We are on a break!

break

When we decided to take a break from the blog, I immediately heard Ross’ famous “We were on a break!” line inside my head. The only difference is that we’re not Ross & Rachel and that we are totally okay with that (Friends-lovers will love me right now).

Now, let me tell you why we are taking this break.

Life changes. People change. Goals change. That’s life and that’s completely normal. We’ve been discussing about a lot of things concerning the blog and last Sunday, Lili, Nat and I got together and talked a little bit more about these things. We came to the conclusion that right now we’re having other priorities and taking different paths, and this project doesn’t suit us at the moment. That’s the only reason. We do not hate each other and will not make it on “The Real Housewives of Irvine”.

It doesn’t mean that we’ll end the blog and will never post again. We are just letting time tell us what decision we’d like to make.

Although our blog is small, we’d like to thank everyone who supported us. Every comment, Facebook like/share and post like meant the world to us; these things really made us happy. Even ghost readers, thank you so much for your visit! It was such a good feeling when we saw people from all over the world accessing our blog. We’d also like to thank our guest writes, Flora and Renatah, for the amazing contributions.

fotooo

Beautiful weather while we were deciding the blog’s future

Thank you, everybody! Hope to see you soon.

-Gabriela, Liliana and Nathalie

Quem tem mãe, tem tudo!

Image
In Portugal we say this: “Quem tem mãe, tem tudo”, and it means in English: “Who has a mother, has everything”.
I thought this would be great to share, especially because upcoming Sunday it’s  Mother’s Day here in the U.S. Moms are the best that we have, even though when we’re young we don’t see that, but they only want the best for us.

I do love my mom, especially now that I’m living my own life, I do miss her. So, please give your mom lots of love, kisses and hugs, because she deserves that more than you can imagine. :)

I wish you lots of love and hope you have a great Mother’s Day!

Lili

How to make a flawless cake – part I

This is my walnut sponge egg cake with Dulce de Leche filling. :)

This is my walnut sponge egg cake with Dulce de Leche filling. :)

When people talk to me about baking a cake, most of them have some complaints and think that baking is either very hard or a mystery. The most common complaints they tell me are: “My cake doesn’t rise enough!” or “Why do my cakes always turn out uneven?”. So, I decided to dedicate this post to all you guys who have this problem when trying to bake a cake. On this post I’ll be giving you some tips on how to make your cake look even. For the ones who have other kinds of problems, don’t worry. I’ll give other tips in the next posts that may be just what you need. ;)

Measuring_flour

For my beautiful cake I needed exactly 46 grams of all purpose flour. Respecting weigh makes a huge difference in the final results.

  If your cake rose unevenly what probably could have happened was: you didn’t weigh exactly one of the ingredients, there was a processing mistake or both. You didn’t weigh and had a problem in processing some steps. But don’t panic, let’s figure it out. :)

These are the basic mistakes that can make your cake become uneven:

1) Too much sugar: Weighing the ingredients is a very important step of the recipe and must be weighed carefully, that’s why I prefer scale rather than cups or spoons. When you add more than the necessary sugar your cake can become very heavy and it gets unable to rise properly.

 2) Too much baking powder: Believe it or not, if you add too much baking powder it has the opposite effect. While in the oven, the cake rises beautifully. It rises so much that you feel proud of yourself, but when you take it out the oven it falls immediately, right? Not anymore! Weighing the baking powder carefully may be effective and solve your problem.

 3) Little liquid: Liquid can be any ingredient which contains water in its composition like milk, for example. When you start mixing the ingredients you always have that little thing called conscious in your mind telling you something like: Oh, that’s too much flour, this recipe must be wrong or I’m gonna put a little bit more of this ingredient, etc. If you do so, that’s the reason why your cake gets uneven. Trust the measurement required in the recipe and don’t worry if the batter isn’t the way you expected it to be. Little liquid can make your cake uneven because, like too much sugar, the batter becomes very heavy and unable to rise.

4) Not enough blended or beaten: Usually all purpose flour is added at the end of the recipe, so if you don’t blend or beat the batter well it will fall during baking. It happens because you don’t give enough time for all purpose flour to be incorporated into the batter. You know, some things take a little extra time to be achieved, like this step. :P

not_blended

Can you see those lumps in the cake batter? You have to get rid of them otherwise your cake will fall. Mix the batter well and gently to ensure the lumps won’t be there anymore.

 5) Oven temperature: If you preheat the oven, but it doesn’t keep the same temperature from the beginning to the end of the baking process the result is tragic. One very common mistake is opening the oven to check if everything’s ok. If you do that the temperature will fall drastically. If you’re not sure whether your cake is cooking well or not wait at least 15 minutes (or two thirds of the time required in the recipe) before you open the oven, this will prevent your cake being uneven. Never change the oven temperature after putting the cake in because it messes the rising process up. Remember that each one of you know (or should know) your oven well. It means that 180ºC can be as hot as hell and 280ºC can be as cold as Alaska. It depends if your oven is new, old, home or industrial. You’ll only know your oven well after using it a couple of times.

This is considered low heat, so your cake will rise slowly and perfectly.

This is considered low heat, so your cake will rise slowly and perfectly.

 6) Rotate the tray: Some ovens have different temperatures according to where you place the tray. So, rotating the pan will prevent it from rising only one side. Don’t forget that you have to open the oven after at least two thirds of the amount of time the recipe requires.

