Monday, August 25, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers Wrapped in BACON!


 Need something quick and delicious to bring to a Labor Day cookout this weekend? Try these bad boys! Wade and I made Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers Wrapped in Bacon for our neighbors' cookout last weekend. They were amazing and super easy to do. Our friend Shannon made them for a July 4th party this year and we had been dying to try to replicate them!

What you will need:
-Jalapenos (I bought 16) 
-8 oz of cream cheese (room temperature)
-shredded cheddar cheese (only need 1/2 cup- 1 cup)
-Buffalo Sauce
-Bacon

What you need to do:
-Layout your bacon on a cooking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or do (want to cook them halfway but not to the point that they are crispy)

- Cut a slit hot dog style in the jalapenos and de-seed

-In a bowl mix the cream cheese, shredded cheese (use as much or as little as you like) and some dashed of buffalo sauce

-Once bacon is halfway done- take out of oven and allow to cool

- While bacon is cooling- take a knife and slab the cream cheese mixture inside of the peppers
- The- wrap the bacon around the poppers and hold it together with a toothpick
-We baked these at 375 for about 15 or so minutes. (until bacon was crispy)

Enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Honeymoonin' in Costa Rica!



Well we have been back from our Honeymoon in Montezuma, Costa Rica for a while now and I cannot wait to share our adventures with all of you! Our amazing Honeymoon would not have been possible without the generosity of our friends and family. In lieu of gifts, we set up a honeymoon registry at Traveler's Joy and we were able to cover a large portion of costs for the trip as well had the opportunity to do a ton of "excursions."

Check out the below for tips if you are ever traveling to Montezuma, Costa Rica! We cannot wait to go back!

 Day 1: The Day of Exhaustion
We were absolutely exhausted after our wedding day and from cleaning up the next morning when we made it to the Dulles Airport on Sunday. It was Wade's first time flying so that made me extra excited. I had purchased matching Wifey/Hubby shirts for us to fly in off of Etsy, it took some convincing but Wade wore it like a champ.

We had a layover in Panama and then a short flight into San Jose, Costa Rica where we were taken by FunJets by shuttle van to our hotel for the night - Holiday Inn San Jose- Aurola. It was fancy! I highly recommend it if you are staying in San Jose. FYI it was our first time flying Copa Airlines and I have to say they do feed you very well! We had a decent meal on our long leg of our flight but the best was our "snack" on our 45 min flight from Panama to San Jose. I still won't get the name right but it was a chorizo sausage with a cilantro sauce in a bun. LOVED IT! {Petty Pum? Shorty Pum? Trying to pronounce the dish was a joke of the trip}

Day 2: Traveling to Montezuma/The Moonson
We slept like rocks and got up for breakfast early the next morning. Breakfast was delicious- I could tell I was going to love Costa Rican food! Our shuttle van arrived right on time and we made the 2 hour journey to Jaco Beach to catch our boat ride to Montezuma!
{View from our room in San Jose}
 {First Costa Rican Meal!}
We hung out on the beach for a bit before out boat arrived. The boys from Zuma Tours put our luggage into big black trash bags and carried them onto the boat. We thought it was to protect our items if they accidentally dropped the luggage or if a big wave came over the boat.

{Jaco Beach}
{I love boats!}
Anywho the boat ride was about an hour from Jaco Beach to Montezuma Beach. The views were fantastic. Then, about 5 minutes before we pulled up to the beach we approached a BLACK wall of clouds and it started to pour! The rain stung so badly but I was sure happy that we had trash bags around our luggage.

We hopped out of the boat and ran for the nearest bar on the beach. Wade stayed with the luggage and I wondered around trying to find the El Sano Banano Hotel {which was our resort's-sister hotel located in the center of the town} for shuttle pickup to our resort. Right off the bat we saw the famous coconut man standing right outside of  Chico's Bar selling fresh coconuts just as our awesome travel agent told us.

