Category Archives: Nom Nom

I wonder wednesday 

overnight oats.

 I think I’m the only one who has not dived into this new food trend. Scattered throughout Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook you’ll find all these fabulous recipes for overnight oats. And while they LOOK amazing, I’m not completely sold on them. I wonder, shouldn’t your oatmeal be hot to give you that warm fuzzy feeling? 
With being said, I have embarked on the cold oatmeal thing but in a different form. I have finally stopped breastfeeding Gabriela (last Friday was the last time, actually. We made it almost 19 months! My original goal was 6 months so I’m pretty pleased by this) and I needed to figure a way to get breakfast in her quick before we headed out to our run. This child is the slowest eater around and if you’re not paying attention to her then she’ll go even slower. I hear my mother’s voice because I, too, was a slow eater. I’d rather talk than eat. 

Anyway, we’ve been using food pouches for a late afternoon snack (I’m rather partial towards the Plum organics mighty 4 but they are a bit on the pricey side. I figured I make 90% of her food I should be able to make some sort of portable smoothie/pouchy thing. And it just so happens that I had won a 6 pack of these Moshiko reusable pouches. So off I went looking for ‘recipes’. 

I knew I wanted to use oats as they tend to keep one filled up longer but I had no clue how to incorporate that into a smoothie type thingy. I’m not a smoothie person. Pina colada, sure, but smoothie? Not so much. So I basically kept seeing the same thing over and over of just blending the oats with a liquid and then adding in the fruits and veggies till you get the right consistency. So that’s what I tackled this morning. I blended together oats, little bananas, pears, apples, strawberries, and a dash of cinnamon with a vanilla pediasure and damn if it’s not tasty! It still has to go to the ultimate taster, though.

My thought is to fill the pouches I have, freeze, and pull them out the night before. This way I can give her one while we’re getting dressed or in the running jogger and her breakfast is done! At least that’s the plan!

So I wonder– how do you feel about overnight oats? Any awesome recipes? 

Happy Wednesday and a chick update is coming this week! They are too cute!

stylin at walmart

I wonder thurswednesday…

maybe I should just rename it that! 

Anyway, today (or rather the last few weeks) I’ve been wondering why I have not been cooking with turmeric. I know, outta left field, right? Besides the gorgeous warm orange-yellowy color that it brings to a dish, it’s actually been a widely used spice in Chinese medicine to help cure/treat inflammation and it’s also a great antioxidant as well as helps combat belly issues. 

Turmeric contains curcumin, which is the powerhouse of the spice. Unfortunately to get the best results you’d have to consume an extract that contains the curcumin. While turmeric has it, it isn’t really that much but every little bit helps, right? 

So I’ve been putting turmeric in everything. Seriously. Marinades. Quinoa. Couscous. Gabi’s homemade chicken nuggets and meatballs. It has such a subtle flavor yet still enhances the flavor all the while giving your dish a beautiful golden hue. 

So give it a try! See where you can add it to your recipes. 

I wonder what other spices I’ve been missing out on…what do you all love to use that is a bit different?!

 

nothing to do with tumeric but loving her little wispy ponytail.

 
Ps- a very sad day reading that Alan Rickman has passed away. Loved him in so many movies such as _Dogma_, _Sense and Sensibilty_ (I’m a HUGE Austen Fan), and so so many more. Cancer sucks. RIP. 

I wonder Wednesday!

The holidays have come and gone – unless you live in Puerto Rico celebrating Three Kings day today, which is HUGE! – and we’re all trying to settle back into a routine. Or at least I am. 

The last few weeks had us all out of sync with a crazy work schedule for the husband, a teething baby (she has 16 teeth, my friends…16!), and the building of the chicken coop! Needless to say my weekly grocery shopping trips were sporadic, which left us with no veggies for last night’s dinner. And just as an aside: the veggie selection here in PR is scarce and expensive. I haven’t had cauliflower since moving here because it’s almost 7$ a head and it’s the size of a grapefruit. No thank you. And I just can’t do the frozen stuff. The normals sides here on the island are rice and beans, tostones, amarillos, and potatoe and yucca. I’m not complaining; just ever so often I want a zucchini. 

So I wonder why veggies don’t reign supreme here on the island – or even in the upper 50’s? You see countless books/articles/discussions on ‘how to get your kid to eat veggies’ and it really boggles the mind. With our limited supply Gabi hasn’t had the benefit of trying out different things (I do miss Brussels sprouts!) so her palate to veggies is limited. Sucks. But I’m trying. Which is why I started our garden. And last night we had a pleasant surprise…

With our crazy schedule I didn’t make it to the store yesterday to get veggies for dinner and I so didn’t want anymore rice. My solution? I walked to our backyard and picked fresh green beans, zucchini and squash, and Rosemary. After years of trying to grow squash/zucchini I FINALLY had a ‘crop ‘. And can I just say: the difference between store bought and fresh is huge! And Gabi even seemed to like it as well. 

