Thursday, 24 April 2014

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Experiencing the rainy season here is interesting. Some days it threatens to rain all day, but not a drop. Other days it's bright and sunny in the morning, then turns dark and gloomy pretty quick. Today is one of those days. Planning hikes and fruitlucks isn't obvious at this point, but we are risking a beach day on Saturday to hangout with a few fruities in the area. I'm crossing my fingers that it'll be sunny!

Being here has really taught me to be much more self sufficient when it comes to food. In Canada we are so used to things like salsa and hot sauce being both easily accessible and reasonably priced. Here they are usually expensive or full of preservatives and msg or salt. So I've got into the habit of making them myself so thatI can control the ingredients and lower my sodium intake drastically. Not to mention I get to actually pile it on instead of rationing those tiny jars they sell.

Something that may seem like alot of work is actually pretty simple and not too time consuming when you roast the majority of the ingredients. We are salsa obsessed around here, so we go through a large batch a week. No need to can it.

I'm sure it would be pretty simple to can though, I'm just no expert and prefer making batches that will last us a week at most. There are endless variations you can make to this salsa to change up the flavors. This is a basic roasted tomato recipe that is a great place to start from.

To serve with our salsa, I just toasted up some corn tortillas to dip in. We also use it to top our evening meals like rice and potatoes.

Roasted Tomato Salsa


- 5 lbs of tomatoes
- 4 medium/large onions
- 3 large red bell peppers
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tbsp hot sauce of choice or roasted hot peppers
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (opt, not shown)
- S/P

Heat Oven to 400F

On a large deep baking sheet line up the tomatoes, onions (skin on) and red bell peppers. Roast for 35-40 minutes then let cool until they can be easily handled by hand.

Skin and core the tomatoes, and skin and de-seed the peppers.

In a large bowl, dump all the tomatoes and squish then with your hands until they reach the texture that you desire. You can also use a food processor for this step if you aren't the hands on type. Drain about half the water, depending on how thick you like your salsa (My partner like to drink the juice, it's quite good!)

Chop the pepper and onions to desired size and add into the bowl. 

Add in the spices, cilantro and lime juice. Give it all a good stir and let sit in the fridge in a tightly covered bowl until ready to serve. It tastes even better the next day!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Mexican Lasagna

As our adventure time here in Costa Rica is fast coming to a close (only 5 weeks left!), I'm attempting to take advantage of this place to the best of my ability. Waterfalls, beaches and fruit will be through-fully experienced and enjoyed.

Another thing that I am going to miss is freshly made tortillas, that are pre-made for you. Although I've learned to make them from scratch, they are a tad time consuming to make.

This dish is definitely rated in my top ten favorites on the blog so far. The layers of flavor of this Mexican inspired lasagna make me smile in delight when I take a bite. The spicyness level depends on a few things: how hot your jalapenos are and how many you use. As you can see, I went a little overboard...

Mexican lasagna is like a taco casserole, or a layered soft taco. You can change up the fillings layers to anything you want. As you know I do like keeping it pretty simple most of the time. Although I did whip up the sauce portion from scratch, it doesn't take much time to assemble and bake.

I really recommend going with the corn tortillas here though, they lend a flaky-ness that won't be present if you use anything else. That being said, it would still be delicious with a brown rice tortilla or anything you can find at your local grocer.

If you do decide to make a variation of this, please share it with me. You can link below in the comments, share with our Facebook page or our twitter account. I'll be starting on Instagram soon as well, just have to remember to take pics with the Ipad too...

Mexican Lasagna


- 10 corn tortillas
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup jalapeno slices
- Oregano
- Red Pepper flakes
- S/P
- 1 avocado
- Hot sauce

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

In a large pan, water sauté the onions on medium/high heat until translucent, about 3 minutes. Mince 1/4 cup of the jalapeños. Add in the tomatoes, red pepper, minced jalapeño and spices.

In a casserole dish or oven safe plate, add a little sauce in the bottom then layer a tortilla, some beans and sauce and keep layering until none is left. 

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Top with jalapeños, avocado and hot sauce as desired.


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

It's finally starting to rain here, which is a welcome break from the humidity we've been getting lately. Although I hear that Mother Nature is being quite moody back in Canada, so I am feeling good about having to deal with humidity instead of snow...

That beign said, we get colder days now and a nice warm bowl of oatmeal is a nice treat in the evenings to enjoy warm food again without sweating. Although, mango season is now in full swing and I cannot get enough of them. They are like nature's candy!

