About Gabriela K.

25 years of age, brazilian, addicted to discovering new places, new ideas, and new ways of thinking. loves photography, books and pretty stuff.

We are on a break!

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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.

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Beautiful weather while we were deciding the blog’s future

Thank you, everybody! Hope to see you soon.

-Gabriela, Liliana and Nathalie

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Brazilian Candy Shop

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So, I’m in Brazil! My husband and I came last week to spend three weeks with our friends and family. That’s why I’ve been away from the blog; and I miss it very much!

First we went to São Paulo.  It’s a busy busy city! I love it there because everyday we always have something different to do; but one thing I couldn’t stand was the crazy traffic. I knew it was like that, but now it’s even worse. Besides traffic, everything was perfect. We went to some very nice restaurants and shops; and today I’ll talk about a specific place.

Do you remember Flora? She writes here sometimes and she is from São Paulo. She was very nice with us there, and we spend a whole afternoon going to malls and shops (without the husbands, of course :P).  We went to a mall called Pátio Paulista first. Things are a bit expensive there, but some things are totally worth it.

For instance, we went to a little shop called Brigaderia. They only sell brigadeiros, it’s very cool! Brigadeiro are very famous (and yummy) Brazilian candies. They are made of cocoa powder, sweet condensed milk and butter. The texture of those candies is very smooth and sticky; they are also very sweet. It’s a very simple recipe, but the owner of Brigadeira created tons of different variations of the same base recipe. We found there brigadeiro with capirinha, lemon, white chocolate, crispy brigadeiro, and, of course, the traditional one too!

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Stay tuned to learn how to make brigadeiro, I’ll soon post the recipe here. 😉

Gabriela

Vinyl Glass Jars

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One of these days I received an email from Pick Your Plum with a vinyl offer. I’ve seen on Pinterest many people making crafts with it, so I thought “Why not?”. I placed my order, but I still had no idea what to do with it.

The vinyl sheets arrived last week and I couldn’t wait to try them out. I browsed Pinterest again, but couldn’t find a craft that I love. I didn’t know I would need some tools to make cool projects with this material.

I don’t remember where I saw some empty glass jars covered with vinyl. I didn’t find the blog, but I decided to improvise. It was a little bit tricky, since I don’t have a cutting machine. It didn’t turn out perfect, but it is still cute and gives a nice touch to old glass jars.

I have many empty glass jars; I don’t like to throw them out. I painted some with spray paint months ago and decided to use them to do this craft. I just used vinyl sheets, scissor, and empty glass jars.

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I won’t make a step-by-step tutorial because this craft doesn’t have any rules to follow. You just need to use your creativity to make the designs. My drawing skills are not great, so my little mustache was a little bit strange. 😛

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I also made zig-zag patterns, just random things.

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I wasn’t able to make pics while I was fixing the patterns on the jars, but I can tell you: It’s very easy. I thought it would be really tricky, that once I put it on, there was no turning back. But I was pleasantly surprised when I realized vinyl is very easy to handle. You can take it off and put it back on the jar to adjust it.

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I liked the results, and I finally found a way to decorate my many empty jars!

I will use the big jar to put coins and one dollar bills. I’ll use the other ones to put my lipsticks and mascaras. It is a fun way to keep your small objects organized.

Just use your creativity and make cool designs! I hope I’ll buy a cutting machine soon, a small one. And of course, I’ll show the results here. 🙂

Gabriela

2 Ingredient Cookies

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When someone on Twitter said there’s a cookie recipe that only called for 2 bananas and 1 cup of quick oats, I couldn’t believe it. I clicked on the link; it was a recipe from the blog The Burlap Bag. I didn’t read it wrong, so this two ingredient cookies really exist!

I didn’t have quick oats, so I used almond granola. It turned out great, too! One thing that is also great about this recipe is the fact that you don’t have to put sugar into the “dough”. The sweetness of the cookie comes from the bananas, so it is a totally guilt-free snack/dessert!

You will need:

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  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup quick oats (I used almond granola)

Also, you can add whatever you want to make it yummier: chocolate chips, raisins, walnut pieces, cinnamon, etc. I put some dark chocolate covered almond pieces. 🙂

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Measurements can vary, since all bananas are different sizes. So if you think your “dough” looks too wet, add more oatmeal (or granola). Also be careful not to add too much stuff, because the cookies won’t hold together very well.

1. Grease your cookie sheet and preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix all the ingredients. When well mixed, make the cookies and put it on the cookie sheet. I measured like this: 1 tablespoon of cookie dough = 1 large cookie.

3. Bake them for 15 minutes.

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Pre-cooking stage

And that’s it! Very complicated, right?

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When they just came out of the oven

These cookies taste great! They are very healthy too, since you’re eating just bananas and oatmeal.

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I made 8 large cookies with this recipe. But you can always make smaller ones and have more cookies.

Hope you like it! Tell me if you add something else on the recipe. 🙂

Gabriela

6 Tips to Reduce your Plastic Use

Source: lovelygreenlifestyle.blogspot.com

Source: lovelygreenlifestyle.blogspot.com

Is your life too plastic? That’s the question the documentary Bag It keeps asking. I watched it months ago and I have to say, it changed the way I see things.

I have to confess that I couldn’t care less about the environment before. When I moved to the U.S., I had the opportunity to read and see different things. I didn’t have access to Netflix in Brazil (now they finally have it!), so I’d just watch cable; and there were only TV shows, sitcoms or reality shows, never documentaries.

I think Bag It was the first documentary that had an impact on me. Plastic bags always annoyed me, but for the wrong reasons. I hated them because of the irritating clutter: thousands of bags stuck somewhere in the house. It never ended!

As I watched the movie, I began to realize that the problem was much deeper. According to it, Americans use 60,000 plastic bags every five minutes. After a short period of time, they throw them away without much thought. The question is:  where is “away”? I found the answer later on. These disposable bags end up in a place that affects the environment, marine life and even human health.

Our trash ends up, obviously, in the ocean. There’s no magic; it doesn’t disappear. Now imagine millions of bottled water and disposable bags going to the trash every day. Still according to the documentary, two million plastic bottles are consumed in the U.S. every five minutes, and less than 25% are recycled. Note: a plastic bottle takes 1,000 years to decompose, while plastic bags take 100 year. So, yes, the debris can stay a long time in our oceans.

Source: http://earth911.com

“But what’s wrong with that?”, some people might ask. In the decomposition process, the plastic is broken up into tiny pieces. Marine life thinks that these little things are plankton – fish food –, and there is 40 times more plastic than Plankton in some parts of the ocean. In this way plastic enters into our food chain. The largest ecosystem on Earth is in a place called North Pacific Gyre, located in the northern Pacific Ocean. This place is also known as The Great Pacific Garbage Patch because of its enormous quantity of plastic and other debris swirling around the gyre. It is so big that it’s believed to be more than twice the size of Texas.

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Oh, and get this: it is estimated that 100,000 marine mammals and sea birds die each year from becoming entangled in or ingesting plastic debris. Yes, very very sad.

Here’s another huge concern. Plastic bags are made of fossil fuels, as petroleum and natural gas are, which are non-renewable resources. So one day this source will end and we, humans, will be miserable.

After all these things, should I say more to convince someone that reducing plastic use is good?

Okay, just one more thing. Plastic contains toxins that affect our bodies. It’s scientifically proved that things like BPA, substance found in plastic bottles and containers, affects the brain and the nervous system (causing depression and anxiety ); causes low sperm count and other diseases, like cancer.

We have enough reasons to get rid of plastic. Not completely, but let’s make sure to do our best to avoid the use of this material. Here are some tips to help you:

6 tips to reduce your plastic use:

1. Carry reusable shopping bags

When shopping (for groceries, clothes, or whatever), always carry a reusable bag with you. I always keep some in my car, this way I never forget them. I used to forget to bring my bags all the time, so I ended up buying new ones at the grocery store. So, yes, I have a lot of them. 😛

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2. Ditch bottled water

You can help the environment in a very easy way. Just begin using a water jar with filter. It can be made of plastic, but be sure it is BPA free. We ditched bottled water nine months ago, I think. Believe me, you’ll save a lot of money too.

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3. Choose milk in returnable glass bottles

Look for local dairies that provide milk in returnable glass bottles. I actually do this at Whole Foods. I just return the empty bottle and they give me U$1.50 back. I do this with heavy whipping cream too.

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4. Buy from bulk bins

You can find rice, beans, and other dry foods from bulk bins. I know a few grocery stores that have that option and it’s great. It’s also cheaper, since you don’t have to pay for the packaging.

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5. Avoid buying meat packed in plastic material

I recently began doing that. Now our meat is packed in paper.

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6. Reuse plastic produce bags or make cloth ones

I have to confess that I need to work on that. I always forget to bring my plastic produce bags; I never throw them away so I can use them again. You can make cloth ones too, using old t-shirts.

If I kept going, my post would become a book! There are other things that you can do to reduce your plastic use; read, search and use your creativity to help you and your family, as well as the planet where you live. 🙂

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Important announcement: we are on Facebook now! ‘Like’ our page to never miss a post 😀 The link is on the right side bar.

Gabriela

7 steps to prepare a recipe without making a mess – By Flora Murai

Let’s Eat Out (1967) by Gil Elvgren

Illustration: Gil Elvgren

My name is Flora, I’m 27 years old and I’m from São Paulo – Brazil. I knew Outland at Home through Gabi. I’ve known her for about 4 years when our husbands used to work together here in Brazil. I also met Lili when I went to California in 2012. We laughed, went shopping and had lots of fun together.