  
So I also wonder what I’ll be planting in my (hopefully expanding) garden next. Brussels sprouts could be on our horizon! Oh- and an update on the ‘seeded on their own’ tomatoes: they are growing like wildflowers, have flowered but no fruit yet. Crossing my fingers that they’ll be ok! 

What veggies do you like to grow? How did you get your lil toddlers/kids to enjoy their veggies?

  

 A little day trip to Utuado. This was at the Restaurante Las Tortugas.   

 

Oh the power of food

happy Friday my friends! I hope everyone is gearing up for this Halloween weekend! Gabi was only 16 weeks last year so we really didn’t do much but this year she has a quasi costume and we’ll walk our little neighborhood of 10 houses for some candy and then call it a day. The husband and I have a symphony date night at the new Lufthansa hangar and big papa (aka as my father) will have babysitting duties. But more on that later. I promise! 

Gabi has been fighting a cold this week so her sleep over the last few days have ranged from freaking awesome to Seriously. Go. To. Sleep. Last night was not a good one as she insisted in 1. Being cuddled in our bed (the husband is on nights do it was just her and me) and 2. Staying wide ass awake from 1am to 2.30am. So I got lots of facebook article reading done. And one of those was this fascinating article from the NY Times about this amazing lady who has been chronicling food, recipes, kitchen tools…anything from the medieval times to now. Mind you, this is still a work in progress and not very accessible to the masses (I don’t think) but it just sounds amazing! 

Basically the premise is to show why certain foods/recipes were created at that particular moment in history and what it says about that time. Which got me to wondering (and we can so piggy back this to the ‘ I wonder Wednesday’ that I missed) how so right on this brilliant woman is because food is such a huge part of our everyday lives. There’s a reason why we cook what we cook and why we don’t. And to chronicle it over a multitude of centuries, I think, sheds light on how we’ve evolved (or in some instances devolved. Is that a word?)

 

homemade pizza with buffalo mozzarela, fontina, proscuitto, oven roasted tomatoes, and green peppers

 
I know food is a huge part of my life and I’d like to think that certain dishes tell a story of where I came from, how I started, and where I want to go. I remember arroz con pollo and scrambled eggs with tuna growing up in my parents house; one of the best steaks I’ve ever had at a midnight dinner in St. Louis; pot luck dinners with my amazing friends in St. Louis and Phoenix; amazing steamed clams in Key West when the husband and I went for our honeymoon; fresh caught spiny lobsters from the depths of Puerto Rico grilled to perfection. These experiences are marked just as importantly as to WHAT we ate as to WHO we at them with and WHERE we ate them. 

 

our lil Linger Longer in the big blue waters of the Keys


 

spiny lobster. you’re not a cook until you’ve dispatched one, or a few of these. im just sayin. 😉

  
Food united people. Food is that universal language. Food feeds the soul. 

 

steamed clams with butter and bacon and raw oysters on the half shell. finally they’ve come to Puerto Rico!

 
So I’ll be back focusing on food and the joy it brings to our little world. 

  

Have a wonderful weekend!

Juggling 

I can now see how actual juggling is so difficult: the concentration, coordination, and multitasking is utterly mind blowing and I’ve again encountered a less than stellar juggling act the past week.  

The husband was back last week from his trip but my father was still gone so juggling the house, gabriela (who I think is getting 4 more teeth), dinner, errands, and training was left to me. This isn’t a woe is me moment– I’m actually recalling loving this time right now. Not every moment, but a lot of them. 

I’m loving the quiet time I get when Gabi (miraculously) decides to take a nap in her crib (yes, I’m that mother who would cuddle her while she naps until she’s 18. I’m working on it). It’s just me in the house and it’s blissful. (Sorry dad, I love having you around but being alone ROCKS!). I’m able to just sit. And that’s all. Before I was always doing something: meal planning, cleaning, etc etc. but last week I just vegged a few times. Priceless. 

But it was still rough for a hours/days. Sometimes naps weren’t had at all and that sassy little chica ruled the roost. On those days, dinner was had out. And I’ve got a lovely husband who’ll be happy to dine out anytime. Thank you, husband. 

