Milk Tea & PoPo

i’m feeling nostalgic and sentimental right now… excuse me as i ramble. but i need to.

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trees of nostalgia

 

… over the last couple of weeks my new career has begun, life has become exciting and busy. the feeling of JOY has wrapped her arms around me like a soft fleece blanket… waking up has been a nice experience, i really can’t complain.

yet i have felt myself feeling rather nostalgic and yearning for pieces from my childhood… tastes, smells, sounds.

like, milk tea.

milk tea

milk tea reminds me of my great grandmother. i called her, “PoPo” which is mandarin for grandmother on mom’s side, but everyone called her PoPo, so i just called her this, too.

popo
this is PoPo and my cousin, Michelle.

she was not technically my PoPo, she was my “tai po po” but i liked calling her the same as everyone else… friends, family members, neighbors, the restaurant owners. everyone called her PoPo. so that is the name i used and it stuck. with loving glue…

little me
little me, with my Chinese cabbage patch imposter

PoPo was my caretaker ever since my birth; she was a second mother to me while my mother worked hard to feed us and make a nice life. PoPo was also my best friend, partner in crime, teacher, mentor, storyteller… she was a comedian! and the best story teller i’ve ever known. she told scary ghost tales in Mandarin that would send shivers up my spine, but i’d ask for more milk tea to soothe myself, then i’d ask her to tell me another ghost story. she loved it, i loved it.

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rebellious 13 year old me in Aukland, New Zealand. i was happy but didn’t want to show it.

she told me stories of her life over many cups of milk tea…

what is milk tea anyway? good question.

i’ll explain it from my perspective, no sense in using wikipedia but feel free to google.

anyhow, let me tell you what milk tea is because it is symbol in my life and means many things to many people…..

so, milk tea. it’s a Hong Kong thing. basically, Hong Kong was a British colony, so the locals adopted some traditions. like MILK TEA! it’s just black tea with milk, sugar optional.

even though my Chinese roots are from northern china, my mom grew up in Hong Kong and PoPo lived there along with my grandmother, naturally. PoPo took care of my mother, aunt, and uncle as well. she took care of many generations and made countless cups of milk tea!

the way we had milk tea was special – in Hong Kong they use evaporated milk. and LOTS of sugar. they use evaporated milk in everything! even coffee.

Milk Tea for me was like this: strong black tea, like PG Tips, then add lots of evaporated whole milk, then add lots of sugar.

then drink and enjoy and feel all cozy inside.

it’s also enjoyed with saltines sometimes, we would let the salty crackers get soft in the tea then eat them up. such a sweet and salty treat. HEAVEN.

i’m thinking about milk tea because i miss PoPo and her banter, her humor, her fearlessness, her energy. i miss her company.

milk tea reminds me of her and brings back such good memories. i don’t drink milk tea anymore, but i really want to. i think i need to, it’s comforting for me like i can’t even explain.

yes, i realize that a food or beverage can’t bring back the dead. i get that part.

but i loved milk tea all my child years and the taste is soothing for me.

since my life is rapidly turning into my dream life come true, i will have a cup of milk tea.

to honor and celebrate my dear PoPo and say thank you.

Thank you PoPo for getting me, right now, I love you.

heart-with-hands

ins&s,

danielle

Then & Now

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right on

recovery addition

i can’t sit here and not think about how dramatically my life has changed in the last few years. sometimes i just have a flashback of what i was doing just 5 years ago, and i’m like HOLY CRAP! or 10 years ago, and i’m like HOLY CRAP I WAS CRAZY! and then further than that… don’t even get me started. how i am not in prison or in a coffin seriously baffles my damn mind sometimes. seriously.

so in honor of my past, and also my present time, i wanted to write about how my life is NOW compared to how it was back THEN…

then: i thought i had to drink 64 x 4 ounces of water minimum each day, and would sometimes chug over 100 ounces of water at a time. so much water that i would feel very dizzy and lightheaded, and get migraines!

now: i drink enough water but don’t even really track it. i don’t feel the headaches that i used to feel after chugging up to 120 ounces of water at a time.

