An idea ....

I really should be vacuuming my house, I do have people coming for dinner tonight, but I am so excited about this idea I've had that I just had to do a quick post so I can get some feedback !

I was thinking it would be fun to do a "foods of the world" thing ... what should I call it ? We would all cook, photograph, and post a recipe of a certain country and post it here. I would open it up to other food bloggers to link to as well. And we could invite "guest bloggers" to the beans blog to post for certain meals ... (but that is really just a scam to get Ally to take photos of Stephan making his famous Paella so I can get the recipe !!!) ha ha

I need a bit of input though so here's my questions ...

1. Are you interested ?

2. How often would we do it ? Like, would we do one country per month ? or every two weeks ? Each person could cook as few or as many dishes as they like in that time ... but I'm just wondering how often is good ? I'm leaning towards once a month, as that gives plenty of time to decide what recipe to do and plan it into our menus ... we'd get through 12 countries in a year ... but if we did every two weeks we'd double that ! Let me know what you think.

3. Which countries do you think would be fun to do first ? Maybe give me your top five and I'll pick the most popular ones to start with ...

I really do need to go !! Company is coming in two hours and I just made gyoza (from scratch !) for me and Jono. That's what happens when I don't eat lunch ... I go gourmet at 3:00 pm !! But, I did do a little video tutorial on how to make it ... that's coming soon ... but not before my company !!! Aaagggg !! ( face on hands like home alone kid )

Leave me some feedback !! I can barely contain my excitement at the plethora of recipes from different countries that may soon be linked to the beans blog ...

Rachael Ray Shrimp Pasta


I found this recipe HERE.

Leeky Linguine with Shrimp by Rachael Ray

500g/1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined (I just buy them already like that !)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped (you guessed it, I used more)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (chilli flakes ...)
Salt and black pepper
1 pound fresh linguine (I couldn't find fresh so just used the packaged stuff)
4 leeks—trimmed, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise and washed (I only used one big one)
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (a generous handful) (I couldn't find flat leaf ... just used regular parsley from my herb garden !! )

1. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with 2 tablespoons EVOO, the lemon peel, garlic and crushed red pepper; season with salt and black pepper.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.

3. While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, season with salt and black pepper and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Push the leeks to the side of the pan, add the shrimp to the skillet and cook until pink and firm. Pour in the wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the pasta to the skillet; season with salt and black pepper. Add the parsley and toss.

Menu Plan :)

I have missed the beans blog!!
Life has been crazy but one thing I've had to do to bring some sort of sanity is a MENU! I have been trying to make up a month at a time. Sounds crazy I know, but it helps. It also makes my shopping lists so easy.
I'll post the recipes as I make them and take pictures.
MONDAY - leftovers
TUESDAY - Asparagus HashThis looks delicious - can't wait to try it.
WEDNESDAY - Butternut squash pasta
THURSDAY - (Thursday is always a crock pot day because of schedules) Ham and Lentil soup
FRIDAY - Quesadillas (with white beans and cheesy butternut squash spread)
SATURDAY - Fajitas or Tamale pie (depends on my mood)
SUNDAY - leftovers

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - Edition 26

We had family here for the weekend to celebrate Alia's birthday ... I have some photos and at least two new recipes to post which I will do later in the week, maybe tonight or tomorrow.

Friday : Prawn and Leek Linguine (recipe coming), with spinach parcels.
Saturday : Sushi
Sunday : Leftovers
Monday : Stir Fry made by Rory with homemade gyoza (recipe coming)
Tuesday : having friends over and making Friday's dinner again but with salad as well
Wednesday : something with beans, tortillas, cheese etc ... gonna make it up
Thursday : probably something with ground beef

Gotta run ... busy day today !!!

Menu Plan Monday - Khrista - Edition 26

Menu Plan Monday

My Menu for the week:

Monday: Breakfast burritos
Tuesday: BLTs
Wednesday: Whatever I can scrounge up in 5 minutes
Friday: Chicken Cous Cous (I'll post the recipe when I have time)
Saturday: Bacon Mushroom Spaghetti

The great thing about cooking for just me is that 1pkg. of bacon goes for at least two meals. And any week I eat bacon twice is a good week!

Yummo Spinach Parcels


This one burst open ... Look at all the yummies inside !! I got this recipe off the back of a Puff Pasty Package. I modified it a tiny bit ... I'll post the modified recipe here.

