thick slices
1/2 lb. of linguiça calabresa (Portuguese-style smoked pork sausage), cut into thick slices
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 orange, peeled (remove all of the white pith!)
8 cups water

The night before, soak the pig foot, tail and ear in cold water to draw out blood/impurities. Separately, soak the cesina in cold water overnight. In yet another bowl, soak the beans in cold water.

The next day, put the foot, tail, ear and cesina in a pot with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, boilf for 10 minutes and then drain. Refill the pot with cold water, bring to a boil again and cook until the meats are tender and beginning to fall apart. Drain well.

In a large pot or dutch oven (preferred), place the beans and 8 cups water, bay leaves, and peeled orange. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmering. Cook for 45 minutes. Add all meats, and cook for 20-30 more minutes.

In a saute pan, fry the onion and garlic on olive oil. Add about 1 cup of beans from the pan, cook briefly and mash well with the back of a spoon. Return the whole mess to the dutch oven and adjust for salt. Let simmer for about 20-30 more minutes, until beans are tender and meats are falling apart willingly. Remove from heat and let cool about 10 minutes.

Serve with boiled, medium-grain white rice, orange slices, farofa and (chiffonaded) collard greens (that have been quickly fried in canola oil and drained on paper towels.

Farofa
2 tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, minced
4 slices smoked bacon, minced
1 cup toasted manioc flour (farinha de mandioca torrada)
1 bunch scallions – only the dark green tops! – thinly sliced
salt and black pepper to taste

Saute the onion and bacon in the oil over low heat until the bacon is fully rendered and crisp. Add the flour a little at a time, stirring to coat. Add the scallions when the flour has just begun to brown. Remove from heat, mix well.

Serve at any temperature, and refrigerate any unused portion.

A bit of healthy humor, post-Christmas…

Originally posted on Logos con carne:
Having previously established that Santa has to be magical (because the laws of physics prohibit a real Santa accomplishing successful toy delivery), we can turn to the question of Santa’s gender. One might question this on the grounds of Santa’s apparent historic maleness, but in counter I offer George…

Why not a bit of humor, right after Christmas Day? The ‘post-holiday blues’ kicked in, now, it’s all about cleaning the house, washing whatever leftover dishes are pilling up on my sink… make sure the kids don’t kill each other over their new toys… 😮 That said, during one of my blog-hopping ventures, found this funny piece on Santa Claus, discussing the pros and cons of ‘it’ being a man or a woman! As a mother, the one in charge of pretty much everything related to Christmas for our family, ranging from grocery shopping, gift-wrapping, meal-planning, cooking, and the aftermath cleaning – I’m a little bias… maybe, the original author [Wyrd Smithe, from Logs con Carne] has a good point with the ‘pros’ on Santa being a woman… who knows? If you’ve got more to add to this intriguing discussion, hop over to his site, and share it! I’m sure it’d be appreciated!  Below is an excerpt from the original text, where I [freely] highlighted my FAVORITE parts, for both genders, so, I may not be ‘accused’ of being… errrr… a bit…bias! Enjoy!

“Santa is a man!

Santa making toys…It is precisely because Christmas is an“organized, warm, fuzzy, nurturing social deal”that Santa has to be a man. Delegation… that’s the key. Just imagine if a woman was trying to delegate all of those tasks and obligations to her underlings. Christmas would be as ambiguous as the spring equinox. Nobody would know what day of the year we were going to celebrate it on.

It takes a man to organize a commercial event as huge as Christmas… We’d have to plan football schedules around lunch instead of the other way around. Or worse yet… there might not be any football at all.  [shudder] That’s a scary thought.

Santa has a secret!If Santa was a female, the toys might never be delivered. It would take a she Santa until New Year’s Eve to get dressed (for the third time) and out of the bathroom. And just try harnessing those reindeer with freshly painted nails. Never happen. Once she got underway, she’d be too busy talking on the cell phone to her girl friends to get all the way around the world to every girl and boy’s house in a single year, let alone a single night.


Santa is a Woman!

Ms Santa 1

For starters, the vast majority of men don’t even think about selecting gifts until Christmas Eve. Once at the mall, they always seem surprised to find only Ronco products, socket wrench sets, and mood rings left on the shelves. On this count alone, I’m convinced Santa is a woman…

Ms Santa 2…Even if the male Santa did have reindeer, he’d still have transportation problems because he would inevitably get lost up there in the snow and clouds and then refuse to stop and ask for directions.