then: i would take 1-6 diet pills a day and eat tiny meals throughout the day, and feel jittery and hungry all the time. i would make a meal out of pretzels and mustard and sriracha.

now: i have not taken diet pills in over a year and don’t have any desire to do so. i get my energy from food and also natural energy supplements like ginseng or yohimbine if necessary. i am even trying to get off caffeine. i eat a variety of foods now that i enjoy and can’t even fathom eating pretzels, period.

then: i used to prepare for a vacation by over-exercising and dieting/restricting for weeks and days before the time, then try to do extra workouts while on vacation.

now: i just workout regularly, pretty much every day and don’t go extra hard for any reason than i am feeling energetic or have something in particular i have to do. on vacation, i love running or walking and feel great doing it, not because i have to!

then: i used to live on sweet coffee and tea all day until lunchtime, then basically binge on crap at night. i’d feel horrible so i’d workout for hours the next morning and repeat the same crappy cycle.

now: i eat breakfast most days and still have sweetened hot bevvies, but i’m trying to get off of them. i know when i eat more protein all day my sweet tooth is much less dramatic. i feel better in my body and don’t feel the need to punish myself, i just enjoy moving and sweating because it feels good. i eat a big meal if i’m hungry and i’ve worked up an appetite, end of story.

then: i used to starve myself when i was out with friends, or just pick at small plates and graze. then i’d eat in private when i got home and it’d be some weird concoction…

now: i eat openly all the time, i don’t care who sees me and i’m hardly ever alone anyway.

there are so many more examples of things i did back then, that i would never do or just don’t do now. it reminds me that everything is temporary. no matter what. this can be good and bad, it’s always a good thing for me because i’ve gone from a creature that lives on habits to a creature that embraces change.

i love change now.

but i was terrified of change back then.

funny how we change and how life turns and twists.

i’ll close with some random pictures just because

jetson cold soup trout soup sandwich sorbet boys moody 3 moody 2 moody

 

ins&s

danielle

Never Say Never

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do you ever say, “oh, i’ll never do xyz…” ? do you have things that you just are certain that you’ll never, ever do?

i certainly do, there are definitely things that i just know i’ll never do.
like, i will never…

  • jump out of a plane. unless they invent a way to land softly, guaranteed, i can’t do it physically and’t don’t want to.
  • i’ll never be in the Olympics.
  • i’ll never win an Ironman
  • i’ll never give birth to a prince or princess
  • i’ll never live in a cave
  • i’ll never own a tiny house, unless it’s in a vineyard. and it’s at least 1000 sq ft.
  • i’ll never win a Nobel prize
  • i’ll never shoot heroine or smoke crack
  • i’ll never eat a maggot
  • i’ll never make a selfie book
  • i’ll never marry Kim Kardashian

i also know that i will NEVER be in the same state of mind that i was 10 years ago, and i will NEVER let any addiction take my life.

i can say that now. NEVER EVER. 

when i was recovering for many years i was not sure if i could truthfully say i’d ever be free or NEVER be a prisoner to my own beliefs.

but that’s changed, i care about SO many other things in life now. amazing!!!!!

but there are things i’m not going to ever do. never.

seriously, and it’s totally OK by me, in fact it doesn’t even phase me. like, i’m never going to wake up and suddenly be a man. HELLO! duh. 

caitlyn-jenner-reveal-main
yup i can certainly say NEVER to this, no judgement though
however, I have said I would NEVER do so many things in my life that I actually ended up doing that it just seems appropriate to write a list of all things that I said I’d NEVER do, and show you how life and my thoughts have changed.
large
for example, i said i was never going to be interested in getting married or ‘mahwedge’ (MARRIAGE) in general… 

one of my favorite flicks, The Princess Bride, has the marriage scene with the guy saying “mahwedge, mahwedge is what bwingz us togethah today…..” and i just have to bring this up because hello, it’s a classic.

my wedding day was one of the best days of my life. isn’t it ironic that for the 35 years prior to it, i NEVER thought i would be even getting married?

