Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Rice, Beans, and Other Things

It did not take us long to realize that buying groceries in Costa Rica was much more expensive than in the States.  We were surprised by this, and it caused us to quickly begin to alter our diet accordingly.  The first thing to go was milk.  It was a painful realization that liquid milk was outrageously pricey and that it didn't last very long if you did buy it.  All the people here use powdered milk and margarine, and sadly so do we.  Since one of our goals is to truly experience the areas we are able to visit in their "local" form we decided we could also eat like the locals.  This means a lot of rice and beans.   

Our wonderful and thoughtful neighbor, Alex,
surprised us with this bunch of bananas one day.
We started to make all sorts out of bananas.  Our
new favorite treats are banana muffins and
bananas with Nutella.   Yum!
Max enjoyed using the kitchen as an outlet for his creative
genius.  His new creation, egg pizza, was a big hit.
We don't eat out a lot, but when we do we usually take a picture.  Maggie, below is having a typical Costa Rican plate lunch called a casado.  It is served at all the restaurants.  Aaron thought he was getting a sandwich, like a Mexican sopa, but here sopa means soup.  His had all sorts of creatures in it including mussels, limpets, and this whole crab.  Surprise!

Max's specialty is eggs, they are about $4 dollars a dozen, but they are obviously natural because they are sold in the store brown, odd sized, and tainted with natural chicken "skid marks."  Almost as good as Maggie's eggs back home.  Also we've  had the opportunity to try many new fruits.  Maggie, middle right, tried this odd football sized fruit.  Alex said the fruit can get as large as 30 kilos and it is filled with a kind of chewy, a little stringy, marshmallow smelling gooey meat that actually tastes pretty good if you can get past the texture, sight, and smell.  


We got frozen lemonades at a restaurant one day and now we have come up with a new treat we like to call a Lemon Squeezy.  Just ice, fresh squeezed lemons, a little sugar and the blender and voila!  Happy kids!  One thing we really have enjoyed is that so much of the ingredients are raw and fresh.  We visited an Indigenous Indian village where we helped process cacao beans and then we drank some incredible hot chocolate from the nuts we ground and a little fresh ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Fresh, as in from the back yard that day.  It felt medicinal, it was so pure!

No matter where we went these two just wanted
arroz blanco con mantequilla, white rice with
butter.  Mantequilla became Jonah's first
Spanish word.

This was probably our fanciest meal in Costa Rica, which we now
affectionately call the land of the bland.  We happened to be in San
Jose and stopped at La Casa de Maize and ordered the family platter.
Absolutely delicious!  The array of meats, beans and rice, and for
some reason, cooked bananas is fancy typical.
At home, the kids were not that excited about
rice or beans.  They love protein!  Enough to
clean and cook the chicken.  Tessa liked to
make it dance.
When you buy a chicken it comes with all the pieces, even
the feet.  
Maggie was desperate for some additional options and had
been scouring the Friend magazine for recipes that had
ingredients we could find.  She was so excited when we
could made pretzels.
Any time we get a special treat, like shaved ice on the beach
it was a big deal.  
Aaron has taken on the effort of dinner and we are all so glad!  He makes a delicious mango salsa.

What is better than white rice with butter?
White rice, butter, and fries.  

 Out of necessity our kids tolerance has really really grown.  When we were at home, as much as we tried to demand that whatever dinner we made was the only option, subliminally they always knew there were other things, or at least there would be in the morning, but here it is not possible.  Consequently they are eating things they would never have touched before, rice, beans, and even skewers with spicy peanut sauce, like Max above.   We've come a long way, but we still have a ways to go, I ate his salad.


  1. I'm following all of this with fascination! I'm thinking a little white rice with margarine sounds..... Pretty good.

  2. I served in Guatemala and the food is somewhat similar. Land of the bland indeed!!

  3. I just got caught up on the blog and I'm all teary eyed! Every picture and quote from the kids is magical! I just love it! I've been studying the brain and psychology and think what the kids are learning through this trip is magnificent! So, so wonderful and worth the daily struggle and crazy circumstances!

    1. Thank you Rachael! I am just certain that one day they will look back and realize how incredible their childhood really was. In the meantime, I appreciate your encouraging words. And I'm excited for you! Is psychology your focus the college courses your taking?