Other reasons why Santa can’t possibly be a man:

  • Men can’t pack a bag.
  • Men would rather be dead than caught wearing red
  • Men would feel their masculinity is threatened having to be seen with all those elves.
  • Men don’t answer their mail.
  • Men would refuse to allow their physique to be described even in jest as anything remotely resembling a “bowlful of jelly.”
  • Men aren’t interested in stockings unless somebody’s wearing them.
  • Having to do the Ho Ho Ho thing would seriously inhibit their ability to pick up women.
  • Finally, being responsible for Christmas would require a commitment.

Thank you for letting me share this piece… funny, and a great way to jump back into reality… nothing wrong with a bit of healthy humor, post-Christmas, right?! 😮

Logos con carne

Santas bothHaving previously established that Santa has to be magical (because the laws of physics prohibit a real Santa accomplishing successful toy delivery), we can turn to the question of Santa’s gender. One might question this on the grounds of Santa’s apparent historic maleness, but in counter I offer George Sand, Mulan and any number of Shakespeare plays.

One might also question this on the grounds of gender perhaps not applying to magical creatures, to which I reply that Hobbits, Elves and Dwarves seem pretty clear on the matter (although one can never really tell with Dwarves—all that hair and battle armor are quite concealing, and it’s poor form to actually ask).

In any event, like all “news” programs these days, I give you now, two opposing views on the matter of Santa’s gender. You decide.

View original post 787 more words

Ending the 20 days of a Joyful Christmas… our wishes for a very happy holiday season!

#holidays @postaday #Christmas #imagesofjoy

Front & BackOur Family's 'Happy Holidays' Card
Front & Back
Our Family’s ‘Happy Holidays’ Card

Image #20: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Our Happy Holidays Card!

Last Day before Christmas! Our second to last ‘Image of Joy’!

peace on earth

Celebrating our “Paceña Season of Joy” [yeah, we’re loving La Paz!], we’re getting ready to wrap up the series of “20 images of joy, waiting for our White Christmas, here in La Paz, Bolivia. We haven’t gotten snow, so far, but it does not diminish the beauty and joy from these days preceding December 25th. It’s wonderful to look at the kids faces, witnessing their anticipation and excitement. As parents, we have lots to be grateful for, and we’d like to extend our wishes of a Peaceful End of the Year to many other traveling and expat families out there. Life is very intriguing on itself: sometimes very hard, other times, surprisingly easy to manage… Like so many others, we all had our highs and lows, and this holiday season is the moment to reflect upon them… Wishing you all a peaceful, joyful, holiday season!

Image #19: 20 Days of a Cold Christmas: Peace on Earth

20 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… in 20 joyful images. Only a couple of days to go!

Image #18: 20 Days of a Cold Christmas: Christmas Stories at School

Unlike last year, when we spent Christmas surrounded by the tropical Brazilian weather; this year, we may have something ‘closer to a White Christmas’, considering we’re in La Paz, and at least, we may experience some cold weather… The season’s wardrobe isn’t packed with colorful light pieces, ‘havaianas‘, and sneakers, like last December… Bring out the boots and coats! Let’s get some warm wine out and sit down by the fireplace, where the kids will get their nighttime Christmas stories

This year, the lights have been out for a while, tree is up and twinkling, we’ve got a yard instead of an apartment veranda, but it’s a bit too cold to be out at night, which is actually, great! 😮

In order to celebrate our “non-tropical season of joy”, we’ve been sharing images that showcase how we’re seeing and enjoying this time of the year. Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! 😮

3 days away! This year, they made it to his ‘Good List’!

Image #17: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Anxiously waiting to see if they made it to Santa’s “Good List”… I guess they did! 😮

4 days away! And according to our 3 Mayan Calendars… it’ll be a Happy Solstice!

Image #16: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Mayan Calendar

Backstory: Our family’s got Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, Mexican, Native American [and who knows what else!] heritage. All into the very same pot… and due to work, we’re bound to the foreign service life(style). That said, we like to ‘collect things along the way’, as we travel, as we move from country to country. And funny enough, we do not not have ONE Mayan Calendar. We have THREE… We like the pieces, and I don’t think they’re any indication of the ‘end of an Era‘- let alone, the end of this world we call home…

And right now, since we were able to get our stuff/household effects from our last post, the calendars are mounted to the wall…. Next to an Elf Stocking (!) and a ‘twinkling plant’, surrounded by tiny colorful Xmas lights. As you may see, we’re a pretty eclectic family… We believe in Christmas Morning Magic, Santa, Elves… and everyone gets along just fine, around the Mayan predictions!

Now, go over for the quick explanation from NASA… Happy Solstice! 😮

 

5 days away! Santa Claus and his wonderful stories…

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Image #15: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Silently listening to Santa, while he reads a Christmas story…

Silent kids during “Breakfast with Santa? Surprising!

What wouldn’t one do to be on ‘his good list’? 😮

 

6 days away! Holiday greeting cards already sent!

IMG_3462Image #14: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Holiday Cards are on their way… What about you? 😮

7 days away! He can barely wait for another week…

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Image #13: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: And this boy here sent only FOUR LETTERS TO SANTA! 😮 Hopefully, one of the 4 will make it to the North Pole with his long, long, wish list…

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

8 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… Crazy head day!

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Image #12: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Up with the holiday spirit! Crazy head day for school!

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

9 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… Very, very sweet greetings!

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Image #11: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Sweet Season!

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

10 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’. Colors from The Bolivian Folkloric Ballet of Potosi.

Image #10: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: The Ballet Folklorico de Potosi, Bolivia.

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

11 days to Christmas: It’s Friday! The Hormone Guide…

It’s friday, gotta share this: the hormone guide!

Friday is here… holidays are just around the corner… Husband’s gone on a work trip. This mom is left home with 3 little ones and a pet hamster [come on, what you mean ‘you won’t be able to clean his house today? how is it any different from all the other days?’] Oh, well, gotta find something to cheer me up, and sure enough, rescued an old post, especially prepared for Fridays like today.

Read and learn – great tip for this holiday season, where, we, women, tend to eat shop talk indulge a little bit too much! 😮

It’s coming from another woman, to all other women, and probably, all men with a good sense of humor…

Source: another fellow blogger, with great sense of humor! 😮

12 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… not quite your regular ‘Elf on the shelf’!

Image #9: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Not quite your regular ‘Elf on the shelf’… more like ‘a non-stop climbing pre-toddler’! Climbing on the half-desk… going up the stairs… just got caught, while, quietly, trying to move on… Oh, the perks of being a mother of 3 little ones! Who needs adult supervision, anyway? 😮

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

13 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’…making my wish for 12.12.12: to witness their shared passion!

my two boys
my two boys after the match

Image #8: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: My two boys on a regular Saturday morning…

While many are still sleeping in, my boys head to the soccer field at the kids’ school… The ‘older one’ is the player, but my ‘youngest boy’ has to be there to support his dad… I couldn’t be any happier when looking at their faces… That’s a good wish for this 12.12.12: I’ve got 2 girls and 2 boys, and being able to witness their happiness is priceless… Today, I’m sharing the joy these boys bring to my life, through their shared passion: sports! 😮

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

14 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’. An evergreen centerpiece as a keepsake…

There’s a bit of backstory to this branch of evergreen. It used to belong to a much larger tree, in front of the Radiation Treatment Facility here in La Paz. The tree has been trimmed to offer space for a canopy, where patients and patients-to-be would benefit from some much deserved shade, while waiting to be called into the facility. Several branches were cut down, and a few of the volunteers decided to take them home, using them as part of a unique Christmas decoration…

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Image #7: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Evergreen centerpiece.

There’s a bit of backstory to this branch of evergreen. It used to belong to a much larger tree, in front of the  Radiation Treatment Facility here in La Paz. The tree has been trimmed to offer space for a canopy, where patients and patients-to-be would benefit from some much deserved shade, while waiting to be called into the facility. Several branches were cut down, and a few of the volunteers decided to take them home, using them as part of a unique Christmas decoration

Two weeks later, one of the branches still exists as my dining table centerpiece… beautiful… a keepsake of a day of work, but most importantly, reminding us about how blessed we’ve been… There’ll be no holidays at a hospital facility for our family… we’ll spend these holidays together, as a family.. we’re all healthy and grateful…

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

15 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… Driving among the clouds…

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Image #6: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Literally driving among the clouds, outside the city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz… And we DID GO through this ride [or at least, the fab hubby did… all the driving!]. Here is the link for the complete Photo Essay!

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

16 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… Joy after the hail showers!

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Image #5: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Joy after the Hail Showers… 

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.

17 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… Making fun Science with… Snow!!!

Image #4: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Let it snow in school… if [natural] snow doesn’t fall down from the sky, the solution is… let’s make it! [nothing wrong with having fun with school-made artificial snow!]

