Valentine’s Day <3

[Versão em PORTUGUÊS no fim da publicação]


In Brazil, we don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day the same day (and way) as in other cultures. As I explained here, Brazilian Valentine’s Day is celebrated in June 12th. Nevertheless, thanks to the wonders of the Internet and globalization, all sorts of holidays are becoming more and more popular around the world and Valentine’s couldn’t be different.

As you probably already know, in most western countries, boyfriends and girlfriends usually exchange gifts and (try to) do romantic things together on Valentine’s. In Asians countries, however, girls are traditionally supposed to give chocolate to boys instead (and receive gifts from them on the White Day, a month later).

As for me, I decided to celebrated it in eastern style (since we already have the all-romantic-gift-exchanging-thing in June): I gave a very popular homemade type of chocolate to Felipe. It’s called “Brigadeiro” and it’s certainly one of the most appreciated deserts in Brazil.


The Brigadeirois a common Braziliandelicacy, created in 1940. It is common throughout the entire country, as well as in Portugal, and is present in practically all the major Brazilian celebrations. The Brigadeiro is made from condensed milk, powdered chocolate, butter and chocolate sprinkles to cover the outside layer. It can be cooked in the oven or the microwave, in the form of individual little balls. It can also be eaten straight from the pot once it is done cooking. – Source: Wikipedia


The Brigadeiro I made is a little different from the regular recipe, since I added some cookie layers to it, making it more pastry-like. If you’re willing to try it and be amazed by Brazilian Brigadeiro, here goes the recipe of the one I made (It’s very quick and easy to cook and speechlessly delicious):

Cookie Layered Brigadeiro

Serves: 2 portions

Ingredients:

For the chocolate layers (which is also the regular recipe for traditional Brigadeiro):

  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 3 tbsp of cocoa/chocolate powder
  • 3 tbsp of fat-free whipped cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Chocolate Sprinkles (to cover the outside layer)

(You can use all-veggie options for those ingredients if you want)

For the cookies layer:

  • 200g of medium-sized cookies of your choice (I used a Brazilian brand called “Passtempo” that is Felipe’s favourite.

In a cooking pan, mix the condensed milk, butter and chocolate powder. Take it to medium fire and keep stirring until it boils and gets creamy and more consistent. Turn off the fire, add the whipped cream and stir to combine.

Keep stirring until it boils and gets more consistent

Keep stirring until it boils and gets more consistent 

In a recipient of your choice, crumble half of the cookies to form the first layer, then add half of the previously made chocolate. Add another layer of crumbled cookies and, finally, the last layer of chocolate (you can add more layers if you want). Sprinkle the chocolate sprinkles (lol?), wait until it cools down a little, serve and be marveled! ;P

You can keep it refrigerated for around 2 days.

Cookie Layered Brazilian Brigadeiro for Valentine's!

Cookie Layered Brazilian Brigadeiro for Valentine’s! 

Don’t forget to tell me what you think of it and please share your chocolate recipes too. Happy Valentine’s~!


[Portuguese translation below)

Valentine’s Day – O dia international dos namorados ❤

No Brasil não comemoramos o dia dos namorados da mesma forma (e data) que em outras culturas. Como eu explico aqui, o dia dos namorados no Brasil é festejado somente em Junho. Todavia, graças às maravilhas da Internet, todos os feriados estão se tornando cada vez mais globalizados e não poderia ser diferente com o Valentine’s Day.

Como provavelmente já sabem, na maioria dos países ocidentais os namorados costumam trocar presentes e (tentar) fazer coisas românticas nesta data – que fora do Brasil é celebrada em 14 de Fevereiro, em homenagem à São Valentim (daí o nome Valentine’s Day ou “Dia de Valentim”).

Nos países asiáticos, entretanto, no dia dos namorados as moças costumam dar chocolates (tradicionalmente caseiros) para os rapazes. Estes, por sua vez, devem presentear as moças um mês depois, no White Day.

Quanto a mim, decidi celebrar do modo oriental (visto que em Junho já temos a troca de presentes romântica tradicional). Eu preparei para o Felipe um tipo chocolate caseiro muito popular no Brasil: o Brigadeiro – o qual é certamente um dos doces mais apreciados do país (e se você está lendo isto em  português provavelmente já conhece, não é? 😉 ).

