Travel | Islandlife in Sweet Tobago

A trip to Trinidad isn’t complete without paying a visit to its sister isle Tobago. I was fortunate enough to enjoy a scenic stay in Pembroke in the countryside. Although it was about 20 minutes drive away from Crown Point, the hub of Tobago’s nightlife I really got the opportunity to appreciate the islands greenery and sea views. The drive between Crown Point and Pembroke runs along the island’s coastline which conveniently allowed me to capture some amazing landscape memories of this trip.

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It may seem like I didn’t do much, however my two-day stay in Pembroke was still quite satisfying and enjoyable, not only because I enjoyed taking beautiful landscape photos, but I also appreciated immersing myself into Tobago’s country life giving me a rare opportunity to unplug and detach myself from my hectic life.

I have to say though, the best part of my island getaway was my trip to the calm and relaxing waters at Store Bay in Crown Point.

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20180409_104625The convenient and probably the best thing about Store Bay is that it is just a stone throw away from Crown Point’s nightlife. The ANR Airport, the bars, lounges, nightclubs and multiple resorts are all within a few minutes of each other surrounding Store Bay. In Crown Point you can surely have it all, there’s the serenity of Store Bay complimented by the pizzaz of the nightlife.

DSC_0752One thing you’d find most interesting about Tobago is that the locals are so warm and welcoming. Dawn Cape, owner of Sips WIne & Cocktail Bar was the perfect host and so willing to pose for all my photos that I just had to feature him in this blog. 

sips barLast but certainly not least, another highlight from my visit to Tobago was the food. Long before I had even arrived in Trinidad, I had been fantasizing about eating Tobago’s infamous crab and dumpling. crab dumpling1.jpgCooking is a social tradition that the family I stayed with enjoys doing outdoors in their backyard. The Sunday norm is to invite friends over and together they’ll cook up a storm over drinks, laughter and good conversation. 

All in all I genuinely enjoyed living the country girl, island life for a couple days. It was stimulating and refreshing, I would definitely recommend taking a visit to Trinidad and Tobago. Hopefully, I’d be able to enjoy another Caribbean getaway this summer, so look forward to more travel and adventure blogs from me here on hellomirabelle.com 

 

Food & Drink | Trini Mom Shares Pastele Pie Recipe

Traveling and exploring different cultures definitely affords the opportunity to taste the world and while on vacation in Trinidad you just can’t avoid indulging in all the local and traditional foods.

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Local mom, hairstylist and aspiring entrepreneur, Sigournie La Foucade, was so kind to open up her kitchen to my curiosity sharing her tips and tricks to making the perfect pastele pie. This quick and simple recipe transforms Trinidad and Tobago’s most famous Christmas dish, pastele, into a year round favorite. Combining the ingredients used to make pastele with the technique used to make shepherd’s pie, Sigournie effortlessly whips up two pastele pies while giving me the exclusive on her recipe secrets.

Ingredients 

Minced Meat Filling

  • 1 lb minced meat
  • 1/2 cup raisins 
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup olives
  • 2 small onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 pimentos
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 stalks cilantro

Pastele Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp maggie all purpose seasoning

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Bon Appétit! Follow Sigournie on instagram at authenticme_whitney_ to see more of her life as a mom and stylist.

 

 

 

 

Travel | Hello Trinidad & Tobago

It Feels Good to be Home

Although I left Trinidad for New York to pursue a college education and career opportunities, I can’t help but stress the idea that there’s no place like home. Ugh, I hate clichés but it’s so true. There’s nothing like the feeling of nostalgia when you’re back home hearing the rustling of the leaves or the crowing of the rooster in the morning. It might seem so corny but I enjoyed listening to the chirps of the crickets that I used to find so annoying when I was younger. DSC_0631I don’t really have to go too far but a few steps into my yard to enjoy some chill vibes. I never gave it much thought about how much I missed my home until I kicked my feet up and soaked up some good Santa Cruz evening sun.