1 onion
baby spinach, chopped
300g ricotta cheese
150g feta cheese
salt and pepper
fresh mint
1 egg
Puff Pastry

Saute onion and garlic. Add spinach cook til wilted. Mix cheeses in a bowl, add sauteed mixture and fresh mint. The recipe called for 1/2 a bunch, but I probably only added a tsp. I thought that was too much. I think it really only needs a HINT of mint ... if any at all !! Stir in beaten egg. Cut a sheet of puff pastry into four squares. Fill with 2 tbls mixture. bring corners of the pastry into center of parcel. ( it said to brush edges with water ... I forgot and it didn't matter ) When you've made all the parcels, bake on cookie tray lined with baking paper. Bake in moderately hot oven (190C) for about 20 minutes ... or still golden.

The original recipe said to brush the parcels with a beaten egg. I also forgot to do this. OOPS ! Again ... didn't matter !!

These were so yummy ... straight out of the oven, and later reheated in the microwave for dinner, and then again the next day for lunch !!

*** EDITED to add ... I made these again and used lemon thyme instead of mint ! Liked that much much better and will do it that way from now on !!

Also, only made as many as I needed, saved the remaining mixture for the next day ... am actually waiting for the oven to pre-heat to cook them now !!

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McClaines Potato Salad

This is another recipe that I had posted on my other blog that is now private so am bringing over here. Full of sour cream and mayo so not especially healthy ... but very very yummy.

--1/3 cup Italian salad dressing (as you practice with this recipe you can see if you want a bit more...I usually measure out 1/3 cup and then douse in a few more shakes)

--7 medium potatoes, cooked in jackets, peeled, chopped into cubes, makes ~6 cups (the key is taking the jackets off while the pots are still hot...I use a fork to hold the hot potato and a sharp knife to peel)

--3/2 cup sliced celery (optional...J. hates the celery, so a lot of times she and I leave it out)

--1/3 cup sliced green onion or regular onion (I'm not sure when I put green onions in...usually I put the leaves them big chunks, I like them really little...adds the flavor without an overwhelming bit of onion)

--4 hard boiled eggs

--1 cup mayonnaise (real is best)

--1/2 cup sour cream (KEY...don't skimp)

Pour Italian dressing over warm, cut potatoes; chill 2 hours (best if chilled over can cook the pots and put them in the fridge over night to marinate then throw it together the next day...the marinating is the secret to this amazing potato salad).

Add celery and onion.

Chop eggs; add.

Mix mayo and sour cream; fold gently but thoroughly into salad.

Add salt and celery seed to taste (I ALWAYS skip this step...but if you taste it and think it needs it, go for it).

Chill until serving. (If you've only chilled the pots for 2 hours, then chill the finished salad another 2 hours before serving)

A Lesson Learned...and a Menu

I've recently learned something valuable, and since it's cooking related, I thought I'd post it here:

Should you find yourself making some kind of curried entree, and you should happen to discover that you have forgotten to make rice, and you also happen to be hungry and not, i repeat do NOT try to cook brown rice in a microwave.

That's all I have to say about that.

My menu for the week:
Monday: EZ Chicken Curry (courtesy of Ellie) with a garden salad
Tuesday: Ellie's Black Bean Chili
Wednesday: Super Fancy Soup (lol, I have Youth Group on weds.!)
Thursday: Bible Study (they feed me dinner!) but I am planning to take Bonnie's Muffins of Yumness
Friday: Spaghetti Ali Oli with a side of Broccoli

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - Fam Fave Edition

I can't believe that it's Menu Planning Time again already ! We are eating out of the fridge/pantry for the rest of the week. Time to clear some stuff out ! So, let's see. Friday night we had pizza and watched Nim's Island. Cute movie. Saturday we had leftovers. Sunday we had scones and salami sandwiches. Interesting combination, I know. We had been to the beach for a late lunch with friends and so had some scones before Rory went to church. When he got home, we had salami sandwiches ... Monday (today) we had tortilla and asparagus hash. That stuff is goooood ! I loved it !! The rest of the week ... well, I'll have to let you know ! We may have some interesting food ... maybe something worth posting will come out of it ! ha. Actually, I may try Khrista's Red Lentil Soup with Rice, I think I've got everything to make it.

Since this is the family favorites edition of Menu Plan Monday,
I'm posting a link to this recipe.
Macaroni and Cheese
The way my Mom always made it ~ the way I still make it !!
Try it, you'll like it !


Family Favorite ... Macaroni and Cheese !

A favorite from my childhood ... and still a favorite now !
I chose this photo to show you the yummy crispy bits on the sides !
They're the best bits !
Fights happen to get these bits ...
(ok, not really, but they would be worth a fight !!)


