REFILL: Dark Chocolate MMAZ and MIMM

The truth is, we aren’t weary simply because our schedules are full. We are weary because our spirits are depleted. Within each one of us resides a soul that desperately needs renewal and restoration, something an overloaded schedule doesn’t always allow.”

Such truth, isn’t it? That word….Depleted.

How often do we find ourselves depleted at the end of the week and weekend?

This weekend was definitely an “eye opener” to me. I have been slammed with business (good busyness).  But by the end of the day, I felt depleted. Not the physical kind, the mental kind. The kind where your brain goes from 100 mph speeds to a sudden crash burn plop.

coconut creme

So Saturday morning I decided i needed to refill, recharge  restore. I woke up early, spent some extra time with lots of coffee in hand,  my devotional, and prayed for rest,  mental/emotional restoration. You know, the kind that makes mind feel at ease? Yes, that kind.


I felt better. Then after a full day of work, i felt it again. The ” ‘where’s my brain?” depleted feeling. It was at that moment my husband pulled me me away to spend some time, well, not thinking, just doing something fun. Okay and there may have been wine involved. God bless him.


Sunday was the same. I woke up early, spent time reading/journaling, then back in the kitchen. Later friends came over to help me package all the Blend Retreat Healthy Bites. HUGE HUGE Blessing!

blend bites

But this time around, I knew what to do. I knew how to get my “refill” before the depleted feeling snuck it. So, I (we) convinced them to stay for dinner and then ventured over to my parents house to celebrate Mother’s day with a low key backyard BBQ .

me and ag

What’s my point here? When we feel depleted, we often seek our physical rest. Am I right? Yes, this is important, but maybe it’s not what we need refill our “soul.”

We need to refill with time to ourselves. No, exerting too much energy, I mean really sitting down and enjoying solitude. 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc. Any little bit of time helps! Pray, journal, be thankful.

We need to refill with others. Whether it’s a date night with your spouse or a get together with friends/family, we need to refill with fellowship. With laughter. With love. We need to accept help and be grateful.

I’d like to think I realized this myself, but I did not. It was pointed out to me by others, and it only took me 30 years to listen. Winking smile

So glad I did.

Today I want REFILL your Dark Chocolate Lovers Soul with a recipe from my archives. Enjoy it by yourself or with good company. Either way, you’ll get the FILL need.


truffle bars


  • ⅔ cups Pecans, Finely Chopped
  • 1/2 cups condensed Milk and 1/3 cup almond milk combined -melted coconut butter and almond milk if you want the healthy version.
  • ⅓ cups brown Sugar (or NuNaturals sugar)
  • 2-1/2 cups Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4-1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut.
Preparation Instructions:

Toast the pecans for 3 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Then chop finely. Set aside. Combine milk and sugar in a small heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-low heat, and boil stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips. Stir until mixture is smooth. Then stir in vanilla extract. Then, roll chocolate out on parchment paper and sprinkle the pecan and coconut mixture on top. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Base Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup butter (earth balance for vegans)
  • 1 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg (or 1/4 cup egg whites or 2 tbsp flax for vegans)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups all-purpose gluten free flour (you can use regular flour too)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • * 1 cups rolled oats
  • * 1 cup gluten free pretzels

* NOTE: I grounded up the oats and pretzels together to make one dry mix.

Set aside 2 Tbsp  the butter. Beat the butter with mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar; beat until well mixed. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another large bowl stir together flour and baking soda; stir in oat/pretzel. Gradually stir dry mixture into beaten mixture. Set aside.

Press two-thirds of the oat/pretzel flour mix into the bottom of an ungreased baking pan (I used a 8×8). Take cooled dark chocolate mix and peel it off the parchment paper with the pecan/coconut mix facing down over the oat mixture. You might need to spread it more into the corners.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned (chocolate mixture will still look moist). Cool on a wire rack. Let it cool then cut into 2×2 inch inch bars. Makes about 16 bars.[/print_this]


Thanks to my “refill” I feel quite Marvelous this morning. Funny how that works, yes?


