What a little bird taught me

Hello and happy New Year!


Do you know the expression “free as a bird”? Well, that’s the case for our daily visitors.

My mom loves wild birds, so she has a bird feeder in the backyard. It is like a big plate where she puts very ripe bananas (otherwise our guests won’t eat them; talk about picky eaters!) and seeds. We see different sorts of birds all year round: the Yigüirro (Clay-colored Thrush – Turdus grayi) Costa Rica’s national bird, it is a plain looking bird, but has a lovely song; Great Kiskadees (Pitangus sulphuratus), Inca Doves (columbina inca) and White Winged Doves (zenaida asiatica). My favourite to watch are the  Blue Tanagers (Thraupis episcopus) because of their colour and the fact that they have a partner for life amazes me, and our tiniest and funniest visitors, the Rufous-collared Sparrows (zonotrichia capensis).

All of them come and go as they please, so several times a day we get serenaded by them; on occasions it’s like they form an ensemble. Listening to their melodies makes me appreciate that I can hear.

I usually can’t tell them apart (between their own species), but there is one in particular that I have. I noticed that he [yes, it strikes me as a he] stayed in the wall waiting for all to finish eating and when they were gone, he’d come down to eat what was left (if there was anything). He flapped his wings to keep his balance when he was bending over to reach for the seeds; then I observed he was missing one leg. I started paying attention for the moment when the majority of birds would leave, so I could take out and serve a bunch of seeds just for him. Then I would look for a spot where I could watch over him, to make sure he would eat. As I watched closely, I was able to observe that he did have his leg, but he wouldn’t put it down; I also noticed that another sparrow would appear from the bushes, eat beside him but mainly stayed on the lookout.

Pajarito come maíz Costa Rica

Something must have happened to this little guy and he didn’t give up, he didn’t wallow in self-pity in his nest, and I bet he didn’t complain to his family and friends. He adapted and carried on with his life.

Many months have passed and I have watched him improve; and I know this because when I thought he had disappeared for a while, he actually hadn’t. He comes with two sparrow friends at the same time with the rest of the birds; I spotted him because I saw a little bird standing in two legs, with a foot with no toes picking seeds off  the ground.

My little friend reminded me of this passage:

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)

Do not worry













God has His ways of working and He will provide, just have Faith!


I wish  you a year filled with joy and hope!



Life is brimming with possibilities

Life is brimming with possibilities

Image © A Lovely Little Tumblr

Today is my birthday! 🙂

I find it that birthdays are like New Year’s, you reflect on where you are in life and what you’d like to achieve; to remember the vision you have for your life. It is also a great time to put yourself, your plans and dreams in the hands of God and ask for His guidance and blessings.

So here’s to a new year, full of possibilities! Happy day everyone! 🙂



Patacones (Fried Green Plantains)

Patacones - Domingos Gourmet

While I was studying in Scotland, some of my classmates and I organized an International Party, as we were 90 students from 22 different countries and wanted to celebrate the convergence of cultures. The agreement was that we all had to wear the typical dress (or an approximation of it) and bring a traditional dish.

I was debating on whether to prepare something sweet like Arroz con Leche (rice pudding) or something savoury; but once I discovered that the newly opened Morrisons was carrying green plantains, I knew right away that I had to make patacones (a.k.a. tostones) with refried beans.


Patacones for Intl Dinner Party - Domingos Gourmet

 For the party, I made a little sign explaining what they were; since at a previous gathering I had only brought the mashed beans and they were mistaken first with chocolate. Imagine people’s faces when I dipped a Doritos chip into the bowl… haha! Once I had explained what they were, and people ventured to try them, the beans were a hit! Some classmates remained glued to the bowl until they were was nothing left! 😉 So when I brought the beans with the plantains, the recently converted refried beans fans knew they were in for a treat!

For the attires, it was lovely to see many of my friends all dressed-up. For the dishes, it was incredible to taste so many flavours! The mix of all the colours made everything look bright and cheery!