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seriously.

life really does take some amazing turns….

anyhow, i bring this up because i never thought i would be sharing my life with one person; i never thought i would find someone i would want to see every single day! but i did, and it has taught me so many things about myself.

i also never thought i’d be recovered from addictions and demons and my own imprisonment to let someone love ME and also love someone else, so purely and freely…

but never say never

so with that in mind, here is a list of some things i thought i would never do but actually DID:

  • NEVER thought i’d run a marathon, wasn’t even on my list. LOL
  • NEVER thought i’d live a semi normal or even remotely normal life. well, that’s debatable but i assumed i would be a bohemian gypsy, or marry a foreign prince
  • NEVER thought i’d ride a bike after back surgery, other than a recumbent one. i like comfort and not falling… but apparently i like to scare myself shitless, too.
  • NEVER thought i’d do a triathlon, let alone an Ironman… wow. just wow. i don’t even know who i am sometimes, actually or who i was BEFORE???? funny
  • NEVER thought i’d want to start a family of my own after the age of 35
  • NEVER thought i’d be in love with my city after all these years of wanting to leave
  • NEVER thought i’d be sharing my life with my best friend
  • NEVER thought i’d fall in love with our dogs and become so crazy gahgah over them
  • NEVER thought i’d still be in Texas right now
  • NEVER thought i’d consider living in a house rather than a highrise apartment
  • NEVER thought i’d be a mom or could be
  • NEVER thought i’d have such amazing friends
  • NEVER thought i’d have such an incredible and large family all over the world!
  • NEVER thought i’d meet my real father, and then all these siblings
  • NEVER thought i’d have so many half siblings that all look like me
  • NEVER thought i was special, but turns out i am 😀
  • NEVER thought i wouldn’t have a career in art or food, hmmmm

this is just a random list, clearly it’s all over the place. that’s how i roll, it’s dizzying i know. despite all my silly NEVER’s, most of all i learned that i can never assume anything, ever.

i try not to even use the word never, there are other ways to say i won’t do something or i don’t care for something.

even though i’m talking about the things i would never do, or things that i thought i’d never do, there are a lot of things i CAN do. there are a lot of things i do now that i never thought i would or could do, but actually CAN:

  • i can be a lot nicer than i thought i could
  • i can relax around another person
  • i can trust
  • i can forgive
  • i can have patience
  • i can listen
  • i can genuinely fall in love with someone
  • i can like myself
  • i can like other people
  • i can be kind
  • i can feel free
  • i can eat something lovely with total enjoyment, free of any guilt
  • i can love my body
  • i can laugh out loud

i’m just thinking hard right now about how lucky i feel… 

how did i go from never thinking i could love to loving?

how did go from never seeing myself free from diet prison, to being totally in love with life and food and feeling amazing? 

isn’t life so amazing? isn’t it AMAZING how we can change and evolve? 

when it comes to my thoughts on life, i am trying not to assume or say never… and most importantly, i try not to let fear guide me. i try to let love be my beacon of light and lead me at all times these days. 

i’d like to write more about how i changed my outlook on life and started to allow the love and light to shine….

new-beginnings-3

wanna join me?

insweat&sriracha,

danielle

 

Weekend Recap in Pics

this past weekend was quite fun on many levels – so fun that i have no words except for:

  • friends birthday
  • dancing
  • shots
  • friends from Denmark visiting
  • long run with new running club
  • massage
  • the beach
  • being tourists in our own city
  • family BBQ
  • doggy play dates

since it’s monday and i’m foggy, please enjoy the picture show. i didn’t take pics of everything but certainly got a ton of the good stuff…

billy’s birthday party night.. it lasted till the morning!

billy bday
pic of me taking a pic… hmmmm
bdaybilly
this was at dinner, just the beginning of a very long night

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this is sunday, spent in Galveston with my best friend from Denmark and his wife and family. they are here for several days so much more Danish delight to come!