How do you REFILL?



Dear Abby Friday: Perfectly Easy Pancakes

It’s been 6 weeks since we moved away from our beloved neighbors. I’ve been going through some serious DEAR ABBY withdrawals. You see, we still  live in the same area and work at the same place, but we can’t just pop in for a glass of wine, kombucha cocktail, tea, etc. like we used to.


So in order to get my “Dear Abby” fix, I recruited her for a guest post. See, we’re still so in sync! Love it!

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p.s. I had no idea what “totes” meant until a week ago. LOL! Winking smile


Hola Cotter Followers!

I canNOT believe it is now April! Spring is my favorite time of year, I just LOVE new beginnings and fresh starts, and I always get that pumped up feeling like nothing can bring me down this time of year.


ENTER Austin Texas. Around these parts, with spring comes crappy allergies…and I have NEVER had allergy issues before, all my life I’ve been all “sucks to be you” toward allergy sufferers. [I didn’t really say that, but I definitely thought it a time or two!]

Now she gets it…ugh it’s no bueno.

So with colds floating around, on top of allergies, on top of an exhausting, yet enjoyable Easter weekend with family, I’ve been a sickling all week. Yay spring.

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All this down time is much appreciated/needed but only makes me itch to hit it that much harder next week!

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When I do, I try make sure to eat a dense breakfast before hitting the gym, [especially before Lindsay’s Strength and Sweat Class!] I’ve had several folks asking me about my protein pancake method of late, and how the heck do I create successful pancakes?!

Let me tell ya, it didn’t happen over night, I could often be found swearing [not under my breath] “how the hell do food bloggers make this look so feakin easy?!” Mornings are NOT a good time for breakfast cakes to be falling apart all over the place.


So here is what works for me, including…my secret weapon!

[print_this]Protein Pancakes

Serves 2

2 fairly ripe room temp bananas (cold ones don’t seem to cook up as well)

1 heaping Tbs of nut butter

2/3 cup almond/coconut milk

2 eggs

dash of cinnamon

drop of vanilla extract

Now for the secret weapon…..

An IMMERSION blender!! It totally does the trick and whips them up in a flash!

I typically use a bit of organic butter to grease the skillet, I definitely think the skillet choice is important too. Lately we have been using our plug in griddle, it is so much easier to just cook up several at once, easier flipping access too!

It’s fun to play around with spices and toppings on these baby cakes, enjoy!

The deets: 1 serving Protein Pancakes (about 3 medium sized) = 275 calories, 13g fat, 10g protein, 31g carbs, 5g fiber.

Traditional Pancake = 554 calories, 38g fat, 15g protein, 48g carbs, 2g fiber.[/print_this]

Let me know how yours turn out!

I hope this new season is putting an extra spring in your step, enJOY it!



Thanks Abby! Now, please come make these for me. I have to admit, I suck at making pancakes. Yep! But GF French toast?……… that I can do! Sharing this recipe next week for sure!


What’s your go-to pancake recipe?



Recovery Carnival: A Cotter Concoction

This week, I think it’s moving as slow as molasses. Normally I like molasses, just not the pace of it.  Let’s just say I’ve been needing extra recovery this week, more mentally than anything. Winking smile You know how those weeks are, yes? And speaking of recovery, a few weeks ago our fellow triathlete/blog friend Jason of Cook Train Eat Race  emailed me about participating in a recovery meal blog carnival. Totally loved the idea and jumped on board!

Well today is my day to post my recovery meal. Except I haven’t felt like making a creative meal all week. Hot Oats, eggs, squash and sausage, eggs, quinoa and salad, repeat. Yep, not bad just same old Cotter concoctions.


But even though our meals have been plain and simple, our snacks and drinks have been strangely delicious and flavorful. That makes up for it, right?

