Banana Flambe

I was just out lighting a fire, burning my burn-able’s. It was perhaps, the very first thing I did here, when we arrived at my one-room casita here in Vilca – make a fire pit. No one advised me to do it, I never read it anywhere. But there were rocks outside my door, huge ones, and dirt galore, so it seemed the natural thing to do to make a circle with them. I don’t even know if I knew why I was doing it! But it became the burn-able pit, and the “some-more’s fire pit” when my kids came to visit. Gosh, I miss my kids so much it hurts. I go through these waves of missing them, none more intense than this, since my first month here. And sitting out in the dark, with my dog by my side, and tonight, my kitty! For the first time, she got brave and joined the circle, turned on her back and wanted to play. And Tiko was so good for not attacking her. Yeay! Oh, yes, they WILL be friends. I felt like I had a little family. And when I heard the horse, Carmello, nicker over the fence, I told everyone I was giving them new names, my kids’ names, ha ha. Clare, Keith and Rachel! But still, my heart hurts. No, not my heart. My whole being.

Recipe of the Day: Banana Flambe

(Or Self-Pitying Flambe)

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 2 T. coconut oil
  • 4 T. panela (raw brown sugar)
  • 1/2 c.white rum or fruit-flavored brandy
  • Juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (canela) to help light the flame
Directions: Peel and halve the bananas lengthwise. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Brown the bananas fiVe 5minutes on each side. Add the sugar and cinnamon and pour in the  warmed brandy or rum. Cook for teo minutes. Flambe. Sprinkle with lemon or lime juice and serve at once.

How to Flambe:

  •  Heat the brandy or other 80-proof liquor in a saucepan, with high sides, just until bubbles begin to form around the edges (around 130 degrees F. or 54 degrees C.) before adding to the flambé pan (you will be able to see vapors rise from the liquid).
    Do not bring the liquor to a boil, as the liquor will burn off the alcohol, and it will not ignite. The boiling point of alcohol is 175 degrees F. (much lower than water). 
  • Add the liquor to the pan and light immediately. You don’t want the food to absorb the alcohol and retain a harsh flavor.
    Ignite with a long match.
    Always ignite the fumes at the edge of the pan and not the liquid itself. Never lean over the dish or pan as you light the fumes.
  • Let cook until flame disappears and all alcohol has burned off.
  • Serve the dish as soon as the flames disappear.

HINTS: 

If you want the flames, but do not want the liquor in a dessert, soak sugar cubes in a flavored extract. Place the cubes around the perimeter of the dish and light.
Also be sure to practice flambing before your guests come as you want to make sure that these steps are performed flawlessly, if you want to impress your guests.

Word of the Day: fire – fuego

Travel Tip of the Day: Keep your fires contained and always put them completely out with dirt or sand, before leaving the area. (I can still hear my dad saying this.)

Press “subscribe” to get these recipes in your emails. It’s free!

Sunflower-Coco Cheese

That’s the second time in two days that a man has greeted me with, “Ola, Guapa!” Wow. Oh, wait, maybe it was the same gentleman. Did I walk in the same place yesterday? Oh, well, at 56, I’ll take it! I wonder if it’s because of all the seeds and nuts I’ve been eating, making my stomach round. Here in Ecuador they value roundness in a woman. Here’s the famous sunflower cheese I’ve been packing in my tummy for days now.

 

Recipe of the Day:  Sunflower Coconut Cheese

Ingredients:

2 c. (sprouted) sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds

1 c. fermented coconut shreds

1/4 c. each: chopped bell pepper, onion, leek, parsley and chives

1 tsp. salt

2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. each: oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, basil, pepper

Optional : Coconut Aminos/Braggs to taste

Directions:

To ferment the seeds and coconut, cover with water and 1 T. pro-biotic, lemon or Rejuvelac. Let sit overnight, then drain and let sit for 8 hours.
Combine all in a blender, adding enough water as it blends to make a thick, creamy cheese. Pour into a sprout bag and squeeze out the liquid, if any. You are left with the cheese.
You can use this cheese as stuffing for celery, mushrooms, cucumbers. Make this into a sweet cheese by  adding dates with cinnamon instead of the seasonings.

Word of the Day: Guapa – lovely      Guapo – Handsome

Travel Tip of the Day: Smile when you greet people. It connects you so fast, and opens them, and you, to talking!

Press “subscribe” to get these recipes in your emails. It’s free!

