Gift idea for the holiday season

Hi friends! This week I’m writing to share with you that I’m introducing a Gift Certificate option for my upcoming workshops!

This year, you can surprise a special person in your life by giving the gift of learning the beautiful art of Modern Calligraphy by attending one of my workshops at A Work Of Heart, right here in the South Bay Area.

click here to get a Gift certificate! 

Be sure to follow the instructions and choose the “Option 6 $95” and if you have any trouble deciding, feel free call 669.292.5001 and someone at A Work Of Heart sure will help you out.

Choose something different this Holiday Season and give a thoughtful and beautiful gift… the gift of learning!

A little bit about wood signs

Hi folks!

Recently, I’ve been working lettering on wood signs for a special event organized by a local Catholic school.

As I shared the process on social media (Instagram stories), I received a lot of questions and comments from followers and friends that were surprised at how much work needs to be done in order to create one of these precious signs.

Wood requires a lot of work, a lot of preparation in order to create a good quality and beautiful piece.

Well, that’s mostly the reason why also custom-made wood signs are more expensive than acrylic or mirror signs. Besides the obvious part than it’s the material itself, a wood piece is of course more expensive than an acrylic one and sometimes even mirrors or chalkboards.

Also, this work can be dangerous and most specially if you’re allergic or pregnant since you’re working with hazardous materials.

Today I want to share what I use every time that I prepare a wood piece. Disclaimer alert: The materials and safety supplies listed in this blog post are the ones I use. I’m not a Safety and Health professional. Always check regulations and look for professional recommendations before working with hazardous materials.

I usually do this kind of work in my patio, since it’s an open space. Now if it’s raining, then I work in my garage BUT I keep the door of the garage completely open so it keeps the area well-ventilated. I also use garbage bags on the floor when I’m painting so I don’t leave any stains on the floor.

The first part of the process is sanding, it’s the one that requires most of the physical work of course. I always wear a good quality safety mask because breathing the particles of the sanding process can be very harmful.

After the sanding is done (time may vary according to how many pieces or how big is the piece I’m working on) I move to sealing/staining part.

I specially love the Olympia brand since it provides both purposes in one single pot. It is also a good paint/sealer for exteriors so it helps that in case it rains during the event and the wood sign is outdoors, it won’t start staining all over.

I usually give it 2-3 coats on each side (waiting in between coats until it is dried) until I get the color I was looking for. How many coats takes will also depend on the wood, each wood piece is different. Some absorb more some less. You see? It’s a lot of work and time!

After my piece is stained, sealed and totally dried (12-24 hours after the last coat of paint/sealer) I can start my lettering.

Now from this part, it could also vary. Sometimes I sketch on them first using a chalk pencil or regular chalk. Since I’m also allergic to chalk, I always use nitrile gloves for this part.

Then comes the inking process with my markers, again depending on the color chosen by the client, this will vary but my favorite pen of mass creation is the One4All from Molotow.

After that, 2-4 hours to dry and last, a coat of spray sealant with a matte finish. It will help the artwork and it will give a natural non-glossy
finish to the whole piece.

The wood sign is now ready to be delivered!You’ll have a beautiful piece that will stay the same color for many years and the ink won’t disappear if it gets to rain on the day of your event!

*All the wood signs created by yours truly ;)

**First & last pictures by Quianna Marie Photography


This is what happened yesterday

Hi friends!

I’m so happy that November is here! I have always loved fall but this year specially, since being pregnant made me also hate the sun and the hot weather. And San Jose is a very sunny/dry city! We only have an average of about 60 days of rain around here!That might be the part that makes me miss other cities where I’ve lived because, you know, I’m not a normal person and I’m proud of that 🙂 I crave rainy days, I love grey skies, I even get to find great enjoyment in a thunderstorm (like the ones we used to have in New York or Buenos Aires). 

Anyway. Here I am and I like being part of this community. Every time that I get to teach a new workshop and meet new local art enthusiasts, my heart fills with joy! Yesterday, I taught another of my Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Workshops and we had -yet again!- a fabulous time. As always, two hours went by so fast while we talked and practice something I have found to love so much and enjoy, as I call Modern Calligraphy: drawing letters.

