Good eats & cool critters

You know by now that we like food and are always trying something new. Well, this week we made cabbage chips in the dehydrator. We sprinkled half with our homegrown habanero salt and the other with garlic salt and pepper. They were crispy, spicy and didn’t at all taste like cabbage. We try to eat healthy with all the fresh fruit and veggies around here and this is a great alternative to potato chips. Besides a small bag of Lay’s potato chips down here is around $10 BZ.

Spicy cabbage chips, definitely worth making again.

We’ve been doing everything with our variety of chili peppers, from eating them fresh, roasting them, and dehydrating them. Recently we fermented a bunch of cayenne’s and made a red chili sauce with salt and garlic. It turned out pretty good, plus we ended up with a bottle of spicy chili vinegar from what was leftover from the fermentation. The jar in the middle of the picture has orange habaneros and a few carrots in it. They are still fermenting for a few more weeks before they become a very spicy habanero hot sauce.

Different peppers from the garden.

Speaking of peppers, we made some lobster-filled jalapeño poppers, along with some portabella mushroom, swiss cheeseburgers.  It was a test run for the new griddle we had made, and it worked out great! And by the way, lobster-filled jalapeños were excellent! Since we are on a roll preparing lobster in different ways, we also made some lobster rolls on a grilled buttered bun. When life gives you lobsters, you need to enjoy them in as many ways as you can.

Mushroom swiss cheeseburger and lobster cream cheese jalapenos.

This week we experimented making deli-ham, the kind you would get in the deli section sliced for sandwiches. First of all, it’s very different from the smoked ham that we’ve made before. Deli meats such as ham, roast beef and turkey don’t come straight from the animal in the size and shape you see in the deli counter. All those meats are manufactured to the same size by using a Transglutaminase (Meat Glue). It’s an enzyme that bonds proteins. It is used on all types of meats, such as making sure your bacon stays wrapped on that filet to bonding scallops together before slicing for portion control.

The pork being bonded together.

So here’s how the ham experiment went. First of all the “Meat Glue” worked like magic, bonding the pieces together to form a single piece of meat. Of course, this has our minds spinning on what else we can use it for. After the brining, poaching and then soaking in water before being sliced, we thought it was just a little drier than deli ham. It was still very good and tastes like ham, but next time I think we will try injecting it to see if it comes out a little more moist. Overall the experiment was a success and once we eat all this we’ll give it another go.

You can see the different color of the meat where they bonded together.

Well, the new outdoor shower is done, the deck has been stripped and refinished, the AC has been moved and some new electrical circuits have been added all in preparation for our new arrival. Six months ago we placed an order in the states for a 6 person spa. It was back ordered (due to everything) so we had to wait for them to manufacture it. So it finally left the factory in Florida headed for the shipping company in South Florida that would bring it to Belize. Somewhere between the factory and the shipping company it disappeared. The factory said it left over a month ago, but the shipping company never received it. After a lot of calls from everyone, it was finally tracked down to the warehouse of the trucking company that picked it up from the manufacturer. Anyway, it finally got delivered to the shipper and is on the boat headed our way. Hopefully, we should be soaking in it by the end of the month.

The first sighting of our new spa.

This will be a great addition to Toucan Hideaway. From soaking those sore muscles after a hard day’s work to just chill’n out with an ice cold beverage. Granted the heat will not always be on, but there are plenty of times where it will be needed and appreciated.

The 60′ free-standing antenna mount. Soon we will have great phone and internet reception.

Another big item we ordered from the states was a 60′ free-standing base antenna for our internet and phone. Up to this point, we have just had a 35-40′ piece of pipe mounted on the shipping container for the antennas to mount on. It will be nice to have a real antenna mount that will be permanent and not have to worry about it coming down. Plus getting it up higher should give us much better reception. It was actually cheaper to order this from the states than to have one made here or even try to round up a used one.

A Green Iguana right off the front porch. I wonder how many more are out there that we just don’t see.

We are having more Green Iguana sightings around here. There was one up in the garden by the coffee plants and another one in a tree just off the front porch. The one in the tree was at least two feet long, so pretty sure he was not the small one we saw a few weeks ago in the driveway. The ones we are seeing are true Green Iguanas and not the gray Wish Willies that you see more commonly around Belize. In fact, we have only seen Green Iguanas around our property and no Wish Willies. Which we think is awesome!

Close up of the Green Iguana. A cute little guy isn’t he?

We have seen lots of different critters around our place, but this is the first time we have seen a Red-Eyed Tree Frog in the wild. We have seen pictures of them and we even have a few paintings with them in it. They are not exaggerating with the colors in the paintings. They are really that bright and colorful if not maybe more in real life.

Red-Eyed Tree Frog. He really is real!

This is one reason why we love Belize so much, is that every day is a new adventure and you never know what you’re going to see. Seeing this frog was very exciting for both of us and he was just 10′ off the front porch.

He was only about 2′ long and when he closed his eyes and went back to sleep he turned completely one shade of green. No other color on him.

Well, that’s about what’s going on around here for now. I’ll leave you with a few other critter pictures that Kelley recently took.

This juvenile Basilisk (Jesus Christ) lizard lives on the deck outback. He is always there.
A Tarantula or an Orange Huntsman spider? We have no idea what he is, but he was about 3″ leg to leg.
A beautiful non-venomous Speckled Racer. You should see him when the sun hits him, his colors are amazing and look like a prism.
A Gray Parrot at the feeder. Just seeing if you’re still paying attention. Ha ha.



5 thoughts on “Good eats & cool critters”

  1. Does Kelli live with the camera around her neck? The photos are amazing. Better than Encyclopedia Britannica! I love it. Keep the stories coming as I love reading through them all.
    Stay healthy and stay safe.

  2. Great photos Kelley, Just fascinating and I just want to frame all of them! I know they are better in person! Its just about 3 years since i had the pleasure to visit you! You guys have made a jungle a beautiful home!! I love reading all the creative food challenges. Miss you two~ sending big hugs <3

      1. Lets keep our fingers crossed for both our sakes… I have been saving up my mileage just for Belize…. Promise I will get there if possible….

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