Now, on to the recipe! I kindly had the assistance of my mom; she was patient enough to do the process slowly and stopped for me to take pictures. Thanks! 😉


Patacones (fried green plantains)


Green Plantain

Canola Oil



Place a large pan on medium heat with oil.

Take the plantain, chop off the tips; run off a knife lengthwise to cut the husk (do not go over to the flesh); help yourself with the knife to separate it from the flesh and then you may use your hands. Peel it completely. [On a side note, be careful with the husk not to touch for clothes for it may stain]

Peeling Plantains - Domingos Gourmet

Cut 1 inch-thick (aprox 3cm) slices. Repeat this process with as many plantains to complete the portions that you would like to have. We estimated you get an average of 8 slices per plantain.

Cutting Patacones disks - Domingos Gourmet

With one of the slices, carefully check if the oil has heated enough; if it starts sizzling just as you place the slice, then it is ready to place the rest.

Patacones in pan - Domingos Gourmet

Cook for about 3 minutes; flip them over; they should be yellow.

Flip patacones - Domingos Gourmet

Take them out onto a chopping board and with the help of a cup or a glass; press the slices to flatten them out (about 1cm-thick) and make disks. *Tip* If you are having a party, you may make them ahead up until this step and store them in the fridge (or even freezer). Then once your guests have arrived, just continue with the rest of the steps.

Making Plantain disks - Domingos Gourmet

Once you have done this with all, return them to the pan (by batches) and fry them until golden on each side.

Second fry Patacones - Domingos Gourmet

Remove from the pan and place them on a surface with kitchen towels to drain off the excess oil. Sprinkle with salt; serve warm. Best enjoyed with refried beans!

Patacones con frijoles molidos - Domingos Gourmet

Costa Rica – Five Years in the Making

I recently shared with you my story on touring Costa Rica. Now I’ve invited Bekah to share her own experience!


I’m writing this as I drink a cup of Britt coffee that was brought back to the USA. For over five years my sister and I planned our Costa Rican holiday, thinking about what we wanted to do and where we could stay, mostly consisting of drinking coffee and time at the beach. Over those five years we have both been fortunate to travel around the world because of our university studies and have some great adventures, but Costa Rica was always a country we talked about going to.

Fate always has an interesting way of bringing people into our lives. I met Bella while studying in Glasgow, Scotland and can still remember the first time we spoke. She walked right up, put her hand out to say hello, and said she was from Costa Rica! Not only was she one of the sweetest people I had met in Scotland, so far, she also had an unusual candy with her that I later found out was a “coffee chew.” I was going to like this girl, she was Costa Rican AND that coffee flavored, chewy candy was amazing!

Well fast forward to May 2014, my sister and I were able to get to Costa Rica and spend time with Bella. There are always a dozen things that can be discussed after a trip to another country. But I’m going to talk about three main parts: the Sights, the Food and the People.


Teatro Nacional


The Sights

We began in San José, the capital of Costa Rica. Bella was a fantastic tour guide, showing us around the city centre and throughout all of San José. We spent a day touring the museums and understanding more of the culture of Costa Rica.


Volcanoes are not something I had given much thought to in the past and I certainly never thought I would walk on one. Volcano Irazú is just out side of San José so that was a stop we had to make. How fantastic?! Just walking about and taking a picture of something so powerful.



After San José, my sister and I ventured further west on our own. We were able to spend several days in Monteverde. Taking advantage of all we could, we packed in a zip line tour, day hike, tree climb, and coffee, chocolate and sugar cane tour! If you are ever fortunate to get to Monteverde, pack it all in. The amazing sights and sounds of the rain forest, to the smells and tastes of fresh coffee is magical.



Sunset at Tamarindo

The last leg of our journey took us to Tamarindo, where we met back up with Bella. What else could we do at a beach other than surf, swim and relax? That is exactly what we did. An afternoon surf lesson was unforgettable. Not only did we learn to surf, but we were reminded of some life lessons.

“Get outside of your comfort zone”

“Always look forward, never look behind you or around, or else you will lose your balance.”

“Head up and shoulders square, take it straight on.”

“Don’t forget to breathe.”