Ecuadorian Trail Mix

I took Tiko up to pet the horses again, and the Trail Guides were there. We talked about where they ride, and how tired they were after four hours of riding. I said I didn’t want to ride that long, but that I’d just like to sit on a horse, to feel that happy feeling of being on such a mountainous warm, comforting creature, who makes you feel happy, safe, and connected to the earth. They said I could sit on them anytime. Cool! And that I could go on a one-hour ride for $8, yeay! I am so in! That’ll be interesting to see Tiko on his first trail ride, too! Yeah, I can’t wait!
Recipe of the Day: Trail Mix
Ingredients:
1 c. Pepitas
1 c. Goldenberries
1 c. Walnuts
1 c. Sprouted Sunflower seeds
1/2 c. Coconut Pieces
1/2 c. Shaved chocolate or cacao nibs
a dash of salt
options: Add a handful fresh berries, peanuts, almonds, cashews, dried fruit
 Directions:
  1. Combine the nuts, seeds, raisins, and chocolate in a bowl. Store in an airtight container or baggie for traveling! This will last you well with a great energy throughout your adventures!

Word of the Day: pepitas – pumpkin seeds

Travel Tip of the Day: Always carry snacks with you in Ecuador. There are a myriad of small food stands – tiendas with a multitude of fruits and breads, sodas and chips. Most of the tiendas have these. You can’t count on them having nuts, seeds and berries, and you may want something a little different, packed with protein and super good for you, easy to carry and sustaining!

Press “subscribe” to get these recipes in your emails. It’s free!

© clare parsons photography

Hot Ecuadorian Chocolate

I petted the horses in the pasture today, the ones the new people use for trail rides. They’re so beautiful. Chocolate and white-colored, is one, and they other is mostly black and white. And they’re tethered in the land next to me. I can hear them from the front door. So sweet for me. And, I don’t have to take care of them! I taught Tiko how to be nice. Tiko kept looking at me for instructions, as if to say, “Do I chase them or lick them?”
It gave me tingles of happiness up my arm to run my hands over the horse’s face and coat! Feel their velvety noses under my palms, the stretch of their necks and how their muscles relax on their necks, under your touch. Then I found an old horseshoe flattened on the road!  I asked the workers if they had the same tradition – finding a horseshoe is good luck. And they said, “yes!” Hang it on the doorway, opening up, for good luck.

Recipe of the Day: Hot Stevia Chocolate/Carob
Ingredients:

 

3 T. almond butter (any nut/seed butter)

a large handful of strawberries (any berries)
2 T. raw honey
2 heaping T. cacao powder/carob powder
1 T. mesquite (or lucuma) powder
1/2 tsp. maca powder

Directions: Make your South American tea – 5 minutes. In a blender, soak the chia seeds in a little of the tea water for 10 minutes. Blend well with the other ingredients to make 12 ounces or more. Comforting powerhouse!

Word of the Day: horses – caballos

Travel Tip of the Day: I absolutely love not having a car here. I probably will never get one. You can walk, hail a taxi. I feel like a rich spoiled brat always having a taxi available. So, tip for today, don’t feel like you have to get a car. Lose the carbon imprint! We need more people on foot. And plus, you see things you would never see in a car!

Press “subscribe” to get these recipes in your emails. It’s free!

 

Natural Remedy for Parasites

It seems like, whenever I have a visitor from the States, they get tummy problems here. Gentle, “I’d rather lay around,” kind of stomach problems. I’m not sure if its the change in food, the water, the climate…everything? Or a parasite.  When I was at the fermenting workshop the other day, I met a wonderful woman from Peru, who said, with wide eyes,  “Those Ecuadorians realllly know their medicinals, Shew!” Here’s the recipe she gave me to get rid of parasites. These items you can get in the Sunday Market.


Recipe for the Day: Tummy Medicine

For Bacteria and Parasites, stomach aches, gas, indigestion, diarrhea, bloating:

6 drops Sangre de Grado (from a tree in the Amazon)

9 drops Aceite de Copaiba (Copaiba oil – another Amazon tree)

1/2 glass water

Directions:

Mix together in a glass of water and take for 7 days in the morning, on an empty stomach. It feels gentle, yet works AMAZINGLY.

You can also take Sangre de Grado by itself : 7 drops for 7 days in the morning, for stomach problems

And a third herb, with aspirin, they have here for stomach problems, particularly cramping, is Buscapina. It works SO WELL! I can’t believe they don’t have it in the States. You take one little bite of a leaf, or one tablet and feel immediately better. It’s sold in all the pharmacies. When Tiko, my dog had an upset stomach the other day, the workers made him a cup of Oregano tea, and gave him a tablet of Buscapina! I couldn’t believe it! I would’ve just let him eat grass until his stomach figured it out. How kind! Wow.

