Friday, June 29, 2012

Taking the Collectivo to Tulum

I'm so mad at my little brother for deleting my pictures, but I guess stewing in my anger isn't going to bring them back.  Arrrggg!  I just need to be around people with a little more estrogen and and little less testosterone today.  Breathe...

Anyway, yesterday my brother and I headed, via Collectivo bus, to Tulum.  If you are in Playa del Carmen, and interested in taking the Collectivo, you can pick one up on Calle 2 and Avenida 15.  It is super easy AND cheap.  Just walk up to the front of the line, tell the driver where you want to go, and get in.  The ride to Tulum from PdC takes about 1 hour and cost 40 pesos.  The driver drops you off right at the ruins, and when you are ready to leave, just hop back on a Collectivo waiting to drive back towards PdC.  I've also traveled this way to Akumal, and it's definitely the way to go IMO!

Patrick and I arrived around 3 in the afternoon.  There were no crowds, but it was soooo hot!  Gosh, I miss fall!  This was Patrick's first ruin trip since he's arrived, so I let him have my camera and take (and edit/delete) the photos.

I came to Tulum once before with the hubs, my (older) brother, and his fiance, so I just enjoyed the scorching hot sun, and my over-sized cooler on my shoulder.

Posing with the temple

Patrick being goofy

Carrying the extra GI-normous cooler!

After wandering around the ruins for a couple hours, we were hot, sweaty, tired, and hungry.  Not a good combination!  So we decided to walk down to the surrounding beaches.  Tulum has some of the most beautiful beaches in the area.  Plenty of white sand, and the reef prevents the waves from coming in super strong.  We brought all our snorkel gear with us, thinking we would take a snorkel trip, but we were a little tired from our busy day, so we just enjoyed our late lunch and relaxed.  We decided to settle down at Santa Fe beach, and we were not disappointed.  The beach was beautiful, with only a handful of other people.  It probably didn't hurt that we didn't get to the beach until 4:30 on a Thursday afternoon.  There are other beaches walking distance from the ruins, that I'm sure are gorgeous too.

Beaches of Santa Fe

Recommendations for Tulum:
  1. Bring sunscreen, bathing suit, towel, and sunglasses!
  2. Bring a little snack or lunch and water... LOTS of water.  There are restaurants near the ruins, but the restaurant on Santa Fe beach was not good and had a very small selection of food choices.
  3. Don't be afraid to try the less popular beaches.  Tulum is set right on the coast, so many of the sightseers choose to go to the beach with access from the ruins.  Don't be afraid to explore, you might find something wonderful.
  4. If you are wanting to do a snorkel tour, don't pay the high prices at the front of the ruins.  If you walk down to the beach, you can find boats and captains that will take you out with all the equipment for less than $20 per person.
  5. Take lots of pictures!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Banana + Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast

A few days ago, between firing Rodney Yee and keeping Ace calm during the thunderstorm, I promised you this recipe.  I must admit, I found the inspiration for this recipe about 8 year ago when I was on Christmas Break from college.  A roommate and I were at her parents house, and her dad decided to "stuff" our French toast with things in the pantry.  This was definitely the best combination we/he came up with.    

Banana, Peanut Butter, + Granola French Toast

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 c milk
  • cinnamon to taste
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • thick sliced bread
  • creamy peanut butter
  • bananas
  • granola
  • syrup
Dip each slice of bread in egg mixture until completely coated and cook on a hot skillet until each side is lightly browned.  Repeat with each bread slice.  Spread peanut butter on one slice of French toast, top with bananas and granola, and place other slice of French toast on top to make a sandwich.  Serve hot with syrup.  Enjoy!

It's a beautiful day in PdC.  My little brother is officially a certified open water diver, and we are going to take advantage of the weather and go out for a dive and see the ruins at Tulum!  This will be Patrick's first ruin trip since arriving, and Tulum is definitely a good one to visit.  Full recap tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spicy Baked Salmon with Pineapple Mango Salsa

To go with my pineapple, mango, and papaya salsa, I baked some spicy salmon and asparagus.  The combination of flavors was delicious.

