Thursday, July 30, 2015

Easy recipe with local ingredients....Inspired by GREAT Indian food in Belmopan!

It is frustrating to cook here sometimes, as you will go to the store with a list and find that some basic things just aren't in stock this week. You can find yourself changing up your menu on a whim. Sometimes you will find that you accidentally create a masterpiece! I got the idea for this recipe when, earlier this month, Dave and I had to go to Belmopan for some errands, as most people find they have to do if you live here. Dave saw a review for an Indian restaurant in Belmopan's outdoor "restaurant row" (I do not know if this is what it is called, that is what I am calling it :)...picture a couple rows of outdoor wooden booths filled with delicious street food, but with tables and wifi!)
Everest Indian Restaurant, the owner with Dave :)
 "Restaurant Row."-right near all the offices downtown.
Anyway, this place is now the place we will go every time we have to go to Belmopan. YUM! There is a great Indian/Caribbean place called Tiger on the peninsula that is slow food--this was the best fast Indian food ever!

Based on this experience, I tried to recreate some of the flavors with what I could find at the local stores. Somehow, not to brag, but I created something so delicious by accident that I have to share it! You can put this all in a crockpot and not have to heat up your house as a side benefit.
Picture I stole from pinterest, this is what it looks like:
In your crockpot, place the following in this order (bottom to top)
-2 regular size cans (15oz) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie!)
-1 regular size can unsweetened coconut milk
-1-2 packages frozen boneless chicken breasts
-1 chopped green pepper
-1 chopped head broccoli
-1 chopped head cauliflower
-2 chopped carrots
-2 chopped yams
-1 chopped onion
-the following spices to your liking about 1-2 tablespoons-here is what I used:
-2 tbsp curry
-2 tbsp garlic/parsley powder
-1 tbsp cinnamon
-1 tbsp cloves
-1 tbsp nutmeg
-juice of 1/2 lime
-1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
-1 tbsp sugar or stevia
-1 tbsp salt
-1 tbsp black pepper
-1 tbsp cumin
-1 tbsp chili powder***
-2 tbsp red pepper flakes***
--Heat on low for about 5-6 hours, stir occasionally to mix the spices in.
*** Note--we like things SPICY(use less chili and pepper flakes if you don't), and I also like to make a TON of food at once. This made about 10 meals(it gets even better the longer it is stored in the fridge). I served this with jasmine white rice or flour tortillas heated up for a few seconds on a hot frying pan (use the tortilla like naan bread, tear it up and scoop it in, delicious!) This seems like a lot of ingredients, but they are easy to find here, and a lot of them may already be in your pantry. You could easily cut in half :)
Enjoy!

Friday, July 24, 2015

House update and some pics of critters.....:-p

Just a quick update on the house we are building, for those interested in what it is like to build here! It has gone remarkably well, surpassed our expectations. We are AHEAD of schedule (has that ever been said on a construction project here????) and it looks gorgeous. The pictures say it all!
Upstairs inside framing

 3rd floor tower!
 View from the North
 View from the seaside

 View from walking up South

 Awesome spiral staircase! Want a free anxiety attack rush? Walk up this staircase without its handrails. I did.
Although I shouldn't post things like this, I just have to :). We had our first experience with waking up to find a scorpion chilling on our kitchen sink! They often try and seek out water so you are not as likely to find them on your pillow. Please note, I was terrified of critters when I got here having had no experience with these things in Cleveland. However, seriously, after almost a year and a half, I have only run across a few, they are more scared of me, and even if they bite you, nothing is going to REALLY hurt you!! So here is our buddy the scorpion....
Followed a couple days later by this monstrous, probably 4-5 foot head to tail "dinosaur" in our front yard!!!! Sticks about lost his sh*t with this one.
Let's try to relax by enjoying much cuter pictures. Here is Sticks enjoying his morning walk....
Sticks and Dave having a moment....
Sticks and my friend Sandy's adorable daughter....
Cute dogs make it all ok. Note, they will probably not protect you from the above creatures.

Friday, July 17, 2015

What's happening this week in Placencia, Belize!!

Lots going on this week!!!

Tonight at Tranquilo:


Live music Fri. July 17 @ Tranquillo with Los Estebanes
Blues, Folk, Jazz, Rock, Pop & more
The Best Place in Placencia to watch the sunset and to enjoy a sunset shot and a wonderful meal. Call 660-7263 for the free shuttle boat to pick you up. The sea-to-table and farm-to-table menu changes weekly. Check out Tranquilo's facebook page for times, menu and pricing.
Rumfish--
The "RUMFISH SUMMER SPECIALS SERIES" is kicking off with an EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!
ALL MENU ITEMS 25% OFF BETWEEN 5-6:30 PM for any and all Placencia Locals & Residents (or anyone who mentions this post)! Begins today through Sunday!!!

Belize Ocean Club Shuttle times for the International Film Festival this weekend!
SHUTTLE TIMES FOR BELIZE FILM FESTIVAL BETWEEN PLACENCIA AND BELIZE OCEAN CLUB! Pick up point Scotia Bank!

Friday July 17th

Departing Hotel: 10am, 2pm, 4.30pm, 5.30 pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm
Departing Placencia: 10:30am, 2:30pm, 5:00pm, 6.00pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm and 9:30pm
Saturday July 18th
Departing Hotel: 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9pm and 11pm
Departing Placencia: 10:30am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm, 5:30pm, 7:30pm, 9:30pm, and 11:30pm
Sunday July 19th
Departing Hotel: 10am, 2pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9pm
Departing Placencia: 10:30am, 2:30pm, 5:30pm, 7:30pm, 9:30pm

Belize Ocean Club lineup this weekend:

Belize Film Festival 17 - 19 July.
Single movie ticket $10
Movie Pass $50 (buy via http://www.belizefilmfestival.com/)
Friday: Red Carpet Opening cermony 5.30pm - 10.30 pm $40
Friday: Afterparty 10.30pm - 2am $10
Saturday: MOVIE DAY cinema 10am - 11 pm
Saturday: Free beach screening of Awaken and Mad Dogs 7pm - 11pm
Sunday: award ceremony, dinner and entertainment $75 5.30 - 9.30

Un Wine'd at Los Porticos:
Un Wine'd is featuring a "Specialty Drink" & Appetizer today & tomorrow. "Very Superstitious" is a refreshing drink made with Arbor Mist Blackberry Merlot, Mango & Pineapple Nectar for $8.00/glass. Enjoy a platter of locally made hummus served with Ritz Chips for a special price of $5.00. You may also chose from the regular wine/beer & appetizer menu. Open 2 to 6 pm Thurs & Fri.

Saturday at Pickled Parrot:
Sat. July 18:
The bi-weekly Sat. jam @ The Pickled Parrot , WEBEJAMMIN' (again), Jam hosted by HOT PAPAYA. Musicians welcome.
Starts around 6:00 PM.
A Placencia landmark and long time local favorite, the Pickled Parrot offers a cool, laid back Caribbean experience with a full bar, good food (killer burgers) great people and cool music. You haven't been to Placencia if you haven't been to the Parrot!!

Mariposa next Saturday:
July 25th Wine and Cheese tasting at Mariposa from 3:00-6:00 with mellow background music provided by Lost Reefers.. RSVP please 523-4474

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Top fun things to do this week in Placencia, Belize!

Who says it is low season??? Not Placencia!

Tonight, Thursday night, July 9th:

-All you can eat spaghetti at Flying Pig, 6pm, $15bz

-Rumfish-Live Music @ Rumfish y Vino with Steve Fasano. Blues, Rock, Folk, Pop, Jazz & more. From 7:00 to 9:00 PM. Reservations and info @ 523-3293
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rumfish-y-vino/121087497902121

-Turtle Inn--Indonesian Rijstaffel Dinner at Turtle Inn tonight.A tasting platter of the rich food culture from the island nation of Indonesia stretching from Sumatra to Timor. They serve 18 small servings on a "Lazy Susan" at BZ$64 per person. Call for reservations-523-3244

Tomorrow, Friday the 10th:

Sushi Lunch from Go Sushi--call 600 5498 to order, pick up at Eucalypto
https://www.facebook.com/gosushiBelize

-Un Wine'd Wine Shop, Los Porticos Villas-- tasting plates and wine 2-6! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Un-Wined-Wine-Shop-at-Los-Porticos-Villas/100834830256472

-FREE Zumba 7-9 Tipsy Tuna with Hayley!
http://hayleyh.zumba.com/

-Paradise Resort-This Friday Night Starting at 7 PM, Paradise Resort Welcomes:
"PROYECTANDO Y CIRQUEANDO ANDO"!!!
New to Placencia from Italy, this Troupe will be Performing Their Circus Acts and Fire Dancing On Our Beachfront!!! Come Early and Enjoy Our $10 Menu Special of the Day ~ Our Homemade Deep-Fried Chicken Bites Served with Our Hand-Cut Fries and Coleslaw!!!
Don't Forget Happy Hour Starts at 5 PM!!! $1 Off All Local Beer and Rum!!!

Saturday the 11th:

-Tranquilo-Pirate party! Costume contest, the Lost Reefers are playing, games, $20 pirate punch. 4pm-?

-Pickled Parrot-Live Music @ The Pickled Parrot with HOT PAPAYA. Placencia landmark and long time local favorite, the Pickled Parrot offers a cool, laid back Caribbean experience with a full bar, good food (killer burgers) great people and cool music.

NEXT WEEKEND.....
The Belize International Film Festival!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/BELIZE-INTERNATIONAL-FILM-FESTIVAL/99617944315
Friday-Red Carpet, movies and fun all weekend!


