Feathered Aspen


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A Costa Rican Menu

We’ve had some really good meals since we’ve been in Costa Rica, but food is pretty $$$ here and – perhaps more to the point – eating out with three children 5 and under isn’t for the fainthearted.  We had Cuban our first night, with arroz con pollo.  Slow cooked chicken on the drumstick with tangy pickled onions and peppers.  The breakfast at our first hotel was pretty insane too, with an all you can eat buffet with plantains, eggs to order, juices, and tons of fresh fruit.  We did lunch at a little cafe and the olive oil was insane and so was my cafe con leche.  For dinner, we sampled tacos and a falafel burrito at a little hipster restaurant.  While we’ve been in Santa Teresa, we’ve eaten out once and had crazy good ceviche with plantains, guac, and fish and chips.  But all of this is spendy and a little overwhelming with a screaming child (or two, or three…  More likely three if it’s after 5 pm.)  So we’ve been making most of our own meals, and we’ve been taking advantage of the super fresh (and cheaper) ingredients…  Santa Teresa is pretty remote, so anything that’s not produced here is super pricey.

As I’ve been eating and Joshua and I have been trying to take our meals up a notch because it’s a vacation, I’ve thought about how menu planning can get into a rut or how some of my friends and I like to trial out recipes with each other and then repeat them because we know they’re tasty and imitation/inspiration/whatever, it’s just nice sometimes to not have to plan it out all by ourselves.  So here’s my little gift to you:  a three day menu plan.  Vegetarian, fresh, yummy, cheap, no waste, and Costa Rican vacation inspired.  It’s all about the lime, mostly about the pico (salsa), and pretty easy to prepare.  Hope you enjoy!

Grocery List

  • Purple Cabbage
  • Cilantro x2
  • Red Pepper x2
  • Tomato x6
  • Mango x4
  • Pineapple
  • Onion x3
  • Melon**
  • Limes x8
  • Avocado x4
  • Bananas x6
  • Salad Greens
  • Feta**
  • Milk (or half and half for your coffee)
  • Dozen Eggs
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Can of Refried Beans
  • Black Beans (from scratch or canned)
  • Rice
  • English Muffins
  • Raisins
  • Dried Coconut

Menu

Breakfast 1

Open Faced English Muffins

  1. Arrange avocado and tomato slices over half of the open faces, sprinkle with squeezed lime juice, salt, and crumbled feta (**or queso fresco).
  2. Arrange sliced banana on one and small cubes of pineapple on another, sprinkle with raisins, coconut, and squeezed lime juice.

**Add protein:  poach an egg and layer onto your savory faces.

**Add yum:  mayo, cinnamon, peanut butter, or honey, respectively.

**Save: dehusked and cored pineapple, 1/2 the avocado, 1/2 the tomato, and 1/2 the banana for later…  Don’t bother with a juicer for the lime, just squeeze 1/4 over and save the other 1/2.  Place all of them in a bowl and stow in refrigerator.

**Start: Rinse and soak 1-2 cups of rice in 1:2 ratio water.  Rinse and soak 3 cups of beans in 1:2 ratio water (DON’T add salt – this toughens the skins, yuck)

Snack 1

Smoothies

  1. Add a cup of pineapple, 1/2 a mango, and a banana to your blender.  Add two cups of water (and some ice, if you prefer).  Blend and serve.

Lunch 1

Refried Bean Tacos with Mango Salsa

  1. Open and warm refried beans in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and lime juice.
  2. Dice 1 onion, 1/2 leftover mango, 1 tomato, and cilantro.  Add juice of one lime and salt.
  3. Arrange on warmed/toasted tortilla: spread of refried beans, salsa, feta (**queso fresco) and coconut for garnish.

**Save: 1/2 the refried beans, any remaining salsa.

Dinner 1

Everything Salad

  1. Slice 1/2 the purple cabbage into thin strips, dice red pepper, add remaining salsa (toss in another diced tomato if not much left).  Wash and add salad greens.  Top with olive oil, lime juice, salt, coconut, a handful of raisins, and feta.

**Save: leftover salad, leftover greens.

**Tip:  don’t mix greens…  Leftover will keep better.

Breakfast 2

Scrambled Eggs

  1. Onion and red pepper sauteed, add eggs.  Serve with a couple of slices of avocado and 1/4 of a lime to squeeze over everything.