Spicy Baked Salmon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a small bowl mix seasonings.  Pat salmon with seasonings on the side with no skin.  In a large saute pan, heat olive oil until it smokes and cook salmon for 30 seconds seasoning side down until crust forms.  Turn salmon spice side up and place in oven for 7 minutes.  Serve with pineapple salsa.

Baked Asparagus

I've prepared asparagus many different ways, but this is by far my favorite.  It tastes like the asparagus you will find at a fancy restaurant.

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
  • cooking spray
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet.  Coat with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper.  Bake asparagus for 12 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan.  Remove from heat, and stir in soy sauce and vinegar.  Pour over baked asparagus.  

I also imagine this sauce being drizzled over a fillet mignon and served with a nice Cabernet.  

Before our dinner, I snapped some photos of my favorite bulldog.  He has such a rough life.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mango, Pineapple, and Papaya Salsa

I've said this before, but one of my favorite things about living in PdC is the amount of fresh fruits and veggies available here.  (My other favorite thing:  I can save $100 every other month on highlights.  All natural baby!)

I was browsing for recipe ideas the other day for this HUGE pineapple I bought.  I came across several salsas, and decided to try a variation of my own.

Mango, Pineapple, and Papaya Salsa

  • 1 mango or 8 frozen mango chunks- chopped
  • 1/2 cup pineapple- chopped
  • 1/2 cup papaya- chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeƱo- finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
  • Juice from 2 limes
Mix all ingredients together and enjoy.  I picture this salsa on a beautiful piece of fresh salmon, sea bass, or even chicken; or enjoy it on tortilla chips.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Rodney Yee: You are fired

Aw... I love it when my house is quiet, and these two are doing this:

I caught Ace doing his "Flop."  First is the sttttrrrreeeeccchhh.

Then comes the flop!

This quiet time also allows me the space and environment for me to get my yoga mat out and stream some new yoga videos from Since becoming a member, I've found some new yogis to replace my old favorite Rodney Yee.  I'm really loving Katie Brauer's Yoga for Athletes and Seane Corn's Detox Yoga and my new favorite:  Kathryn Budig!  She's an energetic instructor, who motivates me to challenging poses I didn't think I could do.  Too bad I don't live in SoCal to try out her studio.

Since my little bro has been here, I've been actually making breakfast in the morning instead of my usual staple of fruit smoothies: Vanilla Mango and Papaya... Oh my!

Check back tomorrow for the recipe for this delicious creation:  Peanut Butter and Banana Stuffed French Toast.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Akumal: Snorkeling with the Turtles

On Wednesday, the hubs and I took my brother on his first Mexican bus ride to Akumal.  The "bus" is really a small van called the Collectivo.  After a short, but crowded ride, we arrived a short walk from Akumal beach.  Patrick had never seen manta rays and sea turtles in the wild, so he was pretty excited to get started.  After a quick lunch, and waiting the recommended 30 minutes before snorkeling, we headed to the water.  Right away we saw tortugas.  We snorkeled for about 2 hours, and decided to take a break, get a snack, and a drink.  We rested, reapplied sunscreen, and headed back out.  This time we saw at least 7 tortugas and 5 manta rayas.  AND... we have the photos to prove it!

Big turtle

Fishies getting a ride from the turtle, AND something else too...

He was HUGE!

Jade getting in close.  The turtles were really relaxed and let us get super close to them.

Patrick swimming down to see the turtles.

Fun times in the water.

The boys had a great time playing.  The photographer (me) is always behind the camera.

Manta rayas!  These manta rays were really fast.  We tried for a photo shoot with these guys, but they were shy.

Patrick got in close!

And so did Jade!


More manta rays

My brother needs to eat a cookie!

Baby sea turtle

He was so cute!

The baby and his family!

After this little trip, Patrick was excited to get started on his diving.  Yesterday, he began his book work, and hopefully, next week he will be ready to get in the water.  What a little dare devil!