Pois bem, o brigadeiro que eu fiz é um pouquinho diferente da receita padrão  – É um tipo de torta de brigadeiro com cookies que é super simples e rápida de fazer mas, ainda assim, incrivelmente deliciosa! Se quiserem experimentar, aqui vai a receita:

Torta em Camadas de Brigadeiro com Cookies

Serve 2 porções

Ingredientes:
Para a camada de chocolate:

  • 1 lata de leite condensado (de preferencia light)
  • 3 colheres de sopa de chocolate em pó
  • 3 colheres de sopa de creme de leite leve ou light (é mais saudável, viu gente?)
  • 1 colher de sopa de manteira ou margarina
  • 1 pacote de Chocolate granulado

(Todos os ingredientes podem ser usados também em suas versões vegetarianas)

Para a camada de cookies:

  • 200g de cookies (de sua preferencia) picados. Eu usei o de Passatempo da Nestlé, que é o favorito do Felipe.

Numa panela, misture o leite condensado, o chocolate em pó e a manteiga. Mexa sempre em fogo médio até levantar fervura e ficar com consistencia de brigadeiro de colher. Apague o fogo, misture o creme de leite e reserve.

Mexa sempre até ficar ferver e ficar com consistencia de brigadeiro de colher

Mexa sempre até ficar ferver e ficar com consistencia de brigadeiro de colher

Num recipiente de sua escolha, adicione metade dos cookies picados para formar a primeira camada. Em seguida, adicione metade do brigadeiro previamente reservado. Adicione a segunda camada de cookies e, por fim, a última camada de brigadeiro (se preferir pode fazer mais camadas, sempre intercalando os cookies com o brigadeiro). Polvilhe o chocolate granulado à gosto, espere esfriar, sirva e se delicie!

Se sobrar (o que acho difícil rs), pode guardar por até dois dias na geladeira.

Torta em Camadas de Brigadeiro com Cookies

Torta em Camadas de Brigadeiro com Cookies

Não esqueçam de me contar o que acharam e também compartilhar suas próprias receitas nos comentários. Feliz Valentine~! ❤

 

9 Christmas/New Year unusual traditions you find in Brazil

There are many Christmas/New Year traditions around the world. Some are quite conventional and some are completely different.

Despite being officially a secular state, the most prevalent religion in Brazil is Catholicism – because of this you can see many references to Catholic saints and other holy characters in Christmas decorations around here. On the other hand, during the New Year celebrations there are more references to African rooted religions such as the Yoruba, where many Brazilians perform good luck rituals to have a more prosperous year. And there are even some traditions that aren’t attached to any sort of spiritual meaning, but have been going on for so long that now it’s impossible to dissociate them. And because Brazil is a very interbred country, many of those traditions are inherited from somewhere else but Brazilian people have certainly added their own personal touch to them.

Take a peek at some of the most curious Christmas/New year traditions you’d commonly witness in Brazil during the festivities:

1 – Panettone

You know Christmas is coming in Brazil when you start seeing Panettones for sale just about everywhere – From the convenience stores to the more exquisite shops.

Originally from Italy, traditional Panettone is a type of sweet bread loaf with mixed comfits fruits. Yet there are many other variations like chocolate chips and chocolate mousse stuffed. No Christmas party is complete without at least 1 type of Panettone!

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Comfit fruits Panettone: The more traditional one and my favourite (my sister bought this one for me) ;P

2 – Raisins, raisins everywhere… And comfit fruits:

During the end of the year celebrations in Brazil you can find Raisins and Comfit Fruits not only in the Panettones but almost everywhere, as many other traditional dishes use them in their recipes.

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The christmas promotional stickers from the gift brand “Imaginarium” being for and against raisins. It says “Don’t put raisins anywhere” and “Yes, there shall be raisins”.

Some people are so tired of finding raisins in everything (specially in rice) that went as far as creating Internet Memes begging for it to stop.

I personally like them. 😀

3 – Chester:

As in several other places in the world, Roasted Turkey is usually the main course on Christmas feasts in Brazil. However, there’s a specific kind of Chicken that has gained a lot of popularity over the years because of the more affordable price: The Chester.

chester

Perdigão’s Chester (Image Source: Revista BRF)

Presented (and trademarked) in 1982 by a large meat company called “Perdigão“,  Chesters are artificially selected chickens with larger breasts and thighs and a more tender meat.

(Since I’m vegetarian, I’m totally out of this one though)

4 – Lentils, Nuts, Hazelnuts, Walnuts and Dates:

There’s a (originally Italian) superstition that says if you eat a tablespoon of lentils during the turn of the year you are going to have an abundant table for the rest of the new year to come.