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this was a dessert combo dish, and it would have fed 6 adults but was supposedly for just 2… geez Texas sizes are real!
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can’t be a sunday funday without a spicy BM
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i got fried gator, it does taste like chicken… it was not pretty but tasty

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that is all, hope everyone had a marvelous weekend.

coffee is calling, cheers!

ins&s

danielle

 

 

 

Itchy

itchy
help me

ok i’m going there.

not down there….

i’m talking about my skin. i’m talking about my itching skin that’s driving me nuts.

it started with being diagnosed with eczema as a kid.

i’m also talking about CANDIDA….. heard of it?

read about it here and here – but be warned, it’s not pretty. and it’s more common than i realized. on the quiz, i has ‘yes’ to 7 out of 10 of those… ugh help me!

why bring this up?

well i’m gonna lay it all there, I’ve been itching like an itchy fiend lately. it’s not cute, i’m not amused. my skin feels like it’s crawling and on fire sometimes. what is going on ???? i’ve BEEN through this before, too. that’s the most frustrating part… i should know better. but i don’t, it happens.

as i’m typing this i’m also taking breaks to scratch my forehead. I bet you’re feeling itchy just reading this, and for that i’m truly sorry. this is not something I would wish on anyone!

she is not pleased.

i’m also going to start speaking in the 3rd person… she chooses this because she is uncomfortable with talking about her itchy skin. and needs constant distraction.

so, she was diagnosed with eczema as a young sprout. she had to take oatmeal baths. she lived her life with nasty red rashes behind her knees and inside her arms, she somehow got used to it.

but then one day when she decided to cut out all the crappy food, the itching stopped.... and was gone for a long time! she even re-introduced some crappy food and managed to live an almost itch-free life.

until later it came back.. so she decided to do some research and discovered that all of her symptoms, besides her itching, could actually be something else: CANDIDA.

what were some of those symptoms that led to the self diagnosis of candida?

being on antibiotics for YEARS at a time, birth control pills, intense mood swings, bloating, severe PMS, brain fog, dizzy spells, intense sugar cravings, and that damn itching skin just to start. 

pretty much all of those things can cause candida, apparently, but the point is just stop with the itchy skin. but how?

itchy skin
we need a break… maybe for good
home coffee
i need to quit you

well, i’m going to speak normally again first off. so as I was saying, this was a few years ago that i first learned about candida albicans, and decided to just try the anti candida diet to see if it helped. OMG it did!!!!!! totally. like immediately, too. it took a lot of willpower but i committed to following the cleanse and my skin felt so much better. my brain and body felt so much better, and my stomach issues. heaven at last.

well clearly, over the years i’ve struggled with it since being in recovery you can be urged to either ‘cut out all trigger foods’ or ‘eat intuitively whatever the hell you want’ so i toggled back and forth in the name of being free from the shackles of diet prison.

each time i started eating ‘normal’ my skin would flare up.. but i didn’t want to get all food obsessive, so i just suffered in itchy silence.

then recently I started adding back in more dairy and sugar than I had before. but THEN I started feeling bad about the sugar, so I used FAKE shit sweetener…. oh my stars I know, the horror! I actually started using those pink packets! I was so totally against that, what happened?

and then the itching started again. and this time with a vengeance. DAMNIT. so I cut out the fake sugar and just started using real sugar again. I also went from not having coffee to having coffee, then went from having plain coffee to sweet, sweet coffee. and itchy itchy itchy!

so this is really driving me nuts. something needs to happen.

I know that if I cut out the certain things my itching will stop…..

but I also don’t want to restrict anything mentally. BUT I want to feel good! oh the conflicts that go on inside my brain.

so I have been researching and researching, and went back to what worked for me before: the candida diet.

okay I have not tested myself for candida, but I’ve taken all the quizzes and I score the highest number on all of them.

i mean hello, i was on antibiotics for several  years straight!!! I’ve had so many oral surgeries and other crap. then there’s the birth control pills. ugh. the lists just go on forever.

anyhow, when i cut out all the offending foods according to the candida plan, my skin felt so much better… i really don’t want to get into the ‘diet mentality’ and am not trying to lost weight.

did that come across clearly?