Word of the Day: aceite – oil

Travel Tip of the Day: As soon as you get into Ecuador, stop drinking the water. Don’t even brush your teeth with it. Don’t let it fall in your mouth as you take a shower. This is not a light warning! You don’t want the “runs” to ruin your whole vacation! And it’s not that the water is bad. It’s that the Ecuadorians grew up on this water, and their tummies are used to the balance of bacteria in their systems. Wash all your fruit and veggies before eating, too, even if it comes from your own ground.

Press “subscribe” to get these recipes in your emails. It’s free!

 

Tiko’s Doggy Cookies

It was so funny watching Tiko all morning. There were three bulls above me on the other side of the fence near the yoga platform, and two more by the gate. And one kept ringing the bell with his nose. Really! And Tiko would go forth and bark at them, then run like mad away. Good thing. Before they broke through the fence! They were snorting at him. He did this for three hours. He’ll probably sleep all afternoon now, since he’s done eating lunch with the workers.

Recipe of the Day: Doggy Cookies

(Galletas del Perro)

Ingredients:

2 c. oats

2 c. mixed gluten-free flours (Today I used 1 c. bean flour, 1 c. barley)

1 c. peanut butter

1 c. coconut Kefir, or water

1/4 c. Stevia powder

1 egg or 1 Tab. flax seed mixed with 3 T. water

dash salt

dash vanilla powder

Ingredients: Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet in another, then mix together. I baked mine on a ceramic plate in the horno for seven minutes, but you can bake yours in the oven for five-seven minutes at 350 degrees F. Tiko loves them. And they’re good for his tummy! Gluten-free and with the pro-biotics of the kefir.

Word of the Day: perro – dog or cachorro – puppy

Go check out more Spanish words in my Glossary! Click HERE!

Travel Tip of the Day: Dog food is awfully expensive here. Better to make your own out of great ingredients for a healthier dog! And I need my dog healthy to protect me and be a good friend, and just to be happy!

Press “subscribe” to get these recipes in your emails. It’s free!

Herbal Hair Color

I look forward to weekends, because I can be all alone from the workers, leave all my curtains and doors open, wash my hair outside, burn my garbage, and this weekend, put my hair color in my hair. Well, at 5 p.m. I had the bag over my head, when, sure enough, I hear yelling from the road. My door was wide open, and these women could definitely see me from there. Well, I hoped they weren’t yelling for me, but when Tiko started to bark, I went out to see. And, sure enough, they were coming to visit me. Yikes! There wasn’t much I could do about my hair – it had another half hour to set! Dang. So I whipped off the bag and left my hair up in a clip, hair color plastered all over it.                                                                                                

It was Luiz and his family. I felt so honored to have them come over, after knowing Luiz for eight months. And they brought a huge bag of oranges, and different kinds of lemons. Walking them around, I felt honored and embarrassed to have my hair up. But they didn’t blink an eye! As I explained to the women what was in my hair, and how I didn’t want to put chemicals on my head. They told me where to get natural color, no dyes in Loja, next to the Cathedral! Yeah. I can’t wait to find out what it is! In the meantime, this natural hair color works so well, I don’t really need any other. And having it all over my hair turned out to be a great way to connect with the women.

My daughter, Clare, gave me this recipe. I’ve been playing with it for months, and it’s superb Thanks, Clare!

Recipe of the Day: Auburn Hair Color

Ingredients:

2 tsp. coffee grounds

2 c. boiling water

Handful fresh, or 1 Tab. sage leaves

Directions:

Heat the water and pour over the sage leaves. Let sit for twenty minutes. Add the coffee and stir well. Shampoo your hair and towel dry. Smooth the coffee/sage water all over the hair, and rub into the scalp. Make sure to get all the areas that are particularly grey. Put your hair up in a bun and cover with a plastic bag. I keep mine on for 1 hour and fifteen minutes, but others do for three hours. Rinse and dry. It really works!

Word of the Day: hair – cabello

Travel Tip of the Day: Sometimes a hard one…but when you’re in a foreign country, don’t be afraid to be yourself. Your vulnerabilities are what attract you to people!

