Starting Over

Dec 29, 2015

Welcome to the new, bright and shiny Casa da Nuvea blog! Well, we've been up for a little while but as anyone who creates a site/business can tell you, there are always updates and constant revisions...While I loved my old site on Wordpress, I was ready for a fresh look and one that was more flexible. When I first started Casa Nuvea, I really had no idea what direction I wanted to go in, other than I wanted to share updates on the restoration of my little olive farm. But I also wanted to share stories about my horses, adventures with my dogs, day trips to the beach, photos of flowers from my garden, etc. It was starting to feel a little schizophrenic; was it a blog about olive farming? dog hikes? gardening? horses? camping? Who knew? Certainly not me. I also wanted to move forward with the house and farm and take it on a more entrepreneurial direction. I wanted to be able to share our olive oil with people, open up the house to guests, teach classes, collaborate with local artists and farmers. So, I decided to create a new site for Casa Nuvea and narrow its focus to just the farm and its olive oil. At least for the most part, anyway. There will still be snippets of other parts of my life, because, well, I like to tell those stories, too. I'm still keeping the original blog, as well, and using that to share more about my personal art projects, and new photography collaborations on nature, art & heritage. And of course, horses and dogs. I hope you'll follow along here, as well, and read about all our plans and new offerings…I'm really excited to start this new chapter in my life and see where it all goes.
Thanks for visiting!

These are some photos of the surrounding stone walls covered in moss and lichen, with a view of the eucalyptus grove beyond the property.

I think they're beautiful. They've been neglected and are falling into ruin but will be lovingly restored this coming year. As you can see, the weather here in the serra gets a little chillier, even in summer when these photos were taken. It's a little more wild and windswept than other nearby areas.

P.S. The new website design is by Christina Galani. I've followed her for a while now, and was really excited to finally get to work with her. You can check out her portfolio by clicking on her link below at the end of the page!

A Great Read, Cultural Heritage and a Winning Recipe

Nov 2, 2015

Happy November, everyone!  Today I want to share with you some inspiring work created by a couple of very talented people on matters near and dear to my heart: namely, olive oil and Portugal. Plus, I've included one of my recipes for a delicious (and easy) seasonal meal.

If you're into olive oil at all, you've probably come across the New York Times' bestselling book on the olive oil trade by Tom Mueller. It's a fascinating read, well-written and researched, documenting the cultural history of olive oil (did you know archaeologists have found evidence of olive oil dating back to 5,800 BC?)  and the ongoing battle for authenticity between the mass globalization of olive oil production and the small, independent artisan producers.  While some critics have accused the author of exaggerating the claims of fraudulent EVOO labeling,  I think it's still a great  resource for learning about the significance of olive oil around the world.  Plus, he gives you lots of insight on how to choose your own olive oils to ensure quality. Entertaining and informative. Be sure to pick up a copy of Extra Virginity: the sublime and scandalous world of olive oil at a favorite independent bookshop.

Want more natural history and cultural heritage? Check out this inspiring video about one of Portugal's vanishing traditions. Ricardo Guerreiro is a Portuguese filmmaker and photographer who has produced documentaries for National Geographic Portugal and written books on natural history.
While most of Ricardo's videos are in Portuguese  Arrabida, Almada, and Al-Rabita are in English.         
To see more of his beautiful images, be sure to check out his website and follow him on Facebook.

autumn recipe

Recently, I submitted a photo and recipe to Pelican Hill Resort for their annual Festa dell'Autunno contest and won! Here's the very easy and quick recipe:

Autumn Vegetables with Proscuitto Roasted Sea Bass

2 medium, diced potatoes (2 cups)
3 diced parsnips (2 cups)
1 butternut squash (2 cups)
6 diced carrots (2 cups)
olive oil
salt and pepper
4 cloves of garlic, minced
6 fillets of sea bass (about 7 - 8 ounces)
6 slices of Italian prosciutto or Portuguese presunto
(this was for an Italian event, so I chose prosciutto in this particular instance but would normally choose the Portuguese version)
small bunch of fresh picked rosemary
1 stick of butter
3 tablespoons of lemon juice

Place all the vegetables in a roasting pan or sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Toss with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes in a 400 degree preheated oven, being sure to turn over the vegetables at least once. Add the garlic and continue roasting for another 10 minutes to make sure vegetables are cooked. Brush the fillets with olive oil and place on a baking rack over a foil-lined sheet pan. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap each fillet with a slice of prosciutto all the way around the middle. Roast for 10 - 15 minutes until the the center of the fish is flaky. Melt the butter over low heat and add the rosemary. After 5 minutes, remove the rosemary and add the lemon juice. Serve the the fish surrounded with vegetables on a platter and pour the rosemary butter over the fish.


*If your grocer doesn't stock bass, you can substitute halibut, cod, or orange roughy.

Photos: NuveaPhotography


Sep 24, 2015

Hi guys! I'm so excited to share my new blog design with you! After quite a few fits and starts due to my work schedule, some unexpected summer travel opportunities and going back to school, the new Casa da Nuvea is finally here! In the next few weeks I'll be sharing with you all the restoration updates at the farmhouse, new offerings from the upcoming harvest, the launch of our online shop, delicious olive oil recipes and creative inspiration.