I’M NOT TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT, I JUST WANT MY SKIN TO STOP ITCHING!!!! and my hormones to balance but that’s another subject.

so please help me, i need all the support in the universe. if i’m going to do this then i need to be accountable. it’s not easy for me to start any sort of extreme way of eating, and i don’t want this to be. but recovery has taught me that i need to take care of ME and if whatever i’m doing ain’t working then i gotta fix it. as much as i love my sweet coffee, my skin and body might not.

are you with me on this?

i’m trying to wrap my brain around this and really commit, meanwhile i’m eating good food and not going overboard, but i’m still itching. something has to give. i need my sanity and my itch-free life back. i need to be free.

so my friends, this story is TBC… to be continued….

is&s

danielle

Holiday Weekend Rambles

holiday weekend rambles in pics, less words

hope everyone enjoyed the weekend! here is a short summary of mine, and with pics and not much more further below:
Thursday game night – the holiday weekend started off with a bang with our family/friends game night… major debauchery ensued
Friday madness – half day at the office mixed with a bike ride at home, and mediocre but fun Thai dinner date
Saturday mania – 4am wakeup to go run with our new club, then a walking/talking mentor session with my friend and life coach, followed by a drive to San Antonio, then party-eat-party-eat-party-fireworks-sleep
Sunday – slept in, met family for farewell Mexican brunch, drove home in horrible traffic, got home then laundry-snack-laundry-snack-clean, then RELAXATION sprinkled with the USA Women’s Soccer Victory!!!
the weekend nicely and appropriately ended with the new episodes of True Detective, Ballers, and Brink. yay, meh, hahah. ballers has been such a let down, sorry but what happened guys?

first of all, can we just give a huge high five to the amazing victory at the women’s world cup???? WHOOOHOOO! ok I can’t write a post and NOT talk about this awesome event – our USA Women’s Soccer Team is seriously amazing!!! I’m still oozing with joy, admiration, respect, and wonderment at these incredible forces of fem-bot energy. damn these women are legit. yes!

Thursday… game night. lots of drinker and eatery

food

game night food game night pics

silly me
she was my helper
sweets
sweets
vegan cupcakes
my brother’s epic vegan cupcakes. YUM
the cake
THE chocolate cake of all cakes.
wine
challenge
cake balls
cake balls pre dip
doggy play date
doggy play date at game night was a success
game night
game 3 of 3 – trivial pursuits from the 80’s. WTF???
dip duo
hubby’s creation – salmon with duo of dips. success
shrimp salad
best shrimp salad ever, thanks to my friend i’m getting her recipe!

Friday – worked at my new office, got my shoes in the mail, yay, little run, and dinner date not shown… it was mediocre at best but great company 🙂

new office 2
my new office
5 mile run
easy pace fun hot sweaty run
new cole haana
new red shoes
new office
another office view

Saturday – in town before the road trip: early morning run/walk, quick brekkie with friends, then lunch on the road…

bahn mi
best tofu bahn mi EVER
nice
I love yellow roses and peppers and beer, oh my
cooking books
cook book heaven
after run
my legs after 10 miles of run/walk and 5 miles of walking… eek
after run 2
we survived!!
viet coffee
Vietnamese coffee = happy
road trip
road trip = happy feet

roses happy farmers market finds bun

Saturday – out of town with family and friends. fun food and fun!

snacks snack sassy cupcake food entry way

 

dessert flag dessert eggs cakes 4thfood

Sunday – brunch with family and then on the road back home to watch the USA women’s soccer team make history!

flowers flowers 2 flower2 flower3 home coffee road trip family 4th soccer 4 soccer 3 soccer 2

what an awesome weekend but i’d really like another day to recover from all the fun 😉

how about our soccer team?

in sweat&sriracha,

Danielle

Food Glorious Food

and WINE. don’t forget the wine….

food glorious food
no gruel, please
IMG_1054
wine with food = happy

as everyone posts their WIA posts, I am posting a great big homage to all the glorious FOOD (and wine/drinks)I’ve had lately.

I can’t even begin to tell you how lucky I feel, food-wise. we’ve been eating at some amazing restaurants the past few weeks, and also eating some incredibly tasty dishes at home. sadly I have not photographed every single dish eaten, but gosh was it all good. trust me.