While waiting for our shuttle to the resort we hung out at the sister hotel {El Sano Banano}and went next door to the "Super" {grocery store} to buy some drinks for the room. Our super nice Land Rover shuttle arrived and off we went through the forest and onto the beach to Ylang Ylang! We were greeted at the resort with a delicious passion fruit welcome drink and we're shown to our bungalow on the beach! We walked into a cool room with fresh tropical flowers all around. The bungalow was not big but defintely a perfect size for two people. The walls were painted with jungle-y things and decorated with Costa Rican style. Our view from our front patio of the beach/ocean was absolutely amazing.
{welcome passion fruit drinks!}
{Wade Cheers-ing on our front porch}
{View from our bungalow}
We were pretty exhausted by this point but so excited it did not matter! It didn't take us long to change into our bathing suits and walk the few steps to the beach! I was so excited to see that there were hammocks hanging from the trees on the beach. The water is pretty rocky and rough but nonetheless beautiful! With an adult beverage in hand we were ready to get this Honeymoon started!

After a little bit of beachin' we decided to take a walk on the beach to the town of Montezuma to get some grub. The beach was so empty it felt like our own private oasis. Out of nowhere this adorable doggie came with a rock in its mouth right up to Wade. Wade and I played fetch with her for a bit and she just followed us all the way to Montezuma. We saw a few other dogs on the beach and they all looked beyond happy and seemed to gleam with the attitude of Costa Rica- "Pure Vida."





Once we got into town we stopped in at on the "Sodas" next to the "Super" {grocery store}
A Soda is a little restaurant that serves simple foods like sandwiches and salads, etc. We enjoyed a nice little lunch {if you go to the Las Delicias Soda get the ceviche it was great!- everything else was so so!}and people watched. {one of my favorite things!} Another loving dog came up to us while we were sitting and; after some petting, plopped right down next to us for an afternoon nap.

{Delicious Ceviche}

{Our lunch friend}
From lunch we headed to "Chico's" the main bar/club in Montezuma. We sat outback and had a brew while watching the waves.


{View from the back of Chico's}
Afterwards, we wandered around the town for a bit looking at some of the artisan stores before heading back for some drinks on our beach front patio.

The sun goes down pretty earlier that time of year {early June- around 5:30PM} Dinner at Ylang Ylang was included in our rate {along with breakfast!} and we did not know what to expect. The ambiance of the restaurant was so romantic with tiki torches, candles and the sound of the waves. I had the stuffed Mahi Mahi and Wade the Tuna Steak and both were out of this world! I could get used to this!

{Stuffed Mahi Mahi}
{Fresh Passion Fruit Juice}
{Tuna Steak}
We were stuffed and exhausted so we called it a night after dinner.

Day 3: Exploring, Relaxing & Beach Dining
The next day was our "free" day. It was the only full day we had that we did not have an excursion planned. We ended getting up around 5:30/6AM {each day} because of the time difference and the fact that the sun rose at that time. Each morning we would make coffee in our room and sit on the front porch and look at the ocean and scope out the wildlife. It was so relaxing.
{Coffee on the front porch}
After coffee we headed to our first Breakfast. I had the Hueveros Rancheros for breakfast and it was great! All the food at Ylang Ylang was so fresh. In the middle of breakfast, a Magpie Jay flew in and perched right on the empty chair at our table and just chirped and stared at us {and our food} he hung out there for the remainder of our meal. He was so cute.
{Ylang Ylang Omelet}
{Beach front restaurant}
{More delicious Costa Rican coffee!}
{Our breakfast friend}

{Hueveros Rancheros}
{Cool statue}


After breakfast we walked back to our room on the beach and changed into our suits for more beach time. A nap in the hammock definitely happened!


{Beer in hand+ beach= Happy Husband}



 {Our daily towel animal}

Nearby Ylang Ylang  is the Piedra Colorada, which is a small beach, stream and waterfall area where locals love to hang out.  We walked up and saw all of these stacked rock sculptures, so we made our own. Later I found out it was tradition to do so; a native used to walk to the Piedra Colorada every morning and would re-stack the rocks from the night before {I guess those which had fallen over from the tide} The beach looked so cool with all of the sculptures.

{Our stacked rocks}



We wandered around and started walking up the waterfall. Little orange and purple crabs would peek over and then scurry back under their rocks when you tried to creep closer for a better look. The mud on the side of the rocks leading up to the waterfall is supposed to be the same stuff Aveda uses in its spa products and perfect for a mud bath! Little pools of water formed at each section of the waterfall on the way up which was perfect to dip your feet into. Our travel agent told us that little fish would come up and nibble on your feet and toes and give you a free pedicure. I waited for a bit but no fish wanted me. :-(




I was hungry, so we headed into town to get a lunch. We had plans to do the beach front dining that night which they only do around 5:30 because of the tide. {and perfect timing for when the sun goes down!} We decided to walk the jungle path and our little dog friend found us and walked with us all the way into town.



