Costa Rica,  Creative Cooking,  Homeschooling,  Wendi's Daily Blog

Post #22 – Salmon Salad, Precious Friends and Guacamole!

Paul is off to be Bishop.  I love Tuesday nights.  A nice meal together as a family, then family scripture reading and prayers, leads to the night being left to enjoy how we please before heading off to bed.  The kids are all watching the last half of “What Katy Did” – a movie about a book GingerSnap read and loved.  The kids seem to be enjoying it, enough that they ate all their FISH SALAD – eww gross!  – so they could go back and finish watching their movie.

Actually, it is a VERY YUMMY dinner and quite satisfying.  It is called Salad Nicoise and I got the recipe from the Food Nanny, only we use salmon instead of tuna.  Thankfully most of my family actually quite enjoys this dinner, so it is worth the battle to get the girls to keep trying to like eating fish.  I thoroughly enjoyed how the fish turned out tonight. I did a variation of this recipe.  SUPER YUMMY!   We used strips of salmon instead of a huge filet, so I will put how I made my fish below – just in case the blog post disappears one day and I am not able to be inspired to know how to make this again (it makes me sad when that happens).



  • butter
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • garlic powder
  • dried dill
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • parsley
  • salmon strips


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Wash salmon in cold water and place onto foil.
  3. Spread butter on top of each strip of salmon.  Sprinkle with garlic powder, parsley, dill, salt and pepper.  Squeeze lemon juice from lemon on top of each strip of salmon.  Slice the lemon into as many slices as pieces of fish.
  4. Take a slice of lemon and twist it, placing in on top of the fish, allowing it to lay still and cover as much of the fish as possible.
  5. Place the fish into the oven and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  6. Serve over already prepared Salad Nicoise.

Now I am so tired.  It is only 6:33 p.m. and I am doing all I can to stay awake until 8:00 p.m. – thank heaven I have a blog I can write; I might make it to 7:30.  This morning’s sunrise was almost like being in outer space.  I LOVED the color of blues and grays we had this morning.  I especially enjoyed the darkness of the shadows.  It was breathtaking.

Last night’s FHE piano recital went as well as I had hoped.  Sadly I only got a photo of Joy Boy playing the piano – the lighting was terrible and my kids were nervous enough, I didn’t want to add picture taking to the stress of the moment.  But each of us did really well.  We all sounded well practiced and it sounded like no one made any mistakes.  The family that we had over (Priscila, Mathew and Shanty) really enjoyed themselves.  Mathew, the little boy we planned the evening for, even felt comfortable enough to share the song he had learned on the keyboard – “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”.  We all applauded and he had the biggest smile on his face.

This morning, while I was going through old clothes and Curly Cook’s newest set of hand-me-downs, Curly Cook asked if she could make guacamole.  WHAT?!?!?  I wanted to say no, because avocados are actually quite expensive here, but then I remembered that we homeschool and THIS is what homeschooling is all about.  So I said yes.

Her first batch didn’t turn out so well.  She and Joy Boy said that the recipe called for 1/4 cup of sour cream and then the word “salt” was the last ingredient.  So they assumed that the recipe called for 1/4 cup salt.  Needless to say, they came upstairs with long faces, proclaiming that the guacamole was uneatable.  I hesitated telling them to “try again” when I heard that they used 2 avocados – we only have 7 for the next 2 weeks. But . . . I remembered the cause I was fighting for and told them to go try again!

The kids looked at me dumbfounded, wondering if I was truly serious.  I said I was and without complaining they got back to work.  The next batch was delicious!   Now I have a budding cook in my family and it only cost me 4 avocados.  I think that is a great return on my investment.  How brave Curly Cook was to try such a challenging recipe, with only her brother – just older than her – to help.

This little success with my youngest child actually gave me a little boost – just the boost I needed to face MAJOR traffic on my way to meet my friends from the Escazu ward for lunch at Picnic.  As I was trying to stay calm, since I was quite late, I thought of the little impacts I am making in my children’s lives.  Where else would Curly Cook get the courage and desire to try something so challenging, even for most adults to do?  I LOVE that mother’s inspire their children much MORE than they truly realize.

Lunch was actually really nice (I wish we would have taken a photo of us all).  It was just the 4 of us: Katrinka Blunt, Sheila Reed, Katherine Evans (new from the states) and myself.  Only 3 other ladies remain in Costa Rica (Annalee, Danika and Lori).  I will admit, it is difficult seeing people come and go, but it is part of what we signed up for.  On the plus side, I do love getting to know so many different people from all over this world.

The ladies and I enjoyed a wonderful talk and I was able to enjoy most of it because Sheila ordered me a salad (I was late due to the rush of the morning and TERRIBLE traffic) so I didn’t have to wait in line.  I tried to do my best not to complain or whine or talk too much but I never feel that I accomplish this goal.  Each time we meet I feel I just vent ALL my frustrations of living in a foreign country, especially being away from all the niceties of the United States, and leave them thinking that I am quite the Eeyore.

But they were wonderful and helped comfort me, telling me that THIS is WHY we get together, so we can vent to those who understand and truly do care about what you are experiencing.

As we were getting ready to leave, I vented my last woe and then begged their forgiveness for my weaknesses.  This was when Katrinka pulled out of her “magic purse” (remember the plastic container with my name faded on it?) a little, laminated card she had been holding for me since our last get together, that I missed, in May.  She said that she had thought of me when she read it and wanted me to have it.

Her words were SO COMFORTING.  She has truly been an angel to me the past 2 years and I will (as well as my family) deeply miss being able to visit with her every few months.  Her friendship has meant more to me than I would have ever guessed, for I completely assumed that we would never be close friends.  In all honesty, I was totally intimated by her.  She is SUPER talented, not only in athletics but in academics, and she is a fantastic wife and mother.

She is an accomplished lawyer, as well as a pro athlete.  She is tall, beautiful and has 4 amazing children, all while supporting her husband who has been a Bishop for over 5 years in a foreign country.  She also worked closely with her children’s private school in the Parent’s Association.  She was truly outstanding to me in so many ways, that I was almost ashamed to speak around her, for fear that I would sound unintelligent and lazy.

But that isn’t her.

Katrinka understood me in ways that others did not.  She was a shoulder to cry on more times than any other friend has been over the last 2 1/2 years – and that fact that she is physically here was the cherry on the top of our friendship.  Ironically, she probably doesn’t think she has helped me much because what she has offered me has been something I can compare to any other kind of service that I have been given.  It wasn’t a hot meal for my family or translation services, nor was it spending a lot of time together as families or just as 2 friends.  Katrinka’a acts of service were truly unique and something that only she could offer me – words that gently sung comfort into my heart.  I feel that they have been Divinely inspired.  I pray that I will always remember this time with her.

Katrinka is truly an example to me of what TRUE friendship is.  She didn’t need to rush in and try to solve all my problems, instead, she calmly comforted me and encouraged me to KEEP TRYING and KEEP YOUR CHIN UP – YOUR STRONGER THAN YOU KNEW YOU WERE.  When it is time for her family to leave, as all of us will do one day, I will miss having her around to remind me of such precious truths.

~ Be Still My Soul ~

I was touched by her little token of love today.  It gave courage to my heart and soul and inspired me to keep on going.  I am so grateful that she sees me for who I am – for I do strive to be the answer to someone else’s prayers as much as possible and I also strive to find those moments in a day that I should be grateful for, especially when life seems so unfair, hopeless and impossible to endure.  THIS TOO SHALL PASS!  It has been a very healthy day for me.  The salads and guacamole helped but the friendships were the real nourishment.  Thank heaven for allowing me the friendships I have here and across the world.  I am RICHLY BLESSED!

Thanks for listening,

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