Monthly Archives: April 2014

Magical Detox and Digestive Water :)

Again simple and very good for you!



I have always been one of those people who really enjoy food, I try new recipes,  different cuisines but sometimes I go a bit too far with spices, food portions  or even eating unhealthy food and end up filling really uncomfortable in my “tummy” after. That is why I decided to share with you this natural and healthy solution in which I find a lot of relief.

The purpose of this water is:

1) To help you detox your body, get rid of all “poisonous substances” out of your body  called toxins

2) I know the principal purpose of drinking detox water is to detox “duh” but for me works really well  as a digestive too.

“Two is better than one right”

For this  magical water you will need:

Natural water, 2 slices of lemon, half of pomegranate, about 7-10 roseberries and two slices of kiwi and obviously a jar.

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Magical Detox Water: Part Three

Nice simple and easy!


20140421_115237   Everyone has it own opinion about beauty. In fact beauty to me it is not only about appearance but it is also about loving and caring about your body from within because there is no point using make up on your face and completely neglect your nutrition. Whenever I make detox waters I call them “body pampering”. This particular detox water is really easy to make and cheap,too.

All you need is 2 big oranges which are good for your body because full of vitamins, fibers, minerals. They help lower the cholesterol, they are good for your eyes because full of Carotenoid and lower the risk of diseases (due to the vitamin C).

1/2 cup of blueberries on the other hand are full of antioxidants (one of most antioxidants food in the world), full of manganese crucial for the bones, full of fiber which help lower the cholesterol and…

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YouTube video of the day 4/30/14

Pura Vida!

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Photo of the day 4/30/14


The wonderful Hot Springs at Tobacon in Arenal! Love this place!

Pura Vida!


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Food Chick tip of the day 4/30/14

Here is a really neat idea for those dinner parties out on the Rancho!

1 Cup Water
Box of Strawberries
Packet of Strawberry Jello
3/4 Cup Tequila
1/4 Cup Triple Sec

Enjoy! Be sure to check out her Facebook page and give her a like.

Pura Vida!

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We reached over 4000 likes on our Facebook page today!!!!! Thank you all!!!!

Pura Vida!


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Costa Rica Expensive? What? Part II Groceries


So this is Part II and in this one I will talk about the cost of Groceries and what they cost. So sit back have a cup of your favorite coffee and I really hope you are drinking Costa Rica Coffee and not Nesacafe instant! and enjoy today’s offering.




Like most things in Costa Rica it is really all about location and what you are willing to accept and not accept. As an example I was walking though Pricesmart and there were a couple items I was looking for. One was way to pricey even for me and the other item was way to pricey even for me, but I bought it anyway. So why did I buy one, but not the other. I know the 1st one I could get somewhere else cheaper and I would be going there as my next stop and the other I know I wouldn’t be able to get it anywhere else. Now I could have just done without it as it wasn’t a necessity to have, but I bought it any way. Its all a matter of your outlook and your pocketbook. There are so many options for your grocery needs in Costa Rica. Sometimes I think more than even in the states. I have complied below a list of a couple of those options with prices at each for the same or very similar items. You will notice that I only gave prices for 1 place for meats. I find all the other places to be inferior quality meat and thus would not suggest buying it at any of the places listed on the chart. As you can see his prices are so much better and so is the quality!

So lets 1st talk about Pricesmart. There are a couple of them here in Costa Rica. They are the equivalent to Costco in the states. They do have kirkland brands and a majority of your US brands you are looking for. Some items are cheaper while others are not. The difference between the bulk stores in the US and the ones in Costa Rica, is that bulk doesn’t mean cheaper here. You can go to a local market and buy 6 let say Paper towel rolls and it be the same price as a pack of 6 in Pricesmart. The meat products here are in larger quantities and they just don’t look good to me. Many people get their meat here, but there are better options!

Auto Mercado is the equivalent to Giant in the states. Its design and layout is very much the same. Again many US, Canadan, and German products can be found here. Their chicken and seafood is very good. The meats are hit and miss. They are way more expensive than Uncle Earls. You can find North American style cuts here as well as the local stuff.

Coope is the local Co-operative market here in Atenas. Now the prices I gave for them in the chart is the regular everyday prices. All items have two price stickers on the shelves. One is higher than the other. On Wednesdays the Coop day you get the lower price. Some items it is worth going in when they are busy for while others not so much. You do have options for lower prices if you shop on a Wednesday.

Feria is the local farmers market. Prices are cheaper here. Mostly fruits and veggies. There are many other things you can get at the Feria and many people buy their meat here. Me personally can’t bring myself to do it. Just don’t like the looks of things and again beef you can forget about it!!!!!!! Don’t even bother. If you missed it here is the video of my trip to the Feria with Eunice from Remax.

Uncle Earls is a butcher. A very good one at that. I will only buy my North American style beef products from him. See my blog post where I talk about the meat here in Costa Rica. Moo…Mooo…Slaughter…Grill…Eat!

Last but not least is Walmart! Yes they have Walmart here in Costa Rica. All of them have groceries. They are very much like the Walmarts in the states. I really can’t see a difference. Not even in the prices really. So, it should go without saying but I am going to say it they have US brands here. Walk into a Costa Rica Walmart and you feel like you have just went back to the states.

Now in addition to these you also have the Mega Super’s, The Pali’s, the, Mas x Menos, and the list could go on. There is a war raging right now for your $’s. So I would suggest taking a list and checking out the prices at all of these places and decide which is cheaper and most convenient for you to shop at. Once you know plan out your day and set a driving route that maximizes your drive and you get the best products at the best prices.  It will take a little work on your part, but your pocketbook will thank you!

