RSS

Category Archives: Moving – in progress…

Nopales or Prickly Pears


Either name you use doesn’t matter as they are commonly known as cactus.  I’m sure you’ve seen them – flat cactus “pads” growing every which way, producing flowers that are brilliant in colours, yellow, red, purple, orange, some produce flowers and some produce fruit.  Nopales is the plural word for nopal.

Nopales - Cactus Pads

Today was my first experience consuming prickly pear cactus but it’s been on my mind for quite some time, back since I heard about using the pads in a burger.  I planted a cactus in my front yard in the hopes that one day I would be able to use my cactus as a food source but it’s still quite small so one day while I was showing properties there was a prickly pear cactus in my journeys so I grabbed a couple of pads to bring home to try.    It’s been here for a couple of weeks with little to no deterioration but I’m sure, given enough time, it will deteriorate to the point that it can’t be consumed.

Today I decided to cook it for breakfast and since I really have no clue as to what I’m doing with prickly pear pads I turned to a well-used resource – YouTube.  I found some videos on how to cook them and of course after I got started on one recipe I lost track of the video and couldn’t find it again so found another one.  The first video

Nopales - Boiling with Vinegar

has us cooking the nopales pads in water with vinegar.  According to the woman recording the video the vinegar tenderizes the nopales so that is what I did.  Then I lost this video and had to find another one which didn’t include cooking them first in water with vinegar.  So I put the two together and came up with my own.

Nopales have a texture similar to green peppers, crunchy skin on the outside and crunchy “meat” on the inside, however the “meat” of the nopales has a slipperiness we usually associate with okra.  Don’t worry if you don’t like this sliminess as the cooking process seemed to eliminate it.

After my nopales were cooked, I drained them, rinsed them then added back to the frying pan with a bit of olive oil, added more onion, more garlic, and cabbage, thinly sliced, and fried the whole mess together.  It wasn’t bad for a first time, enough so that I will do something again with them.  I only hope that I can find some with fruit because from what I saw the fruit looks pretty good too.  And there are even more recipes available for sweet things made from the fruits.Nopales - Finished Frying

The fried dish was quite mild in flavour and slightly crunchy and we had it as a side dish to scrambled eggs with toast.

According to the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/prickly-pear-cactus/faq-20057771) the prickly pear cactus can be part of a healthy diet and is promoted to aid in treating diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and hangovers.  One cup of prickly pear pads is approximately 60 calories, and because it’s high in fibre you could have minor intestinal issues, like with other high fibre foods.  Start slowly, which is what I did today, small bits just to see how we would respond to this food.

If you see prickly pear cactus pads in your local grocery store don’t be afraid to try them – you may be pleasantly surprised.  We were.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 25, 2017 in Moving - in progress...

 

Residency Application – Steeeerike 1


Thursday June 9, 2016 – definitely a memorable day, and not of the good kind of memorable.  This was the day we made the drive from Hopkins Village to Belmopan to submit our application for residency.  Much time went into obtaining the appropriate documents for the application, writing and re-writing the application based on our circumstances and still I came away unsuccessful.

My husband and I arrived at the Immigration office by 9:30 a.m. and got my number card – orange 39.  There had to be 25 people waiting to see an immigration agent, either for nationality and permanent residence, or passports.  Most of the people were waiting for nationality and permanent residence, a.k.a. orange cards.  In some cases people were just waiting to see if they were approved to obtain their nationality cards ( meaning their parents were Belizean).  In other cases, people were waiting to put in applications for their passports.

So after sitting for a bit of time I went into the Immigration office to ask what number we being served – #6, and at that time I knew it was going to be a long day.  Finally about 3:30 my number was called.  And here is where the story turns.  In the Belize law men cannot be dependents.  It is written very specifically – women, children, infirm and seniors – are written as dependents.  Not men.  So the first time I wrote the application I put it as me applying with my husband as dependent but I figured it wouldn’t fly.  So I rewrote the application with my husband being the applicant and me the dependent.  But, and here is where the story really turns, because I have the work permit and my husband isn’t employed he is still seen as the dependent and the residency application has to be submitted for me.  Only.

One of the requirements for residency is a work permit.  My husband needs a work permit.  Until he obtains a work permit he cannot apply for residency.  And this is because his name is on a registered business.

So I need to redo the application with my name on it only, I have to make sure that all the submitted documents are originals and then head back to Belmopan and take another number.  And sit and wait.  Oh, and one other thing – no whiteout allowed.

Oh, and to make the day more of a non-success than it already was, I had an appointment scheduled with the eye doctor – who, due to car problems, didn’t make the appointment.  And he only gets to Belmopan on Thursdays and Fridays, as he works mainly in Belize City.  So all around, a strike out day.

Some days life in paradise is like life anywhere else.  There are ups and downs.  I will keep you posted about the trials and tribulations of the residency application process from my perspective.  The process is different for people depending on their circumstances.  We will see how my process pans out.

For those of you who are planning on submitting your own application here is a picture of the checklist that is used by the agent at Immigration.P.R. Application Checklist

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 10, 2016 in Moving - in progress...

 

2016 Mango Festival


The Mango Festival is over for another year and much thanks goes out to the Belize Tourism Industry Association of Hopkins.  The event lasted for 2 days and from what I hear it was a successful event.   Unfortunately I couldn’t attend but I did prepare a small recipe booklet for my colleagues to hand out at the festival.

Image result for picture of mango

 

Mango Festival in Hopkins is a time to celebrate the abundance of this delicious, healthful, wonderful fruit.  It lends itself to such a variety of mixed uses that I think it’s near impossible to exhaust the possibilities.

