Carrot Cake Muffins (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

Paleo Carrot Cake Muffins by My Little Jar of Spices

Happy Birthday Blog! One year ago on May 6th, I was having breakfast (Baked eggs in sauteed greens to be precise) in my sunny kitchen in Brazil and said “Screw it. I’m a-starting a food blog man!”. I was terrified to fall flat on my face and have people post awful comments on my page, but I was also feeling so jealous of all the food bloggers I was following. They seemed to be having so much fun. I wanted in on that. I was already cooking so much on a daily basis and wanted to channel that into something that could also involve writing and photography which I also enjoy a lot as hobbies. I of course did not know what managing a food blog actually entailed and had no idea how addictive food blogging was about to become. It really became a true passion and pushed me to improve my cooking skills every day a little more. For the first six months, I was photographing everything I cooked and ate. Even if it looked like meat loaf gone bad. I published recipes three times a week and tracked several times a day how many visitors the blog was getting or how many new facebook likes I could score. I still do that by the way so go like the facebook page here 🙂 Continue reading

Brazilian Love Green Smoothie (Vegan)

Brazilian Love Green Smoothie by My Little Jar of Spices
Ugh, green smoothies. Like what’s new, right? So how about some Brazilian love, exotic fruit and samba grooves to welcome Spring and reboot your green smoothie routine? I just spent a week in Brazil visiting friends and working long-distance, and I had forgotten just how amazing the options of available fresh fruit juices and smoothies was there! Papaya and mango are like currency in this country, and forget about the insane amount of fruit you can squeeze into your happy hour Caipirinhas, from acerola to pineapple, passion fruit and cashew fruit. And man did I drink the life out of all the coconuts while I was there. I used to buy a fresh green coconut every day from a street vendor by my house who would crack it open with an actual machete and sip on it on my way to classes. Ah heaven. And just in general, I realized going back how much I had underestimated Brazil’s level of development when I lived there. I suppose I needed to go live in Peru to actually appreciate the level of comfort and the modernity of services available in Sao Paulo. I almost cried when I jumped into a taxi with a GPS or opened a restaurant menu with an actual salad section. It was really nice to go back for a few days. Now I’m in Lima for a week before going back to Cajamarca, which is cool because I never really got to discover Lima. I have been to Lima a few times but I always passed by for a couple of days or less when travelling to somewhere else and never had time to discover it though I know it’s an amazing city.

Continue reading

Baked Sweet Potato Croquettes

Baked Sweet Potato Croquettes by My Little Jar of Spices

I almost never get sick, but this weekend I got hit by the worst case of fatiflusea. What you’ve never heard of it? It’s a weird combination of drop-dead fatigue, intense stomach flu and constant nausea. Fatiflusea. It came down on me yesterday morning and  has just put my body on full stop. I could not get up or keep any food down for the life of me. My parents used to say that when I’d get sick as a baby, they would really start to worry when I wouldn’t want to eat anything. Ha! So true, even today as an adult, I really know something’s wrong if I don’t want to eat anything. And I have literally not been able to get off the couch for the entire weekend. The 20-yard walk from the couch to the bathroom takes me over a minute as I drag my Alpaca socks feeling all sorry for myself and taking a break to catch my breath halfway there. Even picking up my computer from the table leaves me out of breath and in need of a nap. This has never happened to me, but it could be my body’s way of saying it just needs a break? The only thing I’ve been able to eat in the past hours has been some banana and these succulent local Incan Berries that are grown in the Andes. They’re shock full of Vitamin C so maybe that’s been doing the trick. Continue reading

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mug Muffin 2.0 (Paleo, DF, Vegan option)

Cookie Dough Mug Muffin 2.0 by My Little Jar of Spices

It’s no surprise that the most popular recipe on this blog is the paleo (and vegan) 5-minute Cookie Dough Mug Muffin that I published back in June of last year. It has gotten over 3,000 pins and is constantly at the top of the list of most viewed recipes. There’s nothing I can post that will take it down from first place. For a while, my Creamy Chicken, Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake was getting dangerously close to bumping it down and becoming number one, but the Cookie Dough Mug Muffin stuck on for dear life, showed everyone who was boss and let the Creamy Chicken Bake take second place. I’m always wondering if the next recipe I’ll publish will beat it, but nope. And to be fair to the mug muffin, it is a pretty awesome recipe, not to mention it’s adorable. It comes together in 5 minutes – preparation and cooking times combined! -, is the perfect comfort food without any added-sugar, and it tastes like cookie dough for crying out loud. Plus, it’s a single-serving recipe so it’s great for a little sweet craving without actually tempting you to go overboard like if you bake an entire batch of cookies. I should have known it was going to have that kind of mind-blowing success. The funny thing is that when I made it, I had absolutely no intention to post it on the blog. I just wanted to make a mug muffin for Freddy one rainy Sunday afternoon, adapted a  chocolate chip cookie recipe with what I could find lying around my cupboards and popped it in the microwave in a mug. It looked so cute, so I took a pretty lame picture, and it tasted so good that I ended up posting it as a recipe. Continue reading

