We are (fast) going…Pumpkins!!!

Hello You!

The day I heard the expression “I am going Bananas” for the first time, I knew that it would remain with me forever…and believe me, I go “Bananas” more often than I would like to…although life is teaching me to just simply let go and enjoy the peace that comes with it!

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This was one of the last pictures of us three during the summer holidays. A visit we did to the beautiful and precious village of Sintra in Portugal. I so much wanted to be able to photograph and prepare a nice post for you about it, but the only thing I can say is that I did run behind T up and down the Pena Palace inside and outside and speed photos are definitely not my expertise :).

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I felt deeply frustrated but it’s just a question of managing expectations really…and in the end I gave up and enjoyed the cute  pictures (not amazing or very professional) of a very very nice day out. Eventually, he succumbed to his dad strong arms without running away and gave us a sweet happy memory of our summer holidays! 

Since then, the days passed fast…routines are settled, the house is getting cosier, the kitchen has warmer smells and the recent chilly mornings make the summer memories fade….but that’s ok with us, we are ready for the winter jackets, the warmth of the winter cooks and movies under blankets on the sofa!

We had many months of hot (too hot) sun, nights on the balcony, dinners outside with friends until early hours of the day, swimming pool play, beach with family and friends…and now the V&C household prepares for the most exciting and happy month for us 3! November month will bring us the birthday of the birthdays and our so beloved Giving Thanks dinner….so my mind is not going “Bananas” at all….but rather going Pumpkins with so many ideas…yes and as all with me always goes back to food…I also have a seasonal mind!!

Get ready to be surprised with the most amazing combination of flavours that will make your Fall Breakfasts an inspiration and of course it had to come from my beloved Pinch of Yum!

Have a great Fall…

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Pumpkin Granola

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Yes, indeed you read correctly! Pumpkin Granola….that’s right! Imagine having the crunchy feeling of a sweet spicy pumpkin pie with a last feeling of saltiness in your mouth…..Oh God!

Definitely a favourite for this time of the year…and the smell of the house while baking is to die for…thank you Pinch of Yum …you definitely know how to make comfort cosy recipes. I made some adaptations with the ingredients I had at home and it was super super yammy….so much that I had to share it with you and also did prepare some little jars for friends here!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1 heaping cup sliced almonds
  • 1 heaping cup hazelnuts
  • 1 heaping cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (see notes in how to make your own)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 2-3 tsp salt 
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds
  • Handful of linen seeds 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Mix the dry ingredients together (oats, almonds, hazelnuts and coconut). Whisk the wet ingredients and spices together (pumpkin puree, olive oil, honey, salt, cinnamon). Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Spread the granola into a large tray with some baking paper. Bake for 15 minutes and then stir and bake for an extra 15 minutes until nice and gold. Remove from the oven and let rest – it should start to crisp up.
  • Store in a plastic zip-top bag for a week or so or on a good vacuum sealed container. Serve with yogurt, fruit or simply snack on it dry as it’s so so good!

Notes: 

  • You can use canned pumpkin puree, but with the beautiful season pumpkin you can simply boil some pieces of nice fresh squash with some orange peel until all is cooked. Drain it and blend into a nice silky orange colour puree. I always cook mine from fresh, for this recipe, for cakes, pies…it is really worth the effort. 
  • The salt seems a bit too much but as Lindsay explains in POY post it kind of mix with the sweet and you only feel it at the end and it’s very nice!

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A Little Note to Navigation…

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…I´m still here, but a bit hidden!

Preparing for the Autumn that has arrived, making the house cosier for the winter days (yes, after almost 1 year there are still many things to be done, spaces that need more life and new energy, photos to be hanged on the walls and pieces of furniture to be re-touched), experimenting recipes with the season produce…and Oh my…expect a lot from the next months: pumpkin, apples, pearstarts, cakes, roasts….I just don’t like the cold and the rain but there is much to love about this new season!

