Rub a Dub Dub

Food for you and the people you love

Goodbye!

I write this post hastily but with great relief. The fact that I have decided to shut down Rub a Dub Dub for about a month now and am only now getting around to writing about it is indicative of how much spare time I have. I honestly don’t know how people who work/look after kids/study etc AND blog do it so well – they must be up at all hours of the night. But I need my sleep and fortunately there is no regret – I have had fun doing this blog for over a year however the time has come to put it away for now and focus on the things that are important to me. My family, friends, study and maintaining my sanity. So thank you very much for your time and interest – every single comment, like and subscription was so incredibly appreciated. I wish you all happiness and well being.

Finally, there are SO MANY extremely talented bloggers out there and a big percentage of them do it for nothing – only the love of it. And for those that have success through their blog be it a book or workshops or other I highly recommend you buy their products because they began in the same way – because they were passionate enough about food and health to work hard for little reimbursement.

 

All the best, Zoe.

 

Raw Blackberry Crumble + 90 Days of Goodness

Raw Blackberry Crumble 1

I’ve made it to week six and I am doing it tough. What am I doing tough? I challenged myself to a 90 day post-birth healthy eating bonanza. Why am I doing it tough? Because I challenged myself to a 90 day post-birth healthy eating bonanza.

It’s not because the food has been inedible. In fact quite the opposite, the food has been amazing (see this salad, this beautiful dukkah and peach dish from My New Roots, and this super easy and quick brekkie bar (sans chocolate) to get an idea of what’s been going into my tummy). And I’ve never eaten this well and consistently for this long in my life. I’m not counting calories or focusing on fat/carb/protein ratios etc. I’m simply planning my three meals a day and prioritising fruits, vegetables, quality vego protein (such as nuts, a small amount of dairy, soy, bee pollen, hemp) and wholegrains as well as avoiding processed sugars, alcohol (ahem..sometimes) and I’d like to say coffee but that would be lying. My days are filled with fruit, nuts and seeds for breakfast, bright and super fresh salads for lunch and light, simple dinners and my body is stoked about it. The benefits seem to be outweighing the challenges at this point…my post pregnancy skin is as happy and clear as it could be, the baby weight is slowly but surely starting to go and my energy levels are high. So if this is the case why am I finding it so hard? Because committing to an eating plan and to changing habits (seriously, who doesn’t want something sweet after a meal?) is hard and takes time. Especially the habits that you’ve had for what seems like a lifetime.

But I’m doing it. And I’m talking about it. When it gets hard – people hear about it (sorry Dario). And it helps. And I’m not beating myself up when I don’t meet the expectations that I’ve made for myself (well not too much anyway). I am learning to pick myself up and make the best of the situation. And speaking of making the best of things…from hardship has come unexpected inspiration! I have recipes swimming around in my head all the time and every time I eat something new and fresh, more come along. And some time in the next…uh…decade…when I eventually get the chance to sit down and write some of it up I’ll blog it! And here’s one of them. Eat it for dessert, brekkie, snack – who cares – because it is so darn good for you and that’s what I think it’s all about.

Raw Blackberry Crumble 2

Raw Blackberry Crumble

Serves 2-3

Filling

1 cup frozen blueberries

1/2 cup fresh blackberries (plus a few extra for garnishing)

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

juice of one lime

1 peach, roughly chopped

1 tsp cinnamon

Topping

1/2 cup pecans

1 cup almonds

1 tsp cinnamon

1 dessert spoon of rapadura sugar or chopped dates

1/2 tsp salt

Place the topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it makes a rough crumble. Don’t over process. Put into a bowl/container and set aside. Clean out the food processor and pulse the filling ingredients to combine. I kept it quite chunky however if you like more of a puree I think it would work to process it for a bit longer. Divide the filling between bowls and top with the nut mixture. Garnish with a few extra blackberries. Serve immediately.

