Tag: Portuguese

Fillet Sole Recipe

It is always a compliment when I get requests from loyal readers of Momma Braga and today’s recipe post is inspired by one of them.

A recipe that I love doing and is also one of my favorite dishes is fillet of sole. Growing up in a Portuguese household, fish was consumed at least one to two times a week. One popular dish is the fillet of sole.

Now many prepare and cook it differently which makes recipe sharing a delight. You can always try something new on a tradition.

Here is my simple recipe on a classic Portuguese dish.

INGREDIENTS

  • Fillet soles
  • Salt
  • Lemon
  • Olive Oil
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Eggs

DIRECTIONS

  • First clean the fillet soles in water (I usually grab a package of fillets at my local grocery store which are frozen. Once unfrozen, I wash them.)
  • Once cleaned marinate them with a little salt and squeeze lemon over all the fish.
  • While it sits in the juices, prep your work station.
  • First spread all-purpose flour on a flat plate.
  • Secondly, crack two eggs in a bowl (placing the shells in the compost). Scramble the eggs in the bowl.
  • Thirdly, add olive oil to a frying pan. Place the pan on the oven for frying. Start the heat on low to get the olive oil warm.
  • Then the frying fish process begins. First take a fillet and dip it into the egg bowl to cover the fish in egg. Once completed place it on the plate with the all-purpose flour. Cover the fish on both sides with the flour. Then place the fish in the frying pan. Let it fry one side and then flip it to the other side. I usually let it cook until it is golden crispy.
  • Repeat the above step until all the fish is cooked.

That is it! A simple recipe that will have your guests raving. For side dishes you can do anything like salad, veggies, rice and potatoes. One of our favorite is the Portuguese Style Rice. Either way many sides would make this dish delish!

Would love to hear what you like as a side with fish.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

–Momma Braga

 

 

Canja Da Galinha (Portuguese Chicken Soup) Recipe

The beauty of recipes is the variations that can be done with them. This is why I love sharing the way my family makes some traditional Portuguese dishes as every family does it a little different but all still so great.

One of my favorite soups growing up is Canja da Galinha which is Chicken Soup. It is perfect for a cold winter’s day and it is just so very yummy! My mom just made this recently and it made me remember some great childhood memories. So I asked her to share her recipe and she was delighted to share it with all of you.

As I was writing my mom’s instructions I realized how simple this soup was to make and will be giving it a try myself very soon.

Canja Da Galinha (Portuguese Chicken Soup) Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • Water
  • Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Salt
  • 1 Chicken Bouillon Cube
  • Onion (Chopped into quarters)
  • Olive Oil
  • Long Grain Rice (usually 1 – 2 cups, depending on how much you want to make)

DIRECTIONS

  • Fill a pot with water and add the boneless and skinless chicken breasts.
  • Once the chicken is cooked. Remove from the water and with a knife cut up the chicken breasts into shredded pieces.
  • In a new pot, fill it with at least 3 cups of water.
  • Add some salt, onion (in quarters), 1 chicken bouillon cube, olive oil and the long grain rice.
  • Stir the ingredients in the pot under medium heat.
  • Once the rice is expanded and tender, add the cooked chicken breast.
  • Stir one last time and close the heat.
  • Optional: There are other ingredients that you can add into the soup and to each their own. 😉 We have added some chicken giblets and gizzards into the soup as well and it has been delish!

And there you have it, Portuguese Chicken Soup! Such a quick and simple way to a nice soup for those cold crisp days. Give it a try and let me know what you think of it!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

 

 

 

 

 

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Portuguese Potato Salad With Tuna

A few weeks ago I was chatting with one of my uncles about my blog and the feature of recipes. We went through a different list of some of our favorite dishes and then he asked if I shared the Portuguese Potato Salad with Tuna recipe…I haven’t! So thank you Uncle John for inspiring this share!

Growing up this was a dish that my mom often made and it was so yummy but I think families will appreciate how quick and easy it is to make.