 

Gorgeous view overlooking Jobos Beach

  

Grilled shrimp with mango pico de gallo at La Vista Smokehouse


Overall it was a great week and we even took a drive out west to check out a new restaurant and the sunset. Unfortunately it was overcast and it actually rained – a lot – but being up in the mountain region was very refreshing. It’s amazing how green things are up there. What’s even MORE amazing is that we can get this different terrain/scenery by only driving 45 mins away from our house in any four directions. Puerto Rico surely is amazing! 

 

Casa Linda Restaurant overlooking the Anasco/Aguada valley. Rincon beachline in the background.

  

daddy- daughter giggles as the rain comes down.


So that pretty summed up our week. This week found my husband working nights for the next two months (ugh) but at least my father will be back on Saturday and the husband and Gabi get to spend a lot of quality time together during the day. Which has allowed me to make homemade chicken stock, which i doctored up by adding fresh herbs, carrots, and celery. But the way the recipe as written really does churn out a lovely stock. And I’ll be doing chicken pot pies for tonight, along with little mini ones to freeze for Gabriela. I haven’t found a recipe yet so I just might wing it. I’ll update you. 

 

chicken stock stash heading to the freezer.


So far the week has been pretty good. This weekend we’re off to San Juan for three days for the races so that’ll be a nice staycation ! 
Happy Tuesday, friends! And welcome to the new followers and thank you all for the likes!

 

my girl and me ❤️

 
 

 
 
 

I wonder wednesday…

I wonder…

…why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways?

Yea yea, pretty lame. But I can’t for the life of me think of anything I’m really wondering about. Maybe I should wonder about that! 

So anyway, on to other things (don’t worry, I’ll be sure to be wondering for next week!)…

Oh! The pizza! In case you missed my last post, I was doing homemade pizza using the pizza dough recipe from Tuscan Gun. This is the second time I’ve used the recipe and the initial attempt delivered a really great, crispy yet chewy crust. So I figured I’d give it another shot. 

Not sure what happened this time around but the dough ended up being a bit dry while it was mixing. I really think I should have added some more water but I didn’t want to alter the recipe. I wonder if cooking in a non air conditioned kitchen with 80%+ humidity had anything to do with it? I’ve read that heat and humidity can wreak havoc on baking and this is sorta baking so maybe?? If anyone knows please offer up some advice. 

I was worried that the dough would be too dry/thick that it wouldn’t proof/rise. I was wrong! That sucker plumped up like a champ! 

 

pre-proof

  

after two hours! score!

 

The next step is punching it down and letting it proof for one more hour. This is not a quick pizza crust so make sure you give yourself time to let it rise. 

And, of course, that’s where the pics ended. Ggrrr! What else goes on the pizza? Great question! I use buffalo mozzarella, the roasted tomatoes, grated fontina cheese, and vey thin proscuito de Parma. In Dothan, I would have also added figs but I cannot find them here. 

Overall, it turned out pretty tasty. The crust was a little suspect and I think it was because of it being a bit dry. It came out pretty thin and ended up being cracker crispy. Not too bad though.  

I’ll be giving it a whirl again in the next few weeks as I have the leftover dough in the freezer. How nice is it to go into the freezer and pull out some fresh dough. This is why I love to cook! At anytime I can go in to my freezer stash and pull something out that I know is fresh and healthy. Speaking of fresh and healthy, here’s the bolognese I made last week for our dinners as well as single servings for gabriela. Gotta love snack sized ziplocs!

   

  

  

 
Gotta end with a Gabriela pic!

absence makes the ….

Sorry, again, fellow followers for my absence. After our fun week with Amee we thought things would go back to normal. “Normal”. Due to bad timing, last week found Gabriela and me alone for 8 days. For those who don’t know, my father lives with us which is a HUGE help for the day-to-day things that I (try) to get done. And Gabi loves her afternoon naps with him so I can get dinner together. AND the husband was out of town for two weeks for work. Yikes.

Now I know thousands of women and men are single stay at home parents and this is something that is done everyday but when you are used to having that extra set of hands everyday, not having it really does make me appreciate all that my father does. We run 3 days a week and bike twice and while I get Gabi ready my father would get the stroller and/or her bike trailer and our bikes ready to go and on the Monte. Without him here, it’s all on me and let me tell you, I don’t know what is harder: actually doing the running or bike or getting the gear loaded! Whew!

Needless to say, our schedule has a been out of whack in terms of the baby sleeping, cooking, and just regular everyday things. So blogging has been furthest from my mind. Sorry gang!

I did, however, knock out a few batch cookings earlier in the week that included bolognese sauce (which i just sorta threw together with grated carrots and zucchini for some extra veggies) and quinoa and zucchini bites from Littlegrazers.com . I was really surprised by how yummy the quinoa bites turned out! And extra bonus: Gabriela (and Amee, the best friend) LOVED them! And they are a great source for protein so extra WIN! And then the week went down hill from there ending in getting dinner from our local pizza joint.