Homebrew Kiwi Honey Lime Kombucha and my RECOVERY Creamy Coconut Basil Ginger Smoothie.

home brewLindsay Cotter- Creamy Coconut and basil smoothie

So I emailed Jason to see if I could post a recovery snack instead. Of course he said yes and now my brain is happy.Winking smile

Lindsay Cotter- Creamy Coconut and basil smoothie



  • 1 cup Vanilla Almond Milk (or other milk of choice)
  • Ice
  • 3-4 leaves of fresh Basil
  • 6oz Coconut yogurt
  • 1 serving Vanilla Protein
  • ½ tsp Coconut extract
  • Vanilla stevia (optional)
  • 1 tsp ginger root
  • optional add in for extra carbs and natural sugars: 1 frozen banana and 1/2 tbsp honey or maple syrup


Blend until smooth. Pour and enjoy! With lots of ice it serves 2 people quite well or one thirsty athlete/triathlete. 

***Basil and Ginger are both great anti-inflammatories, but I love Basil for the anti-bacterial benefits too. You can read more here about this magically herb.

For more recovery meal ideas, visit these bloggers!:

So whatcha think? What’s your favorite recovery meal? What about recovery for your brain, been there?  

Of course you have!




2 more days to enter the BLEND and ATTUNE FOODS giveaway. WOOHOO!

Dear Abby Friday & Chocolate Rum Macaroons

Happy Friday friends. It’s a good feeling. Even though I still work weekends, there’s just something about that Friday feeling. Anyway, today I have something very special to share. I sound like Mr. Rogers, but I promise you’ll like it.

Today I have my DEAR friend ABBY sharing a recipe (yes, I’m referencing the Dear Abby columnist.  Clever, eh?).  Abby is my fantastic neighbor I also gush about. You know the one that makes me delicious foods, shares my love of wine, kombucha, and running. Plus she will help me roll healthy bites if needed. Yep, that one of a kind neighbor. I highly recommend you get yourself one of those. Winking smile

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Well my DEAR ABBY is also a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and I’ve finally convinced her to write a recipe and post for me. Okay I bribed her with wine, but it worked!

Now… go read DEAR ABBY!


Well hello there blog world! First of all, many thanks to my dear neighbor Lindsay, for gracing me with the honor of guest posting on her beautiful blog. According to her, it is high time I stop being a creepy blog stalker, and introduce myself.

My name is Abby Bounds and I am a newly certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, specializing in diet analysis, meal planning, and general nutrition support. I believe God created food for more than sustenance alone, it is meant to be enjoyable as well as healing. My dream is to use my certification to first, help others achieve health and lifestyle goals, and second, to be an added financial support for our household.

I absolutely love food, working out, and spending time doing pretty much anything with my best friend, who also happens to be my husband.

Speaking of husbands… “someone” we all love and admire just celebrated 5 years with her best friend/husband! ;) I decided last week a romantic dark chocolate based dessert was in order to celebrate properly! Rum Chocolate Macaroons. I stumbled across this recipe and happily discovered a fabulous new blog in the process! I’m not a huge peppermint fan and know Lindsay isn’t either, so I replaced it with real spiced rum. Yum!


Wedding Anniversaries require the real stuff no rum extract here. But you can feel free to add any extract or flavor you like. I’ll definitely add more rum next time–a little extract goes a long way, but real rum…meh, not so much. Oh well they were still tasty!

Chocolate Rum Macaroons

Gluten Free _ Dairy Free (except for the egg)

{adapted from Danielle at }

  • Ingredients (makes 2 dozen)
  • 3 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon rum extract or 1/4-1/2 cup spiced rum (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • dash of sea salt


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using an electric mixer, beat the egg white with a small pinch of salt. Beat for 1-2 minutes until soft peaks form when you lift the mixer out.

Fold the egg white into the coconut mixture and mix gently until fully combined.

Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop out balls of dough and pack them together tightly either by lightly knocking the scoop onto the side of the bowl or pushing it down with your fingers.

Place the dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the tray half way through.

Cool on a wire cooling rack for 1 hour. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Optional – dip the bottoms of the macaroons in melted dark chocolate for an even more decadent treat!