Portuguese Potato Salad With Tuna

INGREDIENTS

  • Water
  • Potatoes
  • Salt
  • Garlic Powder or a Clove of Garlic
  • Tuna
  • Olive Oil
  • Optional: Eggs, Onion and Chickpeas

DIRECTIONS

  • Peel the potatoes, chop them into pieces and wash them in water.
  • Fill a pot with water and add the chopped potatoes.
  • In the pot add some salt and a dash of garlic powder or a clove of garlic (This is a great added taste). You can also use this time to boil eggs if you would like to add this to the dish.
  • Boil the potatoes until they get soft to eat. You may want to taste them during the process to see if you need to add some more salt for taste.
  • Once the potatoes are cooked, drain the water.
  • Open up a can of tuna and drain out the oil. Break up the tuna to place over the potatoes.
  • Take your plate and add the desired potatoes that you would like to eat, then add the tuna that you would like on top.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the food and mix it all together.
  • Optional: Chop up some onions to add on top and slice up some boiled eggs. You can even add chickpeas to the dish and it will be just as great and filling!


And there you have it, Portuguese Potato Salad with Tuna! Give it a try and let me know what you think of it!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

Malasada World Will Rock Your Taste Buds

Growing up in a Portuguese household it was a special treat when my mom would make us malasadas to eat. For those who may not know, a malasada is a Portuguese confection, made of egg-sized balls of yeast dough that are deep-fried in oil and coated with granulated sugar. It really is delicious and it is well known to be a delight that was created from the Azores and Madeira.

Therefore, when I heard about a place called Malasada World, I was extremely excited! How could I have not known that there was a place that specialized in malasadas and where exactly was this place???

Malasada World is located at 33 Ainslie St N in Cambridge (formerly known as Galt City). They are located in a perfect spot, downtown.

So this meant that Momma Braga had to take a road trip! I couldn’t try this place on my own so I had to bring my entourage (my family) with me.

We planned a Saturday outing to Cambridge which is about a 45 minute drive from where we live. We found a parking lot just a few minutes North from where Malasada World is located and it is free for the first two hours (not bad considering that when you park in downtown Toronto, it is never free). Even though we had a gloomy and rainy day, we were still all excited to try a malasada.

We arrived and were greeted by the friendly staff and we got to meet Steve, the face that runs Malasada World!

Steve outside of Malasada World.
Photo Credit: http://www.bassem.ca

My impression of Steve surpassed my expectations as he is a nice and humble person to meet. He has a great sense of humor and if you are at his shop and you don’t want your family to know, he will keep your secret! 😉 He is also the one at the back working really hard to delight your taste buds. You can say that he made a great first impression on all of us.

Now it was time for the true test…the taste test. Was the malasada going to pass the Momma Braga taste test? Will Malasada World make it on the #MelandNikkiReview?

Yes! Yes it did!

Since I have been known for my candid honesty on my blog, I have to say that the traditional malasada that I tried was much better than any other malasada that I have ever had before (sorry mom!). It was fluffy, light and had just the right amount of sugar. It was perfection! I don’t say that often but I can in this case. Everyone in my group loved it as much as I did and my group is one of the hardest critics to please, so bravo Malasada World!

So how did Malasada World begin and who exactly is Steve? I got the inside scoop to share with all of you!

Tell me a little about yourself.

“I am a first generation Portuguese Canadian, born in Cambridge Ontario. I am a 43 year old father of two wonderful young women. My family is from Santa Maria in the Azores, Portugal. I am a classic trained Chef with just over 20 years of experience in different segments of the food and hospitality business. Food and hospitality industry runs in the family.”

Photo Credit: http://www.bassem.ca

What inspired you to call your shop, Malasada World?

“I was thinking of a name that would really help make the brand/concept stand out and speak for itself. I narrowed it down to three names. Luso Donuts and Tia Maria’s Malasadas were the others. I even did a little survey on Facebook to see what my friends would pick. In the end, we picked Malasada World! It was the one that made the most sense after much thought.”

When did you start your business?

“I started the vision for this business concept many years ago! About 11 years ago, I told one of my colleagues it would be nice to just make donuts for the rest of my career. That was Chef Andrew Dymond at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The first time I made them for sale was about five years ago in Prince Edward County at a friend’s farm called, Vicki’s Veggies. Our shop in Cambridge has just recently celebrated its one year anniversary! We opened on Portugal Day in 2016.”

Tell me a little bit about what you serve.

“At the shop we offer everything the MALASADA has to offer! Different varieties including the Traditional Style I grew up with. We also make the Hawaiian style that are enjoyed today in bakeries all over Hawaii. We have developed our very own version of the Malasada with different toppings and refer to these as our “Signature Style.” Our most popular is called the DoughNATA. It is a hybrid of the famous Portuguese custard tart called a “Pastel de Nata” and our Malasada. It’s kind of both put together (minus the puff pastry)!

