White Chocolate Cupcakes & Two Choices for Frosting

I love chocolate, dark and white. My husband and son are chocoholics, but my husband can get migraines by eating dark chocolate. Eating dark chocolate is like playing Russian Roulette for him. Nevertheless, white chocolate is completely innocuous to him, so I did some research on how to make white chocolate cupcakes as an alternative for an occasional treat.

I found an amazing and totally scrumptious recipe at Veena Azmanov’s  ” A Cake Decorating Blog & Food Blog” 

The cupcakes are super light and with the right amount of sweetness. I made them with her suggested White Chocolate Buttercream frosting for a bake sale at school, and they disappeared in five minutes!

They looked like this.



Now, my husband doesn’t like buttercream frosting so I looked for a chocolate ganache alternative. Nick Makrides has a wonderful recipe at his website  The Scran Line

I added some Baileys Original Irish Cream to it and it was a total success!


Buen provecho!



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Spring Greetings!

It is almost mid-April and it really doesn’t feel like Spring yet. The sun and warmth come to tease us for a bit and then we are back to rain, cold, fog and even hail!

Nature doesn’t seem to mind though. Portuguese wild flowers are sprouting all over!

Here there are some pictures taken on our daily walks.

I hope you enjoy them!

BeFunky Collage




Musical Stories

I have not posted for a while … life being hectic and me feeling lazy in my spare time. In any case, here I want to share this coming event:

TRÊS FÁBULAS MUSICADAS | Vânia Moreira e Elena Rojas

On February 25th and 26th, Vânia and I will be playing the Portuguese version of three wonderful stories set to violin, cello and narrator. This is the first time we’ll have added puppets and we are so excited about it!

If you are in the vicinity of Rua da Esperança in the old part of Lisbon, please come and join us for some musical storytelling fun.

Have a great weekend!



I didn’t get to eat pancakes until I was about 10 years old. My best friend aunties made pancakes for us for tea time on a play date afternoon. In Venezuela, we don’t have maple syrup, so my childhood pancakes were eating with butter and jams. Much later, during the late 90’s when I went to a summer workshop in Vermont, I good totally hooked on fluffy pancakes and maple syrup. 12 years in the east coast taught me the different types of syrups, and also different flavors of pancakes. It was easy to experiment making them, because there are plenty brands of pancake mixes, and even sugar free maple syrup!

Once in Portugal, I had to search for a recipe to make them from scratch. Maple syrup is rather expensive, so every time the store Aldi has an American Food Sale Special, we stock on several bottles that will hold until the next maple syrup haul.

The best recipe I have tried is from www.allrecipes.com

The only modification I make, is that I use vegetable oil instead of melted butter on the mix. Also, because the brand of we vinegar we get is rather strong, I used half of the amount to sour the milk.

My family loves how fluffy they are. They make a nice weekend morning treat.







Summer Landscape Manicure


Yesterday I participated in my second #fanbrushfriday challenge. The manicure this time was to include the colors: pink, periwinkle blue, and deep mint green. The colors didn’t have to match up exactly to these shades but they should be close. I didn’t find an exact match to what I consider a periwinkle blue, so I ended up using  Kiko Quick Dry Lacquer Nº 832 Turquoise, Kiko Nail Lacquer 343 Spring Green & 376 Candy Pink.

Because I used the blue as a base, the brush strokes were not that prominent. I should had followed my original plan of using pink as a base. The result was not bad, but it was not what I had in mind.I got inspired by a fall design by @wariwi_nails and recreated it as a summer landscape, and I love the result!

For the tree I used Born Pretty Plate BP-L001


For the birds I used Born Pretty Plate BP-24


For both images, I used two colors of stamping polishes. For the birds I used Born Pretty Stamping polishes Black and White, while for the tree I used Handy Stamping polishes Lime Green and Brown Maria.

Using Born Pretty Clear Head Stamper makes it really easy to place the images in the right place. It was a lot of fun to create this manicure!

Have a great weekend!

Nail Art Challenges


I have been hooked on nail art for almost one year. I have discovered a colorful world of possibilities to fashion my nails. Once I began to dig online, I was blown away by all what can be done with nail polish: water marble, dry marble, stamping, reverse stamping, brush color, magnetic polish, splatter polish, sharpie nail art, et cetera. Plus you have all the artificial nail techniques, and also UV and LED nail polishes. I couldn’t believe I didn’t know any of that before!