Roasted Broccoli Tuna Salad

Roasted Broccoli Tuna Salad by My Little Jar of Spices

I think we food bloggers could all stand to be a little more transparent on the truth of what our lives are actually like (I mean, we don’t actually eat sweet potato fries out of newspaper cones or take a bite from a cookie and put it back on the cookie sheet like the photos say). I don’t actually eat small portions of salad on fancy rectangular restaurant plates like you see here. That’s just for good blogging decorum. I wouldn’t want you to see the actual tupperware I ate this HUGE salad out of. This little confession is coming from an e-mail exchange I had with another food blogger this week (Little Red Bird Kitchen, check her out!) about food photography. I told her I take 80% of my pictures on the floor because it makes it easier to get even lighting, block out background “noise” and get better shots from high up, and even though no one openly says it, I can’t be the only one to do that. Let’s be honest, you can see the wooden floorboards in more than half of the pictures on foodgawker 🙂 And since I’m in a truth-telling moment, I might as well say it flat out, my meals are not nearly as exciting as this blog might have you thinking. I’m a very routine person when it comes to food. On most days, I will eat exactly the same thing for lunch (omelet, avocado and salad), cook dinner twice or three times a week and eat leftovers on the other days. Most of the recipes you see here are recipes that I’ve tested and made for friends or family, for specific occasions, when I’m on vacation and don’t have much going on, almost always when there are other people around to try the food. You can be sure, if you see a muffin recipe on the blog, it’s because other people ate it and approved it. Recipe testing method. Continue reading

Cappuccino Pots de Crème

Cappuccino Pots de Crème by My Little Jar of Spices

Well hello there January, my least favorite month of the year. People generally either hate January or September. Not very hard to understand why. Post-holiday blues, post-vacation stress, back to work, back to school, everyone’s all tired, the media are all talking about diets, there’s not much to look forward to for the next few months except maybe Valentine’s Day and that’s not even a real Holiday. And then there’s the pitiful weather, which is the worst whether you are in the Northern or Southern hemisphere. January in Brazil gets HOT. Not “ooh tropical breeze and sipping Mojitos under palm trees” kind of hot, no, more like “unsexy glistening face, I can’t even move my arms because it’s so freaking humid and tropical pouring rain” kind of hot. Bet that snowfall you’ve been having in the US almost sounds kind of nice now eh? Continue reading

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Roasted Figs

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Roasted Figs by My Little Jar of Spices

It’s the end of the year, so I thought I’d provide a recipe that’s a little more festive-looking: a delicious pork tenderloin prepared on the stovetop and in the oven served with juicy balsamic roasted figs and a generous sprinkle of thyme. Sounds scrumptious and fancy right? Well let me just say it right now, it’s easy as pie and requires very little effort, it could even easily be prepared as a weeknight meal. But it’s impressive and so tasty that you can also put it on a New Year’s Eve menu if you’re looking for a recipe that’s effortless and will surprise your guests. This time of year always makes me pause a little to reflect on past events and future endeavors. So before I get to the recipe, I figured I’d share some of my thoughts with you (and a small announcement of where I’m headed in 2014). Continue reading

Moroccan Spiced Burgers with Pistachios

Moroccan Spiced Burgers by My Little Jar of Spices

It’s already the end of the year and I can’t frickin believe it! One year ago, though it seems like yesterday, I was starting research for my thesis here with gleaming eyes and high aspirations as I took my first steps in the unknown yet exciting world of academic research. I wanted to write a paper that would change the world and uncover some kind of shattering truth (as it so often happens when you study smallholder agriculture right?), go on the field and bring back ground-breaking data, roll up my sleeves and argue with top researchers, basically do all those crazy things that hot, glamorous academic scholars do. Twelve strenuous months later, the only ground-breaking truth I discovered is that probably no-one will have the slightest interest in reading 200 pages on how to create commitment in buyer-supplier relationships linking private multinationals to smallholder farmers in Brazil (I know, crazy!) and the only arguing I saw was a tepid discussion on the premises of game theory between a Danish scholar and an Argentinean economist. I also discovered the less than glamorous reality of “no-that-person-that-you-emailed-three-weeks-ago-and-who-is-a-key-informant-for-your-topic-does-not-give-a-rat’s-ass-about-your-research” and “it’s-been-a-month-since-you’ve-submitted-it-and-your-advisor-still-hasn’t-opened-your-thesis”. After all of that, and loving almost every second of it regardless, I am proud to say that I have finished my thesis, submitted it, defended it and been approved. Yay! I’m officially done with my master’s and it’s as much a relief as it is scary. There are so many things happening and changes coming, and I can’t wait to tell you about them, but I need to leave some suspense for future posts. Continue reading

Pumpkin Scones (grain-free, Paleo)

Pumpkin Scones by My Little Jar of Spices
Everyone’s celebrating Thanksgiving and making pumpkin pie and leftover Turkey sandwiches, getting into the Winter holidays spirit with mulled cider and hot cocoa, baking Christmas cookies and lighting their chimneys…. and I’m sleeping in the starfish position in my bed without the sheets on because it’s getting hotter and hotter around here. Aah yes, Summer is upon us in Brazil. And it just feels awkward when I’m strolling down São Paulo’s big Paulista Avenue with my flip flops and sunglasses on and there’s a gigantic inflated Snowman standing there with a scarf on and Santa Clause’s just cruising along with his reindeer pals. It just feels… wrong. Continue reading

Paleo Morning Porridge

Grain-Free Morning Porridge by My Little Jar of Spices

This is the recipe that I have wanted to post the most on this blog since the beginning because it is truly the first recipe that I appropriated and made my own after I eliminated gluten from my diet. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to post it. I’ve recommended it to many friends who have asked me advice on what to have for breakfast that was not eggs and bacon on a paleo diet. Since I myself am not much of an eggs and bacon kind of gal, this porridge recipe has been a go-to breakfast for me for the last year. I love oatmeal, especially the way my mom would make it for our lazy Sunday afternoon snacks when I was a kid: with raisins, a dash of cinnamon, and topped with a pat of butter that melts into the cooked oats and some maple syrup. Jeez louise goddammit. Sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I were 13 all over again when I think of those moments. Without the acne and awkward braces that is. Continue reading