**all pics courtesy of the establishments listed :)



Friday, July 3, 2015

3 tips for guests!! Free/fun stuff to get before you come...best coffee options....avoiding seaweed woes!

Based on some recent guest feedback, I am throwing out there three tips that are totally unrelated, but may improve your trip :)

1.) Before you get here, while you are planning your fun, I just found out something interesting this week. BTB--Belize Tourism Board, which is the board who asks for your passport info, and who makes the magazines you see, and promotes tourism here, collects money with each hotel guest. Part of what they give back, is a FREE service to incoming guests.....they will send you a bunch of information to your home for FREE if you sign up here:

https://www.travelbelize.org/request-brochure
(you know you want to put out the Belize magazines on your coffee table so people will ask about it, then you get to talk about your trip! Or, just put it in the bathroom where it is sure to be read.)

You can also get newsletters about what's happening in Belize by signing up with your email here:

https://www.travelbelize.org/newsletter

And, you can actually FOR FREE call them and ask them any questions you want (and enjoy the charming Belize accent!)...the only caveat is you get 10 minutes per call and then you have to call back :) But, this is a really nice service if you have some exotic questions that you can't find answers to! Here is the FREE number!

Toll free info--from the US--1-800-624-0686

These are the guys that came up with the cute logo for the country!


2.) I will try to be as nice as I can for #2 :).....Guatemala is known for their coffee, right? I am not sure if this is something Belize is really known for. What I know is, there are coffee bags available at all the stores. I have tried all.of.them. Some are really expensive and some are cheap, but this has little to do with the taste. BIG TIP here.....I am noticing a lot of guests buy the Belize coffee in the green bag, and then leave almost the whole bag in their cabana when they leave.
I decided to do a PSA and announce that no one should buy coffee unless they are SURE that it is sealed properly in the bag, like never opened. I notice that some of the stores stock Belize coffee that was ground, then put back in the bag, but by the time it gets in the consumers hands, it is often.....quite sour (ie: gross.) I notice at Wallen's you can grind your own right there, this works! Otherwise, here is my suggestion, as someone who has tried them all.....one of the cheaper varieties available here looks like this:


That is BZ price, so it is about $5.50 US for this bag. It is IMHO the best tasting coffee and also one of the cheapest. You can also get fresh ground at Above Grounds or Brewed Awakenings. But nothing makes me sadder than thinking a guest will experience this... "BELIZE COFFEE YES!! I AM GOING TO ENJOY THIS ON MY VERANDA! Waaaaait a minute,....this coffee is totally gross and has now ruined my false memory of what the morning would be...." you get the picture. So, buy from Wallen's and grind yourself, or buy the blue bag anywhere (it's always sealed!) or buy from the coffee shops. :)

3.) We are not out of the woods on this Sargassum thing yet. I am so sick of this seaweed that when I see it rolling in I can't get my eyes to stop rolling. It is NOT THAT BAD since last winter, but it IS bad enough that the shores haven't been totally clear in a while, and just enough of it rolls in that we have had to deal with raking it every morning. We feel terrible when guests come, ready to jump in the Caribbean, and have to dodge seaweed. (It is not just here, it is everywhere, and people are working on this issue.) Please note our back up plan if you are dying to get in the water....

Here are Some Open-to-Everyone Pools, Bars, and Daytime Fun!!

---Fusion Beach is a wonderful, Miami-beach style pool and bar, open to the public, just a short walk north on the beach. (walk to the beach and turn left, you will run into it!)

---Tranquilo is a bar on Placencia Caye, known as the place to be to watch sunsets! You can float around on rafts with cupholders there. If you want to go, walk to the pier and call Jeff at 620 7763, tell him you are at the pier and want a pick up. The boat “3 Things” will take you on a 2 minute boat ride to the bar. Free sunset shots too! It is the opposite side of the island so no seaweed.

--Belize Ocean Club, about 25 minutes north on the peninsula, offers shuttles throughout the day to their resort, where you can kayak, paddleboard, play volleyball, or use their great pool. Sometimes the seaweed will be worse one place vs. the other, so this is an option for a day when it gets too bad here. Free Daily Shuttles from Placencia to Belize Ocean Club depart from Belize Ocean Club's village office (between Mojo and office supply) at 10.30, 2.30, 7.30 and 9.30.
--Taking excursions out to Silk or Ranguana Cayes is another great idea to see what the shores are really supposed to be like!! You can schedule these throughout the village at any of the tour booths.

Mother Nature at times can try to ruin a good time, but we can still make the best of it!!

Again let me emphasize, don't panic if you are on your way here, it has been at manageable levels, but aesthetically, it could be better :-/. Here is a picture from Ambergris Caye, from San Pedro Scoop's blog, but it is a perfect example of how most of the shores have been looking--