So below is a price comparison chart for groceries at each one of these places. I used Giant from the US to show US prices. I have used a currency converter to get the most recent exchange rates. I converted everything from KG to Lbs, and gallons to liters or liters to gallons. I tried to match the quantities at each location as best I could. This is pretty much comparing apples to apples. If I couldn’t find a US brand at one of the Costa Rica stores I used a local brand that was comparable to it. So take a look at the chart and than lets talk! 🙂

grocery prices

Ok so as you can see Costa Rica is the winner! Most of the items I priced were cheaper here in Costa Rica than in the states. Yes some were more expensive, but over all grocery shopping is less expensive here than in the US. Now this next chart really bring it home.

groceries compared

Now with this chart I made sure that each store I added up the same items. If the items didn’t exist in the big chart at the top in all the stores than I did not include the item in the total. So this is apples to apples again. What you should notice is that for your produce it is cheaper to go to the Feria. As it should be! Again the US loses! Your other items its kind of  a close run. The US did win when it comes to the other non food items, but not by much if you look at Pricesmart. Again because it is mainly a US brand store its pretty close to Giant prices in the US.  It would pale in comparison to a Costco in the states. This isn’t a bad thing, because as you can see the other items are more expensive at the other stores.

Here are a few other things you need to know about shopping in Costa Rica. Let me stress this one point by telling you a little story. I promise to make it short. 🙂 Well as short as I can tell a story. Oh god its already gone on too long and I haven’t even begun the story yet.

So when we 1st got to Costa Rica and got our pricesmart card we were so happy. We shopped there all the time. There was this one item that my wife loved. It was Pineapple jelly! We bought it every time we went shopping. All of a sudden it isn’t there? Strange? Did they move it? Nope. Ok they are just out. So we go back the next time. Yes its there. We buy a jar. Next time nope not there. Next time nope not there. It has been over 8 months and the Pineapple jelly has not returned to pricesmart. I thought to myself, self ok they discontinued it or can’t get it any more. I started to see this trend in Auto Mercado and Walmart and Coope. Ok there is something to this, so I asked around. What I was told by a couple of people was this. If an items begins to sell like hot cakes, they will discontinue the item. It is more work to keep restocking the shelves so they just don’t carry it any more. This falls under the Pura Vida category. So the moral of this short yet now so short story is do not fall in love with any item. One day it is here and the next it is gone. Make sure you have options and alternatives.

  1. Buy it while you can and every time you can. You never know when it will go away or for how long it will go away. So stock up. I have 7 jars of minced garlic in my pantry right now as it went away for 2 months once.
  2. Price shop. This is common anywhere. Check your prices. Check them closely. Sometimes the local brands are cheaper and just as good, but sometimes they are not. I have been shocked that an imported items was way cheaper than a local product. Don’t just grab the item you know. It will raise the cost of your grocery shopping!
  3. Sometimes once you factor in costs driving around to other places it doesn’t save you money to save on certain items by going to more than one place to shop.

We go shopping once a week. We make a day of it. We go to our dietitian in the morning. We have lunch some where. I than hit the Pricesmart (right near where we usually have lunch) than we hit the Auto Mercado, on the way home, and than Coope if we need. I very seldom every shop at Walmart. Kind of out of the way and their prices are too much like those in the states. So we leave in the am and are home about 4pm. Its an all day event. Now I have to admit that I do not shop at the Feria much. As I get my veggies at either Pricesmart or Auto Mercado or Coope. Its a matter of convenience I am there and the prices are just a little more expensive and the Feria isn’t on the day I do my shopping. I could change the day, but again its a matter of preference really. I have developed my route that I’m only going maybe 10 min. out of my way driving time to visit all 3 places in one day.

There really isn’t anything you can’t either find here in Costa Rica or substitute. Its a matter of changing your mind set. You are in a new land and new ways of doing things and new foods in some cases. Shop local and shop fresh! Change the way you eat and shop and you can spend very little on groceries.

Part III will be on transportation costs. Own a car or take public transportation?

So let me go ahead and wrap this one up. I give Costa Rica 4 seashell1 out of 5 for Groceries! The only reason I didn’t give it a 5 out of 5 is the now you see it now you don’t aspect of what may or may not be available.

Pura Vida!




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Joke of the day 4/30/14

Bob was in trouble. He forgot his wedding anniversary. His wife was really pissed. She told him “Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in 6 seconds AND IT BETTER BE THERE !!” The next morning he got up early and left for work. When his wife woke up, she looked out the window and sure enough there was a box gift-wrapped in the middle of the driveway. Confused, the wife put on her robe and ran out to the driveway, brought the box back in the house. She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale. Bob has been missing since Friday.

Pura Vida!

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Charities in Atenas: Light House animal Rescue

I have decided to do a series of posts on charities here in Atenas, since I will be donating a portion of the advertising fees and amazon referral fees we receive to them. So here is the 1st in this series. I requested information from the person who runs this animal rescue shelter. Here is what I received from them.

I have been doing animal rescue for 61 years. I started when I was four years old and lived on a farm in Georgia.  My husband of 44 years is also an animal lover and is now the other half of the team.  We call our shelter Lighthouse Animal Rescue. (Faro Rescate Animal in Spanish) We are, of course, a no kill shelter. We have always worked mainly out of our own pocket and don’t ask for donations except in emergencies like the earthquake rescue a few years back.

We have done rescue in Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and now Costa Rica. I also still assist in rescues in the US by internet. People notify me about animals in danger and I locate someone in their area to get the dog/cat and arrange to have the dog/cat fostered  or possibly adopted. We even arrange for transport for the dog/cat from one end of the  US to the other if there is an acceptable home for them in another state. We are an “animal rescue” meaning we rescue not only pets but also some wildlife and farm animals when the need arises. We have raised many orphaned wild creatures, rehabbed them, and released them back into their natural habitat.

When we lived in the states we were a “not for profit” corporation but have never been a 501c3. We always felt that the money it would cost for attorneys and filing for a 501c3 was better spent directly on the animals in our care. Our shelter operates differently from most shelters in that the animals at Lighthouse are only crated or kenneled for a few days of quarantine to make sure they are not carrying any contagious diseases. They are then introduced to the other residents and have free run of the walled, one and a half acre property and our home. They sleep on one of the 15 to 20 dog beds located throughout the house, on the couches, or even in the beds with us.