It’s been about five years since I’ve been in Trinidad and it feels good to be home. It may seem like a short time, but so many things have changed since I’ve been here. Nonetheless, the one thing that has remained the same, is the relaxing and captivating floral and fauna around our yard.DSC_0639

DSC_0647Coming on this trip I was definitely looking forward to the mangoes, the oranges, the papaya but most of all I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on a coconut! A real coconut! Picked fresh from a tree in our backyard. Coconut tree

DSC_0533I probably had about three coconuts. The coconut water was so sweet, nothing like that force ripe artificial flavor in the coconut water from the grocery store. And the jelly, not too soft, not too hard, it was the perfect consistency!

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While my dreams, ambitions and potential may be greater now than I had ever imagined, I will always cherish and appreciate my small town Trinidadian roots. Once an island girl, always an island girl! 

I will do my best to take as much pictures as I can on this trip so stay tuned for more about my visit to beautiful Trinidad and Tobago.

In case you were wondering where in the world is Trinidad and Tobago, here’s a little perspective for ya. 

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Lifestyle | Spring Break Haul

Nature has been giving us a few sneak previews of the crisp air and warm sun that comes with Spring for the past couple weeks here in New York, but as we all know, you could never get too excited with this bipolar transition weather. But, it’s finally March 20th, Spring is here and I’m ready for it! My favorite season of the year. 

With every new season comes new fashion statements, makeup trends and new friends so I just had to do a collab with one of the most fashionable lifestyle bloggers I follow, the gorgeous Diva Named Dom. The self proclaimed cosmopolitan diva creates fashion, food, culture and lifestyle content that captivates her essence and desire to be the best version of herself.

Collab Feature | Domenique

Domenique’s blog and instagram feed has successfully maintained an attractive aesthetic to amass loyal readers who are always genuinely inspired by her content and originality. When she isn’t blogging, this Miami beauty enjoys relaxing at home spending quality time with her mother’s foster children and five Dachshunds. This spring, Domenique’s followers can definitely look forward to more amazing blogs and fascinating photography as she plans to shed her winter clothes and enjoy the fabulous Miami weather. Check out her latest post Spring Has Sprung.

What Have I Been Up To Lately?

2018 started off a bit rough for me but I’m finally getting my life under control. While trying to be a little more consistent with my blogging, I’ve also been tutoring part-time while still wrestling a crazy schedule this semester as I prepare to graduate in May, hopefully. Unfortunately, I’m about six credits shy of the required minimum necessary for graduation. However, through several appeals and permission from the English Department and the Registrar at Queens College, I have been permitted to attend commencement in May. Hooray for me! The pit of the prune is, I’ll have to return in the summer to do two classes to make up for my unfinished credits. Not too bad, right? I’ll knock those off by June.  

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That drama aside, spring blossoms also means Spring Break! Turn up or Nah? Throughout the past four years of school, I have never looked forward to Spring Break this much because I usually never go anywhere. This year though, I am destination ready headed for sand, sea and lots and lots of tropical sun. Although I didn’t go too crazy shopping for this spring break trip, I definitely picked up a few blog worthy affordable finds that I am excited to share with you. 

Mini Spring Break Haul

I absolutely fell in love with these cute flats the moment I found them. They seem so retro yet modern at the same time, a bit nostalgic, because I almost remember having a similar pair in brown as a kid. I also picked up these fab African inspired accessories that just brings out the Wakanda in me! And of course, you can’t go wrong with a good ole pair of trendy thrift store sunglasses.

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Getting a straw bag for a trip in the spring is an absolute must have. I was especially attracted to this reddish brown color not only because it matches these cute flat sandals and compliments my skin tone, but I also feel like the regular light tan straw bags are so ordinary. I’m a sucker for a good glow and some lashes so I just had to snatch up these Kiss ‘so wispy’ lashes and this Elf ‘sunglow’ illuminator. 

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I try my best to be a minimalist whenever I travel but I just gotta have a different shoe for every different outfit! So, the minimalist way to try to achieve this is to get the staple colors; white, brown and black. I can’t wait to get my toes freshly done to wear these gorg sandals. I also had to try these layered lashes from Kiss that I got on sale at a beauty supply store in Brooklyn, it was only $1! Can’t beat that bargain. I always get compliments on this floral embroidered crossbody bag so why not include it in the fun right? And it was only $13 on Amazon! Bargaaaaaaain!