I have also taken the Malasada dough and developed a line of Baked Malasada Buns and Loaves. This Malasada bread is showcased and used in our daily sandwich menu. We are MALASADA WORLD!”

What do you hope your business accomplishes?

“I want Malasada World to be recognized for being the BEST Portuguese inspired fast casual specialty donut shop! I also hope to achieve international success with a location in Sao Miguel in the future.”

Where would you like to see your business in five years?

“I hope to grow the business and have additional locations in and around Southern Ontario. I am currently looking for the right investors to team up with.”

Anything new on the horizon for Malasada World that we can officially announce on Momma Braga?

“We are currently working on the business plan for a mobile unit for Malasada World. Either a food truck or trailer. We would then be able to serve our customers at private parties and corporate events!”

How important was it for you to bring a piece of your culture to share with the world?

“It was very important for me to somehow include my cultural background and family food experiences into my business model. I think that Portuguese cuisine in general is under represented and is not as familiar as other cuisine’s of the world to the general public. Portuguese cuisine is wonderful and I would like to showcase it more.”

Photo of Steve’s dad and mom who is expecting Steve. You can tell the family’s love of Malasadas!

Thank you so much Steve for the inside scoop and for allowing Momma Braga the opportunity to feature you!

For this #MelandNikkiReview we give Malasada World, a 5+ DoghNATAs out of 5! This is the first review over 5 and it is much deserved. Malasada World has made it on the #MommaBragaApproved and #Recommended lists. If you are looking for a taste of culture done at its finest then Malasada World is for you! Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and please note their posts may cause you to drool.

A Momma Braga tip is to order your malasadas in advance especially if you are travelling from afar as they do sell out fast! To avoid disappointment, feel free to call them at 519.267.7177 or email them at malasadaworld@gmail.com. Walk-ins are always welcomed but you will need to arrive early to taste some malasada goodness!

Once again thank you Malasada World and Cambridge for having us and I will be back!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this is not a paid or sponsored post. Momma Braga did not receive any form of compensation in exchange for this review and all opinions in this post are my own honest opinions.

 

Momma Braga’s Portuguese Beef Stew (Carne Guisada)

Beef stew (Carne Guisada) is a favorite in my household and one that I grew up with. Like with many recipes there are so many different ways of making it! Here is how my family makes this popular dish.

Carne Guisada

INGREDIENTS

  • Over a pound of chopped beef stew meat
  • 1 Onion
  • Half of a tomato
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Half a cup of red wine
  • Half a cup of water
  • 5 to 7 potatoes
  • Portuguese buns

DIRECTIONS

  • Marinate your beef stew meat. I usually do this the night before to have the meat soak in the juices for more flavor.
    • Wash meat well.
    • Place meat in a bowl and add the following ingredients; salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, half a cup of wine and half a cup of water. Measurements for the ingredients are based on what you normally use in your meat marinating. Then mix well.
    • Leave the meat covered and in the fridge for the next day cooking.
  • The following day start by washing the onions, tomato and potatoes. Chop up the onions, tomato and potatoes. Everyone has a preferred style for potatoes in their stew, we like it diced. Set the potatoes aside as you will need them later.
  • Once the onions and tomato are cut, place them in a pot with some olive oil with a pinch of paprika. On low heat cook the onion and tomato until the onions are a golden color. Then add your meat with it’s sauce that you marinated with the day before.
  • Let it cook on medium and stir.
  • Once the meat is almost cooked, add your potatoes and a pinch of salt. This will add flavor to the potatoes you just added. If you feel that you need to add some more water then add another cup of water. Sometimes the meat soaks up a lot of the liquid as you are cooking.
  • Now cook until the potatoes are cooked and you are done. If a fork goes through the potatoes then that is my sign that they are done.
  • You can serve your beef stew in a bowl and if you like Portuguese buns, then provide some at the dinner table as they are great for dipping into the stew (my favorite part of the whole meal!).

And there you have it, Momma Braga’s beef stew! Give it a try and let me know what you think of it!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

Bifanas (Beef Sandwich) Recipe

Bifanas is a popular dish in the Portuguese community and I learned how to make it recently with my mom. To my surprise it was really simple and didn’t take too long to make. Normally this dish is done using pork but we use beef instead.

I know that simple and easy to do dishes is always ideal for families and hopefully you will all enjoy this as much as we do.