Anyone in need of Nutrition support or simply interested in returning the favor and stalking me:


Stalking her is quite fun!  Just sayin. Winking smile  Thanks Abby! I am hoping to have guest post with some other DEAR ABBY Friday’s in the future. So feel free to ask questions in the comment section about nutrition, etc. Or email Abby or myself.

Okay, who’s your dear Abby in your life? Neighbor, sister, friend, both?



Feed Me Friday: Food and Friends

Ahh welcome to another Feed me Friday Post. You see, I had full intentions of doing a “Benefits of Holiday Spices” post, but my brain hurts, I’m a bit under the weather, and I just want to blab today. Perfectly acceptable, yes?

So What’s a Feed me Friday? Well, it means I leave you with more food for thought than actual food. Maybe it’s encouragement, laughter, love, etc. Today I wanted to feed you with love and laughter.

Here’s the thing, I am constantly reminded of my blends (blogger + friends). This usually happens just by seeing or eating certain foods, drinks, treats, etc. It always makes me smile.

Photo taken by Michellelunch

When I made Peas for lunch the other day, I thought of Mama Pea and SheRocksFitness (Katie). Katie and I have a slight pea obsession, especially with eggs.

peas and pasta

When I see bluebell ice cream on sale at the store, I think of Lindsay. I want to buy it for her so bad. I know she would love this Texas Brand goodness!

Lindsay, this is how good it is. No spoon required!


When I pour a glass of wine at night, I immediately think of well, tons of friends. Dorry, Jess, Jolene, Kalli, Paige, Cait, Lisa, Alyssa, Katie, Sarah, Lou, and Heather to name a few. Cheers ladies!


When I eat and and all eggs, I think of Katie, Meg, Brittany and Heather P.

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When I eat vegemite, I think of Heather B., Heather M, Kristina, and Christin.


When I drink Kombucha, I think of almost everyone! LOL. But this girl and I go way back with Kombucha love.


When I eat sunbutter and cottage cheese together, I think of JG. Such goodness!

When mix in some broccoli slaw with a recipe and add chili pepper on top, I think of the one and only Stuft mama!


When I eat asparagus, and my pee smells funny, I think of Laura! Haha, sorry Laura, had to say that.

When I use Green Chili in my recipes, I think of this New Mexico Native.  And if i add in any type of sausage to that dish, i think of the sausage queen Katie.

soup 4

When I make socca or bake with coconut flour, I think of Sarena and the twins. Both make amazing recipes with these!

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When eat Larabars, LoveGrown granola, Chobani, and Attune Foods I think of a TON OF WONDERFUL friends. These are are all people who are part of these companies great too!


Oh and when i dream of more Nutty Butter I think of Sarah and Calee (the fantastic logo designer of Nutty Butter and Healthy Bites!).

When I eat a Kind Bar, I think of Oatmeal Lauren. Starbucks coffee always reminds me of of Kelly and Lisa.

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And finally, when I embrace the weirdness of a peanut butter and pickle sandwich, I think of Missy and Emz. Pickle love for Christina as well. Love it!


Phew! I know there are a ton more out there!  I can still think of at least 10 more but that would make this post uber long. These are just a few. Just say a name and I could match a food to go along with them. Fun, eh?

What food and friend/blend did you think of today?

Leave me a food/friend combo that you know of in the comments section.

Happy Feed me Friday!




I’ve been able to text with Katie who lives in New Jersey. She still has no power and says it’s been a mess there! Her attitude is amazing though. So grateful! Puts a lot of things in perspective for us all today, yes? Please pray for those affected by Sandy. Prayer does amazing things, trust me!

Lessons from the Week

This week I learned that my top priorities don’t make me money, but they do ENRICH my life.



This week I learned that I need to focus on my words. Making them fruitful and encouraging above all else.



This week I learned a good product starts with the care and passion of the company. Thank you LOVE GROWN GRANOLA!


This week I learned why planking is so effective! DANG!


