What we're looking forward to after 5+ months in Mexico

Maybe the next issue will be what we miss now that we're gone

Wow, we’ve been here in Mexico for almost 5 months. That’s crazy to think!

Our little town here of Los Barriles has been good to us. We can get vegan pizza here. With vegan cheese even! There’s a Mexican takeout spot that offers a bunch of delicious vegan options. There are multiple produce stands and a nice little grocery store. And we’ve even got a shop that specializes in gringo ingredients.

Even so, there are a few things that we’ve been missing. If you’re used to cooking certain things, you’ve got to adjust when you’re somewhere that carries fewer options. We’ve already experienced this as we move around the U.S. but it’s even more pronounced when you’re in a small town in a foreign country.

To be honest, many things on our list are about convenience. Since we’re limiting eating out because of COVID-19, I am cooking more meals in a week than I ever have. And convenience foods would certainly lighten that burden, but they are few and far between here.

Now, a lot of this stuff IS available in Cabo or La Paz. But we’ve only been making runs to Cabo about once a month. And in some cases, these things are expensive even there so we’ve reduced what we’d normally consume. And we’ve simplified and compromised what we’ve been eating based on what’s available.

Our list of things we’re looking forward to when we get back in the U.S.

These are in no particular order.

Tempeh

We usually have tempeh at least once a week and it’s just not available in our small town here. We did pick up some frozen tempeh in Cabo on one of our trips but the texture was off. It was kind of spongy.

Canned diced tomatoes

Tomatoes here are cheap and delicious. But I am so tired of dicing tomatoes. They have canned diced tomatoes at Costco in Cabo but I haven’t bought them. And I regret that. I’m definitely picking up some for the ride north.

Tomato paste

It’s not a thing here. And it’s in many of my recipes in regular rotation. So what have I been using instead? Sometimes ketchup. Sometimes a mix of fresh tomatoes and chopped sundried tomatoes. I picked up the sundried tomatoes at H-Mart when we were in Atlanta and they do a great job of adding that concentrated punch of tomato flavor that you’d normally get from tomato paste.

Variety of veggie burgers

There are no veggie burgers here in our town. Costco in Cabo does have them. And there’s a Mexican company that has veggie burgers but we didn’t love them. You can get some U.S. brands in Cabo but they’re very expensive. So I just make them using Kathy Hester’s Instant Pot recipe (click on sample recipes.) They’re tasty, healthy, and it makes 12 so I freeze the extra and use as needed.

Anything Asian

Oh boy, I can’t WAIT to get to an Asian market! You can get basic ingredients here in town but the veggies are expensive or not available. I’m so glad I had a good supply of gochujang and Thai curry paste to add some variety to our meals. But we really miss kimchi. We’re also looking forward to eventually being able to go out for ramen, sushi, etc.

No salt added canned goods

If I’m going to used canned goods, I normally choose ones that don’t have added salt. And that’s not really a thing here. So I’ve been making batches of beans in the Instant Pot to then use in other meals. It just means I really need to plan if I’m going to have everything I need for a meal when I’m ready to make it.

Ease of finding ingredients

I miss being able to make almost any recipe I want because I know where to get everything. Tahini and miso figure into many of my recipes and running out of either stress me out.

Variety of ingredients

In our small town, the ingredient options are limited and when they run out of things restocking is slow.

Amazon prime

We rely on Amazon to bring us ingredients that we can’t find or are expensive locally. Amazon is in Mexico but it doesn’t have anywhere near the variety of products that you can get in the U.S.

I mean, really, it would be nice to be able to get any shipments without hassle, high cost, and long lead time.

You’ll notice that eating at XX restaurant isn’t on the list. That’s mostly because I don’t think we’ll be doing inside dining when we get back. And I’m not sure when we’ll be okay with that. Plus, who knows where we’ll be. I know we’ll be in Yuma first and there’s no restaurant food there that we’re excited about.

How Not to Diet Cookbook

Thanks to the magic of a friend driving down here I did manage to get my hands on the How Not to Diet Cookbook and have tried a few recipes from it. There are only a few recipes that I can make because I can’t get ingredients here.

So far I’ve tried the Turmeric Quinoa and Red Beans with Cauliflower and Chard, Sorghum and Chickpeas with Broccoli and Tomatoes (forgot to take a pic), and Southwest Kale Salad with Cumin-Tomato Dressing. Of course, I still had to make some substitutions. I used mayacoba beans in the first one and millet for sorghum in the second.

All of these were flavorful and satisfying. If you enjoy vegetable-centric meals, you should give this cookbook a try.

Speaking of Vegetables

If vegetables are your jam, I’d like to introduce you to Letty’s Kitchen. Letty has been our neighbor here in Baja the last few months and we’ve been lucky enough to try a few things from her kitchen.

Letty’s site isn’t 100% vegan but most of her recipes are and many of the ones that aren’t will just involve a simple vegan swap or elimination. She shared her enchiladas with us, sans cheese, and they were outstanding. That would be a good place to start!

Fancy Food in San Jose del Cabo

Our latest video covers a few foodie related items. We visited Yumana Kitchen in San Jose del Cabo for a fancy meal. The restaurant isn’t vegan but they hooked us up. We also try a couple of vegan products made in Mexico.

How’s the meal planning going?

Good! I told you guys about how I’m getting organized in a newsletter last month. It’s now been over a month of using Plan to Eat (affiliate link) and I love it! Here’s this week’s plan so you get an idea of how that looks.

I usually shop Friday afternoon so that’s why Friday dinner and Saturday are blank. You can see that we had the kale salad picture above on Sunday, The cards in color are recipes to make and the grey cards in grey are either leftovers or notes.

Several of these recipes are already on our website. Check out the Chickpea Quinoa Curry Bowl, Sweet Potato, Lima Bean and Corn Stew and the Spicy Garlic Stir Fry. That stir fry, in particular, has been almost a weekly occurrence. It adapts so easily to what’s available at the market or even frozen veggies.

Anyway, travel days are coming up so it’ll be interesting to see how it works then.


Soon, we’ll be on the move so watch our socials (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) to find out what we’re getting up to and eating. Next month’s free issue of this newsletter might actually come from inside the U.S.! Talk to you then!