Costa Rica has beautiful beaches and we certainly enjoyed them, even while falling off a surf board.



 left: picadillo de papa; center: patacones with frijoles molidos; right: chorreada


The Food

Now, seeing as this is a food blog, we have to talk about the food right?! I am not going to attempt correctly naming all of the delicious food and coffee that we had. But I am going to say the fresh fruit is amazing, meals are fantastic and coffee is heavenly. When I got back to Texas, a friend asked me if the coffee was really “that good.” I realized, yes the coffee is “that good,” but more importantly, it is good everywhere.   Whether at a nice restaurant or a small hole-in-the-wall café, you can get a great cup of coffee everywhere.


We knew it was going to be a good trip, filled with great food when we were met with cupcakes from Bella on the first day! A great way to start, and we enjoyed them! Another one of my favorites, while in Costa Rica, was the black beans and rice with cheese for breakfast. Along with scrambled eggs, you have a full meal to start the day; which we needed for all of the long days of seeing Costa Rica.



The People

What really makes a place special, in my opinion, is the people. When you are on a trip with people you love, everything works out. Being able to see Bella again, after almost two years, was worth the whole trip. And then to be able to see her family again, visit new places and surf for the first time, just was icing on the cake. I already miss Costa Rica but hopefully I will go back again.


A Tourist In My Own Country

Last month God gave me a huge gift: One of my dearest friends in the world, Bekah, and her sister Lis came for a visit! Or make it two; He gave me the time to go on vacations with them!

They gave me the news a few months ago and kindly welcomed my suggestions of things to do and see (it was quite a list!). After much anticipation, we were able to spend several and wonderful days together!

The first few days we explored downtown San José by foot, visited museums and landmarks [while I was writing this post I found these walking tour guides. Apparently I did my job well as we visited many! One of those was the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, picture below].

Museo de Oro Precolombino - DomingosGourmet


Who knew you could have fun at the museum?!

The thing is, I can’t remember when was the last time I had visited one in Costa Rica; but being ‘all grown up’ and becoming interested in learning about cultures, and after travelling around Europe and visiting museums there, I now saw everything with other eyes and really appreciated what was on display. It also felt differently as I was playing ‘tour guide’ for my friends and had to dust off my memory on history to elaborate more on a certain event, place or a person portrayed in a picture, painting or statue.

Despite our rainy season had already started, we were very blessed to enjoy “very fine weather” (with the voice of Margaret Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, 1995) so we were out and about all day! It also favoured us Sunday morning as we went to a botanical garden and drove up to Irazú, one of our 100+ volcanoes.

orchid at Lankester - DomingosGourmet


Feeling adventurous

The following day, the girls left for Monteverde, a Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and I was able to join them halfway through the journey to the beach! We went to Tamarindo, Guanacaste. I had never been there, or perhaps I was too little to remember.

We also visited two neighbouring beaches: Playa Langosta and Playa Grande, all part of Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas, a marine national park famous for being a nesting site for leatherback turtles; which I thought would be a cool place for Lis to visit, as she’s interested in Marine Biology; though unfortunately, it wasn’t nesting time… well, that gives us an excuse for coming back!

Tamarindo is also well known for a sport: surfing! As we were feeling adventurous, we decided to take our first lesson! We had a great instructor, a Canarian, Marketer too, who’s greatest passions are surfing and people. He’s here on a sabbatical. Funny how you learn about people while you’re travelling!

Sure, I fell off a thousand times and got tossed by the waves, but I also managed to stand and ride a few! yay! 🙂 More importantly, I had a lot of fun and made new memories! 😀

We each left with life lessons too, mine was: “Never look down; always face where you want to go”

Tamarindo - DomingosGourmet


What happens when you go on a trip with a foodie friend?

Well, I made them taste as much food as I could! Not in quantity, but in variety.

Tamarindo Cas Horchata - DomingosGourmet

Beverages: Coffee! (of course), Coconut water (Agua de Pipa, very refreshing), Tamarindo, Cas (family of guayaba, guava), Horchata (made from rice) [Last 3 pictured above].

