Steve Is About To Pop His Nica Cherry

Steve and I had been tossing around the idea of a trip to Nicaragua for over a year now!!! We were talking about it while we were still on our Southeast Asia trip!!! Well ticket prices have been down lately, so we bit the bullet and we will be spending 10 glorious days in Nicaragua. Soaking up the sun and spending our days surfing, practicing yoga and watching the sunset with Flor de Caña in hand…. sounds pretty heavenly to me. We will also be scouting locations for a possible yoga/surf retreat.

It’s been 5 years since I was last in Nicaragua…. I can’t believe it’s been so long and I cannot wait to share it with Steve. When you tell people that you’re going to Nicaragua you’ll get one of two responses: DON’T GO!!! It’s dangerous!!! or OMG!!! I’m so jealous!!! Well, for all the naysayers Nicaragua is probably the safest country in Central America…even safer than Costa Rica. It’s still splendidly cheap!!! It’s absolutely gorgeous and Nicaraguans have hearts of gold (well probably not all of them).

I like to tell people about a little story from my last trip to Nicaragua. My friend Evan, from Two Farts In The Wind, and I were bussing it from Granada to Rivas and on to Isla de Ometepe. Well, at the time, this little jaunt involved a bus switch-a-roo on the side of the highway. We rushed off of our first bus and ran up to our second bus and hopped in the backdoor, only to realize that we had left our backpacks on the roof of the previous bus. Shit!! Shit!!! Shit!!! But to our lovely surprise, we looked out the backdoor of the bus and there were two Nicaraguan guys running down the highway with our bags over their heads. Bringing them to us!!! AMAZING!!! Nicaragua had my heart from that point on.

When Evan and I went to Nicaragua we had only two weeks. We divided our time between Granada (where we took day trips to Laguna de Apoyo (we walked), Volcan Masaya, and the Masaya Handicraft Market), Isla de Ometepe (where we climbed a jungle clad volcano, swam in a spring, and found some howler monkeys), and Little Corn Island (where we snorkeled, went scuba diving, and pooped our brains out). So this trip to Nicaragua Steve and I are heading down south, near the Costa Rican border, to the town of San Juan del Sur. From San Juan we will have access to some of Nicaragua’s most wild coastline, perfect surf breaks and serene yoga spots.

To hold you over, here are a few pics from my 2009 Nicaragua Trip.

Volcan Masaya

Evan, from Two Farts In The Wind, and I at Volcan Masaya.

Volcan Masaya Crater

An epic stinky crater…check out how steep the sides are!!!

VOlcan Masaya

Evan and I at the Volcan Masaya upper viewpoint

Masaya Handicraft Market

The handicraft market in Masaya

Nicaragua Hitchhiking

Hitchhiking in Nica….here’s proof that you can survice




Isla de Ometepe volcanoes

Isla de Ometepe and it’s volcanoes

Howler monkeys on Ometepe

Howler monkeys on Ometepe


Volcan Maderas guide

Hanging out in the cloud forest with our guide on the way to the top of Volcan Maderas

Volcan Maderas group photo

Evan, Anton and I made it to the top…soaked and completely covered in mud

Evan and Anton sink in the mud at Volcan Maderas lake

Evan and Anton sinking in the mud at Volcan Maderas lake

Baseball game at Volcan Maderas

The boys went for a “swim” in the Volcano lake, while I watched a local baseball game.

Muddy shoes

Volcan Maderas made me throw out my shoes…

Post volcano hike dip at Ojos de Agua on Ometepe.

Post volcano hike dip at Ojos de Agua on Ometepe.

Locals fishing on little corn island

Local fisherman and his daughter on Little Corn Island

Nicaragua Little Corn


Nica Little Corn jungle path

The jungle path from Sunset to Sunrise.

Our Rasta digs on Little Corn...not too shabby...okay...kinda shabby.

Our Rasta digs on Little Corn…not too shabby…okay…kinda shabby.

Lights out

Since most of the business run on generators power is only available for a few hours each day…oh well, time to drink more Tona.

Beautiful Beach on Nica Little Corn

One of many small beautiful beaches on Little Corn Island

No shampoo

This is what my hair looked like after two weeks of sweat and salt water with no shampoo.

Group photo on little corn

Evan and I made new friends and met fellow travel blogger Ian who posts a fun travel blog on travelpod

I cannot wait for more Central American Shenanigans!!!!




Prosciutto, Grilled Fennel, & Grapefruit Salad

Thank you Martha Stewert for this amazing salad!!!! My husband is now hooked on grapefruit… and it used to be a struggle to get him to eat it. The salad we made was pretty similar to Martha’s but we made our own dressing and we brushed the fennel with olive oil when we grilled it.

Prosciutto Fennel Grapefruit Salad

So many flavors going on…. the bitterness of the rocket, the clean citrus flavor from the grapefruit, the saltiness from the prosciutto and olives and the richness from the cheese…


2 servings.

1 bulb of fennel, green stalks removed, sliced into 1/3-1/2 inch slices
4 slices of prosciutto
1 ruby red grapefruit, slice off the rind and then pull apart and remove the tough skins that separate the segments, then cut into bite size pieces
6 garlic stuffed green olives, sliced
2 large handfuls of rocket greens (or arugula)
fresh shaved parmesan
1 T. olive oil for brushing the fennel

3 T. grapefruit juice
3 T. olive oil
2 T. sherry vinegar
1 T thinly sliced shallot
1 t. honey
salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat up the grill to medium heat. Brush the fennel with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and grill for about 12 minutes, flipping every three minutes or so. Make sure you don’t burn the fennel… burnt fennel is pretty nasty!!! You may need to brush the fennel with  more olive oil to keep it from sticking to the grill.