Class in session!

We also treat ourselves to some pastries, fruit, orange juice and Italian sodas. Because it’s all included, you know! All of this surrounded by a lovely bouquet of flowers and some delighting music at A Work Of Heart Studio. What a lovely Sunday morning!

Like Monet, I must have flowers always, always, always


The next weekend, I’ll be teaching the Modern Calligraphy: Holiday Envelope Art only session and then just one more of the Introduction to Modern Calligraphy will be left for our 2017 edition!

HAND-LETTERED PENCIL POUCHES – Freebies for my students

What’s for 2018? Well, I’ll be offering two more of the Introduction Workshop, one in January and one in February because after that… I’ll be going on Maternity leave! I cannot even believe that as I’m writing it down in this blog post!

But let’s take little steps at a time. Baby steps ^^

Let’s appreciate that it’s still Mid-November, that we still have plenty of football and baking season ahead of us and enjoy this time.

See you soon friends!

Baby announcement idea using brush-lettering

Today I’m sharing a cute idea that you can use either for your baby announcement or as a baby gender reveal idea… Whichever your announcement, I think it’s a pretty cool idea and not a difficult one.

You’ll just need 3 simple materials:

Ready to see what’s this all about? Here’s the tutorial!

What do you think? Isn’t it simple yet fun and unique? And you don’t even need to have fancy hand-lettering skills!

Just some simple CAPITAL letters will work too! The magic is in the pigments moving through the water of the lettering and revealing the word.

That’s why I thought that you can either film the whole process (a time-lapse video would be amazing!) or just let it dry for 24 hours and use it as a prop for your special photo-shoot announcement.

That’s all for this week! See you soon!




Download your Halloween treat printable tags


I hand-lettered this simple “Boo” and made it into a Halloween treat tag for each one of the treats that my kid is taking to his buddies at school.

So I thought about sharing it also with you! Just print it at home (or office), cut it through the lines and you’ll have these “scary” but cute tags ready for your treats!

Download the your FREE pdf file here:
2017-10 Halloween Tags by Andrea Casals

Here’s a quick video with the step by step process:

I hope you like it and… Happy Halloween!!

Holiday Envelope Art Session is coming soon!

Hi friends!

I’m so excited to let you know that I prepared a special class for this Holiday Season: Modern Calligraphy: Holiday Envelope Art Session! It will be a one day session only that will last 2 (two) hours.

If you’ve taken a Modern Calligraphy Workshop and want to try addressing your envelopes using your own Modern Calligraphy skills plus adding some art details, join me on November 19th at 10am at A Work Of Heart in San Jose, CA.

We’ll go over tips and tricks to letter envelopes; I’ll share with you info about the best tools to use when addressing envelopes while we enjoy some snacks and light beverages.

All of the above plus a shiny gold ink and some assorted colors/sizes envelopes are also included!

You’ll just need to either bring your own pen holder and nibs or buy those at A Work Of Heart.

Want to join? Just click here!

See you soon!

New workshop date!

Last weekend I had a new round of marvelous students attending my workshop at A Work Of Heart Studio in San Jose, CA.

The new location of A Work of Heart is just so good, it provides us with plenty of natural light, a big studio space where we can be comfortable while enjoying a time of making art together (while indulging with some fresh donuts!)

You already know that I like to prepare each workshop goodies and decor with a different “theme”. I kept the “kraft” color for this one since it’s the color of fall, which is in my favorite season.

I added those little pen boxes that were just too cute!

I always bring extra goodies; assorted samples of paper in different colors and sizes, tags, envelopes, you’ll always find something cool in those if you’re a paper nerd like me!)

Student at work!

For this occasion, I gave  to my students this hand-lettered tote bag with “autumn/fall” messages. Made by me of course, and I think they loved them!

Here’s a look at some of them…

This Thankful tote might be my favorite one…!
I love the Letter “F” in this one!
Ok, that grateful is also very pretty!
Do you want to try Modern Calligraphy?

The good news is that I’ve added a new date for November! Do you want to join us? I’m still working on the new decor so… surprise surprise!

