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July WHAT??

So did July sneak up on anyone else besides me? I can’t believe we’re already 7 months into 2015. And it’s been amazing watching Gabriela grow and development right before our very eyes. It truly is an amazing experience. 
 

sitting pretty

 
I was thinking about the last 7 months and how I wanted to simplify things: our routine, belongings. Mental hang ups, etc. and I realized I haven’t really done much of anything. I really do think of reorganizing our master bedroom because I’ve read over and over again to make that your sanctuary, your place to relax, free of clutter. But then I think I’m too tired/flustered/unmotivated to start. 

But not anymore! And what better way to start off the month of July!  So I’m going to tackle one area/room/project a week – did I also mention I have a list of projects that I’ve wanted to do??  I’m hoping that this will spur me on to maybe do two a week. An ongoing project is our garden that is in a bit disarray due to this drought and NOTHING wanting to grow (other than my herbs and peppers). So that’s my ongoing project. 

  

fresh oregano and basil from the garden

fresh tomato sauce with herbs

  
Along with that is my kitchen. I need to try to streamline it better; my herbs are all scattered around in different places; and I’m sure I can make it more efficient. Or at least try. 

Happy organizing!

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Here we go!

a few months ago I came across this SAHD’s blog while researching warm weather  types of baby carriers. I live in Puerto Rico. It’s bloody hot here. Anyway, this dad gave a review of the ergo ventus that I was eyeing.

I was actually drawn into his blog and began reading older posts and quickly began liking what I was seeing. And not to mention his daughter is a doll! Aside from him being uber athletic and a great runner , who ENJOYS running – sigh- he was very relatable. 

I think what intrigued me most about him was that he blogged everyday. Every. Day. Who does that? What parent has the time? I even have help with my ONE and the last thing I think about is blogging. My to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer of things I THINK I need to do. 

So in thinking about this, I’ve decided that I’m going to do the same. Going-dad has certainly inspired me to not only blog more and enjoy those fleeting moments but to maybe also embrace running. So. Hard. 

So here’s the deal, I’m going to attempt to blog daily (though only having a hotspot on my phone and no wifi in the house, internet access gets tricky). But that’s just another excuse. This was supposed to be an exploration of the world around me, my thoughts and experiences, and my passion for food to intertwine with everything. That part has been lacking. 

So stay tuned for musings overload as I invest back into cooking! Added bonus: gabriela is getting to be such a little lover of food (I’ve been making her food since we started solids— FUN)! 

And YES… More Julia to come!!

And go check out going dad, going mom, and Avery!

 

a family that bikes together…


 

baby girl still figuring t out the whole helmet thing!

  

‘Farmer’s’ market 

in case you’re new here (or have been following and wondering where the heck I went), here’s a tiny recap of goings on. 

I live in Puerto Rico. Isla del encanto. Of white sand and beautiful turquoise waters. Of perpetual sunshine (and humidity) and afternoon showers. And really no real farmer’s markets. 

I mean, come on. It’s an island. Wouldn’t you think we’d need to grow something. For us?! I’ve lived in myriad places where there were abundant markets (St. Louis) and few and far between (Phoenix and Dothan). Going into this relocation I figured we’d have some. One. Maybe?

Food at the supermercados are expensive (can you say $6 for a pint of blueberries) so I’m sad to say I’ve been neglecting my fruits. Solace has come in going to Sam’s but that’s a 35 minute drive. I want my fruits and veggies!

Enter in the San Sebastián farmers market. Part market. Part flea market. Part livestock market. It’s a trip. With over 200 vendors you’re bound to find something. Granted, the fruits were sparse but we totally made out on veggies. And just the experience of it all is pretty cool. 

So I’m still branching out. Asking around. And hopefully soon I’ll be growing our own berries and other things. I do need to mention we’re in a drought so my garden has be quite lackluster. Saving that for another post. 

In the meantime, we have our guy Abby for greats tomates y limons and the occasional aguacate and we’ll venture out for more exotic fare at the San Sebastián market. The Moca market is next. Here’s a look at little cherry toms we bought (for 2$ a bag) that I roasted for a homemade pizza and some guava (that my father used to eat). And a cutie of my cutie! 

Always an adventure!  

       

What had happened was…

So the roast- the utter baffling roast made by turning the oven OFF- was going according to plan.

That was until….our electricity went out. Well, actually, HALF of our electricity went out. Don’t ask. So in trying to scramble to get our fans to blow a little air and eventually deciding to fire up the generator, the roast spent a little extra time in the oven. A little too much extra time in the oven. Like an hour and a half extra time in the oven. Ugh.

