Two weekends ago, we took a little day trip to our friend's family property in Cartago. Cartago is a beautiful place and it is known for being mountainous and much cooler than the Central Valley Area where we live. As soon as we got there, I fell in love with the house and the surrounding land. It is the perfect getaway place. The house was just a main room, the enclosed deck, and the bathroom. It was the perfect size for a weekend home when really, all you are going to be doing is sleeping in there. The rest of the time would be spent on the deck or outside where there was a gold course, a lake to fish in, and beautiful scenery to simply sit back and look at. Why we were only going there for the first time, I'm not sure! But we had a lot of fun just hanging out, eating tons of BBQ food, and enjoying the fresh air. It is these kind of days, where you find a new favorite place that I just love.
Thursday, December 5
Monday, December 2
One of my very favorite dishes here in Costa Rica is called Sopa Azteca. It is essentially tomato soup but even better. I distinctly remember the very first time I had it almost 4 years ago at my host mom's house and knew I was in love. Now that the holidays are here, family gatherings are becoming more and more prevalent and this dish is very popular to serve .. lucky me! In fact, just last week I was lucky enough to have homemade Sopa Azteca two times. Even luckier, is I learned how to make it myself. It is a little bit labor intensive but also so worth it. Here's what I learned.
What you need:
1large tomato per person
half a chicken breast per person
shredded mozzarella cheese
tortilla strips (homemade or store bought)
salt and pepper
What you do:
1. Start by putting the chicken to boil in water with oregano.
2. Cut up the tomatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, cilantro, and red pepper. It doesn't matter how big or small you cut these because they will all eventually be liquified. Put everything you cut up except the tomatoes into a pan to simmer. These things are called olores or smells, and they are used to give the soup flavor so you can decide how much or how little of each you put in based on what you like.
3. Start to liquify the tomatoes in a blender. Put a laddle full of the broth from the boiling chickens in with each tomato you are blending. Once full blended, pour the tomatoes into a colander that only lets liquid through. Drain all liquid possible and set the left over tomato aside. Do this until all tomatoes are liquified.
4. By this time, the olores should be fully cooked and soft. These also go in the blender with more broth from the chicken until fully liquified. This is very important because this mixture does not go through a colander but straight into the soup so it needs to be 100% liquid.
5. Let the soup come to a boil. Once boiling add any other herbs or flavors to your liking. Here is where you add salt and peper, more oregano, and the hot sauce (if you like hot sauce). If the soup is very runny, you can also add a little bit of flour to make it thicker, again, to your liking.
6. When you serve the soup, you also add the chicken, shredded cheese, tortilla strips, and avocado! All the flavors together are amazing and if you ever come to Costa Rica I recommend this dish 100%, especially homemade.
I hope you enjoy!
If you are interested in any other recipes you can find them here.
Wednesday, November 27
Last Friday in Costa Rica it was Teacher Appreciation Day. Let me just start off by saying, in light of recent events, I found it very ironic. Nonetheless, it was a day less of being in class that included a free lunch, some beautiful scenery, and lots of laughs with my coworkers. The place was called Colinas del Poas, and it was a beautiful outdoor recreation center nestled away on the mountain of the Poas Volcano. It was just lovely. We didn't do that much other than enjoy the sunshine. Some of us may or may not have taken naps on the grass and may or may not have been judged by the less "campesino" teachers. Regardless, it was a much needed break for my coworkers and me. Not to mention, I got to visit a new corner of the country I had never been before. Always a plus!
Monday, November 25
I've still got a lot of things I want to get done before the end of the year and time is certainly running out! This week my goal is to focus on finishing up loose ends at school. That means getting the rest of my exams graded fast. It also means finishing up final grades by the end of the week so I just don't have to worry about them anymore.
I briefly mentioned yesterday that I am not so sad to be saying goodbye to the school where I have been working for the past two years. For the most part, I have really enjoyed working at this school. They gave me my first opportunity to be a teacher and I will always be grateful for that. However, over the past two years I have known that I did not want to work at this particular school forever. Some of their practices and rules are not ideal for someone who is seriously interested in being a teacher, aka helping students learn. When I say this, I mean that the school doesn't emphasize education as the most important part of going to school. To make a long story short, my goal this week is to finish all of my final responsibilities at my job as quickly as possible. That is one chapter that I know I am ready to close from my time here in Costa Rica.
What are your goals for the week?
Sunday, November 24
Once again, I'm going to give this ol' blog another chance. It has been really nice taking a step back from this space but sometimes I just miss it. I really enjoy sharing what I'm up to and the pictures that I take, but every now and again I get a little too obsessed with all the other parts of blogging. All my bloggers, out there I know you understand this. I know I mentioned this in my last post but blogging can just be so weird and it is never something I thought I would get involved with but here I am! So here's to another try .. hopefully you'll stick around with me :)
Reading: final exams and final grades! The end of my school year is just around the corner .. thank goodness!
Writing: my last two assignments before the final exam of my online class. Again .. thank goodness! the year is really coming to a close, fast.
Listening: to episodes of homeland. I mistakenly started watching this series and it is addicting. I pretty much have one playing as I do almost everything else.
Thinking: about how I cannot wait to leave my school. The administration there has really shown their true colors the past few months and I am unfortunately not too sad to say goodbye to them.
Wishing: I could be in two places at once, but that's a topic for another day.
Hoping: that December is just as great in Costa Rica as it always is at home.
Wearing: as many dresses as possible. It is getting hot!
Loving: that Starbucks in Costa Rica is using red cups. I've only been to Starbucks here twice since it opened in the beginning of the year and even though they don't sell PSL they do sell Peppermint Mochas and they are using red cups ;)
Wanting: to find the perfect Christmas gifts for everyone.
Needing: nothing new right now. I mean, there are always some things that would be helpful but I am learning to get by with what I have.
Feeling: a little nervous about my big move in a few weeks.
Clicking: through a bunch of blogs that I need to catch up on!