Strawberry BBQ sauce and pork ribs

So, I had a bunch of strawberries that were going to go bad so I made BBQ sauce out of them.  Here’s the recipe:

tastes WAY better than it looks

tastes WAY better than it looks

2 cups of strawberries with the leaves and cores removed.  Are they called cores?
1/4 cup of ketchup (organic is best, but whatevs)
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup (real, not Mrs. Butterworth’s)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp strawberry preserves or jam
1 tbsp chopped, fresh cilantro
1/2 tbsp fresh garlic
1/2 tbsp fresh, grated ginger
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Super easy. Roast the strawberries in a pan with high sides to catch the juices for about 15 minutes at 425 F. While they’re roasting put everything else except the cilantro in a little pot and simmer. When the strawberries are done, throw the pot of stuff in a blender or food processor with the roasted strawberries and their juices, and puree until smoothish. Put it in a mason jar or other air tight container and wait til it cools to put it in the fridge.

I marinated some pork ribs over night in a rub I made with whatever spices I had around.  I think it was brown sugar, salt, pepper, mustard powder, paprika, cumin, garlic, chili powder, and a little ginger.  Then I threw em, covered, in the oven at 350F for an hour and twenty.  The last twenty minutes I brushed em with the BBQ sauce every ten minutes.  Then I took them over to Megan’s and threw them on her grill for another 30, brushing them every 10 minutes or so, and turning them over half way through.  She made made some Brussels sprouts to go with them that were delicious.

after brushing with the strawberry BBQ sauce

after brushing them with the strawberry BBQ sauce. I do not accept responsibility for the Miller Lite in the background.

straw pork 2

Finished product.

Finished product. Noms.

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Crawfish Boil

I had the weekend off from all of my jobs and it was my birthday weekend, so I decided to throw a crawfish boil.  I spent WAY too much money on this thing but oh well.  Money isn’t an object when it comes to getting friends together for some good food and good dranks.  Note to self: next time, 1 pound of mudbugs per person.

My friends, Luke and Brenna, actually drove up three hours from Boynton Beach for this thing.  They stopped at Publix when they got into town and picked up a bunch of snacks (Hot Cheetos!!) and a shit ton of liquor.  Like 5 bottles or something.  I was like cool, that’ll last me a while.  Woke up Sunday morning and there was like half a bottle of vodka and 2 oz. of Rum left.  Not to mention the adult Arnold Palmer I made (like a gallon and a half), and the 2 dozen jello shots that Misty brought, were also gone.  People drank.

There was a little drama, but I guess it comes with the territory when people drink that much.  And it happened late, after pretty much everyone had left.  Except for when Luke decided to rip his shirt off, Hulk style, in front of everyone.  Someone ate my Mexican leftovers.  I think it may have been me.  Megan passed out on the blue couch and left at like 4 in the morning.  I wasn’t able to function normally until like 6 p.m. the next day.  And God bless Luke for cleaning my kitchen the next day and for him and Tim cleaning up the back yard.  They were wrecked.

Luke made me a bacon light!

Luke made me a bacon light!

alive

alive

dead.

dead.

you know the food is good when it gets real quiet.

you know the food is good when it gets real quiet.

everyone knew which cup was Luke's

everyone knew which cup was Luke’s

jello

nice face, Pants. nice fillings, Tim.

nice face, Pants. nice fillings, Tim.

Luke on truck

Luke on truck

Luke on ground

Luke on ground

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Traveling to Costa Rica on a budget

In 2009 I traveled to Costa Rica on $1000 from start to finish. That included round trip air, lodging, food, alcohol, and fun activities.  The friend I went with spent $150 more than me because she paid the tab at the swim up bar at Tabacon.  I’m a firm believer that if you spend some time researching where you’re going and all of your options, you can save tons of money.

First we had to figure out when we were traveling. Costa Rica has a rainy season, so we needed to take that into consideration when traveling to this country.  Rainy season is from May to mid November.  The dry season is from late November to late April but this is also when *everyone* travels to Costa Rica. Because of this the prices of things like flights and hotels get jacked up. Not only did we not want to spend our trip with a bunch of tourists and pay higher prices, we also didn’t want to spend it in the rain, so we chose October.  We figured (and hoped) that it wouldn’t be too touristy because it was right before the beginning of tourist season and that it wouldn’t be too rainy because it was at the end of the rainy season.  We really lucked out because that’s actually how it ended up.  Every day we were there was beautiful and if it did rain, it was only for a couple hours at most. There was one fluke night that it torrential down pored for several hours but it just so happened it was the night we were bar hopping in Jaco, so the only time we got wet was when we were running from one bar to another.  We also had to take our chances with the weather because we knew we’d be traveling up to Arenal to see the volcano and if it rained the clouds would block the view of it. This didn’t happen. I am eternally grateful.