LentilhaSorte-sheila

Lucky Lentils (Image Source: Nestlé.com.br)

Many sorts of nuts are an Arabian tradition that brings wealth to those who eat them.

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Nut to bring you wealth (Image Source: Internet Archives)

5 – Grapes:

Eating 3 or 7 (or whatever your lucky number is) grapes at the New Year’s Midnight will bring you prosperity, lucky and plenty of food. It was an inherited tradition from Portugal.

grapes

Grapes (Image Source: Greenmarketglobal.com)

6 – Specific colored (or new) underwear:

Yes, you read it right. It’s said that if you wear new underwear in the New Year’s eve it’ll bring you lucky in your love life. And another belief probably derived from African religions, says if you wear white underwear on the same occasion it’ll bring you peace, purity and harmony.

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Pick your fortune! (Image Source: lighthouse8.com)

There are some variations of this superstition, extending the new clothes to your whole outfit during both Christmas and New Year. Also, if you wear outfits in specific colors during the turn of the new year you’ll achieve different goals. The more commons (besides the white for peace and harmony) are yellow for money, red for passion, pink for love, green for hope and health, and blue for serenity.

7 – Coarse Salt, Champagne and jumping:

During the New Year celebrations, washing your belonging with coarse salt or sea water will keep all negative energies away. 

Jumping three times while holding a champagne glass without spitting a single drop will also achieve the same goal. But if you get soaked in champagne by others it is considered good fortune for you. Jumping over 7 waves on the beach is also said to bring you good fortune.

8 – Leave offerings for the goddess “Iemanjá” at the sea/river:

It’s a ritual that also comes from the African religions. Leaving an offering for the goddess on New Year’s eve is supposed to help you to meet the most diversified goals in the year to come. The offerings may vary according to your specific goals but they are usually roses and flowers.

lucianohuk

Brazilian TV presenter Luciano Huck delivering his offering (Image Source: ofuxico.com.br)

9 – Popular TV Shows:

On Brazilian open Television Channels (like Globo) some Christmas/New Year special shows have been happening for so many decades that they also became sort of a tradition. Like Roberto Carlos’ end of the year specials.

Roberto Carlos is a very famous pop-singer that has been presenting an end of the year special show for more than twenty years by now. He’s the favorite of most grandmas in Brazil. Many other Brazilian artists also host their special shows during holidays, like Xuxa (famous as TV for children presenter) and Luciano Huck (another TV presenter).

fr_rc-rosas

Famous Brazilian Pop-Singer “Roberto Carlos” at his end of the year special (Image Source: Internet Archives)

And what about the place you live? Are there any uncommon end of the year traditions? Tell me all about it!

Halloween in Brazil

(Yeah, I know this post is about a month late but better late than never, right?)

Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday of the year. I’m not sure why, though – Maybe it’s due the many symbolism it represents, maybe because I really like morbid/dismal themed stuff, maybe because purple is my favorite color and it’s awesome so see so many purple/orange decorations everywhere (also, purple+orange=best match ever).

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Evil Surgeon me and “Sr. Abóbora” (please don’t mind that humble pumpkin, it’s really hard to find nice shaped and sized ones here)

Or maybe (and most likely) because I value life so much that I just can’t overlook death.

About this special holiday:


“Halloween is the one of the oldest holidays still celebrated today. It’s one of the most popular holidays, second only to Christmas. […]

Halloween is on October 31st, the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday, honoring the dead. Halloween was referred to as All Hallows Eve and dates back to over 2000 years ago.

While there are many versions of the origins and old customs of Halloween, some remain consistent by all accounts. Different cultures view Halloween somewhat differently but traditional Halloween practices remain the same. Halloween culture can be traced back to the Druids, a Celtic culture in Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe. Roots lay in the feast of Samhain, which was annually on October 31st to honor the dead.Samhain signifies “summers end” or November. Samhain was a harvest festival with huge sacred bonfires, marking the end of the Celtic year and beginning of a new one. Many of the practices involved in this celebration were fed on superstition.The Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages at night. Since not all spirits were thought to be friendly, gifts and treats were left out to pacify the evil and ensure next years crops would be plentiful. This custom evolved into trick-or-treating.” – Halloween History & Origin


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The whole crew of weirdos :~

However It’s a very recent tradition in Brazil and still not that celebrated yet but year by year it’s been growing in popularity. My friends and I usually throw a bang-up party for the occasion and this year (despite a few setbacks) wasn’t different.