What You'll Need:
Pasta of some description. We like shells. Tonight we used spirals. One bag.
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Milk, enough to fill the soup can
Cheese, grated or you can grate it yourself

Cook the pasta according to package instruction.
Oh, and get that oven fired up. 350 F - 180 C

Have your assistant pour the can of soup into a bowl.

Then fill the can with milk and have her pour that into the bowl as well.

If you haven't bought the cheese pre-grated, your assistant can take care of that for you.
Make sure she eats the bits that fall onto the counter as she grates.

Dump the cheese into the bowl of soup and milk.
Not you, of course, your assistant !


And mix some more.
Bring in second assistant if necessary.

Have older assistant put bowl into microwave and turn on for 5 or so minutes.
Just to melt the cheese a bit.

In the meantime, the original assistant can be putting the drained pasta into a casserole dish.

Once the soup, milk, cheese mixture makes it out of the microwave, pour on top of pasta.
It's better if you do this. Scalded assistants are grumpy assistants.

Cover and put into oven.
I didn't take a photo to show you how but you're gonna want to close the oven door !

Bake 1 hour.

I like mine sprinkled with grated rock salt.
Rory adds Tabasco.
The kids, even with the tineey weeney mushroom bits from the soup, love this !
I hear comments like:
"This is really quite good, Mommy !"


Red Lentil Soup with Rice

Red Lentil Soup with Rice

¾ cups red lentils (rinsed and drained)
salt to taste
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
8 cups water
6 tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups onion, chopped
4 teaspoons garlic
½ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
¼ cup rice, rinsed and drained

Place lentils, salt, pepper, paprika and water in pot. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Melt butter in pan, fry onions and garlic until brown. Add cilantro and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in lentils, and rice. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer until rice is tender.

I always add a little hot pepper sauce to mine for a little extra kick! Yum!

Menu Plan Monday - Khrista - Edition 25

I'll post the Red Lentil Soup with Rice recipe tomorrow, after I have a picture! :)
The Pesto Farfalle recipe can be found *HERE*

Spicy Potatoes

I can't believe I have never posted this recipe before. It is a favorite around here.

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900g / 2lb potatoes

1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp salt

2 tbls oil
1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbls sesame seeds

So ... I never measure the potatoes for this. I just get out a big baking dish, line it with baking paper, fill it with chopped potatoes, cover with oil and bake in hot oven .... 200C. I stir them a couple of times so that they all get done and not just the top ones. It takes a while ... maybe 30 minutes ? Maybe longer ? Just keep tasting testing them ...

In the meantime. Get yourself a little bowl and mix up the turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Set aside.

Also in the meantime ... chop up the garlic and chilli. I don't always have a chilli. So, sometimes I don't use one. The time I took the photo, I had a red chilli ... used that. Makes no difference. I like the garlic chopped fine, rather than crushed but you can do what you like. I also use a fair bit more than one garlic clove like the original recipe called for !!

Ok ... get your smallest frying pan and heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds. I use more than 1/4 tsp and I use a combination of black and yellow seeds. Fry the mustard seeds a couple minutes ~ til they splutter. Add the chilli and garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes. I like the garlic to begin to turn brown. Then add the sesame seeds. Fry for a couple of minutes ~ til they begin to turn brown. Remove from heat.

When the potatoes are done, pour into serving bowl. Sprinkle the spice mixture on the potatoes and toss to coat. Then add the chilli/garlic mixture.

Voila !

Serve straight away. They are best piping hot !!

PS ... I pull out the servings of potatoes for the kids before I put the spices on. They prefer them that way ... just a bit too spicy for their little taste buds !

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - Edition 24

It's Monday ! Here's what's on the menu this week at our place ...

Some of it has already been eaten, since our menu starts on Friday !!

Friday :

Mustard Chicken
Feta Potatoes

Saturday :

Went to Jono's Soccer Awards night and so had take away pizza.

Sunday :

The Great Aussie Burger for lunch

and .....

This amazing Jamie Oliver Salad for dinner. AND for lunch today ... and tomorrow ... and the next day !!

Monday :

Tonight !
We are having Crock Pot Lamb and Orzo
Can you smell it ?
It's been in the crock pot for about 4 hours !
I'm ready to get a fork and tuck into it !!


Falafel Salad
and Pita Crisps

Will get a photo of the crisps this time !

Wednesday :

I'm going to try Khrista's Asparagus Hash !

Thursday :

I am going to try making Grace's Rice
Spring Rolls

I did some baking too !!
This is Carrot and Pineapple Cake.
I'll post the recipe soon.