Lunch this time was at the sister hotel- El Sano Banano. We got a Mojito and shrimp/avocado/pesto salads to hold us over until dinner.  Afterwards we headed to the pool and relaxed until it was time for our beach front dinner
{Mojitos}
{Shrimp, Pesto & Avocado Salad}
Come 5:30 we walked to the resort restaurant and were escorted to our private table on the beach.  We were very impressed with how everything was laid out. From the tiki torches to the pretty table clothes and fresh flower petals. Our meal included a tropical cocktail each an appetizer each, a bottle of wine, 2 entrees and a dessert. A big thank you to my Aunt Cindy, Caitlin and others for helping us have our amazing beach dining experience!

{Wade's App- Mussels in white wine sauce}

{My appetizer- Shrimp brushetta}

{Seafood Ambrosia}
{Seafood Medley}
Day 4: Ziplining/Monkey Spotting

We woke up and did our usual morning routine of sipping coffee on the front porch while listening to all the wonderful sounds. We had a delicious breakfast as usual and went on our way to the Zuma Tours office in Montezuma to catch our ride up the mountain to ZIP LINE! {Thanks Mom and Dad!} We brought a disposable camera- No way was I bringing my phone!
{Banana Pancakes}
We hopped into a 4 door ATV with another couple and up we went. Soon we arrived to Sun Tours. Right away we got geared up and hopped on our first line! Sun Tours was located in a beautiful section of the forest- I won't lie I was freaking out a tiddly bit on our first run. The lines were so long and the ground was so FAR down! I got used to it as time went on and was able to look down and enjoy the beauty. I remember standing at one of the platforms and gasping at how beautiful the scenery was. I could see the ocean to my right and then mountains and waterfalls to my left.

Halfway through our adventure we all took a break and walked down the path to a waterfall to rest. It was a section that locals and tourists jumped off of. There was even a rope on the side to help you back out of the water. It took me about 5 times of walking to the edge of the cliff for me to muster up the courage to jump. It was petrifying but I am so glad I did it! I was still shaking when I tried to climb out and had to wait a minute before I was able to pull myself up the rope!
The second to last line was the longest and went thought a tunnel in the trees at one point. It was awesome. At the end, as we were walking up to the Sun Tours office, we saw a bunch of howler monkeys in the trees above us. One was howling and grunting at Wade. It was so amazing to see monkeys outside of a cage! Zip-lining is the #1 thing Wade and I said we would definitely want to do again if we get the chance to visit Montezuma again.

A shower was needed after we returned to our resort. {the humidity was brutal that day} We laid by the pool and decided to walk into town to get some grub from the Super along with some supplies to make some adult fruity beverages.

I got my hands on the famous onion bread that our travel agent told us to try. A local Argentinian man bakes the bread fresh daily and sells it to the Super. It was delicious! We spent the rest of the day relaxing and hit Happy Hour before heading to dinner.
{Beautiful Day!}
{Onion bread outside the "super"}
 {HH at Ylang Ylang}

{Drink as the locals do!}

{Frozen Iced Tea= AMAZING!}
{Tomato, Pesto and Mozzarella Salad}

Day 5: Tortuga Island

After another delicious breakfast at our resort we walked into town to catch our boat to Tortuga Island! Although this was an excursion we were looking forward to another full day of relaxing on the beach. {HUGE thanks to Jason for getting this for us!} It was only a 45 minute boat ride to Tortuga and we passed the famous El Chorro Waterfall which is one of seven waterfalls in the world that drops into the ocean!
{Herbed Stuffed Crepe!}
{Tipico}


 {El Chorro Waterfall- had to zoom in from the boat)
As we got closer to Tortuga Island the water became so clear and turquoise. We slowed down to take in the beauty of Rainbow Rock. (given its name from its shape}

                                                                         {Rainbow Rock}

The boat stopped a little short of Tortuga Island's beach and we all hopped out of the boat to snorkel.  I will admit snorkeling in open water kind of scared me (versus snorkeling near a shore) but seeing all the different types of fish was awesome.








