Monthly Archives: August 2015

Tropical Storm Erika….

For those following along (thank you!!) TS Erika came and went with pretty much nothing to show for it. Which is both great and not so great. 

 

pre storm pic from our local beach.


Great in that there wasn’t any damage to our home or surrounding areas but bad in that we didn’t get nearly enough rain to help with the ongoing drought and water rationing that’s happening in San Juan and surrounding areas. In fact, it’s early afternoon and we still haven’t gotten rain. 

With all the hoopla surrounding Erika it was a a bit of a letdown that nothing happened. They were so sure that something was going to hit that the government enacted ‘ la ley seca’ or dry law. This is a law that is enacted during bad storms that stop the sale of alcohol for a duration of time. In this case: noon yesterday to noon today. I guess hurricane parties were getting way out of hand the last few years so this is the way PR is trying to shut it down. Funny though seeing folks stocking up days before the storm. Guess it’s not really helping. 

So this is what we looking at yesterday about 20 minutes after the sunshine pic was taken. 

   

So it’s Friday, about 4pm and we’ve only had one shower. Seriously a bummer. I was hoping for rain all day, which meant Gabi would (hopefully) sleep all day and I could get lots of cooking done. Yea! 

Well, it didn’t happen. I did, however, get a Julia dish in the oven (boeuf a la mode — beef braised in red wine). And I also attempted these Cheese bombs but I think I overstuffed them. Regardless, they were Oh. So. Yummy! 

 

exploding bombs


And I also whipped up some chicken and Mac & cheese Muffins from my _toddler on the go_ cookbook. 
  
So all is right with the world and we’re dry. More info on Julia’s recipe this weekend! 

 

a little distorted but thats the horizon we had last night


 

I Wonder Wednesday! (on a Thursday)

Over the last two weeks or so a couple of my favorite bloggers have posted some very poignant posts and it got me to thinking a bit about where I am in my life right now. They both reflected on the here and now and what is important to them NOW, which is unique because I think some people, myself included, are always looking to the future. You can check out their great posts here (This & That and Going Dad ) and take a minute to look through their sites as I think they are both fascinating and inspiring!

As i mentioned in a previous post celebrating our one year in Puerto Rico, I overlooked another very important milestone: the first birthday of my daughter, Gabriela Esperanza. Well, I did include her but i really didn’t include her. It’s amazing when you think about it that the little one year old sitting in my playroom grew up in my belly (well, if you’re a woman) and now here she is. I am still baffled by this. What is even more baffling is now that she’s 13 months old, she really is taking in the world around her and you can see it in her face everyday.

  
So I wonder…what do you think these little creatures are pondering when they are playing/exploring/discovering all on their own? Do you ever just stop and look at them? I’m in awe at all that she’s learning everyday. 

We give Gabi lots of time together but we also want her to be a bit independent and play by herself. This actually works out great because her little “playroom” is right off the kitchen so I can prep/cook lunch and dinner and still keep an eye on her. She’s becoming quite mobile and I’m thinking she’ll be walking very very soon! I can hear her cooing and oohing and when i peek around the corner to spy check on her, it’s so sweet to see her little eyes darting around and she’s actually talking to herself in her own unique “gibberish”. This little one makes me smile.

   
    
   

**UPDATE**

For those following, here’s an update on the impending visit from Danny. Over the weekend it had been downgraded to a Cat 2 hurricane and then last night to a tropical storm, and then early this morning to a tropical depression. 

The little guy just couldn’t hang tough and being it’s been HOT in the Carribean for the last few months, it just really didn’t have a chance. So it looks like it’s heading more south of us but so far the weather folks are projecting that PR may be getting 2-4 inches of rain staring tonight into tomorrow. 

I’m really hoping they’re right. It’s not so bad here in the West side but San Juan and surrounding municipalities are having to go 2-3 days with absolutely no water; as in the pipes are closed and you get nada. It’s dry here and things are turning brown but we haven’t had to conserve water. And we do get an occasional sprinkle here and there. 

