Food, Surviving Chaos

Brigadeiro: Traditional Brazilian Desert

Brigadeiro

How about a chewy candy to start your new year off right! Brigadeiro are rich “little chocolate nuggets” popular in Brazil and were created by confectioner Heloisa Nabuco de Oliveira. Brigadeiros typically accompany birthday celebrations but you can have them for any celebration. This Brigadeiro recipe is easy, kid friendly and makes quite a few….12-14 total!

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz (300 ml) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons (22 g) unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) butter
  • chocolate or rainbow sprinkles

Let’s Make It!

  1. Use half of the butter to grease a big plate or platter.
  2. In a small bowl or cup, mix the cocoa and water so the cocoa dissolves.
  3. In a medium-sized, heavy saucepan, use a wooden spoon to combine the dissolved cocoa, condensed milk, and the remaining butter over medium-low heat.
  4. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and starts to look a bit like brownie batter. When you drag your spoon across the bottom of the pan, it should take a moment before the gap fills back in. Hang in there, this step can take as long as 20 minutes.
  5. Spread the chocolate on the buttered platter and let it cool to room temperature. If you want to speed up the cooling, pop the platter in the fridge.
  6. Once the mixture is cool, grease your hands with a little butter. Scoop up some chocolate in a spoon and then roll it between your palms to form a ball.
  7. Roll the ball in sprinkles. Scoop and roll the rest of the chocolate the same way. Enjoy!
  8. Muy delicioso!!

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Style, Surviving Chaos

2020 Year in Review: Favorite Books

Although 2020 didn’t quite work out the way we planned….we still managed to get some reading done. I ended up reading more books this year because we’ve been staying at home to stay safe. I found myself reading books in new genres like fantasy, historical fiction, books written by women of color, autobiographies, trilogies and more. Diving into a good book has helped me stay sane, especially during the chaos of this past year and gave me some me time away (self care) from everything happening in the world. It’s been a tumultuous year!!! Below is a list of my 5 favorites books from this year, some you have heard of and others you may not. Although these are my 5 favorite books, I did have some honorable mentions that are definitely worth picking up on your next trip to the bookstore. Happy reading!!!

Queenie” by Candy Carty-Williams

Queenie is a great exploration of being black modern women in today’s world. I was so glad to read a book from our perspective and dealt with issues within the black community that are rarely discussed. Summary: Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth. As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”


Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing is a wonderful novel based with strong appreciation for the natural world. I really enjoyed being part of the main characters journey and she navigates childhood to womanhood, love and loss, growing independence and survival. Summary: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.


The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library was definitely a book that took me out of my comfort zone. A story about life, regrets and missed opportunities, this book will definitely have you reflecting about your own life. I love the philosophical nature of the book and all the lives the main character thought she wanted only to come back full circle to her own life. Summary: Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.


Behind Closed Doors” by B.A. Paris

If your looking for a good page turner, Behind Closed Doors is definitely it! I love the suspense of this book, the twisted nature of the characters and being on the edge of my seat. This book is definitely worth reading. Summary: Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.


The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season is book 1 of a great fantasy trilogy with lots of twists and turns. I loved the level of detail that intricately connects the characters and their story lines. Plus I love seeing the representation of my ethnicity and culture portrayed throughout the book. Summary: Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. Across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land to save her daughter.


Notable Mentions

  • A Song of Wraiths and Ruins by Roseanne A. Brown
  • Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • The Turn of A Key by Ruth Ware
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Food, Surviving Chaos

Gyeran Mari: South Korean Rolled Eggs

Eggs can be eaten in many different ways…scrambled, hard boiled, poached…but have you eaten them rolled?? Gyeran Mari are rolled eggs that can be eaten as a side dish and at any time. These eggs are not just for breakfast! Customarily eaten as a tasty side dish; Gyeran Mari makes an appearance outside of breakfast and can be found in kid’s school lunches in South Korea. My husband has enjoyed this dish in his past visits to South Korea. You can find out more about his trip to Seoul here. This recipe is easy to make and is an egg-cellent addition to any meal!

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small carrot finely chopped
  • 1 green onion finely chopped

Let’s Make It!

  1. Crack eggs into bowl and add salt. Beat eggs well with fork or whisk.
  2. Lightly grease medium sized (9 inches or 23 cm across) pan with vegetable oil. Place pan over low heat.
  3. Once pan is hot, pour half of egg mixture. Swirl (don’t stir) the egg to entirely cover the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the carrots and onion on top.
  4. When the bottom of the egg starts to get firm but the top is still wet, roll it from one side to about the middle of the pan.
  5. Slide the rolled egg back toward the edge of the pan, and pour half of the remaining egg into the empty side of the pan.
  6. When the new egg starts to firm, roll it again from the edge to the center of the pan.
  7. Slide the rolled egg back toward the edge of the pan, and pour the last of the egg into the empty side of the pan.
  8. Once all the egg has been added to the roll, carefully move it from the pan to a cutting board.
  9. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Mashisseoyo (Delicious)!