Summer Rhubarb and Raspberry Brekkie Bowl

Aurelia February 2014

I have been amazed by how much I’ve enjoyed having a newborn again. And how much I love being a second time mum. I’m amazed because I say this after having one of the toughest weeks I’ve had in a long time. After being lulled  into a nice big, fat, false sense of security by Dario having holidays, the day finally came last week when he had to go back to work. It was a long week.

I suppose then, that I am loving it more because I know how fleeting having a newborn is – and they are very precious times. And everyone says it but it’s true – in the blink of an eye (a very tired one) they are crawling and then walking then talking back to you. And because you’ve done it before you know all challenges will be overcome eventually (you just have to dig deep into those reserves of patience. Sometimes really deep) and the good bits are all around you and will only continue to get better. You can, and will survive it.

And on another note honestly, I don’t know why I ever stressed when it was just Raff and I at home. I mean ok I know exactly why I stressed and it’s because having a new baby is hands down the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done – but now that I’m faced with the absolutely petrifying reality that I have to take care of two kids on my own five days a week, I am wondering why I ever thought having one baby was even remotely difficult. The gift of hindsight.

I’ve also been astounded by how much a new baby has made me love Raff more – how can that be? I look at her differently now. How far she’s come, how simple life was with just her, how much she’s developed and become a little human being in her own right. It’s wonderful.

Toddler Time 1

Toddler Time 2

Toddler Time 3

And once we put Auri to bed for her morning nap, together Raff and I bust out some delicious breakfasts – just the two of us. Got to appreciate the small things in life when the days and weeks are tough. Like a good breakfast with a loved one.

Good luck and God bless all those new (and not so new!) mums and dads out there. Don’t I know that we need it!

Summer Rhubarb and Raspberry Bowl_

Summer Rhubarb and Raspberry Brekkie Bowl

A bunch of rhubarb (about 5-7 stalks), sliced thinly

1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 kaffir lime leaf

1 inch fresh ginger

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4-1/2 cup pomegranate juice (depending on how thick you want your sauce)

Stir the rhubarb, pomegranate juice, maple syrup, lime leaf, fresh ginger and spices over medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer until the rhubarb is soft and the sauce has reduced to your liking. About 10-15 minutes. Add more juice if you like it thinner. Add the raspberries, stir through and cook for a minute or two and then add more maple syrup if it is too tart. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for ten minutes then remove the lime leaf and ginger and serve slightly warm with your favourite brekkie items.

We have been using any combination of:

- Millet or buckwheat puffs

- Greek yoghurt

- Rolled Oats

- Bee Pollen and/or

- The ‘cobbler bit‘ from this amazing recipe

It’s also really really good warm on ice cream. Just a suggestion.

My next post will be an explanation and update on my self-imposed 90 day challenge. Highlights so far have been this as a regular go-to brekkie option, this salad was SO GOOD (especially the herb marinated tofu) and I am totally making this again…but hmmm maybe with a lot less mineral water and a lot more gin. Lowlights have been not being able to stick to my completely unrealistic exercise plan (what was I thinking…we have a newborn!!) and realising how bloody long 90 days actually is.

PS. I was honoured to be asked by Amelia to guest post on Simple Provisions while she took some time off to have a baby too. Should I have been that organised? Yes I should have. Amelia’s blog is a fantastic resource with beautiful photos and simple, wholefood recipes. Check it out here.

A Happy Happy Boxing Day and a Simple Peach Salsa

Aurelia 2013

Dario recently expressed his discontent with having to trawl through long winded food blogger ramblings before finally arriving at the recipe. I must admit, he has a point. I too am susceptible to a good natter prior to divulging a recipe and so I intend to change that one day. Maybe next post. Today I will indulge, as I feel it only fair to introduce our new baby! Life is very good – Aurelia arrived 40 minutes into Boxing Day and we are feeling very chuffed with ourselves. I am just as much in love with her as I was (and still am!) with Raff and I am constantly amazed at how a newborn human can already have made such an impression on me.

We have been blessed with lots of family visiting over the past few weeks – the house has been humming with loved ones hovering and at the ready to help – washing dishes, cooking food and occupying the toddler while Dario and I have spent our past week getting to know this tiny little thing (and at 2.7kgs I really mean tiny!). I can’t believe I’ve had time to even think about a post and it gives a good indication of how much having support makes a difference and just how lucky we are to have family that will do this for us. Have I mentioned that life is good?

