#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

#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
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#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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#FoodFriday: Easy Raw Carrot Cake Energy Balls

 

When I first got to my site in Fila Naranjo, I was really trying to work on this whole “integration” thing. I went to church with my host family, I played soccer on Wednesday nights, I worked on a farm, I cooked side-by-side with women in the community kitchen, and I ate everything my host mom cooked for me.

I mean, everything.

Piles of rice, bowls of beans, breads, fried foods, sugar-filled juices, empanadas…all of it. Continue reading

#FoodFriday: What’s In a Tamale?

 

What’s in a name? That which we call a Tamale… 

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We’ve all heard of tamales before. And if you haven’t well I guess you haven’t been to the freezer section in Trader Joe’s.

But I’m not here to talk about that frozen, pop in the microwave, dinner-for-one garbage. Today, we’re going to talk about the real deal. Cream of the crop. Pick of the litter. Best of the best.

I’m talkin’

Cooked over a fire in the mountains of Costa Rica…

With cilantro, peppers, and papas from the vivero (greenhouse)…

And free-range chicken from the neighbor…

Wrapped in freshly cut leaves from platano trees…

And maiz from…well, ok it’s from the store. Whatever. It’s the good brand though.

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Fiestas Patronales in Fila Naranjo

This past weekend the annual Fiestas patronales (Patronage Festivals) were hosted in Fila Naranjo.

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This was the first big celebration that’s happened in my community since I’ve been here so to say the least, I was pretty excited and intrigued to find out how Big Fila gets they party on.

So what is this fiesta anyway?! I know, you’re just dying to know. Continue reading

#FoodFriday: The Fruits and Flavors of Fila Naranjo (Part 1)

I love fruit. I LOOOVE fruit. And vegetables. And coffee. I love all things fresh, delicious, crunchy, soft, gooey, acidic, tart, earthy, juicy, fleshy (just for you papaya), bubbly, spicy…the list goes on.  I love all the tastes and textures.

So when I got my site assignment for Fila Naranjo and read that it was a small coffee farming community in the mountains of Costa Rica my heart melted into a pool of dark chocolate fondue. Endless amounts of coffee? Fresh homegrown Costa Rican coffee? That was all I needed and all I wanted. It was enough to keep me satisfied for the next 2 years. I was happy…I was extática…with coffee.

But once I got to site, I discovered that the sweet, pure, fertile tierra of Fila Naranjo sprouted so much more than just the best coffee in the world. You name it, we got it. We’re like the expensive produce aisle in Whole Foods that everyone walks through but can’t commit to making a purchase. You might put that $6 exotic dragon fruit in your cart but you know you’re going to take it out once you get to the check-out and slip it behind the kombucha cooler.

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