Most of the animals we get have been through a traumatic experience of one kind or another and we feel that they should be introduced to love and caring instead of being locked away in a kennel or pen. This method also affords them the opportunity to become well socialized with other animals and with people who come to visit. We don’t make them available for adoption until they have lost the fear and wariness of humans and are happy, healthy, spayed/neutered pets ready for a forever home of their own.

We are very selective about where we place the animals. We want the new family to be a loving “forever” home for the pet. The pet must be treated as part of the family and never chained or tied for more than a few minutes.  If, for any reason, they cannot keep the animal they must contact us and allow us to re-home the animal in another proper, loving home. Some, who come to us from terribly abusive situations, retain too many vivid memories.  Some have aggression issues that other people would not understand. Some are badly scarred, physically and emotionally, and most people don’t want to adopt a dog or cat with scars or handicaps. They love us and are comfortable here…but would never be able to adjust to another change in their life. So they remain here as part of our family.

When we purchased our home here, 7 years ago, we did some remodeling, adding a clinic room to our home. This clinic is used to care for local animals, host low cost spay/neuter clinics, and provide care for animals that come into our care.  Since moving here, we are proud to say, we have helped the local animals by offering low cost spay/neuter, vaccines, emergency care, etc. In our village 98% of the animals, who had never seen vets before, are now spayed/neutered, vaccinated and living much better lives.

We have many “special needs” animals, such as the little dog Nadine rescued, come into our care and of course their expenses always run higher than normal. As I mentioned before, we have always done rescue out of our own pocket. If expenses got too high we would just take on another job for extra money. But now, since we’ve retired and with the cost of living rising, that is getting much harder to do. We board dogs/cats and rent out our spare room to vacationing animal lovers in order to raise funds for the shelter but not that many people can imagine what a wonderful feeling it is to be WITH this many animals.

We also participate in a “Shelter Challenge” sponsored by and The prize is $1,000.00 and the competition lasts 4 months. In order to win we have to get the most votes. That means sending out reminders every morning during the competition. It’s a lot of work but we have won it a few times and that $1,000.00 pays for food for about 4 months!!

Our doors are always open for visitors and people who just want to see how we operate. We would love to have you visit our shelter at any time. Frances Jones Lighthouse Animal Rescue Atenas Costa Rica

She has the following up for adoption at this time

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Donna, golden retriever, appr. 4 years old. Spayed. Friendly. Gets along well with everybody

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Dolly, lamb, appr. one month old. Being bottle fed. Partially blind. Needs a pet home.

Please check this shelter out and give them some love, Donations and help!

Pura Vida!

Categories: Charity, Costa Rica Life Experience, Pets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food Chick tip of the day 4/29/14

A part of food is the shopping for food. Make your trip to the local market a family affair! Make your list together, clip coupons together and shop together. Remember when you are shopping to stick to the outer limits of the store; produce, fresh meats, poultry and seafood, frozen vegetables and dairy.

The interior aisles of the grocery store are laden with processed foods filled with sodium, bad carbohydrates and high fat contents. None of these are good for you in the long-term. Buy fresh as often as possible, frozen when fresh is not available and canned (in most cases) as the last resort. The average time in a grocery store shopping for a family of four is one to one and a half hours once a week.

Use this day for your quick fix dinner by taking advantage of the deli. A nice dinner includes a rotisserie chicken with fresh salad. You can use the leftovers for lunch the next day by putting them in a wrap; add a piece of fruit and you have a well- balanced and filling lunch (a great time saving tip for the mornings is to prepare your lunch the night before).

Another great week night menu is Baked Catfish in parchment paper. This is a meal that takes very little prep time and only about fifteen to twenty minutes of cook time. If you do not have parchment paper you can use foil (if using foil be sure to spray it with pan spray). Thin slice red potatoes and place in center of paper or foil with a sprinkle of Italian seasoning or your favorite dried herb. Place fish on top of potatoes with a little more seasoning and ½ teaspoon pat of butter. Take a small handful of baby spinach, halved grape tomatoes and place on top of fish. Roll ends up creating a “package”, place on a sheet pan and bake at 375 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. Voila, you have a one pan dinner ready in no time with very little clean up.

As always go to her Facebook page and give her a like if you haven’t already!

Pura Vida



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Weekly Horoscopes through 5/3/14

Aquarius Aries Cancer Capricorn Gemini Leo Libra Pisces Sagittarius Scorpio Taurus Virgo


These are being presented for fun and entertainment purposes only. Enjoy!

Pura Vida!



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Let’s fight all together against breast cancer

I am passing this along. I have no other information other than what is contained below!

Let’s fight all together against breast cancer:

Clinica Biblica, together with the help of the union of companies who are committed to the well-being of Costaricans, was able to equip a mobile bus (LAZOS campaign) with the necessary equipment to make mammographies “on wheels”.
The municipality of Atenas, the chamber of commerce of Atenas and the Association of Development of Atenas Center have contacted the program “LAZOS” in order to participate in this campaign and to give in Atenas the opportunity to over 300 women (over 40 years or younger than 40 with a family background of cancer) in socio-economical vulnerable conditions, to have an access to a specialized medical revision and a mammography.

Each mammography has a cost of 30.000 Colones. A minimum of 300 mammography’s are planned. The total cost of 300 mammographies is 9.000.000 Colones from which 50% (4,5 Mio. Colones) will be donated by Teletica Canal 7 and Clinica Biblica.
The municipality of Atenas will donate 1.500.000 Colones for this campaign, but to be able to obtain the whole amount and to make this project become reality, we need the help and collaboration of our community as well. Therefore we’re kindly asking every business owner and every individual person to help and to make this project possible. There will be a banner with the names of all sponsors (business owners) for two weeks next to the bus.

The donations will only be collected by the Association of development (Asociacion de Desarrollo Integral de Atenas centro, cedula juridical 3-002-08706623) the account number of this association is 302-0001337-4 and the client account is 15201302000133742. It is very important that, when making a transfer, to indicate clearly that it is a “donation for the LAZOS Campaign”. If we can collect the necessary amount, the campaign will take place after 11th of August 2014.
Thank you very much. We appreciate in advance your support and collaboration.