You can register online here and I hope to see you at A Work Of Heart on November 12th!

Baby announcement!

After a long time wishing for this baby to come, he/she will be finally coming to our lives April 1st, 2018!

We’re so happy and tremendously thankful for this blessing!

Or course, being a lettering nerd I wanted to incorporate something of my art to make his announcement and since it is Fall, the best way to do for me was lettering on pumpkins!

For this project I bought real pumpkins at my local grocery store, wipe them clean with a wet cloth and then I dried them with a paper towel.

I tried lettering first with my favorite Molotow marker but the texture didn’t make it very opaque. Same thing happened with the Sharpies Acrylic Water based.. They just didn’t stick plus they created like a rough coat in some patches (you can still see those in the “bebé” littlest pumpkin).

So at the end, the best marker for this project for me was the Chalk Ink Chalk Marker. It sticked, it was opaque and it didn’t create layers of ink leaving a rough look. So, Chalk Ink Marker… Approved!

Also, little detail but the chisel tip is always great to create the thin and thick lines and give it more of a faux calligraphy look.

Enjoy the fall season friends!

My 3 favorite projects for beginners

Let’s be honest. Being a beginner is tough and frustrating a lot of times and this is specially true if you’ve decided to give Modern Calligraphy a try.

During my first year with this beautiful but difficult art I struggle A LOT.

First, it was just trying to get that balance of thin and thick lines. Like, what’s happening? Why does it seem so simple when others do it but so difficult for me? Is it the pen, the nib, the pressure?Argh. This endeavor was hard.

After several hours of practice, it seemed that the weekly practice paid off helping my brain to connect to the dots between what I wanted to do and what my arm and my hand were actually doing.

And that’s when I had to face all the rest of the battles: creating a decent shape for each letter (OMG that was hard!); dealing with the ink bleeding on the paper (and then having to learn about paper and ink quality) to finally keeping kind of a straight line and attempt to create something of a composition.

For a moment, I felt like I was in the middle of The Two Towers in LOTR battling hordes and hordes of orcs (yes, I’m a little bit of a nerd… if you didn’t yet notice it!)

And then, when I somehow managed to have all of the above working… A huge blob of ink would ruin my project!

I tell you friends, the struggle is real!

But there was something that helped me to feel less frustrated. And that was being able to create some projects that were pretty enough for the level I was at that time, a beginner.

That’s why I want to share today 3 ideas of projects that you can create and who knows? They might also help you, as they helped me, to feel more encouraged about my art and not quitting at it.

1. Re-Use those sheets of PRACTICE!

After hours or practice you start to have several sheets of paper with alphabet samples, numbers or maybe calligraphy exercises.

They might not look pretty at all when you see them. For instance, take a look at this one:

After 1 month into Calligraphy

But what happens when you re-use it as a wrapping paper? Add a nice ribbon and, voilà! Something not pretty turned into something cute!

 Ohhh… What a little ribbon can do!

2. Create a simple quote for a wall decor

In this case I would say: keep it simple, keep it short and if you aim for a baby nursery or kids bedroom then it might be even better, since cute and imperfect sometimes is just what we are looking for in this kind of projects!

Quote for a baby nursery

Additional points: Frame it. Even with an IKEA frame. You’ll see how much of a difference it makes after it’s framed!




It might seem simple but hey…! Who doesn’t love to receive some snail mail love?! I can assure you that not everyone knows how to write how you’re learning to so, feel confident enough to try it! Specially if it’s for a good friend who will appreciate your efforts to send something a little bit more special 🙂

Snail mail day is always a happy day for me!


Okay friends, I hope these ideas are as useful to you as they were to me! Keep on practicing and most important… enjoying that calligraphy practice because we all know: it’s all about the journey!


Ps: Want to join in this Modern Calligraphy adventure?

Sign up for my next Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Workshop in San Jose, CA. Register here. Beginner kit, refreshments and treats included. Hope to see you there!

about handmade paper and a lesson learnt

Yesterday I was struggling to create a wedding invitation in a stunning handmade paper.

It had to be kind of an elegant/dreamy/romantic theme for the invite so I started sketching first.