Aurelia 1

Below is a salsa I made the day Dario’s family arrived (a few days before giving birth). I have been obsessed with fruit and herbs lately and I don’t think you can overdo either of them in this dish.

I hope you’ve all had a peaceful Christmas and New Year. This week I embark on a 90 day food and exercise overhaul (What’s that? Taking on too much post birth you say? Yup. Can’t help myself? Yup.) so stay tuned for updates!

Peach Salsa 2

Simple Peach Salsa

Inspired by Sprouted Kitchen’s Grape Salsa on Goat Cheese Crostini

2 peaches, diced

1 red capsicum, diced

1 small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

1 handful finely chopped chives

1/2 red onion

1 small chilli, deseeded and diced

salt to taste

1 tbsp sherry/red wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and serve immediately. Makes enough for a side dish for 4 people.

Peach Salsa 1

Peach Salsa 3

On the Countdown

RubaDubDub Asparagus Salad 2

We are certainly counting down. Down to Christmas, down to the arrival of long-awaited visitors and down to the due date. If I wasn’t so tired I would be using a lot more exclamation marks because I am really, really looking forward to this holiday season. And as with last year I had all these great intentions of having a super cool Christmas post ready to go and of course, with one and a half weeks before I’m due to give birth and with a chemistry exam breathing down my neck it, of course, is probably not going to happen!

However I have some exciting news about some new work I am doing for Best Friends for Frosting as I have officially become a regular food contributor! Check out this warm green bean salad if you’re looking for a simple side dish for Christmas day (or add a poached egg and it’s a great brekkie to wake up to) and keep in touch for a Christmas dessert closer to the date which I am pretty darn excited about!

And on a final note before finishing up on my last post as a mother of one (eek)…a few awesome things to check out over Christmas: we made this for dinner last night with rocket and olive oil drizzled over the top. It was insane and a great starter for any Christmas feast. I found this cookbook (Wholefood Baking) on the shelves of a local bookshop today and am in love with it. Too bad it’s a Christmas present for someone else! And a huge shout of thanks to a few wonderful women that have helped and supported this year namely Amelia, Nicola, Ruth, Kristine (who always has the most wonderful comments!) and to those WordPressers that have nominated me for awards! I am always so grateful for your support and encouragement. Most of all I am so incredibly thankful for everyone who reads and supports me in continuing this blog. I hope for there to be many exciting things to come next year! Wishing you all a very merry and blessed Christmas and a fantastic 2014.

Zoe

Summer Ruby Salad from Pure Vegetarian and a Coast Trip

Summer Ruby Salad 3

I’ve been wanting to post something from Pure Vegetarian for a long time. It is up there with a few of my favourite recipe books and this salad is just so …. beautiful! I’ve also fallen in love with Gayler’s attitude to cooking with vegetables –  he makes no excuses for arguing that vegetarian cuisine can be a main course and does so in a way that is so refreshingly inventive. Every recipe demonstrates his belief that vegetables are equally as good as meat as far as restaurant quality food is concerned and shouldn’t be relegated to the ‘sides’ or ‘vegetarian option’ category. The idea that meals can be complete without meat is something that I think Australians can sometimes struggle with and even when I first decided to eat a vegetarian diet it was something that I had difficulty coming to terms with. He also embraces seasonal and raw eating as things that can be characteristic of any diet and never compromises on taste or quality.

The opportunity arose when 1) watermelons came into season, 2) we took a much needed three-day trip to the coast (yes without Raff…and yes I cried as we left her…come on, give me a break it was for two whole nights. And what the hell am I going to be like when she goes to school??!) and 3) I finally had enough time to study/blog uninterrupted for longer than 20 minutes while simultaneously having a wonderful husband on tap to cook my meal. I was pretty much obligated to do it.