Also, there is a huge community of bloggers that review products, produce tutorials, and share their creations and experience with others. It has been a lot of fun to experience a bit of this. As a full time mother, wife, teacher and musician, the time I spend on my nails it is the “time from me to me”.

I also found that some of these nail artist/bloggers create nail challenges. Some seek to create nail art that goes through the alphabet, others are themes, and some are specific techniques and/or colors. This week in Instagram, I discovered a challenge called #fanbrushfriday This week it was to be done with the use of only the nail polish brush, a fan brush, and the colors white, peach and gold. I loved the combination, so I played along, and created a manicure for it. This is my first manicure challenge ever, and on the image you can see as it was intended for the nail challenge, and then after I added some marine images in white. I loved both results.

If you are curious about nail art, give it a try! It is never too late, and you are never too old to do it!

Have a great weekend!


Sardinhada Manicure

Sardinhada Manicure

In Portugal’s summer, the favorite food is grilled sardines. There are Sardine Festivals and all sort of events related to sardines. I decided I wanted to try to do a fun manicure in honor to this gastronomic tradition; it was a time consuming manicure but it was worthy! I love the result. In the picture you can see the manicure just as I finished it last night, and then this morning on natural light.

I got inspired by lots of nail artists:

My pal Chrissy https://finepolish.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/ocean-themed-manicure/

I also found inspiration from an image I found at the BP store from @nailpolishplay http://nailpolishplay.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/neon_tribal_fish_sun_1.jpg

I also used the smudging technique #marblingwithnailstamper  used by Swanette #stamp4fun https://youtu.be/kkvketdCCqU 

And the blending colors technique used for stamping by Gelulicious #gelulicious  https://youtu.be/KMVWPb95byY


I used Born Pretty stamping plate BP 066 for the fishes, and BP-L 026 for the algae. I stamped with BP clear head stamper; it work great on the mat.

For stamping polishes, I used Born Pretty stamping polishes black, metallic green and silver.


For painting the nails and coloring the fishes in the reverse stamping, I used an assortment of different polishes from Kiko.


The nail mat was a bargain find from AliExpress

Have a great weekend!

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Santos Populares’ Manicure


I spent two mornings driving through Bairro Alto and Cais de Sodré. This week was São João, and the streets were decorated with colorful banners and lights. Driving around the old part of Lisbon is hectic, with very narrow streets, confusing signs, and lots of people. Nevertheless, it is impossible not to love the old facades with the emblematic “azulejos”, blue tiles.

It was time for a new manicure, and this time I used Born Pretty stamping plate BP-L 027


I used Kiko Electric Blue 336, and Milky White 840 as base colors. Then, with plastic wrap I added yellow, grey, and lighter blue little splashes on the nails to create the undertone colors you find in some old tiles. I finally stamped on blue and white on three of the nails, and voilá! Here it is my Santos Populares manicure.

Have a great weekend! Bom fim-de-semana!



Honey Cornbread

Coming from the land of Arepas and Empanadas, Bollos and Carabinas, I can say that corn flour side dishes were always part of my Venezuelan childhood menu. Yet, when in the USA I first tried Cornbread, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t eaten it before!


This recipe of Cornbread has honey as one of the ingredients. It makes all the difference in the world. Cornbread is the perfect side dish for chili, for a good steak, and it is delicious just by itself.

Honey Cornbread



In the Venezuelan Andes cuisine, we find lots of bean dishes. I grew up eating black beans, lentils, and chickpeas, but somehow there were no mixed bean dishes. When I first tried a “chili”, during my years in the USA, I fell in love with the possibilities of this dish. I am an omnivore, but my husband only eats some fish; therefore, we mostly eat vegetarian dishes at home.

I found this easy, yet tasty three-bean chili while preparing a pot of chili for our annual “Autumn chili cookout”.  In the past, I had prepared more complex dishes, yet with this one I won the prize for the “Best Vegetarian Chili”!

I only changed one thing: Instead of using green bell pepper, I use roasted red Spanish pepper. Also, if I have sweet corn, I also add it to the pot.

Here it is the recipe: