Monday, January 14, 2013

Tropical Christmas Part 2 and a Coconut Dessert

Last week I shared a bit of our Christmas vacation in Cuba and today I've got some more to share. We've been home for almost two weeks and I miss the beach already. Every morning we walked along the beach collecting sea shells and even found lots of conch shells which I've never found before!

Glorious skies from morning to night...

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to see dolphins up close. I think they're such beautiful and mystical creatures. J and I got the opportunity when we booked a day long catamaran excursion.

We hopped aboard the boat and sailed into the ocean for a while before stopping to go snorkeling. I've snorkelled and seen incredible fish, coral, and starfish before so I was super stoked... however the snorkeling on this expedition was less than stellar. It was just brown coral - and no fish! What the heck!

But onwards and upwards, we then sailed to another part of the ocean to see/swim with the dolphins! They're adorable beyond words, really gentle, and very well trained.

I call this one Dolphin Love... <3

As wonderful as it was though, I have a hard time with the captivity thing. I really hope they're treated well. They did appear happy and seemed to enjoy performing for us and got lots of treats.... but at the end of the day I hope they're well taken care of.

Mira is three years old and lives with her mother, along with another mother and young one.

Everyone on the tour got to touch her several times - her back, her belly, give and receive kisses from her, give hugs, and even pick her up! She was so smooth, and when we picked her up she felt felt flexible yet incredibly strong.

J went swimming with her and I took pics. She swam on her back while he was on her belly and flew around the water.

Then they hugged and she mauled him, lol. It was like he found his best friend in the world. I absolutely love these pics.

She was super playful with him!

It was great to see the pelicans too! There were so many of them.

After that we hopped aboard again and sailed to an island with a gorgeous long white sand beach and outdoor restaurant for a lunch of fresh lobster and fish. Of course I grabbed a young coconut to sip on after lunch as we hit the beach. Since we'd been out in the sun all day I needed a little reprieve hence putting my coverup on my head.

Blue, blue, and blue...

Instead of wine, I drank champagne every day. The wonders of an all inclusive.

We enjoyed the Japanese restaurant one night which was very entertaining!

There were always such creative veggie sculptures.

The biggest pan of paella you'll probably ever see!

We enjoyed the glorious full moon one night.

Every day the pineapple and coconut guy came by on the beach. A long line of people wait for their fresh drinks! J wanted to try the pina colada while I went for a young coconut.

He removes the inside of the pineapple leaving the bottom to create a cup and the core stays in.

He gives you the pineapple to eat.

And then he makes the drink with rum, coconut, etc.

And voila! Pina colada served in a pineapple.

This time we got coconuts from one of the gardeners sells them on his break. I took every opportunity to drink fresh coconut water.

Oh, and a monkey riding a pony alongside a goat. Ever seen such a thing?! Heheh

Of course there was lots of beach yoga!

Thinking about all those fresh coconuts makes me want a coconut dessert! I dug up an easy oldie to share. I posted this last year on Sweetly Raw after my trip to Costa Rica and did a whole post dedicated to raw vegan coconut desserts. I layered this coconut whipped cream with fruit to make a simple dessert, but works great as a breakfast item too. I even like it by the spoonful. Mmm.

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 cup packed young coconut pulp
1/2 cup coconut water
1/2 cup cashews
3 tablespoons agave, maple syrup, or coconut nectar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1-2 drops stevia, if needed

Blend the coconut pulp, coconut water, cashews, maple, lemon, vanilla and salt until completely smooth and creamy.
Add the oil and blend again to incorporate.
Taste and add a few drops of stevia if you like it a bit sweeter.
Spread into a large bowl and chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours until it firms up.

On another note, I'm into day 13 of my sugar detox. Almost 2 weeks. Woo hoo! I've been cooking up a storm and it's been so much fun. I have more recipes to share this week and I hope you checked out the sauerkraut recipe and started up a batch on the weekend.

Shared at Wellness Weekend


  1. The dolphins, monkey, and yoga poses steal the show in the photos - love them all!!

    Also loving the Coconut Whipped Cream recipe - yum.

    Keep up the awesome work with the detox!!! **cheering with pom poms**

    1. Thanks my dear! I think you should create a support system business cuz you're the best supporter I know!!! :D

  2. So cute! I love dolphins! Great pics! Love the monkey, too funny! And always gorgeous yoga pics. :)

    1. Thanks lovely. Those animals were so cute! Never seen such a thing hehe.

  3. paella!!!!! wow

    awe look at the dolphins too cute

    your yoga pics are so inspiring

    1. Thanks girls! Hope we can do yoga together one day ;)

  4. Oh wow those pictures with the dolphins are insane!! Looks like you had a simply wonderful time! And you're so tanned now- jealous ;)

    Love the simplicity of this dessert Heather, looks so delicious! I haven't had a young coconut since moving here- I think I'll make a mission soon to Chinatown and get some!

    1. Thank you my dear! Yeah I was seriously lacking in the young coconut department. It was so nice to have them again. I wish I had a Chinatown in my town. The tan is fading veeery fast :(

  5. I wish I could see dolphins! Your yoga looks amazing :)))

    1. You MUST see them! Can feel their precious energy, it's amazing! :) xo

  6. Still so jealous of your trip Heather ;)! Looks like so much fun :)! I love coconut whipped cream, one of the best things ever!

    1. Thanks Amy, it was wonderful. I want to go back! Winter is just waaay too long. I can eat a bowl of coconut whipped cream by itself ;)

  7. your yoga pictures are beautiful, stunning, awe inspiring.....I wish I had your yoga ability! My arm balances are...ahem.....entertaining! hehee!

    1. Thank you Emma! I know that you're very strong and flexible too, you lovely dancer! ;) I hope you and Phil and the babe are doing great xo

  8. Loving all the photos. I wish I could go there some day. Those dolphins are so sweet. I hope they are happy, too. They seem like they are. Oh, and you look amazing!

  9. Thanks for some great vacation pictures! My little girl and I really enjoyed seeing them : )