Making Etyl’s Famous Pancakes at Kaya Sol, Nosara, Costa Rica

I’ve mentioned already that while staying at Kaya Sol, we met these three fabulous ladies from Victoria. They even helped us preform our Beer Taste Test.

What I haven’t mentioned yet is that one of them, Benny, has an amazing food Blog called Being Bethany Jane. We of course immediately bonded over all things blog related as well as a mutual love for delicious healthy food.

When I heard that Benny was going to be getting a pancake lesson at Kaya Sol, I simply Etyl's Famous Pancakes Kaya Solcouldn’t resist joining in.

You see, the pancakes at Kaya Sol, are slightly amazing. Okay well actually they are bombdiggity delicious. I’m not usually one to order pancakes but after hearing the girls rave about them I got a couple for Shaun and I on his birthday. Seriously…life changing!

These pancakes aren’t the normal white, dry pucks with gooey centres that I am used to seeing at restaurants. These pancakes are full of oats, fresh ginger and coconut! I know I’ve perked your interest now!

Learning to make them was a real treat. As an added bonus, we not only got a lesson, but we got the lesson from Etyl herself! Now since this is not a food blog, I didn’t write down copious amount of notes during the process. I just wanted to get a the jist of the situation, so I could try and recreate them when I get home. Here’s what went down.

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Etyl whipping up some magic

The dry ingredients included whole oats, a bit of baking soda and baking powder all blended up in a blender. The wet ingredients included an egg, grated ginger, fresh nutmeg, honey, vanilla and three kinds of milk; whole milk, soy milk and fresh coconut milk. Add it all together and bobs your uncle. Etyl did say that you can bulk up the pancakes and add some pancake mix, but if you want to keep it whole grain, then leave it as is.

It was so awesome being able to learn how to make these creations from the inventor herself. You better believe I’ll be trying my hand at these when I get home. I might even be wild and add in a banana!

If you are sitting there reading this and thinking, Kate I really still have no idea how to make these pancakes, I would highly suggest checking out Being Bethany Jane. Not only am I confident that Benny will be trying her hand at her own version of Etyl’s pancakes, but she has tons of amazing recipes to tide you over in the meantime!

What is your favourite breakfast food?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

 

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Final Days of Travel: Learning to Live in the Moment

I didn’t think that the last leg of our travels would be this hard.

With 6 days left before we touchdown back home, I’m finding it more and more difficult to fight homesickness. My mind constantly wanders to my family and friends, and I find myself planning all sorts of things that I want to do when I get back. These feelings have resulted in days seeming long, and some moments where, well, I’ve been kinda miserable

There…I said it. I’ve been a grumpy bear this week. Poor Shaun has had to deal with a very homesick wife.

Of course, I recognize I need to change my tune. I’m actively choosing fear over love. If I’m not careful I’m going to waste the last few previous moments I have on this adventure looking forward instead of standing still.

I often find myself taking moments to appreciate my surroundings, but it is always in obvious ways, like when I’m watching a sunset of when I’m laying in a hammock. In those moments, its easy to be present, and appreciate the beauty and tranquillity that surrounds me

It’s the mundane times that I find challenging. Evenings where it is dark early, and no amount of Netflix or crazy eights are going to keep me entertained. Or days where I’m faced with a very hot walk to the store to get groceries. There are so many instances during my day where my mind wanders, I start thinking about home, I get lonely and I’m no longer present.

I started reading about ways to “be in the moment” and although I agree with most things I’ve read, I still didn’t really know how I was going to go about doing it. It’s easy for me to be present when I’m reading something about it, but as soon as I put my book down, I forget. The mind is a powerful thing and it will wander where it wants to wander.

I needed a concrete exercise to help me stay present, so I chose a day last week and decided to make myself a reminder.

I set an alarm on my phone for every hour. Whenever it went off, I took note about what I was thinking about. Most of the time it was about home, or something in the future. I took a second to appreciate that thought and let it come to an end.

Then, I took a deep breath and really looked at my surroundings. I would to myself, what am I grateful for in this moment? What do I want to remember? It didn’t have to be big things. Some of the things I noticed were all of the hibiscus in bloom, the amazing feeling of walking into a room with a/c, or a wicked huge Iguana. All things that I know I won’t have when I get home.

