Tostones

DSC_0094Let me start this post by saying I love my son. Let me now follow that by saying the little punk hid my sd card reader so now we have to box.

Moving on. This week we are making tostones. Tostones are fried plantains. You can buy plantains either green or yellow. The green ones are the ones we are using for this recipe. The yellow ones are also delish but much sweeter.

When choosing green plantains make sure they are dark green. The darker the better. In my picture they look a little yellow but there should be no yellow.  Begin by filling a pan with a little bit of oil over medium heat. You want enough oil to come up about half way on your sliced plantain coins.DSC_0071

Then you want to cut off each end and make a slice down the center of the skin. You should slice all the way through the skin but not into the actual plantain. Then peel off the skin.DSC_0077DSC_0076

Next slice the plantain in to roughly 1/2 inch diagonal coins. I say roughly because here in Case No Damns Given my coins are never uniform size. So you do you.

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Once the oil is nice and hot, carefully place the coins in the pan. You only need to leave them for about 1-2 minutes per side. We are not cooking them just softening them.

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After the coins cool a little, we need to smash them. I used a tostenera, which you can pick up at most global super markets. A flat bottom cup works just as well.

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Finally, place the flattened plantain back in to the oil. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side. It should be crispy and golden when it is done then spinkle with a little salt.You can eat them plain, put salsa on them or my personal favorite top them with rice and beans. We have even topped it with rotisserie chicken, jalepeños and cheese and ate them like nachos.

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Tostones

Ingredients

  • 4 Green Plantains
  • Oil for Frying
  • Salt (Optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat a small amount of oil over medium heat
  2. Slice off each end and slice down the center of the skin
  3. Peel off the skin
  4. Slice each plantain into diagonal coins, roughly 1/2 inch.
  5. Place several coins in to the oil. Fry 1-2 minutes each side to soften
  6. Remove from oil and allow the coins to cool for a couple minutes.
  7. Using either a tostonera or a flat bottomed cup; flatten each coin.
  8. Place the flattened plantain back into the oil and fry for about 5 minutes on each side.
  9. Remove from oil and lightly salt
http://runningonlaughter.com/2015/04/30/tostones/

 

Product Review: Carefree Acti-fresh Pantiliners

I have a hypothesis. It’s that EVERYONE enjoys getting surprises in the mail.  And I was recently fortunate enough to open my mailbox to find this:

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Yep, yep, yep.  I’ve been given the opportunity to sample free swag, and I’m sharing what I’ve learned with YOU, dear readers.  I’ll be honest, I’m not generally someone that uses pantiliners, so I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the Carefree acti-fresh pantiliners.  I committed to trying them out for two weeks in the name of research.

One of the first things that I noticed was that despite being labled as “unscented,” these pantiliners do have a faint fragrance.  It isn’t strong, and it definitely isn’t upleasant (picture a nice, soft, powdery, rose scent), but it’s there.  I personally prefer the faint the scent.  And really, it is so light that it might as well be unscented.

The packaging claims that the pantiliners are so thin that “you’ll forget you’re wearing a liner.”  I’m pretty aware of all things comfort related (the “Princess and the Pea” could totally have been written about me), and I found this claim to be true. The liners are paper-thin with no prickly edges.  It’s pretty much like you’re just wearing underwear.  (If you don’t wear underwear, then this product probably isn’t for you, but no judgement here).

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Perhaps most important, I did actually find that these made me feel a bit…..*ahem*…….fresher.  These really did seem to help keep everything dry and lady-like.  I sort of know what these feminine hygiene brands mean now when they talk about “added confidence.”  I don’t know yet if I’d wear one every day, but there are several scenarios where I might just have to bring some of these along with me:

*Workouts

*Extra-long work days

*Long flights (think about it, it could be like having new underwear on a 20 hour flight, but much less awkward in those tiny bathrooms)

*Extra-hot summer days

Really, my ONLY complaint about these liners is that wearing them every day doesn’t seem very environmentally friendly. Hey Carefree…..can you fix that for me?  I’ll be first in line for the compostible version!

 

*I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Key Lime Pie

DSC_0064Do you ever have one of those days when you ask yourself “how did my life get to this point?” That was me, at 5:30 this morning, when I realized I was out of coffee. What is this life?