**Still hungry?:  add a warmed tortilla and queso fresco.

Snack 2

Smoothie

  1. Add 1 cup of your melon (I used papaya, but papaya tastes like ass in the US, so I’d go with something more delicious.), one banana, and a handful of pineapple.  Cover with water and blend.

**Wanna be healthy?: add a cup of leftover salad greens.

Lunch 2

Tico Sandwiches

  1. Toast remaining english muffins.
  2. Warm remaining refried beans, spread on muffins and return to toaster with feta on top to melt.
  3. Add remaining veggies from salad last night or avocado and tomato with lime.

**Start: cooking your beans 4 hours before dinner.  Cooking your rice 45 minutes before dinner.

Dinner 2

Buddha Bowls

  1. Leftover heaven!  All about presentation, people.  Scoop of rice, scoop of beans, leftover salad OR make a whole new mango salsa.  If you’re feeling crazy, whip up this sauce:  1/2 avocado, 1 lime, 1/2 cup of cilantro, salt, garlic, olive oil, blend and drizzle over bowl.

**Save:  rice, beans, leftover salsa, leftover sauce.

Breakfast 3

Rice Pudding

  1. This would be really good with milk!  Add two cups leftover rice, one cup milk (or half and half, and if you don’t have enough, just mix with a little water), and one to two eggs in a frying pan.  (Butter please).  Cook until egg is incorporated.
  2. Add raisins and warm for another minute or two.
  3. Serve with coconut, sliced banana, and cinnamon.

Snack 3

Smoothie

  1. Chop up your remaining fruit and toss in blender. Voila!

Lunch 3

Guacamole and Bean Tacos

  1. You got this.  Leftover beans from last night.  Dice an avocado.  Dice a tomato.  Dice an onion (dice some garlic, if you haves it).  Mix, douse in lime and salt.  Add beans and guac to tortillas (maybe some queso!) and serve.

Dinner 3

Buddha Bowl

  1.  Don’t let anything go to waste:  the beauty of these ingredients is that they all go together, even the onions AND the fruit.  Don’t forget the lime.  Make more sauce, if you want.  REMEMBER leftovers are palatable if there’s a little effort made for presentation… I don’t mean to be gender essentialist or anything, but men, in particular, don’t seem to get this ūüėČ –

 


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Lily turns 5

Lily turned five last Wednesday. ¬†On the Sunday just before her birthday, she biked all the way around Sloans Lake with me as I ran. ¬†Which was kind of the best. ¬†I have honestly dreamed of the bike/run daughter/mother combo since before Lily was even born. ¬†On Tuesday, there was a celebration at Lily’s school, and the teacher told a sweet story about star child Lily looking down and picking us, making her way over the rainbow bridge and gathering the gifts of memory, storytelling, and friendship along the way, and then arriving in this mountainous land.

On the day of her birthday,¬†we had the Ps over for french toast, whipped cream, and fruit salad. ¬†Afterwards, we met an old college friend of mine and Lily biked along the Clear Creak Trail. ¬†That night, we ate Spanikopita at Lily’s request and then we paid a late evening visit to Sweet Cow for some ice cream. ¬†When Saturday rolled around, we walked up to get biscuits, played at the playground, and then headed back to the house to get ready for our party. ¬†We cleaned, shopped, and prepped food, and then at five, our guest began showing up. ¬†Joshua made pizzas and I made a strawberry cake. ¬†At least, it was supposed to be a cake, but then when I took it out of the bundt pan, it crumbled and looked as though I had dropped it ūüė¶ ¬†Oh well. ¬†The kids pretty much devoured the whole thing and no one was complaining!

It was funny. ¬†We had talked about throwing a party in the beginning of March, and then life with three little kids just got in the way. ¬†Just two weeks off from the party, I sent out some text invites and what felt like a casual party thrown together at the last minute evolved into 37 people (I think the final count was 17 kids and 20 adults). ¬†It’s so strange how when Lily was born five short years ago, she was pretty much the only kid I knew. ¬†We had moved to Denver just a year before, and our village felt more like an island. ¬†It feels a little surreal to host a party like that, with kids running amok and our house and yard bursting at the seams. ¬†Surreal and pretty awesome. ¬†I’m so grateful to know other families with kids!