2. Grill the prosciutto for a few minutes so it gets a nice smoky flavor.

3. Prepare your salad dressing by combining grapefruit juice, olive oil, sherry vinegar, honey, shallot, salt and pepper and whisking it well.

4. Prepare your salad by arranging the rocket greens, green olives, grapefruit, prosciutto, fennel and parmesan on salad plates. Drizzle with the grapefruit vinaigrette and enjoy.


Finding the Beauty…

If you follow my blog regularly you’d think that I’m always going on perfect hikes with perfect weather and going on amazing trips with perfectly planned itineraries, but that is not the case. Often times we will head out for a hike/snowshoe etc. and are not able to get to the trailhead because of snow (or downed trees) or are not be able to find the trailhead at all… we’ll get lost or maybe even find that the trail is burnt or that the valley is so full of smoke you can’t see the nearby mountains. Our tent has been stolen, we’ve had large animals in camp, we’ve ran out of water with multiple miles still left and we’ve spent entire days walking in the rain. Traveling provides a whole different set of uncomfortable situations: not knowing the language or what you’re eating, getting sick, or perhaps spending hours or even days waiting for that bus or plane.

Kinabatangan Rain Storm

It can and will rain on your birthday…especially if you’re in the Bornean Rainforest…get ready to be soaked… I was happy to be wearing shorts for this boat ride.

These “not so fun,” surely uncomfortable, possibly disappointing, occasionally dangerous experiences are what we learn the most from. We can’t be afraid of the challenge….the only solution is to embrace it. Sometimes embracing the uncomfortable is nearly impossible, especially when you’re frustrated, exhausted and feel like screaming, but if you can do it, if you can stay in the moment, you might find something beautiful, something enjoyable.

Pole Creek Fire B/W2

A burnt forest means tons of wildflowers… well, after awhile anyway.

Pole Creek flower

Hello beautiful… I’m happy you’re here.

Some of my best experiences were born in uncomfortable moments….finding the lone flower in a burned out forest, sharing a meal of horse intestines with new friends, or rerouting a pre-planned itinerary. By embracing the uncomfortable, the disappointing, the challenging I have found freedom. SO let go of your expectations and find the beauty.

Sapa friends

Our friends treated us to a dinner of horse intestine and apricot wine followed by a trip to the love market.

Sapa friends love market

Helped the guys decide on new shirts at the Sapa Love Market.



East Meets West Red Curry

I made an AMAZING curry for Steve and I last week. He was craving braised beef short ribs and I was craving Thai curry and Indian curry…. I really couldn’t decide. So I decided to combine them all into one amazing dish.

East meets west red curry

We devoured this Thai-Indian fusion… I had no idea it would be so delicious!!!


Serves 3-4.

1 1/2 pounds beef short ribs
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 of a large eggplant ( 1/4 inch slices if you’re going to grill it, 1/2 inch cubes if you’re going to roast it)
1 1/2 onions, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups coconut milk
3 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne
fresh ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
3 dried bay leaves (2 fresh if you have them)
1-2 star anise ( I love it, so I put two in, but one is probably plenty)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil
2/3 cup of green onions, 1/4 inch slices
3/4 cup of fresh basil, sliced
homemade red curry paste

Red Curry Paste

5-6 dried thai chilis, soaked in water for 15 minutes
1 1/2 tablespoons lemongrass, chopped
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons galangal, chopped
1 teaspoon ginger, chopped
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 shallot, minced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions for Curry Paste

1. Combine all Red Curry Ingredients in a mortar and pestle, and pound it until it’s a paste like consistency.

2. Will make between two and three Tablespoons of curry paste. I used all of it for the East Meets West Red Curry.

Instructions for East Meets West Red Curry

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and move the oven rack to the middle.

2. Sprinkle eggplant with salt and place it on a cutting board lined with paper towels, this will draw some of the moisture out of the eggplant.

3. Prepare your short ribs. On a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil (and lightly greased) place your short ribs. Next, season the short ribs on all sides with the cumin seeds, cayenne, garam masala and salt and pepper and really rub the spices into the short ribs.

4. If you will be roasting your eggplant toss it lightly in oil, salt and pepper and go ahead and place it on the cookie sheet with the short ribs.

5. Cook the short ribs (and eggplant if you’re roasting it) for about 20 minutes, until the short ribs are browned.

6. While the short ribs are cooking you can grill your eggplant, brush it with oil and season with salt and pepper before placing it on the grill. Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side on medium-high heat.

7. Now is the time to prepare your red curry paste, if you haven’t already, this takes about 10 minutes.

8. In a dutch oven (over low-medium heat), add one tablespoon of oil, tomato paste, and the red curry paste. Saute for 1-2 minutes to bring out the flavors and then add the onions. Saute the onions for about 4 minutes until soft and then add the garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes.

9. Add in the coconut milk, beef broth, bay leaves, star anise and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer.

10. Remove the short ribs from the oven and place them in the dutch oven with the curry (set aside the eggplant for later) and turn the oven temperature down to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

11. Cover the dutch oven and place it in the oven for 3 hrs.; after about 1 1/2 hours you may need to rotate the short ribs to make sure they are evenly cooking in the curry. If you do it right the meet will fall right off of the bone.

12. Carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven and put it on the stovetop on medium/medium-high heat. Skim as much fat as you can off of the top. Add the cauliflower and eggplant and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender.

13. Reduce the heat and stir in the basil, green onions, salt and pepper. A squeeze of lime is delicious too.

14. It’s finally done!!! And it’s so worth the wait.

Serve with brown rice.