If you missed the last post with the start of school and a yummy but healthy banana bread, I have now uploaded on my Pinterest account here and added a tip that will take this recipe to another level, go and check it! You can also see it on the recipes page on the blog!

Also, if you follow my Instagram account (if you don’t, you definitely should), I posted a picture of some Madeleines that I did for T’s school snacks, very easy and a quick recipe based on Jocooking Blog .

You can now check the full recipe here

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Have a beautiful day!

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New Starts! Me, You and the Ss

Finally!!! We are back

…and I mean, myself and this random little space of mine and you!

  It feels so good to stop for a while and be back to writing and sharing! Back Home, back to school (yes, not nursery anymore..how did this happen?), back to routines, back to baking and me back here seated and sharing with you!

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The other day a good friend was saying how she felt that for her the begging of a new year was now…not in January when the weather is grey and cold and when we realise we ate and spent way too much over the Christmas season! She made me think about this for a while…and that’s exactly the feeling I have had these first days back, after over a month away from Home…well, we were just on another Home..but you get me!

So here is a S for new Starts, for us getting back to life and routines, for the lunches and dinners with friends and experiences shared, for new goals and aims, to these resilient kids of ours and their first days of school and to us parents trying to do our best everyday!

Have a great year…and I’ll keep seeing you around!

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A Healthy and Simple Banana Bread 

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One of the things that most makes me stress during the morning is T’s breakfast, this idea of feeding him well for a good start of the day but at the same time being something that he likes very much so he goes through it quickly without us having to almost beg for him to hurry up!

So, here is one recipe that is a hit for all of us, an easy Banana Bread with almond and oats flours, linen seeds and coconut oil…if you use good sweet very ripe bananas it’s even more yummy! The recipe is from JoCooking blog, a blog that I go very often for nice and nutritional healthy recipes and advice for all the family! This is also a good idea for an after school snack as well….

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And as for you…toast a slice, add a little bit of butter if you dare and enjoy with a good cup of coffee or tea!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 very ripe bananas 
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla flavour or vanilla bean paste 
  • 170g almond flour (or 100g almond flour and 70g of oats flour)
  • 30g golden linen seeds flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of soda bicarbonate
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of cinnamon..just because (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Put all ingredients into the food processor and blend it all until a cake mixture forms. Leave one of the bananas aside so you can use to decorate on top of the cake. You can also use a hand blender to mix all ingredients, I have done it like that while on holiday and was as good!
  • Pour the cake mixture into a loaf tin lined with baking paper, slice the banana set aside in longitudinal slices and use it at the top of the cake for decoration.
  • 30-40 min at 180°C or until golden.
  • You can use a bit of honey to glaze the top if you wish, I did was was yummy! I have also used a pinch of cinnamon just because… 

 

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Madrid Sights and a Tip for a day out!

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Hello you!

This week we start this random space with a Tip for a Madrid visit!

What a beautiful morning we had yesterday! 

I have been wanting to go and take T to the Madrid Cable Car (Teleférico de Madrid) for a while, and yesterday despite the very warm weather we decided and bought the tickets online one hour in advance and headed there…and what a beautiful and fun plan to do both with or without kids! 

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The cable car trip takes around 10 minutes from Paseo de Pintor Rosales to the Casa de Campo park contemplating some of Madrid most iconic places! I loved the views from the Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral and the contrast with the other side of the city with the Madrid big modern towers. During the trip there is a recording that tells you a bit more about the places you are passing by and some brief history! 

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Upon arrival to Casa de Campo park apart from a café with a panoramic view from Madrid you also have a kids playground under the shadow of pine trees which makes the joys of the little ones and the cherry on top of the cake after a ride on the “little houses” as T called the cable cars.

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 We will definitely be back, likely with a picnic basket when the weather cools down. Nevertheless, the Pintor Rosales street is full of nice places to have a drink and an aperitivo and restaurants. You can also head for a nice tortilla tapas to txirimiri which is very close by. I have finally tried their tortilla and yes, it’s now on my top 10 of the best tortillas in Madrid! 