In the name of:
Municipality of Atenas,
Chamber of Commerce of Atenas and
Association of development of Atenas Center.
“It is the greatest of mistakes to do nothing, because you can only do little. Do what you can” (Sydney Smith)

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Photo of the day 4/29/14

Pura Vida!


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Joke of the day 4/29/14

Ralph is driving home one evening, when he suddenly realizes that it’s his daughter’s birthday and he hasn’t bought her a present. He drives to the mall, runs to the toy store, and says to the shop assistant, “How much is that Barbie in the window?” In a condescending manner, she says, “Which Barbie?” She continues, “We have Barbie Goes to the Gym for $19.95, Barbie Goes to the Ball for $19.95, Barbie Goes Shopping for $19.95, Barbie Goes to the Beach for $19.95, Barbie Goes Nightclubbing for $19.95, and Divorced Barbie for $265.00.” Ralph asks, “Why is the Divorced Barbie $265.00 when all the others are only $19.95?” “That’s obvious,” the saleslady says. “Divorced Barbie comes with Ken’s house, Ken’s car, Ken’s boat, Ken’s furniture…”

Pura Vida!


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YouTube Video of the Day 4/29/14

Very nice video!

Pura Vida!


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Restaurant Review: Hidalgo’s Steak House

Hidalgo's logo

Yes Hidalgo’s steak house is up on the chopping block today for review. Can I say I really like this place a lot. So lets start with showing you some pictures of the property. This place is huge! You should go during the day so you can walk around and look and explore. He has what I like to call a little museum. I keep going at night so I don’t get to look around much, but I do plan to go during the day one day this week. So here are some pictures of the property.

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So let us get to the bigger point and the reason we are all here reading this blog. THE FOOD!!!! Well I can actually say I have been here many times before. I have never, ever been disappointed by my meal. Here is what we got the night we were there. We started off with these two dishes.

IMG_2092 IMG_2091

Yep you guess it Ceviche! Mine is on the top and my wife’s is on the bottom. Mine was just corvina and hers was a mix of corvina and shrimp. It was very, very tasty. Now I will have to say the shrimp in my wife’s dish did taste like it was steamed not cooked in the juice of the Ceviche. I think he may have been out and didn’t want to disappoint my wife.

Just a quick tip I learned a long time ago in the Restaurant business. It is much better to say you are out and apologize and try to sell something else than to try to throw something together and have it not be as good as what you could have served. As an example in my restaurant we served pizza. Well someone didn’t order enough cheese, not me, and we had this huge rush over the weekend and Sunday (we are closed on Mondays) we run out at like 1pm. We are open until 10pm. I have my guys go out and buy cheese from one of the other pizza shops in the area. (Yes we would help each other out like that from time to time. I sold bread and other items to other shop owners) I got nothing but complaints! They hated the cheese! I explained it to them and offered them a discount on the next order. Now the consensus from the people who complained, as I did ask what they would have liked us to do was that I should tell them we are out and offer them another choice with a discount. That is what I did the next time it happened and I got Zero complaints!

So back to the food. This was very tasty! It was presented well and had a good flavor to it.


OH the great salad war of 2014 comes to mind with this one. If you have not read that blog post please click on the link and read it before you go any further. This was an ok salad. It had Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumber, peppers, and onions. Now if he would just added maybe some Zucchini and broccoli this would be a very good salad. I would also suggest cutting the veggies up a bit. I hate having it on my plate and trying to cut everything and the food falling off the plate as it was full. Plate being full is a great thing, but not when you have to cut up the veggies. The dressing was a mustard and was very tasty!


Crap didn’t notice not a good picture,but this is the T-Bone! Nice! It was cooked just the way we ordered it. It had a very good flavor, even without a salsa on it. We got double veggies so he gave us grilled broccoli and its under the steak and it was a good amount! Very tender! It did have a bit of gristle on the one side, but that is to be expected on T-Bones. My suggestion would be to check it before it is cooked and trim that off before you put it on the grill. Very nice meal!


This was the rib eye! Nice! Tender! Juicy!  Cooked just the way I ordered it medium rare! This is in a jalapeno sauce! Not to hot, but has a nice kick to it. I do like my sauce to make me cry and sweat, but this was still a very nice sauce for the normal person! I enjoyed it very much. My wife tasted it and said she is going to get it next time! Again the same broccoli as my wife’s dish. The presentation is very good! This was a great steak dinner!

Now he does have limited hours so be sure to check is Facebook page. The link to his page is at the top of this article if you haven’t already checked it out you should and once you have gone and had a great meal at his place give him a like!!!!!!

So lets wrap this one up shall we. The place was very clean and neat and very nice. The grounds are huge and beautiful even at night. I will tell you at night you need to bring some bug spray. It doesn’t interfere with your dining experience so don’t let that stop you from coming at night. Its Costa Rica after all and all the restaurant are open air. The food was excellent! The service was amazing! The presentation was as you can see very nice! The proprietors are so nice and so accommodating and so, well just wonderful! The husband waits on everyone and the wife cooks. The prices are reasonable. Not the cheapest, but fair. So we had the 2 ceviche, 2 large salads, 2 steak dinners, 4 coke zero, a coffee (local not instant) he grinds the beans for each serving and a tea and it was about $60. Not bad for that!

I give them 4 seashell1out of 5. Now if the salad just had two more items, the steak had no gristle and the shrimp were not steamed I would have given them 5 out of 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!  You must go see them! Facebook message them or call ahead to check that they are open. Sometimes they close for private parties. Love this place!

Pura Vida!





Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food Chick Tip of the Day 4/28/14

Don’t be afraid to use your crock pot during the day that is what it is designed for to slow cook with no worries all while you are out living your life.  One of my favorite crock pot meals is beef stew.  Beef Stew is very easy to prepare first thing in the morning.  Take ½ inch beef cubes, toss in whole wheat flour and place in bottom of crock pot.  Add red potatoes, baby carrots, green beans, mushrooms and/or whatever vegetables you choose.  Fill the crock pot ¼ way with beef broth and another ¼ way with red wine.  Add your favorite whole fresh herbs to the mix (my personal favorite is rosemary and sage).  Cover your pot and cook on medium for 6-8 hours.  Increase to high for one hour and serve with a crispy whole grain bread and Caesar salad for a great dinner!

Be sure to check out her Facebook page!

Pura Vida!


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Photo of the day 4/28/14


Now that is one big snake!!!! No doubt! Have a great day!

Pura Vida!


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Joke of the day 4/28/14

A husband exclaims to his wife one day, “Your butt is getting really big. It’s bigger than the BBQ grill!” Later that night in bed, the husband makes some advances towards his wife who completely brushes him off. “What’s wrong?” he asks. She answers, “Do you really think I’m going to fire up this big-ass grill for one little weenie?”

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YouTube video of the Day 4/28/14

Now this is a blast to the past. This one is from 2012 and it the Ox cart parade! So enjoy!

Pura Vida!


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Weather for the day 4/28/14

Weather 4 28 14

Yes rainy season is here! Pretty much had another rain shower yesterday in the afteroon and will have one today and tomorrow. So no matter what they say the chance is I say 100% it will rain at some point every day! Go out enjoy the sun and the warmth and don’t let the bugs bite!

Pura Vida!



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Costa Rica Expensive? What? Part I 1/2 (Video)

So while I was out gathering up prices for my Part 2 I took some video. We went to he Friday Faria in the center of Atenas. It is always nice to get out and support the local community. You can shop, eat, meet people and just have a nice time. So I hope you will enjoy this offering until my Part II is completed. I want to be sure to bring you all the correct pricing and information that I can. So grab your favorite drink, be it coffee, tea, or something with a little kick, watch and enjoy the video is about 12 minutes long, but worth the watch. I want to thank Eunice for coming a long and helping me with this video. She was a dream and a pleasure and showed me many things! Enjoy!

Pura Vida!


Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Garden, Travel, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

YouTube video of the day 4/27/14

Just a little information about Costa Rica.

This was done a few years ago, but its good to know and was done will I think.

Pura Vida!


Categories: Travel, YouTube | 2 Comments

Weather for the day 4/27/14

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Holy Rainy season batman! Did you see and or experience our rain yesterday? Wow nice! Everything is so nice now. So 50% to 82% chance of rain. I think after yesterday it is a good bet we are going to have rain everyday now! I will compile a little video of the storm from yesterday. So go out while the sun is up and high and bright. As the afternoon showers may be upon you quicker than you think!

Pura Vida!

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Photo of the Day 4/27/14


Just thought someone needed a little beach out there!

Pura Vida!

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Joke of the day 4/27/14

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine, they laid down for the night, and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” Watson replied, “I see millions and millions of stars.” “What does that tell you?” Watson pondered for a minute. “Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies, and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?” Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke. “It tells me that someone has stolen our tent.”

Pura Vida!

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Food Chick tip of the day 4/27/14

Today’s BACON Tip…..This is probably one of my favorite BACON recipes and is a great appetizer for parties. Goat Cheese Pops – easy and delicious!

Mix together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, two parts to one, goat cheese and softened cream cheese. Season with dried Italian seasoning and dried parsley being sure to not over mix. Using your hands roll the mix into bite size balls and refrigerate.

Meanwhile, cook bacon and drain off grease. Once cool chop into small pieces, not quite a fine dice but small and put into a bowl. Roll the cheese balls in the bacon and individually put them on bamboo skewers.

To serve; lay mixed greens on a platter and place the “Pops” with sticks up for the perfect party appetizer!

Stop by her Facebook page and give her a like!

Pura Vida!


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Bonus video!!!!!!!!

I’m happy today! We got rain and now it is bright and sunny and I have a great view! So be happy! This is a really good video to help make you feel happy!

Pura Vida!


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Thank you!

I just wanted to send out a big thank you to everyone who went to our amazon page and purchased yesterday! It is going to help a lot of people! I was actually talking to some friends about what charities to give money to. There are two orphanages one for younger children and one for older children. I am going to find out the information on those and post them. Again a big thank you from all of us to all of you! Keep on buying from our webpage Best of Costa Rica you can also see all our blog posts there as well! Don’t forget mother’s day in the US. Lots of discounted stuff on our amazon page for that!

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Photo of the Day 4/26/14


I took this shot way up on top of a mountain somewhere. I just can’t remember where. I know we had to get there going up some very small and steep hills. It was so worth the view we got!!!! It was so amazing. Loved it!

Pura Vida!


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Joke of the day 4/26/14

Today’s joke is going to be a video. This one made me laugh almost nonstop! I hope you enjoy it! Some strong language and adult themes are in this video. So be warned before you hit the play button!

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Food Chick tip of the day 4/26/14

Soups and Stews are some of the easiest and hearties dishes out there. What makes them so great is that you can add anything you want…..have fun and be creative! As always, at Gunner’s Grille at Taneytown we like to put a little twist on our favorite comfort foods; thus we have several options from the not so heart healthy to heart healthy. First on the agenda is Beef Stew, a long standing favorite in all households and second will be a lighter and healthier stew, Chicken and Artichoke. And finally we will honor Gunner with his favorite soup.

