Posts Tagged With: food

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!

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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!

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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 15: Healthier Lifestyle

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One of the best things that has come from living in Costa Rica for a year is our health!

Before I even made it down here to join Peter (he was here for three weeks before I came) he had already dropped quite a few pounds. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really notice that he had put that much weight before we moved here, so you can understand how surprised I was when I looked over at my screensaver (you know, the one that scrolls through all of your pictures?) and saw a picture of Peter hiking in Utah in November before he left for CR, and he looked so…..puffy. The picture below shows that photo (left) and a photo of Peter when we went to Arenal Volcano in January!

Left- November 2011Right- January 2012

Left- November 2011
Right- January 2012

He had lost so much weight! Mainly fat. We ate out a lot in Vegas, and although I think we thought we were eating healthy I think we splurged more that we should have. Plus, when you eat out there are many extra  ingredients you don’t always realize are in your meal and can add calories.

Here, fresh fruits and vegetables are all easily available. Now, I say that, but did you know that most restaurants (including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell) have a delivery service!? You would think that would make crappy fast food more easily attainable, but in reality, since we do not speak Spanish very well and it is more difficult to understand over the phone, we never tried the delivery service for any restaurant. Why would we want to go through the extra trouble and effort for something that’s bad for us?

I can’t remember how to merge photos together like I did for Peter’s picture, but here are my before and after pictures below!

This was me at Jaco beach on Christmas Day 2011.

This was me at Jaco beach on Christmas Day 2011.         

And this was taken some time in the spring. I honestly can't remember the exact date, but I had been living here for a few months at this point.

And this was taken some time in the spring. 

 

I lost around 10-12 lbs (I’m 5’4) and Peter lost around 20 (he’s 5’11/6’0)!

I’m sure it helped that when I was working as a teacher, I was walking around 2 miles 5 days a week on my way to and from work. Like I said, having such easy access to fruits and veggies meant we were eating more raw foods, and we get our meat from a local butcher. There is a fruit stand on the same corner as the closest bus stop to us, and the feria (street market) sets up in downtown Santa Ana every Sunday from 5 a.m. – 12 p.m. The foods here even taste so much better than the foods from the grocery store back home. Carrots and cucumbers are sweeter, and the chicken here tastes SO good! I didn’t even realize you could taste the difference between the hormone-injected chicken in the U.S. and the more naturally-grown chicken here.

We also have a gym here that we try and put to use (Peter does more often than me 🙂  ) and there are hills EVERYWHERE, so going for a ‘walk’ turns into a pretty nice workout. You can’t help but want to go outside and enjoy all of the beautiful weather here anyway. The weight came off so effortlessly here. I just hope we are able to stay on track when we get home.

Stay tuned for updates on that in the future!

I would love to hear what you do to stay in shape in the States. Have any good recipes or workout ideas? Let me know! I LOVE trying a new, delicious and healthy recipe!

~Thanks for reading~

Pura vida!

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 3: The Feria

First off, if you haven’t checked out Day one and Day two yet, click here!

Day 3 we are going to talk about how much I am going to miss the feria (street market)!

It only happens once a week, on Sundays, from 5 a.m. – noon in downtown Santa Ana and it is so cool. Well, it’s actually pretty hot in the morning/early afternoons. I usually come back with pink shoulders.

You can find all sorts of fruits and vegetables at really good prices. Peter and I can buy enough for both of us to last a little more than a week for around $9-$12!! I think it may be even less for locals, because they know how to barter in Spanish. I could try it, but I’m sure I’d get some dirty looks and bad-mouthing behind my back..

I love getting the carrots there. They are HUGE! I’ll have to take a pic and then come back and update this post. Also, the cucumbers are almost sweet tasting they are so good. I already loved cucumbers, but Peter doesn’t really like them, so when he started asking me to get some on Sundays I knew there was something special about them.

There are a couple of items that are imported. I know the “pretty”, white garlic is from China (you can buy locally grown as well, though. It’s brown.) and the small, crisp apples have a sticker on them usually, and I think they are from Washington!

We typically buy at least some of the following on any given Sunday: apples, cucumbers, strawberries, onions, pejiballe, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, cilantro, bell peppers, garlic, fresh squeezed OJ, mamon chino/rambutan fruit, avocado, mango.

Oh! And I can’t leave the feria without a freshly juiced drink. It’s $1 for a large cup of either carrot, sugarcane, guanabana (claims to fight cancer cells), and one other juice that is white and has a nutty flavor to it (I can never remember it’s name). There is also street food that is SO yummy! I’ll have to update this section as well with photos and more info on the food!

Things that I’ve seen that I haven’t tried (I know, you are wondering why I haven’t tried something?! Well, I ask myself that same question, and the answer is normally because I don’t have a recipe. But really, I should just woman up and look up a new recipe and just do it!) include: lettuce, cabbage, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, pineapple (these are just too heavy for me to carry back, so I get them from somewhere closer to our house. More on that in another post), bananas (I get these closer to home as well because they get squished by the other fruits and veggies), dried beans, coconuts.

Things that I haven’t seen there that is common in the U.S.: grapes, oranges (ironically, because they have oranges that are juiced.

I have mentioned before about how we learned that the banana crops seen near the coast and are exported are covered in pesticides pretty much until they’re shipped. Well, we also learned that if you buy the “finger” bananas (tiny bananas just a bit longer than your finger), then they are usually grown naturally with no pesticides.

Yay! Because I love bananas and I was going to be really sad to cut them out of my diet when I found out about the pesticide issue.

On to the good stuff. Pictures! Here are a few pics we have taken from the market.

Some weekends they will have a festival or something going on, so there will be another street covered in tents with arts and crafts and what not for sale. There is also almost ALWAYS music blaring out of a large speaker in the center of the market’s strip. Oh, and if you go later, you can catch the old church’s last service music from the street before they let out. Ok, now on to the pictures. 🙂

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Oh look! I did have a picture of a carrot 🙂

Pura Vida!

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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