So all is calm (for now) on the Homefront. Reports are also that the winds could  kick up so there’s also the possibility of losing power. We are stocked up on food, gas for the generator, Don Q and coke, and water. 

Here’s hoping for rain and everyone being safe! 

 

just sayin’

  

view from our casa one day after a big storm.

 

One year! And a hurricane…

One year ago, my husband, 6 week old baby girl, my father, and I made the long plane trip to our new home: Puerto Rico! 

 

At the Jacksonville airport for the first leg of the trip. Gabriela was 6 weeks old and was a rockstar: she slept during both flights!

 
I can’t believe it’s been a year. These last two months, between Gabriela turning ONE and our one year anniversary in PR, have been truly amazing. I never imagined my life would be truly as wonderful as it is: a beautiful, healthy little daughter and living out one of our dreams on an island. 

 

Gabriela’s first morning in PR!


When the husband had declared Puerto Rico as his first choice of duty stations we were still trying to get pregnant. We had experienced a miscarriage in 2012 and I think that really made us want to live our lives to the fullest and explore all that we can (CARPE DIEM) so why not Puerto Rico?!!? We didn’t ever think, however, that we’d have a newborn when this new adventure would begin but, hey, what can you do? 

 

first time little one stepped in the ocean


I can honestly say that it was incredibly daunting moving to a ‘foreign’ country where we didn’t know the language (well, at least for my husband. I can talk some mean Spanglish and my father is fluent), didn’t know anyone, nor how the country worked. You hear stories of this and that but until you get there and experience it, the stories don’t matter.  We had some trying days but those days were met with meeting a lot of incredibly sweet and kind-hearted people who went out of their way to help us. In the year we have lived here I can honestly say that we have never come across anyone who was cold or nasty to us:the Puerto Rican people all have a big heart and (most) want to represent their county in the best possible way. Now their driving…that’s a whole other matter! 

As I mentioned, we heard different takes of life on the island ranging from someplace great to get out while you can. But the husband and I are ones to experience something for ouseselves and decide on our own. We went into this with an open mindset, knowing things would be strange and different but always looking for the positive (I’m still sometimes working on that positive bit myself) but so far, it’s been amazing. This really was the best decision we could have made! 

 

how cool to soend your first christmas on a beach!


So in looking back, there’s no regrets about our decision to come here. Everyday we wake up and are thankful for a healthy family and for the beautiful place that we live in. Now that Gabi is getting bigger we wil be able to explore different places and do a lot more adventures so we are totally looking forward to this upcoming year and many more years after. 
I really can’t thank my husband enough for all his hard work and dedication to get us to where we are today. I know I’m a handful and then to welcome my father to live with us, we’ll, that takes a special man and I’m lucky to have found him. He always puts me ,and now Gabriela, first and we can’t appreciate him enough. 

  

  
Here’s to another great year! ¡Salud!

  
  
  
 

my little familia ❤️

 

On a side note: there’s a hurricane heading our way: Hurricane Danny. This will be our first since moving here. Word around the campfire is that it’s going to dissipate once it hits the Carribean waters so we may not actually get anything. In case there is a storm surge (and by the way, we’re on the western side of the island) we have our hurricane party all set up with beach chairs and Don Q. But seriously, we’re hoping for nothing too bad but we really do need the rain as some cities are rationing water right now. I’ll keep you posted! 

I Wonder Wednesday (series)

i wonder….when does running get easier? Just sayin. That’s all. 

Ok, that’s not really all, but it is a serious question. 

As a little background, I’m a runner. I am. Seriously. I’ve done ( and these are approximations because I can’t seriously remember them all): 7 half marathons (two even, in the same year, which got me an awesome ‘rock star’ medal from the Rock n Roll Series: the first in Phoenix and the second in St. Louis. Yea. I even travel to RUN), about 30 5ks (there was a point pre-Gabi that I was doing two 5k’s a month!), 5 10k’s, and when running just got the better of me I switched to triathlons (sprint distance) and I’ve done about 8 or so of those. 

our first run about 5 months ago. at least there’s a beautiful view

You’d think I’d have this running thing down. But it is the bane of my existence. Which is why I picked up triathlons because while training for the swim (and I much much MUCH prefer open water swims) and biking, the running sorta works itself out. 

