Explore gorgeous tropical gardens for free – and a bribe

Do you have a Prime membership from Amazon? I promise this isn’t an ad for Amazon, but a Prime membership pays off in so many ways in my life – for example a “health” benefit, you could call it, is that if I’m sick – or a family member is sick – I can order food or supplies of any kind and get them within 2 days or often the next day.

AND a cool perk is that I can also listen to a bunch of music and watch a huge number of videos for free – and they’re not just regular old movies either.  I really enjoyed a video I found today titled “Gardens of the World – Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden,” and if you search under “tropical gardens.” you’ll see more choices.  Gorgeous!

In the middle of hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, it’s so great to know that there are always places that you can go to in your mind or on your computer  – no matter where you are and no matter what is going on around us.

Watching relaxing scenes is proven to be great for your health – if you haven’t already, try using them for relaxing, meditating, yoga or stretching.

So what’s this about a bribe? I’d like to know what’s YOUR favorite way to use relaxing/tropical or otherwise videos?  The best answer this year (2017) based on creativity and usefulness will receive a tropical token of appreciation. I don’t know what it will be yet – it’s a surprise to me too!

Just email me at joanna@tropicize.com with your idea, and I’d love to hear any other suggestions you have for Tropicize as well.

Have a wonderful TROPICAL day!

 

Find your inner mermaid – in MONTANA!

Mermaids? In Montana? Absolutely!

Complete proof that you can create your own tropical paradise anywhere, the O’Haire Motor Inn in Great Falls, Montana (http://ohairemotorinn.com) has a Sunday Brunch twice a month in their Sip ‘N Dip Lounge (named the #1 bar on earth worth flying for by GQ Magazine!) featuring live mermaids.

Gorgeous mountains and beautiful mermaids – Montana truly has it all!  I was there only once but it is truly “big sky” country – maybe it’s time for a second visit??!!

And ladies, check this out – it looks like an absolute blast!

“Tiki Tuesday. Ladies Night with Mermen (and 1 mermaid) with Tiki Drink Specials, tiki fun!”  

Hmm, now how many hours to drive from North Carolina to Montana? 

Cruise through life with more island music!

Music can be your motivation to get up and dance. Music can be what relaxes you at the end of a busy day.  Music adds the fun to any kind of party – in fact it’s hard to think of an occasion or mood that isn’t made better with music. And tropical island music – whether it’s calypso or soca from the Caribbean, Jawaiian or traditional hula songs from Hawaii, or anything in between, can energize or relax you better than just about any other type of music. (Course being in a tropical band I’m just a wee bit prejudiced!)

Think back to any tropical sounding music you’ve heard and loved and create a songlist for your phone or laptop, or just burn CDs if you don’t have newer technologies.  Creating an island playlist is guaranteed to add more fun, inspiration and relaxation to your life!

Need some ideas? We’ll be sharing some of our favorites including many you probably don’t know, but some obvious choices to start out with include Jimmy Buffett, the Beach Boys, the Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney, Bob Marley and the Wailers, the Ventures, and Harry Belafonte. Many tropical bands’ websites  (including the band I’m in, the Tsunami Wave Riders) have playlists posted that you can mine for musical treasures. Check out on itunes, youtube, or CDbaby as well by searching under the terms palm trees, tiki bars, troprock, exotica, sailing songs, steel drums, calypso, soca, Hawaiian, and Jawaiian. Try this link for some interesting ideas:  https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147409-i432-k5768656-Island_music_playlist_more_suggestions-St_John_U_S_Virgin_Islands.html

It’s also fun to use the shazam app if you’re lucky enough to travel to tropical destinations (and sometimes you can find tropical destinations in the most unlikely of places – for instance there’s a Trader Vic’s Restaurant in downtown Atlanta that makes you feel like you just stepped into Bora Bora, and you will hear a variety of eclectic music (our band  played there a time or two – and oh hey – I left a tropical lamp there once – if you see it, snag it for me!) besides being immersed in tropical splendor and food and drink concoctions of every kind.

OR – Make your own music!  Do you or a friend or relative own a keyboard that has built-in arrangements (in other words. almost every modern-day keyboard)? Tropical-sounding tempos like calypso, Latin rhythms, ocean sounds, etc. are great to add a little melody to and make your own music!

Now create that tropical songlist and get the island party started!

 

Dancers on Catalina Island, Dominican Republic

Mango Ceviche

Traditionally ceviche is a dish made with seafood, however this unique version is simpler and gives you tons of flavor completely plant based!

Print Recipe
Mango Ceviche
Course Side
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Side
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Slice onion and place int a bowl of ice water to sit 10 minutes while other ingredients are prepared.
  2. Chop mango and place in a bowl with half of the lime juice and salt. Test and increase lime juice to your liking.
  3. Add jalapenos, cilantro, and drained onions.
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My Dollar Store and Leftover Dinner

This is one of my favorite supercheap and superfast meals – has everyone already thought of this?  I take whatever Chinese leftovers I can scrounge up – mine or someone elses’s as long as they’re vegetarian – and I add up to a 10 ounce pack of Dollar store broccoli to them, and – voila! (what’s the Chinese translation for that?)  Instant yummy and pretty  healthy dinner – yummy because you have all the flavors from a Chinese restaurant, but way healthier because the ubiquitous oils are spread throughout a whole dinner instant of concentrated in a small portion.

If you’ve ordered (and I hope you have – it would be a great choice!) steamed tofu and veggies with sauce on the side such as the one dish in the picture, featured on most Chinese menus in the vegetarian section, you can add just a little of the sauce for flavor but use Bragg’s liquid aminos, low sodium soy sauce, sriracha sauce, etc. for the main kick.

