Author Archives: ticavida

About ticavida

Hello! And welcome to my life in Costa Rica. My name is Whitney, I am 26 years old, originally from Texas, and currently live in Santa Ana (just outside San Jose), Costa Rica! I live here with my loving partner of 5 years and our calico cat, Tipper. The three of us moved here from Sin City, NV (as if that wasn't adventure enough, lol) in December 2011. I found a job on Craigslist teaching at an American school here not long after my arrival. This blog tells the stories of our day-to-day life here teaching, cooking, travelling, learning, and the adventures we have along the way! Hope you enjoy and come back soon!

Day 28: Being Surrounded by Spanish

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Learning another language is tough. I mean, a lot tougher than you might think. Heading to the Spanish-speaking, Central American country of Costa Rica, I thought to myself, “This will be a GREAT opportunity to practice my Spanish that I learned in high school and college!” Which it was. We both downloaded the Latin America version of Rosetta Stone before we moved and worked on it a little before moving. Peter only took a little French in college, so Spanish was a whole new language for him. I definitely think he was nervous that he would be totally lost and confused for the whole year when it came to communicating with others. However, Peter is a super-smarty guy and he picked it up relatively quickly, and now we are both on a pretty similar level of fluency (or lack there of…lol).

Peter is better at recalling vocabulary and forming sentences in a given situation while I am better at hearing and understanding Spanish, but have a hard time recalling the word I need to form a proper sentence. Or any sentence for that matter. I’m bad. Anyway, the two of us combined are a powerful, almost fluent in basic Spanish, machine! Separate, we can be pretty hopeless at times :-/

Most people have asked me, or assumed, that because we spent a year being surrounded by people speaking Spanish that we would have picked it up and be fluent by now. I would have asked me the same question or assumed the same if I were them. I mean, it’s been YEAR! Haven’t we learned anything?!

The short answer is, yes.

The not-so-short answer is that I had a reality check. I thought that I had this really great Spanish base to work off of once we arrived to CR. I was excited to practice the Spanish I already knew, and show off a little in front of Peter and impress him with my mad Spanish-speaking skills. I was wrong. I knew a few lines, like: Hola. Como esta? Muy bien, y tu? Como se llama? (which I actually said “Como te llama?” at first, until I was corrected, lol), Buenos dias. and, of course, Como se dice? which is usually the most important phrase to know if you are trying to learn the Spanish language. These were most of the main phrases I was familiar with, in addition to quite a bit of vocabulary. I was so confident! That is, until I get there and heard someone talk to me in Spanish and I. was. LOST.

People just spoke so fast, and I found myself getting frustrated because I recognized a lot of the words, but I couldn’t remember what the translation was. It was quite heartbreaking to realize I was not as far along as I thought…a bit of a rude awakening, actually.

Over the next few months Peter and I practiced Rosetta Stone as much as possible, and over time found improvement. We could get through simple and short interactions with locals. Our favorite was when a taxi driver (or any local) would realize that we spoke a little Spanish and continue to speak with us only in Spanish, but very clearly and slowly. We actually could have a decent, light conversation with someone by the end if they spoke like that. I’m sure we still messed up a few things here and there in our sentence forming and tenses and what not, but they got the just of what we were saying. That can be a problem too, though, because if you are saying something small wrong, and the person gets what you are saying and doesn’t correct you, then you just continue to say things wrong.

It was great having billboards and things to read as well on the way to school every day. I would see how much of it I could translate and watch my vocabulary expand. Also, eavesdropping on other people’s conversations on the bus was a fun way to test what I could and couldn’t understand 🙂

All in all, I miss being surrounded by Spanish. It really gets my mind in motion because I am constantly trying to recall words and phrases I recognize, or make note of the parts I don’t recognize to look up for later.

We were not surrounded by Spanish the whole time. Peter worked from home, so he didn’t interact as much with others and relied more on Rosetta Stone to teach him, and he would practice when we went out. I was out and about most days, so I picked up more Spanish from my surroundings and the culture. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s why I was better at understanding Spanish, and Peter was better at forming actual sentences, because I was around it more daily!

I think if we were living individually (where we didn’t have someone to speak English with) and lived with a Spanish-speaking only family, then we would be fluent by now. We picked up so much while there and not having very much Spanish interaction on a daily basis.

