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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Celebration of Light + Snow

Feliz Navidad! Check out the Christmas lights near my home in the above video. Are you ready for Christmas? Gifts, travel, cooking, baking, decorations? As my kids like to tell me, it really is the most wonderful time of the year, isn't it? Yes, I say. And I mean it. Not the commercialism part. Not the part where kids open gifts, are happy for a few minutes, and then start squabbling over who got what (does this happen to you, too?). But the togetherness, the food, the celebration of Jesus, and, the lights. Spaniards, at least around here, take Christmas lights very seriously.

Saturday, December 14, 2019


Cozy, fleece-lined slippers.
What makes you feel cozy as the weather turns cold? Even though I live in the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) it does get chilly here. This week the temperatures got up in the 60s, but the nights are in the low 50s. There is no heat in our apartment. That means, it is cold inside.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Things I Like About Spain + My Daily Salad

Cafe's everywhere. This one overlooks the beach, post workout.
I like so many things about Spain, specifically, the Costa del Sol where I live. I suppose you could call this a gratitude post in honor of Thanksgiving. What things are you grateful for in the town you live? If you were to move there all over again, what would you notice? Here is what I like about my locality. 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Tapas Meal

One kilo of shrimp takes a long time to peel.
A few weeks ago when we stayed in Málaga, we had the opportunity to go to the central market. It was a vibrant, bustling maze of fresh seafood, dried fruit and nuts, fresh baked bread, meats and cheeses, and corner cafés to get lunch or a drink. We loved it. However, navigating the crowds and stalls with two hungry kids proved difficult, so my mother-in-law took them outside while my father-in-law, Justin and I found lunch. We settled on three different bocadillos filled with Ibérico ham, manchego cheese, and chorizo sliced deli meat. To that we added perfectly salted, warm marcona almonds, Málaga raisins dried on the vine, green olives, and sweet marinated garlic. It was a lunch to remember. I vowed to return to the market later in the week and shop for dinner ingredients.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Four Kitchens in Four Weeks + My Morning Latte

There's no chance of getting a good photo of Lydia when she's holding gelato.
As I mentioned in my previous post, we have stayed at four different apartments over the course of four weeks. It really wasn’t as bad as you might think. But it wasn’t easy, either.

Our Apartment + Salted Fish Salad

We found our dream apartment a few weeks ago. As soon as we walked in and had a quick tour, Justin looked at me and waggled his eyebrows as if to ask, “Should we tell them we want it?” As much as I loved it, the price was at the higher end of our limit, and there were other acceptable apartments for cheaper. But I eagerly nodded and said, “Yes, let’s take it.”

Monday, October 21, 2019

Living in Spain + Pan con Tomate

The view from our first apartment
Since arriving to Spain, we have lived in four different apartments. Since August 30th, we have moved eleven times. It has been interesting, to say the least. Becoming accustomed to new apartments, new neighborhoods, new grocery stores, and new parks every week requires flexibility, which I am quickly learning.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Arriving in Spain + Fresh Sardines

Sandcastles on the Mediterranean
We arrived in Spain last Thursday, September 26th. It was quite an ordeal to get here. Our scheduled flight was for Tuesday night, so we showed up to JFK with our six pieces of luggage and four backpacks. We had to wait a few hours before we could go through security. so we took turns babysitting our luggage and going off with the girls to walk around. Below is a photo of right after being dropped off. But, things didn't quite go as planned.

Monday, September 23, 2019


Cottage in Southampton, MA

Have you ever had that experience of being a guest, and all your needs are met? Bath towels, instructions for how to use a quirky appliance ahead of time, good conversation, enough alone time, even volunteering to play with your kids...

Friday, September 6, 2019

Moving Out + White Bean and Sausage Stew.

Hey there. Can I just tell you how tired I am? I know it's an overused phrase. I'm so tired. But I just had to say it.

We finally moved out of our house in Baltimore last week. Our rooms are rented, our basement is stuffed, and suitcases are (sort of) packed, and we are out. Here is our packed to the gills basement with a bed, bunk beds, Justin's classroom supplies, clothes, toys, you name it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

What I Eat In A Day

Last week I wrote about my food journey, which begs the question: what do I eat? Years ago, I remember hearing of people who gave up grains, and I just felt so sorry for them. How can one live without grains? While it is certainly not a fun transition, it can be done. And, I believe, done well. Read on to learn how I do it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

My Food Journey + Lunch Today

You may start to notice, if you compare the posts to come and the posts from four years ago, that how I eat today is very different than how I used to eat four years ago. Four years ago, I ate all sorts of grains and cheese throughout the day, had a raging sweet tooth, and drank coffee and wine regularly. Not that, of course, any of you should stop eating or drinking these things. Unless they cause you problems.

After having Lydia in 2015, I couldn't seem to shake the baby weight. I felt chubby, and I wasn't used to that. I accepted the fact that my body changes as I get older, and figured this is just how I was supposed to be. But I never felt settled with it. My goal was to be able to wear a swimsuit and not feel self-conscious.

So I went on a diet journey. It progressed as follows: Paleo, Atkins, Whole30, Ancestral, Gut Makeover, and Low FODMAP. This took over two years of trial and error, and honestly, I'm still trying to figure it out.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Preparing to Move + Gut Healing Soup

How does one go about moving to another country for just one year? Here is the story of how we came to go to Spain, and the process of getting there.

About four or five years ago, Justin stumbled across the international sabbatical option on his employer's website. We had no idea that a middle school teacher could apply for a sabbatical, but there it was. We knew we wanted to have another child, so we decided to wait a few years and then apply.

Well, we had Lydia in 2015, and Justin applied for the sabbatical at the end of 2018. He was confident he had a strong application and didn't see much reason for it to be denied. We waited to hear whether it was approved. January came and went. Then February. "Did you find out about the sabbatical yet?" People kept asking. March. April. May. I was all set to give up and make plans for staying in Baltimore again. I had enrolled Lydia in the same nature school that Evelyn had been in as part of her home school curriculum. I did some research into how to become a foster parent, since that has always been part of our plans. I had planted our garden and fully expected to harvest well into September.

And then. Justin texts:

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Four years in a nutshell

Hello, and I hope you will welcome me back! It's been almost four years since I last posted. In those four years, I've had a second baby, gone on a food journey, discovered how to eat for me (and am still discovering), home schooled my first born, and decided to pack up our lives and move to Spain for the upcoming school year. Nothing new, right? I hope you'll join me as I update you on my life, the food I eat, and the process of moving to Spain. I will continue to revise the recipes on A Kuk's Kitchen to mirror how my food philosophy has slowly changed from low fat, high grain to high fat, low grain. I will share how I conquered various food addictions and what that has meant for my life and my body. I will look into spiritual growth in my life and give you a peek into my food journal (the two, surprisingly, are more related than you would guess). I will share with you original recipes, link you to some favorite recipes on the web, and highlight beautiful restaurant eats along the way.