Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cocktail Infusions

infusion mint gin cocktail

My wonderful friend, Kelci, gifted me with a box of Teaforte cocktail infusions. After trying them out I immediately ordered five more boxes from Amazon to pass on to others.  They are so much fun!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Cottonwood Salve (or Balm of Gilead)

cottonwood bud salve

My friend Shauna invited me over the other night for wine and cottonwood salve production.  She'd recently stumbled upon a felled cottowood tree with gigantic buds, ripe for picking. (Tip: pick buds before the green leaves appear.)  Why should you collect cottonwood buds? Because they can be used to make a healing balm to treat abrasions, inflammation, soreness, and dry skin.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Nicaragua Part 1 (Little Corn Island)

Little Corn Island mosaic Nicaragua

TH and I were eagerly anticipating a week long stay on Little Corn during a month long trip of indulgence to Nicaragua.  The island presented the possibility of both fishing and pristine beaching.  We'd heard rumors that the voyage out might be rough, but we'd had pretty sweet weather in Nicaragua, considering it was rainy season, which suggested a more mellow jaunt.  Here is an excerpt from TH's journal:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An Excellent Use of Coconut Butter

Sweety's Raw's site is seriously dessert insanity.  When I last visited she had posted a recipe for Superfood Cups, which utilized coconut butter.  I ADORE coconut butter, made from whole coconut pulp.  A couple of spoonfuls usually serve as my pre-yoga snack.  I was stoked to try Heathy's Superfood Cups, which also incorporate all of those powders that I've purchased and forgotten to use: maca, lucuma, mesquite.  I added goji berries, hemp seeds, and dehydrated buckwheat as my mix-ins.  Visit her site to access this tasty, healthy dessert recipe!

sweetly raw's superfood cups

Question: Do you use superfood powders?  If so, how? 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Thai Basil Eggplant Stirfry

Full Circle Farm

Sometimes items show up in my Full Circle Farm Box and I'm not sure what to do with them.  Take eggplant, for example.  I did not eat this growing up; perhaps because it looks like something Snuffleupagus might have laid.  Luckily I had some other more familiar items to work with in this week's box:  red pepper, onion, Thai sweet basil, and garlic. A Google search of "Thai basil eggplant" led me to this recipe at Vegetarian Times, which I adapted based on the ingredients I had in the cupboard.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Costa Rica (Santa Teresa and Samara)

costa rica seashells

Continuing on from Costa Rica Part 1....

We took our new Tico friend, Marco, up on his offer to pick us up in Montezuma and drive us to Santa Teresa (where he managed the beautiful Esencia Hotel and Villas ).  We spent the day enjoying the hotel's pool, walking along the lengthy beach, admiring the fit surfers and paddle boarders, and eating a deliciously fresh ceviche and fruit juice lunch.  Marco took us to a fabulous place for sunset: The Papaya Lounge in Mal Pais (about 3 km from Santa Teresa).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I Like Sake. I Like Strawberries.

strawberry sake shake

It's getting to be porch-sitting season here.  Porch-sitting usually requires a beverage.  As it is also strawberry season, I felt that a frothy pink cocktail would be the perfect companion to an evening of reading on the deck.   For some reason sake (rice wine) just sounds healthier than vodka, so I blended some up with a few ingredients to produce a grown-up...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kale Meets Red Curry Paste

red curry kale chips

My friend Andrea recently commented on the recent popularization of kale.  Yes, it's everywhere, but for good reason. Often called a superfood for it's nutritional density, kale can be added to smoothies, massaged in olive oil and vinegar for salad, sauteed in stir-fries, and (my favorite) manipulated into chip form.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Spring in Interior Alaska

We may still have bare trees and snow on the ground, but we Alaskans are busily making note of indicators that spring has, in fact, arrived.

swallows in Alaska

Both have returned.  A couple of years ago, TH built several swallow houses and distributed them around our property.  I always thought bird watching was for old people, but I will happily get a crick in my neck, gazing at these little cuties for hours (and I am decidedly not old).  During their breeding season (right now) swallows eat a lot of animal matter in the form of insects, particularly mosquitoes, which is why TH built the boxes in the first place.  This is the plan he used: 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Southern Yucatan Peninsula

xcalak sunset

One of our favorite things to do in Quintana Roo, Mexico is to fly into Cancun with our camping gear, rent a car, and start driving south.  Two our most beloved areas, situated south of Tulum, are Punta Allen and Xcalak.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Squirrel Balls

meatless spaghetti and meatballs

Inspired by this recipe from Slender Kitchen, I set about to make a meatless replacement for spaghetti and meatballs. TH has no problem with the occasional meat dish, but we are out of moose meat (we rely on our hunter relatives for our annual moose supply),  and we choose not to buy beef.  This recipe may seem labor intensive, but it is really tasty and makes a huge batch of meatless balls, which I call squirrel balls (after a naughty tree rat who devoured a tray I left on the porch to cool).

Monday, May 6, 2013

Impossible to Spell, Fun to Visit


Our wonderful travel friends, Stacy and Keri, first introduced us to Zihua (Zee-wah), sister city to busy Ixtapa.  While Ixtapa's beach sports high rises and time-share salesman, Zihua manages to maintain some of it's small fishing village charm, even with an increasing number of tourists. Sitting on a bay surrounded by hills, Zihuatanejo is a scenic and friendly destination. During Christmas the town explodes with beach goers, but most of the visitors are Mexican tourists. You will still be able to practice Spanish and eat local food; you won't feel like you are on the beach in Florida.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Costa Rica (Caribbean Coast and Montezuma)

Montezuma Costa Rica

As former backpackers, turning into aging flashpackers, we still retain a bit of travel snobbery.  For many years we had held off on visiting Costa Rica, thinking it was too expensive, too touristy, too trendy.  Finally, having vacationed in all of the surrounding countries, we figured we couldn't snub CR without first hand experience.

Now, on our first day in San Jose, as TH chased down a man we'd witnessed swiping a gringo's bag, "Uh-huh, I knew it," thoughts bubbled in my head.  I admit it: I was jaded.  I was going to have to move past my preconceived notions to enjoy this month long exploration of the land of pura vida.