Author Archives: Alyssa

Coffee Wimp

Ok, ok, I’ll admit, I’m a coffee wimp. I don’t drink coffee very often because I really only enjoy it when there is creamer to go with it. Makes me miss my brother-in-law because he always had a good stash of creamer in the fridge :) So… one of my close friends suggested I should try and make my own creamer. Well it’s nothing like store bought but pretty delicious. I’ve made French Vanilla and have also added some cinnamon and Allspice :) It’s pretty yummy!

The part I am loving about this recipe is now I can enjoy some Iced Coffee too :) For me, it is so refreshing to have a fun drink like this when I’m working away on the computer. Plus, since we are living in Costa Rica, who is known for their coffee, I better be drinking it, right? Try it out! There are so many ways to experiment too with different flavors!


Coffee Creamer


Homemade Coffee Creamer

inspired by: Mrs. Happy Homemaker


1 3/4 cups of milk or heavy cream

1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk


Place the cream and sweetened condensed milk a container with a lid (I usually use a large water bottle or mason jar) and shake for 2 minutes or more until well mixed.

Now for the fun part:

Additions for different flavors:

– vanilla

– chocolate syrup

– almond extract

– cinnamon

– caramel syrup

– raspberry syrup

I usually just add a teaspoon for the extracts and a tablespoon for the syrups until it is to my liking. Enjoy!

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Passion Fruit Lovin’

This my friends is the passion fruit flower. It is absolutely amazing! This beautiful vine creates these deep purple flowers. The flowers then grow the fruit from the middle and then die away when the  fruit starts growing. It is by far the most amazing flower I have ever seen! Credit to my husband for these amazing pictures! These pictures take my breath away every time!


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Passion Fruit

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Yogurt Frenzy

A creamy and rich natural choice of yogurt that is cheaper and healthier!

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We eat so much yogurt, sometimes its not even funny! Well here in Costa Rica we are trying to keep our tummies happy by keeping those good bacteria in our systems! So… we decided to try making our own since we practically buy the store out every time we go. Plus, making yogurt homemade means not as much sugar that you would normally find in regular store bought yogurt. It’s a win, win! :)

I am not much of a natural yogurt fan, but having loads of it after making a batch actually opens up huge creativity doors to making new flavors! I’ve added peach, strawberry jam, vanilla, etc.. It’s so fun and delicious!

Ok, so are you ready for the recipe?? It’s so hard, I don’t think you’ll be able to do it… (you’ll be surprised how easy this is!!)

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– 2 liters of milk

– 2 teaspoons of natural yogurt (store bought, this is the mother, also save some from this batch to use as your mother next time)

– 1/4 cup of powdered milk


Pour milk into a large pot and add the powdered milk. Stir until it is mixed in. Heat milk in a saucepan until temperature rises to 180 degrees.  Check out our digital thermometer we use!  It is Important not to go over 180 degrees, try to get it as exact as possible. Once milk reaches a temp of 180, hold at this temperature for 5 minutes. Then remove from heat and let milk cool until it reaches 120 degrees.

At this point you can remove about a cup of warm milk from the pot and add in the teaspoon of yogurt. (This just helps it get mixed in better. Just gently stir, you want to see chunks of the yogurt in the milk – incorporating not mixing. Then pour the cup of milk with mixed in yogurt back into the rest of the milk mixture.

Pour into glass containers for storage. Place the milk in a slightly warm (not hot) place for 10-12  hours. We hold our yogurt at about 105-110 degrees for the duration of the incubation. Refrigerate when done. Yummy!


We make the yogurt after dinner usually so it can just sit overnight and you don’t have to worry about it. You can place it in a oven at the lowest temp possible. We place ours in an ice chest with a pot of boiling water to keep it warm. Also, I usually double/triple the recipe because we go through it fast. Remember to keep a few teaspoon of your batch so you can use this as your “mother yogurt” for your following batch! If you do this, you will always have yogurt!

** If you like your yogurt Greek style, then before putting the yogurt into the refrigerator, strain the yogurt for 5-10 minutes through a cheesecloth. Doing this extracts the whey, giving you a thicker, creamier yogurt. This is always my preference and its so yummy!