Next Monday, Laura is hosting a special edition menu plan ... FAMILY FAVORITES EDITION ! I can't wait !! There should be some good ideas ! I will be participating too .... see you then !!

Chicken Pot Pie ...


This is a great meal to cook if you are taking dinner to someone. It stays hot FOREVER and is super yummy. Great comfort food ... which people are usually needing when you are taking them dinner !!

Whatcha need :

500g or 1 lb chicken breast
3 and 1/2 cups water
4 chicken stock cubes ( boullion )
5 medium sized potatoes
2 cups milk
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice ( I used a mix of mozzarella and "tasty"... I'm not sure what tasty cheese is called outside of Australia ... it's a white cheddar )
Pastry. You could use shortcrust but I use puff !!

If I have them on hand, I will also add carrots and sometimes broccoli and often times mushrooms.

Whatcha do :

Preheat oven.

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and brown with garlic, til cooked through.

In the meantime, peal the potatoes and chop into small cubes ... do the other veggies too if you are using. Place potatoes in a large pot with water and stock cubes. Bring to a boil, cooking til potatoes are tender. I usually chuck the carrots in for the last 5/10 minutes just to soften a bit. Broccoli and mushrooms don't need it ...

Mix milk and flour. Add slowly to boiling water. Let thicken. ( don't let it burn .... keep stirring ! ) Add chicken, other veggies, salt and pepper and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and contents are well combined.

Line casserole dish with pastry. I use a 13X9 or sometimes a big round deep casserole dish.

Dump mixture in pot into casserole dish. Cover with pastry. I usually make a nice think crust border around the top ... and maybe a few pretty things with the extra pastry bits on top ... With a sharp knife, cut slits into crust to allow steam to exit.

Bake 350F or 180C for 30 minutes of til crust is nicely browned.

This will be quite runny when you first cut into it. We find it is best to pull it out of the oven, and cut it open, well before you want to serve it. Even like 1/2 an hour before !!


Sandra's Coconut Patries

One of my favorite bloggers, Sandra, posted this recipe and I just have to repost it so the rest of you can enjoy it as well. It's super easy and delicious ... if you like coconut, that is. You can pop over to her site to see step by step (with photos) instructions !!

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Coconut Pastries

1 package Puff Pastry
3 eggs
1 cup of milk
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of coconut
sprinkle of vanilla essence
Powdered sugar for garnish

Unroll the sheets of puff pastry and cut each one into 9 squares.

Place on a cookie sheet bake in a 400F / 200C oven until done. (They will puff up and be lovely and golden) Remove from oven and cool down completely.

In the meantime, in a pan, add the eggs, milk, sugar, coconut and a drop or two of vanilla essence. Cook over medium heat until it thickens, remove from heat and allow to cool down.

Open each pastry square and add a tablespoon of the filling or a little more.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar. And voila ... done !

These were super yummy warm. BUT, the were also good the next day. Not flaky and crispy (?) like the first day ... more soft and squishy but still yummmmmmmmmy !!

Ratatouille in the Crock Pot

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I was not overly impressed with this meal. Too bland. I will probably try it again but make a few changes because I think the basic recipe is ok ... just lacking a bit of oomph ! I think, if I make it again, I'll also serve it with chicken, like CHICK IN THE KITCHEN did. Maybe that is why she loved this recipe more than me ... Anyway ... I'm going to post the recipe because you may love it too ...

Ratatouille in the Crock Pot

2 small onions, thinly sliced
2 medium eggplants, skin on, diced
2 large green bell peppers, seeded, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 small red pepper, seeded, diced
6 plum-sized tomatoes, quartered
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
1 6-oz. can tomato paste

large handful fresh parsley, chopped
large handful fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Layer ingredients through the 1 tsp. salt in your crock pot, in the order listed. Then dot the tomato paste on top, and cover. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours.

Remove lid and stir to combine. Add fresh parsley and basil, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve hot, room temperature, or straight from the fridge.

Pumpkin Risotto

I hope none of you want this recipe because I'll have to go to the library to try and find the book that had the recipe. I made it but will not make it again. But, I like the photos so am going to post them anyway ...



Fa la la la la la la fel Salad ... You have to sing the name !

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I got this recipe HERE ... I'm copying and pasting the recipe ...

Falafel Salad

For the Tsatsiki Dressing:
1 container Greek yogurt
1/4 cup minced cucumber
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
juice of 1 lemon
pinch salt

For the Falafel :
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons canola oil
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained ( these are also called chickpeas )
2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 egg white, lightly beaten

For the Salad:
3 cups baby greens, such as baby arugula (called rocket in Australia)
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped seedless cucumbers

I didn't worry about my cucumber being seedless ... I just used some nice continental cucumber. I also added some kalamata olives to our salads just because I love 'em !


