December for us is all about good food

Well it’s supposed to be the beginning of the dry season, I think it was a big lie this year. It has been raining almost every day since we got back from our visit to the States last month. The yard is nothing but a giant mud puddle making it tough to get things done around here. Besides that, this last week has been cold, especially for Belize. Heaters and fireplaces are pretty much unheard of down here, so all we can do is bundle up. The daytime temps have been in the 70ºs -80ºs but the nights are dropping down to the high 50ºs. One night it dropped down to 51º, and that was the coldest it’s been since we’ve been here. With this weather, there’s not a whole lot to do around here but stay inside and make some food.

Hot out of the oven, raspberry banana bread.

A friend of ours dropped off a couple of big stalks of bananas. We gave a bunch away and ate as many as we could before they started to get too ripe. Once they ripened, it was time for Kelley to make up some of her delicious raspberry banana bread. These make great gifts around the holidays and also an excellent breakfast.

A plate of Kelley’s sweet treats for Ruben and his family.

It wouldn’t seem like Christmas around here if Kelley didn’t make her holiday cookies. This year she made peppermint bark, ginger snaps, peanut brittle, red velvet cookies with a white Hershey kiss, and some Heath-type candy with our homegrown dark chocolate on top. She really cut back on the amount of treats this year as we are trying to both lose a little bit of weight.

Sea salt caramel squares and dried pineapple dipped in homegrown chocolate.

Back when our pineapples were ripe we ended up picking quite a few of them. We ate what we could, but we also dehydrated a bunch, and some of those got put in the freezer. We recently pulled a bag of vacuum-sealed dehydrated pineapples out of the freezer and there was no getting the pieces separated. Because they were sticky and compressed they would just not come apart. So we decided to cut them up into small little pieces and dip them in dark chocolate. We also made some sea salt caramels with dark chocolate. They both turned out very good.

Two big pans of dark chocolate ready to be poured into molds.

Word got out that we had our dark chocolate candy bars available. Well, we sold out of all 130 within a couple days, not what we expected. We are in the process of making more now, but they won’t be ready for another week. The good thing is that we still have another 15 pounds or so of dried cacao beans from earlier this year. Plus the trees are loaded and we should start picking again shortly. Making and growing chocolate was never something that we thought we’d be doing, but you never know where life will take you.

Summer sausages all wrapped up and ready to go.

The holidays are here and that meant it was time for us to make our summer sausage again. The first batch sold out before it was even out of the smoker. So far we’ve made twenty 1½ lb. sticks, last year we ended up making around 75 of them. In the past, we started making them around Thanksgiving, but this year we got a late start, so not sure we’ll be making any more this year. Well, there was a big request for more, so we called up our butcher and are making another batch in time for New Year’s.

Kelley linking up some Italian sausage.

Since the weather has not been so great we decided that it was a good time to restock our meat supply. In December alone we made close to 200 lbs. of sausage and bacon, which 3/4 of that has already been sold. So far this year we have processed close to 1,000 lbs. of meat. This could probably turn into a full-time thing if we wanted it to, but for now, we are just doing it as a hobby when we feel like it.

Irish whiskey, green beer, and corned beef makes everybody Irish for a day.

Now is the time we need to start processing corned beef for St. Patty’s Day. We will put all our other meats on hold for a while because the corned beef takes up space and time in the fridge while it is curing. Last year we made up around 30 corned beef that were between 3-5 lbs. each and they were gone instantly. As far as I know, we’re the only ones around making corned beef. It takes our butcher time to get us the right size briskets we are looking for. So he has started rounding them up now for us so we can get them processed in time for St. Patty’s Day.

Nice char on the outside and med/rare in the middle. It just looks more raw than it really was.

Last month we picked up a beautiful prime rib roast from our butcher. After he got it all trimmed up it weighed in around 17 lbs. which was still a little more than we wanted. So he cut this big 2 lb. steak off the end to make it more the size Kelley was looking for. After all was said and done he ended up giving us the steak that he cut off for free. We grilled that steak and it was probably the best most flavorful steak we have had in Belize yet. The prime rib roast has been sitting in the fridge for the past few weeks aging and waiting for Christmas Day. Hopefully, it will turn out as good or better than the steak that came off the end of it.

The prime rib roast is vacuum sealed and sitting in the fridge for a few weeks until Christmas Day.

The cayenne peppers that we had fermenting were finally ready to grind up into a nice pepper sauce. We have made this before, but this is the first time in a couple of years, only because we haven’t grown cayennes recently. It turned out really flavorful, with a little sweetness from the peppers and some pretty good heat. There was also a small jar of heatless habaneros that were fermenting. They have all the flavor of habaneros, but there is no heat. It’s interesting because you taste habaneros and you are waiting for the burn, but there is none.

Seven bottles of cayenne pepper sauce and one bottle of heatless habanero.

Ron & Rhonda now live in Placencia and are busy putting the finishing touches on their new home. They will be joining us for a few days at our place over Christmas weekend. When they got here Saturday we made up some lobster chowder served with sourdough bread. Then Christmas Eve we are having some friends over for a fish fry with some of the fish we caught last time we were in Placencia. Last but not least, is the Christmas Day prime rib roast. Amanda and Ron & Rhonda will join us on Christmas Day for prime rib and all the fixings. If all this doesn’t get us in a food coma, I don’t know what will.

Rhonda, Ron, Amanda, Dave and Kelley wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

Here’s wishing everyone a Merry Christmas from Belize.


5 thoughts on “December for us is all about good food”

  1. I’m salivating just reading your message! 😋😋🫶. Not much happening here in Desert Hills (Phoenix). We haven’t been to Cholla Bay since they closed Lukeville 🫣🤯. We’re heading down after Christmas, in the process of buying Kim & Brads old house! 👏🏼👍🏼🥳🎉🥂🥂. Will sell our bay house after the dust settles 🤞🏼🤞🏼😂. Merry Christmas y’all 🎄🥂🎅🏼🫶

  2. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ❤️💚❤️💚

    Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo 🎊🎈🎉

    From the 4 Aces 😁🇲🇽😁

  3. Looks like you guys are extremely busy, I wish we were close , we live corned beef, and all of your other delicacies.

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