From pesticide, to medicinal uses, to hygiene care, to alcoholic, appetizer, main course, desserts and accompaniments, the mango provides delightful flavours for many people.  Its leaves are used for Puja purposes (Hindu Devotion), its twigs are used for brushing teeth and it is considered of high regard to be cremated using mango firewood.  Another interesting fact on the mango is the longevity of the tree.  It has been known to live 400-500 years.  Can you imagine how many mangos that tree will produce?

And then that fruit, that delicious, light orange, pulpy fruit.  From the first cut of the skin to the last slurp off the pit, the mango provides such delectable tastiness that sometimes one just isn’t enough.

Mango has also become an important consideration in the treatment of cancer, reducing the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes, heart disease and it also promotes a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

The village of Hopkins has so many mango trees lining the streets, they are there for the picking.  Last year my husband picked almost 300 pounds and we turned them into chutney, jam, and a lot of good eating.  This year he hasn’t made it out yet to pick but I seem to have a really good friend here in the village.  He has a tree in his yard so each morning he picks up what has fallen and brings a bunch to me.  Thanks friend!

 

One of the things that used to puzzle me was how to cut a mango properly and then I found some instructions.  Now it’s a piece of cake.

How to Cut a Mango

  1. The mango has a large oblong-shaped pit that is relatively flat in the centre of it.
  2. Holding the mango with one hand, stem side down, try to imagine how the pit is placed inside the mango.
  3. With a sharp knife, cut from the top of the mango down one side of the pit. You may run into it, but with practice you will get good at it.
  4. Repeat with the other side.
  5. You will end up with 3 pieces, the two halves, and the middle section which contains the pit.
  6. Take a mango half and use a knife to make lengthwise and crosswise cuts in it, but try not to cut through the peel.
  7. At this point you may be able to peel the segments right off of the peel with your fingers. Or, you can use a small paring knife to cut away the pieces from the peel.
  8. Take the mango piece with the pit, lay it flat on the cutting board. Use a paring knife to cut out the pit and remove the peel.

 

 
 

Belize Real Estate Equity


Chances are, if you’re looking for real estate in Belize you aren’t thinking of equity.  Typically, when we think of equity we think in terms of monetary benefits, how much of a financial improvement our property has made which contributes to extra dollars towards our net worth.  Generally it is considered as the value of an ownership interest in property, and is the difference between the market value and unpaid mortgage balance on a home.  However, equity can also be thought of in non-financial terms.  In a more non-structured expression, equity can be considered as the value, or the benefit received from owing or participating in a particular activity.

This is where Belize equity comes in.  Don’t think of the equity received in owning your own piece of paradise as the difference between paid price and value increase.  Instead, consider the equity as the value added of actually owning a piece of the jewel, Belize.  Many people will attest to the relaxing holidays spent in this gorgeous small country, and still speak highly of their vacation months and even years later.  We buy cottages in locations several hours away from our homes because of the relaxation that we associate with vacationing in this single spot year after year.  Much time and resources are spent maintaining summer cottages.  And yes, in many cases, there is an increase in financial equity.  But the owners don’t usually consider this when deciding to purchase a cottage.  Now, take this same thinking and apply it to a property purchase in Belize.  You have the potential for financial equity, and for health and welfare equity, which, in the long run may be even more of a value than improving the bottom line.

Image

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Moving - in progress...

 

And the Journey Continues…


January 28, 2013 I flew back into Belize, exactly 4 months after leaving.  The past 4 months have been quite a roller coaster of activities and emotions but my desire didnt’ stray too far from Paradise.

So my first day back was  almost a non-event.  Back in Toronto yesterday morning the weather was horrendous – we had a snow storm which covered the roads completely so we couldn’t see where the road started and the shoulders ended.  As a result, 3 lanes became 2 and it was interesting to note that everybody drove as if we only had a 2 lane highway.  The snow was coming down so heavily that I visualized warp 9 as if I were on the deck of the Starship Enterprise.  What should have taken about 60 minutes to drive took over 90 minutes to drive – top speed on a series 400 highway was 80 km per hour and that wasn’t often, so no warp speed, it was all visual.  So we make it to the airport and boarded our flight.  We learned later that about 150 flights had been cancelled out of Toronto to various destinations, starting about 2 hours after our flight took off.  We were late taking off as well.  Another first for me was the de-icing process.  The whole process took approximately 45 minutes, which also set us late to leave for Belize.  But I was glad for the de-icing because we had a couple of inches of snow on the wings and on the top of the plane.

snowplo-473x315

http://www.citynews.ca/2013/01/28/school-bus-flight-cancellations-amid-freezing-rain-in-gta/

So after the flight took off the rest of the trip was uneventful – thank goodness.

Then we arrive here and believe it or not I was recognized by a friend from Punta Gorda.  What a surprise – I guess this is what happens in a small community.  And I feel like I am back home.  Oh, not for the people because anybody who read my previous entries, will know that I do miss my family.  But I love this place.   And I am back, with hubby in tow for a month, and we are going to do a lot of investigating to learn what we need to do to make this permanent.

And I’m not missing the snow either, or the slippery driving or the cold.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Moving - in progress...

 

Tags: , , , , ,

2012 in review


I want to thank all of you who took the time to read and comment on my blog.  As you know I have been back in Canada for a family emergency that continues even still.  My heart and my life are still in Belize and I am planning for the day that my husband and I are able to return.

I also want to wish you all a Happy New Year and I hope that it brings for you what you work and wish for.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

Blogging Hiatus


As the main subject of this blog was about my experiences while in Belize, I will need to suspend publishing any articles for a while.  I have had to return to Canada for a family medical issue.

When I return to Belize I will pick it up again.

In case you were wondering…

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 11, 2012 in Moving - in progress...

 
 
%d bloggers like this: