What’s for Dinner?

food

Lentil Soup with Herb Yogurt    I love Indian food. I am sure most of you do too. So I am always on the look out for Indian dishes. Often times I don’t get the right flavors because I have to compromise on spices. The woes of living in rural areas. Anyhow, this is a very easy recipe with common spices (I could even find the Tarragon). Totally worth a try.

Crockpot Sausage and Peppers  So I don’t have a online recipe link for this one as it was given to me by a friend many years ago. It is a very simple (as you want it to be) and cheap meal that will feed at least 4. So the basic ingredients are; Can of Spaghetti sauce 24oz, brats, sweet pepper, 1 box of medium shell pasta, spices. So Hunts has a can of pasta sauce for 1$ and is prefect size for this dish. Plus they come in different flavors. I tend to get spicy brats but whatever you like. Cut them in to 1inch slices and dump them in the crock pot. One sweet pepper is enough, dice it up. Oregano or Italian spices are the easiest but you can get quite crafty. For a while I was putting in 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and making it a tad sweet. You can also add jalapenos, onion, cheese, etc. Cook in crockpot until sausage is tender (4-6 hours) and pour servings over shell pasta.

Lemonade Pies This was a great hit at work. I was able to get about 14 little pies out of the crust but you can use bigger or smaller cutters. I found the lemon curd in the jelly/jam section. It isn’t cheap so you might want to think about using lemon pie filling. Also I feel that there is a bunch of scraps that comes from cutting circles. I just baked the scraps and they were great.

 

 

 

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World Travels: Costa Rica

It was a long day to Tortoguero. However, it was only about 5 hours of travel. The long hours on the road and then another hour or two by boat made a great recovery day. Once we got to our to our hotel we were able to relax and explore the tiny area we had landed on. There was a great many children running wild through the streets. It was such a protected area; no cars, limited wifi, only quiet. I could see the river on one side and the Caribbean on the other.P1070471.JPG It was lovely. In the morning we went out kayaking. They were sit on kayaks and I must say that I prefer the sit in type. I survived none the less and saw a great deal of animals. A troupe of howler monkeys that were kind enough to howl for us. We saw parrots, toucans, and many other types of beautiful birds. Once we moved into some narrow channels we were able to see caimans. These are like small alligators.  The babies were all nestled in the tall grass and so cute. Well as cute as reptiles could be.P1070534.JPG The only complaint I had about Tortoguero was that it was stifling hot in the room. The first night my roommate and I slept fitfully bathed in sweat. The next night we demanded a stand up fan to have some relief. It did help.

The time there was over all to quick and we had to work our way back to San Jose for our last night together. It was another long drive recrossing the cloud rain forest on the mountain pass. We stopped at a fruit stand and got a tasting of some amazing verity of tropical fruit. I have to say that the ice cream pods (Inga feuillei) are the most crazy thing ever. They are about a foot long and 2-3 inches wide. Inside there are these “peas” that about about an inch or so and white. They are kind of fuzzy and cover a rather large seed. I felt the flavor was alright though you would have to eat quiet a bit to be full.

All too quickly our time together had to come to an end. I had an early flight and took a taxi to the airport. One thing I have to say that both my taxi rides (to hotel and to airport) were fantastic. Super friendly drivers, Dennis and Alex, inquired about my trip and my enjoyment. Many times you find that taxi drivers can be a bit aloof. My trip home took nearly 24 hours and left me exhausted and ill. While life getting back to normal can be a bit of a buzz kill. There is always the opportunity to look back and then look forward to the next adventure.

Sunday Meditations

orion-nebula

After being away for 10 days my cats have been really affectionate. The really are cuddle-y and more loving then normal. Really it feels great to come back to all that warmth. Also makes me realize how much we need/want each other. I am sure we all overlook some aspect of our lives, whether alive or not, that we can only appreciate more once we come back from a separation. Separation is good. Of course, you have to be mindful of what you are missing or missing you to really appreciate it.

 

World Travels: Costa Rica

Sunburned and sore from rafting we worked our way South East to Puerto Viejo. This is a hippy little town with lots of water activities. We went snorkeling.

There was a concern that the water would be too murky from rain runoff in the mountains. While visibility wasn’t perfect we were still able to go. I saw a giant sting ray, nurse shark, lion fish, among many others. It was very nice in the water. Gave me a chance to sun burn a different side. We also hiked through the Chauita National park. Here we saw sloths, monkeys, and beautiful birds.

It was really cool seeing all these animals up close. They really have no fear of humans. The weather was perfect and my concerns about a lot of rain was unfounded. I even got to go shopping a bit in town. My Spanish is getting better every day. Or perhaps I’m getting more confident with speaking. Well tomorrow North to Tortoguero.

World Travels: Costa Rica

Trips seem to always start out rocky. Mine sure did. A 8 day trip to Costa Rica started out with the 1st flight being 1.5 hours delayed. This would give me only 15 mins between flights. However, with a bit of luck my second flight was also delayed and I was able to catch both! Yay Costa Rica.

I came a day early so I could make the 1st nights meeting. I spent my free time wondering around San Jose. Its is a large city but I was able to walk to down town from my hotel. (2miles) I was able to get some early souvenirs cause I knew we wouldn’t have much time during the trip. At the welcome meeting I found it was only 4 of us!!! Two men, UK and South Africa, and two ladies, myself and a Texan. Also were are all very close in age, like within 12-18 months! How cool is that? Day one started with a drive to Pacuare River; highly known for white water rafting.

There were also waterfalls down tiny goat trails. It rained on our way to the lodge. The rain made the trip just fantastic! The lodge was on a cliffside with some major rapids right below. Yes, it was very noisey at night and I didn’t sleep very well. The next morning we were to raft out about 15 miles. With the water washing off our sun lotion we all got very burned but it was a great ride! Once leaving Pacuare River we headed to Puerto Viejo and to more great adventure.

Sunday Meditations

After a long week of international travel one always feels grateful to return home. At least I do. I think it is something we don’t do often enough; travel to foreign places. While we can get new ideas and prospectives, we also gain an appreciation of what we have. In rare cases we find that we need to change what we have too. All good things toward a happy, health mind and home.

Home Improvements

Ever onward for house projects. I have had the boards for some time. I put the brackets up a few weeks ago ( you can see here). I wanted to go with a dark wood so set off my green walls and make it look like an old Victorian era library/smoking room. I went with the Dark Walnut stain and it came out beautifully! Now I have to do three coats of varnish… thanks mom! I also made my own sawhorse with the cheap brackets. Super awesome way of doing it if you ask me. I also got good use of my garage.