 I'm really proud of the new look of the site and hope you like it as much as I do. I was lucky enough to get to work with a designer I've admired for a long time, Christina Galani. She's really easy to work with, listens to your needs and has a lovely style of her own that I find inspiring. You can follow her on social media, too - I've spent many a quiet afternoon getting lost in her Instagram and Tumblr feeds.

 I've learned so much during these last few months of creating this site and business. One thing is for sure, you can't do it alone. I've always been blessed with a solid group of friends to support me in living out my personal goals and dreams over the years, but when you start your bright and shining biz not all of your friends and family necessarily want to hear about all the ins and outs of starting a small business. That's why it's so important to reach out and find a community of like-minded peeps who get you and what you're trying to do. But as we get older, it can get harder to meet other creative entrepreneurs, especially since we're all so busy working hard at building our businesses. Like a lot of other entrepreneurs, I've had to turn to the internet to find and create my own small business community. And I've discovered so many authentic, interesting and extremely talented women who are doing exactly the same thing and guess what? It helps! One of these savvy women is April Bowles-Olin and she's doing a FREE workshop next week on CreativeLive. I'm taking part in her upcoming blog tour and wanted you to know about her course, too, in case you also have an entrepreneurial spirit and could use some excellent creative marketing tips to grow your own business. And in case you're wondering, this isn't a paid post - I just like sharing my favorite resources with my readers! xx N

 “This post is a part of the Double Your Followers blog tour to spread the word about April Bowles-Olin’s upcoming CreativeLive course. Does hearing the word ‘marketing’ make your armpits start to drip with anxiety? Are you terrified of sounding salesy or like you have the personality of a dead blowfish? If so, come join me and 2,500+ entrepreneurs who’re taking April’s latest CreativeLive course, Double Your Followers with Creative Marketing. You can RSVP and watch for FREE. Yep, free. High fives, wildflowers, wine samples. Who doesn’t love free?”

A New Year and Four Simple Goals

Dec 13, 2014

So, the other day I posted about doing what you love and going after your dreams; a fairly common blog post about resolutions for a new year. But that was about BIG goals and sometimes they can seem a little daunting and overwhelming as the year goes on. So today I want to share a gentler goal list that you can set for yourself. I first came across A Beautiful Mess and their 4 simple Goals challenge last year and while it's meant to help you set some easy goals to get you through the busiest time of the holiday season, I thought I would continue it here as a year long challenge. Maybe you'd like to add your own and share below...

As for myself, I discovered a whole bunch of new music that helps soothe my nerves and inspires me at the same time, am reading 3 books right now, and started wearing jewelry more often. As for fruits and veggies, well, I'm such a carb addict so I struggle with this one and tend to reach for a buttery croissant instead of an apple, pasta instead of a salad…but I did start taking fruit to work with me to snack on, so I'm getting there. Sometimes it's just the little daily changes in life that make everything better.

Life is Messy Kitchen

Nov 25, 2014

Just in time to give us a break from all the delicious but incredibly fattening and heavy food that we consume over Thanksgiving, is Mayi Carles with her super fun Life is Messy Kitchen. The first recipe I tried was her avo-pesto. It's soooo easy - and all you need are a few simple ingredients. I made it to serve as a snack with crudités but had enough left over to make into sandwiches. Spread over thin slices of crunchy bread it's smooth and creamy and very filling.


one handful of basil; organic is best

1/2 cup of pine nuts

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and cubed

juice from half a lemon

2 garlic cloves. or 3 or 4 if you're like me and LOVE garlic

1 1/2 cups of olive oil ( I used extra virgin olive oil from Portugal. of course)

pinch of salt. I also added a little fresh ground pepper.

Combine all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor. Then, slowly, add the olive oil until you reach a nice, smooth consistency. That's it! Serve right away for maximum freshness.

From Mayi:   Whether you are struggling to trade busy work for a hammock + fill your tote with fresh flowers from the Farmer’s Market (after trying all the samples) or expand your definition of dinner under a starry sky, Life is Messy Kitchen: A Quirky Guide to Sane + Happy + Clean Eating is an invitation to reset our intention around food with a sense of humor + good appetite + a taste for adventure. Learn more at:

Casa da Nuvea: part viii the neighborhood

Jun 17, 2014

These are some scenes of what will be my neighborhood for the next few weeks. As you can see, Telhados Grandes is a very teeny, tiny village of a couple dozen houses at my last count, conveniently located in the middle of nowhere with absolutely nothing to do. When's the last time a travel destination offered so much freedom from restless and frenzied activity? Highlights or points of interest include a traditional cistern to catch rainfall for the farm animals to drink, as well as an olive oil press. And there is no real street to my little house, just a cow track.

But that's ok with me.













Progress! New windows & doors, and more...

Ta Da! And we have progress! A beautiful new door and two windows have been replaced (the old ones were just too rotted away) and I think they look very charming. Electricity is being installed and there is running water! A bathroom has been installed, with a stone/tile floor to avoid any further water damage, and a repurposed wood beam created to house the sink, attached to the wall with a large stone from the garden. The shower has been tiled with local stone and other windows have been replaced with salvaged but more intact ones from a nearby restaurant. I can't wait to share the rest of the photos with you, especially those of you who've patiently followed along since the beginning of this painstakingly long process. xo