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I think whatever chemical magical hocus pocus that happened in the 2.5 hrs was totally lost 4 hours later. Bummer.

But we still ate it. And it smelled amazing. And looked amazing wen I cut into it (albeit a bit chilled) but darn it- it was hard. And chewy. And not yummy as I thought it would be.

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Don’t get me wrong; it was flavorful. But I was looking forward to a nice, tender, juicy roast.

My husband sent me a link to marinate the meats in kiwi. Apparently the tenderness/how cattle is butchered in PR varies so you need a little extra something something to make things tender. I was hoping for the unconventional cooking method.

Needless to say, I’ll be having to try this again.

Oh Gonzalo and Eye of Round

We are under a tropical storm warning right now. Gonzalo, the tropical storm with potential to become a hurricane, is currently making his way toward our fair island. To look out the window right now you really couldn’t tell there’s a storm brewing a few hundred miles from us. Especially if you were to look in on my husband and lil one snoozing away on this Columbus Day holiday.

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The wind has definitely kicked up and they say by tomorrow we should be getting the rain. Hopefully it’ll keep heading northeastward and there won’t be too much damage or danger.

So what to cook to commemorate our first hurricane party experience? I’ve told you about my plight in trying to find roasts and other larger cuts of beef; yesterday I found lechon de machera. And yes, I did have to look it up. It’s an eye of round. Woohoo! While making a roast in 90 degree weather and 90% humidity may not be on the top of your list, it’s been forever some time since I cooked up a roast.

But eye of round?? I gotta admit this is not a cut I’m familiar with. So off to the internet I go and I keep coming across this cooking method that, frankly, just baffles the hell out of me. I’ve seen it multiple places and this is the one I’m using as a reference but I can’t be sure if this was the originator.

Basically you roast the piece of meat at a high high temp (500 degrees) for a designated amount based on the weight and then you TURN. OFF. THE. HEAT. and keep the roast in the oven for 2.5 hours. That’s right. No fire for 2.5 hours. And no peeking. Thank goodness for an oven window and light!

Apparently the residual heat is supposed to cook the crap out of this sucker. So the story goes.

I browned mine before sticking it in there. I figured the more cooking time the better, right? I also rolled mine in kosher salt (lots…this is a big piece of meat), black pepper, and rosemary. I so wish I had fresh but I have to settle for dried.

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So the roast is on the oven, roasting at a balmy 500 degrees for 25 minutes, while I make my kitchen a virtual inferno. Needless to say the rest of my family has retreated far far away from the kitchen during this initial process.

I’m still pretty apprehensive about this method but stay tuned tomorrow as I post the results. It’ll either be yummy roast for dinner… or scrambled eggs.

With a side of tropical storm Gonzalo!

Dinner will be ready in…WHAT??!!??

So last night, in the midst of making a spectacular grilled tuna steak with a lemon, wine, and caper sauce, our gas ran out (ok- so it was going to be spectacular in my mind, but that’s half the battle, right?). Our stove runs on gas and being that I’ve never cooked with gas I am not accustomed to checking it so it doesn’t run out.

Or at least checking it would be the ideal situation. Apparently there are no gauges on Puerto Rican gas tanks. And it’s weird having a gas tank. Just sayin.

So the gas folks are quite efficient. It’s the next day and we have fire a’blazin.

Dinner tonight: that spectacular tuna steak with the lemon, wine, and caper sauce.

Dinner last night was a fabulous sandwich from El Criollo. Yuuuuum.

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Another cook in the house

While I willingly and happily take on the full responsibility of cooking, it is always nice to have a break, other than eating out. So my father took over the reigns on Monday and made a soup inspired by the fresh coconut he got by the beach on Sunday.

This recipe was courtesy of my uncle Armando, who is currently residing in Ecuador, where my father is from. His wife, Martita, is a fabulous cook and knows all things Ecuadorian when it comes to cooking.

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So my went to work to make Sopa de pescado con coco with platanos verdes and yucca. The trick is making your own coconut water. So my dad dug into it, grated it, and then passed it through a sieve with some water and BAM– coconut water!

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I’m really not that daring when it comes to fish. Give me simple and not fishy and I’m a happy camper so I was a little leary– I’m sure it was going to be good, but perhaps just not so right for me.

WOW! i was pleasantly pleased! It was AMAZING! And so simple to make!

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The Life of Jan

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