All Posts By

Mackenzie Zenk

  • Best Spanish Subscription Book Boxes

    These Spanish book subscription boxes make bilingual parenting easier. Just subscribe and wait for an age-appropriate box to come to your doorstep each month! For me, one of the very hardest…

  • Close up of three freshly baked empanadas beside a jar of cajeta.

    Empanadas de Cajeta

    Empanadas are a culinary staple in Costa Rica, and we generally serve them at breakfast or during the coffee hour, a span of time from about 1-4 pm. I have to…

  • Yellow bowl of beef soup with a traditionally painted disc in the background.

    Costa Rican Beef Soup

    You could order the soup in three sizes- anywhere from about half a cup of soup to about 3 cups of soup. I always knew how drunk Oscar had been that…

  • Generous spoonful of cajeta.

    Cajeta Recipe

    Though cajeta is a Mexican specialty, we love it down in Costa Rica, too! Traditionally made with goat’s milk and sugar, cajeta is a variation of dulce de leche. This rich…

  • Fried empanada topped with cheese, salsa, and cilantro on a large leaf.

    Costa Rican Empanada Arreglada

    Empanadas are a hallmark of Latin American cooking, and here in Costa Rica, we have a special way of serving them! At a Costa Rican restaurant, you can order any type…

  • Platter consisting of meat in thick brown sauce and rice.

    Costa Rican Estofado (Beef Tail in Red Sauce)

    The traditional Costa Rican oxtail dish is braised and then bathed in a sauce of tomatoes, carrots, and onions for a savory and hearty stew.  Table of contents Recipe About This…

  • Blue patterned cloth lined with Special K cookies.

    Special K Cookies

    These cookies were a staple in our household growing up. My mom's oldest sister had written the recipe out on a card in cursive using a fine blue Bic ballpoint pen.  Whenever…

  • Aerial view of two jars of dulce de leche with cinnamon sticks and a spoon.

    Traditional Costa Rican Dulce de Leche Recipe

    Whether it’s drizzled over ice cream, slathered over cakes or eaten straight out of the jar, this magic sauce rarely disappoints! Here are three different ways to prepare your own dulce…

  • Bowl of Costa Rican chop suey next to a painted disc.

    Costa Rican Chop Suey

    Let me tell you a secret- Costa Rican chop suey is an actual thing. You can find it on almost any menu, and it's an insanely popular street food (along with…

  • Tortilla with a serving of potato hash in its center.

    Costa Rican Picadillo de Papa Recipe

    Costa Rica is well known for its picadillos, and with good reason! Traditionally made with diced vegetables, meat, and spices, picadillos are a beloved staple of Costa Rican cuisine. …

  • Cast iron pan full of diced squashes and corn placed on top of a folded yellow napkin.

    Green Chile Calabacitas Recipe

    Translating to “little squashes,” calabacitas is a celebrated Mexican recipe and an ideal vegetarian dish. This delicious hash consists of chopped and sauteed vegetables and is topped with shredded cheese… kind…

  • Pitcher of passion fruit juice beside halved yellow passion fruits.

    Costa Rican Passion Fruit Juice

    Let’s get passionate about this fruit! (Indulge me one pun, it was too easy to pass up!) Passion fruit hails from the tropics and can be recognized by its wrinkly exterior…

  • Pina colada in a hollowed out pineapple with the beach in the background.

    Costa Rican Piña Colada Recipe

    Sweet, cold, and refreshing, this iconic drink is not only the hook to a Rupert Holmes track, but a summer staple in its own right!…

  • Hot dog sections on a bed of french fries.

    Costa Rican Salchipapa

    “Salchipapa.” Yep, you read that correctly! Part salchicha (sausage) and part papa (potato) this french fry and hot dog medley is a favorite fast food all over Central and most South…

  • Bundles of carrots and green beans alongside a bowl of finely chopped carrots and beans.

    Costa Rican Vegan Picadillo de Vainica

    Picadillo is one of Costa Rica's most popular recipes… and with good reason! Coming from the verb picar (to cut), picadillos consist of diced vegetables that have been sauteed together with…

  • Close up of a jar of chicken broth on a grey mat with a yellow patterned napkin.

    Costa Rican Style Chicken Stock

    This is one of my best and most requested recipes. Since chicken broth is a staple of Costa Rican cuisine, I have worked for years to perfect this recipe. …

  • Young woman with a morpho butterfly perched on her jacket.

    Top 10 Costa Rica Study Abroad Excursions

    Studying abroad in Costa Rica? If you are short on time and big on wanderlust, here are 10 destinations you can't miss during your Costa Rica study abroad program.…

  • White platter with three grilled chicken breasts heaped on top.

    Costa Rican Pollo Asado

    Pollo asado, or grilled chicken, is just one part of the great Costa Rican carne asada. Literally translating to “grilled meat,” the carne asada is an EVENT, and certainly not one…

  • Series of flashcards with Spanish words and their translations written in colored marker.

    25 Best Bilingual Parenting Blogs

    The community of bilingual family bloggers has so much to offer, and I love getting to check out everyone’s insights and experiences. There are heaps of resources, tips, and activities to…

  • Hearty serving of taco soup with yellow and blue place mats underneath it.

    Easy Taco Soup Recipe

    For those days when you need a filling meal but have no motivation to cook, this quick and easy taco soup recipe is here to help! All you need are some…

  • Pineapple fruit, glass of pineapple juice, and carafe placed on a striped cloth.

    Fresh Pineapple Juice Recipe – Costa Rica

    Homemade Costa Rican pineapple juice (jugo de piña) is so healthy and delicious- all you need is a pineapple and a blender! Table of contents Recipe About This Recipe Substitutions Variations…

  • Aerial view of several glasses of mango juice and mango fruits.

    Costa Rican Mango Juice Recipe

    This three-ingredient Costa Rican jugo de mango (mango juice) recipe only requires two large mangos, water, and a bit of sugar. Naturally vegan and loaded with vitamins and minerals, this refreshing mango…

  • Aerial photo of pineapple popsicles on a plate ringed by whole slices of pineapple fruit.

    Pineapple Popsicle Recipe– Paletas de Piña

    Nothing says “summer” quite like a fresh popsicle! With its famously sunny climate and abundant tropical fruits, Costa Rica is a veritable popsicle paradise. Popsicles, or Paletas as they are known…

  • Close-up of a blackberry popsicle lying on a wooden board.

    Homemade Blackberry Popsicle Recipe

    In an earlier post, I talked about my deep and abiding love for homemade blackberry juice, so you can probably guess as to my feelings about blackberry paletas! I’m a little…