BIFANAS

INGREDIENTS

  • Beef (Thin cut is best)
  • 3 onions
  • Red Pepper (or Green or Yellow)
  • Tablespoon of butter
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Half cup of wine
  • Half cup of water
  • Buns

DIRECTIONS

  • Marinate your beef prior to cooking. I usually do this the night before to have the beef soak in the juices for more flavor.
    • Wash beefs well.
    • Place beefs in a bowl and add the following ingredients; salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, half cup of wine and half cup of water. Measurements for the ingredients are based on what you normally use in your meat marinating.
    • Leave the beef covered and in the fridge for the next day cooking.
  • The following day you can start cutting up your onions and bell peppers to be cooked which will be used in the sandwiches.
  • In a pot add the onions, bell peppers and the beef (without the sauce that it was in). Also add a tablespoon of butter.

  • Let it cook and stir as its cooking.
  • Once it is cooked, add your favourite tomato sauce and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  • After the 5 minutes, it is ready to be served.
  • Take buns and place the beef, onions and bell peppers in them.

And there you have it, bifanas in the simplest way! Give it a try and let me know what you think of it!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

Portuguese Braised Peas with Eggs and Chourico Recipe

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my very first recipe blog post and it was a hit! Thank you to everyone who enjoyed it and shared the recipe. Since it was such a hit, I decided to share another recipe and this time it is one from my mom.

Last weekend I went to visit my parents and my mom made me one of my favorite Portuguese dishes that I grew up with. It is called Ervilhas Guisadas which is Portuguese Braised Peas with Eggs and Chourico. This dish is well known in the Portuguese community and many people prepare it differently but the end result is always the same, delicious! Today I am sharing the recipe of how my mom prepares this classic Portuguese dish.

ERVILHAS GUISADAS

INGREDIENTS

  • Medium Chopped Onion
  • Medium Chopped Tomato
  • 1 Portuguese Chorizo, sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • Paprika
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 1 bag of frozen peas
  • Potatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 3 Eggs

DIRECTIONS

  • In a pot, drizzle olive oil to cover the base of the pot. Then add the chopped onion, chopped tomato, sliced chorizo, paprika and black pepper (paprika and black pepper measurements are based on what you normally use in a dish). Stir the ingredients in the pot.
  • Cook on medium heat and once onions are cooked, add about 3 cups of water (or to your liking).
  • Once the water comes to a boil, add frozen peas and potatoes. You can add your sea salt at this point.
  • In a separate bowl, crack the three eggs.
  • When the peas and potatoes are cooked, slowly add the eggs and start stirring.
  • Once the eggs are cooked, your meal is ready to be served.
  • Optional: I personally like eating this meal with a side of corn bread. It’s the Portuguese in me that just loves to have some bread to accompany the food.


Enjoy this meal and if you do make it, don’t forget to take some pictures and send them to me. You can tag your photos with #MommaBragaRecipe or you can email them to me at mommabraga@gmail.com.

Until next time…Happy Cooking!

– Momma Braga

The Impact Of A Grandmother’s Love Lasts A Lifetime

Many grandmothers hold a special place in the hearts of their grandchildren as they provide so much of that extra love and attention that children adore. The connection between a grandmother and her grandchild can last a lifetime and that rings true with me.

A strong, fearless, happy, loving and a beautiful person who is always looking to help others is my definition of a heroine. These qualities are some that I admire in a person and growing up one woman encompassed all this and more. I called her Avó which means grandmother in Portuguese.

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Grandma Lurdes doing her favorite hobby, crochet.

I always wrote about my grandmother, Lurdes, as my heroine in many of my school assignments as she inspired me to be a better person. Even though she lived an ocean away in Azores, Portugal, I still felt such a special connection to her.

I first officially met my grandmother when I was two years old. My parents took me to Portugal to introduce me to my family there. Of course, I cannot recall many of those memories but from what I am told, I loved every minute of it. What I do remember was her love, smile, laughter and all the grandma hugs and kisses. There was just something so very special about her.

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My grandmother Lurdes with a two year old me in Sao Miguel, Acores.

After that trip, it took a really long time to go back. However, we always called and every year my grandmother always made sure to call me for my birthday. She never forgot, no matter how many grandchildren or great grandchildren were in her life.

