Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

May 31, 2010

My Portuguese Heritage

Yesterday, the kids and I met my parents at the Petaluma Holy Ghost Society Portuguese Festa.  Being Portuguese, I grew up attending these Festas every summer, all summer long.  I want my kids to be exposed to the Portuguese culture as they grow up,  just as I was.  This is the perfect way to do it!

A little bit of my family background:  My Dad is the youngest of 13 brothers and sisters and was born and raised on the Azores island of Sao Jorge.  In his late 20's, he decided to move off the island and make his way to America as most of his brothers and sisters had already done.  On his journey, he stopped over in Brazil for about two years where he found a job as a Milk Man and met my Mom. My mom's heritage is Italian but she was born and raised in Brazil with her 12 brothers and sisters.  All of my Mom's family is still in Brazil and we have never met any of them in person. 

After his two years in Brazil, my Dad made his way to America.  He sent for my Mom to come over three months later.  They made a happy life for themselves and eventually us, when we came along in Northern California.

In the very early years, my Dad worked on a couple of different dairies as a milker.  By the time my sisters and I came along, he had taken a job at McNear Brick Company and then eventually Sonoma State University to work as a grounds keeper where he retired from.  My mom was a Stay at Home Mom raising my two sisters and me.

We didn't go on any family vacations but we did get to attend EVERY Portuguese Festa in the surrounding area.  Probably about 6 or 7 every summer.  We met many new friends at the festas that we would only see when we attended the festas, something for us to look forward to. 

Festas:  are typically celebrated with parades, a special mass in town at the Catholic church, and a coronation of the festa "queens" with feasts of sopas (soup) and meat following afterwards. It is said that Queen Isabel of Portugal was compassionate towards her subjects during a 14th century famine, and often snuck out to feed the poor with bread hidden in her cape.

In today's parades, young women re-enact her legacy and dress as queens in formal gowns, velvet capes and tiaras. Each association's annual coronation is honored by the presence of local queens and their families. The queens are selected based on succession; depending on how long a girl has been marching with the association, she can move up from flower girl or side maid and eventually earn her place as baby, junior, or senior queen.



Here are this year's queens and side attendants from Petaluma's festa.....


Flag bearers from the parade...


Our Lady of Fatima statue.......


St. Anthony statue........

When the parade arrives back at the hall, the Senior Queen releases a white dove.


Lunch is served.  Soupas.  French bread soaked in special seasoning juices.

Meat so tender and flavorful, no knife is needed.

It's all served up family style.  One of my sisters, Gloria, pouring some punch for one of her friends....


In Petaluma, there are two dining halls. Both are filled to capacity.

The kitchen crew.......


In one of the dining halls there is a display of all the past Petaluma queens.....

I found a photo of my sister, Lisa, when she walked as Junior Queen in 1986.


After we ate, the kids wanted to check out the little chapel adjacent to the dining hall.  This chapel is only used the Friday night before the parade to recite the rosary for the new queen.

"Hurry up and take your picture, Mom"

Dad, Mom, Bryce and Paige in the chapel.

In the dance hall, games were played.....


Bryce won a knife set.....great!  The conversation on the drive home was dominated by Bryce trying to negotiate keeping his knife set in his bedroom.  Sorry buddy.


Paige's prize, dish towels which she promptly threw down to the ground exclaiming for ALL to hear that she didn't want them!  I knew they would be grumpy today after going to sleep late the night before.


Some live auction items.......

Dessert.  I LOVE these Portuguese cookies!  They are my favorite!

I'm trying to track down this recipe so that I may attempt to bake a batch.
A soupa dinner is served again at 6 p.m. and dancing goes on late into the night. We didn't stay.....maybe next time!
Happy Memorial Day!
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May 30, 2010

Pit Burning Party-Deer Camp

Next weekend is Western Weekend in Pt. Reyes Station and we prepare all the chicken BBQ for the event (more on that next weekend).  The chicken is BBQ'd at our friend's deer camp and since we've had a TON of late rain storms, the BBQ pits have about four inches of water in them and need to be cleaned out.  This is done by burning them out.  And what's more fun than a BBQ pit burning party?  Any excuse, right?

Last night was the night.


There are three pits.  Two large and one that you see in the photo below.



While the big pits are being burned out, the smaller one serves as the BBQ for dinner.



We brought over some of our natural beef short ribs and sirloin steaks.


Hot dogs for the kids.  Although when there's a choice between steak and hot dogs, Bryce eats steak.