Fruits: cas (picture below), papaya, granadilla.


Salty: Patacones (fried plantain, salty), fried beans, yucca (cassava) chips, chorreada, picadillo de papa, rosquillas, pejibayes, shrimp ceviche and fish ceviche.

Sweet: Maduros (fried ripe plantain, sweet), cajeta, mango chips, guava paste, empanaditas de chiverre, tanelas (typical from Guanacaste), Torta Chilena (like a Mille Feuille with dulce de leche filling), and one of the things they liked best: Churchill or Granizado (shaved ice with syrup and condensed milk).

I’m sure I’m missing a few things on that list…


Though it wasn’t originally my idea to post recipes for typical Costa Rican food, now I’d like to share with you some, from the things I made them try. Stay tuned!


Chiverre Hand Pies (Empanaditas de Chiverre)

Empanadas de Chiverre - Domingos Gourmet

How was Easter? I hope you enjoyed your time with your family!


I would like to tell you about Easter or Holy Week in Costa Rica. We have a strong Spanish influence (due to colonial times) on our Easter celebrations. There are processions that re-enact events and sometimes they carry around plaster images to remind us of things. But my family doesn’t keep that tradition; we don’t like large crowds (though I believe we can blame a pair of charol shoes, a terrible heat, and hurting feet of a little girl many years ago).

We do attend though Mass on Thursday, which reminds of the Last Supper and the institution of Eucharist. On Friday we follow the Via Crucis from Rome (via TV) and pray at 3pm. On Saturday we participate at the Paschal Vigil (Easter Vigil). This one is our favourite (though it’s quite long) and Mass on Sunday.

We like the Vigil as it initiates with the church having the lights off and they light up the main candle from the altar, in an act that symbolizes how light dissipates darkness. And from that candle, the light is passed on to all of us; a visual representation that there are times when we are in the shadows and when we have contact with someone who is illuminated by the Holy Spirit, we are enlightened as well and then we share it with others.

A long time ago, people were not supposed/allowed to do things like washing, cleaning the house, even taking a bath or go to river/beach (which meant entertainment) during this week. It was supposed to be a time for being still and meditate. And for that, they spread a lot of myths, like if you bathed in the sea, you would turn into a mermaid. But times have changed, a lot of people flee to the beach (as it is always during our “Summer” a.k.a. dry season) or fly off to another country.

Back in the day, people made food in advance so women wouldn’t even cook during this week. Therefore, they prepared things that would last for the week. To date, people in small towns keep preparing traditional meals.

Of those, what I do know how to prepare are the “Empanadas de Chiverre” which I believe people call them hand pies in English. The filling is made of Chiverre, which is like a giant squash and requires an extremely long preparation (baked for hours, then cut, mixed with sugarcane sweet and made into a marmalade). I just skip all of that and buy the marmalade, then make the dough, fill, close and bake them.

We make them small (so there are more! 😀 ) and they never last long enough to count them. I think next time I’ll take note while they are in the oven! [Update: when my family realized I posted the recipe, they asked if I could make some! I counted 85 this time; I used a 7cm-diameter cutter with a 1/16” (2mm) thick dough.]


If you ever come to Costa Rica, buy the marmalade (or order online) and make these! Then let me know!! 🙂




Salty Flaky Dough



4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

½ cup lukewarm water



In a bowl sift the flour add the salt and mix. Cut the butter in cubes and use a pastry blender or a fork. Once all is blended and has a sand consistency, gradually pour the water, to bind all the ingredients. Work the dough and shape into a ball. Separate, flatten out and make 2 disks; wrap with plastic. Place on the fridge and let cool for at least 1 hour.

When it is ready, transfer to a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin and extend to desired width and cut into desired shape.


Source: Olga de Trejos. (1989). La cocina práctica. Segunda edición. San José: Editorial Costa Rica.