Add-in suggestions:

Coconut & Pineapple
Jam (flavor of your choice – I like strawberry)
Vanilla Flavoring (Starbucks has a yummy vanilla syrup)
Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries)
Jello powder? (my husband thinks this is the best idea ever :)
Granola Check out this recipe
Strawberry & Honey – 1/2 cup yogurt + 4 chopped strawberries + 1 tablespoon honey
Lemon Cheesecake – 1/2 cup yogurt + 2 tablespoons lemon curd+ 1 crushed Graham cracker
Mixed Berry – 1/2 cup yogurt + 4 chopped strawberries + 6 chopped raspberries + 6 chopped blackberries
Cinnamon Apple – 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/2 diced green apple + 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Key Lime Pie – 1/2 cup yogurt + juice of 1 lime + 1 crushed Graham cracker
Apple & Raisin – 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/2 diced green apple + 2 tablespoons raisins
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup – 1/2 cup yogurt + 1 tablespoon peanut butter + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon honey + 1 teaspoon milk chocolate chips
Chocolate Banana – 1/2 cup yogurt + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon honey + 1/2 diced banana
Strawberry Shortcake – 1/2 cup yogurt + 4 chopped strawberries + 1 crushed Graham cracker
Peaches & Cream – 1/2 cup yogurt + 1 chopped peach
Piña Colada – 1/2 cup yogurt + 2 pineapple rings diced + 1 tablespoon grated coconut
Chocolate Pomegranate – 1/1 cup yogurt + seeds from 1/2 pomegranate + 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips
Pumpkin Pie – 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup pumpkin puree + 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
Chunky Monkey – 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/2 chopped banana + 1 tablespoon Nutella + 1 tablespoon peanut butter + 1 teaspoon milk chocolate chips
Tropical – 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/2 chopped kiwi + 1/2 chopped mango + 2 pineapple rings diced
Cinnamon Bun – 1/2 cup yogurt + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1 tablespoon honey

A few add in suggestions {adapted from Pink Recipe Box}

It has been really fun learning to make yogurt and I hope you will enjoy the process as well! It’s great for kids too! They love checking on the yogurt to see how it’s doing! Someday we would love to get a yogurt maker but for now this is just as fun!

Let me know how your yogurt turns out!

Alyssa Signature

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Happy 3 months!

 Views like this make me so happy to remember the past 3 months we have been here in Costa Rica! It has been the journey of a lifetime and we are looking forward to everything else that is headed our way!


Costa Rica Sunset View! Priceless!




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Tuna Sandwich

This is one of my favorite lunches! Its so light and refreshing, sometimes I forget to make it! With a nice piece of lettuce, it gives me just the refreshing meal I look for around lunch time! Everyone has their own way of making tuna sandwiches so this is how I make mine!

Tuna Sandwich

Tuna Sandwich

1 can of tuna

1 hard boiled egg

2 Tbsp of onion

1 large pickle diced

1-2 Tbs of mayo

2 teaspoons mustard

1 teaspoon oregano

dash of salt and pepper


Mix all ingredients together and serve on a leaf of lettuce and bread. To make this recipe healthier, you could also eliminate the bread and eat only on the lettuce. Enjoy!


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Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

This recipe is genius! I have been experimenting again with bananas to find more uses for them since Costa Rica is still making lots of bananas :) This is very yummy (very bananaey – is that a word?) Anyways, very easy, fast, and satisfying, however I did put a little chocolate on top of mine, it makes me happy :)

This has all of my favorite ingredients combined. And who knew bananas could get so creamy! Such a yummy dessert to make and really easy! So all you peanut butter banana lovers, you are going to LOVE this!  One more great use for me to use bananas too!

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream”

3 large ripe bananas, frozen
2 Tbsp of Peanut butter


Place frozen bananas in a blender. Make sure they were not too ripe when you froze them. You want them to be just perfectly yellow, not over-ripe. Blend until smooth. Add peanut butter and blend until well combined. Enjoy!

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Asian Cabbage Rolls

I love Asian food! Maybe its all the sauces, there are so many and they just burst with flavor! These cabbage rolls are super fun and you can even tweak it to make lettuce wraps! My best friend Meghan showed me those and now they are a family favorite! You can buy Chicken Lettuce Wraps from the grocery store and as long as you have some ground beef and soy sauce they are perfect for when you’re in a hurry! I do love the cabbage rolls though, they just add a wonderful flavor and the ginger in the recipe is yummy!