Anyways, I don’t know if its the beautiful weather or what but I have been craving Key Lime everything. My first thought was to make key lime ice cream sandwiches. I had this epiphany approximately 48 hours after I donated our ice cream maker because we never used it. When I told my wife about my plan, she gave me side eye so strong it would have made weaker men cry. Thankfully, I have become immune to it and I just pretend I don’t see it. I did realize that it would probably be a bad idea to buy another small appliance when we are in the middle of packing. Of course, by the middle, I mean we donated some stuff in preparation for packing.

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We are prepping to move. We have not moved in 12 years and we have accumulated a lot of crap in that time. Also I remembered how much I hate packing.

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Moving on, I decided to go with key lime pie. This actually worked out since the only things I needed to buy for it are the sweetened condensed milk and graham crackers. In complete honesty I did not use key limes. Those little buggers are expensive. Plus I already had regular limes in my refrigerator.

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The fastest way to make the crust is throw it in the food processor but because Peanut was sleeping, I just smashed the crackers with a meat tenderizer. Both ways work, just make sure it crush them up finely. I will say this recipe is supposed to chill for several hours, preferably overnight. I will also say, ours only chilled for about 3 hours because priorities. It was delicious anyways.

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Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

Ingredients

    Crust
  • 10 Graham Crackers - crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 7 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • Filling
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Grated Lime Zest
  • 2/3 Cup Lime Juice
  • 3 Large Egg Yolks
  • 1 14oz Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Topping
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tables Powdered Sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat Oven to 375 Degrees
  2. Crust
  3. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to evenly combine
  4. Press the mixture in to a 9in lightly greased pie dish
  5. Place in oven for 10 minutes
  6. Leave the oven on
  7. Filling
  8. Combine Lime Zest and egg yolks in bowl
  9. Mix with an electric beater until thick
  10. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until thick again
  11. Add lime juice and mix with spoon until just combined
  12. Pour mixture in pie crust
  13. Bake for 10 minutes - you want it to set but not brown
  14. Place on wire rack to cool.
  15. Topping
  16. In mixer combine heavy whipping cream and sugar
  17. Mix until thickened and soft peaks form
  18. When the pie has completely cooled, pipe or spread the topping on top
  19. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
http://runningonlaughter.com/2015/04/23/key-lime-pie/

Spicy Jicama “Fries”

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We all have those days that really need to be about relaxation and self care. Today has been one of those days. My oldest friend from high school who I hadn’t seen in years came to dinner last night. I was up way past my bedtime, and I knew from the moment I woke up that today would not be a productive day. But like I said…..we all need to indulge in a lazy day once in awhile.

One thing that I don’t want to do on a lazy day is spend all day in the kitchen. So I whipped up this easy recipe in approximately five minutes so that I could go catch up on the new season of “Orphan Black.” Despite the name of this post, I actually don’t think of this recipe as a replacement for fries. I think of it more as a great side for a light meal or a fun addition to a veggie tray.

Cut up the jicama into a french fry shape or any shape you feel like really. Then, sprinkle them with lime juice, chili powder, and cumin. That’s it! I personally think that the spices pair really well with guac, and this crunchy root vegetable is a great source of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Can you say the same about those boring tortilla chips?

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Spring Favorites

DSC_0996I originally titled this post March favorites. That should give you a good indication of where brain is at this point. Sadly, I can’t even blame the child this time.

The weather guys, is.a.amazing. I love it, I’m ready for it. We have started eating lighter foods and taking evening walks. I actually took pictures of a cucumber salad that is pretty much a spring/summer staple in our house. Sadly, I only took pictures of half the process. So I will be making that again this week and posting it soon. In lieu of the food recipe I will be showing you some things that I have come to love this spring. I tried to choose a mix of beauty, bath and food items. Let’s get to it!

YES to Coconuts body wash and Cetaphil Lotion

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This body wash is everything to me right now. I love the scent of coconuts anytime but during the spring and summer it’s my go-to scent for body wash. When I smelled this in the store it instantly reminded me of visiting my grandparents in New York and getting coquito from the cart. As far as body wash goes it’s standard. I don’t have a very high standard for body wash. It needs to get me clean, not dry out of my skin and smell good. This does all over those things. The bottle says it’s made with oil. For some reason, I assumed it would be creamy but it is a very runny body wash. My skin was super soft after so I guess it is pretty moisturizing. Let’s be honest though, it’s the scent that got  me. Sadly, the scent did not linger on my skin. I may need to pair it with the lotion.

