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The Cultured Circle

The Cultured Circle

September, 2016

Summer: Out with a Bang!

At Home With Michaele...

Growing up in Grenada, my mom Doris cooked every day. She was also an avid gardener. From a very young age, I had an appreciation for fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables because the distance we had to travel to procure them was quite short—our backyard. It is not surprising that many of the things that were my mom’s hobbies are now my hobbies. I am truly blessed to be doing what I absolutely love. Gardening, cooking, food styling and photography bring me great fulfillment. Nothing tops preparing delicious recipes for my family and friends or throwing a party. Regardless of the occasion, there is always something immensely delicious on Michaele’s Menu.

I welcome you to my home as I share delicious recipes inspired by flavors I grew up enjoying that I now prepare for my family, some of my hobbies and interests. At Home with Michaele: A Celebration of Food, Photography and Lifestyle brings all of the things I love to life!

The most important message I would like to convey is that anyone—the busy mom or dad, the novice cook or the ultimate foodie—can create incredibly delicious meals and make them look irresistible too!


Cooking with Seasonal Ingredients

Succulent, Delicious Figs

Sweet, succulent, figs have been enjoyed since ancient times and are an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamins. Fresh figs can be used in many ways- salads, baked goods, desserts, and sauces just to name a few. Grilled figs with ricotta make a delightful, hassle free dessert. Simply halve the figs, sprinkle them with a little brown sugar and grill them in a grill pan or on a grill for 3-4 minutes. Grilling figs caramelizes some of the natural sugars and accentuates the natural sugar. Just serve with some ricotta cheese and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and you have a delicate, gourmet, low calorie dessert.

Grilled Figs with Ricotta

Serves 2

What You Need

8 ripe, fresh figs

2 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ cup oil

¼ cup ricotta cheese

3 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar

Arugula or mint leaves for garnish

How to Make It

  1. Cut figs in half and place in a bowl.​

  2. Add brown sugar and toss gently.

  3. Heat grill or a grill pan to medium-hot.

  4. Lightly oil grill grates or grill pan with a cotton rag dipped in oil.

  5. Place figs on grill or grill pan cut side down and grill for 3-4 minutes.

  6. Turn fig slices over and grill for an additional 3-4 minutes.

  7. Remove figs from grill.

  8. Place about two tablespoons of ricotta on serving plate, then place four fig halves, cut side up.

  9. Drizzle with fig balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar and garnish with arugula or mint leaves.


Back To School

One of the most effective ways to get young children to transition to a school setting or back to school is by maintaining a routine. Start waking up your child or children at the time that they would need to get out of bed to prepare for school. Have the things/items that would be needed in preparation for school in dedicated spaces.

Planning is key; from getting them ready, to their meals and snacks. School lunches have come a long way since the prepackaged frozen meals. I am using the word “meals” loosely. Nowadays, while school lunches might not be ‘gourmet” they are fresher, healthier and tastier. School meals may be a convenient option for busy parents.

Have a great school year!


High Quality, Reliable Childcare

High quality, reliable childcare is a challenge for many working parents. All parents want to be confident that their little ones are well supervised, and well cared for in their absence. After careful consideration of possible options for our son, we decided on an au pair. We were interested in the cultural exchange, in addition to our son learning a second language. Bear in mind that all au pairs are not created equal and au pair agencies’ support for host families when issues arise vary. If this is an option you are considering do your research and conduct multiple thorough interviews with potential candidates. Still you can’t be certain that the match will work because sometimes they don’t. After a few undesirable experiences, we have had a true gem to join our family.

It you are interested in an au pair I encourage to you get a copy of Being a Great Au Pair: A Practical Guide. It is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese. The book is a trusted companion in navigating the complex dynamics of a host family-au pair relationship and maximizing what is intended to be a mutually rewarding intercultural experience.

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