Sunday, July 29, 2012

How to clean your fruits and vegetables and stay healthy!

Staying healthy is very important to all of us.We all know how important it is to clean our fruits and vegetables before we eat them. After all, if we don't clean them well before we eat them we risk exposing ourselves to harmful bacteria that can make us very sick. Recently, we had a visitor who reminded us of an excellent, inexpensive and readily available product to clean our produce with that we all usually have on hand - vinegar! has an article on How to Clean Fruits & Vegetables with vinegar. They also have another article entitled Vinegar Vegetable Wash that is also very interesting. The mixture of vinegar to water is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. You can make the solution up in a spray bottle and use it to spray on smooth surfaced produce or you can make a "bath" and soak the produce for at least 3 minutes. I prefer the second method and soak my produce for a longer period - 15 minutes - to ensure that as much bacteria is killed as possible.

We recently purchased a 4 litre bottle of distilled vinegar for only 51 cordobas (approx $2.17 CDN). Truly, an inexpensive solution to safeguard your health.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Best View of León - El Fortin

Entrance to El Fortin
A short distance outside the city of León you will find the abandoned fortress of El Fortin. This fortress was once a prison and a former Somoza stronghold. It is from here that you will find the best views of the city of León and the surrounding area - all the way to the ocean!

We arrived at El Fortin by travelling along a dirt road through what was formerly the city dump. This land has now been covered over and has been parceled out for families to build homes on. In fact, you will see many temporary homes already established.  When we arrived at El Fortin at approximately 6:15 pm we were the only ones there - except for the guard. He was happy to show us around the property and pointed out areas of interest in the building (cells where prisoners were kept, the kitchen, etc.) The building itself is practically in ruins, but the view of the city is spectacular.  It is well worth taking a 1/2 hour to enjoy the scenery and to experience some of the history of León.

Guard showing us El Fortin

Looking into the main structure of El Fortin

Near entrance

El Fortin

I was amazed by the beautiful view of the city of León that you have from the rooftop of El Fortin. From this vantage point you can really see the lay of the land and how León is surrounded by volcanoes.  It is also a beautiful spot to what the sunset!

View of Leon from the roof of El Fortin

View of volcanoes from El Fortin

View of volcanoes from El Fortin

View of Leon with volcanoes in the distance

If you want to visit this fortress it is necessary to have a vehicle or take a taxi. Take the road from the northwest corner of the Guadalupe Cemetery and head south. It will take you about 5 - 10 minutes to reach the fort. Although there is a guard stationed here it is necessary to take precautions due to the remoteness of the area.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Seasonal Fruit - Pitahaya

When we visited Nicaragua last September there was a lady who would deliver fruit and vegetables to our door everyday. We came to love a little red fruit called pitahaya - in Canada I knew it as Dragon Fruit.
Pitahaya and pineapple

The pitahaya that we enjoy here in León is the red-fleshed variety and it came into season about a month ago. Many people enjoy them cut up in a fruit salad or as a refresco. I find that the flavor is very mild and the texture reminds me of kiwi. They are very easy to peel (you don't eat the outer skin) but be careful because the red flesh and juice will stain your hands and whatever else it comes into contact with.  You should also know that eating this fruit may cause pseudohematuria, which is a harmless reddish discolouration of the urine and feces - much like when you eat too many beets!

We've currently been paying 20 cordobas each for the large pitahaya's but last September we were paying about 5 cordobas for the small ones.

Red-fleshed Pitahaya

Add a little granola and yogurt and you have a great breakfast - enjoy!

Pitahaya, pineapple and granola for breakfast

Friday, July 13, 2012

Shopping at Maxi Palí, León

On the outskirts of León you will find the local Maxi Palí which is part of the Walmart conglomerate. We found the store to be a nice change from our local Palí with a nice selection of household goods. We still haven't figured out what bus or camionetta passes along the road where the store is, so we opted for a taxi - only 20 cordobas each.

Let's take a look inside:

Dairy and vegetables at Maxi Pali

Electronics at Maxi Pali

Groceries at Maxi Pali

Liquor selection at Maxi Pali

Fresh meat counter at Maxi Pali

Household goods at Maxi Pali

Clothing at Maxi Pali

Maxi Pali merchandise

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How to pay your Electric Bill in León, Nicaragua

Your invoice for your electricity consumption should be delivered monthly to your house from DISNORTE-DISSUR.  Their website indicates that you can have your invoice sent to you electronically through email which might be a little more efficient - especially if you don't have a mailbox and you aren't home when the invoices are being delivered.

Union Fenosa Disnorte Main Office Leon
The invoice will detail the energy that you have used for the month as well as any subsidies you are entitled to (if you use less than 150 kwh). The bill is due approximately 20 days from the date of issue. You can pay the invoice at the bank - BAC, CITI, BANPRO, BANCENTRO or BDF.  All of them have locations in the city center. Your other option is to pay the invoice directly at their main office which is located on the north side of the block where the La Union Supermarket is. They also have "satellite" offices throughout the city where you can pay your account.

Union Fenosa Disnorte Satellite Office
There have been a couple of months when we didn't receive our statement. When this happens you will need to go to the main office and they can print off a copy of your statement - all you need is your account number. The "satellite" offices - at least at this time - are not connected to the head office and don't have printers to give you a copy of your statement. They may however request a copy to be sent to them and then you can return the next day or so and they will have the invoice for you.  If you get behind in your payments it would probably be best to make your payment directly at the main office so that there is no delay in them receiving the payment.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Asados Pelibuey

Asados Pelibuey Restaurant
Have you tried Pelibuey yet? Humm? What's Pelibuey you might ask.... It's a cross between a goat and a lamb we were told and it tastes really good! And on those words off we were to try this delicacy. Once we arrived at Asados Pelibuey we realized that we had actually eaten there last September when we visited León but not being very adventurous we opted for the chicken.

The street view of this restaurant is very unassuming and you might be inclined to give it a pass. It looks like it is strictly serving take-away, but if you enter the building you will find a nice little courtyard with some tables where you can sit down and relax.

Asado Pelibuey
The menu itself isn't very long - asados (bbq) of either pork, chicken, beef and of course Pelibuey served with a side of rice, beans, salad and tortilla. We noticed that you could also order maduro (fried ripe plantain) or even the plantain chips (which are my personal favorite). Service is quick and the food is plentiful and delicious.  The price is excellent - it will only set you back 60 cords for a plate of food and a coke.

Want to cook Pelibuey at home? They have fresh meat for sale - just ask at the counter.

Location: 2 blocks north from the Poets Park (just down from Lazybones Hostel)

Asados Pelibuey

Asados Pelibuey interior seeting

Asados Pelibuey kitchen
Asados Pelibuey cooking plantain

Asados Pelibuey grilling meats

So.... is Pelibuey really a cross between a goat and sheep? Well, from what I read it is a domestic sheep native to the Caribbean, Mexico and South America. It is a breed of "hair sheep" that doesn't grow wool and it does kinda look like a goat....