This is a side note, but I actually think I learned the most Spanish from the Kindergarten kids I taught. I was more on their level of Spanish.

Being home now, I know we both still try and translate other people’s Spanish conversation if we hear it. Sometimes it’s successful, and sometimes it’s not. I’ll admit, I want to continue with my Rosetta Stone learning, but I haven’t been as on top of it as I should be. Whoops!

I love that Peter and I have had the joy of learning another language together. We learned about team work in stressful situations. That’s pretty important in a relationship. It’s also just something we have formed a bond over. We still love to practice small sentences here and there now that we’re home, and I love that. It’s like our own love language 🙂

I also feel more self-confident. I know I still have a ways to go in learning Spanish fluently, but I also feel like I know so much more than I use to! It’s a great feeling.

~Thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

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Day 27: Litter

Alright, alright. I know it’s been a while since I have posted, but you can all understand the craziness of the holidays, right? And that I flew 6 flight legs in 14 days between CR, Denver, Vegas, Kansas City, and Dallas….whew. We got home on the December 18th, unpacked, and then a few short days later threw some things in a bag and flew out last minute to MO (Peter’s home)! Yea, that’s pretty much the story of our life. It used to drive me crazy that Peter would always wait and make plans last minute, which he did because he could fly stand-by, but I’ve now come over to the dark side and find myself being a last-minute, on a whim traveler! I’m sure this annoys my family and I am really sorry about that!!! Love you guys!

Ok, now that I have done some explaining, on to covering today’s topic: Litter.

Nobody likes litter. It’s dirty, ugly and just rude in my opinion. Apparently Costa Ricans feel differently. There are many things I love and a few things I don’t about the people here, and littering falls under the latter category. 

I wanted SO bad to take a picture of some, but there were always people walking along the sidewalk and roads, or just hanging out outside of their house and I didn’t want them to look at me funny for taking pictures of trash on the side of the road with my fancy camera….

I should really get over the fear of judgment, though, if I want to take better photos while traveling. I may feel silly in the moment, but very rarely do I regret capturing the moment, no matter how silly I felt at the time.

Sorry, back to the litter. I just don’t understand it because it is such a beautiful country with abounding forests and greenery, but get near just about any city or busy town and there is just trash lining the sides of the highways, streets, and sidewalks. You would think they would want to keep Costa Rica beautiful. I mean, they are the ones that have to live there year-round. 

Once, while walking to the bus stop to go home after school, I watched a lady who was walking toward me dump out the contents of her plastic water bottle and then just toss the bottle over the guard rail. It landed near other bottles and paper-like trash. It made me so mad, though! I almost caught myself reacting. Grrr.

I will say, even though there are designated trash areas, they are sort of like elevated cages instead of trash cans, so I think the trash falls through the holes a lot of the time and then the wind blows it around. However, the lady mentioned above was near stores and things where she could have thrown her bottle away. 

I know it’s something small, but it is something I noticed and thought was really strange while living in CR 🙂

Three more posts until my 30-day challenge is complete!

To check out the days you missed, click HERE!

~Thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

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Day 26: Walking Distance to Food and other Necessities

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Something that we’ve been spoiled by here is being so close to a fruit/veggie stand and a convenient store that has EVERYTHING. I don’t even know where they put it all because it’s a small store and they seriously have so many things in there.

The fruit/veggie stand guy runs his business off of his patio! I’m pretty sure his bedroom is where he hangs out when it’s slow and he can see through this hallway from the bedroom to the patio when someone enters his ‘store’ and he goes to the patio to help them. Peter and I regularly get bananas from him throughout the week and spend around 20 cents for three bananas!

The street we walk down to get to the store.

The street we walk down to get to the store.

The name of his store is La Amistad 🙂

La Amistad

La Amistad

The corner store near us, which is just past La Amistad, is called Super Rio Oro. I don’t even know where to start in naming off all of the things you can buy in this store. We have bought coke, beer, cream cheese, cottage cheese, toothbrushes, a notebook, ‘feminine products’, rice, fresh veggies, eggs, laundry soap, matches, soup, bouillon cubes, mashed potatoes, coffee filters, and tupper ware. There are many other things you can find there but these are just a few.

