Brazilian Cheese Bread


There are two things I feel when shopping at my regular supermarket (ie not Trader Joe's or Whole Foods): bored and hungry. Mostly because my regular supermarket is for all of the necessities like paper towels and detergent and because I almost always go when I'm starving. 

While browsing the frozen foods aisle one bored and hungry trip, I came across pão de quejio or Brazilian cheese bread. Since I love cheese and I love bread, this was a no brainer for my once-I-unpack-the-groceries-snack... until I read the ingredients. Tapioca flour, salt, cheese. Yes, I am one of those avid ingredient readers, but given that I already had a bag of tapioca flour just waiting to be used up at home, I decided to just make them myself. 

If you've never had pão de quejio, they are similar to cheese puffs, and are slightly crispy on the outside, hollow, chewy and cheesy on the inside. The real flavor comes from the type of cheese used, and really, any hard cheese will do, whether it's parmesan, monterey, jack, cheddar, or a combination. They are definitely worth picking up some tapioca flour for (which you can get much cheaper at said boring supermarket) to make them, but I must warn you, they are highly addictive, especially when they are fresh out of the oven. I almost always exceed my limit of just three...

Brazilian Cheese Breads (Pão de Quejio)
adapted from thekitchn
printable recipe here

1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups tapioca flour
2 eggs, whisked
1- 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (you can use any hard cheese like parmesan, monterey jack, or mix of cheeses depending on the flavor you desire. You can also use up to 2 cups of cheese if your like me and really love cheese...)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, whisk the the milk, olive oil, and salt, over medium heat. Once it comes to a gentle boil, immediately remove it from the heat. 

Add the tapioca flour to the saucepan, and mix until fully combined with the milk and oil, and the tapioca flour becomes gelatinous. 

Transfer the dough to a food processor with the dough blade, or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Let the dough cool down a bit and then beat an a medium speed until smooth.  (I use a food processor with no problems.)  

Once the dough has cooled and still on a medium speed, add the whisked eggs in two additions, until fully incorporated.

Finally, with the mixer on a medium speed, add the cheese until fully combined. The resulting dough will be smooth and very sticky. 

Scoop out equal portions on to the baking tray, about an inch apart from each other. If you wish, you can cover the pão with cling wrap and freeze them right on the baking tray. Once they are frozen, you can store them in a freezer bag and bake them at a later time. 

Place in the oven and turn the temperature down to 350 degrees. Let the puffs bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the puffs are dry and crisp on the outside and slightly golden in color. Cool slightly and eat. The pão are best right out of the oven as they became very chewy (yet still delicious over time.) They can however, be reheated in the oven for a few minutes. 

Last Minute Summer Musts...


I'm quite happy (and a bit shocked )with all that I have been able to cross off of my summer to-do list. From berry picking, to the farm, for once I have allowed myself to relax a bit , come off of a schedule, and enjoy the spontaneity of the season. With summer so quickly coming to a close, there are just a few things more that I want  to do, to finish the season off right.

Go on a picnic
S'mores around the campfire (without actual camping...)
Go to the beach. (I have not been to the beach for the summer!)
Start planning for next years trip(s)
Spend the day at the vineyards
Mystic, Connecticut
One last summer hurrah: BBQ or clam bake?

What are some things you hope to accomplish before the summer is over?

What Not To Say To The Unemployed Post-Grad.


I've lost count of how long it's been since graduation. Sike, it's been 1 year, 3 months and 10 days. 

Prior to graduation, I knew the state of the job market (although, I didn't anticipate it would take this long...), so I had a backup plan. I thought often about my plan b, as it was actually my dream job. It was a job I knew I was qualified for and I was even assured by those that knew about it that I would get it. After spending a month working on the application and submitting my resume, I was informed two weeks later that while I was "a strong candidate" and that my application was "extremely impressive," I was not an exact match.

I absolutely dread hearing this from employers. Not because I can't take rejection (nothing like job hunting to toughen you up!), but because on the rare occasion that I do hear back from an employer, this is what they always say and to this day, I still have no idea what it means exactly.

But the words that I dread the most are the ones from friends/family/strangers. The ones that think they know it all and feel the need to offer up their unsolicited "advice." I talk open and freely about post-grad life when I'm ready (like today!), but there are times and certain people, that make it a conversation I much prefer not to have.

Despite all that, the last few months have given me a grand list of commentary, some of them real gems. Here are some of my favorites.

What NOT to Say (or Do) to the Un/Underemployed Post-Grad In Your Life.

Did you really just say that? (gif via

 "You'll get a job one of these days." 
Well, I sure hope so! I'd hate to think I spent all that time and money going to school for nothing.