Taking time to appreciate and feel grateful for those little things helped keep me in the present moment.

This exercise totally falls into the “practice makes perfect” category. I found that after doing it for a while, it started to happen naturally. Now I have an alarm set for twice a day, but find I’m finding I am much more naturally present throughout the entire day.

So, if you are every finding yourself in a situation where you are spending to much time looking back or looking forward, try this exercise to help train yourself to stand still.

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For more on the evolution of my philosophies and “kateness” visiting my Philosophy page.

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Nosara Artisans Market in Playa Guiones, Costa Rica

One of the best parts of being a travel blogger is stumbling upon a topic for a post that truly deserves to be recognized and rejoiced.

The Nosara Artisans Market falls into that category.

I learned about the Artisans Market early in our trip to Nosara, via an advertisement on a local community board. Being a traveller who loves exploring local markets, I was instantlyP1030251 intrigued.

Wanting to learn more, I connected with Kristen Brousseau, a local artisan and one of the coordinators of the event. She and fellow artist Emma Kinsey, have been organizing the Nosara Artisans Market since 2012. Kristen was kind enough to provide me with a little insight and history into how Nosara Artisans came to be:

“Nosara Artisans, started in October 2012, and was created to give Nosara artists a place to sell their wares during the holiday and summer season. It is a non-profit artist collective open to all artists living in the community. The first fair was held December 2012 at The Gilded Iguana Hotel and Restaurant located in Playa Guiones.
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Since then, the group has grown with many artists participating from other countries and Costa Rica. They hand make accessories, clothing, ceramics, furniture, glass art, lamps, jewellery, mosaics, paintings, photos, up-cycled creations and carved wood art. A lot of the artwork is made using natural materials found in Nosara and its beaches.

In an effort to give back to Nosara, this season The Gilded Iguana and Nosara Artisans have teamed up collect a portion of the artist fees for fundraising. So far, they donated money to Nosara Animal Care, the Del Mar Academy’s scholarship fund and the education fund at the Nosara Recycle Center. Also new this year, is the addition of baked goods, organic garden products, artisans breads, coffee produced in Costa Rica, and local food products.”

 
Upon hearing that description, I felt I simply had to attend the event. In fact, I even altered my travel plans so I could stay for it. The day of the event arrived and let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

P1030254Immediately upon entering the market, you could sense the excitement in the air. Booths filled with jewellery, pottery, crafts and baked goods wound their way through the shaded grassy lawn of the Gilded Iguana. Groups mingled together laughing and marvelling at each others creations. I was struck with the diversity and uniqueness of the artwork. I found myself appreciating the fact that everything that was for sale truly was “one of a kind”
My husband and I explored the booths, sampled a few goodies and of course made some purchases.We chatted with several locals who welcomed us to the market with open arms. We left the market that day not feeling like a tourists, but more like honourary members of the Nosara community.

10245464_307950199357161_9069604458241027652_nThe Nosara Artisans Market is not just about selling wares, it’s about a community coming together. Not only do they celebrate the beauty of their handmade creations but also the feeling of togetherness that we found Nosara is known for.

If you are in the Nosara area, I would highly suggest you check out this market. Not only will you see some amazing one of kind creations, you’ll really get a feel for what Nosara is all about.

The next Nosara Artisan Art Market is on Saturday, April 19th at The Gilded Iguana from 12-3pm. Check out their Facebook page or website for more information.

Pura Vida!
Kate
Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

A Big Birthday for my “Little” Brother

Hola Brother Sean,

There is a part of me that feels safe writing whatever I want for your birthday. Why you might ask? Because of the countless times you have told me that you don’t read my blog.P1010480

So I feel liberated. I feel I could tell my readers anything, and everything about my “little” brother, and you wouldn’t be the wiser.

I could tell them about the time I dressed you up as Sporty Spice complete with a sports bra and pony tail made of yarn. I could then tell them that you then willingly and without being asked did the worm while having the whole thing video taped.

13331_167047868537_2892311_nOr I could tell them about the time you wore a hula skirt, tighty whities, coconut bra and a clown wig and then posed for a photo.

I could even post that photo at this very moment, because really, what are big sisters for.