Speaking of pizza, as I am writing this (and Gabi is napping beautifully!!), I am prepping pizza for tonight. To begin, I have a variety of different tomatoes slow roasting in the oven. I try to start these as early as possible in the day because the longer you roast them (on the lowest oven setting possible) the natural sugars caramelize and you get a more deep and flavorful tomato bite. I wish I could say these came from my garden, but alas, only four of them did. This weather has been brutal on my veggies and I’m actually just waiting for the rest to dry and die off so I can plant again as we near winter cooler weather. Did I mention we’re reaching almost 90 degrees today with 75% humidity!!??!! NOTE: do not roast your tomatoes on aluminum foil as the acid interacts with the foil and you’ll get a tinny (is that a word? tin-ny) flavor. Instead, use parchment paper.

 

before…


 

After! Yum!

  
I’m trying to perfect my crust so I have dedicated myself to just using one master recipe (from Tuscan Gun) and tweaking that rather than using different ones. If you have any tips on how to get a great, crunchy yet chewy flavorful crust, please drop me a line! I’ll update how the pizza turned out tomorrow on my “I wonder wednesday” post.

So everything is sorta falling back to normal: the husband has returned home but the father is still out of town so it’s gabi and me time during the day and then daddy takes over (as he pours me a cocktail). Gabi has been trying to roll with things but she ended up having some tummy troubles earlier this week that is really unlike her. We have been blessed with no issues at all for almost 15 months so I figure we were due. Thankfully, she is all good now and back to her bubbly, REGULAR self! 

 

checking out her new golden books from her tia amee

 
I am freaking out though because I have the Mujer Brava 25 mile bike race and 10k running race on October 10th and training alone has not been my strongest suit, especially pushing a 20 pound baby and a 20 (?) pound jogging stroller. But that’s ok– I’m committed and looking forward to it!

Please check back as for more posts as I get back my groove back and please check me out on Facebook!

Cheers!

Ps- check out my fellow blogger friend  over at GoingDad who just got back from a stay-at-home-DAD’s convention! How cool is that!? And just so you know, dad’s don’t babysit! 😉

I Wonder Wednesday…

“Blades holds me under the faucet. The touch of his hands and the flowing water make my tail convulse deliciously. The tension grows unbearable. I feel precarious, as if I were about to fall for him again. A cluck of longing emerges from deep inside me. 

“Suddenly we can’t help ourselves, and his long-fingered hands are all over me. ‘I want to cook you,’ he whispers. ‘Whole.’ Oh my. I’m heating from the inside out.”

Did I get your attention? No, I’m not thinking about penning raunchy, steamy novels. This is actually an excerpt from the cookbook 50 Shades of Chicken, which is a spin-off of the _50 Shades of Grey_ series that were ever so popular a few years ago. Being that we’re all friends here, in full disclosure, I must admit that yes, I did succumb and read all three books. In about 3 days. My poor husband even ran to the bookstore to get the 2nd and 3rd books. And I just have to say that my mother in law’s MOTHER and her best friend pretty much told me I HAD to read it. Gotta listen to your elders, right??!!??

While it was cheesy with no plot and at times made me blush, it did hold my attention and it was entertaining. In some weird ‘I-can’t-believe-I’m – a-16th/17th century- lit major-who- just-read-a-trendy-awfully-written-series. ‘. Hey, we all need an escape. And a shower. 

Anyway, so after the popularity of the series emerged, there were all sorts of 50 Shades spin-offs. Leave it to my husband to find the one about chicken. Gotta love that man. 

So the recipe that the above excerpt is from is called ‘plain vanilla chicken’. Get it?? But DAMN! If this isn’t one of the best roast chickens ever! You “Fill your hand with butter and gently slide your fingers beneath the skin of the breast, slathering the butter on the flesh as you go. Work your ways to the thighs.”. The butter is a combination of brandy, vanilla extract, and sugar and it just melts into the flesh, resulting in a slightly vanilla perfumed breast that is oh so tender. I know, sugar. Vanilla. Brandy. But trust me. 

And the SAUCE that results from the butter and chicken is absolutely divine that you really need some bread to sop it all up. 

So I wonder…when did food get ‘sexy’? Or has it? People on blogs/in person/etc. go on about how pleasurable their food is. Pictures are taken of dishes (Yep, totally guilty) and there’s the common phrase of ‘food porn’ that floats around social media. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m totally on board looking at beautiful dishes that are put together like artwork. I’m in awe of the intricate working of recipes. But how did it all happen? When did food, which in the simplest form is supposed to nourish our bodies, become something much more? And is that even really a bad thing? 