Beef Stew Ingredients – stew beef, carrots, celery, sweet onion, red potatoes, green beans, whole wheat flour, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), red wine, lemon pepper, truffle or kosher salt, dry thyme, dry parsley, Montreal Steak seasoning, dried bay leaves, beef bouillon or beef stock.
• Cut beef and vegetables into bite size pieces • Combine flour lemon pepper, salt, thyme, parsley and Mon- treal seasoning and lightly toss in the stew beef until completely covered. • Coat the bottom your pot (be sure to have a lid for it) with EVOO and allow to slowly heat up • Layer beef to cover the bottom of the pot and brown beef on all sides • Add red wine to just cover the bottom of the pan. Allow to caramelize a bit. (5 minutes or so) • Add just enough stock or bouillon to deglaze bottom of pan and form a “gravy” • Lightly coat remaining ingredients with remaining flour and mix with beef. Cook approximately 10 minutes or until the “gravy” is almost completely soaked into the beef and vegetables • Pour stock or bouillon to just about ¾ high and turn heat on high. Bring to a boil, stir and deglaze bottom of pot • Reduce heat and simmer for one hour • Serve with your favorite biscuits in a soup or pasta bowl! Savoring the Moment Hearty dishes to fill your bellies

Chicken and Artichoke Stew Ingredients – white chicken breast meat, unsalted butter, carrots, celery, sweet onion, canned artichoke hearts, whole wheat flour, white wine, EVOO, dried parsley, fresh basil, lemon juice, lemon pepper, truffle or kosher salt, chicken stock or bouillon

• Cut chicken into bite size pieces, artichokes into length- wise quarters and carrots, celery and onions into ½ bite size pieces • Place chicken in bowl with EVOO, dried parsley, lemon pepper and salt; toss to coat • Heat pot and lightly brown chicken on all sides. Deglaze pan with white wine, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. • Add carrots, celery and onion; toss with chicken and cook until slightly softened. • Add butter and toss to coat, sprinkle with whole wheat flour and cook until flour is attached to chicken and vegetables; add artichoke hearts and mix in (be careful not to break the hearts up) • Add basil (leave whole and on stem, you will remove before serving) and lemon juice and stir • Add chicken stock or bouillon to ½ high and turn heat on high. Bring to a light boil, deglaze bottom of pan and reduce to simmer for approximately 30 minutes • Serve over your favorite rice in a pasta bowl!

So, we now have our “fly by the seat of our pants” recipes with stews. Let’s move on to soup. While most of the soups I prepare do not have recipes, there are two that definitely do. I would like to share one of them with you this month. This is a very special recipe to me as it is one that honors my father, Gunner. If you have eaten at Gunner’s than you know that we have New England Clam Chowder on the menu. This is in honor of my father who ate “Chowda” and Grilled Cheese most days for lunch at one of his favorite lunch spots.

New England Clam Chowder • Ingredients, 1/3 pound bacon; medium diced, 1/3 Vidalia onion; medium diced, 4 celery stalks, small diced, 1/3 tablespoon dried thyme, 1/8 to 1/4 cup dry white wine, 1/2 teaspoon each lemon pepper, truffle salt, and Montreal steak seasoning, 1/8 cup unsalted butter (not melted), ¼ cup whole wheat flour, 2 cups red potatoes, small diced, 32 ounces canned clams (with juice), 1 pint half and half, 2 quarts, heavy cream. • Cook bacon in a large pot until just browned on medium heat. Add onions, celery, thyme, lemon pepper, truffle salt and Montreal – stir. Add white wine and reduce for minutes. • Add butter and stir to coat until melted. Add flour and cook until slightly browned • Add clams and bring to a boil, stirring almost constantly. Add half and half and every cream and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for approximately one hour.

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YouTube Video of the day 4/26/14

You have got to watch this one!

Very interesting isn’t it. You will never look at your luggage the same again! Happy traveling!

Pura Vida!


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Weather today 4/26/14

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Oh by the Gods the 50 to 82% chance of rain is correct!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It started at 6:15 and it is still raining and it is coming down pretty good. The entire valley is obscured by clouds and now my power just went out.  So rainy season may be upon us people!!!!!

Pura Vida!


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Food Chick Tip of the Day 4/25/14

locarbWith the spring and summer months upon us many folks are looking for some quick fixes for the ex- tra pounds that reached our waist lines over the winter, I know I definitely am! This month we are going to concentrate on low carb snacks and light meals and reiterate the “little” things we can do to help burn some extra calories.

I am going to revert back to my former “life” in Baltimore where I had a small catering company called Dinner at Your Door. We specialized in the South Beach Diet and actually had several clients whom we made three squares and two snacks and a dessert for seven days a week. We helped one couple lose a combined total of 80 pounds in six months. Of course, they were also on a regimented exercise plan. I cannot stress to you enough how important it is to exercise and eat right for both your physical and emotional health!

Don’t be afraid that low carb means low flavor, trust me, it does not. This month’s recipes will show you how flavorful and easy it is to live a low carb life- style. I am not saying don’t eat carbs, I love my breads and starches but I am say- ing that too much might be just that, too much! At the restaurant we use a lot of whole wheat flour for many of our rec- ipes including our wonderful Cream of Crab Soup. Again, just a little twist on a traditional comfort food! Low carb living! For this month let’s do a day’s worth of eating South Beach Style! Beginning with your morning we will have a full day’s worth of food including breakfast, lunch, dinner, two snacks and dessert. Yes, you can even have dessert!

BREAKFAST Swiss Cheese and Vegetable Frittata – be sure to have your ingredients ready as omelets cook quickly and if avail- able use a non-stick pan so your eggs slide off easily. • 2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) • ½ small onion, thinly sliced • ½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced • 1 small plum tomato, diced • ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried basil (I prefer 1 teaspoon fresh basil cut into thin strips) • 3 eggs, slightly beaten • ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pepper and heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomato and seasoning, cook for three minutes. Meanwhile, season eggs with salt and pepper and whisk. Pour directly over vegetable mixture and swirl pan so eggs completely surround vege- tables until eggs are almost set, about 5 minutes. Finish off under broiler until eggs are fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. This recipe serves 2.

MID-MORNING SNACK Peppery Cheese Popcorn – this would be a great dessert to sneak into the movie
theatre after dinner! • 6 cups freshly air popped popcorn (1/3 cup uncooked kernels) • Butter flavored cooking spray • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt Place popcorn in a large mixing bowl and coat lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese, pepper and salt to taste. This recipe serves 2-3.