I should also probably mention that one time, while we were in the pasta isle, Peter told me to look at a certain item and about scared the crap out of me! When I looked, there were two little eyes staring back at me! There was this small black kitten that was prowling around through the items on the shelf! It was so cute. Definitely a big difference from the U.S.

Now that I have written it all out, I suppose these are all things that you can find in a convenient store in the U.S., but I think what is so shocking to us is that all of these things are either the same price or sometimes CHEAPER than the grocery store! That is definitely not the case with convenient stores in the U.S.

Super Rio Oro

Super Rio Oro

The bus stop out of town is right in front of this store, too, so it’s a pretty popular spot around this part.

It’s been so nice having these two stores so close, but before I am caught complaining too much, I should mention that we are a little less than a mile from a Smith’s (Kroger) and an Albertson’s back in Vegas. I hope that living here without a car will have helped us realize that it’s a feasible option to walk or bike to the store more often. Especially when the weather is nice. Vegas has a really nice and long Spring, so we should be taking advantage this year!

Do you walk or bike to get groceries, ever? Could it be an option for you that you just haven’t considered? Something to think about…

~Thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

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Day 25: Some Expensive Food

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I’ve noticed a lot of my posts are about food. Have I told you how much Peter and love food?? lol.

There are really cheap foods here in Costa Rica, like fruits, vegetables, and local name-brand items. The things that get expensive are pretty much anything American name branded….and cheese.

They put these tags on their shredded cheese to prevent theft!!!

They put these tags on their shredded cheese to prevent theft!!! It ranges between $5-$8 per bag.

Other costly items include:

grapes (can’t remember how much they are, but we saw the price on week one here and haven’t bought them since..lol)

Velveeta Mac n Cheese (It’s my favorite food!! and about $5/box)

wine (Menage a Trois=$24/bottle, Yellow Tail=$17/bottle, and Beringer…? I can’t remember how much Beringer was, but Yellow Tail was the cheapest out of the three!!) and last..

liquor is cheap, especially if you get it at the airport in the duty free store! We got so much last time that they GAVE us a suitcase for free to carry it away in!! (Sorry if you’re reading this, Lee and Kathy) 🙂

These are just a few things that stuck out the most to us. Pretty much anything with a U.S. brand is expensive. Most cereals (U.S., like Special K and what not) are around $5-$6 for a normal, small box!

You know though, I’m sure that this may be the reason I have lost so much weight while here. Fruits and veggies are low in price and American foods are higher in price…..interesting. If only the U.S. could get on this bandwaggon!!! It’s going to be tough going home, and more expensive…not looking forward to that.

Where are the cheapest places you find fresh fruits and veggies? Remember, we live in the desert of Las Vegas. I’m sure there are fresh foods available, just gotta find ’em!

~Thanks for reading~

Pura Vida!

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Day 24: Work Work Work

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Jobs, we all gotta have one, right?

When Peter was first presented with the option to move to CR for work, I was in the middle of applying and interviewing for a job on the strip. I’ll admit, it was not a job in my career choice, but it paid good and Peter and I would be working the same night hours! Now, before you get too ahead of yourselves, it was just a hostessing position at a restaurant/nightclub in Mandalay Bay. What kind of girl do you think I am? 😉

We talked about me staying in Vegas and working and him coming to CR and working and just making it a long distance relationship for a year. We knew it would be tough, but we’ve done the long distance thing before in 2007 when he was graduated from college and I was still in my Senior year. He was in Vegas and I was in Arkansas. The difference is that we were lucky enough to have family who worked for Southwest and were extremely helpful with our flights back and forth. We don’t have that luxury for international flights… :-/

I decided to turn down the job (rather last minute, I felt sort of bad about it) and head to CR with Peter! I had always wanted to live in another country and learn a new language! Plus, we would be together.

I spent about three weeks in the States getting some things in order before following him down here, and it was about two weeks after my arrival that I found a job teaching on Craigslist! So random, right? Who knew Craigslist could be so helpful over international lines..?

I got a job teaching (mainly) 4th grade math, science, English, and social studies (U.S., and probably the most pointless class EVER for the kids). I also taught some other grades like 3rd math, 5th English, 6th English and even a few Kinder classes. They were all good grade levels to have. I really loved my 5th and 6th graders my last semester. They were a good group of kiddos!