I love food, I appreciate food, I need food. that was a ‘duhhh’ remark but still. i’m really enjoying flavors and textures and eating in general lately. perhaps more so than usual? yes I have indeed. and wine and cocktails! let’s not forget about those. in fact, I just tried a Pimms cup for the first time and I think I found heaven, or at least tasted it. it was a moment of true splendor.

charitypimms
all for me…

I ACTUALLY thought I was going through a no-wine phase until last night, we had this EPICally good pinot noir from the bayou bar at whole foods. yes, our whole foods market has the most amazing and popular wine bar in the world. the WORLD. we live 100 feet away and yes, we are regulars. so are the other 13 people that we see there. we are basically wine nerds that love all things wine and food. I have found my tribe.

ilovemyTribe
I really do

so back to this bitchin pinot noir… I honestly thought I was OVER pinot noir since the movie Sideways. watching that movie had me drinking pinot noir by the case, it was madness I tell you, madness!!! that was a long time ago and I still thought I was over the pinot noir phase. as if I had consumed all the best pinot noirs on the planet. i’m such a dumbass sometimes.

2653af1fb72c0a495993a2cb79c811cf
the movie that led to a pinot noir explosion…
Sideways-Movie-Poster
such a great flick
Ne-Plus
i can’t quit you

so back to last night, sitting/standing at the bayou wine bar with close friends, I was convinced I was not in the wine mood but was just being social. UNTIL the little wine wizard behind the bar pulled out this bottle, and poured me a small glass… and said, “here, try this” and I did. and I died a thousand times in splendor and happiness. it was pinot noir from Oregon, and it was DIVINE.

I don’t have a picture but just trust me it was freaking amazing. and made me realize that good wine is just good wine. and it’s impossible to never have pinot noir again. just because it was mega popular and over-consumed (by me) many moons ago, it does NOT mean that I’ve handed over my rights and must never consume it again. how silly I am sometimes. honestly though, I know i’m going on and on about pinto noir, but it just reminds me that I need to not make SILLY ridik rules for myself for no reason whatsoever.

BUT I will say, since my romp with pinot noir, I have discovered many other reds that I adore: zin, malbec, some chianti, burgundy, cab franc, petit syrah… and anything layercake. oh geeeeezzzus I can talk about wine for days. help me.

I-love-wine-Wednesday

so back to the food!

I have had my moments in life where food and i were not friends. you can read about it somewhere here on my blog… hint. the past year or so that has dramatically changed. especially in the recent months. meeting my husband truly did change me for the better – it basically made me comfortable with myself and appreciate how awesome life is again. and along with that comes food. food is amazing, we are so lucky to have taste buds!!!! I feel sorry for those who just view food as fuel. hello, i workout and I GET YOU ARE A HARDCORE fucking ROBOT and just eat food to get you to the next workout, but give me a fucking break. this makes me want to use the word twat for some reason… I have no reason or necessity, just thought i’d let you know. of course with a british accent because I speak british when i’m annoyed. cheerio.

i love food and happen to love it’s tastiness. I like that it fuels me but also makes me happy on the inside. SMIZE. those of you that are still afraid of you, message me. I’ve been there. you CAN break free. trust me on this. and when you like yourself and food again, life rocks.

so on that note, here is a list of food items I am obsessed with lately, in no particular order:

  • coconut flakes
  • triple cappuccinos with vanilla shots
  • marcona almonds
  • red wine
  • pimms cups
  • amaretto sours
  • chocolate almonds with turbinado sugar and sea salt
  • buffalo chicken wings with blue cheese
  • hamburger patty with mushrooms and butter
  • eggs with goat’s milk gouda
  • BUTTER
  • tamari mixed with coconut cream as a sauce
  • coconut cream
  • heavy whipping cream in place of mayo (we ran out and it’s freaking amazing!)
  • canned tuna from trader joe’s
  • smoked ghost pepper from trader joe’s
  • goat’s milk cheeses

okay that’ all I can think of for now. here are some pics of my favorite eats lately… enjoy

thaidess greentofu filling scallops egg with avo meat sauce bolognese old e grill old eb grill FullSizeRender breakfast IMG_1276 IMG_1203 IMG_1200 IMG_1190

do you like wine? do you LOVE wine????

anything awesome in your mouth lately? hahahahahahaha

insweat&sriracha,

Danielle