At the age of 17, I managed to save enough money to book a trip to see her again. This time I went with just my little sister who was 10 years old at the time. My sister didn’t have the opportunity to meet our amazing grandmother yet so this was her first time. The beauty of this trip was my ability to remember it.  

I was so happy to see my grandmother again and hugged her so tight! We talked as if there was no ocean that kept us apart and I just felt at home in her heart.   

On my trip, I remember her telling me how her heart would ache seeing all the children without socks in her village and when I told her that I had brand new socks that I could give, she started to cry with joy. Seeing her with so much joy to be able to help those children felt so great and special. She turned to me and said, “I knew there was something extra special about you!” My heart fluttered with her words as she is the one who inspired me to want to be a better person.

During our whole trip she was so loving, caring, and always made us laugh. Of course, she allowed us to have a little more freedom than we would have had with my parents around. She also made sure that we had the time of our lives, but isn’t that what grandmothers are for! 😉 

At one point of our trip, she showed me a doll that I had left there when I was two. I couldn’t believe she kept it all this time and it still looked great! My grandmother then told me that she took really good care of the doll for me. She washed the doll’s hair and clothes to keep it looking new. I told her how thankful I was for her doing that for me all these years and she said, “She is my Melanie and I had to take care of her.” My heart stopped and I told her to keep Melanie. I couldn’t take it away from her as she sincerely enjoyed the doll. She was just SO sweet!

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When my trip came to an end, I knew in my heart that this would be my last time to see her. We both held each other really tight at the airport and we both started to cry. She turned to me and said, “It is perfectly ok to cry as we know this might be our last time together but know that I will always be in your heart!”

On September 22, 1999, I was the first one in Canada to receive the call that my grandmother had passed away at the age of 88. I remember that a little piece of me shattered that day as she meant the world to me. But in my heart of hearts, I knew she would always be there. My doll did return back to me as it was my turn to care for her and I call her Lurdes.

Letters from my grandmother to me. Now they will be treasured forever.
Letters from my grandmother. Now they will be treasured forever.

I admired my grandmother very much and a quality that I admired most was her compassion and kindness to everyone around her. Everyone that knew her, loved her and always had kind words to say about her. My grandmother was accepting of who people were and she never had anything bad to say about anyone. The love she exemplified was felt by all and she had a way of always looking at the bright side.

She is truly missed by all who she has impacted with her genuine kindness. She will never be forgotten and always remembered for the amazing person that she was.

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Knowing the relationship that I had with both of my grandmothers, I know how important it is for my daughter to have those relationships with her grandmothers. I want my daughter to know who her great grandmother was and to be inspired by her own grandmothers’ love.

The impact of my grandmother’s love will last my lifetime as it has helped shape who I am today. Thank you Avó and I know how much you would have loved to have met my daughter and to love her as much as you loved me.

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Hug your grandparents a little tighter as they are such special people.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

       Momma Braga  
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Dreams Can Come True…Even For A Grandfather | Joe’s Grill

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walter E. Disney

I just love this quote from Mr. Disney and one that can be applied to this special feature, our Grandfather of the Month. In honour of Father’s Day I decided that this month we would feature a Dad of the Month and a Grandfather of the Month.

I am so proud to present Joe from Joe’s Grill as our Grandfather of the Month.

Joe was born and raised in Azores, Portugal. Growing up Joe use to help his father work in the fields and also worked at the fruit and vegetable market. In his spare time he would love to watch his mother cook and that is where he developed his passion for cooking at a very young age. Joe then moved to Canada when he was in his late 20s which was not in his plans. However, when his girlfriend (now loving wife) moved to Canada, he realized he couldn’t live without her and packed up his stuff to start a new life in a new country. Now that is what I call love at its finest!

In Canada, Joe worked in construction but never lost his love for cooking and would cook every chance he got. Family could always be guaranteed an amazing meal when they would visit him. When the time came to retire, Joe thought that it was time to follow his dreams and open up his own restaurant. He knew that some people would call him crazy for wanting to open up a restaurant so late in life but he said, “It’s only too late when you’re gone and here I am one year later with a restaurant and I have never been happier.” He further stated, “It’s not about how much I make but that I am finally doing what I love – cooking!”