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Aren’t they adorable?!?

I learned a lot about myself from teaching these kids. I always considered myself a patient person….until now. It may sound bad, but there were so many times I thought I would loose my mind, or wanted to yell at them and unfortunately, there was a time or two I gave in and did. I felt so bad. I went home and just felt like the worst person on the planet. I would dwell on it for days and try and make it up to the kids. It was just such a terrible feeling. However, it was those days that raised my respect for teachers to such a high level there is no way to measure it. I am so impressed by a good teacher. They are able to have control of their classroom in a positive manor, and keep the kids’ attention and interest in learning.

I also learned that I love talking to children about what they are learning or have learned in the past, and I love the challenge of trying to think up fun ways to teach them something new! I think what would cause such frustration for me would be lack of materials to carry out most of the great ideas I would come up with (or see on Pinterest…lol)

There are no computers in our classroom and there is no printer available to teachers at the school. There was a copier, though. So, I would hand make my tests at home (thank goodness for white out!) and make copies in the morning before school or during the kids’ recess break. All our grades were kept on a hand written sheet as well and I would have to calculate them all at the end of every semester. I’m not sure how it’s done now, but there is no program to do the calculating for the teachers here, just the good ‘ole calculator between your ears!

I have already been taking continuing education credits for my Social Work license, so I can get a job as quickly as possible when we return home. My dilemma is that I don’t know what area of Social Work I want to apply for. There are older adults, mental health, troubled teens, young children (Actually, I don’t think I like working with young children. Normally the problem is their parents, not them), medical/hospital social work. There are so many, I’m not sure. I quess I just eed to start with one and see how I like it!

Just thinking about all of the little things we are going to need to pay for when we get back is daunting! Updating our cars and licenses to NV, finishing my Social Work CEUs( I need 30 and I have 6…yikes!), getting health insurance, looking for a job, and travelling to see our families for the holidays! Whew, I’m tired just from typing it!

I am so glad that for $750-$850/month I had a chance to come here and teach these little rug rats…

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It goes further here anyway. And I got paid in USD!!

Oh, and this is what happens to the kids who don’t listen:

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Juuuuuuuuuuuuusssst kidding. This was just an accident. What? You believe me, don’t you? He tripped. Kids are clumsy like that…..

🙂

~Thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

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Day 23: ~Fun Currency~

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The currency here is SO much more interesting than the boring ‘ole U.S. dollar. U.S.D.s are all the same size and the same color….but Costa Rican Colones are different colors and slightly different shapes!

The Costa Rican Colon is named after the explorer, Christopher Columbus (Spanish name: Cristobol Colon) 😉

500 CRC is ~ 1 USD, which makes converting our money at grocery stores and what not pretty darn easy!

They also use more coins here. Partially, I think, because people don’t make very much money, so change gets used more when you aren’t spending a lot. I know when I show a $20 (USD) in the grocery store, they have to call over a store manager to check it and make sure it’s legit, because that’s a lot of money around here. USD are generally accepted here pretty much anywhere you go. Also, the buses are used a lot, so it’s nice to have change on hand at any given time. I would not use USD on the buses.

Picture of the dinero!

Picture of the dinero. Isn’t it purty?!

At the bottom are the coins (I’ll go over those after the next picture). As far as the bills go, there is one bill showing the front, and another showing the back. The red = 1,000 ($2), blue = 2,000 ($4), yellow/cream = 5,000 ($10), and green = 10,000 ($20). I never see any bills larger than 10,000 and those are not common. Also, note that there are 2 different 5,000 bills. The cream colored one was what we saw when first moved here, then the yellow was introduced and that’s mainly what we see now. The cream ones are pretty rare. We’re going to bring one home for our “collection”! I only had one 10,000, so you don’t get to see the face on the front. Instead, I made sure you could see all of the really cool animals on the backs! The red has a deer and a tree, the blue has a shark, yellow has a monkey, and green has a sloth.

Next, we’re going to check out the coinage…

Coins!

Coins!

