Las Floras de Cozumel – 5

More beautiful flowers from Cozumel. These are really unusual. I saw them in both the pink here and also in white.

Mas Comidas de Cozumel

We sampled many delicious meals while in Cozumel. We tried to go to a different restaurant everyday, although we did go back to the same ones a couple of times, more out of convenience (either after a night dive or for breakfast) a couple of times.

One day after a short 2-tank day of diving, we rented a fun vehicle and went cruising around the island. I won’t exactly call it a car, but it was fun. We nicknamed it our banana bug.

During the busy travel times (pre-COVID), there would be up to 10 cruise ships docking in Cozumel daily. This time we saw about 10 total. This was our view from our hotel window.

One of the stops we made was at Mr. Sancho’s, a fun little day beach club that is a frequent stop for cruise ships. They offered a little bit of everything from shopping to horseback riding to beach activities, and of course a lot of good food and drinks.

Follow the footsteps to the beach and to the food.

I just love all this attention to detail. This beautiful tiled piece of art was on the floor at Mr. Sancho’s.

The aqua playground. We would pass this daily from the other side, on the boats taking us to some of our dive destinations.

And now the food.

Rich ordered ceviche everywhere we went. He became quite the ceviche connoisseur.

The rest of us ordered different kinds of tacos and nachos. We had chicken and shrimp tacos that were just loaded with meat. !Delicioso!

Our tableside view. I could easily get used to this.

Relax and enjoy the simple life. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.

Statues on the Streets

Yesterday, I posted on the street art found on the island or Isla de Cozumel. The Walls Are Speaking Not all of the street art is painted on the walls though. So much of the art is also presented in fun statues that are scattered all over the island as well. No matter what form the street art comes in, it tells the story of life in Cozumel.

A lot of people are unaware that Cozumel also has some Mayan ruins, though most of the Mayan ruins are found on the mainland. The ruins are found in the central part of the island at San Gervasio. Out of all the Mayan ruin sites, San Gervasio is the only one that pays homage to the goddesses rather than to the gods. These are statues honoring the goddess of fertility.

Now for some fun stuff we discovered.

As you can see we all survived our shark attacks.

It’s a good thing there was a turtle rehab center close by. This poor turtle needs some serious help.

Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is a big tradition in Mexico, and it is reflective in a lot of the artwork as well. This art style is very popular all throughout Mexico.

Larry found my replacement.

Enjoy the art and enjoy your day. Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Las Floras de Cozumel – 4

There are so many flowers or floras found all over Cozumel. I had to capture as many of them as I could with my camera. I love sharing them with all of you as well. These are bougainvillea. They are so brightly colored and come in a wide array of colors too. We had a huge bougainvillea tree in my backyard where I grew up. They are found anywhere tropical.

The Walls Are Speaking

Back to Cozumel, well at least figuratively, though I would love to be back literally too. Cozumel is my happy place.

I told you awhile ago that I had a lot of good stuff from Cozumel, but I put it on hold for a bit because of our company from California and our fun reunion activities and adventures. Sadly, everyone has now gone home though. But, I can still share a lot of fun things with you from Cozumel. I would love to share my pictures from underwater with you, but unfortunately my underwater camera died on my second day of diving and I haven’t had the time to see if any of the pictures I took are salvageable yet either. So instead I will share some of the fun and colorful artwork from Cozumel. The walls are speaking.

Life in Cozumel is full of vibrant colors. Lots and lots of colors. It is very welcoming and fun for everyone. There is a lot of street art everywhere you go too. Street art is becoming very popular everywhere. I think it is fun and very creative. I enjoy seeing it everywhere I go. Most of the street art in Cozumel tells a story of life on the island.

The dog decided to photo bomb this picture. Dogs are always welcome. 🙂

Even the restaurants feature the local arts to tell their story. This is the art of one of the many restaurants where we dined. I must have been really hungry though, which must have made me slip a bit. I was focused on eating and not taking pictures. This was at Paprika. We all had a fabulous meal, but I don’t have any pictures to prove it, so I guess that means you will just have to take my word on it. 🙂

I did however have some of my priorities set, since I did manage to remember to take a picture of my sangria. It was so cool and refreshing.

!Desfruita! There is still a lot more to see from beautiful, colorful Cozumel. Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Moroccan Spiced Lamb

,Morocco, just like many Middle Eastern countries is famous for using many different and exotic spices when cooking. They are all so aromatic and layered with many levels of flavors. Moroccan food is not spicy in the typical sense where we think of it as being HOT, but it is spicy in that a wide variety of spices are used. This must-have spice mix in the Moroccan canon typically consists of more than a dozen ingredients. Among the more popular ones are cardamom, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, allspice, dry ginger, chili peppers, coriander seed, peppercorn, sweet and hot paprika, fenugreek, and turmeric. For those of you unfamiliar with Moroccan food, it is similar to Indian food, and many of the same spices are used, but it is a much milder version. Both are delicious and will be an exotic adventure for your tastebuds. But if you are a bit hesitant about the heat from Indian foods, maybe Moroccan is the best choice, at least for starters.

Because we were celebrating two birthdays, I let the birthday girls decide what they wanted me to prepare. Priscilla loves lamb, so lamb it was. I also cooked chicken for those who are not lamb lovers. I was inspired by a recipe I had seen for Moroccan spiced lamb, so that became the theme for the party. Old Friends Are The Best Friends

I used the same marinade for both the chicken and the lamb and let them set for about 8 hours before cooking. I made a marinade rather than a rub this time, which also acted as a meat tenderizer. Obviously I was cooking a lot of meat, so I doubled my recipe.