As a kid, I usually had my oatmeal the same way every time; plain with heaps of brown sugar on top. Simple and delicious paired with a few slices of toast to dip in. Now I like to play around with the flavors I can achieve. The Carrot Cake oatmeal is a result of said play time.

The first gluten free cake I ever baked (successfully) was a heavily spiced carrot cake smothered in cream cheese icing. While this bowl lack the icing portion, it more than satisfies any craving that may arise.

I also noticed lately that oatmeal has become somewhat of a food trend in the blogging world, overnighted, baked it comes in a million different methods and flavors now. Gone are the days of pouches of quicks oats with mystery powders and dried fruit to bring flavor to a staple.

I have to say, that I am very happy I will never eat one of those again. I mean, I loved them at the time, but looking at the long list of ingredients on those things now has me running for the produce aisle.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal


- 3/4 cup coarse raw sugar*
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 cups quick oats
- 2 cups finely shredded carrots
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 3/4 cup raisins

* If you are using a fine sugar, reduce to 1/2 cup

In a medium sauce pan, bring the sugar and water to a boil and let thicken. Keep an eye on it so that is doesn't burn and stir often.

In another pot, cook the oatmeal with the carrots and spices with as much water as you prefer. I usually use a 1:1 ratio.

Once the oatmeal is cooked, stir in the caramel and raisins.


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Red Bean Curry Soup


After a very dry month or so, this place was in dire need of some rain. Especially after the last few days where it was SO humid and looked like rain, but really it was just a tease. Hopefully this helps with the ridiculous humidity, I've seen better hair days.

Now I know that most of readers are still battling winter. Which is why I thought this recipe would be most suitable to post. A warming curry soup is all one needs to soothe the weather grumpies.

This recipe is also a quickie. If you pre-cook your rice and beans, or used canned, it comes together in less than 30 minutes.

I had to get a bit creative since lentils (my go-to) are sparse and expensive in these parts but fresh beans are a-plenty and delicious. You know they are going to be good when the people at the market are shelling them on the spot.

Curry and I have been very good friends since I went plant-based. I actually wasn't introduced to Indian food formally until after the change. I became an addict pretty quickly and was extremely sad when my favorite restaurant burnt down. I've never been able to find a replacement for it. It was that good!

So I decided to try to master the curry at home instead, see if I could get close. My Channa Masala is always a crowd pleaser and I love experimenting with different cuisines. This one is definitely going to be added to my Indian dinner party foods.

Red Bean Curry Soup


- 2 cups cooked red beans
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, sliced
- 2 roasted red peppers, sliced
- 2-3 cups water or veg broth
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- S/P to taste

In a medium-large saucepan, water sauté the onions until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and curry powder and cook for another 3 mins stirring often to prevent burning and adding water as needed. Dump in the rest of the ingredeints and simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

You can top with fresh tomatoes and sour cream of choice.


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Tex-Mex Stacks

This post is officially the most time consuming one I have ever posted. 

Not because the recipe was complicated or anything. But because our internet suddenly decided to go back in time to the 90's and act like dial up. 

I think the total time with page loading, image uploading and waiting for other various things to work properly, this will have taken me 6-7 hours to get up on here. If that doesn't display passion and perseverance, I don't know what does!

On the other hand, this may be curbing my social media obsession, Pinterest is impossible to load right now...

Back to the food! This little beauty came to life from various leftovers and odd and ends I had to use up. It comes together in a second if you have cooked rice and potatoes ready to go. The tex-Mex flavors are strong and delicious. You can also amp up the heat with a generous coating of hot sauce.

I was going through quite the roasting phase for awhile and I think the way the tomatoes came out on this was the reason for it. I've started making my own salsa and hot sauces as a result and I don;t think I'll ever go back to buying them pre-made.

You can easily make this recipe fat-free by omitting the guac and the coconut cream if you are monitoring those macros. Although the plantains dipped in guac are sooooo good!

Tex-Mex Stacks

1.5 cups refried beans
4 tomatoes, sliced
4 cups rice, cooked
2 large potatoes, sliced
1 recipe guacamole
4 tbsp coconut cream (coconut meat and water blended)
Oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, S/P

In a casserole dish layer the ingredients as follows: potato, refried beans, rice, potato, tomato. Sprinkle with the spices as desired.

Bake at 350F until heated through and the tomatoes are cooked.

Top with guacamole and coconut cream and serve with baked plantains.