This week I learned that making Custom Healthy Bites for a special Birdie Friend brings me so much  joy!

birdie bites - Copy

This week I learned that my phone can’t keep up with me. I think it’s a good thing that I am now forced into slow mode. I take that as a sign from God, yes? Winking smile


What did you learn this week?



Asheville Smiles

We have these moments. Moments of pure joy, of blissful blessings, of thankful awareness. This past weekend, I had all three.

This past weekend was a Godsend. The hubs was in NC training (others). Being the good man he is, he let me use one of his stand by tickets to meet up with some friends in Asheville. We’d then reunite in Charlotte on Monday for our journey home.


The stand by ticket was a hit or miss, but luckily I caught the last flight out and MADE IT!! That’s some thankful awareness right there!

But then the real blessings happened.

A Birthday spent with some pretty amazing ladies. I met up with Lindsay early on in the day, then Michelle and Lori drove down from Charlotte. We dined, we laughed, we talked, we hugged. Like old friends that had BEEN reunited, yet we have never officially met.

Twin, Lindsay, Twin, Lindsay …. hehe, get the picture?

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Photos courtesy of Michelle.

Lunch at Posana. Oh my goodness good!



Photo courtesy of Lindsay

We walked around the Bele Chere festival, checking out vendors, sweating up a storm, and just laughing. Pure JOY!

Lindsay and I were so thankful that the twins came down for the day. It’s amazing what “blends” will do for each other.

After Lori and Michelle left, Lindsay and I got into some trouble. No really, we did. Let’s just say it involved a car getting towed and riding in truck with two men we didn’t know. Ack! Thankfully it all turned out okay and we ended up laughing about it later. Winking smile Thankful AWARENESS!


The last 24 hours were spent hiking and running through the Mountains at Bent Creek Trail, finding random late night meals (think sushi and coleslaw?), sweating our way through a 90 minute Birkram Yoga class, spending way to much time at Earth Fare, watching the Olympics while snuggled up in bed, having amazing conversation, sharing encouraging words, and being thankful for our families/husbands who let us get away for the weekend.

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Blessed. .. beyond blessed.

This past weekend just confirmed why I blog. For connection. For beautiful friendships. For TRUE encouragement. For purposeful conversation.

For JOY!

And for that, I am THANKFUL!

Cheers from Stand By Cotter,



thank you for all the birthday wishes! I hold them near and dear to my heart.

Wednesday Schpeel

Yes, schpeel is a word. I looked it up. It’s a word according to Urban Dictionary and I use it a lot.

So here’s my schpeel…. in random order of course.

God is good. He’s answering a lot of prayers, in fact He’s answering immediate prayers. What does that say? That there is power in PRAYER!


Second chances. There are always second chances. If there is a vision, a dream, an inspiration, a hope, there are second chances. The hubs is getting a second chance at healing his knee. We go in for another round of PRP treatment this Monday!! It’s all in that second chance plan, right? Winking smile


My parents sold the house I grew up in. They move down to Austin tomorrow! They’ve been in that house for almost 30 yrs. and living in Dallas for over 45 yrs. It’s sad to see my childhood house empty, but we are looking forward to having them down in Austin full time. Plus now we can steal their food, right? jk. Winking smile

Friends…. I’ve got creative friends. Friends that uber talented and want support each others passions. Like this girl, who I hired to make my new Healthy Bites logo(s). I cannot say enough Calee, a creative genius who can read my mind. She is a professionally trained graphic designer who’s working towards her MFA in graphic design while designing, writing and marketing by day at a local university.

Here’s a little preview of her work.


Email me if you want her rates, or just check out her blog!

Speaking of bites, I’m staying busy and therefore not really posting as much. Oh well, it’s all about balance, right?

Here’s a new vegan bite made with pea protein.

Apricot Cinnamon Vanilla.

apricot cinnamon

And then there is other food. Let’s just say I’ve been cleaning out our fridge each night with a hot podge meal.


Can you even tell what that is? Ha! It’s Taco Tuesday.