In case you didn’t notice, that’s a U.S. quarter below the line up of colones. That’s just to give you an idea of the SIZE of these coins! The 500 one is HUGE! It makes a quarter seem tiny (it’s the size of a 10 colones/2 cents)…

500 colones = $1

100 colones = 20 cents

50 colones = 10 cents

25 colones = 5 cents

10 colones = 2 cents

5 colones = 1/2 cent (lol)

Ok, that’s your lesson for the day on CR money!

It’s going to be hard going back to the boring USD. All I want to do is take one of every CRC bill back with me, but that would be a lot of money in USD just sitting in a “collection” somewhere in our house…..Idk, I’m still thinking about it though 🙂 What do you think? Is it worth it to keep high bill currency? Lemmie know!

~Thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

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Day 22: Costa Rican Foods We Will Miss

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Today is 12/12/12!! Crazy! Just had to make a note. I’m just glad we will be home on the 18th, before the world ends on 12/21/12. That is, according to the Mayans… 🙂

Like I have mentioned before, Peter and I love food. Actually, we love good tasting foods and trying new foods! Once, we even tried cow tongue here! And it was actually good!!

Some of the natural foods we will miss include pineapple (it’s SOOO sweet and delicious here!), mamon fruit, pejivalle, fresh honey and Chicken.

Pejivalle. Food of the ancient people, boiled in salt water, dipped in mayo. Yum!

Pejivalle. Food of the ancient people, boiled in salt water, dipped in mayo. Yum!

Some of the cooked foods we love here include gallo pinto, plantain maduro, plantain chips, chicharrones, $5 sea bass platters and margaritas at our pool restaurant (they are delicious!!).

$5 sea bass platter at our favorite local dive

$5 sea bass platter at our favorite local dive 🙂

This platter includes the plantains and chicharrones!

This platter includes the plantains and chicharrones! OH! And I almost forgot Yuca! I love the fried yuca here.

Products we have grown to love here and we will most likely go to extreme lengths to seek out in the states include Tona (a Nicaraguan beer that’s light and crisp and delicious), Coca-Cola (it tastes way different and WAY better here. Peter and I rarely drink soda back home, but we did get down on some coke here. Also, the Coke Light is way better than Diet Coke, too), Lizano Salsa, and this Jalepeno sauce that we put on our eggs at breakfast!

Here they are! If you've seen any of these in the U.S. (minus the Coke) tell me where!

Here they are! If you’ve seen any of these in the U.S. (minus the Coke) tell me where!

We are going to have to hit up the Fiesta grocery store in Texas while we’re visiting over the holidays…

~Thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

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Day 21: Our Apartment

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We have loved our apartment complex. We actually owe it all to Kristin Wilson with Poker Refugees. For an upfront fee, she took care of all our apartment and banking needs and made the transition super smooth. Worth every penny!

Kristin found us Avalon Country Club, the apartment complex we have spent the past year in.

Avalon Country Club. The complex is pretty big.

Avalon Country Club. The complex is pretty big.

We are on the first floor and have a great porch area with a view of a pond.

The patio!

The patio!

There is a beautiful pool area

To infinity, and beyond!

To infinity, and beyond!

with an incredible view

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and a restaurant attached with delicious food and drinks!

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There is a small soccer field enclosed with a net (less ball chasing, yay!).

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Even tennis courts!

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Also, there is a quaint gym area with a lap pool nearby.

Outside of the gym.

Outside of the gym.

Inside the gym.

Inside the gym.

 

The complex is gated and has guards at the front gates 24/7. Although we still express many precautions while living here, I must admit that there were a handful of nights where we left our patio door open or Peter’s office window open all night with computers, TVs, cameras, Ipods, etc all in view and when we got up the next morning it was all still there. Pretty incredible! Especially since when I visited Texas in April, I turned my back for 5 seconds in a grocery store and had my wallet stolen…

Anyway! This place has been good to us. No major problems, and the pool area feels like a resort most of the time. We don’t live near the beach, so it’s kind of like the next best thing. We were even able to negotiate our rent price down $200 more dollars after 6 months! 🙂 *Side note*: That’s one of the things I love about Peter. He’s almost never afraid to ask for a deal, and I swear 8 times out of 10 he gets what he asks for!! It’s saved us a lot of money over the years.

Overall, our fully furnished, 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment with all amenities cost us an average of $1,200 each month.

