When we’re happy we want to tell the world, or the people that are close to us, because we think that other people will be happy too… Sometimes keeping our happiness and happy moments to ourselves is many times the answer. Perhaps like that happiness doesn’t have an expiration date and will last longer! Keep that secret to yourself and enjoy it! Remember not everyone has a good heart like yours ❤️✨

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Chanfana

Chanfana

Ingredients

1 large onion, finely chopped 
1 large head garlic, cloves separated, peeled and bruised 
3 kg lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat, cut into large chunks 
rock salt 
white pepper 
dried bay leaves 
sweet paprika 
2 x 750 ml bottles red wine (or enough to cover the meat) 
80 ml olive oil 
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

Marinating time 4 hours

Scatter some of the onion in the base of a large casserole pot, followed by some garlic and a layer of lamb chunks. Sprinkle with rock salt, white pepper, a torn bay leaf and 1 teaspoon of paprika. Repeat the layers until all the lamb is used. Pour in red wine to cover the lamb. Cover the pot and leave to marinate for at least 4 hours, unrefrigerated.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Check the wine level you may need to top it up as the meat soaks some up while marinating. Pour over the olive oil and place the stems of parsley on top. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or foil, making sure the pot is well sealed around the edges. Cook for about 45 minutes (or until you can smell the wonderful aroma), then reduce the heat to 180°C and cook for another 2¼ hours.

You can serve with potatoes or white rice and vegetables.

Enjoy! Bon Apetite!

 

 

Everything Helps

Having children can be the most exhilarating and yet the most frightening. You can go from zero to a hundred in a matter of seconds. Everything helps when you have a plan. Everything helps when you set goals and boundaries. Everything helps when you have a support group outside of your home. I put together a list of five helpful tips but I know there’s so much more. If only life was this simple. I probably do a second partake in the near future. With children there’s so much to talk about. I might not have a PHD in Child Psychology or Child Development but I have four kids. That should say it all. We are always learning and trying new methods to make life easier.

 

 1. One of the best things you can do for your child is to show genuine interest. To lead by example is to be the kind of person you want your child to be. To figure out what your true values are and acting on them. They can be as simple as doing unto others what you want done to yourself. To never giving up on making your dreams come true. To know that it’s ok to ask for help when you feel a little overwhelmed and to not be too hard on yourself when things don’t go your way!

 

2. Show affection. No one ever said too much affection was a bad thing especially when kids are small but lack of affection causes a significant impact on a child’s behavior development causing them many times to act up. Don’t be afraid to give lots of hugs or shower them with kisses. It will do wonders for their self esteem. Some kids might be into high-fives or some prefer that you text them or write them sweet little notes. Find your way to show how much you care and appreciate them. They grow up so fast and will remember every second you demonstrated your love!

 

3. Be the parent that asks questions. Be the parent that shows up to practice and recitals. Be the parent that “shows up”. Be the one that’s present, and makes time for their child. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what’s going on your child’s life. Ask questions about school, activities or interests. Be open and friendly to their friends. Ask questions about them. Be accepting of everyone.

 

4. Your child needs you to be clear, reasonable, consistent and lenient to their ever changing needs and choices as they grow older. Sometimes you are the one that’s saying “no” when other parents are just saying “yes”! At times it’s in everybody’s interest and has to be done for the long haul. Stressful frustrations can set in but setting boundaries and limits are important for developmental needs.

 

5. Look around you. Are there any adults outside of your immediate family that have a positive influence on your child’s life? Perhaps it’s his or her teacher that pushes them to practice writing their name and teaches them not to give up. Maybe they are in the swim team and the instructor pushes them a few more laps in the pool, to motivate them. Maybe they have a supervisor in charge of their routes where they deliver the Sunday newspaper teaching them commitment and responsibility. All parties can benefit from having supportive relationships.