 I hope you keep baking delicious cakes no matter what: rainy day, relieve stress, receiving a friend at home, or any other special reason. If your cake doesn’t rise be calm and try it again in another time or day; never give up. I’m sure that the ones who eat it would be really sad if you don’t give it a trial. And only one more thing: in case your cake falls don’t waste food by throwing it away, instead cut it into small pieces and bake for more 10 minutes or so. Now you have delicious cookies to eat in your tea time.

 Sources: Escola de Chefs – Chef School Joanna Farrow, London, Hamlyn – 2009 (p. 214 – 222)

Pastry – Senai 4th Edition São Paulo, SP – 2012 (p.16)

-Flora

C’est le pied!

le pied

A few months ago, I taught you how to express your surprise, disbelief or that something is brilliant or wicked to you in German. The German says “Das ist der Hammer!”.

Today it is a post of how the French express a similar situation. They like to use body parts and say “C’est le pied!”: “This is the foot!”. It is mostly used to express a positive surprise, that something is “awesome”. According to some websites, this expression is related to the joy of the woman in a sexual act and how her foot position would be. Ah les French and l’amour!

I hope that your day will be “le pied”!

Nathalie

Veggie Box

Veggie box full
Today I’m gonna talk about one thing that Nathalie and I both do. It’s the veggie box.
Actually she was the one who told me about: She started to buy this veggie box every single week and told us about. I though that would be a great idea to help us eating more vegetables and it is also a great way to support the local farmers.
vegetables_Vh

It is an easy way to have fresh and organic vegetables, and it’s super easy to get it. You  just need to log in on their website and pay $21.80 for a small box and it’s good for 2 persons, but if you have a big family you can ask for the big box and I think it’s good for 4  persons or more.
Veggie box empty

Also, you can ask for extra veggies or fruit and pay the extra, but I think with this way we save money. :) You don’t have to go so far to pick up your veggies, you can chose the closest place to get your fresh veggies.

This is the website: http://www.abundantharvestorganics.com/

So, that’s it for today, and hope you liked it. :) Have a great weekend everyone.

Lili

Music in your mail

Music mail 6

Already 4 years! A project which is already going on for 4 years and who is still not coming to an end. What am I talking about? Well in March-April 2009 my friend Marit from the Netherlands came to visit me in Germany and after a few drinks and hours of musical conversation we decided to send each other every month a cd of a band or artist, the other might not know.

Music mail 4

Nowadays we always give USB sticks to friends which are full of music but usually we never really get through them because of the huge amount of music at once. So it had to be only one cd per month and about one artist only so that we have time to discover this artist during the month.

Music mail 3

Since I moved to the U.S. I have been terrible because I never sat down to make new cds for Marit… until now!

Music mail 1

The fun thing about creating those cds is also to design the covers. We are even considering making our own photos if we are inspired.

Music mail 2

I love this project until now! There is nothing nicer than getting a packet in your mailbox between all the bills and ads and then putting on a cd and discovering new sounds. Thanks to Marit I discovered for example a lovely Dutch artist called Pien Feith. She is definitely not known enough if you ask me!

Music mail 5

So let’s get old school and send cds to your friends! It is fun and the great thing… you might get something back in return!

Music mail 7

Nathalie

Irvine Spectrum Shopping Center

IMG_2834

Today I’m going to talk about a shopping mall which is here in Irvine, very close to Gabi’s, Carolina’s and my own place. I do like this shopping mall because it’s different from others around here and specially quite different from Europe.IMG_2835

Who doesn’t like to walk, see new things and eventually buy new things and breath fresh air? Or get some sun when you’re buying new clothes? You’re definitely more happy than just be under a ceiling, right?  :)IMG_2836

Well, I do recommend this place, and for those who live close to it, like us, it’s a really nice walk to the mall and you don’t even have to take your car. But obviously you can take it if you want to. :P They offer lots of public parking, and it’s really easy to find a parking spot to leave your baby. Also you can feel pretty safe once you are there.IMG_2833

For those who love movies, they have a big theater with lots of rooms, including IMAX and RPX. All the chairs are very comfy, so you can watch your show relaxed and have a great time there. The only thing that I don’t like is the popcorn, but it’s just my Portuguese vein speaking, because in Portugal we are used to the popcorn with sugar and here they’re only serve them with salt. Funny, huh? Cultures. ;)IMG_2845

On the other hand, if you just want to go there for a walk, have fun, have an ice cream or a small lunch or simply have a chat with your friends, you can take advantage of all the seating areas in the mall. Some are close to a nice fountain which I like a lot. Also you can take a ride on the giant wheel which is super nice and fun to go on, and it’s not expensive. I’ve already tried it and obviously like it a lot. One advice though, don’t go at night, because you can’t see the “city”; go during the day or even during sunset, that would be perfect. :D
IMG_2847

Also, the Spectrum offers activities for kids such as a merry-go-around. It is a great way to spend a really cool afternoon with them.
IMG_2831

I do recommend this place, even for those who live close to it and start getting tired of it, go there and try to see this shopping mall with other eyes, life is good and beautiful and we have to taste it and enjoy it every single day!
IMG_2841

IMG_2842

After talking so much about the Spectrum, and because today it’s a beautiful day, I might  follow my own advice and go to the mall really quick. Who wanna join me???
IMG_2839

Have a great weekend and enjoy the little things in life because they are the best and they’re free. :P

Lili