But alas, I’ve matured in my older age. None of these moments will be posted on the blog. Besides, then I wouldn’t have any material for your wedding.

No, no, instead I think I’ll write something different. Something a little more fitting for the 539375_10151241362775180_754095281_noccasion.

There are a lot of people in my life that know me really well.There are friends who have been with me since high school, people who have watched me grow up and mature. But there is only one person who has been with me through absolutely everything. That would be you.

No seriously, I couldn’t have gotten rid of you even if I tried!

I often hear people talk about how much they fought with their siblings growing up. How growing up with their brothers and sisters was such a challenge.

389585_10151729260228538_2083539611_nI just don’t think we had that. My memories of growing up with you are nothing but positive. Whether or not that is because you let me be the boss all the time remains to be seen. Either way, I look back on my childhood with a smile, and that has a lot to do with the awesome times we had together (think sealbert, spiderman and syrup)

But it’s not our upbringing that makes our relationship so special, it’s actually these awesome adults we’ve morphed into over the years (sidenote: I like to think of us morphing more like Captain Planet then Power Rangers).

I think there is something in our genes that turns us both into stand-up comedians when we are together. The only glitch is that the jokes we make are often only hilarious to us. There is no one in the world who can bring me to a full on belly laugh quicker then you. (insert poop joke here)

I also am not sure how, but you’ve also managed to become a wise little gaffer. Several 167338_488361878537_2972806_ntimes during this trip I found myself reaching out to you for “help” when things were getting tricky. Whether I’m down the street, or in another country, you are always there to talk me down.

Little brother, I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without you. Thank you for everything you have done for me. From making sure our diabetic cat doesn’t die while we are away (an extremely tall order) to performing Shaun and I’s marriage ceremony (another particularly tall order). I admire the way to live your life and how you encourage your older sister to do the same.

So the Happiest of Happy Birthday’s to you dear “Boner”, you gift is on its way….PS..it’s me in 10 days 😉

Pura Vida!

Kate

 

Beers of Costa Rica: A Taste Test

The time has come my friends, can you believe it.

This post marks the end of our cerveza based trilogy. It started back in February with the Beers of Panama, then the sequel last month with the Beers of Nicaragua.

Now the time has come for the final chapter, the Beers of Costa Rica. But this wasn’t just any taste test. Costa Rica has a thing for beer. In fact, we ended up with nine different beers on our roster. We knew we couldn’t do it alone, so we had to call in some reinforcements.

While staying at Kaya Sol, we met three fabulous ladies, Benny, Eryn and Magda, who just so happened to live in our hometown of Victoria. Such a small world. They graciously agreed to step in as guest samplers for this post. We are ever so grateful to them as heaven knows we would have ended up on the floor had we tried to get through these on our own! So without further ado: The Beers of Costa Rica

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P1030177Imperial- Alcohol Content 4.6%

Kate: Normal- I’ve drank so many of these it tastes like home
Benny: Generic, refreshing a go-to beer
Eryn: Light flavour-flav, great for a summers day, very nice for the ladies
Shaun: Good, reminds me of Lucky, drank a ton of these on this trip
Magda: Quality “America” beer, low booze, easy to slam, like a Mexican Corona.

 

 

P1030180Bohemia- Alcohol Content 4.3%

Kate: A little lighter, a little chemically, I would drink it if there was no Imperial
Benny: Watered down, light, bland, could drink all afternoon by the pool
Eryn: Like a watered down Imperial. Too light, not enough kick
Shaun: Tastes like crappy light beer. Not great, but I could pound a few
Magda: Crappy Imperial, no body Would be disappointing if you wanted a good beer, but OK if you were desperate.

 

P1030179Kaiser- Alcohol Content- Mysteriously Missing

Kate: Wow, water with a backsplash of…well actually nothing. It’s bubble water. Lack of alcohol content on can means it might in fact be club soda
Benny: Nasty, leaves a strange taste in my mouth, flat
Eryn: A “German Beer?” Not exciting at all, I’m burned with this beer. Gagable
Shaun: This beer is pretty bad. Reminds me of beer garden draft beer, smells funny too.
Magda: Beer of the King? These are getting worse. End of the night beer.

