Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blue Water Grill

The second time we went out for dinner we went to the Blue Water Grill. We passed by it on our way back to our hotel after a day of snorkeling and saw a "coconut crusted snapper" on the menu and we were sold. We went back to our hotel, rested, showered, and then went out to dinner.
The Blue Water Grill is a family-owned restaurant with a nice story and mission.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wild Mango's (1)

We cooked most of our meals during our holiday in Belize but we did dine out a handful of times. After a day of snorkeling, we were too tired to cook so we headed to Wild Mango's for dinner. The chef, Amy Knox, has won multiple awards (like Taste's Belize Chef of the Year award two years in a row), and it shows. The atmosphere is cozy and relaxed, the menu offering is diverse, and the food is delicious.

But, if you're looking for lobster or conch (both are seasonal), you'll have to go elsewhere. Chef Amy prefers to serve fresh fishes (provided by local fishermen) because she believes the conch and lobster are being over-fished.
It's pretty much all outdoor seating so you get a lovely view of the water and a fresh ocean breeze while you dine. If there's inclement weather, they roll down clear tarps around the entire "porch" so you're protected.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pineapple & Mango Slushies

We were lucky enough to have a blender in our kitchen in our Belize hotel. And since we were in a tropical climate, the fruits and fruit juices available to us were all really delicious.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Hotel Home Fries

One more quick and easy breakfast post for cooking while traveling. Start by heating a pan with a little coconut oil and add in diced potatoes, onions, bell peppers, and some mixed frozen vegetables. Once the potatoes start to soften, add in some chopped up hot dogs. Then crack in some eggs.
Cover the pan and keep cooking until the eggs are cooked through and then serve. Delicious!
This was one of my favorite breakfasts while we were on holiday. It definitely kept me full all day long.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Breakfast Rice & Beans

Continuing the series of easy hotel food recipes (that avoid the use of questionable meats), I'm sharing a great way to use leftover rice and beans for breakfast.
Dry rice and canned beans are both readily available, "trustworthy" ingredients.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hotel Pasta

So here are two super easy pasta dish suggestions you can make while you're on vacation using mostly non-perishable items.

The first one is linguine with clams and crab. I used store bought tomato sauce and added in some onions, garlic, and bell pepper. Oh, and sprinkle in some hot pepper flakes if you like a bit of spice. Then I just mixed in a can of chopped clams, poured the sauce over a plate of pasta and then added some canned crab on top, just for some flair. Quick, easy, and no risk of getting sick from meats that you might not be too sure of.
Another easy dish is tuna noodle casserole. Start with the same sauce from above - store bought tomato sauce, onions, garlic, and bell pepper. Then mix in some canned tuna (drained) and then stir in some cooked egg noodles. Sprinkle on some grated cheese and serve.
So there you have it. It's not gourmet but it's yummy and homey.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cilantro & Pineapple Nachos

For the next week or so, I'll be sharing recipes that are easy and low-maintenance and vacation-friendly. When we were in Belize, we didn't have as many options in the grocery stores. We were apprehensive about buying meat because it looked a bit questionable so we ate a lot of non-perishables like pastas and canned foods - you know, the type of stuff that's donated to food drives.

I think the best thing I made during our trip were these cilantro and pineapple nachos. They were so yummy, we made them a few times.
We got these amazing tortilla chips that were made on the island. They weren't too thick or too thin (Goldilocks would approve) and they were really crunchy and delicious with plenty of corn flavor and the perfect amount of salt.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Garden Update 4

I was a bit apprehensive that a LOT of growth would occur while I was in Belize because I wouldn't be able to see it (and photograph it) but thankfully, I didn't miss too much. The cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers are actually forming now! It's so exciting, for me at least.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Using the Grill

So our grill was put to use the day it was assembled and everyday for a week afterwards. The only reason we took a one day break from grilling was because it was raining. Grilling is awesome though because the house doesn't heat up.

This is not a recipe post, but it's just a "hey, look at how I used our new toy" post showing you just three ways we've used the grill so far:


PORK BELLY (Korean-style)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

New Grill!

So our grill died. It's been with us for at least 10 years so it was probably time. Rest in peace, friend, but you will be replaced rather quickly. Our grill actually broke just before we went away on vacation and I had plans to purchase a new one as soon as I got back. And when I decide to do something, 97% of the time, it gets done; and this got done.

After a bit of research online (re: I surfed Target's website) I found a grill for $100 that had decent reviews and looked like the right size for me to use. I wanted a no-nonsense, low-maintenance, easy-to-use grill because typically, I let dudes do the grilling because 1) it's a little scary to me and 2) I think they like doing it, or is that sexist of me to say?
It took about an hour to put this thing together, mostly because I'd read reviews that said to carefully follow the directions and honestly, though the instruction booklet is thorough and has detailed drawings, it's not as clear and concise as it could be so we got confused ourselves a few times.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

I love skirt steak. I make it quite often (almost once a month) and it's a great main dish because it's easy and fun to make side dishes to go with it. Sometimes we'll make corn tortillas and eat fajitas. Other times, I'll make rice and beans as a side dish. And of course, it's delicious to eat grilled corn and avocado and pico de gallo alongside a skirt steak as well.