It is a little bit outside of town, but we are really happy with where we stayed. I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t want an ‘authentic’ Costa Rican experience…lol. It was more Americanized, but also more comfortable.

This video does a good job of showing you around.

~Thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

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Day 20: Cooking Costa Rican style back home

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My last post was about foods that I missed from home. Well this one is about foods we’ve had here that I want to take home with me and continue to cook. I’ll just let you know now that not all of the recipes below are “Costa Rican”. Some are just recipes that I started cooking here for the first time! I’ll admit, the non-Costa Rican recipes are all from Pinterest. If I found a recipe that didn’t have too many ingredients and/or was made out of fresh ingredients, then I would gather everything up and give it a go! The recipes below are my favorites!

1) Avocado Enchiladas

Oh em gee. This is by FAR the BEST recipe that I have ever cooked. Not due to my fantastic [correction] non-existent cooking skills, but because all of the ingredients taste so great together.

Here is the link that I got the original recipe from. I made a few changes, though. The original recipe is a vegetarian recipe which I think would still be delicious, but the chicken here in CR is so yummy and gives the whole dish a better texture. More solidity and less squishy. 🙂

This recipe comes with instructions on how to make your own enchilada sauce, which I did not do.

“Aint nobody got time for that!”

J/k, but seriously, I used the powder packet that you mix in tomato sauce with to make the enchilada sauce. The ingredients for the author’s sauce looks great too, but I was just lazy.

Next, I didn’t have red onions, only white. So, I just cut those up REALLY tiny as to make sure they got cooked really well in the oven. At least, this is what my mom told me to do when I made it when she was here and we had no red onions…mom’s know everything when you’re 26, right? Try and tell my 16 year old self that….HA! Also, I haven’t covered mine with foil either time I’ve made it. The first time, I totally missed that step in the directions, and the second time I just decided I liked the way it tasted so I stuck with it. I think I ended up taking it out after about 20 minutes instead of 25. My cheese was browned on top and we were hungry! lol

Oh yea, and this recipe makes WAY too much for 2 people, so I only used 2 large avocados and filled 15 small tortillas and cut everything else at least in half. We still had leftovers!

Avocado (and chicken) Enchiladas

Avocado (and chicken) Enchiladas

2) Tico Rice/Gallo Pinto

This rice is super easy and really yummy. I actually think I like the Tico rice more than the gallo pinto. That may just be because I didn’t think my gallo pinto turned out as good as the locals’…lol. I’ll keep working on it.

HERE is the recipe I worked from for the Tico rice.

It was delicious!

HERE is the recipe for gallo pinto.

I think I went wrong with my gallo pinto by not sauteing the beans with the rice. I just sauteed and cooked the rice, then mixed in the black beans and some of their juice. It was easier at the time, but not as good in the end.

Me, cooking fajitas and gallo pinto for the first time!

Me, cooking fajitas and gallo pinto for the first time!

3) Million Dollar Spaghetti

**Warning** Unhealthy dish alert! Also, not a CR dish. Just one I found that looked yummy and easy!

This dish could easily be made much healthier than it is, but our selection is somewhat limited down here. So, I think if we make this one back in the states, we would sub in whole wheat pasta, low fat/fat free sour cream and cream cheese. I found this recipe on Pinterest, which is also where I found the Avocado Enchilada recipe. Pinterest should give out cooking degrees, because all Peter tells me now is, “I’m glad you are such a good cook!” and I’m like, “Uh…. thanks!” Thanks for making me look good, Pinterest!

Anywho, HERE is the recipe. I subbed the beef out and used chicken instead and it still tastes great! I also like to add more red sauce to my leftovers when I reheat them. One, leftovers tend to become more dry in the fridge. Two, I like there to be more red sauce than white sauce and when I tried to just add more to the original recipe it didn’t turn out quite right.. Oh! and I also like to add a little red pepper flakes to the red sauce to give it a little kick. We’re into that sort of thing around here.

**Also notice that on step numbers 3 and 4 of the recipe link you only use half of the meat sauce at first, then pour the second half as another layer.

4) Arroz con Leche

HERE is the recipe. I used a bit less sugar (just ’cause that’s a LOT of sugar!) and didn’t add raisins or cinnamon because I don’t like raisins and Peter doesn’t like cinnamon.