P1030173Bavaria- Alcohol Content: 5.0%

Kate: After the last one, this is great, but wouldn’t order it all the time. Needs to be cold.
Benny: Flavour punch, actually tastes like beer
Eryn: Punchier, I would drink a case of this. Still light, but good
Shaun: It’s not a bad, a little sweet but much better beer. I would drink it again.
Magda: Better, satisfying. I’m more committed to Imperial.

 

 

P1030174Bavaria Light- Alcohol Content: 3.4%

Kate: Yup, yup, I could drink this. Kate beer alert. Funny smell, but could be cause my glass it getting skanky.
Benny: A lighter version of the one before. A poolside beverage
Eryn: Not much to this one. Similar to Budweiser
Shaun: Pretty light, not much to it. Don’t waste your money on this beer.
Magda: eww, who drinks light beer. *note: an arrow has been written on page pointing at Kate*

 

P1030176Pilsen- Alcohol Content: 5.1%

Kate: Delicious. Hoppy but really drinkable. Would be best ice cold. At the moment I like it better then Imperial, but I go back and forth
Benny: Light and Crisp
Eryn: A medium beer, I like this one
Shaun: Good beer. Not the greatest, but good.
Magda: Bitter. 2nd choice after Imperial. Made us all start talking about Lucky Lager.

 

 

P1030175Bavaria Dark- Alcohol Content 5.0%

Kate: Dark, heavy, malt but actually much better then expected. Normally don’t like thick beers but this one is good. Might just be Imperial with food colouring.
Benny: Dark, caramel colour. Not a lot of flavour for a “dark” beer
Eryn: Nice colour, but I’m pretty sure there is a vampire behind us.
Shaun: Pretty Good, more of a pint beer not a hot day beer *note: this looked like “hot dog” beer, and no, no vampires attacked us”*
Magda: Amber colour, my fave. Like a Racerocks beer

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Imperial Silver- Alcohol Content: 4.6%

Kate: After so many beers, this just tastes like my glass is dirty. I know I like it though
Benny: Less intense than regular Imperial, light
Eryn: Less good then Imperial
Shaun:Good reminds me of a Corona. One of my favourite beers
Magda: What’s the point? They are all the same. The regular is better.

 

 

P1030172Imperial Light

Well, unfortunately after 8 light beers and a huge bowl of pico de gallo our palates just couldn’t handle anymore. Everything was starting to taste like dirty yeast water. So we called it and left one lone beer out of the taste test.

I can attest that Imperial Lights are my go-to beer here in Costa Rica, but I’m into the whole “light beer” thang. If you aren’t into light beer, you might share Magda’s sentiment of “What’s the point?!”

 

So there you have it, the very long conclusion of our Cervaza taste test. Costa Rica, the land of light beers. Where if you drink them all in a row, you begin to be suspect that they are all just the same thing  but in different cans.

What’s your favourite Costa Rican beer?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Travel Workouts Week 15- TRX and Kettlebells in Nosara

Ever since the Around the World Running Blog Relay began, I have been running like crazy. It’s been great motivation, but, as a result, my strength training routine has fallen by the wayside.

When I read about the TRX and Kettlebell class at the Wellness Centre in Guiones, I knew I would have to try it out.

P1030131As some of you may have read, I rocked a TRX class back in Tamarindo and loved it. The thought of adding kettlebells to the mix sounded amazing. It’s funny how having the opportunity to add actual weight to your routine is such a treat when you are travelling!

I arrived at my first class and was instantly delighted by the temperature of the room. It had been a HOT one in Nosara that week, and although the room didn’t have a/c, it was in the basement of the wellness centre and was nice and cool. I find sometimes classes with a/c can get too cold and aren’t ideal for working out, this room was great.

Our class was taught by Tinis, a gorgeous Tica surf instructor who really knows her stuff. The more classes I attended with Tinis, the more I came to really appreciate her teaching style. Technique is super important when working with TRX and Kettlebells, and she spent ample time making sure everyone in the class was rocking it. No matter whether it was your first time, or your fiftieth time, she had her eyes out to make sure no one hurt themselves. I was also amazed at how she could tailor the class to suit everyone’s goals and levels. She could balance teaching a new student the technique for kettlebell, while guiding others through a TRX routine, all the while, motivating all of us to push ourselves to get the most bang for our buck.