Since I’m a veterinary medicine student I though an evil surgeon would fit just perfectly for my costume this time (last year I was an Oompa Loompa). Felipe dressed as an undead pirate, my sister Jéssica as the suicide squad Harley Quinn and my sister Lorena as a female version of Hanibbal Lecter from the Silent of the Lambs.

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My sister Lorena as Hannibal Lecter (without the mask because it was as hot as hell that night of reasons), my sister Jessica as Suicide Squad Harley Quinn, Felipe as an undead pirate and I (that’s a foot in my hand by the way)

This year our costumes were all custom-made, but in Manaus you can find some cool outfits and accessories for your Halloween party (and other holidays) at the Bandeirão store and at the Armarinho Manoela haberdashery (info at the end of this post).

Note: I indeed thought about using my real stethoscope for this costume, but in the end I decided a fake one would be “safer”. 😂


What about you? What’s your favorite holiday?


  •  Bandeirão store: Rua Pará (Pará st.), n76, Vieiralves, Nossa Senhora das graças district. Manaus, AM – Brasil. Opens from 8AM to 6PM. Phone: 55+(92) 3633-4145
  • Armarinho Manoela: Rua (st) Henrique Martins, 404, Centro (downtown). Manaus, AM – Brasil. Phone: 55+ (92) 3234-2864

The Blue and the Red Museums in Santa Fe, NM

Today my vacation English immersion class and I visited the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Museum of international Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM. The places host a big variety of interesting pieces, from ancient Indian turquoise jewelry to the origins of the red color, I pet named them “The Blue and the Red Museums”.

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Worse part of the visit: choose from which museum you are going to start your tour ;P

Most of assets being displayed at the Musem of Indian Arts and Culture belonged to the Navajo and the Apache people. They have clothing, pottery, paintings, sculptures, archeological artifacts and many many turquoise pieces. There you can also listen to some of the “Pueblos” languages and music, and they sound very beautiful.

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We are not allowed to take pictures from the inside of the museums, but even their outsides are stunning!

One thing that certainly caught my eye was a painting of a traditional Japanese and a Native American women together. As a reference to the Bering Strait Theory, which my grandfather and I are strong supporters.

You can walk around the museum by yourself or have a guided tour, I did a bit of both but unfortunately we are not allowed to take pictures from the inside.

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Purple is my number one favourite color and guess what? It’s made out of blue and red! 🙂

At the Museum of international Folk Art you can travel back in time and find more about “The red that colored the world” (currently on exhibition). You see, human beings are one of the selected species who are actually able to see the color red (for your information, dogs and cats can’t). And it only spread around the world by the 16th century Mexico, when Spanish explorers encountered the cochineal beetle in an Aztec Marketplace.

Unfortunately, Conchineal beetles are used even today in the food industry. Like to color some strawberry yogurts, for example.  

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Yes, I did (and blue as well)!

There are other interesting places nearby and although we didn’t go there I’m sure they are all as worthy as the Blue and Red ones. If you’re in Santa Fe, you should definitely spare some time to go and visit those places. There’s history, there’s culture and there’s plenty of art.

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I bought this little fella there. It looks exactly like a small hare that shows up everyday at the SFUAD campus and it’s probably one of the cutest things in the world! I asked Felipe to name it and, well… meet “Van Dame”, the plushie hare (Although I feel like just calling it “Hoppy”)! ;D


For more information about those museums, please check on their websites:

Brazilian Veggie Cheese: Mandiokejo®

I recently posted on our Facebook Page about a new brand of veggie cheese. Today I’d like to add another one to the list: The Mandiokejo®.

It is made of Cassava (or more often known in Manaus as “Mandioca”), which is a typical Amazonian tuberous root used in many many regional recipes.

Mandiokejo® is also rich in A, D2 and B12 vitamins and definately delicious!

Mandiokejo® box – It is also rich in A, D2 and B12 vitamins and definately delicious!

Mandiokejo® is sold inside a neat looking box in powdered form but it’s easy to prepare at home, 100% gluten and lactose free and very popular among veggie (and non-veggie) people in Brazil duo to its delicious flavor.
Unfortunately, their original manufacturer (Manioc) had to close their doors, but luckily it was recently announced that another company (Deliveg) is going to continue their production with the same original recipe.
So if you live in or is coming to Brazil, whether you’re a vegetarian or not, that’s another really delicious (and healthy) option you’ll have.

Have you tried Mandiokejo® already? How did you like it? 🙂


Mandiokejo® Official website