Mangos and Mangas

Did you know there is a difference between mangos and mangas?  Actually, a better question might be for most of my readers…did you know there is such a fruit called manga?  I get them confused all the time (so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) but at least here in Costa Rica, they call the big mangos you eat the States, “mangas” and then there is a smaller version that they call “mangos”. (or maybe it’s the other way around!)

We’ve got both types of trees on the property where I live but I will probably never get to enjoy them…the monkeys will be eating these sweet treats and dropping the pits to the ground long before I’ll ever get to them.

Here are photos of the two types plus the pretty flowers the trees create just before the fruit develops.

mango flowers

Mangos in Costa Rica

Young Mangos

manga fruit in Costa Rica

Young Mangas

Pura vida…Chrissy

Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream!

There’s a lot of things I miss here…including foods like:

  • Reese’s peanut butter cups
  • Skippy peanut butter
  • Reese’s pieces
  • Baskin Robbins Peanut Butter ‘n Chocolate ice cream (which I let go of in the late 2000’s)

See a theme developing?

Yes, well, the fact of the matter is that peanut butter and chocolate are two of the best combinations ever and they don’t exist here.  You may remember that I found one single small jar of Skippy last year (for $10) and that I quickly learned how to make my own peanut butter cups (which made my gringo neighbors drool while my Tico friends all made a strange face and asked, “Peanut butter and chocolate? Together?”).

Then just recently I came across a vegan recipe (as long as you use coconut milk, not heavy cream) for Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream!  And no ice cream maker is required!  Next to the yellow lemons, this was like the best birthday present from the universe EVER!

Raw vegan peanut butter and chocolate ice cream

Of course, it required “natural” peanut butter but all I could find at the store was Jif crunchy (no smooth option available).  While not all natural, the crunchy bits give it that little bit of texture just like the peanut butter ribbons in the ice cream version.  And really, I’m making vegan ice cream (I know John Robbins would be so proud)!  How cool is that?  So divinely and compassionately good.  Best present a girl could ask for!

Maybe someday I’ll make my own peanut butter…but then finding peanuts here is just as difficult as finding every other type of food product that I want so for now, I’ll enjoy it with my Jif crunchy and hope that someday, I’ll walk into a store here and see bulk bins of all the goodies that I so miss.  Oh what an exciting day that will be!

Click here for the recipe.  Buen provecho!

Oh, and if you were wondering what I did with those lemons, I made them into deliciously raw vegan coconut lemon balls!

raw vegan lemon coconut balls
Pura vida…Chrissy

International Coffee Day

coffee beansHappy International Coffee Day!  Here in Costa Rica, we actually have a National Coffee Day on September 12th, but I figure why not celebrate both days since the coffee here is so good. Well, some of the coffee.  The best coffee has always been exported out but if you search and search and search some more, you will find a few notable brands to buy here.

My favorite is Dota.  Other people will tell you 1820 is the best but I’m thinking they’re basing that on price value not taste value.  1820 is an okay coffee to drink but if you have a few extra dollars and can find it, I’d splurge on Dota.  You don’t need to add milk or sugar – it’s perfectly good just black.  But it will set you back – less than 1 pound is about $11.00.

And in case you weren’t aware, there are actually some coffee brands that include up to 10% sugar in the coffee (you’ll see it noted in the ingredients).  I’ve been told it’s for two reasons.  One is that it’s a historical/traditional way to prepare coffee beans.  The other is that the sugar hides the fact that it’s a bad coffee.

A quick tip – you know you’re drinking a good brand of coffee if it still tastes good after it’s gone cold.

Pura vida…Chrissy

Do you like Gallo Pinto?

Guanacaste soda When I moved a few weeks ago, we had an early 6 a.m. start so there was no time for breakfast.  I had 2 slices of leftover pizza from the night before in my backpack so about an hour into the drive, I asked my driver, Tino, (who only speaks Spanish) if he was hungry and wanted a slice.  He laughed a little and told me, No, I only eat gallo pinto and casados.  So I put away the pizza temporarily.

Costa Rica SodaAbout an hour later, I took the pizza out and ate a slice.  While I was eating, Tino asked me: You don’t like gallo pinto? I responded with, Yes, of course, I love gallo pinto but I don’t have any!

So about 5 minutes later, we approached a small soda and he pulled in and said, We’re having breakfast, I want to treat you to gallo pinto.

Costa Rica Gallo PintoWhen you vacation in Costa Rica, you absolutely must do like the locals and eat gallo pinto for breakfast.  And be sure to try it with their famous Lizano salsa…makes it even more delicious!

Pura vida…Chrissy