After a bit we pulled up to Tortuga Island. As we walked up to the pavilion a woman told me to watch out for the pig. I did not see a pig anywhere and she pointed down into the sand. I was in love! This little guy followed us around and rubbed up against us like a dog!  It was the highlight of my day for sure! There were two other domesticated pigs hanging out near us as well- they were definitely not as friendly as this little guy.




Our Zuma Tour guides cut up some fruit, passed around some beers and made a nice BBQ lunch for us of fish, potatoes and fresh bread. For dessert they cut up fresh coconut for us to try. After lunch we all went our separate ways to relax the rest of the day.





After our delicious lunch, we headed over to a little shop. I was surprised to see some Macaws on a little perch outside of the store! We bought a few knick knacks and spent the rest of our time exploring, seashell hunting and relaxing on the beach until the clouds rolled in and it was time for us to head back to Montezuma.







The waves were pretty big in Montezuma so we were dropped off at Tambor Bay and hopped in a van to take us back to Montezuma. Once we got back we decided to have some munchies and drinks. We headed to Cocolores which was known for its cheviche.  We each got a serving. It was good but I just couldn't do it. Wade ate mine and his so it did not go to waste. I enjoyed an ice cold beer.





From Cocolores we headed over to Puggo's. We got a lemongrass and mint smoothie with some vodka thrown in. We munched on some potato muffin thingys with some delicious homemade bread. I would definitely recommend heading to Puggo's for a bite! We relaxed afterwards and went to a late dinner.


 {So refreshing!}


{The Greenhouse smoothie place was closed but love the art!}

{The ceviche man! Who sells his fresh ceviche everyday!}
 {Grilled Shrimp Dinner}

Day 6: ATVing
We had the morning to hang out before our ATV adventure (thank you to the Shiflers, Ashley/Jim, Jesye/Martin and Caitlin for getting this for us!) We had a leisurely breakfast and I took the time to take some beautiful pictures around the resort. We were so impressed by how well maintained the grounds were along with the beautiful landscaping. It was the perfect time of year, as all the foliage was green and lush.  

























 We walked into town to rent our ATVs for 6 hours. We got there a bit early so we stopped at one of the Sodas- Soda Montesol for a famous chocolate, oatmeal, banana and coffee smoothie which was out of this world!  The salesman gave us a quick tutorial and off we went.  I struggled at first with the semi automatic "quad" as they call it, but before long I got the hang of it. Wade complained that I was going was too slow and would zoom past me.  We were given a map of the area and had a plan to just drive all around and explore. From Montezuma we headed to Cabuya and then to Santa Teresa. The views were amazing!






 {I was a little afraid at first}

 {Our rides for the day}
 {We heard this big guy rustling around in the trees}

 {Cool tree!}

At one point I was so sunburnt/thirsty/hungry I pulled over in Cabuya and walked around looking for a super to buy some cold water. Wade thought I had lost it and gone mad. Anywho- once I came back to life we walked to the Cabuya Bakery we had heard so much about and had a delicious meal. Soon after we ordered we heard the owner and her daughter chopping and mixing away. The presentation of the food was beautiful and very fresh- made with love :-) .

 {Lunch at Cabuya Bakery}

 {Veggie Casada}
 {Horses in Santa Teresa}










 {Beach in Cabuya}



The gas stations took a little effort to get to. We went to a town at one of the highest points, where a lot of locals live, called Cabano.  It was so busy- we drove around and tried to ask people where the gas station was. Everyone pointed in different directions and chuckled at us- needless to say we did not find the gas station and had to return the ATVs without gas and incurred a small fee. Oh well. We got back to Montezuma a little before 6PM exhausted. We showered and headed to dinner. I got the Tuna steak Wade had gotten a previous night and Wade tried the sushi which turned out to be out of this world good!



Day 7: The Three Amigos Experience

 We were so pumped for our Three Amigos Experience! {Thanks Josh!}  Our travel agent, Morgan lived in Montezuma and one of her great friends started this small company which takes tourists on a day long adventure to witness how the locals live! We first walked around to some places in Montezuma we had not noticed before like a local restaurant/hang out spot as well as to see the tide pools. We then hopped in a jeep and headed for a friends house to kayak to Cemetery Island in Cabuya!