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Shockingly I’ve become quite a sneakerhead lately. These suede mauve Reebok Classics are giving me so much life! I’m so looking forward to sporting them with my matching  headwrap this spring! My favorite sneaker brands at the moment are Reebok, Vans and Puma, mainly because they have so much unique colors in simple classic styles. 

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Last but not least, I just had to cop these crocodile hunter looking Under Armor sneakers for all the animal farm, camping, hiking and long walking trips that I plan to take this season. However, it’s just a shame that this picture isn’t doing this headwrap justice! I’m so looking forward to wrap my hair up in all its glittery and sparkly glory.

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I hope you guys enjoyed my quick mini spring break haul. Stay tuned for my travel updates within the next couple weeks, I promise you it will be amazing! Happy Spring! 

 

Food & Drink | Food Journal

What Have I Been Eating Lately?

Busy schedules and hectic lifestyles usually take a toll on our diet and I’ll be the first to admit that I usually go for the quickest, easiest options like deli sandwiches and pastries. However, with my graduation coming up in May and summer following right after, I have been doing my best to be a little more conscious of my meal choices.

I have tried a couple meal replacement shakes in the past like Herbalife and Slimfast, but lately I’ve been using Nature’s Bounty Complete Protein & Vitamin Shake Mix and I’m loving it. Since I’ve started incorporating high protein breakfast smoothies into my diet, I’ve noticed that I won’t get hungry or have cravings for about 3-4 hours. My past experiences with protein shakes are less than recommendable because I never seem to  like the flavors and I would always get a chalky, pasty after taste. This Nature’s Bounty Shake Mix vanilla flavor combines well with almond, coconut or cashew milk and I sometimes even add bananas, berries, cacao powder, cinnamon, nutmeg  or my favorite peanut butter powder for added nutrients and flavor to create the ultimate breakfast SMOOTHie.

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DSC_0470It’s important for me to always have easy grab and go snack options available to take to school because this helps me avoid crazy random binges at the snack machine. I prefer to stick to tropical fruits like bananas, oranges, grapefruits and pineapples, but I’ll occasionally throw in a few apples and grapes for variety.dsc_0328.jpgThis is what a quick trip to the grocery store looks like for me, and these snacks usually lasts about 3-5 days. I don’t usually have heavy meals during the day, especially when I’m at school because after a big meal, I tend to get the itis. Having a quick salad or fruits and a glass of milk or a smoothie helps me to avoid that groggy fatigued feeling after eating. I have also grown to enjoy baby carrots and mini cukes with a nice low-fat spinach dip or roasted red pepper hummus, it’s a great alternative to chips and dip. dsc_0286.jpgApart from my amazing breakfast smoothies and fruit and veggie snacks, I also do my best to have healthy dinner options. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I do indulge in the not so healthy options but I’ve been doing my best to keep up a strict regimen. This past week I’ve created a little picture journal of my dinner options especially for this blog.

Chicken & Cottage SaladDSC_0433.JPGMini Bagel and Chipotle Chicken n’ Roasted Tomatoes with a Sauteed Mushroom SaladDSC_0443.JPGHam Egg n’ Cheese Muffin  and Shamrock ShakeDSC_0457.JPGBaked Potatoes with Roasted Tomatoes n’ Mushrooms and Apple n’ Raisin SalsaDSC_0451.JPGVegan Cream of Broccoli SoupDSC_0469.JPGGrilled Chicken with Broccoli and CornDSC_0461.JPGAs you can see I pretty much stick to the basics and I like keeping it simple. I hope you enjoyed this little food journal post this week. 

 

Food & Drink | Sunday Lunch

Blackened Cajun Salmon

Since my last Food and Drink blog I have been thinking of interesting ways to incorporate weekly food posts on this blog because, if you don’t know already, I am a big foodie and I absolutely enjoy preparing healthy but still tasty homemade meals. This week I tried out this simple, quick and easy Blackened Cajun Salmon.

I bought a beautiful piece of salmon fillet fresh from my local supermarket for $9.49USD at $9.99USD/lb however I think I usually pay around $8.99USD/lb for the salmon steak pieces. When buying the steaks I tend to spend way more money even though the steaks are cheaper because I’d normally pick up about three pieces which would come up to about $16USD-$18USD. This time I had to stick to my budget so I just opted for the fillet. 