Cetaphil Lotion

True story, this lotion kind of surprised me. I threw it in my suitcase to use on vacation because the bottle was small. I have been using it every night, before bed, since we got home and my hands are completely smooth. I don’t even know how this little bottle of magic got into my house. Clearly, God felt bad for my sad sally hands and dropped it off. Bonus, Cetaphil is hella cheap. A 16oz bottle is about $11.

Primal Pit Paste and Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue

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Primal Pit Paste is a natural deodorant. I have a bad history with natural deodorant. Normally, they either don’t work or they make me break out in an awful rash. This does neither. I use the scent Thyme and Lemongrass and I can still smell it when I am getting ready for bed. They also make a lavender scent which smells amazing but I feel like I need to reapply by 5PM. The only downside is that it can be hard to find in the store. The one thing that I both love and hate about Pit Paste is that all the ingredients are things I have in my kitchen. Seriously, I should just make it and stop paying someone else to do it.

Bare Mineral Complexion Rescue, like everything else I love, makes my skin less dry. If you haven’t noticed by now I am really preoccupied by how dry my skin is all the time. I didn’t have high hopes for this product. I have tried a lot of Bare Minerals products and not loved or even like any of them. This has light coverage, buildable to medium and hydrates skin. It has weird texture. When you squeeze it out, it looks really creamy but once you start to blend it becomes almost water-like. It gives a very natural look and feels light weight. I think it’s going to be great for summer.

Pantene Co-Wash

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I have a confession: I haven’t shampooed my hair since last November. I switched over to co-washing and never looked back. Co-washing, or conditioner washing, has completely transformed my, you guessed it, dry curly hair. The only downside you have to be careful what kind of styling products you use. Nothing with silicone in it. Co-wash doesn’t have the detergent that regular shampoo does, so it can’t remove silicone buildup. I have tried a lot of brands of co-wash brands, Pantene works just as well, if not better than some salon brands and it’s only $5 for 24oz.

Vanilla Almond Milk and Love Grown Power O’s

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I hated almond milk until this week. Truth. Lauren told me to try the vanilla almond milk and now I am obsessed. She said it tasted like marshmallows and that is the best description. I have been putting it in my ice coffee and it is the best. I have to admit that it is pretty delish on cereal too. Currently I have three gallons of almond milk in my fridge. That is multiple brands of half gallon containers. We are doing a taste off  – post to follow.

Love Grown Power O’s

Let’s cut to the chase – I think this cereal tastes like Cheerios and my wife thinks it tastes like beans. I do not detect any hint of beans. It’s crunchy, delish and healthier than your average cereal which makes me feel better when I snack on it before bed. Combined with vanilla almond milk, it is satisfying sweet snack.

 

Green Beauty

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I have a confession to make.  I have always been a bit of a hippie.  Back in junior high, I used to slather myself in patchouli oil and spend my free time picking up garbage from the neighborhood for fun.  To this day, I completely geek out over folks that raise alpacas or live in tiny homes.  I would totally vacation at a one of those communes where folks spend their days working the land, composting, and living in a yurt or whatever.

Having said that, I still live in the real world where being presentable matters.  Also…I said that I’d vacation on a commune, not live there permanently.  I enjoy my life of luxury, thankyouverymuch.

At this point, you might be asking yourself if there’s a point to all of this.  Actually, yes. The point is that back in the day, “green beauty” typically meant a very small selection of products that were difficult to find outside of organic markets and weren’t always effective.  But more and more beauty brands are wising up to the fact that many women want to limit their exposure to toxins and support companies with strong values.  This has led to a massive increase in the number of products that offer greener products without sacrificing efficacy or luxury.

Today I’m going to share some of my favorite “green” beauty products.  I won’t pretend to be a purist.  I use plenty of non-green products, but I prefer healthier options if they work as well as the less safe alternatives.  I truly believe that each product mentioned here is up to the job.

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1. The Honest Company Shampoo & Body Wash – This is hands-down my new favorite product. I actually really love everything from The Honest Company, but this is my favorite. The sweet orange vanilla fragrance smells delish and this shampoo strikes the right balance when it comes to cleansing.  I find that many shampoos either strip my hair of moisture or leave me feeling greasy.  After using this one, my hair felt full and soft with less frizz than normal.  Also, I’m lazy so if I can combine shampoo and body wash in one product, I’m sold.