When I had something that I was ok with, I started the inking process and following suggestions of other colleagues I attempted to use the Brause Rose Nib. And then, the struggle began.

It wasn’t that I was catching fibers of the paper or anything like that. It was just that I felt that it was too hideous to do it and it took me forever and even waste 2 pieces of that luxurious paper.

Anyhow, I did it. I created the wedding invitation and the RSVP.

Today, the final part came.

I had to finish the suite with a hand-drawn map. So I chose to go, for this project, with one of my favorites nibs: a Nikko G.

First I did my practicing sketch on pencil and just a regular US letter paper and then I started the inking process on the handmade paper.

I drew it all at once and in only 15 minutes. I was so surprised.

And then it hit me as a thunder. First, I was doing something that was totally out of my comfort zone (I was even trying a different lettering style, not one of my own) and that was what made it so uncomfortable and difficult.

But folks, we don’t need to stay in that uncomfortable place forever! Otherwise, life would suck!

I think that just trying new things, getting out of that safe place for a little while, leaves marks that will help create a bigger, richer, even more complex reality.

As in life we need time to be awake and time to rest, we also need to explore out of our comfort zone but then go back to our safe place in order to create with a wider vision after that experience.

But then of course, creative life doesn’t work this way but all together, like on a Möebius strip!

Now, a quick video from this morning sharing all of this on social media.


about last year and this week

Hi folks, weekly post here and today with more good news!

Last year I had the amazing opportunity to create some beautiful calligraphy pieces for the Styled Pop Up Series Workshop; by the way, if you’re a beginner lifestyle photographer or are curious about lifestyle photography, you need to check it out!

Welcome sign that I created for the workshop


Now this week, I have the joy to tell you that the Styled Pop Up Series has been PUBLISHED by Borrowed & Blue!

What an amazing opportunity that was!

modern calligraphy wedding invitation suite


I’m so happy that this Romantic Winery Styled Shoot’s wedding will be featured front and center on their San Francisco home page!

In love with this beautiful state that I call now home: California


Click in the image below to see all the pictures from this Styled Series Pop Up with an amazing winery theme wedding inspiration!

See you next week, friends!

– – – – – –

List of Vendors:
Wedding Planner:

what are you doing in may?

Folks, I have a new date available for my Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Workshop!

It will be on Sunday May 21st from 3-5pm. Be sure to register here.

Now, some pictures of the last one on April 13th.

Each one of my workshops have different colors, this one was holographic, a very trendy theme at the moment.

morning workshop with fresh donuts from my favorite spot in willow glen, san jose


nibs and ink JARs




There’s still one more workshop in April but that one is already sold out.

But don’t forget you have another chance in May!

See you soon!



some tips about printable files III

Hi there, today I have a new post with a new idea for the printable files that you can get at my etsy shop.

Sometimes a simple printable file for a greeting card can be use in multiple ways, for instance as gift tags!

Or some other times we want to use the same file to create several mini greeting cards. For those times, this idea will be super useful!


On your printing options, choose to print i.e. 16 copies per page. Print them, trim them and you’ll have 16 adorable tags to add to your gifts.

I did this for last Valentine’s Day treats for my son’s school and they were the cutest and one of a kind treats’ tags!

Have a great week folks!

some tips about printable files II

Hi folks!

A new tip to get a better quality print of the digital files that you can buy on my etsy shop.

Choosing the right option

When you’re about to print your digital file, choose “photo” despite of using a photo paper; choose the “photo” option even if you’re using a plain paper.

By choosing this option, you’ll get a brighter print with a better quality.

Here’s a short video guide on how I do it.

See you soon with more ideas! Have a great week!

some tips about printable files

Printable files are an affordable, super fast way to get some art for your wedding, birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, holidays and also art that you can print at home, frame and hang it as decor on your walls.

These days you can buy online and print at home a greeting card, a dessert table sign or even an alternative guestbook for your special celebration avoiding the shipping fees or the wait!

Sounds great, right? But printing at home is not always easy… I get that. So, today I want to share a quick tip to help you get a better quality print for the printables that you can get at my etsy shop.

-One of the things that makes the most professional look on an art-print is to having the design to reach to the edges of the paper, leaving no white margins.