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Tinis teaches Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2pm. There is another class at 12:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays taught by someone else. Drop in is $10 for visitors and $5 for locals. Ten bucks is an awesome deal for this type of class, as you are guaranteed to get your money’s worth. 

I try and get most of my workouts done early in the morning or later in the afternoon when it isn’t as hot out. For those who are looking for a mid-day workout, this class is truly ideal. Doing a cardio class mid-day is not only exhausting, but  the intense heat here in Costa Rica could make it potentially dangerous. Tinis’ class is the perfect way to get in a great workout that is focused on getting stronger, feeling the burn, but without over exerting yourself.

So, if you are in the Nosara area, check out the TRX and Kettlebell class at the Wellness Centre. Tell them I sent you!

Want to learn more about TRX? Check out this article that Tinis is featured in!

Check out more recaps of my travel workouts here!

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress

Kaya Sol, Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica

We are constantly asked by travellers “Where is your favourite place that you’ve stayed?”

We’ve had all sorts of answers prior to this, and they tended to vary from day to day. But, after our experience in Nosara, we can safely say, “Kaya Sol!”

P1030317Kaya Sol has been on our radar since the start of the trip. It seemed that any time we mentioned Nosara to people they would recommend Kaya Sol. The further along in our trip we got, the more excited we got about our stay. So much so that we kept extending our booking and deciding to stay longer. By the time we arrived, we had decided we would be staying for 3 weeks.

This turned out to be a fabulous decision.

No matter what kind of traveller you are, Kaya Sol has an accommodation option that will work for you. They offer everything from hostels, and private rooms to apartments and houses. Oh did I mention a “real good time” is also included in your stay?

The hotel is located in the northern part of Playa Guiones. It’s about 200m from the beach and 40m from the local grocery store. There are several restaurants and coffee shops that are super close, and then its about a 10-15min to the heart of Guiones. That being said, once you are at Kaya Sol, you’ll find that there isn’t much need to leave.

I would describe Kaya Sol as an oasis. The property is deceivingly large, but built around P1030280the existing trees and greenery. You’re more likely to feel like you are in the a tranquil jungle then on the property of a hotel. The hub of Kaya Sol is their restaurant and pool area. Their pool is shaded, and includes a waterfall. The shade makes it nice and cool all day. It’s the perfect way to get away from the heat, which was regularly creeping over 40 degrees during our stay.

Although their amenities are great, it’s the people that truly make Kaya Sol amazing. We have, of course, already heard about Neal, the bartender, but the rest of the staff is just as wonderful and helpful. From Judy in reception to J.C and Emerson at the restaurant, everyone is there to make sure you are taken care of.

The bar

The bar

I can’t mention the restaurant without talking about their food. Seriously now, we had some epic meals while we were there. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and if I were you, I would partake in all three. Jorge knows his way around the kitchen and whips up some amazing food. My favourite was the chipotle platter. A veggie and rice dish in a miso cashew sauce with your choice of meat. Get it with brown rice and the fish of the day and you won’t be disappointed. Then there were the pancakes. Not just pancakes, but Eytl’s famous coconut, oatmeal, ginger pancakes! Don’t worry, there is a whole post on those coming later!

The restaurant offers live music two nights a week, as well as Trivia Night on Mondays. But regardless of what day of the week it is, there are always great people at the bar. We met so many wonderful people during our stay, including three girls from our hometown of Victoria, and one guy who helped us become Trivia Night champions on our last night (thanks Chris!). Despite the activity at the bar, everything winds down by 10, so you don’t need to worry about the noise. Nosara is all about getting up early for surf. Perfect for early birds like us.

Rocking the self-timer in one of our apartments

Rocking the self-timer in one of our apartments

The one tip I would give about Kaya Sol would be to book early! We stayed there for three weeks, but ended up switching rooms four times. It was actually really nice because we got to get a feel for the entire property. We stayed in a couple private rooms that had a bathroom and fridge, as well as full on apartments. Let me tell you, having our own kitchen AND kitchen table was a huge novelty!

So if you are looking a place to stay, or a place to eat, check out Kaya Sol in Nosara. Make sure you say hi to them from the “Zealanders!”

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter:@caketress