I’m back and I’ve got some Chai Maple Coco-Nut Mix for you!

If I said I was excited to be back, I’d be lying…

BIG TIME!

As always, one week went by way, WAY too fast. Especially since heavy rain and winds had to come and put a serious damper on two of my precious vacation days. Pfft. I could’ve VERY well done without that, thank you very much.  But hey, at least, I still got to swim in the ocean and bask in the sun shade pretty much every day, so all in all, I’m a happy camper!

Since this was my third time at this very same resort, I didn’t take so many pictures this time. And to be honest, most of the pictures I took, I snapped with my cell phone. Yeah, I know.

Not very pro of me, is it?

Still, at least I have a few shots to share with you.

Cayo Largo 2013 | The Entrance

This is the first thing that you see when you get to the hotel.

I love love love this lobby.

Sometimes, when it’s not too nice out, or in the evening while waiting for the nightly entertainment to begin, I love to sit myself down in one of those giant chairs and read for a while.

Cayo Largo 2013 | The Lobby

As you exit the lobby and make your way to the “back yard”

This view, it just never gets old for me. I could just stand there and stare for hours…

Cayo Largo 2013 | View from my Hotel Room

I was extremely pleased with my room this year. My unit was on the second floor and had a nice balcony, from which I could catch a glimpse of the ocean.

So every morning, as I woke up and stepped out for a bit of fresh air, this is what I got to see…

I wish I could also include an audio clip. There is nothing quite like the sound of the ocean to start the day right!

Cayo Largo 2013 | My Favorite Beach

Speaking of the ocean… This has been my playground for the first three days.

Can you say peace and quiet?

That’s what I love most about that place. You get the beach pretty much to yourself. And look at the color of that water. I’ve never seen anything quite so clear and vibrant and turquoise in my life. This sea, she’s like a giant jewel. Even when your feet no longer make contact with the ocean floor, you can still clearly see your toes.

I can never get enough of this…

Cayo Largo 2013 | Rock Statues on the Beach

Looks like some people had fun building little rock statues on the beach!

These guys were the only souls keeping me company while I spent hours completely lost and submerged in the immensity of the big blue.

Cayo Largo 2013 | Out of my Bikini

Oops! Er… yes, this is exactly what you think it is. This bikini, I was wearing mere seconds before I took the picture.

Seeing as how I was completely alone this year, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and give the “nudist” experience a little try.

I can’t say I hated it! Something definitely has to be said for being submerged in water without any clothing to distract you whatsoever!

And there’s an item I can cross off my list of things to do before I die! ;)

Cayo Largo 2013 | Same beach now gone

Alas, after a couple or rainy days, my precious beach got pretty much completely eaten up by the sea.

And that sea, she got pretty feisty, too! She started giving us swimmers a serious ride for our money. She would pull and push us in all sorts of directions. She liked to play rough, let me tell you…

I can’t say I hated that, either! I even chose to make her my official workout partner, one morning. For a full half hour, I fought the waves, planting my feet deep in the sand and trying not to budge under her vicious attacks. HA! It might sound easy, but trust me, she gave me  a real hard time!

Thank goodness, this battle took place under the watchful eye of 2 local Cubans, which made me feel safer. Regardless, the sea she eventually got the best of me and I had no other choice but to capitulate.

Cayo Largo 2013 | The beach has been eaten up

See, that’s the side of the beach that I really like to spend my time on. Unfortunately, I was only able to access it for the first 3 days.

After that, the path was completely blocked:  the sea swallowed it whole. That, I have to admit, made me a little sad…

Cayo Largo 2013 | The Busy Beach

I had to visit that other side of beach, instead. It was a little too busy for my taste, so I would actually walk aaaall the way to the end…

I can’t say I really minded the walk! The view was rather pleasant, I must admit (especially since I had to walk through the “official nudist area” to get there)… 

Cayo Largo 2013 | My Favorite Reading Spot

This is the spot in which I sat to read every single afternoon after my daily workout.

I would sit there for a few hours, have lunch and one or two Piña Coladas. Let me tell you, Daniel makes the best Piña Coladas ever!

Sometimes, I found it kind of hard to concentrate on my book, though. The view was just too distracting…

Cayo Largo 2013 | My Second Favorite Reading Spot

Later in the afternoon, when it got really, really hot, I would move to this other “reading” location.

At least here, I could jump in the water every once in a while to cool myself down a little bit…

Then I’d get right back to my chair and lay in the shade, then lose myself in my book for a while longer.

Again, notice how crowded the place is!

Cayo Largo 2013 | The Swimming Pool

I wish I had THIS very swimming pool in my own back yard.

No wait… scratch that. I wish this WERE my very own back yard…

Cayo Largo 2013 | Collecting Turtle Eggs

There is a Turtle Farm in Cayo Largo (La Granja de las Tortugas) that works very hard at saving the turtles: they regularly go and collect turtle eggs, bring them back to the farm until they hatch and then they bring the little hatchlings back to release them to the sea.

Sadly, for the 3rd year in a row, I missed the release again but at least this time, I got to witness the collecting of the eggs!