 {Mango Tree!}

It was harder than it looked trying to kayak in the ocean but we finally made it. I felt like my arms were going to fall off! We snorkeled for a bit but with a purpose; to look for fish, lobster, clams, etc to catch for lunch! Next it was time to teach Wade how to hand fish. As you can see the crew was able to catch a bunch of sea critters. We were also able to walk around on cemetery island which is indeed used as a cemetery. During low tide people are able to walk to the island from the main land of Cabuya to visit their loved ones.



Now it was time to make lunch! Our lovely tour guides took the kaayks back to their friends house while we walked on the path that had formed during low tide back to the mainland. {thank goodness!}


The Three amigos picked us up and we headed off to one of their houses. Vinnie and Juan prepared lunch for us all while we listened to music, drank wine and chatted with one another. First up was the fresh oysters with onion and spices on top. Next was fried plantains with fresh fish/lobster cheviche. (my absolute favorite!). For the main dish we had grilled lobster with a fresh cucumber& tomato salad. The food was delicious and the company was even better! By the time we were done I was stuffed and ready for a nap. The Three Amigos Experience was one of the coolest and most unique activities we did while in Montezuma. Check them out if you are in town!



                                                       {Amazing grilled lobster}
Day 8: Horseback Riding in Mountains
We woke up feeling sad that it was our last full day in Montezuma but excited to see the mountainous areas of the peninsula. After our usual delicious breakfast we walked into town to the Zuma Tours office, where we would meet our taxi driver. It was about a 15 minute drive up the mountain to meet, Marvin, our tour guide/owner of El Pinto Horse Tours and his three horses. We met outside a mini super in a small town outside Montezuma. Marvin helped us up onto our horses and off we went on our 4 hour tour!
For the first leg we were on dirt roads in the village scoping out how the people there lived. Marvin took this time to give us some background on the land as well as give us some tips on how to ride the horses on the rough jungle and mountainous terrain ahead. I used to ride horses when I was younger, but I sure did learn some things! And my knees and butt were already hurting! Luckily everything was so beautiful it took my mind off of it. 

On the side of the road, Marvin dismounted and moved back a piece of wire fencing. We went through and up to the top of the hills to a spectacular view. I could have stayed up there forever. In the field were many other horses who started walking up to us.
Next we went down a steep hill and entered into the forest. It was beautiful. We stopped at a stream so the horses could rest and so we could take a water break.  Marvin brought fresh pineapple for us to munch on as well. Before long we were rested and back on our horses. We exited the forest and went around exploring for another few hours before making our way back to the small super.  Marvin bought Wade and I a beer and we chatted for a bit and waited for our Taxi to arrive. All in all our experience with Marvin was fantastic. It was so interesting to hear his stories of the Montezuma and how they have changed as well as about his life story. If you are in Montezuma check out El Pinto Horse Tours. You will not be disappointed- Marvin is awesome and truly loves his horses and what he does.
We went back to the resort and enjoyed the rest of our last day by hanging out on the beach, swimming at the pool and having a few drinks at Happy Hour. If buying adult beverages from the grocery store pick up some Bambos! {either the pre-mixed rum and cokes or the mojitos-my fav!} They were our go to drink in Montezuma.  For our last meal we splurged and got the Namaste spring rolls and I savored for the last time my delicious stuffed Mahi Mahi.












Day 9: Never ending day of travel

Our boat was not leaving until 9:30am so we had time to have one last coffee on the patio and a delicious breakfast. I unfortuently was up all night sick. So I had simple eggs and toast. The boat ride was a little rough for me but out of the blue we saw dolphins come near our boat! It was so awesome seeing them so close.  We arrived at Jaco Beach and our driver was there waiting for us. About halfway to the airport we stopped at a bridge to see the groups of crocodiles below; it was kind of creepy but awesome at the same time.  Before long we were at the airport . We were a little ticked off that we had to pay a $30 each deportation tax to exit Cost Rica and to top it all TSA took my beautiful seashells! I was devastated. It was a long trip back but we made it back safe and sound. Months have passed and I still find my self wishing we were back on our hammocks on the beach and sipping some tropical drinks. Wade and I both cannot wait to go back! I am so glad we bought various items {such as a wooden candy dish & hammock} to remind us of our special time in Costa Rica.