To prepare the dressing, combine all ingredients in the bottom of a large salad bowl, stirring with a fork until well combined.

Next, prepare the falafel. In a medium skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of canola oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat just until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cumin and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape the onion mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Add 1 cup of the beans and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped but not smooth. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl. Mix in the remaining whole garbanzo beans and 1/4 cup of bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 6 1/4-cup patties, about 1/2 inch thick.

Put the flour, beaten egg white and remaining bread crumbs into 3 shallow bowls. Dust each bean cake with the flour, tapping off the excess. Dip the cakes in the egg and then in the bread crumbs, pressing so that the bread crumbs adhere.

In a very large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil until shimmering. Add the cakes and cook over moderate heat, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, toss the baby greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in the tsatsiki dressing. (I didn't do this, we just had it on top ...) Divide the dressed vegetables between two plates. Top each plate with 3 falafel patties.

And her recipe for Pita Chips to serve with the salad. They were delicious ... I didn't get any photos of mine ... next time !!

Grilled Pita Chips

2 pitas
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

Prepare the grill. Meanwhile, combine the cumin, paprika and sea salt in a small bowl. Next, brush both sides of the pitas with the olive oil. Sprinkle the cumin mixture over both sides of the pitas. Grill the pitas for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Cut into wedges and serve warm, preferably with your favorite hummus.

(We did these under the broiler)

Tomato Tart

The other day while shopping for our weekly produce I could not resist these beautiful organic heirloom tomatoes. I didn't even flinch when the cashier rang up these beauties and $14 was displayed! I knew they would be worth every penny!
And I was right...I dug up a recipe I have had in my "recipes to try" folder for years! I tore it out of a Martha Stewart Living magazine years ago, but you can find it HERE.
The recipe above has a link to a Pâte Brisée recipe I generally use for sweet tarts.
The recipe I tore out of the magazine has a different variation for a savory tart:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (I used thyme)
2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (I only had salted on hand)
1/2 cup ice water
Process following the recipe for a sweet tart.

I used smoked gouda cheese instead of fontina. YUM!
I even had enough dough leftover for a quiche tonight!

Menu Plan Monday - Khrista - Edition 24

It is still technically Monday here in Alaska! I will come back in the morning to add some links to recipes! Just wanted to get this in before it is no longer MONDAY! ha!
*Edited 09/09/08 to add links:
Tomato Tart or HERE
Potato and Leek Soup

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - Edition 23

Can it really be true ? Am I going to get this posted on time this week !?! Hooray for me.

I finished up last week with Friday nights meal so we'll start this week with Saturday ... through to Thursday because that's only as far as I've planned.


Since we had a late lunch and had to be back at church before we were ready to eat again, we packed the kids some dinner and just picked through the fridge for ourselves when we got home.

Tuscan Garlic Chicken
This was delicious ! I'm still full !
Not surprising though as we've only been finished with dinner for 20 minutes !
I'll post the recipe for this one this week !

Tortilla Espanola con chorizo


Italian Roast Peppers

Crock Pot Meatballs


Foccacia Bread

Mustard Chicken with Vegetables
Roast Potatoes with Feta

ALSO this week, I did some baking !! Can you believe it ?
I tried Sandra's Coconut Pastries and they were so easy and soooooo delicious !!

I also made Cinnamon Donut Muffins for Father's Day Breakfast.

They were so freaking good, I made them again tonight.
We've had them for dessert and there's plenty left to go in lunches for a day or two.
These are the best muffins I've EVER made.
You're gonna love them.
I post the recipe soon ~ maybe even tomorrow!

Oh yeah, I made spinach and feta pastries too !!
I don't have any more time to download the photo but I'll be posting that recipe this week too.
They were a snap and delicious !!
So much better than the store bought variety !!

Ok ... better run.
Hop over to for more Menu Plan Monday !!

A Cool Beans Blog Review ...

CLICK HERE to read a great review on my high school Alumni website !

The author, Michelle, and I went to the same High School in Spain. Just not at the same time. We have only met recently through facebook and the various Alumni sites she has run over the years ! Although, it seems we were on the swim team at the same time when I was in elementary school. We don't remember each other but the years match up. Neat, eh ?

Anyway ... I love the review she wrote and wanted to share it with you all ...

I'll be posting my menu plan for this week later in the day and have a few recipes to share later in the week, so be sure to check back !!