 

first triathlon: SheRox 2009

 
 

gotta love finisher medals

 
So this is where I’m at right now. I have lots of races coming up and I’m sorta freaking out about it. And I’m sure it doesn’t help I’ve got a yummy Julia recipe coming up! But I still run. And I know it’s all about mindset. I try every run to think positive and I really do try to like it. It’s just hard. Hard. But I’m doing it. 

 

Rambling Rose in North Carolina

 
So here are my upcoming races for the 2015 season (I figure if I announce them then I will HAVE to do them) 😉:

September 5 – friends 4 running 5k fun run

September 19 – Run like a Lola 10k (what!!??!!)

October 3 – friends 4 running 10k fun run (FUN!?!)

October 9-12 – Mujer Brava swim, bike, run (one event each day). I’ll be doing the 5k (or 10k if I’m feeling good) run one day, and the 25 mile bike the next. Getting TRI ready! 

November 8 – Run Like a Diva HALF MARATHON! YES! 

 

another phoenix Tri


 
Happy hump day! 

my ever present running buddy, dad. Lost Dutchman 10k in Arizona about 4 yrs ago

¡Feliz Cumpleanos, Julia!

I am happy, happy, HAPPY to report that Julia Child has come back into the cooking repertoire! And what perfect timing with it being her birthday!!

 

Classic Julia

 
Wednesday night’s (because what better day to cook a Julia recipe than hump day, right?) Julia recipe was Fricassee de Poulet A L’ancienne (Old-fashioned chicken fricassee with wine-flavored cream sauce, onions, and mushrooms). Yep, a mouthful and man– was it a DELICIOUS mouthful!

**Disclaimer–I hope you don’t mind, but I’m not really good at taking pics WHILE I’m making my dishes. I’m pretty good at maybe doing a “right before it goes into the oven” shot but I just really don’t think I can take photos of the “in-progress” moments and actually make them look appetizing. If you’d like play-by-play pics let me know and I will work on my photography skills. Hmmmmm…that may finally give me incentive to do those online classes I purchased last year!!

So back to Julia. This is just my 4th entree that I have been tracking since maybe moving to Puerto Rico. I know, so not a good track record. This is what I have done so far, and I will be (trying) to find the recipes online to post in another tab in case you get the urge to try out some butter. And cream. Oh, and good chicken.

* Poulet Poele A L’Estragon (Casserole-roasted chicken with tarragon)
* Poulet au Porto (Roast chicken steeped in port wine, cream, and mushrooms)
* Poulet Saute aux Herbes de Provence (Chicken sautéed with herbs and garlic, egg yolk, and butter sauce)

See what I mean about butter. And cream? And more butter!!

This has to be one of my absolute favorites. Just so you know, I have cooked through about 15 or so recipes already while we were living in the upper 50’s, I just never wrote about them other than posting a pic on Facebook. And let me tell you: going back and re-doing some of these is going to make this chica (and my husband, father, and baby girl) a very happy person!

 

I have a thing for flagging cooked recipes So many recipes!

 
So this is the thing about Julia that may scare off people if you happen to thumb through her 650+ page cookbook: she’s wordy! One recipe can be upwards of about 4-5 pages. And then she also includes variations to main recipes. AND THEN she’ll also throw in some sides that will go well with the dish and that can be at least a page long. I found this blog post that pretty much sums up what I’m talking about. The line that really drives Julia home is, “…Julia’s recipes were written for a rigorous cook with endless patience for serious detail.” Yet, I LOVE it! It’s sort of like she’s talking you through the recipes, step-by-step, as if she’s in the kitchen with you. There’s no guesswork or holes; what she says (or rather writes) is literally what you do. Her use of language and words to describe food makes me smile. Yep, I’m a dork.