  • sprouted corn tortilla
  • organic chicken sausage
  • egg
  • almond cheese
  • sautéed vegetables
  • buttered brussel sprouts (cause who doesn’t put brussel sprouts in tacos, right?)
  • cultured organic sour cream
  • chili powder

Yep, oddly delicious.

Alright, enough of my schpeel, it’s your turn.

Schpeel something!




I’d like to put together a post/collage of people enjoying Healthy Bites. If you have ordered from me and have any pictures, please send them my way. Would love to share! Just email cottercrunch (at) Thank you Tianna for this marvelous idea! See, another creative friend.

Motivation Monday: Keep the Care

This weekend was a quick one. Lot’s of driving and traveling to and from meetings, appointments, etc. But it was also a weekend where I was reminded of how much people care. I was reminded that I know GOOD people and man am I lucky.

So why is this a Motivation Monday? Well because I said so. Haha, no really, it’s motivation to keep caring for one another. To keep in touch, to send a quick email or letter, or to just tweet and say hello.

It’s motivation “KEEP THE CARE”. And this weekend I got be a part of that.

This weekend I got to be loved and spoiled by my parents while I taking a quick trip up to Dallas.

This weekend I got to hug and say bon voyage to one of my most CARING friends Dorry. She may be moving to NYC, but I know we will keep in touch. That’s just her style… KEEPING the CARE! <3

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Okay and I might have been keeping the care for myself with new lulu pants. Right Dorry?

This weekend I left my RACE Sherpa Skills in the hands of our good friend Jason. The hubs is lucky to have such a CARING friend.

Jason cared so much that he sent me text messages and pictures from the weekend’s pre-race festivities. Winking smile


This weekend I felt real care from THIS blogging COMMUNITY.

They tweeted the heck out of RACE UPDATES for the hubs and other athletes we knew competing. They even took pictures and tagged me so that I could see. I mean THAT IS JUST PLAIN COOL!




A SPECIAL SPECIAL thanks to Beer, Michele, Holly, and Kelly for making me feel like I was right there.


Motivation Monday— GO!

How will you Keep the care today?

Smile with tongue out



Worth the Time

Let me guess, you just opened your Google Reader on this lovely Monday Morning and it’s jammed pack. But that’s a good thing. Means your blog friends (aka “blends”) were out living life. And when I say living life I mean cooking, eating, training, and so forth. Winking smile My reader is always packed Monday mornings. But it’s well worth the overload.

It’s worth the read to hear about how Jess and Jolene ACED their Barre9 instructor certifications.



It’s worth hearing about how Kalli and Kristen NAILED great running goals.

It’s worth reading how Lindsay LOVES her the blog friends.

It’s worth reading (and seeing) how the TWINS look smoking hot and fit with their new workout moves.

Yep, it’s worth the extra time reading this Monday morning.

You know what else is worth it?

Catching up with friends, family, and old stomping grounds.

I spent extra time this weekend just driving around to certain spots.


While I was there I spent some extra time visiting with a old Blog friend but new REAL life friend. Does that make sense? haha.



And let’s not forget the family and FOOD! I caught up with my nieces, my nephew, my brothers, and my parents.

I decided to to spend a little extra time sharing all the goodies I received while we were gone.

The Chobani went to my nieces and nephews. I think they liked the new flavors. Smile with tongue out


I shared the new larabar Cappuccino flavors with my mom. She’s a sucker for all things coffee.


And I shared the Organic Wine I received from GNC and the Resveratrol Company with my parents and the hubs.

Trust me, that one was hard to share.


But you know what happened, that hadn’t happened in a LONG LONG TIME?

I spent some extra time making a meal for just me! Yep, a rare night to myself. Cooking for one.

Okay reheating GF tamales and steaming rice and veggies isn’t really a lot of cooking, but hey, I’m gonna take the credit anyway.


What did you spend extra time on this weekend?




Remember when I used to share recipes? haha, well that and the healthy bites giveaway will be coming up. This week, I think. Winking smile