Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cooking from scratch

I have been in the kitchen all weekend!  Mostly this is by choice, but it also has to do with the fact that convenience foods ( i.e. frozen prepared meals, canned soups, good cake mixes) are a little harder to come by.  You can find canned beans (as in black beans) and various options of prepared items, but in my experience they are not always very good tasting, or they are loaded with MSG and nasty conservatives (which is also true in the US) but mainly they are just more expensive.  Although it is changing and becoming more expensive, there is still the option of hiring domestic help that cook for you from scratch.  Or you just eat out.

But I am not normal, neither in the US nor here in Brazil.  I like cooking and baking, and I like my family to eat healthy, home cooked meals.  But sometimes it gets a little crazy.  Like this weekend.

Friday night:  the husband went to bed early, so I made Overnight Coffee cake.  Very yummy, but too much sugar for my liking.  The kids ate it with homemade yogurt that I had made 2 nights earlier.

Saturday:  the plan was leftovers, but Bea's vegetarian friend came over, so ended up making fried eggs, farofa, and limeade in addition to reheating beans and rice.  We just had sandwiches for dinner. At night I made Yeast Waffles (I add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon) for the next morning.  Oh, and I should mention at the hubby made vanilla ice cream to go with a "failed" batch of Chocolate chip cookies that he had made.  The idea is to use the "bad" dough to make a pizookie.  Yum.

Sunday:  there was leftover whipping cream from the ice cream recipe, so I made a strawberry sauce  and whipped cream for the waffles.  I made baked chicken (without the sauce), pasta, and a white sauce for lunch, and served salad with homemade dressing.  (Well, I cheated on the homemade dressing.  It's Hidden Valley Ranch packets mixed with mayo and milk.  But I had to mix it!)  I currently have split pea soup cooking.  

Few!  Now I need a weekend from my weekend.  Thankfully Irene, out helper, comes 3 times a week to help with meals and clean up!

Here's a list of other things I make from scratch on a regular basis:
enchilada sauce
chicken noodle soup
pasta sauce (the husband does this one)
oat bread (the husband does this one too)
snacks for school (muffins, cornbread, etcetera)
taco seasoning (for ground beef)
maple syrup (imitation)
juice (squeezing oranges, watermelon, pineapple)

Anything else you fellow expat readers make?  It can be Brazilian or other....let me know!


  1. Nice list of home-made goodies! Make maple syrup though? We are just back from the sugar bush where the sap is rising and the syrup is fresh in the markets.

    1. Thanks! I should have written imitation maple syrup (as in "Aunt Jemima.") Nothing compares to the real thing, but there's no way we could bring enough to last through the year, and I'm not willing to pay the crazy prices for the real stuff here. It's essentially just sugar water with maple extract (flavoring).

  2. I make the first four on your list plus the juice and ice cream. Unfortunately I haven't figured out high altitude baking with my limited tools (no Kitchenaid mixer) but Mexican sweet bread is reeeeaaaaally yummy and fresh (but also fattening). We don't eat out much to save money so pretty much everything is from scratch. One unusual thing I make is rice milk from brown rice instead of milk for José's ice cream because of his dairy allergy. Thank God he can handle whipping cream because he's an ice cream fiend!

  3. I love cooking -- as you can probably tell from my blog -- but it hasn't always been that way. I didn't even know how to cook until I married my Brazilian husband who was used to his mother making EVERYTHING from scratch. He never complained about Pasta Roni, but I knew he would be happy to eat some 'real food' and now (after a few years of learning) I make almost everything from scratch. I find it to be one of my favorite parts of the day.