How to achieve this?

When you’re going to print, choose the option “Scale to fit” and then “Fill the Entire Paper“.

Following this simple step will make the whole design to occupy the entire page and there will be no white edges to trim later!

Isn’t that cool?!

Now, be sure to stay tuned, I’ll be posting more useful tips like this to bring the best out of your home printer soon!

Happy week everyone!

modern calligraphy workshop recap

Hi there!

Today I wanted to share some pics of the Modern Calligraphy workshop that I offered at A Work Of Heart Studio in the charming Willow Glen neighborhood in San Jose, CA.

For this opportunity, Bonjour Bloom prepared a beautiful flower arrangement for the chalkboard sign that I did and another one for the table.

The workshop lasted 2 hours and it included a Beginner Calligraphy Kit and some extra goodies.

The beginner calligraphy kit includes 2 (two) different kind of nibs, a straight pen holder, 2 (two) jars of professional white and black calligraphy inks and -most important- a lesson handout with useful information about how to prepare your nibs, hold your penholder, clean and maintain your tools, alphabet and numbers sample and more!

I also added a list of my favorite tools like brands of papers, nibs, inks in the handout, something that’s so useful to continue the practice on your own calligraphy journey.

In this opportunity, I gave the students some personalized notebooks that I prepared with their names. I love to be in those little details!

The students and I had a lot of fun!

I’ve added a new date for the workshop!

So come join the fun and learn the beautiful art of Modern Calligraphy on April 2nd or April 30th at A Work Of Heart in San Jose, CA.

I hope to see you there!

inspiration for winery weddings: styled pop up series 2016

Hi folks,

Quick post here just to share with you the video from last year’s Styled Pop Up Series for which I did some of my favorite calligraphy pieces from 2016!

Gorgeous inspiration for winery weddings!

Wedding Planner:
Make Up:
Bride’s Gown:
Bridesmaid Dresses:
Bridal Garter:
Furniture Rentals:
Floral Design:
Bride’s Shoes:

introduction to modern calligraphy workshop

Hi friends!

I’m so happy to share the news that I have two upcoming dates for my Introduction to Modern Calligraphy workshop.

It’s a 2-hour program in which we’re going to learn:

-How to assemble your pen, inking up you pen, proper holding and basic strokes.
-Practicing exercises
-Uppercase letters
-Lowercase letters
-How to clean and maintain your nibs.
-Tips on paper, ink, brands.

A beginner calligraphy kit it’s included and it brings some great tools to start practicing calligraphy:

-1 Straight Pen Holder
-Starter nib
-2 small jars of ink
-Different papers (grid for practice, white and black 4×6 for projects)
-Alphabet Sample

Join me on Wednesday 8th or Sunday 12th at A Work Of Heart Studio in the charming neighborhood of Willow Glen to learn the beautiful art of modern calligraphy. Register here.

See you there!

I’m back! are you still there?

Hi friends!

It’s been a while, I know. So many things happened since I’ve last wrote on this blog.

And everyday that goes by makes it a little bit more difficult to write again because… it feels that it’s been decades since I last posted something on the blog!

Anyway, in order to put an end to this “never-ending blog neurosis”,  I decided to just start by saying:

Hey, I’m back! Are you still there?

If so, I’m so happy that you’re reading this!

Also, since Valentine’s it’s just around the corner, I have a little something for you <3

A free Happy Galentine’s printable card.

Download it here and send it to your bestie! Because we all need those girl-friends that make our life much better!

Have a lovely week everyone!


calligraphy || mother’s day giveaway

Since November last year, I’ve been practicing calligraphy, reading about it, doing some online courses (here and here) and I also attended a short workshop with Bay Area calligrapher Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls

It’s been an interesting journey to use other media to express myself.

I specially like Modern Calligraphy since it gives me the freedom to develop my own style. I feel that it’s like drawing, but drawing letters 🙂

This year I decided to use this technique plus some watercolors to create a free downloadable art for Mother’s Day.

Motherhood is an amazing journey. It’s a rollercoaster, it has the scariest moments and the most fun moments all-together.