Joe's Grill #4

So what motivated this dream to become a reality? Joe always wanted to open his own restaurant but it never seemed like the “right time” to do it. When Joe retired he had some time to think what his next step in life would be. He felt he was too young to retire but yet too old to stay in construction. So after speaking to his wife and children, they knew it was now or never. This is what inspired Joe’s Grill to go from a dream to a reality. Joe’s Grill then opened up for business on June 6th, 2015 and Joe says, “I can truly say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

Joe’s Grill is located at 2291 Kipling Avenue, Unit 111 in Toronto, Ontario. Joe’s Grill offers traditional Portuguese cuisine at affordable prices. They have a variety of different food items available on their menu and some favourites are the Portuguese BBQ Chicken with their signature piri piri sauce served with potatoes and rice. Another favourite is the fillet fish and beef stew. I don’t know about you but my mouth is already watering! I think the neat part about Joe’s Grill is that the food is always made by Joe himself and he always puts his own twist on everything he makes.

Joe's Grill #3

So, why the name Joe’s Grill? Joe said, “The name was inspired by my oldest daughter. I think she wanted customers to know who I was so that is where Joe came in and grill came from me constantly talking about all the things I was going to grill.”

When people visit Joe’s Grill, they can expect a friendly and clean environment with fresh food that is cooked daily. Not to mention that the portion sizes are great too! You can also bring their delicious food to your next meeting or event. To learn more about their catering services, please feel free to give them a call at (647) 343-3595. Catering has become a big part of Joe’s Grill and he offers special menus and can even customize the menus for your special event.

Joe's Grill

Joe’s Grill has recently celebrated their first year anniversary so where does Joe want to see the business in five years? “I would love to see Joe’s Grill grow and become more of a family business. I would like to get my wife and youngest daughter involved.” As you can tell Joe is a family oriented person who just adores his family very much. You would never know that this loving father of two is also a very proud grandfather to an adorable grandson. So how does this dad and grandfather find the time to balance a new growing business and family? “That’s a good question,” says Joe with a smile. “I sometimes feel that there is not enough hours in the day to do it all but then I take a step back and build downtime into my schedule. I have learned over the years that a little relaxation goes a long way.”

Well said Joe! This is why you are our Grandfather of the Month. Not only do you always put your family above anything else, you had the courage to follow your dreams. You have shown your family and friends around you that anything is possible at any age. You are a great example of what can be accomplished if you just believe in yourself.

“For as long as I could remember my father, Joe, has always wanted to open up his own restaurant. I am so proud of him for finally following his dreams. His food is amazing and I’m so happy that other people can now enjoy it as much as my family and I have. No matter how busy he gets at the restaurant he always finds time to come visit his grandson. I was so grateful to have my dad those first few weeks as a new mom as I never had to worry about food. My dad would come over every few days to stock our fridge with enough food to feed a village. He is an amazing father and has already shown to be an amazing grandfather as there is truly nothing he can’t do,” says Chantelle, Joe’s eldest daughter.

Joe exemplifies inspiration in all that he does and continues to do. Joe is such an amazing person that he has offered an exclusive to Momma Braga fans. When you stop by to order food from Joe’s Grill and mention that you read this article, you will receive a little something extra added to your order. How amazing is that?! Thanks Joe as I know my fans and readers will love this!

Joe’s Grill is open from Monday to Friday from 11 AM to 6 PM; Saturday from 11 AM to 5 PM; and Sundays are reserved for catering orders only.

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Make sure to follow Joe’s Grill on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joes-Grill-Portuguese-Cuisine/856622674431523
Instagram: @joesgrillportuguesefood

Special thank you to Joe and his daughter, Chantelle for their time as it is much appreciated!

Don’t forget to mention Momma Braga to Joe and you will receive a little something extra with your order! 😉

Until next time…..Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

Life with an Autistic Son

Parenthood is this rollercoaster journey that has us constantly learning about ourselves. We learn to embrace and enjoy the beautiful moments and we learn to cope with the challenges that parenthood brings us. Everyone’s experience and journey is as different as every child is. Even in one family with more than one child can differ depending on each child. Even though everyone’s experience is different, we can still learn from each one’s experience and never judge it. We do not know one’s full story, the battle they are fighting, or the experiences they have, unless we take the time to talk.

It is my honour to share with all of you the experience of a truly inspiring woman and mother of two, who has learned to alter her life with an autistic son.

Adele was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario Canada and is the first generation of Portuguese Canadians. Adele has two sons; one is 16 years of age and her younger son is 14 with autism.