After about 3 hrs (on and off – Gabriela was not in the mood to fully cooperate) of slowly braising the chicken, steeping mushrooms, and straining all the yummy bits, we were left with the must luscious and velvety wine-cream sauce that was just rich enough to make you want to keep sopping it up with the pasta and chicken but not too rich to make it feel heavy. There was a perfect balance. This is the genius of Madame Child.

 

Yep. YUM!

 
I am really, really hoping that this will indeed kick-start my love affair of all things French (food, at least) that I will be dedicating one day a week to Mastering the Art of French Cooking!

Bon appetit!

 

Passed the Gabriela tatste test!

 
 

 

Thursday Beach Series

i just realized that I never posted last week’s beach Thursday. I can totally blame that on mom brain, right?

So let me digress a bit: last week we tried out pork pinchos (kebobs) using this Asian style marinade. I was worried after making the marinade because I’m really not a measure-er (is that a word?) and I thought maybe it would be too salty or too sweet. I normally tend to worry about under/over seasoning. 

Turns out I worried for nothing. They ROCKED! We gobbled them up so fast that I didn’t even take a pic of them! Total fail. I was able to catch this little one snoozing away while We enjoyed an aguacate that our vicino (neighbor) brought over for us. Can anything beat a just picked avocado!!??

  
Alrighty, now we’re up to date! Today the beach is quiet (school started — YES) so I think the beaches will be quiet again during the week. And it’s the most beautiful blend of blue, turquoise, and green hues I’ve seen in awhile. Here’s a pic but it really doesn’t do it any justice. 

  
We have also added to our list of gear as well. Like we really need more, right? I was commenting to my father the other week that it would be helpful to have another table to put the cooking essentials on, rather than just have them haphazard  on a beach chair. We have a Table in a bag, kind of like this (but I don’t think we paid this much for it) that has worked out great. But the grill takes up most of the space and left us with our plates on our laps. Not very convenient. 

And then we came across this little gem, which seems perfect (pic below). So we’re trying it out today, along with a variation/combination  of a few recipes I found online that basically consists of about 3tbs soy sauce, 2tbs brown sugar, 1tbs lime juice, pinch of red pepper flake, and a glub of olive oil. Marinate overnight, then skewer in the morning and cook till cooked through. They were so moist that it was even overlooked I forgot to do a dipping sauce. 

La nena is knocked out asleep right now after her bath and a quick feeding. The new contraption worked out great. Us adults are partaking of a cocktail and I think the husband is bringing dinner home. Score! There may even be a rain shower off in the horizon. I’d say it was a pretty damn good day! 

Now prepare for a photo blast. Sorry!

 

my little chiquita and me. it was a good day!

  

my favorite things.

  

our spot!

  

our new addition. still figuring out where to put things.

 

I Wonder Wednesday!

I have been very lucky in my life to have lived in different places that offered different types of food, fruits, and veggies. I especially have my parents to thank for introducing me to a lot of different tastes at an early age (crab legs before the age of 5? Yes please!)

So I really do think that helped shape my desire to be a foodie and try out different things and recipes, which I hope to pass on to Gabriela. 

 

scrambled eggs with fresh dill from our garden


And in moving to Puerto Rico our arsenal of fruits and veggies available to us (via little small side of the street vendors) is pretty awesome! 

Case in point: La quenepa.  We had this when we just moved here (almost a year ago! WOW!) But we hadn’t had it since. Right now is the peak time for these little guys so there’s someone selling them everywhere. We picked up this bunch for $2! We also got some free advice from the seller that you can use these to make infused rum. I’m totally into this and apparently is a specialty over in Vieques called Bilí. 
It’s some work to get the minute fruit that’s in each pod but it’s still oh so good. 

 

bunch of fresh quenepas!