Once we figured out when we were going and bought our tickets, we then began researching where we were going.  My friend had been to this little surf camp place in Jaco before.  She wanted to go back and said it was legit, so I was down to go.  It’s called Cabinas Las Olas and it’s in Playa Hermosa.  It’s an hour and a half from San Jose and they sent a driver to the airport to pick us up and bring us to the hotel.  That was $75 that we split.  The driver was this surfer dude named Christian.  He was really tan and had curly brown hair with blonde highlights throughout it from the sun and salt water.  He picked us up in this loud ass, old, pickup truck looking thing, and stopped off along the way for some roadside ceviche.  He said it was awesome and when a local says it, you listen and believe it.  It was some old dude making ceviche under a tent on the side of the road.  When we walked up and I realized the view this guy had, it made me pause.  Not to mention the ceviche was the best I’d had the entire trip.  And we ate ceviche everyday.

View behind ceviche dude's stand.

View behind ceviche dude’s stand.

Our driver also stopped off so we could see the "croc bridge."

Our driver also stopped off so we could see the “croc bridge.”

When we arrived to Las Olas something happened with our room so they upgraded us to the Sky Box at no additional cost. The Sky Box is the best. It’s all the way at the top so the view is amazing, no A/C just a cool ocean breeze, and a hammock outside. It. did not. suck.

The inside of the Sky Box

The inside of the Sky Box

The view from the Sky Box

The view from the Sky Box

Playa Hermosa de Jaco is a five minute cab ride to Jaco. We wanted to be close enough to Jaco so it would just be a quick cab ride to the bars/clubs but far enough away to get some peace and quiet. Playa Hermosa is perfect for that. It’s also about a 15 minute cab ride to Villa Caletas and the Los Suenos Marina. Villa Caletas is probably the most stunning hotel I’ve ever seen in my life. We went there specifically to watch the sunset and eat dinner. We were a little late for the sunset (it takes some time getting used to 5:00 sunsets) but we got the jist, and we ate some delicious food. Los Suenos Marina is filled with million dollar sport fishing boats, which is why I went. They’re pretty to look at. We had lunch at their restaurant, The Hookup. It was ok. Nothing to come home and brag about. If I had had a little extra money I would’ve paid for a half day of fishing out of Los Suenos. They have a bunch of fishing boats that run out of there.

pretty boats and mountains surrounding Los Suenos

pretty boats and mountains surrounding Los Suenos

We went out to the bars and clubs in Jaco one night. My fave was Bamboosa and the bartender there, Hugo, but I don’t think it’s there anymore. We also had some flaming cockroach shots at The Monkey Bar, which was the most Americanish place we visited the entire time. We then proceeded to play “So You Think You Can Swim Dance” in the hotel pool until 4 a.m., I fell down a hill on the beach and some security guard had to help me back up, and I felt like I wanted to die the next day. I will never forget the Bloody Mary I had at El Bohio Beach Bar.

I will never forget you.

I will never forget you.

That ended our trip to Jaco and Playa Hermosa. Next we hopped a bus to Arenal and La Fortuna. I’m pretty sure it was the Grayline Bus. It was really nice, actually. It was air conditioned, there was not a lot of people on it, and they stopped half way through at a little gift shop that has monkeys and macaws hanging out in the trees.  We made it to Arenal and our hotel, La Pradera, which I picked out.  I thought it was the best value for the money and it had great reviews.  And the view? omg.

$75 a night for this. Not even kidding.

$75 a night for this. Not even kidding.

We explored La Fortuna shortly after we got there. Really cute town. I remember the road side meat on a stick. It was delicious and only $1. Always eat the street meat.  The Lava Lounge bar and grill in La Fortuna was really cute.  Then we had made reservations with Pure Trek to do some canyoning.  We opted for the morning trek so they would feed us lunch when we were done, and so we could have the rest of the day to explore.  They picked us up at our hotel, and we drove in a 4×4 up the mountain, got a safety briefing, put on our harnesses and off we went.  It was amazing.  The first waterfall we rappelled off of was the biggest, at 165 feet.  I was so fucking scared, but once I rappelled off that thing and got through it without dieing, it was a rush and the rest was a blast.  There was four rappels, 3 waterfalls and one dry rappel.  On the way back down I slipped on some wet rocks and ate shit.  I was in the very back of the line, so the only reason my friend knew that I fell was because she heard me say “ooooowwwww” and she looked back and I was on the ground.  No serious injuries, and it makes for a good story.

Rappelling off a 165 foot waterfall!

Rappelling off a 165 foot waterfall!

That's me!

That’s me!

Can I tell you how smart it was to do the Tabacon Hot Springs after rappelling off things for 4 hours? Do it. The hot springs felt so good on my sore muscles. The swim up bar was also nice to make the pain go away. I believe I drank like 52 Pisco Sours.  j/k.  And it just so happened that they were running a deal for the time we were there. I think it was buy one day, get one free, and it included free dinner. Out of all the hot spring places we saw when we were there, Tabacon looked the nicest.

Tabacon Hot Springs

Tabacon Hot Springs

Is it time to go back yet?