A few weeks ago, I was at the market and saw a really awesome looking skirt steak so I knew I'd be making that for dinner. And then I started brainstorming about what side dishes I was in the mood for. While I was in the produce section, I saw fresh and pretty tomatillos so I thought I'd make a Mexican-style salsa verde to go along with my skirt steak. Salsa verde translated literally means "green sauce" and in Mexico, it's made with a tomatillo base. I specify Mexican because the French, Italian, Argentinians, and even the Germans have their own version of "green sauce."
I looked up a few different recipes for salsa verde and I saw that everyone has his or her own method and list of ingredients. Some recipes called for boiled tomatillos, some used raw tomatillos, and some roasted them. There were recipes that cooked all of the veggies (including the peppers and onions) and some that left everything raw. A few recipes had a long list of spices (cumin, coriander, hot pepper flake) while others asked for just salt. I came up with my own version based on what I read and what I thought I would like and it turned out really yummy, if I do say so myself.

Ingredients [makes about 1 cup of salsa]:
½ lb tomatillos (about 5 normal sized tomatillos, the size of a plum tomato)
5 cloves garlic
1 poblano pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
½ lime
1 tablespoon onion (small chunk)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
½ tablespoon fresh parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mushroom Ravioli with Sage

First let me say that this post doesn't involve me making mushroom ravioli. Sorry to disappoint you but I bought some ready-made ravioli at the store because I really wanted a way to use up some of the sage that's growing out of control in my garden. I love sage. It's earthy and fragrant and a little bit woody and goes so well with mushroom.

This isn't an extensive recipe post because it's so easy, it's not even worth it to try and be descriptive. But, I do have some photos to share.
For the ingredients, you only need 6 things: mushroom ravioli, garlic, sage, parmesan cheese, black pepper and olive oil.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Garden Update 3

Things are really heating up, literally, so my garden is growing more quickly and I feel like these updates might occur more and more often. These photos were actually taken before I went on holiday so they're a few weeks old (maybe even more than a month) at this point which means that currently, my garden is even more lush and things are sprouting, but I can't not share these photos so here we go:

Friday, July 12, 2013

What I Ate: Chicken Souvlaki Pita

For me, summer time means making use of the grill because 1) grilled food tastes so good and 2) it keeps the house from heating up too much. Even if it's raining, I'll just break out my grill pan; I'll find a way to grill! These photos are from a dinner I made a few weeks ago - using a grill pan - because our actual grill was broken - but don't worry, I bought a new one (and you'll be reading about it soon).

We had chicken souvlaki pitas with lots of bright and colorful veggies (tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, avocado), fresh chopped parsley, pickled pepperoncini peppers, and homemade tsatsiki on a homemade pita. Homemade pitas are the best.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

George Michael Eats: Peanut & Cheese Treats

Who the frak is George Michael? He's my dog and I love him. This is my first dog-related food post because though my dog gets lots of table scraps (like leftover meat or pasta), I've rarely cooked anything specifically for him. However, a few weeks ago, I wanted to do something kind of special for my pup. He was getting his hair cut and that's not something he enjoys too much so I decided to give him a treat and bake some dog biscuits.

1½ cups whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
⅓ cup extra chunky peanut butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons applesauce (natural & unsweetened)
1 egg
¼ cup low fat milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (low sodium)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Strawberry Pie

Post holiday blues are hitting me hard today but I still have a post to share. We picked a lot of strawberries when we went to Alstede Farms and we ate a lot of them fresh but I also decided to bake some into a pie.
pie crust
3 cups fresh strawberries
⅓ cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Friday, July 5, 2013

Garden Update 2

Another pre-scheduled post! This is the last one; I fly home tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

My garden is coming along pretty slowly this year. Usually by now, we'd have lots of peppers and tomatoes but this year, the weather hasn't been great for the plants. There have been way too many cold streaks mixed in with heat waves and I think that the plants have been confused. We've been making good use of the herbs (especially the cilantro) but I'm counting the days until we have cucumbers and watermelons to pick.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fourth of July Recipe Roundup

This is another pre-scheduled post, as I am still on holiday. Enjoy!

I've never done a "roundup" of recipes before because I feel lame doing it. I feel like my library of recipes isn't really all that impressive. Plus, it reminds me a little bit of when television sitcoms get all lazy and make an episode with lots of flashbacks to previous episodes (e.g. the Friend's episode where Joey is getting interviewed for Soap Opera Digest; if you know what I'm talking about, you rock).

But, I thought that since Independence Day is tomorrow (and because I truly am lazy - hey, I'm on holiday), it would be appropriate to share a few of my favorite party-friendly, grill/outdoor eating recipes.
{meat & veggie kebabs or shrimp kebabs}

Monday, July 1, 2013

Strawberry Picking

Hello from Belize. I'm currently here on holiday; this is a pre-scheduled post. Enjoy!

I started my life in the city (born in Queens and toddled in Brooklyn to be more specific) and then moved Long Island in 2nd grade and eventually wound up in the suburbs of New Jersey. I have been here for over half of my life now but I think that at my core, I am a still a city girl. I love hustle and bustle and subways and sidewalks. But, I certainly cannot deny that the suburbs have been good to me. I have a yard of my own to play in, which is a luxury my dog shares. I can always find parking, I can garden, and I can bike around my neighborhood. I learned to drive and got my license as soon as I was of age (which is something that can't be said of most of my city-dwelling friends). I trick-or-treated outdoors from house to house instead of from apartment to apartment. Are those enough reasons to appreciate the suburbs of New Jersey? How about one more?: fruit picking.
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