That was quite a fascinating experience. I never thought that turtles would actually dig so deep and lay so many eggs! We actually collected 99 total, that day. And that was on the low side!

Kudos to these guys for doing what they do.

Oh, and for the record, I have no idea who the lady in the picture is. She just happened to be part of the group and I thought she made an excellent model for this picture! See how deep that nest is? Unbelievable!

Chai Maple Coco-Nut Mix | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Before I left, I made this nut mix to take with me so I’d have something to munch on while waiting for the plane (and while actually ON the plane…)

This was my first time making “flavored” nuts at home so I wasn’t convinced that they would turn out so great, but wow, did they ever! Now I can’t wait to make all kinds of other flavors and mixes.

Of course, if you choose to make this, you don’t have to use the exact same nuts I did. You could use any combination of nuts you like. So long as you keep the ratio fairly similar, you should be just fine. Just make sure your nuts are COMPLETELY dry before you put them away, else they might eventually develop some mold and trust me, you don’t want such a disastrous thing happening to your delicious nut mix!

The combination of chai spice and maple is absolutely splendid and somehow reminds me of Christmas. Which got me to thinking that this would make a great Holiday present!

Wouldn’t you agree?

Chai Maple Coco-Nut Mix

Chai Maple Coco-Nut Mix

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup Brazil nuts
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup (grade B or medium)
  • 1 tbsp chai spice (from recipe below)
  • 1/2 + 1/4 tsp salt
  • To make the Chai Spice Mix
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground five spice
  • 1 large nutmeg, grated
  • 1 tsp ground clove
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place nuts, except for cashews, in a large bowl. Add 1/2 tsp of salt, cover with water, mix well add and place in the refrigerator to soak overnight or at least 6 hours.
  2. Add the cashews and soak for an additional 3 hours.
  3. Rinse nuts 2-3 times, drain well and spread evenly in a single layer on a cookie sheed. Place in a 200F oven to dry for 2 hours.
  4. Mix maple syrup, chai spice and 1/4 ts of salt together in a small bowl.
  5. Remove nuts from the oven and place them in mixing bowl. Pour spice and maple syrup mix in and toss until the nuts are evenly coated.
  6. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and again, spread the nuts evenly in a single layer. Place back in the oven and dry for an additional additional hour.
  7. Remove once again from oven, stir in coconut and dry for yet another hour, or until the coconut starts to turn slightly golden.
  8. Shut the oven down, crack the door open and let the nuts cool completely.
  9. Store in an airtight container.
http://thehealthyfoodie.com/chai-maple-coco-nut-mix/

Chai Maple Coco-Nut Mix | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Chai Maple Coco-Nut Mix | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

Chai Maple Coco-Nut Mix | by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

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Comments

  1. says

    Wow, Cuba does have gorgeous water colour I haven’t seen anywhere else. Did you go by yourself? What resort was it? Never knew about the turtles and their eggs. And I don’t blame you for taking many photos with your iPhone. I get tired of bulky camera and just want to RELAX. Glad you had fun, Sonia!

    • says

      Yes, I did go all by myself this year. I wasn’t quite sure that I was going to like it all that much, I was afraid that I might get a little bored after a while, but I ended up appreciating the experience very much and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again! Such a beautiful place after all…

      • says

        Funny, but I did the same think back in June. I had the same feelings as you but am already considering to repeat next year.:) LOL. My husband is already terrified babysitting 2 kids for a week.

  2. says

    WELCOME BACK SONIA, we missed you!
    However, you’re literally killing me here.
    Clear waters, blue skies, white sand beaches…I want to go there and never come back. Never…

  3. Chelsea F says

    Beautiful pictures! Looks like you had a lot of fun on your vacation!

    I definitely need to make this mix! I usually eat my nuts raw but just started toasting them. Next step is obviously to add flavor!

  4. says

    Your trip looks amazing!! I wish I could have seen that turtle farm, I’m obsessed with turtles :) I wish I could have one in my apartment but I don’t think that’s allowed in my lease lol.

    Your trail mix looks so awesome and unique, I neeeeed it!

    • says

      Oh, you’d love the turtle farm then, Jess. You can even hold the turtles for a whee bit if you want. I held a couple of them last year and it was quite an experience. I’d have loved to send a little hatchling to the sea this time around. Oh well, maybe next year! And why couldn’t you keep a turtle at home? It’s not like it would disturb the neighbors! ;)

      • says

        Now that you mention it, how COULD a turtle be a problem?? They don’t bark or anything ;)

        And PLEASE take pictures if you see a baby turtle on its way to the ocean next time you vacation, that would be the coolest experience ever. You are so lucky! Glad you had fun :)

        BTW, love your nail polish in the pictures. You always have the best manicures and I’m aaaalllways jealous.

      • says

        Awww, thank you so much, Jessica, that is so very kind of you to say! And if next time I go to Cuba I FINALLY get to see the little baby turtles making a run for the sea, I will not only take pictures but I will shoot a video and post it for you to see! The little things are just so darn adorable. :D

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