We love the tastes of Mexico and have enjoyed a variety of special dishes throughout our many trips to the country. One of the things that we enjoy about Mexican dishes are the various spices and peppers that they use in them. This dish has spice, but it isn’t at all spicy. Achiote is made from a hard seed that is ground up and provides a deep red color to whatever it is prepared with. We made a simple paste from the Achiote, which comes as a thick block with the consistency of clay. Using fresh lime juice brightens up the dish and makes it even more savory. We chose to marinate salmon, but it would work well with any other firm fish and even pork or chicken. It is definitely a simple meal to prepare.
2 Salmon Filets – about 6 ounces each
1/6 cup Fresh Lime Juice
1/3 of a 3 1/2 ounce package of Achiote
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
Combine the lime juice and the achiote paste in a food processor and mix it until it creates a smooth paste. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the paste onto both sides of the salmon, making sure to coat it evenly using the back of a spoon. Let the fish marinade for about 15 to 20 minutes. Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the salmon in the pan, skin side down, and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes until the skin gets crispy. Flip the fish and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until the salmon is cooked through. Serve with your favorite side dish.
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During our travels, we have come across a few products that we find indispensable. Because we travel light and try to only take a carry-on bag, every item that we take on a trip has to provide value to us or we wouldn’t take it with us. There are obvious items like our camera, tablet, and other items, but these are some that perhaps you haven’t thought about.
GETIHU Power Bank – Finding an outlet that can charge your USB devices when traveling can often be difficult to impossible. Especially when going to some out of the way places, like an ecolodge in the jungle, make having a portable power supply to charge devices an absolute must. It doesn’t have to be the jungle, though, it could be an airport, certain flights, or needing to charge more than one item and having a single power converter. We carry this lightweight item with us even when we’re not traveling, just in case we find that we have a sudden need.
Lenovo USB C Hub – Because we often want to share some photographs during our travels, having a multiport USB hub is a necessity for us. It allows us to transfer photographs from cameras and phones to our tablets in order to share the data. We also use it at home to store photographs on an external hard drive with large storage capacity. It is also convenient to charge multiple devices using a single outlet, which also comes in handy. As you can tell, keeping our phones and other devices charged during our travels is something we find important.
Osprey UltraLight 3 Dry Sack – It would be nice if every day of a trip was sunny and clear, but obviously sometimes it rains. This lightweight dry sack allows us to protect our camera and other electronic items when out and about during a rainy day. It rolls up into a tight little ball, about the size of a bracelet, making it easy to toss into our backpack when not needed.
eBags Classic Small/Medium Packing Cubes – Being able to organize cloths in our carry-on bags is extremely useful, especially when a trip is made up of several different stops. It also makes it convenient to separate clean clothes from dirty clothes as the trip goes along. They don’t take up any additional space and also don’t add any additional weight to the bags.
Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets – With the limited number of clothing items that can be packed into a carry-on bag, we often can’t take enough clothes to wear something different over a two week period. Instead, we take these laundry sheets that are extremely small, but quite effective to wash a pair of pants or a couple of shirts and hang them in the hotel bathroom to dry. We also usually take clothes that dry quickly, both for ease of washing as well of getting caught in the occasional rain storm.
All of these items are worth the space that they take in our luggage as we travel.
One of our favorite things to do during autumn when the leaves turn vibrantly colorful is to go hiking in the mountains. At these elevations, around 8,000 feet (2,400 meters), the leaves change sooner than they do in other places and they also don’t last long as winter arrives swiftly. We went to Mueller State Park, located about an hour outside of Colorado Springs, and spent a day hiking among the pine trees and aspen trees. The temperatures were cool and the skies were clear, so it was a perfect day to spend time in the mountains on some trails that we haven’t previously hiked.
The great thing about hiking in the high country is that you get a mix of seeing the changing colors up close as well as the tapestry of colors across the skyline. The park is located on the backside of Pikes Peak and the scenery was simply amazing as it almost always is at this time of year. The colors are mostly the golds and yellows of the aspen groves surrounded by the deep greens of the pine trees, which is different than the reds and oranges that you find in most places. If you get a chance to visit Colorado in autumn, we’d highly recommend that you get into the mountains, even if just by car.