Empanadas de Chiverre


Salty Flaky Dough

Chiverre marmalade

yield: 80+



For the empanadas, roll out the dough to 1/6″ (4mm), or 1/16” (2mm) thick. Use a round cutter; we use a 2-5/8 inch (7cm) diameter, but that is rather small; a good size would be 3¼-inch (8cm). Place the filling in the center, fold in half and close with a fork (press around the edge). Bake at 300ºF for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Proceso Empanadas de Chiverre - Domingos Gourmet

[Updates: Photographs and yield count].



Pasta para Empanaditas de Chiverre

Empanadas de Chiverre - Domingos Gourmet-2


¿Qué tal pasaron la Semana Santa? Espero que todos hayan tenido un tiempo muy agradable con sus familias y/o amigos.


Cuando era niña en esta época solíamos ir a acampar en la playa con mi familia paterna; era un tiempo en que compartíamos con todos los primos. Lo que recuerdo bien es que a las 3pm del Viernes Santo todo se detenía; no podíamos ir a nadar, ni jugar, nada; todos debíamos rezar el Rosario.

Ya de adolescente empezamos a quedarnos en casa. Recuerdo una ocasión en particular. Esa vez disfrutamos de sentarnos todos, mi papá incluido, a ver las películas. Nuestra rutina diaria consistía de sentarnos a ver películas y comer empanaditas de chiverre. Cuando estas se terminaban, bajábamos a hacer más y cuando estaban listas, seguíamos con otra película.

Aunque ya no seguimos esa rutina (la programación ha cambiado y las películas son prácticamente las mismas todos los años) todavía disfrutamos de hacer (y comer 😉 ) las tan esperadas empanaditas. Asimismo, ahora participamos de algunas actividades de la Iglesia, como la celebración de la institución del Sacerdocio y la Eucaristía (Jueves) y la Vigilia Pascual (Sábado) y la Misa del Domingo de Resurrección. No asistimos a las procesiones porque no nos gustan las aglomeraciones (aunque creo que la culpa la tienen unos zapatos de charol, el terrible calor de un pueblito y unos piecitos adoloridos de una niñita hace muchísimos años).

Volviendo a las empanaditas, debo admitir que nosotros tenemos una versión semi-hecha en casa. Hay gente valiente que todavía hace todo el proceso de alistar el chiverre, pero esos no somos nosotros; compramos el jarrito de conserva. Por lo que la receta que les comparto es de la pasta; la cual se puede usar para muchos otros rellenos.

Las empanaditas las hacemos pequeñas (así hay más 😀 ) y nunca han durado lo suficiente como para lograr contar a ver cuántas salen. Creo que la próxima vez tomaré nota mientras están en el horno. [Actualización: las hice de nuevo y conté aproximadamente 85 con cortador de 7cm diámetro y grosor de pasta de 2mm]


¡Que las disfruten!


Pasta salada quebradiza


4 tazas de harina

1 cdta de sal

1 taza de mantequilla (2 barritas)

½ taza de agua tibia



En un recipiente se cierne la harina, agregar la sal y revolver. Parta la mantequilla en cubitos y pique usando un estribo o un tenedor. Una vez que se haya mezclado todo y tenga una consistencia arenosa, vierta el agua a poquitos. Amase y forme una bola. Separe y aplane en 2 discos, envuélvalos con plástico adhesivo. Coloque la masa en la refrigeradora y deje enfriar, como mínimo 1 hora.


Cuando esté lista, saque de la refrigeradora a una superficie enharinada, aplane con el rodillo hasta darle el grosor deseado y corte en forma deseada.


Fuente: Olga de Trejos. (1989). La cocina práctica. Segunda edición. San José: Editorial Costa Rica.


Empanaditas de Chiverre



Conserva de Chiverre

Rinde: 80+



Para las empanaditas, use un cortador redondo. Se coloca el relleno en el centro, se doblan a la mitad y se cierran con un tenedor. Se pueden hornear a 300ºF (~150ºC) de 10 a 15 minutos (o hasta que empiecen a dorar). Luego se colocan en una rejilla para enfriar y ¡listo!

Proceso Empanadas de Chiverre - Domingos Gourmet

¿Qué costumbres tienen para esa época? ¿Recuerdan alguna anécdota relacionada con Semana Santa?


For the recipe in English, please find it here!