Makes Fluffy Artificial Snow in Seconds!

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.

18 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… each day, an image of joy! You know you’re in Bolivia when…

20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Getting ready to enjoy the holiday season dinners, nights-out, get-togethers… That’s when you know you’re IN BOLIVIA… it’s possible to find PEPTO BISMOL [or any similar!] in a LADY’S PURSE… hummm, wonder why! 😮

Let’s enjoy the holidays!

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Image #3: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Getting ready to enjoy the holiday season dinners, nights-out, get-togethers… That’s when you know you’re IN BOLIVIA… it’s possible to find PEPTO BISMOL [or any similar!] in a LADY’S PURSE… hummm, wonder why! 😮

Let’s enjoy the holidays!

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.

19 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… each day, an image of joy!

Image #2: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Hang on… we’re almost there… The family is ready!

In order to celebrate our “non-tropical season of joy”, we’ll continue to share images that showcase how we’re seeing and enjoying this time of the year. Today, a ‘snapshot of our family’… aren’t we the best looking family in town?! 😮
Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.

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Image #2: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Hang on… we’re almost there… The family is ready!

In order to celebrate our “non-tropical season of joy”, we’ll continue to share images that showcase how we’re seeing and enjoying this time of the year. Today, a ‘snapshot of our family’… aren’t we the best looking family in town?! 😮

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.

20 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… in 20 joyful images.

Unlike last year, when we spent Christmas surrounded by the tropical Brazilian weather; this year, we may have something ‘closer to a White Christmas’, considering we’re in La Paz, and at least, we may experience some cold weather… The season’s wardrobe isn’t packed with colorful light pieces, ‘havaianas‘, and sneakers, like last December… Bring out the boots and coats! Let’s get some warm wine out and sit down by the fireplace, where the kids will get their nighttime Christmas stories…

Last year, we got to enjoy a nice, sunny holiday season, with Christmas lights hanging from our apartment veranda, twinkling and reminding us that December had arrived… This year, the lights are already out, tree is up and twinkling, we’ve got a yard instead of an apartment veranda, but it’s a bit too cold to be out at night, which is great! 😮

In order to celebrate our “not-tropical season of joy”, we’ll be sharing images that showcase how we’re seeing and enjoying this time of the year. Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe!

Unlike last year, when we spent Christmas surrounded by the tropical Brazilian weather; this year, we may have something ‘closer to a White Christmas’, considering we’re in La Paz, and at least, we may experience some cold weather… The season’s wardrobe isn’t packed with colorful light pieces, ‘havaianas‘, and sneakers, like last December… Bring out the boots and coats! Let’s get some warm wine out and sit down by the fireplace, where the kids will get their nighttime Christmas stories

Last year, we got to enjoy a nice, sunny holiday season, with Christmas lights hanging from our apartment veranda, twinkling and reminding us that December had arrived… This year, the lights are already out, tree is up and twinkling, we’ve got a yard instead of an apartment veranda, but it’s a bit too cold to be out at night, which is great! 😮

In order to celebrate our “non-tropical season of joy”, we’ll be sharing images that showcase how we’re seeing and enjoying this time of the year. Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe!

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy…

Image #1: 20 Days of a Cold Christmas: Could she wait for Xmas to be here?!

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It’s time to be Thankful…

Thankful. It’s the word for the Season. A little early, still, but the season for being grateful has begun. Thanks to This mom’s got something to say for letting me share this fantastic post. It’s about being grateful, which I’m sure many of us need to be.

“Thanks. And a whole lot more.”

“It’s Thanksgiving. The perfect time to reflect and say thank-you for all of the things you have been blessed with in your life. A time to hug your loved ones and let them know how much they mean to you. It’s a time to step out of yourself and recognize what’s truly important.
After you’ve said your thanks this year, I challenge you to do something more. I challenge you to forgive.

little things that make me happy… click here for this week’s ‘Happy’ post!

Less than one day until our Thanksgiving is here! Be Thankful. It’s the word for the Season. Thanks to This mom’s got something to say for letting me share this fantastic post. It’s about being grateful, which I’m sure many of us need to be.

“Thanks. And a whole lot more.” Just in time for this Friday’s photo challenge: Thankful!

“It’s Thanksgiving. The perfect time to reflect and say thank-you for all of the things you have been blessed with in your life. A time to hug your loved ones and let them know how much they mean to you. It’s a time to step out of yourself…”
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