 

 

Helpful Tips

 

Seafood Rice

1 ½ – (375ml) Cups of Tomato Sauce

2 ½ – (625ml) Fish Stock

8 oz – (250g) Shrimp, Squid, Clams, or Monkfish pieces all cleaned

1 – (250ml) Cup Rice

Salt and Pepper to taste

¼ – (50ml) Cup Chopped Parsley

 

In a large saucepan with olive oil, add tomato sauce, fish stock and fish to boil. Cook over medium high heat, constantly stirring for 3 to 5 minutes, or until fish is partially cooked.

Stir in rice and return to boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, o until rice is tender.

Season with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley.

 

Bon Apetit!

*For a different option you can also pour the seafood rice into a baking dish and bake in 350 F (180 C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

There are many ways of doing this dish. There are no rights or wrongs just as long as it’s delicious and tasty.

arroz-de-marisco

 

Bacalhau à Bras

8-11-2016 Bacalhau a Bras Pic

Ingredients

 400g Salted cod
500g Potatoes
1 Large Onion
1 Garlic head
6 Eggs
Pepper to taste
Parsley to taste
Oil to taste
Salt to taste
Black Olives to taste

 Directions

To prepare Bacalhau à Bras (Portuguese Traditional Dish) you need to have placed the Cod fish in a pan or dish in water overnight and keep changing the water regularly so it won’t be too salty. With your hands shred the Cod fish into tiny pieces as you remove all the bones and skin.

In the meantime, cut the potatoes into tiny matchsticks or use your grader to shred them finely and the Onion into thin rings.

Fry the potatoes in a pan and set them to one side, drying them on sheets of paper towels.

Moments after, in a deep pan with oil, stir in the onions and garlic until golden, then add the pieces of salt cod, and cook for a few minutes, until it soaks up the oil.

At this stage, add the potatoes and stir whilst adding the lightly beaten eggs with salt and pepper.

Stir for a few minutes, turning off the heat before the eggs solidify and become an omelette!

The Bacalhau à Bras has to be served hot, with parsley and black olives.

Bom Apetite!

 

Do you still think a parent’s job is easy?

Minority woman with her children fighting in the background

I’ve always heard that being a dad or mom was the hardest job around, but I never really gave it much thought until I became a mother myself and as I write I realize how really true that is.

It’s a job that doesn’t come with an instructions manual or manufacturing manual. Every day is an opportunity to learn. It’s with the mistakes that we assimilate our “trial and error”. We could have thousands of people give us endless advice, but at the end of the day, what counts is how we deal with situations and their stressful moments.

               Everything begins the second the baby is a tiny seed with the countless hours of morning sickness in all times of the day. Our maternal instinct takes a hold of us while we carefully walk slowly to not slip and fall.  That unbreakable bond grows along with love as soon as you discover you are not alone. There are things you can’t explain, only feel. You start to notice your clothes no longer fit you the way it used to.  You don’t complain because you know it’s for a good purpose, the birth of your child which is priceless. Gradually that little one takes control over us, not letting us eat everything that we want without having his or hers approval first. To sleep or not to sleep? Depends on the position, otherwise you will feel a little tap letting you know to quickly move it.

               All this loses its precedence the second you start to feel your little miracle moving inside of you that you helped create with a true feeling of LOVE. Your little bambino recognizes your sweet voice and the sound of your beating heart. Before your little one wants to make his or her debut, stress befalls you with questions of concern regarding labor. Will I do everything right? Will I be a good mother or father? The questions are overlong filled with doubts… Curiously what instantly calms the nerves is when someone reassures us that we’ll be great parents and when that big day arrives -gratitude and pure joy is what we feel on knowing how everything worked out well. What about the pain? What pain, that all is forgotten the moment you hold your baby for the first time. We grasp that we are so much stronger than we comprehend and with this strength we can do anything.