What I love most is: cooking. Since I was 5 years old I used to watch my mom Sonia cooking. It was so inspiring and I remember the smell of her delicious food going from the kitchen to the whole house. Maria Estela, my grandma, used to spend some days at home when I was a kid and it was amazing because she is an extraordinary cook. She taught me many of the tips that I know today. I can say that both my mother and my grandma inspired me to cook. Another really important person in my family was Mr. Murai, my father-in-law, who taught me many of his accurate and amazing techniques from traditional japanese food. He passed away in 2011 and left a lot of excellent memories with me.

In 2012 I decided to specialize in Pastry; it was an eight-month course in which gave me a very good foundation in efficiency, organization and accuracy without losing the magic and passion in the final results. I also had a wonderful cupcake class in New York and it was interesting to learn the difference between Brazilian frosting (usually made with sugar) and american frosting that is commonly made with butter.

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Me and an amazing carrot cake 🙂

Here in Brazil we have a lot of influences in our cuisine; from countries in Europe (Portugal and Italy) to some countries in Africa (where our “feijoada” came from). It’s very usual to see a pizzeria next to a Japanese restaurant around here. And São Paulo is one of the best places in Brazil to see this difference and eat excellent food.

My cooking style reflects this Brazilian variety .

I’m very glad to have recently been invited to collaborate with the girls in the Blog and share what I know with all you guys. I’m willing to learn a lot from you too!

When I first began cooking I realized that sometimes I used to forget doing some very important steps in order to gain time and not being lost in the kitchen. Sometimes I forgot to weigh one of the ingredients I was about to use, so I had to stop everything I was doing and go back to the ingredients I had already stored in the cabinet, for example. The step that I screwed most was greasing the cake pan. I forgot to do it all the time.

I realized I had to create some steps in order to organize myself and spend less time and money, but most of all, avoid being frustrated in the kitchen. The only thing that came to my mind were these 7 Steps. These steps were just what I needed to organize myself in a quick, simple and super efficient way.

Here are 7 steps which help me not being lost and frustrated in the kitchen:

1)  Choose your recipe: I like to choose my recipes according to what I intend to have: lunch, dinner, dessert, etc. Another thing that makes me choose a recipe is the season; if it’s winter I prefer comfy and hot food, but if it’s summer I prefer something light and fresh, like a fruit salad or an ice cream, for example. The place the meal will be really matters to me: a park (picnic), friend’s house, etc. For these places I’d rather prepare finger food or any other recipe which requires few or no utensils at all.

2)  Study the recipe: After choosing my recipe I read it carefully and check which ingredients I already have at home not to buy unnecessary food (wasting food by buying ingredients you already have is not nice and very expensive). I am careful with products that are in my cabinet – expired date product is dangerous and could kill someone. I also prefer to buy natural, fresh and healthy ingredients – low fat, low sugar or sodium are always welcome.

3) Go shopping: If I don’t have any of the ingredients that I need I make a list to go shopping. You could take your cute DIY Tote Bag that Nathalie taught you how to make and feel nicer. Buying an extra flower to put in your shopping bag wouldn’t be a bad idea. :

4)  Preheat the oven: If it requires me the use of an oven, I preheat it before starting making the recipe. It prevents extra unnecessary time cooking and spending energy/gas/money. And don’t forget to grease your cake pan like me, please. I’d do it now.

5)  Organize ingredients and utensils: I’m not a chef, but I confess that I love reading about cooking and I learned these French words: Mise en place (pronounced miz on plas), which means “everything in place”. This is like a miracle to help you in the kitchen. According to Wikipedia:

        “Mise en place is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and          arranging the ingredients (e.g., cuts of meat, relishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components) that a cook will require for the menu items that he or she expects to prepare during his/her shift. The practice is also effective in home kitchens.”

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mise_en_place March 16th, 2013 – 00:00)

If you noticed “other components” would be trays, bowls, spoons, cups, scale, pots, pans or everything you might need to prepare your recipe. The last sentence is really true and works really well.

        How you’ll measure the ingredients depends a lot. I weigh them in an ultra thin digital kitchen scale – 5 kg (love kitchen gadgets). In my opinion, it’s better than measuring by volume (cups and spoons) because it’s much more precise; it’s a little more expensive tough. Actually it’s up to you; you can use spoons, cups, scale or whatever you want to. But if you really enjoy cooking and cook everyday, investing in a scale would be a good idea.

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Some of my utensils

6)  Follow the recipe directions: Now I’m ready to follow the recipe directions safe and sound. I also wear some protection like oven gloves, apron, etc. Security in the kitchen is a priority to me. Yeap, have already had accidents in the kitchen. 😛

7)  Do the dishes: I confess that I really hate this last step, but it’s really important to keep your kitchen always clean and tidy for the next cooking adventure.

Anyways, I hope these steps can help you enjoy cooking in a nice and organized way. I’d like to know if you’ve ever forgotten to do something which drove you crazy (like me), if you have other tips to make our lives easier in the kitchen and if you’ve ever had an accident in the kitchen. Tell us, guys!

Flora