While dinner was grilling, Matt prepared and served up some of his delicious bacon wrapped halibut.
Doesn't just about anything taste good wrapped in bacon?  YUM!




So Good!





Paige eating her hot dog and Bryce eating steak.

Daisy the German Shepard shaking her 'daddy's' hand and probably hoping for a snack.



Lots of salads to choose from.  I made a fruit salad and there was also pasta and potato.  I had a little of each.  Baked beans in the slow cooker were also on hand.



Dinner time!






Play time.

Such a fun night we all had.  I think the weather has finally cleared up and we've seen the last of our winter type storms.  YEAH!

Deer camp is only 10 minutes from our ranch.  We ended up staying until 9:45 p.m., which is really late for the kids.  A late night is almost a sure bet for cranky kids the next day (they normally go to bed at 8).  And they were a bit cranky today at the Portuguese Festa we attended (more on that soon).

Happy Sunday!
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May 29, 2010

Yesterday, Sex and the City 2 opened!  What a perfect night for another girls night out.  Here's how it all went......

We began the evening at Graffiti restaurant in Petaluma.  Graffiti sits along the Petaluma River and has an outside terrace and an inside lounge style bar with great atmosphere and a beautiful view.  Perfect for cocktails and appetizers.

 Lemon Drops were the cocktail of choice for the evening.  I was a little late and therefore missed out on the cocktail hour. Lemon Drops were consumed by the time I arrived and the girls were ready to walk over to the theatre.


We all thought the movie was great, even with all the bad reviews it's getting.  If you loved watching Sex and the City on HBO when it was on, you'll love the movie.  It was like watching one long episode of the HBO show. Perfect!

After the movie let out, we walked over to Pazzo for our dinner reservations.  I normally eat dinner at 6 p.m., so by 8:30, I was SO hungry!  I couldn't wait to dig into Pazzo's Mediterranean cuisine!  Thanks Marissa for making all the arrangements for the evening!




Gina, Tiffany & Teri with their good friends, the Lemon Drops........


I enjoyed one also........

Heather, Angie, Leah & Marissa......


Time for food.  Some delicious Calamari.....


I had the pork tenderloin with a cranberry/pineapple sauce over a bed of risotto and swiss chard.  So good!


Leah's Chicken Athena also looked really good.......



A fun night was had by all!  I hadn't seen these ladies for three months or so and it was really nice to visit and catch up with everyone.  Pictured from left, Teri , Lisa, Renee, Leah, Angie, Gina, Marissa, Heather, Tina & Tiffany. 

Thank for a fun night ladies!  Looking forward to the next one :)
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May 28, 2010

My Subway Breakfast

A few mornings ago before getting Bryce ready for school, I felt rushed to get out the door without being late for school (luckily it was not a pre-school day for Paige).  I didn't have time to eat breakfast and I always eat breakfast, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try out Subway's new $2.46 breakfast special before running errands. A healthy option breakfast sandwich and coffee for just $2.46! 

I ordered the Western Egg and Cheese on a whole wheat english muffin.  Right after I placed my order, Paige informs me she needs to use the restroom, so off we went.  When we returned, my order was ready.  I thought it was okay.  The english muffin was not toasted, only heated through which left for a chewy english muffin.  I'm not sure if this is how they normally prepare it or you need to ask them to toast it for you.  Though I wasn't very satisfied with my order, I wanted to give them another try.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to try breakfast at Subway again and it was a whole lot better.  I ordered the same thing, the Western Egg sandwich and asked them to toast it for me.  This made all the difference for me, although it could have been toasted a bit more.  So if you decide to try Subway for breakfast, and you don't like the texture of a chewy english muffin, make sure you ask for extra toasting.  I think it's worth the $2.46.


The Western Egg sandwich is 180 calories.  Black Forest ham, egg, green peppers, red onion and your choice of cheese.  You can choose egg whites instead of whole egg.

Each sandwich has 20 to 30 percent of recommended daily calcium intake, which is primarily derived from the two cheese triangles on each melt.  I chose not to have cheese on mine, but next time I will include it.......

I got my calcium intake with the large amount of milk I poured into my coffee.....


Something exciting:
This morning I received an email letting me know that my asian noodle salad was selected for one of today's (May 28th) Top 9 recipe selections on Foodbuz.com.  It was chosen out of 3,352 entries!  I was very excited and wanted to share with you.  If you missed the the recipe, here it is again.... Asian Noodle recipe.
Happy Friday!  Cheers! Pin It