Grenadilla Green Smoothie

Oh, my God, I asked Tiko if he wanted to go for a walk, so he took my sandal and carried it out to the construction area. And it was raining, so I really didn’t feel like walking all that way on one foot. And then I got distracted, and a few minutes later went to get my tennis shoes. And one was missing! Sure enough, Tiko had taken that one, too, to the same area. So I had to wear one tennis shoe and one sandal, take the leash, and go get the other shoes. Wow. That’s the last time I’m gonna ask him to go for a walk. 

Luckily for him, he did beautifully on the leash today, so all was forgiven. And we found a grenadilla on the way back. There often are fruits fallen from the trees and vines here, and the people have so much, they don’t bother to pick it up. So I do! Especially if it’ on the outside of their walls. Then I get to come home and make my grenadilla green smoothie!

Recipe of the Day: Grenadilla Green Smoothie:

Ingredients:

1-2 Grenadillas (another word for passion fruit/maracuya!)

juice of 1 orange

a handful of greens (mine today was romaine, parsley and cilantro)

juice of one lemon

1 c. cold water or mint tea

Directions:

Scoop out the pulpy seeds from the grenadilla. Blend with all the other ingredients. Add a few drops Stevia or other sweetener, if desired. Chill or pour over ice cubes, or drink temperatura ambiente – room temperature.

Word of the Day: Grenadilla (granadilla) – passion fruit

Travel Tip of the Day: The scientific name – Passiflora Ligularis Seeds (Granadilla) is processed here in Ecuador as a sleep aid. You can pick it up in the Farmacia (Pharmacy) for about one dollar. Take a spoonful at night and sleep like a baby. God, I love nature.

Press “subscribe” to get these recipes in your emails. It’s free!

 

“How do you make the kefir starter, Dorothy?

Q: How do you make your kefir starter, Dorothy?
A: You need to get some kefir starter grains (acidophilus) from the health food store. It’s just a little baggie of grains, and they need to be yellow (no black spots,black = mold). Or capsules. And you put one-two capsules in room temperature water overnight (eight hours.) Add some kind of sugar – honey, coconut syrup, raw sugar to

the grains or capsules within twelvehours, stir gently, and put a cheesecloth or paper towel over it, tO keep away the bugs and let it breathe. And you’ve got your starter! The directions are probably on the back of the baggie, too.

Coconut kefir

Banana Coconut Kefir

Well, the electricity was out for the last five-six hours, so I couldn’t make my morning green smoothie in the blender. Instead, I grabbed a handful of Romaine from the garden, mi jardin, and drank my first coconut kefir I’ve had in years. I used the starter from the Fermenting Workshop I went to last night, mixed it with a small banana, mushing it up by hand, and it sure gave me a zing! This recipe, without the banana, is very good for Candida. All coconut products are superb in combating the fungus and helping maintain a healthy immune system.

Wilson came by and gave me a whole banana stalk, with about 100 bananas on it! When he first did that, and hung it up on a rope on my back porch, I said, “Now, I am an Ecuadoriana!” Because everyone has an abundance of banana trees here. And if yours aren’t grown, as mine aren’t yet, people are glad to give you their extras! Oh, my gosh, the land of abundance. I feel enormously blessed every day of my life here.

This workshop was at a  beautiful house on an acre with solar fridges even! Anyway, I got some free coconut kefir starter (no milk in it) and we made coconut kefir, banana kefir , beet kvass, cultured veggies, ginger ale, yogurt and some tzatziki dips! Yum. And ate a hugeplate of everything. It was so good.

 

Recipe of the Day – Coconut Banana Kefir

Ingredients:

2 T. starter (coconut juice with kefir grains in it, fermented)

1 1/2 liters coconut water

1 banana, mashed

1 piece of cheesecloth

Jug, Jar or Pitcher

Directions:

Fill the jug with coconut water. Let sit for 12-24 hours, but use within that time. It should have a piece of cheesecloth over it to keep out the fruit flies and other bugs. Take out some of the liquid to reserve for your next batch. Then add the mashed banana to the top of the jar. It may sink and come back up again. Wait 12-24 hours. It will have bubbles, which means its fermented! Then, you can pull out the banana, eat or discard. Or mix it all together and drink. Like I did! It’s amazingly good, and with the bubbly fermented taste, you get a real zing to your system with it! Put the rest in the fridge so it will continue to ferment slowly.

Word of the Day: jardin – garden

Tip of the Day: Eating a little fermented food each day, like yogurt, kefir or sauerkraut, will kill the bad bacteria in your gut and feed the good bacteria! It sure helps with Candida!

Press “subscribe” to get these recipes in your emails. It’s free!