Free of: SLS, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, fragrances, dyes, sodium chloride, formaldehyde, MEA, DEA, TEA, & most common allergens

Other notes: For each purchase the company donates to families in need, No animal testing

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2. Kiss My Face Liquid Rock Deodorant – Ok.  So natural deodorant is a bit of a touchy subject because as much as I indulge my inner hippie, I definitely don’t want to be the stinky hippie.  This deodorant does the trick.  It lacks the aluminum that makes so many traditional anti-perspirants controversial, and still keeps me stink-free.  I like that it smells like lavender and doesn’t stain my clothes.

Free of: aluminum chlorohydrate, parabens, propylene glycol, animal ingredients, artifical fragrance

Other notes: cruelty-free, no animal testing, Note: This is a deodorant and not an anti-perspirant, so I approve it for everyday use…I do NOT recommend using this when you run that marathon in August.

 
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3. Dr. Bronner’s All-One Bar Soap – This is a great bar soap that as far as I can tell is about as green as you can get.  The ingredients list is super short and mostly contains various plant-based oils.  This is nice for that “squeaky clean” feeling and comes in a number of fragrances.

Free of: I don’t have a list of what’s not in this soap, but as I said…it’s mostly just a bunch of natural oils that make up the ingredients.

Other notes: Oregon Tilth Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Certified, No Animal Testing, 100% Vegan, Packaging is Printed on 100% post consumer waste paper to “relieve stress on our working forests.”

 

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4. Lulu Organics Hair Powder – This hair powder is perfect for second (or third or fourth) day hair.  It isn’t a spray like most which makes it a little easier to avoid having a huge spot of white powder in one spot.  It does a decent job of soaking up excess oil and the lavender clary sage scent is nice and subtle.

Free of: Again, I don’t have a list of what it doesn’t contain, but the ingredients are pretty straightforward.  It is made of corn starch, baking soda and other natural powders and essential oils.  I’d say you’re pretty safe with this one.

Other notes: USDA and Oregon Tilth Certified Organic, No Animal Testing

 
So there are 4 great products to keep you smelling fresh while saving the world.  I have a follow-up post planned that will focus on some of my favorite green makeup and perfume products as well.  In the meantime, I’d love to hear some of your recommendations.

 

 

 

Taco Tuesday

DSC_0985I know, I know it’s not Tuesday. But Taco Tuesday sounds so much better than taco Thursday, plus we ate these on Tuesday. I love tacos for dinner. They are so simple, delicious and most importantly easy. This is a go-to dinner in our household when we are short on time. For years  we used the little taco season packets that you buy at the grocery store. Have you ever looked at the ingredients though? It’s kind of weird considering it should just be spices. One packet we looked at even have caramel color, whomp whomp. Why do you need to change the color of spices?

Taco seasoning is so easy to make and its all spices you probably have already in your pantry. You can make it as spicy or not spicy as you want. I make a large batch at one time and which makes taco night even faster.

On side note, I love that picture of the taco at the top of the post. It looks so lovely and dainty. As soon as I was done taking pictures I piled on about 10lbs of cheese and salsa. I got no shame in my taco game.

Taco Seasoning

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4oz

Taco Seasoning

This mix is enough for 3lbs of meat. Only 2T per 1lb of meat is required.

Ingredients

  • 1T Chili Powder
  • 4 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 3 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 3/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Oregano
  • Spicey Version - Substitute
  • 3T Chili Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Red Pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in small bowl
  2. Brown ground beef
  3. Add 2T of mix per 1lb of meat
  4. Add 1/4c of water
  5. Stir for a few minutes to allow sauce to thicken
http://runningonlaughter.com/2015/04/09/taco-tuesday/

Beauty Smackdown – Lip Balm Edition

Happy Easter, Everyone. Today I decided that it was a good time for another “Beauty Smackdown.” I love me some lip balm. It’s easy, mistake-proof, and you can never have too many. So without further ado!

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1. LUSH Lip Balm in Honey Trap

Texture: This balm moisturizes like a dream, but can get clumpy if you use too much. This tendency to get chunky is probably the biggest drawback of this lip balm.

Fragrance/Flavor: I LOVE the flavor of this balm. The vanilla-honey flavor reminds me of angelfood cake. Plus the fact that Lush uses natural ingredients makes me feel better about putting this yummy concoction on my lips.

Price: $7.25 for .3oz

Other Factors: Vegetarian, No Animal Testing, As a company LUSH attempts to limit unnecessary packaging and give back to the community through various charities

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0 (mostly because of the chunkiness factor)

2. TokyoMilk Dark Lip Elixer in Cherry Bourbon

Texture: Nice and smooth. This one reminds me a bit of a silky petroleum jelly. Not too shiny, not too matte.