You can also take advantage and visit the Oeste Park with the famous Debod Temple and the beautiful Roses Garden and enjoy one of the most amazing sunset views from Madrid!

Some Information for you to consider

Website: http://teleferico.com/en

Always check online before you go as there is plenty of information about the trips and how to reach it (metro and buses). Buy the tickets online to avoid queues. Return ticket is 5,90eur and kids under 3 years don’t pay. 

Travel/Parking:

Parking can be tricky, so if you are going on a weekend specially if it’s sunny with all the places to drink and eat outside it can become very busy, but there is metro near by and also buses going there.

Additional Activities

You can also take advantage and visit the Oeste Park with the famous Debod Temple and the beautiful Roses Garden enjoy one of the most amazing sunset views from Madrid 

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Live, Eat and Travel

 

Another one of my Sister Breakfast Gems

Hello you!

As you know most of the recipes I share with you are surrounded by stories of whatever kind…Today I share with you another one of my Sister Breakfast Gems: A Crepioca!

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Every time I stay over at my sister’s house when I am in Lisbon, she always welcome us with new breakfast ideas: some banana flourless pancakes for the children (ones that only her can flip over, I can’t and don’t really know why!) and either some of her fresh baked granola or her delicious dark chocolate porridge remember the recipe?

This last time she asked me if I wanted to have a Crepioca with yogurt; sure, why not? I said! Literally 5 minutes after, I had a plate of what looked a nice golden crepe filled with yogurt, avocado slices and berries and I could feel the smell of the coconut oil from the kitchen. I told her...how come did you do this already? I just saw you get up of bed 5 minutes ago…she smiled and said: well, it only takes you 5 minutes to make!

And another one of her new breakfast ideas was in and finished with a fresh cup of coffee made and brought in by her sweet Italian neighbour…what else?

Have a nice weekend

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Crepioca for Breakfast

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Crepioca is a gluten free crepe made with manioc starch (Polvilho Doce in Portuguese, from the mandioca), literally in 5 minutes and you can top it to taste. So quick and so delicious!

For breakfast today, I chose to add some natural yogurt, sliced avocado, raspberries, toasted hazelnuts and some pumpkin seeds. For breakfast is nice to add some cinnamon and vanilla flavour to the dough, but in case you want to use it for a light lunch, just add some salt and pepper instead and top it for example with fresh ricotta cheese or cottage cheese and some sauteed mushrooms and spinach.

INGREDIENTS

for 1 larger crepe or 2 smaller ones

  • 1 Egg (medium)
  • 1 tbsp manioc starch (polvilho doce)
  • pinch of cinnamon & vanilla flavour
  • coconut oil or any other mild flavour oil

Serving options:  (natural yogurt, avocado, seeds and nuts, berries and other fruits). For the salty option (salt and pepper) and toppings (ricotta or cottage cheese, sauteed mushrooms and spinach).

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a bowl bit the egg, add the tapioca flour, cinnamon and vanilla if adding. 
  • In a non sticking pan melt the oil and pour the egg mixture. 
  • When starting to make bubbles (it’s very quick) and you feel you can flip it, flip it over to cook on the other side until nice and golden.
  • Transfer to a plate and add your topping options. Enjoy!

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A Summer Bake…and another year that came to and End!

Oh my in a blink June has passed!

The academic year came to an end, schools are now closed…there is less traffic in the morning and my usual coffee shop (where I am actually seated right now) is quieter. No parents in a hurry asking for a coffee with milk or a colacao (very Spanish like) and sharing the most recent achievements of their kids!

Our T did so well, after a rush move and a start already in the middle of the academic year, we were so happy with the feedback and the way he settled, made friends and became used to a new life, new rules and more importantly to a new language! Very soon, a deserved rest and a summer full of sun, water play, family and friends….and another chapter on his childhood memories to be written!