LUNCH Bulgur, Cucumber and Mint Salad – this is also a great side dish for grilled fish. • 1 ½ cups water • ¾ cup bulgur wheat • 2 plum tomatoes, diced or 8 grape tomatoes cut in half length wise • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded, • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint • 2 tablespoons EVOO • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice • Salt and pepper to taste • Bring water and bulgur to a boil in a medium sauce pan, reduce heat to low and cover until water is absorbed and bulgur is tender, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Spread bul- gur on a large plate. Toss in ½ the mint and place in refrigerator to cool for 5 minutes. Trans- fer to a mixing bowl and fluff with a fork, adding remaining dry ingredients. Whisk together the lemon juice and EVOO and toss the mixture. Garnish with remaining mint. Serve room temperature or chilled. This recipe serves two.

AFTERNOON SNACK Celery with Herbed Cream Cheese and Walnuts • 1/3 cup walnuts • 1 8 ounce packet reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives • 16 large celery stalks, trimmed • Salt and pepper to taste Heat oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees. Spread walnuts on baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until fragrant and then roughly chop. Combine walnuts with cream cheese and chives in a mixing bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Using a rubber spatula fill each stalk with mix. This recipe makes 8 servings. (this is a great make ahead snack that will hold for 3-4 days)

DINNER Lamb Chops with Chimichurri Sauce with Feta, Cucumber and Radish Sal- ad – this Mediterranean style dinner is perfect for dinner on the patio! • 8 3 ounce lamb chops • ¼ cup EVOO • 1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves • 2 peeled garlic cloves • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice • ½ teaspoon dried oregano • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Heat grill to high. Rub lamb chops with EVOO and salt and pepper. Grill 3 minutes per side for medium rare. Re- move meat from heat and allow to rest for minutes. Meanwhile combine re- maining ingredients in a food proces- sor and combine until just pureed. Sea- son with salt and pepper and serve with lamb. This recipe serves four. Feta, Cucumber and Radish Salad • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced radishes • ½ cup fresh mint leaves • 2 tablespoons minced red onion • 2 tablespoons

EVOO • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar • 5 ounces reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste • Combine all ingredients (except feta and salt and pepper) and toss in a mixing bowl. Gently toss in feta and salt and pepper to taste. This recipe serves four.

Don’t forget to stop by her facebook page and give her a like and drop her a comment about what you think of this post.

Pura Vida!


Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Food Chick, Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo of the day 4/25/14


Nice spot to just sit and relax. Maybe have a drink or two! You can find these spots almost anywhere in Costa Rica! Get out and see the world! Enjoy!

Pura Vida!

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Joke of the day 4/25/14

A policeman pulls a man over for speeding and asks him to get out of the car. After looking the man over the policeman says, “Sir, I couldn’t help but notice your eyes are bloodshot. Have you been drinking?” The man gets really indignant and says, “Officer, I couldn’t help but notice your eyes are glazed. Have you been eating doughnuts?”


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YouTube Video of the Day 4/25/14

OH my! This one had me laughing so hard and it is informative!!! I love this one. Damn that is a sharp knife!!!!!!

Pura Vida!


Categories: Travel, YouTube | 1 Comment

Weather for the day 4/25/14

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No rain yet again! We wait patiently for it to come! We did however have a 4.3 earthquake this morning here is a link to the details.

So today is a 40 to 81% chance of rain. Come on guys 81 really? You couldn’t just say 80? Cause that 1% is going to make you all right!!!! NOT!!!!!!

Pura Vida!


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Live in or near Atenas?

Well why not join this Facebook group!

Members meet and craft together. Help each other and have a good time. So come join the group!

Pura Vida!


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Review: Bella Italia Restaurant in Atenas

Menu 1

So this place just opened up here in Atenas it is right across from I.C.E. in the town center. Here is a picture from the tables.


So it is very nice place. There were a few little hiccups, but the Owner fixed them right away so it was all good. Lets get right to the food shall we. While we were waiting they send this out for us for free.


This was very nice treat. It was toasted well. The salsa we pretty good. I can’t have the bread on my current diet but I did take a taste so I could give a view of it. I did take a taste of all the food that was presented. So the next item up is.


Ensalada Mixta : Nice looking salad. The salad is where I had an issue. There was a little bit of label left on the peppers that were cut. Good thing is you could see it was cleaned well. They took it away and replaced with a new salad. Perfect and as it should be. Now the other issue which is an issue with restaurant in general in Costa Rica is that the menu made no mention of oranges. Nice treat, but I can’t have them! So I gave them to my friend who also got this salad. So bonus to her she got extra oranges. Now it was suppose to have lettcus, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, and hard boiled egg. When it came out the 1st time it did not, but the new one did have eggs but still missing the onions.It doesn’t say red peppers but it had red peppers. Again thanks to my friend who pointed it out. She also got a new salad because hers didn’t have egg on it. Now this was a good salad. If it had maybe two more types of veggies in it and remove the oranges, I would put this one in my top 5 salads in Atenas. So to make this to my top 5 it needs to be lettuce, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, hard boiled egg, chili dulce and another veggie of some sort. Now the price is a little high for what you get. It was $6.


Margarita pizza: The dreaded pizza debate! The crust wasn’t cracker crust so a plus! See my blog called Pizza! Pizza! on what I think makes a good pizza. A good amount of cheese. It was a little over done. I did try a little piece so I could speak to its taste. It was ok. Not a great pizza but it was an ok pizza. The crust was bland, the sauce was ok, and the cheese was good. It would be #3 on my pizza picks for Atenas. Might even move up as the prices are reasonable! The small one is $7. More than enough for 1 or even two people to eat. So it get bumped up on the value. I think their highest price pizza is $13.66.