So what exactly is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

According to Autism Ontario, ASD is a life-long neurological disorder that affects the way a person communicates and relates to the people and world around them. ASD can affect behaviour, social interactions, and one’s ability to communicate verbally. ASD is a spectrum disorder, which means that while all people with ASD will experience certain difficulties, the degree to which each person on the spectrum experiences these challenges will be different.

Onset is early childhood and the presentation changes with development over the life span.

Adele & Aidan’s Story

In 2001, a life changing event occurred within Adele’s immediate family and at the same time Adele noticed changes in her youngest son, Aidan who was only 14 months at the time. The changes she noticed were: he completely stopped talking; he would not respond to his name; had many night terrors; no eye contact and he would get much more frustrated. With these concerns, she took Aidan to the pediatrician and from there they were referred to a developmental pediatrician. After a six month wait to be seen, they were seen by the developmental pediatrician. Many tests and assessments were done. In the meantime, Adele kept track of the changes as the behaviours started to get worse. In 2003, Aidan was diagnosed with Autism by this time he was two years old.

Aidan, received Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) through Erinoak Kids Centre for Treatment and Development for only two years as they were on a waiting list for four years (this is government run program). While Aidan was on the wait list, Adele and her husband paid for private ABA therapy on a part-time basis (this was all that they could afford at the time) and Aidan was also enrolled in preschool.

The ABA approach is used to help teach social, motor, and verbal skills as well as behavioural skills. ABA is especially useful in teaching behaviours to children with Autism who may otherwise not “pick up” these behaviours on their own as other children would. This approach can be used by a parent, counselor, or certified behaviour analyst. Aidan was phased out of ABA as their findings were that he was not “progressing” at the rate required by the program.

On top of this, Adele, did a lot of work with Aidan at home and she was able to help him a great deal as she is what I like to call a “Warrior”. Adele did a lot of research to better educate herself on Autism and she came across a community organization called, Community Living Mississauga who provided her with resources and workshops to help her. Once Aidan was discharged from Erinoak Kids Centre for Treatment and Development for ABA therapy and transitioned full time to elementary school, the teachers at his school were amazing and supportive. But of course Adele never gave up and ensured that the hard work at home never ended too.

“This did not change my life but it altered it. This is all I have known.”

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This experience has made Adele realize that there is a lot more that she could do. She was no longer shy and became more assertive. This motherhood path that she was on gave her a voice, strength and she became fair but firm. “I never gave up and will always be there for my sons,” Adele stated.

When reflecting on her journey, I asked Adele, what has been the biggest accomplishment for her or her son. Adele responded with such pride in her voice and said, “He is able to use the bathroom on his own at the age of 13.” To some they may not understand the significance in this but as a mom when you hear from experts that your son will be in diapers for the rest of his life, and to have him do this on his own is just an amazing accomplishment!

Parenthood is a tough job to begin with so I asked Adele, what advice she can give to a family who has a child with Autism. Adele stated: “It’s not the end of the world and there is hope! Don’t believe everything you hear. It is hard work and it isn’t easy but it can be done.” She further added, “Your children do grow up and you need to adapt with their growth. Get passed the judgement and develop a thick skin.”

Being a working mom with a busy household however does not stop this woman from helping others. Often she helps and guides other moms of autistic children. She comforts them and is always ready to answer any questions that they may have. On top of it all, she gives back to the organization that has helped her family by organizing and executing an annual fundraiser. In 2015, marked the 10th Annual A Night For Autism and it was a sold out crowd with over 500 in attendance. Money raised from the event supports programs and the summer camps for kids with intellectual disabilities at Community Living Mississauga. Talk about an amazing and inspiring woman!

“You go through so many feelings when you first hear that your child has Autism. You fear the unknown; guilt; denial and then acceptance. It is tough but the rewards are priceless. Never give up! The best moment for me is when you finally hear “mom” when you were told you would never hear it.” Adele lastly adds, “I wouldn’t change him for anything!”

Adele’s journey is inspirational and a great lesson for us to love one another no matter how we may be perceived by others. Someone with autism is just a person with individual needs. A person with loving family members. A person who needs to be accepted and included in her or his community. As this person grows into adulthood they need to be given equal opportunity preparing for and succeeding in adulthood. Autism does not end in childhood and it stays with them for the rest of their lives. Let us be more supportive of them and their amazing families that exemplify pure strength.

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I would like to specially thank Adele for sharing her story of hope, courage, and never give up attitude. Thank you for all that you do for your family and for the community!

– Momma Braga