travel

Estoy en Mexico


Sugary treat from Dia de los Muertos and Laguna Bacalar

November! It's been a while. I've been all over the continent the past few months. After my cross-Canada trek, I spent a bit of time in the lovely Okanagan, enjoying  all the bounty of late summer. After that, my sweetheart and I drove down the west coast USA, then east to the Sonora dessert, then south down into Mexico - hugging the west coast all the way over to Troncones, then across the continent again (and through sprawling Mexico city) all the way over to the south eastern corner of the Yucatan, where we finally arrived in the lovely little town of Bacalar where we are settling for the next few months or more...


Our travel route - wow! Thanks for charting us Crispin.

This time we are in town (rather than the jungle), so that we can have the internet, as well as people to speak Spanish with. Todavia estoy apreniendo español. (I'm still studying Spanish. Feel free to correct me!)  We are also close to a sweet little mercado (market) with lovely ripe local tropical fruit and veggies. I even found a little shop that sells bulk fermented cacao beans! Sooo looking forward to concocting my own rustic chocolate... I will share info, tips, recipes, and pics while I'm here - but more often I'll be off swimming in the cenote, making awesome fruit salads, or studying my Spanish. :-)

Thank you for all of your comments and feedback - I'm really impressed by all the creative healthy baking going on. Since I'm back online, I can reply to comments and questions too - I love all the delicious healthy food banter you know. I've also been checking out your blogs - great stuff!

Abrazos (hugs),
Patty

Breakfast on a boulder & other delights

Wow, it's almost autumn. I have many lovely recipes, pics and stories from the past several months that I'm longing to share... Since I have a moment to spare between traveling, working, and living, thought I'd share a few travel and foodie pics from my cross country trek from Toronto to Kelowna BC. Canada is a gorgeous country.


We managed to do a bit of camping as we meandered across the continent: fun! Fresh wild blueberries and saskatoons from Manitoba. Amazing as is -


or mixed into hot oatmeal -


or mixed into hot chia cereal. Yum.


Our camping coffee making station. My sweetheart gets the credit for this efficient set-up. I particularly love the light camping kettle and hand-crank coffee bean grinder (both from mec) - the grinder sure beats the hammer-smashing-beans-wrapped-in-hankie method we used when we lived in the jungle in Mexico. Thanks for the great pic Crispin.


My favourite coat rack.


Loveliest spot for a tent. (Spruce Woods Provincial Park, Manitoba.)


Fresh off the grill: baked bananas filled with chocolate + hot chocolate.


Hiking the surreal Spirit Sands barefooted - anomalous sand dunes in Manitoba. (Spruce Woods Provincial Park, Manitoba.) Almost like a desert, we really loved this unusual park. Great hiking, biking, camping, and equestrian trails.


Nothing better than breakfast on a boulder. Hot chia cereal (great camping food) + coffee. Gorgeous camping at Lake Superior National Park. Thanks for another great pic Crispin.

Speaking of rocks - the Rocky Mountains, once again, blew my mind.


We hiked up to the teahouse at Lake Louise (awesome hike) and enjoyed a lovely cup of jasmine green tea and scones with strawberry preserves. (See first photo.) The teahouse is nestled in the mountains and only accessible by hiking up. The staff bakes everything from scratch at this off-the-grid spot. Sweet.

Thanks again for all your great feedback, recipe variations, and comments. I do check and reply often, as I really love meeting other life-loving healthy foodies. :)

Nomadic Foodie


Just can't get enough: fresh tropical fruit at the Campeche market. Photo by Crispin.

¡Hola amigos! Just wanted to let you all know where I'm at: currently in Canada, enjoying the beautiful summer produce, and then heading back down to Mexico for the winter. My posts will be super-sporadic for the next several months, as I'm in transit - traveling around the continent in a caravan of one with my sweetheart. Hoping I'll get the chance to share some travel pics and recipes while on the road... Thanks for all your comments and great feedback!

xo Patty

Mi Vida en La Selva


Getting some vitamin D on the dock, surrounded by clean fresh water and mangrove jungle.

¡Hola amigos! Been thinking of you all, from my little jungle casita by the lake in the southern Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. My partner and I have been getting by quite nicely, living off the grid without a car. Of course there are many challenges, like: getting ice and food, getting online, getting to town generally - which means catching a ride with a neighbor, the hot and humid +35C (and rising) days, the voracious insects: biting flies, mosquitos, hoards of ants, scorpions, tarantulas...  Otherwise, life is splendid and serene out here. Here are a few random travel pics to enjoy.


Fantastic feast at our favourite family-run restaurant in Cozumel: fresh fish with garlic, enchiladas with chocolaty mole, guacamole, hamaica to drink (hisbiscus flower ice tea)... ricisimo riquisimo! (Spanish for very rich/delicious!)


Mmm, more guacamole. The avocados here are buttery and divine. We make variations of guacamole, depending on what we have available. Additions include: lime, salt, garlic, onion, jalapeno, cilantro.


Sapote. This fruit is new to me: peachy flesh that's delicious, mild, soft and sweet. Great in an agua de fruta (a blend of fruit with some water and ice).


One of my favourite sweet treats is this chocolate amaranth cookie. They have a lot of amaranth treats out here in the Yucatan, though they are hard to find in the rural areas. I stock up when I go to the city.