Lomito de Res: This was a good meal. The veggies were done well. I forget to ask for no mash and extra veggies, but that is ok. The veggies were cooked in butter, but oh well. They tasted yummy! I am not suppose to have real butter. The mash potatoes I put a little on my fork to taste it. They were ok nothing impressive and they needed salt. Now lets talk about the steak. I was not asked how I wanted my steak and it came out medium rare! Perfect!!!!! So those who don’t like it that way you may want to be sure to ask how it will be cooked. It wasn’t the most tender steak I have had, but it wasn’t the worst either. I could cut it wth the butter knife I had with a little effort, but not much so it was tender. It needed some spice of some sort. Maybe a little more salt and pepper would have given it a very nice flavor. This meal was $12. Not a bad price. I have had less for more. So it is a good value for a steak meal.



Vegitariano Mixta: This was to have Squash, eggplant and tomato and it did! It was very good. Seem the owner who was the cook has a light hand with the salt. Which is ok taste the food 1st and be ready to add salt. In a town of a lot of expat retired people that might be a good thing. This one cost $6 as well. I think it would be better priced at $4 but better value for the value than the $6 salad which also if it was $4 would be better priced.


Filet de Corvena: The fish was grilled well. The veggies were the same as what was on my plate. The potatoes again were the same, but she got double the amount that was put on my plate. This was priced at $8. I think a very good price for the amount of food and again it needed salt but it was good.

This was the only big problem I had with this place!


Yes cringe now!!!!!! They only serve pepsi!!!! The only bad part!! Really……

Here are some other pictures of the place. It was clean, neat and very nice. The bathroom is for the entire strip center but I did not use them, but I’m told they were clean. Since they are public I can’t use them for a review of the restaurant.



So lets us wrap this one up shall we. We had two appetizers, 2 dinners (Steak and Fish), and 4 drinks for a little over $36. Not bad at all really!  The food needs to be seasoned a little more. but over all was done well. The price is very reasonable. The owner/cook came out and talk to us. He was very friendly. Only spanish, but I got most of what he was saying. I will go back many times. Especially once I can eat pasta and such! So good job guys.

So I give them 4 seashell1out of 5!

Pura Vida!





Categories: Costa Rica Life Experience, Food, Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food Chick Tip of the Day 4/24/14

Actually I just found a YouTube video of the Food Chick at her local Farmers market. Promoting local buying and cooking in Maryland. So enjoy this. She cooks up some nice stuff on this video. If you want to skip all the background and her shopping for her stuff at the market you can got to about 10:12 video time and that is when she starts to cook. I am trying to convince her to do some video’s. Help me by going to her Facebook Page and give her a like and comment you want to see video!

Enjoy! Here is her Tip for the day as well.

Today’s BACON Tip…..Put a twist on your traditional BLT Sandwich – turn it into a healthy wrap! Using a whole wheat tortilla layer baby spinach and crisp Romaine lettuce with tomatoes, a little chipotle ranch dressing and bacon. To get your “crunch” fix replace chips with a pickle or cucumbers in rice wine vinegar.

BONUS TIP…If you have the pickled pepper we made earlier this month add them to your wrap for some added zing!



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Joke of the day 4/24/14

So figured I would start a new daily offering. So here is our 1st one. Let me know what you think and if you want to keep seeing the Joke of the day. Enjoy!

Bubba and Earl were sitting in a car on a back road drinking moonshine.

All at once there was a tapping on the window.

“Bubba I think there is a ghost tapping on the window!”

Sure enough a wizened face with long flowing white hair was there just out side the window.

Bubba shoved his foot down on the gas and immediately was doing 60 miles and hour.

“Step on it!” “He’s still out there!” Earl shouted

And sure enough, there was another tapping at the window.

Bubba shoved his foot to the floor again! This time he was doing ninety (90) miles an hour.

Still the ghostly figure tapped on the window.

“You better giver ‘er some more gas!” Earl yelled, “He’s still out there.”

“I can’t go any faster Earl, I’ve got her up to 120 miles an hour.

About that time the little old man motioned for the Earl to roll the window down, which he did.

“Say Boys!” “I was wanting to know, do you need a shove to get out of this mud hole?”

Pura Vida!

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YouTube video of the Day 4/24/14

Just to show you all the beauty that is Costa Rica. Very nicely done video!

Pura Vida!


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Photo of the Day 4/24/14


I heard a recent story about a family coming here for vacation. Just arrive and they all went in for a swim. All but one of them got pulled out by a riptide and died. 😦 So very sad. Please use caution while out in the waters. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is be careful! Yes the ocean is beautiful and it is wonderful here, but it can be deadly. Not to mention the sharks that are coming in at this time each year. Again use caution and be safe!

Pura Vida!


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Weather for the day 4/24/14


So will it rain today? 50 to 80% chance? Who knows. We did get a bunch of thunder booms yesterday and some drizzle, but again nothing impressive. I wan a really good thunder storm!!!!! So here is the weather for today. Enjoy looks like it is going to be great outside once again!

weather 4 24 14

Pura Vida!



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YouTube Video of the Day 4/23/14

Going a little different today. Just a nice video with some nice music. Looks like someone’s trip to Costa Rica. Enjoy!

Pura Vida!


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Today’s Weather 4/23/14

Weather 4 23 14

So we have a 30 to 80% chance of rain today. Well it is a bit overcast today. There could be some rain. We didn’t get any rain yesterday, but we can hope for some today. Only time will tell. I’m not even going to be like they and and predict what today will bring and be wrong almost every day! 🙂 So go out enjoy it while you can and if it does rain. Take off your clothes and dance in it! That is what I am going to do!

Pura Vida!


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Photo of the Day 4/23/14


This is a very wonderful Plant Nursery in La Garita!

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Food Chick Tip of the Day 4/23/14

Today’s BACON Tip…..There are all sorts of bacon varieties out there to try. One of my favorite types of bacon is Prosciutto, a dry cured Italian bacon. It is sliced almost paper thin in most applications as it it very salty.

My favorite way to serve it is wrapped around grilled asparagus. Simply grill your asparagus and wrap it around from the base to about 1.5″ from the tip. If your Prosciutto is wide, slice it in half length wise. A little goes a long way.

BONUS TIP…If your deli has it fresh sliced go for that option rather than pre-packaged.

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