Summer Ruby Salad 2

Summer Ruby Salad 1

Summer Ruby Salad

Adapted from Paul Gayler’s Pure Vegetarian

Dressing

4 tbs red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp maple syrup

6 tablespoons olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad

2 large cooked beetroots, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice

2 medium cooked golden beetroot (optional), peeled and cut into discs

1 red onion, thinly sliced

8 baby red radishes, thinly sliced

300gm watermelon, cut into 1 cm dice

100gm red cabbage, thinly sliced

20 fresh basil leaves

salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Set aside. Place all salad ingredients in a separate bowl, pour over the dressing and toss together. Serve immediately.

We added goats cheese to the salad and I highly recommend it. Gayler also recommends buffalo mozarella as a nice addition.

Summer Ruby Salad 5

Summer Ruby Salad 4

Congo Beach 1

Congo Beach 2

Congo Beach 3

Chocolate and Walnut Tart

Chocolate Walnut Tart 1

Finishing this post has been epic. Or does everything seem epic when you’re 30 weeks pregnant?! I can’t believe how much I’d forgotten about being pregnant – especially that everything seems to take twice as long as they used to. Especially when you have a toddler in tow. Plus we are now in full baby prep mode – organising furniture, car seats, clothing and sleeping arrangements. Life is hectic and I have a sneaking suspicion that this is how it may be for a while.

But somehow in the craziness, I still manage to bake every few days. Usually Raff and I do it together – it’s like it keeps us sane. And together. Which is an entirely crazy concept in itself – those of you who have tried baking with a two-year old will know exactly what I’m talking about….but there is something incredibly joyful about seeing a child attack and clean out a mixing bowl almost better than a wash up can do. I can’t get enough of it. And neither can she.

But this recipe was one that I happily created on my own and in my own time. I truly understand when people say they find baking somewhat therapeutic. In addition, I’ve been craving anything with even a sniff of chocolate in it (Dario may ask how this is different to any other time…and I might say that I’m pregnant so shut up and pass me the Lindt). So without further ado here is the mother of all healthy(er) chocolate tarts. I had to make it twice and get mum to make it a third time to get it right – and I must point out the importance of refrigerating the dough for at least an hour (more if you can) and once you have rolled it out and put it in the tart pan, if it is looking too soft it’s really worth putting back in the freezer for 15-20 minutes if you have time (as I’ve noted in the recipe below). You’ll get a more user-friendly crust that way. Also, we still aren’t giving Raff chocolate (a little cocoa and unprocessed sugars in baking but not store-bought chocolate) so this one was for us.

PS. So I’m going all nerdy and designing a nutrition plan for post pregnancy – I have decided to do a 12 week health blitz so I’m starting my plans now so that I don’t have to think about it during the blur that is life with a newborn. I’m using my fledgling nutrition knowledge plus inspiration from loads of cool blogs. Roasted Strawberry and Basil Agua Fresca from Healthy Green Kitchen, Mango Slaw with Cashews and Mint from Smitten Kitchen and Fig and Fauna’s Radish and Potato Salad are all getting a run. I honestly can’t wait to get started! And if you have any favourites you want to pass on (if you’re a blogger don’t hesitate to plug your own recipes too!) please do so in the comments below!

Chocolate Walnut Tart 2

Healthy(er) Chocolate and Walnut Tart

Crust

1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour

4 tbsp coconut sugar

1 tbsp dutch process cocoa

3 tbsp cocao nibs

175gm butter, cubed and frozen

3-4 tbs iced water

1 1/2 tsp orange zest

Pulse the dry ingredients together in a food processor until combined (about 10 times). Add the frozen butter and pulse until the dough resembles rough breadcrumbs. Add the iced water a tablespoon at a time until the dough just comes together. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently to bring it together. Shape it into a ball or rectangle (depending on the shape of the tart case you are using), wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Unwrap the dough, roll it out on parchment paper and invert it gently onto the greased tart case and press it in and up the sides. Cover with the cling wrap and put it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and blind bake for 20 minutes with baking beads or rice weighing down the parchment paper. After 20 minutes, remove the baking paper and beads and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire cooling rack.