Fragrance/Flavor: These lip elixers are supposed to have more “grown-up” flavors (other options include flavors such as absinthe and clove cigarette). At first I felt like this one tasted like cherry cough syrup, but after a minute it does settle into a nice, subtle flavor. I’d definitely give the other flavors a try.

Price: $7.00 for a whopping .7oz

Other Factors: The slightly goth packaging is perfect for a girly badass.

Overall Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

3. Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm

Texture: Like the LUSH selection, this honey lip balm is super moisturizing, but is pretty thick. A little goes a long way. It is slighty gritty with a very natural (i.e. not shiny) finish.

Fragrance/Flavor: This one is vaguely citrus-y. Not at all what I’d expect from a honey lip balm. It’s not my favorite, but it isn’t unpleasant at all.

Price: ~$19.00 for .52oz

Other Factors: None.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

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4. Perfumaria Gal Lip Balm in Violet

Texture: This balm isn’t as moisturizing, but is silky with a balanced level of shine.

Fragrance/Flavor: The violet fragrance is a nice change. It’s fairly strong without being overpowering. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a feminine option that isn’t too sweet.

Price: $6.50 for .53oz

Other Factors: Perfumaria Gal lip balms have some of the most beautiful packaging around. I’m also partial to these because I always used them in high school.

Overall Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

5. By Terry Baume de Rose

Texture: I adore this balm. A little goes a long way, and it has a nice sheen. It feels cushion-y and soft.

Fragrance/Flavor: The light rose fragrance is probably the most subtle of all the balms reviewed today.

Price: ~$60.00 for .35oz

Other Factors: Given the price tag, I’ll say it again—a dab really does go a LONG way with this balm.

Overall Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

This ain’t your mommas fried chicken…

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You guys may have noticed the blog is going through some changes. If this were a person we would be in that awkward puberty phase. Soon we will emerge a beautiful swan. We are moving the blog so we will have greater control over our content and make the blog for better for you guys. There are still more changes coming. One of the changes that I am most excited about is our new recipe formatting. The recipes will now look more uniform and be easier for you to print. Unfortunately, making the changes has been eating up more of my time than I thought. Add house shopping and a sick/teething baby and I have been unable to post. But that changes today!

Well this is definitely not my momma’s fried chicken. Which I have tried many times to replicate. Without success. At this point I’m pretty sure my mom possess some sort of sea witch magic and her chicken is unattainable. This chicken is crispy, delish and gluten free, if that’s your jam. Peanut couldn’t get enough. One note about the recipe. I seasoned the chicken with Adobo because I’m Puerto Rican and we put Adobo on everything. You can substitute any seasonings you like for it. But I would suggest trying it because Adobo is delicious.  Let’s get started.

Fried Chicken Wings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Fried Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • 1lb Chicken Wings
  • 2 Cups Potato Starch
  • Adobo Seasoning
  • Oil for Frying

Instructions

  1. Fill dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot about halfway with oil.
  2. Heat to about 240 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, you will know the oil is ready when you insert a wooden spoon into the oil and begins to bubble.
  3. Place wings in a large bowl and season with Adobo.
  4. Mix the wings with your hands to make sure seasoning is distributed evenly
  5. Place potato starch in a 1 gallon plastic bag or large brown paper bag
  6. Add several wings and shake vigorously to coat, place wings back in bowl
  7. Repeat step until all wings have been coated with starch
  8. Place several wings in oil and fry for 5 minutes. Do not place too many wings in at once or it will lower the temperature of your oil
  9. Remove and place on a paper towel or napkin covered plate.
  10. Repeat process until all wings have been fried for 5 minutes.
  11. When wings are done, crank the heat to high and wait about 10 minutes or until temperature is 320 degrees.
  12. In small batches again fry until wings are crispy and cooked through
http://runningonlaughter.com/2015/04/04/this-aint-your-mommas-fried-chicken/

 

 

Service announcement

Hello everyone! Sorry I have not been posting. Weirdly for not posting lately I have been really busy with the blog. Thankfully Lauren is keeping up better than I am.

Lauren and I are making some big changes on the back end of the blog. This will eventually lead to some awesome changes on the front end. Unfortunately right now, it just looks a little bit awkward. Bear with us.

Also I have a half finished post on fried chicken wings. That shit is good. Hopefully that will be completed in the next 24 hours. If not, you can call my son and complain to him. It’s his fault.