"You should already have a job with that degree!"
I should, yet here we are.

"Don't be upset. You're not the only one." 
Given that I was not the only person to graduate in 2012 NO. DUH! I am well aware that there are many others in the same situation, but that does not change the fact that I feel stuck and unsure.  

Do not feel sorry for me.
Given the problems that I could have, I am truly grateful that this all I have to deal with, and I thank God that things are not worse. Save the sentiment for a time when I may really need it. 

"The job market is not that bad!"

"Are you looking hard enough? Have you tried X,Y or Z?"
Once in a blue moon, someone will suggest something that I have not tried yet. Other than that, I have. Trust me. I've done just about everything but sell my soul.

"So-and-so got a job prior to graduation!"
Good. For. Them.

Do not abandon me.
This has been one of the hardest and weirdest parts of unemployment to deal with. Aren't friends supposed to be there no matter what? Given the fact that things are so uncertain at the moment, unemployment really could happen to anyone.

"In my day..."
I will cut you off Step Brothers-style right there. Just don't.

Do not be afraid to mention it. 
Ironic, huh? The truth is, once you are not insulting me or making empty statements, I don't mind if you ask how I'm doing or how the job search is going.  It's all about the approach, and once you are being genuine, it's all good and greatly appreciated. I promise I won't burst into tears or rip your head off :)

If you are or have been in the same situation, what are/were some of the comments from others that you've had to endure?

Blueberry Crumble


I've tried to resist the feeling, but try as I might, I really can't help it: I'm kind of ready for fall. The feeling started innocently enough while out shopping and just noticing all of the new fall arrivals, but then it became a running list of all the things I wanted to buy for the new season and me wishing the season would be here already. 

While it is definitely one of my favorite seasons to shop for, my wish for fall goes far beyond the clothing; there is truly something extra special about the fall season. The feeling of newness, the smell of cinnamon, the temperatures that are just perfect, my favorite fall activities like apple picking, and of course the food. I've been craving fall foods like crazy lately, but while I'm not ready to dig into apple pie or these fall feelings just yet, a crumble has been the delicious the answer to these pre-fall feelings. 

What I love about a crumble is that it combines the best of both seasons: the very best of summer produce from the berries (purchased at the farmer's market!), and the warm, carby comfort of a fall dessert from the crumble topping. Made complete by a scoop of vanilla ice cream, I really don't mind letting summer linger a bit longer and enjoying it while it last. Soon enough, I'll be wishing it were still here.

Blueberry Crumble (Paleo and gluten-free, printable recipe here)
serves 4

For the filling:
1 pint/2 cups of blueberries
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of cornstarch OR 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder
1/2 a tablespoon of coconut sugar (additional sweetener is optional, especially if the blueberries are already sweet.)*

For the topping:
1 cup of almond flour/meal
1/2 cup of coconut sugar*
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
5 tablespoons of very cold butter

*Brown sugar can be used in place of coconut sugar.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. (The baking sheet is for easy transport of the ramekins and the foil is for any potential blueberry overflow during baking.)

Next, grease the ramekins with butter or a bit of coconut oil, and place on the baking sheet. (These ramekins from Target are my personal favorite.)

For the filling, combine the blueberries, lemon juice, cornstarch or arrowroot powder, and sugar if using. Lightly toss until the blueberries are well coated by the cornstarch/arrowroot. Once complete, fill each ramekin with about 1/2 a cup of the filling.

For the topping, whisk together the almond flour, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon. Remove the butter from the fridge, and cut it into tiny chunks. Add it to the flour mixture and using a fork, mix everything together so that the butter breaks down just a bit more, and the mixture is crumbly and starts to resemble sand.

Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the blueberries. Make sure not to pat the mixture down!

Bake the crumbles for about 30 minutes or until the top is a golden brown color and the blueberries are bubbly. Let cool for a bit and serve warm or at room temperature. (Or reheat slightly later on if not eating immediately.) DO NOT forget some vanilla ice cream or gelato!

One day you will be mine...


One thing I've noticed about my shopping behavior over the last few weeks is that it's been a bit on the impulsive side. Thankfully for my wallet, many of these impulses have not resulted in purchases, (okay, maybe one... or two... no more than three...) but they have made me be more mindful of my shopping ways. 

Oddly enough, when it comes to shopping, I am really not an impulse shopper. I often think, and maybe over think, a purchase, considering things like how and where I will wear something, how much wear I could possibly get from it,  cost per wear (CPW), materials, etc. It can be an arduous process, but I'm just going to say it's a learned trait from my parents of going for quality over quantity. 