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Driving a lowrider sucks; a message to future me about buying a car.

Well, it’s been a year and 3 months since I purchased my current car and I can officially say I hate driving it. I don’t hate IT, IT is cool. I just hate driving it. And here’s why:
I DRIVE A LOWRIDER

So wha ha happen was….some 18 year old kid that looked like Jeremy Freedman on the Simpsons, “was distracted” and rear ended me going about 50 mph.

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Totally got knocked the fuck out, got a nifty ride in an ambulance, missed 3 days of work, bla bla bla. I get word about a week later that my car has been totaled. Great.
So, I start looking for a car. I’ve always wanted an 04′ or 05′ Civic Si so that’s what I searched for. It just so happened there was a dealership close by that had one that was really pretty. So we went…and of course my boyfriend, the reasonable, realistic one, made me look at other cars while we were there. But I was dead set on this bitch. It was lowered, had big ass rims, a nice sound system, after market exhaust, and other bells and whistles. So I bought it.
I realized very quickly, especially living downtown where lots of brick roads are present, that this thing handles like shit. I mean, SHIT. I seriously have to go less then 5 mph when going over any dip or bump in the road that’s over 5 inches. A speed bump or railroad track? Forget it.
I have to be aware of the road at all times. Not just for asshole drivers, but for potholes and manhole covers. If I wasn’t paying attention the other day and missed this pothole when I was coming out of the bank, my car would’ve got stuck in it. Seriously. My day would’ve been fuuuucctt.
This has caused some anxiety while driving. Not to mention we can’t take my car on road trips which totally blows because it’s great on gas.

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So, future Lauren, even though your current car is really pretty, when it comes time to purchase a different car (which is a year and eight months away) you’re going to have to be an adult and buy a grown up car. Something with heated seats and bluetooth or whatever.

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What my New Years, 2014 looked like.

I was pretty stoked when Brenna announced that her and Luke were having a New Years bash. My only wish at that point was that we not be in Orlando for New Years, so, my wish was granted. It was chill, we ate and drank and laughed a lot, then went to bed at 3:30 a.m. Well, I did. Old man Tim went to bed at like 1:00. We gathered for “Brunch” in the morning at The Backyard. My steamed, spiced shrimp blew and it took like thirty minutes to get the melted butter that went with it. We then went back to Luke and Brenna’s and I proceeded to polish off a bottle of Vodka.

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cheese, and Waffle’s butt
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the champagne was plentiful
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family photo
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classic Lauren photobomb
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um. yeah.
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sans Tim.
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“Brunch”, the end.
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An explanation of this life, undecided.

So, I’ve been working for over 11 years as a Veterinary Technician at the same clinic. It was once bearable and actually very interesting in the beginning when I was young and naive of all the bullshit that went on. As I got older and more aware of the politics I started to hate it. I mean HATE it. Mostly because of the people.  Well, some people. We all know how one or a few assholes in the work place can make a rewarding job, absolutely miserable.  I used to excuse myself and go cry in the bathroom.  Anyways, about three years ago my sister and I decided to launch a “food truck” for pets.  We were the third of it’s kind in the country when we started and have been in numerous magazines, newspapers, websites, etc.  With that said, it’s not doing as well as we thought.  I’ve continued to work at the clinic this entire time, only reducing my hours by ten per week, which by the way has improved my quality of life.  But the biz isn’t bringing in enough moolah so that I can quit completely, and the biz can’t get any better if I don’t have more time to put towards it.  It also isn’t going to start making more money unless more people know about us which costs money for advertising, marketing, and what not, which we don’t have.  It’s a bunch of catch 22s, I think.  So, what do I do?  I decide to go back to school!  As of January 13th I will be running a business, working a regular job, and going to school part time.  Doesn’t that sound great?!  Oh, and I don’t know what I’m going to school for.  I’m just picking up where I left off when I was getting my AS.  I dunno, I figure I’ll just throw as much as possible on my plate and see if one pans out.

So, why the blog?  I have another one that I started in 2010 but I don’t really do much with it anymore.  Last year I totaled 3 blog posts.  That blog is mostly about food and restaurant reviews with a little travel and shenanigans worked in.  Since I started my business I don’t go out to eat as much anymore and I sure as fuck don’t have the time to sit down and write about it.  So, what do I do?  Start a new blog!  I was talking with my friend Ali, who’s a big time blogger, about our blogs and how I don’t write in mine anymore and I came to the realization that I just want to write a blog that’s real.  Yeah, I’ll probably still write about food and travels and drunken Tom Foolery, but I’m also going to write about how I’m so effing broke I have to borrow my friend’s vacuum because I can’t afford to buy my own or how I had a nervous breakdown a few months ago in the kitchen in front of my boyfriend because I was sick and all I wanted to do was be in bed and drink hot soup but I was obligated to make effing dog treats.  That stuff is way easier for me to write about than trying to describe the texture of my dinner.

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