Sometimes it seems that a day lasts forever; just like when you’re going up in your cart and it seems it will never end climbing and then, suddenly, it goes so fast that you still feel like it was just a moment ago when everything started.

Hemingway wrote one of my favorites quotes and, now that I think about it, it can also be used to express how kids grow up: “Gradually, then suddenly“.

Motherhood is an amazing journey. You can do it alone, but it will take part of your sanity on the journey so it’s just much better if you have other(s) around to help.

For some moms, the help comes from their partners, for other it comes from amazing parents or in-laws, for others great relatives, good friends or even a kind neighbor or from the community close to you. And even when none of those exist or we don’t feel their help, God is always there, in our hardest moments when we don’t even think he could possibly be there with us and in the easiest silliest ones: always.  

Motherhood is an amazing journey. So, take this gift and send it to a mom you know because we are all in this together and feeling  that we’re not alone in this is… Oh boy, such a relief!

We’re all in this together. We’re changing our world raising the human beings of the future.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Love <3


Mother's Day





idea for ben & jerry

Hi Ben & Jerry!

I have the name of the next Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Chips flavor that you need to create in the next 7 days: “PMS”

It was either that name or “I’m filing for Divorce” because if B&J creates that flavor, then my husband better not even dare to touch it during my PMS days… Otherwise, he can consider himself served! 😛



my etsy shop is open for business!

More happy news to share! My Etsy shop is open for business and now you can buy my art as a downloadable file and print it at your house. That’s right, downloadable/printable. However you want to call it!
Those digital files are ONLY available at my Etsy shop!

Art-prints, frames, clothing and accessories items are as always available at my online gift store.
Thank you for visiting and see you around!

varenyky recipe

The first time that I tried this meal I think it was at my beloved grandma’s. But also one of my sisters in law, Neny, -from Ukrainian ancestry- prepares this deliciousness every now and then and whenever I’m visiting her in Argentina, I asked her to prepare varenyky for me. They are amazing!

I grew up in Posadas, the capital of Misiones. This state was home to a lot of immigrants from different places of the world. In fact, each year Misiones celebrate the National Immigrant Festival where different communities sell their traditional food/drinks while offering live music or dances from their country. It’s a very important festival during the year and it’s a great moment to visit if you’re ever visiting Argentina 🙂

Back to the varenyky recipe. I had to do my research and experiment with different recipes because the family one that I had wasn’t working here since the flour is different.

So, after my experiments I got to this one that’s pretty, pretty… amazing!

You’ll need:

  • 2 1/4 cups organic all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • 1 organic egg yolk
  • 1 organic egg
  • 1 cup organic sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • extra:  1/8 cup organic all purpose flour

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt.


In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted grass-fed butter (it doesn’t have to be hot!), organic sour cream, organic eggs, yolk and canola oil.


Add the wet ingredients into the flour and stir until blended. Cover the bowl with a cloth, and let it rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.


Transfer dough to a floured surface and use a rolling pin to make it thinner. Add the 1/8 cup extra flour if you need to, so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin.


Use a cookie cutter to make the circles. You can also use a regular mug or glass if you don’t have a cookie cutter; just add a little bit of flour to the borders so it doesn’t stick to the dough.


Add a spoon of the filling to each circle of dough and use your fingers to fold them over into half-circles and press to seal the edges. If you find it difficult to seal them, you can use just some drops of water to the edge to help you to seal the dough.

*I used a ricotta filling made with this ricotta, salt and pepper.

Place varenyky on a cookie sheet, and freeze. Once they’re frozen, you can transfer them to freezer bags.


Whenever you want to cook the varenyky, just bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook them until they float to the top. It’s about 3-5 minutes (depending on the size). 


Remove the varenyky with a slotted spoon and serve immediately.


You can add some warm heavy cream and/or tomato sauce.


They are a delicious winter meal.



sweet meringue cookies

I love having some homemade cookies that last a week or so that we can enjoy as a sweet treat in the afternoon with an espresso.


Here goes my recipe for these meringue cookies. You’ll need:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup organic sugar

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Prepare non-stick cookie sheet.

Start mixing the egg whites (speed 4 for 2 minutes then 6) and add the sugar slowly.