I’m thinking not. 

So I’ll continue to be in awe of all the foodie pics on Instagram and even strive myself to show off my own food porn. 

And I just gotta say that as corny as this cookbook is, there’s a lot of really good, flavorful recipes in it. Good food with a bit of entertainment. I wonder what could be so wrong with that. 

Bon appetit!

Ps- and of course I didn’t take pics of my food ( I like other people’s food to photograph) here’s the stock photo and one of lil Gabi who turned 14 months old today! What?!?

 

pic from the book. but yours will so look like this!


   

One prep, two recipes + JULIA!

Happy last day of August! (or at least it was when I STARTED writing this post. Ooops) This was a fun month filled with lots of day adventures and checking out some new and awesome places around the island. I’ll be doing a quick wrap-up of our month in the next day or so to share our journey through the island! So stay tuned!

In the meantime, tropical storms Danny and Erika completely bypassed our fair island. I was hoping (not really HOPING) but looking forward to being rained in on Friday so I figured it would be a good time for a Julia recipe.  I deviated from chicken, although I wanted to finish off that chapter first, and instead checked out the beef section because my supermercado had a great selection of eye of round. 

I made Boeuf À La Mode (beef braised in red wine). Doesn’t it just sound so much better in French! This recipe called for a 24 hour marinade of the beef in a red wine, vegetable, and herb marinade. 24 whole hours. Talk about flavor! Unfortunately I was unable to locate (as prescribed by Julia) a cracked veal knuckle or a split calfs foot. I had to settle for a modified pork rind. What can you do, right?

After the 24 hrs, all that’s left is searing the beef and then adding in the marinade and braising it slowly for 3 hours. And can I just say- the house smelled AMAZING! To accompany the beef, julia suggests ‘quartered carrots braised in butter.’  BUTTER. it surely doesn’t get any better. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pics and it was gobbled up rather quickly by the husband and my father so I guess it was a hit! Back to chicken next week– maybe the classic coq au vain. Mmmmm… 

(Note- the recipe in the link was found online from finecooking.com. I have yet to find a lot of Julia’s recipes online and typing out 4 pages of a recipe just ain’t happening so I try to find blogs or sites that have it. I’m very thankful to these folks for doing the hard work of getting her recipes out there!)

I also filled up Gabi’s freezer stash today during one of her naps. It’s so nice having small bites around for when we head out on trips or need something quick to whip up. 

Gabi has been loving meatballs lately so I figured I’d whip up a batch. I had a huge packet of ground beef so I had the idea of knocking out two different recipes using similar ingredients to save time and get the most out of her nap time. 

Nothing like fresh herbs from my garden!

I used this recipe for the meatballs. I liked the idea of using quick cooking oats instead of bread crumbs. In fact, there’s an Ellie Krieger recipe I use for meatloaf that has the oats in it. Also  hiding the spinach (which Gabi is not quite a fan of) in the meatball is a great way to get those greens in her. 

 

Meatball prep


  

For some reason I was craving pasta so I thought I’d do some ravioli for la nena. While I wish I could say I rolled out my own dough for this, sadly I did not. But one day I will take on making my own pasta! Is anything better than fresh pasta? I think not!

Instead I cheated and used egg roll wrappers. The filling was somewhat similar to the meatballs but I omitted the oats and added ricotta for some ooey gooey cheesy goodness. I found that you can fit 4 raviolis on a sheet and after some trimming, they come out to a good size. 

not the best pic but you get the idea.

I did ravioli once before using wonton wrappers and it turned into a big gooey mess. Not quite sure what I did but the wrappers just didn’t hold together.  I haven’t tried these out yet but I’m hoping for a better outcome. Fingers crossed. I’ll keep you posted. 

And to round out the evening I made a proscuito and fontina pizza with oven roasted tomatoes for dinner. I’m trying to perfect my pizza crust (it’s either too thin and crispy or too thick and gummy) so I’ve been going through lots of recipes. I used a recipe from Tuscan Gun (did I mention I’m obsessed with that show in the Cooking Channel?!?!) and I think it’s been the best tasting crust so far. It still didn’t have the texture I wanted and that’s what I’m still trying to figure out. But the guys liked it so again, I’ll take that as a win! Do you have a favorite pizza crust recipe? Any advice on how to achieve that perfect crust (I’m trying real hard to convince my father to build a pizza oven in the back yard. That’s practical, right? 😉)

 

its’s amazing how much dough tises and how light snd airy it is.

 
 

gotta have a Gabi pic! First time trying raspberries and she gobbled them all up!

 

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


 

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