Lily is definitely growing up. ¬†Just tonight, she dressed up in her new (…ly thrifted) dance costume for her little neighborhood dance class. ¬†I scooped her hair up in a high ballerina bun, and oh my. ¬†The girl looked like a teenager to me. ¬†Why do all of my children insist on growing at rapid speeds?! ¬†Like, can we please slow down a bit? ¬†And then before bed, she came over to me and Luna and then leaned in and cooed, giving Luna smooches and snuggles. ¬†Luna looks up at her with a huge smile and coos right back at her. ¬†It’s pretty amazing.

I’ve been noticing recently that Lily seems ready for something new and challenging in her life. ¬†I see her pushing the boundaries and occasionally provoking her little sister or other friends, just to see the dramatic reaction, and I really think the uptick in these behaviors is the result of feeling a little bored. ¬†With school just two days a week and a lot of our routines being the same for the past couple of years, she’s outgrown a lot of her toys and worn out many of the activities. ¬†Biking has been huge because it’s been a new challenge, and it’s been fun to see her keep trying and get better and better. ¬†First is was starting on her own. ¬†Then it was stopping with the back pedal. ¬†Then it was better traffic awareness and slower stops. ¬†Now it’s going uphill. ¬†And the pace that she masters these skills is kind of mind boggling to me. ¬†She’ll literally be a different biker at the end of just one bike ride. ¬†She’s now gone around the lake with me three times, and one day, she even covered 7 miles. ¬†It’s kind of crazy, and I think it’s just an example of how ready she is for new challenges and experiences. ¬†She’s more than ready for kindergarten in the fall, and I think this trip to Costa Rica will also be a ton of fun for her.

Some fun facts about Lily at age 5:

  1. Birthday Menu:  French Toast with whipped cream and berries for breakfast.  Spanikopita and ice cream for dinner.  Strawberry cake at the party.  I was joking that she is quite the menu planner!
  2. Loves to run and bike. ¬†She often requests to join me on my run, either for a mile in the beginning and then I’ll drop her off at home before I go around the lake, or now she’s biking the whole way :):)
  3. Adores playing outside. ¬†I really credit Waldorf for this, but Lily is so happy outside. ¬†She is so confident in her creative play outside, and I have to say watching her ease outside just fills me up. ¬†Whether it’s mud, dirt, sticks, rocks, water, or whatever else she finds, there’s endless entertainment just being outside. ¬†She’s also pretty resilient with all sorts of weather. ¬†Rain, snow, wind, or sunshine, she’s happy outside.
  4. Enjoys her dance and yoga classes. ¬†She loves reliving her “Silver Bells” performance from the holidays and will often ask us to play the song so she can dance. ¬†Ellison is in yoga with her now, and she loves being her “yoga mama.”
  5. LOVES swimming.
  6. Still adores stories.  These days, she likes my made up stories about Ernie the Gnome.
  7. Loves playing with her sisters. Plays with Lu for hours and loves holding and sitting with Luna.
  8. So loving.  She adores her many grandmas and grandpas, aunties and uncles.
  9. Branching out her fashion sense. ¬†It used to be that skirts and dresses were her only loves, but these days she’s happy in leggings and a long sleeve top. ¬†She’s also growing like a weed and all of her leggings are capri length…
  10. Lily is such a joy, especially one on one. ¬†She’s a great conversationalist, and a wonderful companion.

Oh Lily! ¬†I love you so much. Thank you for making me a mother. ¬†I’ll never forget the day you came into my life, how the song Heavenly Day started playing and how you looked into my eyes for the first time. ¬†These past five years have been the best years of my life. ¬†You’ve taught me so much, and I can’t imagine our world without you. ¬†You’re a gift. ¬†You’re loving and interesting, plucky and creative, a good friend and a wonderful sister. ¬†Thank you for being you. ¬†Hugs and kisses, Mom.

 


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Spring Flowers

My favorite tree in Denver. It smells like heaven, and it’s shaped like a wisteria vine.

This was such a nice morning. The blossoming trees and the tulips were so lovely and it was nice to spend time with my mom (the girls have started calling her Grammy ūüíē).


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2017 Behind the Rocks 50 Mile Race Report

I had a blast running the Behind the Rocks 50 miler this year. ¬†I was nervous going into the day having run hard the weekend before at the Salida marathon. ¬†This was the first time I’d run back to back weekend races. ¬†I wasn’t sure my legs had recovered and would be able to hold up to the dancing on the slickrock. ¬†I felt a bit sore and haggered for most of the race, but I was able to keep to moving and have fun.

Moab will always hold a special place in my heart.  Running here is magical.  Enjoy the race video.  Apologies for the shaky segments.  I really need to get a gimbal.