This is a very fun meal to make and to eat as well! My husband loves his veggies so this is one of his favorite meals! Mine too! :)

Asian Cabbage Rolls

Asian Cabbage Rolls

inspired by: Seeded at the Table

8-10 cabbage leaves

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup cups cooked rice

1/2 cup diced tomatoes drained

1  green onion

1/2 cup diced carrots

1 Tbsp garlic

1 teaspoon olive oil or 1 teaspoon canola oil

1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking oil. In a large saucepan, heat oil and add green onion, carrots, and garlic until soft. Cut around the stem of the cabbage and remove. Place the  head of cabbage in a pot of boiling water. After a while, the leaves will start to peel away from the head. Remove leaves until you have about 10-12 leaves. Allow 5 minutes to cool.

In a large bowl combine the cooled onion mixture with the tomatoes, beef, and rice. Place about 1/3 cup of beef mixture into each cabbage leaf. Fold the bottom edge over the beef mixture and tuck in the edges until it forms into a roll.  Place in oven for 1 hour

In a separate bowl mix together the dipping sauce. Combine the oil, water, and soy sauce. Then dissolve the brown sugar and ginger powder. Add garlic and stir. Serve warm with the cabbage rolls.


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Banana Oatmeal Cookies

A super fast, easy, and healthy snack! My niece would probably love these! ONLY 4 ingredients, now that’s so convenient! I don’t know about you but it seems like every time I have a recipe to make, I have an ingredient missing and have to run to the store for something! Loving this recipe! I am a peanut butter lover too so I added some to this recipe to make it my piece of home :)

Oatmeal Banana Cookies

Banana Oatmeal Cookies


4 medium bananas, smashed

2 cups oatmeal

1/2 cups chocolate chips

5 Tbsp. of peanut butter


Smash the bananas until smooth and all the chunks are gone. Unless you like banana chunks then by all means leave some in! Combine the bananas, oatmeal, and chocolate chips. Melt the peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl until runny and smooth. Drizzle it over the other ingredients and stir. Note: These cookies don’t really “roll” into a ball just kinda plop it on the pan – I did about 2 Tbsp per cookie. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes. Enjoy this healthy cookie! It’s yummy!

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Chicken Chow Mein

Why did I just barely discover chow mein?? I have never made this before but since my husband loves cabbage and carrots ( and it’s one of the few vegetables I have quick access to) I tried it and it was a success! Yummy! And it reminded me of home for some reason :) Maybe because it’s like comfort food… but who cares DElicios!

Chicken Chow Mein

Chow Mein Noodles

1 pack of spaghetti noodles/angel hair pasta

1/2 head of cabbage, finely shredded

1-2 grated or slivered carrots

3 cloves of garlic

1 small onion finely chopped

2 lbs of chicken breast finely shredded


3 Tbsp of soy sauce

1 tsp of ginger

1/2 cup of chicken broth (or beef)

2-3 Tbsp. cornstarch to thicken

Salt & Pepper


Boil water for the noodles and chicken. In the meantime prepare the cabbage, carrots, onion, garlic, and place in a bowl. Boil chicken until done, remove from pan and shred. Place noodles into the water that should be boiling by now. Shred the chicken and place in a pan with hot oil to fry. When the chicken is done, add more oil to the pan and stir fry the veggies until tender. Prepare the sauce while waiting for the veggies. Remove veggies and place noodles in the pan to get them a little crunchy. Now add the veggies, chicken, and sauce. Add more soy sauce if needed. Enjoy!


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Hi! Welcome to my blog! I hope to share my favorite true and tried recipes, crafts, ideas, and just things that brighten my day! Or as I like to call little “Pieces of home” that warm my heart! Since I am currently living abroad, I crave these little pieces of home that remind me of family, food, friends, shopping, and all the things I don’t have access to here in Central America. I am embracing this challenge of cooking (without certain ingredients) and trying to be as creative as I can. Feel free to leave comments or suggestions! I’d love to hear from you!

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