Month: June 2014


My husband is Puerto Rican and therefore loves plantains. I am not Puerto Rican (in case you couldn’t tell) and therefore think plantains are super weird. “Ew-I-thought-that-was-a-banana” weird. This starchy, less sweet, cruel joke of a banana can made into super delicious tostones in about 10 minutes. ONLY 10 MINUTES PEOPLE.

Step -1: buy green plantains. At least that’s what my husband said I should get. NOT the yellow/brown ones.

Step 1: peel plantain. Harder than it sounds. Cute the ends off and hope that you don’t accidentally shove the peel under your nail because it is sharp and stiff.

Step 2: cut the plantain into about one inch pieces. If you’re lazy use this:



Step 3: fry the pieces in a pan of oil. Use coconut oil if you’re working on your Whole30! Fry each side for about 2-3 minutes until they turn golden and slightly crispy.


Step 4: remove from oil and rinse the slices in water. Why? Who knows.

Step 5: flatten the pieces with the bottom of a glass.


Step 4: return the pieces to the oil for about a minute.


Step 5: remove the tostones and place them on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Step 6: sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Step 7: take a photo so your mother-in-law will be proud of you!


Chalkboard Update: The Elephant that was clearly beyond my skill level.

Good luck. It’s a long one.  There’s a few seconds where basically nothing happens and it’s because I’m getting a snack aka finally eating dinner.  This elephant was wayyyy too hard.  It took basically forever and my arm is literally sore from drawing it.  Definitely headed back to words next time.

Whole30: Week 2

Week 2 was almost harder than Week 1 because the novelty of this thing has officially worn off.  I’m a good bit into Week 3 and I just kind of feel over it.  Nothing is really exciting about it anymore and 30 days is starting to feel like a loooongggg time.  That being said, I’m still 98% committed to Whole30 (the once a week glass of wine is non-negotiable. sorryI’mnotsorry) and I have seen improvements in my skin, sleep patterns – confirmed by my FitBit’s sleep tracker, weight, and body shape.  I’m headed to a conference in Alaska soon and I’m a half concerned I’ll miss out on a rare treat and half terrified to reintroduce the restricted foods.  I’m committed to doing my best, but if there is some crazy amazing can-only-get-it-in-Alaska dessert, I’m going to eat it.  Hopefully there is just mountains of seafood being handed out by the Deadliest Catch guys.  That’s what I’m expecting, Alaska, so you better not disappoint!

In other news I hosted book club this week and thankfully several other ladies are grain/dairy free or paleo or working  on their own Whole30.  I STRESSED over what to make because very technically appetizers shouldn’t be eaten during Whole30 – they aren’t part of a meal, you eat them mindlessly, and (usually/hopefully/deliciously) they are covered in cheese.

After extensive Pinterest-ing, I just decided to get plantain chips (technically compliant), guacamole, salsa, cut up veggies, and strawberries and then make two little apps that just tiny meals really:  BLT Bites and Sausage stuffed mushrooms.

You can see the BLT bites below:  just halved grape tomatoes with a little romaine lettuce and a generous square of bacon.  (It is HARD to find compliant bacon.  Try looking for packages that say “uncured” or “no sugar cure.”  Those are your safest bet.)  They took about 20 minutes to make and were delicious.  They looked so cute too – I definitely would bring them to a party even if I wasn’t doing Whole30.


I forgot to take a picture of the the mushrooms before A) they were mostly gone and B) all the good light was gone.  Sorry they kind of look gross here, but they were also very delicious and very very easy.  I just removed the stems from button mushrooms, cooked them in the oven at 375 while I browned the sausage (spicy Italian from the farmer’s market!  One of my favorite compliant foods because it is packed with flavor) with some chopped onions and the chopped mushroom stems.  When the sausage was almost cooked I just pulled the pan of mushrooms out of the oven, scooped in the sausage mixture, and then pooped it all back in the over for maybe 15? 20? minutes.  Into everything was brown and delicious looking.  I would normally top them with parmesan or nutritional yeast, but they were delicious as is.




I chose The Fault in Our Stars by John Green mostly because I had already read and loved it.  Plus, most of the ladies are busy mamas so a shorter book without a seriously complicated story was most likely to actually be read/finished.  We all agreed it was worth the read  and even worth the price of a movie ticket .  We’ll be headed to see it in theaters in a week or two – after all the crying teens see it.  (SN:  If I was rich I’d rent out the whole theater so that I could see a movie with a few people.  Nothing grinds my gears like a noisy/messy/inconsiderate theater-goer.)  It’s gotten phenomenal reviews, so I’m really excited.  I expected most critics to pan it as a teenage cry-fest, but it’s looking more and more like the next Notebook.



Photo update on Bee life!

So far our hives seem to be doing wonderfully.  They quickly lost interest in the 1:1 sugar syrup we were offering them, barely finishing the 1/2 gallons we gave them right after install.  I put new brood supers on both hives about 10 days again and then did a quick check to make sure they had found their way up to the new foundation.  They seem to be happy, healthy, and pest free (KNOCK ON WOOD.)  I did have to scrape of some burr comb (comb they built in the wrong place) that was full of nearly capped honey.  Obviously I cheated on my Whole30 challenge a little bit to taste it – I’m probably a little biased but it was basically the best honey ever.

Anyways, here’s a timeline of photos from my big kid camera now that I’m bored enough to actually do something with them.  Hank isn’t quite as good of company as Luis is 😉


Here’s my cute parents right before we picked up the bees!


With our baby nuts in their boxes.  We had to select our nuts from those that our supplier deemed “ready.”  It was really intimidating because I had NO idea what I was really supposed to looking for besides good brood patterns and no pests.


You can kind of see the bag sugar syrup.  This is probably my hive – I definitely spilled it as I propped it open.  I also have read that some berks lay it totally flat under the inner cover, but that seemed to take a certain amount of finesse that I definitely lack.  I just set them on top of the inner cover with an empty super around it for protection and added ventilation.  This what they did in my first bee class and it seemed to work really well.


To install the nuts we just set up our hive bodies and transferred over the frames, one by one, in the same order.  Then we simply shook as many bees as possibly into the hives before shutting them up.  We left the nut boxes on the ground, tilted towards the hives to help encourage any confused bees to head into their new house.  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my nuc had a bunch of wonky comb so I tied it into a frame.  They totally ate all the way through the twine and reestablished all that comb on the frame.  The only problem is that it’s not totally straight and they’ve built two over lapping pieces now.  I think I’m going to have to break it down into two frames and rubber band it in place.



That’s a pretty good brood pattern there.  The photo below shows capped brood aka bee larva that is growing and will hatch soon.


Just another look inside the hive.  I think that these photos were taken after the first week.





The white capped comb is honey!  Did you know that capped honey can NEVER go bad?  Archaeologists ate the honey found in the tombs of ancient Egyptians and it was still good.


If you follow me on Instagram (@gator_rach) you may have already seen this photo, but it’s a nice shot of the queen in the Florida hive.  (I named her Gainesville.)  You can identify her by the faint green dot on her back and her big butt.  She’s much easier to spot in the insta after this photo.


Her majesty.   My sister and I spotted her while adding the second brood supers.




And that’s all folks!  We shouldn’t go back into the hives for at least a week or two.  It is very difficult to find a balance between getting to know your bees and their habits as a new beekeeper and not bothering the bees so that they can do their work.  We check to make sure that they’re active and I love watching the foragers come back with full pollen packets.




Andddddd before I forget this is what that delicious, honey filled buy comb looked like.