 

We have felt the sudden rush of the holidays and the list of tasks to do and finish before leaving has increased by the day…and believe me some of them are extremely boring…oh well! 

Speaking about summer childhood memories, one of the things that always sends me back in time is the smell and taste of summer fruits: cherries, melon, peaches and apricots…I very often have these memories of my mom, seated outside peeling yellow sweet peaches, with the juices running down her hands and slicing them to share between my sister and me!

So, today I am sharing with you some of my favourite summer flavours and likely the most random recipe you will see in this blog! It’s a must and you will see why below!

Happy Weekend 

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A Summer Fruit Bake 

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I did an early visit to the market and the nectarines, apricots and plums were what caught my eye, but you can just do a tray mix of what you most prefer. You can either add honey or brown sugar and the vanilla and cinnamon are optional, although I believe it combines perfectly with the fruits and the zest. You can also use lime zest instead of lemon.

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You can also make something similar if using the barbecue; simply by halving the fruits and grill them, add some honey, some toasted almonds and serve warm with ice cream…voila a summer quick and tasty dessert! We had ours last night with lemon ice cream…and this morning I have topped the left overs with some greek yogurt…yummy!

INGREDIENTS

  • Nectarines
  • Apricots
  • Red Plums
  • Flower Honey or light brown sugar (to taste)
  • Cinnamon sticks (optional)
  • Vanilla bean paste (optional)
  • Oats flakes
  • Almonds
  • Lemon zest (or lime)
  • Rosemary or lemon thyme

Serving options: serve warm or cold with lemon or vanilla ice cream or some greek yogurt, add some more zest before serving with you like it more tangy

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170 ºC. 
  • Halve the fruits and take the stone out, sprinkle the sugar or honey on top (taste the fruits before for natural sweetness and sugar it accordingly).
  • Add the vanilla, the cinnamon sticks, the almonds, the oats flakes, the zest and rosemary or thyme depending on what you are using.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes or until soft and golden.
  • Serve warm or cold with some ice cream or greek yogurt.

 

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A Creamy, Smooth and Delicious Gazpacho

Hello Friday, Hello You!

I told you before that I am not a big fan of the Spanish cold type of soups, right?

Well, the fact is that the weather is so warm that I arrive at the end of the day so tired with the heat that my survival kit is based on cold salads and watermelon…until yesterday!

When last week I found that the sweet Hemsley Sisters prepared a Gazpacho recipe including fresh herbs and avocado, I thought to myself…And if I try to do my own instead of the stored bought one?

And voilá…A fresh, smooth, very tasty Gazpacho to refresh and bright our summer meals!

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I believe we are all still heading for a hot weekend, so either for your own home or to take it to a friends gathering, a picnic or a barbecue, try this recipe…Simply my blending all ingredients and seasoning to taste!

Happy Weekend

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A Creamy and Smooth Gazpacho

I followed the Hemsley+Hemsley recipe, with the exception that I roasted the red pepper for a nice kind of smoky flavour! The good thing of this recipe is that you can blend all the ingredients together and while you go along you can season to taste, add more lemon juice, vinegar, salt or pepper.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 8 large, ripe tomatoes, peeled
  • ½ medium red pepper (roasted if wanted)
  • ½ large cucumber, peeled
  • 1 medium avocado 
  • 1 small red or white onion 
  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 handful of fresh herbs (I used parsley and basil)
  • 1 tsp of good quality balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of ½ a lemon or lime
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Roast the red pepper in a hot oven.
  • Chop all ingredients and throw them into the blender (depending on how strong your blender is you will need to chop more or less).
  • Blitz until smooth and taste for seasoning, adding more lime/lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper or even some more fresh herbs.
  • Check the texture, I like to have it in a bowl with a spoon so a smooth creamy texture is ideal but if you like to drink it over a glass add some cold water until you obtain the desired texture.
  • Keep refrigerated until serving.
  • Serve with some  toasted pumpkin seeds, black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

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