I think if I made this dish again, I would definitely add the cinnamon. I’ve tried this at restaurants here, and cinnamon is a pretty key ingredient. Peter may just have to deal next time. Plus, cinnamon is SUPER good for you!

I would have loved to cook plantain maduro (a sweet plantain) while I was here, but I never really tried it. It looks really easy though, so I think I will be trying it back home. It’s one of my absolute favorites here!!!

All in all, we want to take the idea of cooking simply home with us. I want there to be less crap in our food and more fresh ingredients. I hope to continue blogging once we return to the states, it’s going to be more geared to our lifestyles of eating and more activity in our day-to-day lives based on how great of an experience we had with it here. I will do my best to keep everyone updated on how it goes and how much success we have with it back home. We love food, so it will definitely be a challenge for us. However, we really love GOOD food so I hope we are able to cook it all up!

Can’t wait to post more yummy, healthy (and some not so healthy, lol) recipes when we return home.

~Thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 19: Foods from home I miss

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First off, I can’t believe we only have 8 days left here! The closer we get to leaving day, the faster the days seem to fly by!

Today I want to talk about the foods from home that I have missed by being here.

Initially, I thought of fast food type restaurants. Wendy’s, KFC, Del Taco. But then I remembered that we never really ate fast food that often anyway when we were home. Every once in a while we might have gone and got some Wendy’s chicken nuggets, or a McDonald’s breakfast burrito, but every time we ate fast food we were reminded of how gross it really is. Turns out my taste buds send these messages to my brain that say fast food tastes good and on the occasion I give in I either changed my mind on the way or went through with it and was disappointed by how I thought it would taste. Bottom line, fast food is gross people and I don’t miss it from home. Also, there are all of the aforementioned food places here, and they even DELIVER! But they are more expensive than in the U.S. so we just surpassed them as an option while living here.

Ok, enough with the fast food ranting. Some things I have missed from the U.S. are certain fruits! For one, GRAPES! I love snacking on grapes (I think I get that one from my dad. He always has them in a colander in the sink when they’re in season.) You can find grapes in the grocery store, but for a hefty price, and they don’t sell them at my local market, so we haven’t had grapes in probably a year! Next, oranges. They have fresh squeezed O.J. at the market. You watch them juice them up and everything! But you don’t see oranges like we are use to in the States, here. There is a fruit here that is the size of a lemon, green like a lime, but orange in the center, and it’s sweet like an orange….idk. If you ask for a limon dulce (sweet lime) that’s what you get.

Next are things from the grocery store we haven’t been able to find. Greek yogurt is first. It’s so good for you and you can supplement it in so many recipes to make them healthier. We have really missed it. We have also missed almond butter! None to be found here. And last is enchilada sauce. There is NONE in the grocery stores. I honestly just don’t think Costa Ricans make enchiladas that often. It may be more of a Mexican dish. Plus, most Costa Rican food is not spicy, so I think that’s part of why enchilada sauce is just hard to find. Don’t worry though, I brought back the packets of enchilada sauce that you can mix with tomato sauce. It’s worked out well so far!

Restaurants we can’t wait to get back to include Lotus of Siam and Island Sushi! Lotus of Siam is a Thai place located in a strip mall in North Las Vegas that is small, authentic and just plain delicious! The menu is HUGE and if you go, you have to get the Thai Iced Tea.  The other place we love is Island Sushi which is located really close to our house in Vegas, and they have an awesome happy hour menu in the late afternoon and late evening. Their sushi isn’t super fancy or the highest quality, but there are a few rolls that we love from there and we just go and get those every time 🙂 .

Last, there are two things we  miss from our kitchen back home, and those are the crock pot ( I think I miss that more than Peter does) and our juicer. I know Peter misses the second one just as much as I do. Juicing is just so awesome because you can squeeze so many fresh fruits and veggies into one big glass! Now, the crock pot is just great for easy and delicious recipes. It probably doesn’t help that Pinterest exists and there are TONS of crock pot soups and stews that are out there right now with the holidays in full swing.

Can’t wait to get home to our house. Really missing it today!

What are things that you would miss from your home if you moved to another country for a year? 🙂

~Thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

 

Categories: Travel | 4 Comments

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