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

Recipe Round-Up: 25 Most Beautiful Salad Recipes

25 Beautiful Salad Recipes Round-Up

My roommate from Sao Paulo, Lea, and I shared a similar love for bright, beautiful, colorful salads. Whenever we’d have potluck dinners or invite people over at our house, you could be sure we were on the salad making crew. We’d let our imaginations run wild and put anything that sparked our tastebuds and eyesight to make them look visually stunning and oh-so-tasty: arugula, cherry tomatoes, mango chunks, toasted almonds, figs, parmesan shavings, thinly sliced radishes and beets, bell pepper strips, sundried tomatoes, sautéed courgettes… And then as we would serve our plates, Lea would go “oh wow, the colors in this salad are amaaaazing” or plainly say “Just beautiful” with a sigh. I miss my salad buddy. 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

Brazilian Carne Seca – and a Top 5 Must-try of Brazilian Cuisine


Brazilian Carne Seca - only 5 ingredients!

Hi everyone! I feel like I haven’t posted in forever… well, it’s *only* been 10 days. This is how I know I’m completely hooked on blogging. Life is just not as sweet without it. But I’ve been crazy busy with some very exciting work projects lately, and as a result I have completely and utterly abandoned the kitchen. I barely even know what’s in the fridge these days and have been eating sardines and almond butter for dinner since Sunday. Gasp. It’s completely disorienting. I feel bad, I haven’t even had time to make Freddy a breakfast bread like I usually do every week and he’s one day away from falling back into the comforting arms of gluten.

So I’m here to make amends, with a post I’ve been meaning to write up for a long time now on the quintessential ingredients and foods of Brazil – the Must-tries if you will -, and depending on my inspiration, I might make it a monthly series. So let’s talk about Brazilian gastronomy a little. After a year and a half or so of living here, I have got a pretty good vibe of what the customs around food are here and what the typical ingredients are. Here’s the top 5 of foods and ingredients you just cannot miss on if you are in Brazil or just want to have some fun trying out Brazilian gastronomy. Continue reading

Vanilla Spice Poached Plums (Pressure Cooker)

Delectable little plums poached with vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves in the pressure cooker, ready in just 15 minutes. This recipe can be used to serve warm on top of a fruit cobbler or cake, mixed with yogurt or eaten as is!

Vanilla Spice Poached Plums

I’ve had the strongest urge to poach things lately. Eggs, meat, fruit. And actually it’s not just poaching, but also braising, steaming, stewing. Yes those are different things. Wanna know why? I know you do. Because I gots me a pressure cooker, that’s why! Woop woop. My very first kitchen appliance investment! And I already buy a lot of different kitchen items, stocking our kitchen pretty well with colorful-looking mugs, wine glasses, little jars for our spices (but of course I did), a julienne peeler, a measuring cup, cake pans, baking dishes, knives… I’m kind of the only person to use most of that stuff, but I know the roommates are happy to have those things on hand when they need them. Continue reading

Creamy Chicken, Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake

Creamy Chicken, Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake

This recipe confirms the theory that the simpler the recipe, the more delicious. I threw this casserole together with what I had on hand the other night without imagining I could make a blog post out of this recipe, but it hit such a big home run and was so I-can’t-believe-my-tastebuds amazing that I photographed what was leftover to publish the recipe. Continue reading

Veggie Basil Egg Muffins

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For the past two days I’ve been travelling in the Minas Gerais region in the Center-South of Brazil as part of the field research for the paper I am writing on the inclusion of Brazilian smallholders in food chains. Minas Gerais is such a lovely region and it was the third time I was there to interview Brazilian milk producers. Aside for making some of the best cheese and coffee in Brazil, it’s also known for having some very very fine meat, so naturally every time I go to there, I have a grilled meat party going on in my plate. My research is soon coming to an end and I will definitely miss these trips to the field. One of my favorite parts of these trips are the long car drives to reach the farms where I get the occasion to study the Brazilian countryside, its agriculture and the people I see on the side of the road. Minas Gerais has these amazing earth roads that look like canvasses of bright red and orange dust, because the soil is so rich in iron and copper. I always feel much more in touch with the country on these trips than when I’m dragging my little foreign self in the monster that is São Paulo.  Continue reading

Stuffed Collard Greens


Who would have guessed but collard greens are a staple food here in Brazil. Eating the traditional Brazilian Feijoada (meat and black bean stew) without a side of collard greens is just not right. Before coming here I didn’t even know what a collard green was. In fact, my only experience with leafy greens was limited to lettuce and spinach. But when I go to the farmer’s market we have by our house every Sunday morning, there’s always a huge stall with all kinds of cabbages, root vegetables and greens. Oh my. Mustard greens, beet greens, chard, dandelion greens, collard greens, spinach and so on. So many choices. It’s my favorite moment of the market, plus I think one of the sellers there has a little crush on me because he always insists on filling my order and digging up the greenest, leafiest collards for me. How I interpret a big leafy collard as code for flirt, I sometimes honestly wonder where I get these ideas. Continue reading

Nutty Apricot Bread Loaf (gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free)


Nutty Apricot Bread 14

I went to Bras’ cereal wholesale zone the other day, to one of my favorite stores: Armazem Santa Filomena. Bras is the magical place in the northern area of São Paulo, near the Mercado Municipal, where you find everything from spices to nuts and grains, cheese, chorizo, oils and other baking wonders at half price and in bulk. I go there every two months to stock up on most of the ingredients that I like to cook with and can find there at wholesale price (25 to 50% cheaper than retail supermarket prices), such as nuts, almond flour, dried fruit, coconut flour, coconut oil, psyllium, and the blessed spices of course (cardammon, cinnammon, curry, italian seasonings, clove, etc.). But you can also find granola, all kinds of varieties of rice, beans, lentils, quinoa and flours for very cheap, as well as imported products that you have trouble finding elsewhere. Continue reading