Filling

75gm butter or coconut oil (taste-wise I prefer the butter but coconut oil works just as well if you like it in baking)

120gm good quality 70% dark chocolate

5 tbsp maple syrup

2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, beaten

1 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

1 tbsp dutch process cocoa

While the tart case is cooling, chop the dark chocolate and put in a small bowl. In another bowl, melt the butter or coconut oil in the preheating oven until liquid and pour over the dark chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes and stir. Melting it this way should leave you with some chocolate still solid which I like because it leaves chunks in the tart. If you would prefer it melted completely, melt the butter and chocolate gently together in a heavy based saucepan, stirring continuously. Set aside.

Whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, maple syrup, salt and vanilla in a bowl and add the cocoa. Whisk in well to ensure there are no lumps. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and stir until combined. Add the walnuts and stir through. Pour the mixture into the cooled tart case and spread evenly over the base. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until set.

Let cool and dust with coconut flour before serving if desired. Serve with yoghurt or maybe even this ice cream.

Chocolate Walnut Tart 3

Chocolate Walnut Tart 4

Nut Butter, Apple and Ricotta Toast

Nut Butter, Apple and Ricotta Toast 2

I’ve been a little hesitant to blog about some of our easiest and simplest meals. I have this idea in my head that anyone who is interested in this type of blog is probably wanting to see flair and complexity in recipes or maybe combinations of ingredients or techniques that they don’t already do at home.

But the fact remains that a lot of what I think is best about the food we eat is that it is really simple. Some of my favourite meals involve a simple tomato sugo made with super ripe mid-season roma tomatoes or a freshly made pear and walnut salad dressed with olive oil and sea salt or a good fruit salad – nothing fancy but beautifully fresh and in my opinion, very nutritious. This is how we cook and what we like to eat – and being able to share that with others and learn of new recipes is the reason why I started this blog in the first place! What about you? Do you read food blogs for nutrition, for complex recipes, for tips on feeding kids or for other reasons?

With that said, this is a snack (or sometimes even lunch) that Raffi and I have regularly. Because we are raising Raff as a vegetarian, finding ways of giving her complete proteins (that people often get from animal protein) whenever possible is vitally important. We do this by filling her tummy with wholegrains, nuts, seeds and legumes. I’ve found nut butters to be an easy and simple way to begin doing this and Raff just loves them so it works out well. We have a great stall at the local farmers market (for the Canberrans it’s Bread Nerds at Epic) that do a wholegrain rye or volkhornbrot but you could always make your own if you have the time (check this one out or this one – delicious).

Apples 1

Nut Butter, Apple and Ricotta Toasts

2 slices wholegrain bread, toasted

your choice of nut butter* (for this one I used brazil nut, almond and linseed)

fresh ricotta cheese

1 apple, thinly sliced

maple syrup (optional)

Spread the toast with the nut butter then top with apple slices and ricotta and drizzle with maple syrup

*I make my own nut butter but many stores sell it these days. It’s as simple as processing dry roasted nuts until they release their oils and make a paste. If you want a more detailed explanation you can find recipes here or here or here (for a raw version with honey and salt).

Nut Butter, Apple and Ricotta Toast 3

We also do a few other combinations which I think are pretty tasty:

Strawberry, feta cheese, nut butter and basil

Rocket, chive, parsley, lemon zest and ricotta

Banana, honey and almond and chia nut butter

Apples 3

Raw Blood Orange, Sunflower Seed and Silverbeet Salad + a Two Year Old!

Blood Oranges

Sometimes I get a very striking picture of how much things have changed for us now that we are a three person family. One day you’re whimsically browsing the shops trying on clothes and/or matching accessories and two years later, instead of carefree clothes shopping you’re walking into Bunnings to buy a mop (which strangely excites you) and deciding whether you should indulge yourself and pick up some new clothes pegs (you don’t). Not to mention the fact that just outside said Bunnings your two year old hit you in the face with a saliva-soaked bread roll and you didn’t blink an eye – yep things have changed in lots of ways.