 

I know I always rave about using fresh ingredients all the time, but these Badia Parsley Flakes are the bomb! I have tried cajun seasonings from various brands but Badia’s version is one of my favorites, the not too spicy, not too salty with a hint of fresh tangy sweet flavors paired with the freshness of the lime juice totally brightens up the taste of the salmon. I rarely use olive oil when baking salmon because salmon usually releases its own natural oils which, when mixed with some lime juice and water, creates a nice light fish sauce that I use for gravy. 

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After allowing the seasonings and lime to marinate into the salmon for about 30 minutes, I preheat my oven to 390º then bake for 30-40 minutes until it gets that blackened crispy coating on the top. The trick to keeping the salmon from becoming too tough and crusty is after turning off the oven, drizzle a little marinade over the fish then let it sit in the oven for about 10-15 more minutes or until ready to serve.

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Bon Appétit! Blackened Cajun Salmon served with Mashed Potatoes, a side salad and a glass of freshly squeezed homemade lemonade. 

I’m really looking forward to keeping up this Sunday Lunch series creating easy meals to share with you guys. And hopefully I can get it all together and posted by Sunday evenings, if not it will definitely be posted the next day.

 

 

 

Food & Drink | Black Bean Salsa

I was so intrigued by this black bean salsa after seeing one of my co workers teaching it to her Food Explorers class. It was fun, easy and required very little prep time! Not to mention it was so pretty to look at. I have been trying more meatless and raw meals lately so this recipe was a great way to stick to my new diet and still get my protein from the black beans, vitamin C and fiber from the red bell peppers and corn and vitamin A from the cilantro. 

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Black Bean Salsa Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 stalks cilantro
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 red onion (optional)

I chose to omit the red onion this time because I simply do not enjoy the taste of raw onions, however they are a great source of vitamin C, also, onions have been proven to  reduce inflammation and assist in regulating blood sugar levels. I am also not really a big fan of the taste of raw bell peppers but I just adored the addition of the bright pop of color, and the prettier my food looks, the more I want to eat it. My favorite ingredient in this recipe was the fresh cilantro which added a crisp, rich taste that paired well with the freshness of the lemon juice.

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This salsa is so versatile, it can be enjoyed in so many ways. Use this black bean salsa as a topping on tacos, burritos, rice, quinoa or on your favorite salad. You can even enjoy it over a baked potato, with some veggie sour cream, but my favorite way to eat this amazing salsa is with some crispy, lightly salted tortilla chips! 

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Bon appétit!

Food & Drink| Cinnamon-Bay Leaf & Clove Tea

Cinnamon Spice

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Cinnamon-Bay Leaf & Clove Tea has to be my absolute favorite spice tea, especially around the winter time. Not only does it taste and smell amazing, it also has great health benefits as well. Bay leaves are rich in iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A and C. Enjoy a hot cup of Cinnamon-Bay Leaf & Clove Tea before bed as it soothes and relaxes tension and anxiety. These three ingredients are best known for improving digestion and they also help recharge the immune system. Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and helps to improve the circulation of blood due to the presence of blood thinning properties. This blood circulation will also help to significantly reduce pain and ensures oxygen supply to the cells, which leads to higher metabolic activity. Whether you enjoy this spicy and fragrant tea sweetened or unsweetened, day or night, it will surely leave you feeling relaxed, calm and ready for anything. 

 

 

Food & Drink | Ginger-Lemon & Clove Tea

Lemon Ginger Spice

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Ginger-Lemon & Clove Tea is a natural and organic way to help soothe those winter cold and flu symptoms like congestion, nausea and sore throat. These three ingredients have natural medicinal qualities that create a spicy citrus elixir which also acts as an antioxidant providing vitamin C that helps boost your immune system. Even outside of cold and flu season, this tea is a great pick-me-up in the mornings which may even help kick caffeine dependency. Usually, because of it’s tanginess, this recipe calls for some form of sweetener like honey, agave or brown sugar, however, if you’re trying to moderate your calorie intake this tea can be enjoyed unsweetened as well.