Two Yucatecan molcajetes (mortars) - one for sweet spices, the other for savoury. I had to venture to the city (the old market of Chetumal) to find stone (piedra) molcajetes (they're actually cement). I'm not sure why these are always shaped like dogs pigs down here.


Lovely local spices: cinnamon, star anise, allspice, black pepper, cloves - ready to be pulverised in the molcajete. These are some of the flavours I've been adding to my thick spicy hot chocolates. I'll share my recipe when it's just right - or when I'm back online, and in civilization. Sigh.

Hasta pronto!
See you soon!

PS - I've noticed a lot of new visitors checking out my blog - hi, welcome, and thanks for all the great feedback! It's truly a pleasure connecting with other healthy fine foodies out there.

Photos: Thanks for the pic of me on the dock, our Cozumel feast, and the sapote Crispin - te amo!

¡Bienvenidos a la jungla!


Every day, we devour stellar tropical fruit salads made with fresh local pineapple, papaya, bananas, mangos - or whatever's in season.

Greetings from the jungle! I'm in a little cafe with wifi in town right now, and have 5 minutes to post this, so here goes. I'm having a fantastic time and learning so much about nature in the tropics, and how to live off the grid here in Mexico. Cooking with all the fresh local ingredients is a joy. I've even managed to bake-up some sweet healthy treats in the frying pan - stay tuned for Steamed Banana Cakes with Chocolate Black Bean Paste... It's fun being creative and resourceful out here.

¡Disfruta! (Enjoy!)
Patty


La cocina. (The kitchen). We managed to borrow most of the wares, including the "fridge" and gas stove from generous neighbours who had extra stuff.


Vanilla custard rice pudding with papaya pan-seared in butter with freshly toasted pepitas.

In the Tropics

I've been off the grid, somewhere in Mexico for the last couple of weeks enjoying the jungle, beaches, and aromatic Mayan honey - si si! Tropical posts coming once I'm back in civilization...

Noni & Guifiti

While in Guanaja (Honduras), I learned about a couple of regional health elixirs from the locals and wanted to share my discovery.

One is noni juice from the noni shrub. A 75 year old ex-deep-sea marine I spoke with swears by the stuff, drinks the juice every day, and admits it tastes pretty bad. The fruit, leaves, flowers, bark, and roots have been eaten and used topically for hundreds of years by different cultures to treat various ailments. Many claim that noni contains valuable nutrients and phytochemicals that can treat asthma, lower cholesterol and inhibit cancerous cells from growing - a controversial claim that "modern" medicine has not proven yet...

Another is the Garifuna tonic guifiti - an elixer of plants soaked in rum. Made from medicinal plants (including local spices and noni), the recipe is guarded and passed on generation to generation. The Garifuna use guifiti for all sorts of ailments: impotence, menstrual cramps, pain relief, nerves, high blood pressure, low blood pressure... I remember the bottle I saw had a long list of all sorts of things. I tried some, and it was spicy, herby and swampy tasting - not that bad :-)

Images: Noni photos from Wikipedia, Guifiti photo by April

Guanaja Mango Vinegar & Roatan Honey

Booty! I scored these exquisite locally produced goods while on The Bay Islands, Honduras.

The Springers make this delicious fruity organic vinegar from their own mango trees on the little mountainous island of Guanaja: it's like a mango version of apple cider vinegar. Awesome on salads with olive oil and a bit of sea salt.

I love tasting honey from all over the world. This fragrant honey made on the island of Roatan reminds me of Yucatan honey, as it has similar exotic floral and orange blossom aromas - likely from orchids and orange trees. I overhead someone saying that this honey was made by stingless bees - endangered native bees cultured by the Mayans.

Lime in the Coconut

I'm back from the Bay Islands, and had an absolutely amazing time - many fantastic adventures... Rum was the drink of choice, so I enjoyed lots of delicious fruity cocktails made with Flor De Caña. Danny at West Peak Inn scored some fresh coconuts for us - a total treat. This was my favourite way to enjoy one of these:

  • have someone experienced with machetes and coconuts hack one of these open for you. A hole about the size of a quarter in one end is all you need.
  • drink about 1/3 of the milk with a straw
  • pour in 1-2 shots of white rum
  • fill the rest with fresh sweetened lime juice (or the juice of a lime and simple syrup or other sweetener)
  • enjoy :-)

Photo by Crispin

Recipes from the Depths

I'm off to the Caribbean for a couple of weeks for some much needed R&R - this time The Bay Islands, Honduras! (Interesting fact: Honduras means "the depths" in Spanish.) Besides relaxing in a hammock under a coconut palm, hanging out in a mango tree, snorkeling with sea turtles, and kayaking, I'm looking forward to enjoying a lot of fresh fruit and fish and other local fare.

Here are some regional recipes that sound wonderful:

Honduran Mango Avocado Salsa - Great with fish.
Caribbean Recipes from Roatan Honduras - Check out the Baked Mango Dessert, Coconut Bread, and Johanna's Mango Salsa "to die for".
Tortillas - A Honduran staple. This is a very good detailed description on how to make your own - fresh is so much better!
Garifuna Backyard Oven Allspice Cinnamon Buns - Sarita the "Sweet Bun Lady" uses her great-grandmother's recipe. Great story.

Hasta luego mi amigos!