For me, Friday nights are a regular reminder of how different our life is now we have a kid. In my head (of course it was never as glamorous as this) Friday nights usually involved a really good glass of red (what is wine again? I’ve forgotten…), catching up with friends or checking out a new restaurant. Now Friday nights are usually about cleaning out the fridge and shoving what leftover veges and perishables we have into some sort of (sometimes) edible concoction for dinner with the hope that we then have enough room in our 80 year old fridge to fit in next week’s food.

Sunflower Seeds

But. And it’s a really important ‘but’. Other things have changed too – I think for some reason my approach to what’s important in life has changed. Maybe it is age but I do think the whole gamut of things you experience by having children (both good and bad) have made me begin to look at the world differently. I appreciate different things now and I truly believe my life is better because of it. Take this salad for example. It was shaping up to be a typical Friday night meal – not bad by any stretch of the imagination but not mind-blowing. And yet, to my surprise it was really great! I’m still thinking about it actually. And it was so simple….maybe this salad is an analogy for what is so nice about life now with a kid. Fun, surprising and as easy or hard as you want to make it. I think having a family (and eating a salad) takes away all of the extra stuff (that we never needed anyway) and forces you to stop and appreciate the things you already have. And when you do get that glass of red eventually it tastes really really really good.

Blood Orange and Silverbeet Salad

Blood Orange and Silverbeet Salad 2

Blood Orange, Sunflower Seed and Silverbeet Salad

2 blood oranges, peeled and sliced thinly

2 tablespoons sunflower seeds or 2/3 cup walnuts, halved

1 cup rocket

2/3 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped

2-3 cups silverbeet, cored and roughly chopped

1 cup rocket

shaved parmesan or feta (I’ve had it with both and they are equally good options)

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Liberally dress with the olive oil, salt and vinegar to your liking.

Strawberries 1

Ps.  This past week Raffaella turned two! What a little legend. We just adore this girl. We made this cake for her (I must confess I am a little ‘Aran obsessed’….meaning I can’t get enough of the recipes developed by the talented Aran Goyoaga, creator of Cannelle et Vanille).

Pps. I substituted agave and coconut sugar for the brown sugar and cane sugar. It was incredible. Check out the recipe here.

Cannelle et Vanille Birthday Cake

Baked Brekky Eggs

Baked Eggs 1

How good is breakfast?! I seriously think it’s my favourite meal of the day. Aside from chocolate. It’s a meal right? And the older I get, the more my body seems to need a decent serve of protein to start the day. As my study progresses I am realising that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and the more you talk to people the more you realise this is probably true. Everyone needs different things to fuel their body (well maybe not different things, as I certainly think there are better and worse choices when it comes to food intake, maybe different amounts of the right things) – I guess the most important thing is to be looking at what food does or doesn’t do to your body and to respond positively to that.

For those of you that love a good egg, this is an easy, adaptable and tasty option. Omit the feta and it’s dairy free too. It’s also good for the vego toddler (keep in mind your health professional’s advice when introducing eggs) as it gets in a few serves of veges and some protein early on in the day.

Baked Eggs 2

Baked Brekky Eggs

Serves 4

2 sticks celery, diced

1 Spanish onion cut into wedges

1 tbs olive oil

3-4 leaves curly kale, chopped

250gm punnet cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tsp ground sage

2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1/3 cup vegetable stock

100gm feta

a pinch of coconut palm sugar

1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

4 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

 Preheat oven to 180°C.  Saute the onion and celery with the olive oil over medium heat until soft, approximately 7 minutes. Add the paprika, sage, cayenne pepper and salt, stir through and cook for a further minute. Add the kale and chopped tomato and cook, stirring for a few more minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar, stir through and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil and turn back the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 5-8 minutes or until reduced. Season to taste.

Distribute the mixture between four oven-safe ramekins and crumble the feta over the top. Carefully crack an egg into each one. Cook in the oven for 18-20 minutes depending on how you like your eggs.

Baked Eggs 3

Have a good weekend!

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