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Family, Travel, When in

Twin Lakes Park, Texas

Twin Lakes Park, Cedar Park, TX

Twin Lakes is a 50-acre tract of land that features hike and bike trails and beautiful native Texas flora and fauna. There is plenty of space to social distancing and the perfect outing for families who love to be out in nature. The park offers plenty of additional amenities such as pavilions, a swimming pool/water playscape, multi-purpose sports fields, an archery range, a beach/swimming area, and so much more! This is another great way to tour your own city; not sure how to do that? Check our my post here for some creative ideas to get you started.

On our trip, our kids loved stopping and reading all the nature facts and plant identification signs throughout the trail. They made sure they didn’t miss any so we ended up being at the park for longer than expected. The best part was seeing the GIANT red headed centipede crossing one of the trails to get to the creek on the other side. And of course my son started with his “Did you know…” facts for the rest of our trip and all the way home.

The Texas landscape was beautiful and you can’t beat that water fall! We saw so many natural creeks within the park and even a moss covered waterfall. Of course our kids said it reminded them of the smurfs…go figure! On our way out, we stopped by the lake and visited the ducks who were very friendly. I’m sure they were looking for food but alas, we didn’t have any. Mental note for next time. Also, don’t forget your camera as there are lots of photo opportunities within the park.

Surviving Chaos

In order to make the most of you time at the park and prevent kid meltdowns, I’ve provided some surviving chaos tips. Have fun exploring at the park!

  • Sunblock: Be sure to put on lots of sunblock to prevent sunburn. This is the first rule of thumb for any outdoor activity.
  • Early Morning: Best time to visit the park is early morning. It’s cooler, less crowded and your kids will have energy to burn. A fun filled morning at the park makes for a well rested and relaxed afternoon (I hope)
  • Backpack: This is the perfect place to keep water, first aid kits, sunblock, snacks, portable potty seat, etc. What ever creature comforts you need. Remember to keep it light weight since you’ll be doing a lot of walking and/or biking.
  • Snacks: Don’t forget the snacks! Apple slices, carrot and celery sticks, granola/protein bars, goldfish or whatever your kids like. You don’t want food meltdowns and HAN-gry kids in the middle of your hiking journey

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Family, Travel, When in

Old Settlers Park, Texas

Old Settlers Park, Round Rock, TX

Round Rock’s Old Settlers Park is one of the best parks in the state of Texas and known as the best sports destination in the youth and amateur sports leagues. The park’s 640 acres provides lots of options for hike and bike trails and plenty of ample space for recreational pursuits such as disc golf, cricket, baseball, softball, soccer facilities, and more. You will never run out of things to do and there is lots of space for social distancing. This is a great idea to tour your own city; not sure how to get started? Check out my post here for some creative ways to tour your own city.

We decided to take the trail closest to the disc jokey and cricket fields. It must have been disc jockey tournament day because there were lots of teams playing and making their rounds through the park. I would call this the scenic route as there were some great photo opportunities and lots of native Texas landscape to see. Of course the first things our kids spotted was the el chupacabra sign which led to lots of questions. Which some how turned into a Bigfoot conversation….needless to say their imaginations got the best of them! Old Settlers Park is also a great place to congregate outside, BBQ and have a game of horseshoes at one of the two pavilions available.

Brushy Creek that runs throughout the park and even has a mini waterfall that you can look over from the bridge. Our kids had some many questions and enjoyed the sound of the rushing water. Plus there are so many beautiful flowers to see and plenty of trees to provide lots of shade on hot days. Don’t forget your fitness tracker, you can easily walk a mile or more on the trails, just look for the mile markers along the way. We explored one of many trails at Old Settlers park so we will definitely be going back. Parks are a great opportunity to spend time with your family, experience nature first hand and spark your kids curiosity!

Surviving Chaos

In order to make the most of you time at the park and prevent kid meltdowns, I’ve provided some surviving chaos tips. Have fun exploring at the park.

  • Sunblock: Be sure to put on lots of sunblock to prevent sunburn. This is the first rule of thumb for any outdoor activity.
  • Early Morning: Best time to visit the park is early morning. It’s cooler, less crowded and your kids will have energy to burn. A fun filled morning at the park makes for a well rested and relaxed afternoon (I hope).
  • Backpack: This is the perfect place to keep water, first aid kits, sunblock, snacks, portable potty seat, etc. What ever creature comforts you need. Remember to keep it light weight since you’ll be doing a lot of walking and/or biking.
  • Snacks: Don’t forget the snacks! Apple slices, carrot and celery sticks, granola/protein bars, goldfish or whatever your kids like. You don’t want food meltdowns and HAN-gry kids in the middle of your hiking journey

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