All of that brings us to my wishlist. Over the years, there have been certain items that I just can't help but fall in love with. I've thought long and hard about them, consider their quality, CPW, and versatility. I've tried them on in stores and worn them in my head. They are items that I truly love and know that I will get a ton of use from, and one day, they will be pleasant additions to my wardrobe. 

ONE  The first designer I ever learned about was Coco Chanel. I can't remember how or when I did, but I've loved Chanel ever since. After doing a profile on Coco Chanel for a history project, I discovered and immediately fell in love with the 2.55 and classic flap bags. I've wanted a Chanel bag ever since and consider it to be the ultimate addition. 

TWO In addition to bags, I've always loved the look of Chanel jewelry, especially the vintage necklaces. I love the versatility (many double as belts!) and bit of sophistication they add to just about any outfit. 

THREE When it comes to a single item of clothing, I don't think there is anything more iconic than a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress. No matter one's age, size, or style, it's truly one of the most wearable pieces of clothing ever, and a piece I've wished I already had in my closet on a number of occasions. While I may purchase other DVF items in the meantime, I am purposely saving the purchase of a DVF wrap for when I land my "big girl job." 

FOUR Ever since it's debut in the early 2,000's, I've dreamed of owning a Balenciaga city bag. I love the leather, the shape, and the way that it compliments my style. I was very close to owning one a few years ago, but I did something stupid like put the money into my savings. I won't make that mistake twice!

FIVE Worn by the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, and Princess Diana, Ferragamo flats are as classic as one could possibly get when it comes to footwear. As an avid flat wearer, I know these beauties would get a lot of wear, and I've already styled them in my head with a number of outfits from jeans and skirts, for day or night. 

I've shared mine, now it's your turn. What are some of your "one day" items? SPILL! 

The Farmer's Market


I know, I reference many places as my happy place. But let's just go ahead and add one more to the list: the farmer's market.

My journey to better health has obviously resulted in many changes in my life, but has also lead me to a lot more awareness about food. From reading articles and books such as It Starts With Food to Relish, to documentaries like Food Inc. and Ingredients, I have learned so much about today's farming practices, where and how food is grown, and why buying local really is better.

Other than that, I just really love shopping at the farmer's market. After all, it is food related. From talking to the different vendors, going through the vast variety they offer, and of course, market totes, it really is a fun experience. Saturday I decided to head over to one of my favorite markets, the Union Square Greenmarket (my other favorite being the Borough Hall Greenmarket), which I've only ever been to during the week. Visiting on a Saturday was a bit overwhelming at first with the amount of people and vendors, but after a quick trial lap, I found my bearings and was ready to shop. One full tote and thirty minutes later, I was on my way back from what I would say was a very successful trip.

Style Crush | Lucy Mecklenburgh


One of my absolute guiltiest pleasures and favorite shows ever would have to be The Only Way is Essex. The Only Way is Essex (or TOWIE for short)  is a reality show based in Essex, England, and if I had to compare it to a show here in the U.S. it would be a cross between The Hills and The Real Housewives. I'm aware of how odd of a comparison that may be, but I promise you, it is deliciously good.

TOWIE has seen many cast members come and go (and come and go again...) but Lucy Mecklenburgh has been there from the beginning. So she may have come on to the scene as a bit of a home wrecker, but that's not what we are talking about here! It's all about her style, and she's got it. Whether she is dressed up or down, in jeans or fun, flirty dresses, Lucy always looks so effortless and polished, no matter what she's in.

Rhode Island


As much as I thought "staying local" for the summer was going to suck, I have to say, I have truly enjoyed it! Last week, la familia and I headed up to Providence, Rhode Island for a few days, and while I wasn't sure what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised. If you saw any of my instagrams or tweets, then you probably already know that I absolutely fell in love with the place.  (And already planning a trip back in the fall.)

Since Rhode Island was completely new to us, (and no one was in the mood to wing it...) we were really happy to learn about the tours from Experience Rhode Island, a company owned and operated by three brothers from Rhode Island. We did two tours with them, one on Tuesday with Jonathan around Providence, and another with Ted on Thursday to Newport, famous for it's historic mansions, lighthouses, and gorgeous coastline. Both days were filled with the rich history of The Ocean State, incredible scenic views, and lots of fun.

Despite my hesitance, I really did enjoy my trip to Rhode Island, and would definitely go back in a heartbeat. From the pace of the not-so-frenetic city, to the coastline, to the food*, and best of all, the time spent with family, I couldn't ask for a better trip!