Mix until the meringue is stiff.


Add the meringue to a pastry bag or a ziploc one if you don’t have a more professional pastry bag 😛


Place small drops of the meringue on the cookie sheets.


Bake at 250 degrees F for 1:15 h or until they start to get a golden color. Remove the tray from the oven. Let the cookies cool before putting them in a cookie container.



mbeju recipe

Hi folks, I decided to start this new week sharing a new South American recipe on the blog: Mbeju.

Let’s say that it’s great for breakfast, dinner or as a snack. You’ll feel satisfied and won’t get hungry for several hours after eating this cheesy, gluten-free tortilla-like.

Actually it’s a recipe from Paraguay, but you guys now that I was born in Misiones, just a river separates us from our brothers in Paraguay. In both sides, we grow tapioca (mandioca) and its flour it’s a fundamental ingredient in the diet of these regions… or was 😛

More about this food here.

For one mbejú, you’ll need (did I mention that it’s actually shareable?)

  • 1 cup tapioca flour (available in Whole Foods, Latin Grocery Markets and guess what? Some Asian markets also carry tapioca starch or flour and it’s super cheap, something like $0.79 per pound).
  • 1/2 cup gouda cheese (curds or grated)
  • 1/8 cup organic milk
  • 1/8 cup water (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Begin by combining the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the melted butter.


When it has a crumble consistency, add the milk, cheese and then the water. Use your hands to integrate them after each addition.


It will have this crumble look. Don’t worry, it’s going to become something in a few minutes.


Add a little butter to a large pan and set it to medium heat.


Add the mixture to the pan and set it to a lower heat.


Use a spoon to give a more flatten look to this crumble mixture.


When the cheese starts melting it might be the moment to turn it over. You’ll see that’s it’s easy to unstick it from the pan using a spatula when it’s done.


Usually, I slide the mbeju to a dish using a spatula and then flip it with the help of another dish.


Use what’s easier for you to flip the mbeju and cook it on the other side for another 3-5 minutes. Serve warm.


All those golden-brown pieces of deliciousness…


Serve warm.


Enjoy it with a cup of mate cocido!



stuffed spaghetti squash

Since I moved to the USA, I had to learn how to cook with local ingredients.

We’re subscribed to our CSA monthly box of local and organic fruits and veggies, so now that it’s -finally- fall in San Jose, CA we’ve received something I never saw before when I was living in Argentina. It’s spaghetti squash and it’s great.


I thought of preparing it stuffed with a meat-tomato sauce, as they do it in Argentina with other kind of pumpkins. For the stuffing, I’ve changed the beef for pork ground (which I also received monthly from a local ranch) and I also added some linguiça (portuguese pork sausage) for more flavor. This is a great recipe for autumn/wintery days. I hope you enjoy it!

You’ll need:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 link of linguiça
  • 1 lb  ground pork
  • 1 small organic onion, diced
  • 1/2 small organic red pepper, diced
  • 1 organic garlic clove, without the sprout
  • 1 tbsp green onions
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (easy, non-fat, homemade recipe here)
  • 1 slice of fresh mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp organic ricotta (I used the same than I did with this other recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

Now, let’s do this.

First, cut the squash in half and brush the inner flesh of the spaghetti squash with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

Bake it, skin side up, in a preheated 375F oven until tender, about 30-45 minutes.


Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a large pan and add the diced onions and the garlic. Cook about 3-4 minutes and then add the peppers.


Cook about 2-3 minutes more and add the ground pork and the sausage (linguiça). Let it cook thoroughly stirring it from time to time with a wooden spoon.


Add the tomato sauce, dried oregano, basil, salt and pepper and a bay leaf. Let it cook for 10 minutes at low heat.

When the meat is totally cooked, turn off the stove and let it rest at room temperature until you’re going to use it.


When the squash is done, remove it from the oven.


Use a fork to fluff up some of the inside flesh of each half to form the spaghetti.


Add some of the ground pork linguiça tomato sauce, the ricotta and the mozzarella pieces over the spaghetti in each half.


Broil  until the cheese has melted and turned a light golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.


Serve and enjoy!