#FoodFriday: Oh-so-Easy Coconut Milk

I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW I just did a #FoodFriday blog last week.  I usually only like to post one per month, but this week I made my own coconut milk from a FRESH coconut and I just need to share it with the world.

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…and kick myself because it’s SO easy. How have I been here for two years and not made this before?! Shakin’ my head.

Let me tell you how it all started… Continue reading

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#FoodFriday: Chilero (Costa Rican Hotless Hot Sauce)

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In any “soda” (a restaurant where you can find comida tipica / classic Tico food) here in Costa Rica, you’re bound to find a massive jug of what looks like pickled vegetables on the table. It’ll be loaded with different colors, flavors, and spices and probably look as though it’s been sitting there for a few days–or even weeks–and chances are it has.

Que rico.

Before I get into what chilero is let me just say that this is MY recipe and how I learned to make it, so I don’t want to hear anything about how ohhhh it needs vinegar, or this or that vegetable, or that your host auntie makes it different. This is TALIA’S recipe so lay off. Continue reading

#FoodFriday Chi-chi-chi Chia Pudding

Since arriving in Fila Naranjo, chia seeds have become one of the main staples in my diet. In fact, I might even go as far as to say that they are thee staple of my diet. I put them in my smoothies, my raw carrot cake balls, and whaddaya know even in my pancakes!

Chia seeds are incredible little guys – they’re packed with fiber, high in antioxidants, and rank as a top plant-based source of protein – and, not to mention, pretty cheap, which makes them the perfect food for a broke Peace Corps Volunteer like muaself. No wonder I’m so obsessed.

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Just 2 tablespoons have 120 calories, 10 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and tons of vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, and potassium. Plus, once you soak them, they expand into a whopping cupful of jelly-like deliciousness! Mamma mia! Continue reading

#FoodFriday: A Purple Smoothie Bowl That Will Blow Your Pants Off (Literally)

Yup, that’s right. This smoothie bowl is packed full of a rainbow’s-worth of healthy goodness and enough fiber to give you the bowel movement of your dreams.

You see here in the Peace Corps, we deal with a lot of panza (belly) issues. Whether it’s a parasite that’s found it’s way into the potable water from last night’s big rain storm or some questionable greasy street food that’s been sitting out too long (I see you empanada and chicharron lovers), we, the proud Peace Corps Volunteers of Costa Rica, have all been there.

And by there I mean on the toilet…for a long time.

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#FoodFriday: The Fruits & Flavors of Fila Naranjo (Part 3)

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve had a random, never-seen-before, questionable looking fruit shoved in my face, but last night it happened again.

It was almost as if Carlos went out of his way to find me and ask me if I had ever had a zapote before.

“A za what?” I said

His eyes lit with excitement as he realized he would be the one to serve this gringa her first zapote ever.

Zapote

 

And for good reason because it was so tasty. It was this tender, not-too-sweet fruit that tasted expensive and classy JUST like a fig yet soft and hearty like a cooked squash. I truly thought that I had seen and tasted all that there is to offer in Fila Naranjo after 16 months of living here, but this land is still full of surprises.

 

Mamón Chino
aka Rambutan aka some sort of cousin of the Lychee

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#FoodFriday: Not Your Grandma’s Pancakes

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I’m sure we can all think back to a time when our granny whipped us up a nice pile of fluffy Bisquik pancakes on a warm easy like Sunday morning.

Or, if you had a baller grandma like mine, she made them from scratch.

That’s right. Baking soda, flour (sifted, obvi), eggs…you know the drill.

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Back when I baked, cut my own bangs, and had a black eye.

Those were the best days, am I right? Waking up to all the smells of all the foods and sleepily making your way down to the kitchen only to find the dining table completely set. Everything’s warming in the oven and the only thing that’s missing is you. Continue reading

#Food Friday: Chorreadas (Costa Rican Corn Pancakes)

I don’t want to fill all of your typical Wisconsinite stereotypes but it’s true.

I love beer.
I love cheese.
and I love corn.

They’re just all so delicious.

I’m sure that when you think of Wisconsin, things like craft beer, (crappy beer), cows, football, premium cheeses, and political inconsistency come to mind.

But what you might not know is Wisconsin is one of the top corn producing states in the nation.

Yup, I’m just a corn-fed girl in a corn-fed world. Continue reading

#FoodFriday: I Made Yogurt (And So Can You)!

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If there’s one thing just flowing in abundance in Fila Naranjo, it’s cows. Cows on cows on cows.

And well, of course, coffee. But besides coffee, ganado (livestock) and dairy products are the community’s biggest income generating activities.

Ganado, including pigs, chickens, and beef cattle are raised to be sold for their meat to local families and distributors.

Dairy products, mostly made from cow milk, are made into the 3 Costa Rican dairy staples: queso (cheese), natilla (sour cream) and leche (milk). Continue reading

#FoodFriday: The Best Gallo Pinto (Costa Rica Rice & Beans)

When I was just 13-years-old, I got my first job working at an Italian Restaurant right down the street from our home in cute little downtown Delafield, Wisconsin.

Coming from a family with a lot of people and not a lot of money, I always wanted a job so I could have my own cash in my own pocket; even if that meant working after school, on the weekends, and in between basketball and track practices.

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Too many kids not enough monayyy
Continue reading

#FoodFriday: Make Your Own Kombucha

I distinctly remember the first time I ever tried kombucha.

It was five years ago while I was living in Wisconsin. I was in the grocery store and was immediately sold on the look of the Synergy bottle that promised to reawaken, rebirth, repurpose, and redefine.

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When I got to the car, I twisted the top off, took my first sip and spit it out without hesitation. It tasted rancid and vinegary…like it was some sort of tea that had turned so bad it had started to ferment (I guess there’s some truth to the fermentation part).

I don’t know how or when my hate turned to love but it did. Over time I grew what some people might call an unhealthy obsession with kombucha.  I had a kind of “ah-ha” moment when I realized that the vinegary taste and carbonation were natural and suppose to be there. It was like accepting the moldy flavor of blue cheese. Or maybe overtime I just grew a strong affection for all things fermented and vinegary. It’s a mystery.

If you’ve never heard of this kombucha stuff, let me fill you in.

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