                After the birth of your little angel come thousands of uncertainties. Cries and more cries… You’ve changed dirty diapers and you fed your little mini you but still the sobbing continues. Since communication is still not their forte, you have to put on your thinking cap and decipher what’s going on in that little ones soul. Colicky, tiredness or simply a tooth wanting to surprise everyone could be some of the culprits and all are reasons to keep you up at night. In times like these is when both parents have to put aside their thinking cap and now put on their patience hat just so they can attempt to clown around in hopes that the baby will forget about the pain that caused the tears.

Not always do tears have a concrete explanation. Sometimes they just want to be embraced in their parent’s arms or want to hear a lullaby that they remember hearing in the womb. Months go by and sleepless nights as well, and when that occurs you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel as you realize that the small victories are really the big ones… Just like the first time your little one started crawling or the first reactions to certain foods worth documenting on camera. The joyous sounds your angel makes while laughing. The first steps taken without any assistance. Nothing compares to hearing “mama” or “dada” as the first words the very first time causing you to weep emotionally while you experience joy.

Once again time passes as it always will, and a little brother is born. There you will be introduced to the green eyed monster except this time it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with your firstborn. The toys that they don’t want to share with the stranger that has been around now for some time but to a child that was an only child up until a few months ago, his sibling is still a stranger. Now comes the tough parts, instilling important values on our offspring. Sharing is of course one of them. Just like in all phases of life, there are ups and downs, all of which requires you to use your patience hat.

More so when you have three little ones and two eyes sure aren’t enough!  Especially when all they want to do is explore as if they were little Christopher Columbus’s and they end up getting into trouble! It doesn’t matter how many times you say “no” they interpret as a “yes” and they only stop at timeouts. Than those tantrums surface and a cry triggers another cry that triggers another cry. When you have three small kids it’s a symphony of cries. It’s not too bad when you’re at home, but when you’re out in public it’s a different story. All eyes are gawking at your every move like vultures waiting for their prey. You look around embarrassed knowing that if there was a whole in the ground you’d jump in. You begin to transpire as you silently pray that this episode will stop. Then you realize, wait a minute these people don’t know anything about us to be judging, most likely they don’t even have any kids to know what it’s all about.

If they knew they would know that kids need a routine to know what is expected, and if you change it even a little bit, and it’s bound to happen because that’s what life is made of, change, you will throw them off. Unfortunately people will judge without knowing the facts. They don’t know if your child didn’t have his or her routine nap, or if they are hungry or even if they wanted that chocolate that you refused to give. However if they had kids they would sympathize and perhaps give a sigh of relief that it’s not their kids! If you give in boy are you in trouble! Being a parent is knowing when to say yes or no. It’s also curing wounds after the many falls. Which are many not because no one was looking but because you say “walk” and they automatically hear “run”. As a parent you’re working overtime every day. Your time for yourself happens when they are fast asleep that is when you don’t fall asleep yourself first after all that chasing around.

You do your best to plan your days but know that not everything goes as planned. It is making memories with your children. It’s being nervous on your child’s first day of school. Listening to the same stories being told countless times. It’s keeping a watchful eye when the fever doesn’t drop. It’s being present when the first tooth falls out and then convincing your child to sleep so that the tooth fairy can do her surprise visit. Its letting them sleep in bed with you when they are frightened at the lightening. You’re always going to be a parent your whole life. Even when they grow up and think they know it all, and have a lot of friends to go out with. All those sleepless nights come back again. You start to pray that your kids are not in the wrong place at the wrong time and come home safe… Do you still think a parent’s job is easy?

 

 

Don’t Look Back

Don’t look back, your not heading that way! Have you really noticed how far you’ve come? Have you seen the turns and detours you had to make to get to here, half way to where you want to be! You’re almost there! Along the way you almost got lost, but that didn’t stop you from continuing on your journey.

Keep going. You’re closer than you think. You’ll encounter roadblocks along the way. You’ll encounter obstacles in forms of people trying to discourage you but know where your going and keep moving towards that finish line.

Once you get there, and I know you will, you would have discovered that anything is possible once you stick with a plan! Once you’re where you want to be, you will want to do so much more and you’ll come up with another plan! ❤️