Moroccan Spiced Lamb

2-3 lbs lamb roast (or chicken)

1 TBSP garlic

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp mint

1 tsp cardamon

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar – I used my Sicilian Lemon Balsamic vinegar

1 TBSP lemon juice

Combine everything together and mix well, then pour over the meat and marinate for at least 3-4 hours, or up to overnight.

Originally Larry was going to smoke all the meat, and when he pulls out the smoker, he smokes a lot of meat. So we had the pork loin as well. Not long after he started the smoker though, he ran out of pellets, so we put everything on the grill instead.

Lamb is always best when it is a nice medium rare. It was cooked to perfection, and it was so tender and moist. It was a huge it with everyone.

Because we had so much food (no one will EVER go hungry at my house), I have quite a bit of lamb leftover, so we will be eating it for a few more meals yet to come. That is perfectly OK with me though since it was delicious.

Enjoy your days. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.

The Elks of Estes

Estes Park is a little mountain town about 1-1 1/2 hours northwest of us. It has become quite the tourist attraction for many reasons. It is home to the Stanley Hotel, built in 1903 by the founder of the Stanley Steamer cars, F.O., Stanley. The hotel has become famous for being one of the most haunted hotels in America, as well as for being a beautiful and luxurious hotel from the bygone past.

Larry is posing with F.O. Stanley in front of the hotel.

Estes Park is also full of unique specialty shops that attract many tourists from the world over. But I think some of the main tourist attractions of the area are the magnificent mountain views, and of course, the many many elk that take over the town, especially during rooting season, which is now.

We were channeling the elks to come pay us a visit.

We took our guests up to Estes Park in hopes of seeing all of the above, and that we did, in abundance. Most of the elk we saw were hanging out at the golf course today, although some were a bit more shy, and preferred to be communing more with nature under the shade of the hilled trees just above. As beautiful and spectacular as the Stanley Hotel is, we were all far more excited about seeing the elk.

They were not phased in the slightest by the throngs of spectators watching them.

All of these beautiful does and calves were under the watchful protection of one HUGE big 12-point bull.

For the most part, he was watching from a safe distance, allowing them them to have their space. However, he got closer and closer, especially as soon as sensed a bit of danger, as well as a competitor in another bull. The other bull was much smaller, but he was younger. The big guy started getting a little testy and was actually getting a bit aggressive with some of the spectators. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but it was definitely a warning for us to stay back and to keep our distance, especially since the two bulls were staring each other down and we all sensed a fight was brewing.

Had it come to blows, I think the large bull would have easily won, but the smaller bull was still testing the waters a bit.

We definitely had a great elk show. Everyone was awed and amazed. We even heard the big bull bugling a few times. He was letting everyone know he was in charge and he was the boss. Who am I to argue? He certainly had a commanding presence.

Stay safe, especially when communing with nature and wild animals, and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Some Colorado Flowers

Since my besties from junior high school and high school were in town for a Colorado Girls’ weekend, Old Friends Are The Best Friends I am going to share a few Colorado flowers with you. After our Middle Eastern Feast, we spent the next day up in Estes Park. Here are some fun and colorful flowers from Estes Park.

Live life to the fullest and always do your best to enjoy your days.

Old Friends Are The Best Friends

Vacation is over and all our company left this morning. Now it is time to get back to normal life again, whatever that means. 🙂

I have so much good stuff to share with you, but as you all know, I like to pace it out a bit, and keep your interest peaked rather than bombard you with a blasting of posts. I will come back to my Cozumel trip later, but I would rather share our adventures from the weekend now.

I had three of my besties from junior high school and high school over for a little, mini reunion. Priscilla, you all know. She only lives 10 minutes away from me, here in Colorado. But Leslie and Andrea are new to you. We have all remained very close throughout the years, and we just picked up right where we left off. Andrea and Leslie both came in from Southern California. We also included mine and Priscilla’s friend Laura for the adventures. She was an honorary “Marshallite” for this weekend.

Yes, we have all been around the sun a few times, but I think we have all aged well, like a good bottle of wine. 🙂 We were celebrating both Leslie’s and Priscilla’s birthdays.

The Marshallites: Andrea, Jeanne, Priscilla, Leslie

Andrea flew in on Thursday, and as soon as we picked her up from the airport, Larry and I took her to our favorite local winery, InVINtions. A Toast to InVINtions! After doing some tastings, we came home for beef stroganoff, that was requested by Andrea for dinner.

For the big birthday bash, I prepared a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean feast, with Moroccan spiced lamb and chicken as the main focus. Before the lamb and chicken though, we started off with some dolmas, a mixture of olives, and pita bread and hummus. Then I added in some homemade falafels Falafels and Tahini Sauce, a roasted vegetable salad with a rosemary vinaigrette Roasted Pepper and Mushroom Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette, couscous, and baklava and date and coconut squares for dessert. I do need to correct this however. I should say I INTENDED to make couscous for dinner, but I got a little distracted, and it never made it to the dinner table this night. And Laura must have thought we were all going to starve, so she brought a Capresi salad over as well.

I did not make either the baklava or the coconut and date squares this time around. Can I make baklava? Yes, but why should I when the baklava from Mumtaz is already perfectly made and is so excellent! 🙂 Mediterranean Mumtaz

After very full tummies, we all sat around and reminisced and visited for the rest of the evening, as well as for the rest of the weekend. It was so good catching up with some of my oldest and dearest friends. Sadly, we all lead very busy lives, and we just don’t get a chance to all gather together very often. They are so special to me in so many ways. We all share a lot of happy and fun memories together. This is what the good life is all about. Love you Girls! 🙂