For extra bonus points, order brown rice on the side instead of white if your Chinese or Asian restaurant offers it as an option – otherwise you can make your own.

People usually aren’t as crazy about brown rice but I have a couple secrets in that department – But that’s a blog for another time!….

Start a Hawaiian tradition – Take off your shoes! (or flip flops)

In Hawaii, it’s the custom to take off your shoes before entering your (or someone else’s) home. The tradition started when  Japanese immigrants first landed on the gorgeous Hawaiian beaches way back in 1868, and fortunately it stuck (tourist alert: it’s actually considered rude not to comply with the no-shoesies in the housie rule).  Even repairmen leave their shoes at the door! It’s a popular custom in India and other countries as well, and for good reasons:  you don’t track dirt or other nasties inside the house (gosh knows what manner of pesticides and other invisible unmentionables have hitchhiked inside on my feet and are now happily camping out on my carpet).

The second great advantage is that it keeps our carpets and floors so much cleaner.  Not having to clean the carpets nearly as often 1) saves money, 2) saves time, and 3) saves even MORE chemicals posssibly coming into our house in the guise of carpet cleaners.  Have a baby or puppy who crawls on the floor? Or do you do yoga without a mat? Even more good reason.

How to convince the rest of your family to Hawaiian-ize their feet? Keep an attractive basket by the door of comfy slippers or other shoes to entice everyone’s tootsies. Or you can withhold dinner – just sayin’.

“But what if I live in a cold climate and we wear boots or other footwear that are a pain to take on and off?”  Then this little housekeeping helper may be a little more challenging to do. On the other hand, when you make a habit of something, it no longer seems to take that long or be that hard. You can at least consider  it during the warmer months or on all the days when people won’t be coming in and out of the house very often.

Other important rule for leaving your footwear at the door? Make sure to go home in the same pair you came in with!  🙂

Cold Brew Colada

Naturally I am not what you would call a morning person… but a sip of this drink and you’ll be ready to take on the day!

Reasons why I love it:

  1. It puts pep in my step! Cold brew is stronger than conventionally made coffee.
  2. It tastes just as good if not better than your go to expensive coffee chain.
  3. Making coffee at home can save you some serious cash!

*For this recipe I brew my own cold brew over night (its so easy!) but if you are not into making your own you can buy cold brew pre-made in the refrigerated isle of your grocery store!

 

Print Recipe
Cold Brew Colada
Course Drink
Prep Time 2 minutes
Servings
glass
Ingredients
Course Drink
Prep Time 2 minutes
Servings
glass
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pour cold brew and milk into a glass
  2. Add ice cubes and agave and stir
Recipe Notes

The ratio of cold brew to coffee is 1:2 but you can adjust this based on your caffeine intake or taste preferences.

 

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Two Bean Enchiladas

The name Enchilada comes from the spanish verb enchilar which mean “to add chili pepper to”. In this recipe we will be creating a savory filling wrapped in tortillas and topped off with a delicious chili sauce!

This recipe is adapted from The Garden Grazer.

Print Recipe
Two Bean Enchiladas
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Filling
Enchilada Sauce
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Filling
Enchilada Sauce
Instructions
Filling
  1. Dice onion and bell pepper and saute on medium heat for 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, dice tomatoes and drain and rinse beans
  3. Once onions are tender add smoked paprika, cumin, tomatoes, beans, and nutritional yeast. Stir and heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees and prepare enchilada sauce.
  5. Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish and coat with a thin layer of enchilada sauce.
  6. Fill tortillas with filling and roll in, tucking in the sides. Place in dish and cover with enchilada sauce.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.
Enchilada Sauce
  1. Heat oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat
  2. Add flour and spices and stir until lightly browned
  3. Stir in tomato sauce and broth until smooth. Continue cooking over medium until sauce slightly thickens.
Recipe Notes

These are great with sour cream or simple avocado!

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Golden Orange Goji Smoothie

Thanks to Green Blender for helping us get more healthful sweet potatoes into our diet in the most delicious way!

Print Recipe
Golden Orange Goji Smoothie
Course Drink
Servings
8 oz.
Ingredients
Course Drink
Servings
8 oz.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Chop sweet potato and pineapple into pieces if needed for your blender. Add the rest and blend until smooth. If your blender is not high-powered, you might want to microwave or steam the sweet potato for a few minutes first to soften it . Courtesy of Green Blender.
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Fakin’ Bacon BLT Club Sandwich

This is a pretty obvious recipe but many people haven’t had the treat of a non-meat BLT yet – and that’s a shame! “Fake bacon” is available at most grocery stores now, and has come a long way in terms of flavor . Just make sure to read the list of ingredients – many companies put egg white in to make it crispier. Why make just a regular sandwich with these ingredients when the flavors are so good you can make it a double decker?

What’s tropical about this recipe,  you ask? Absolutely nothing except the fact that it’s a really simple – leaving  you lots of lounging time in the hammock!  Ahhhh.

Nice paired with an easy cold salad such as tossed dark greens, a healthy cole slaw, 3-bean salad, pickled beets, or tomatoes or cucumbers in vinaigrette.

Print Recipe
Fake Bacon BLT Club Sandwich
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Vegan
Prep Time 2 min.
Cook Time 5 min.
Servings
sandwich
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Vegan
Prep Time 2 min.
Cook Time 5 min.
Servings
sandwich
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Spread the mayo on the bread - wait - you've made a sandwich before, right? Usually not my favorite part of a loaf, the heels in this case hold all the inner fixins' in nicely.
Recipe Notes

This has almost all the flavor but none of the carcinogens and sadness of real bacon.  Back in 2015, processed meats (hot dogs, bacon, ham, sausage, deli meats, etc.) were classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization, so this is a much better option for your health - not to mention the pig's!

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