Posts Tagged With: healthy

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

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