So I wonder…how do these fruits get discovered? In fact, how did any of our fruits, veggies, beef, pork, chicken, seafood…what-have-you, get introduced to society? Who was that person who looked at these pods and said, ‘yea, I think we can eat these!’? And even makes me wonder MORE  are those foods that have to be cooked to certain temperatures in order for them to be no longer fatal. How did that all work? Who would volunteer for THAT job?! 
Food is wonderful and amazing and should be sought after for its unique and differing tastes and textures. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked in many places that helped expand and shape my palate that I just crave good, quality food. I try to pass this on to my family by cooking at home daily and also exploring new and innovative restaurants/shops that also take pride in their product. While I live with two ‘meat and potato’ kinda guys, ever so often a little foodie comes out in them. And I’m hoping the same will be true with Gabriela. 

So, as Andrew Zimmern says, ‘if it looks good…EAT IT!’

 

cheese plate from Lenel’s in Arecibo; from the weekend

 
 

sorry…couldn’t help but include a little pool action

 

I Wonder Wednesday…

I love food. Like, really, really love food. Give me shrimp, crab legs, yummy spicy chicken wings or a big fat rare steak and I will gladly take my time devouring and delighting in ever single bite. 

And I feel the same way when I’m craving a burger. And this rarely happens often and I also don’t do burgers in the house. It just seems like a lot of work (like making tacos). So when I want a burger, I. Want. A. BURGER!

There’s a yummy place we’ve found called Ola Lola’s with a fun lil atmosphere. Their burgers are a great size and very very flavorful. It’s a nice way to spend an early evening. 

Which brings me to the ‘great size’ bit…I wonder when a HUGE burger became the norm or even something sought after. I wonder when having to cut the burger with a fork and knife became something to shoot for. I mean, to each their own but that doesn’t  denote a superb burger to me. It’s just show. 

Grant it we did have a fabulous burger at Blue Fin a few months back but it seems as if their burgers have gotten bigger. Much. Much bigger. And $$. 

So I wonder what you think: an appropriate sized, fully flavored, perfectly cooked  burger or a beast of beef? Here are a few I came across the other day. Bon appetit!

   
 

And, it’s August!

Wow! Before I know it, it’s going to be 2016! When did life get so fast??!!??

Our weekend was pretty good. My dad and I did another group 5k run on Saturday. At 7 in the bloody morning. Ugh. I’m usually up around that time, which is no big deal, but being up AND ready to run 3.1 miles is a whole other story. Which is pretty funny because BG (before Gabi) we used to do 5k’s about twice a month. I never quite understood why races had to start at 7 or 8 in the morning. It’s like runners are dedicated or something. But there we were, with about 30 other crazy folk ready to run. For fun. 

I do think that knowing there were Bloody Mary’s waiting for us after really did help!

The run went great. I improved my time from last month and actually <GASP> had fun. I know, I know. Running can be fun. 

The rest of the day was pretty laid back, which was awesome! I’m so lucky to have found a husband who’s just as happy and content either exploring the island one or just laying low. Being constantly on the go would drive me crazy, I think. 

 

this one certainly is on the go!

 
Sunday was spent working on the garden and doing some much needed landscaping around the house while the husband snuggled and napped with Gabriela. They’re too cute together. I’m sad to report, however, that I think it’s Iggy the Iguana who’s going after the young seedlings in the garden. The eggshells aren’t really deterring him, lol. We’re thinking maybe chicken wire around the perimeter to see if that’ll keep him out.  So this is going to be round 3, –no 4, oh crap, who’s counting– of planting my squash and beans. Sigh. Did I mention we’re still in a drought?

So dinner tonight: it’s grill time! Who says you can’t grill on a Monday night! **NOTE: no outdoor grilling as we had no charcoal; mom fail. So meat was ‘grilled’ indoors via a grill pan. Still great char! ** I’ll be doing some churrasco on the grill and doing up some soft shelled tacos using this Tyler Florence recipe. Have I ever mentioned I LOVE him??!!??

 

yum! with homemade aji courtesy of my father

 
 

sunday funday hammock time!

 

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