*(Unlike my Maine trip, I did not take any food pictures, but if you are ever in the area, Chez Pascal, Hemenway's, and CAV  are an absolute must. Easily some of the best meals I've ever had.) 

DePasquale Plaza, Federal Hill
If you saw that video I posted on Instagram, it was taken here. If you haven't seen that video, watch it. 

Eisenhower's summer house
St. Mary's Church, where Jackie Bouvier and John F. Kennedy were married. 
One of many mansions in Newport, Marble House, the summer home to William and Alva Vanderbilt. 
The Chinese Tea House behind Marble House where Alva Vanderbilt, a leader in the women's suffragette movement, would hold rallies for women's right to vote.
Beavertail Lighthouse
I love you this much!

Trips and vacations are truly some of my favorite parts of summer. This will probably be my last one which means only one thing: summer is coming to an end! 

Paleo Pesto Rolls


This was the first year my family (my mother) planted a variety of herbs, and after browsing through the garden center, there were a few herbs that I was set on (my mother) planting: rosemary, thyme, and basil.

Since it's been planted, the basil has been nothing short of bountiful. It's actually borderline out of control. But it's OK because if there's one thing I love about summer, it's fresh basil. Besides pesto (which I've started freezing in single-serve portions using an ice tray), I've been enjoying basil in various summer salads, in my favorite Thai recipes, and best of all, with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella.

Over the weekend, I wanted to use some of the pesto with something carby that wasn't pasta or orzo. I didn't really set out to make something that was gluten free, but since there was no flour, and only a fridge shelf full of coconut, almond, arrowroot, and tapioca flour, it kind of just happened. After remembering this soft pretzel recipe from A Girl Worth Saving, a quick read through the recipe and it was decided: the dough was just what I was looking for, and the perfect way for me to finally use up some of these flours that are taking up valuable fridge shelf space.

Paleo Pesto Rolls

½ cup of water
½ cup of butter or Olive oil or Ghee
½ tsp of sea salt
2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
½ cup of tapioca flour
½ tsp of baking soda
½ tsp of baking powder
1 cup of coconut flour
1 egg
2 tbsp of melted butter

1/2 to 1 cup of Pesto sauce

Optional: parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

For the dough, follow the recipe for Kelly's paleo soft pretzels here, up until where the dough needs to be rolled into pretzels. 

Form the dough into a rectangle on a piece of parchment paper and place another piece of parchment paper on top. Roll the dough until it is about 1/2 an inch thick.

Remove the parchment paper and spread the pesto around in a thin layer, leaving a slight border at the edges. Top with grated parmesan, however much or little as you desire. 

Starting from one edge and using the bottom sheet of parchment paper as a guide, roll the dough into a long log. Then cut the log into rolls, about 1/2 an inch thick for each one.

Place each roll on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter if desired, and bake in the over for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool, and enjoy.



The title of this post is truly one of the greatest moments in reality television history, but I digress.

It's the first Friday of the month, which means it's time for yet another Fit Friday! As I said before, not every post will be about fitness or weight loss, but about living a fit life all around. This month, we are talking about sleep.

I've only watched Iyanla, Fix My Life once (twice, but it was the same episode at a later time,) but I love watching and hearing what inspirational tidbits Iyanla Vanzant has to say on other TV shows or on Twitter. In watching Iyanla Vanzant during a health segment a few weeks back, I found myself having, as ironic as this may sound, an awakening at the one thing she believes one can do to improve their health immediately:
"If you wake up on Tuesday, go to sleep on Tuesday."
I am definitely guilty of waking up one day and going to bed the next. While I sleep like a rock and get enough sleep each night, sometimes my inability to pull myself away from what I'm doing, (important things like watching TV, pinning, shopping online...) or thinking about the next day, has me staying up longer than I should be. I know sleep is important, so developing a bit of a pre-bedtime ritual has helped to get a better night's rest.

Shutting down (most) of my devices an hour before bed and writing down last minute thoughts and to-do's definitely helps, but if it's one thing I look forward to come bed time, it's the pillow mist from Bath and Body Works. No matter what is going on, whether I am ready for bed or a bit restless, once I get a whiff of that lavender, I'm not up for much longer. 

The more that I learn about physical and mental health, the more I realize just how important it is to get enough sleep and enough quality sleep. For me, getting enough sleep not just ensures that I have enough energy for my workout and the day, but it means that I wont be cranky and looking for carby/sweet foods later in the day. Mentally, it helps me to think clearly and feel at ease, not anxious. It took me many, many years, but if it's one thing I'm glad I've learned in life, it's to value my sleep!

With that, I wish you a fantastic weekend filled with fun and a good night's rest!