Horno-Baked Potato Soup

     I came down the corner of the property, to climb the rope down the hill, when I found W put in new dirt stairs Under the rope! He had cut in on the two steps of natural stairs for me, but added this section. What! What does he think I am, an old person, or something? Now my arms aren’t doing any work. Maybe in twenty years I’ll need stairs under the rope. That’s silly. But it actually looks really cool.

Recipe of the Day- Horno Potato Soup

Ingredients:

7 c. water or almond milk
4 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 c. gluten-free flour
1/4 c. olive oil
4 green onions, chopped
1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground black pepper

Directions: In a ceramic bowl or Dutch oven, melt the oil first in the horno/oven. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in water or almond milk, whisking constantly until thickened. Stir in potatoes and onions. Watch it come to a boil, then bring it out to the door of the oven and let it cook at a slower temperature. Mix in salt and pepper.

Word of the Day – potato – papas

Tip of the Day – Sometimes I’m pretty sure my main reason for lighting a fire in the horno is for the comfort and mysticism of the fire. Light a fire whenever you can. Fire-baked foods are so different, so homey, so…of-the-earth!

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Vegetable Kabobs with BBQ Sauce

 I came upon the workers just now, all resting for a moment and breathing hard, literally doubled over with exhaustion – a rare finding. They’ve been holding the super heavy beams for the roof of my house this week, and God knows what else. And also the wind has been uncharacteristically hard on every day of this week, which kind of gets to you and messes with your spirit. And your materials, working outside! So when Tiko and I came back from our walk, I asked Jose what his favorite lunch was. “Arroz con Pollo!” (Chicken with Rice)! “From where, I asked? “I don’t know the name of it, but my son knows!” (R, the taxi driver.) So he called him for me and asked R to bring us out four plates, (one for the extra worker and one for R.) ($2.75 each.) Wow, $16 for their entire lunch, plus 2 bottles of Sprite. Good deal! I better count on doing that every week from now on, until they’re done, eight weeks from now!

Recipe of the Day – Vegetable Kabobs with Bbq Sauce

Ingredients:

Vegetables of different colors: zucchini, bells, tomatoes, onions, celery

Raw Marinade:
1/2 c. apple cider or balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. water
2 T. vegan worcestershire sauce (see my recipe on youtube)
2 T. Bragg’s amino acids or Nama Shoyu
2 T. lemon or orange juice
4 1/2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

Directions:

Cut vegetables of different colors into 1″ cubes.  (Some people use tofu, as well.) Marinate with the bbq sauce for at least an hour. Assemble on skewers in varying colors. Roast over an open flame until desired tenderness – 2-3 minutes on each side.

Word of the Day – vegetables – verduras

Tip of the Day – Also try a fruit kabob! Chop up fruits of varying colors for a beautiful fruit snack, instead of a fruit salad! Use bananas, strawberries, melon, mango, papaya, kiwi, etc…Try a nut/seed yogurt dip, if desired.

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DIY Natural Lip Balm

      One of my interests, when I first came to Ecuador, was wondering if there would be natural ingredients for my skin products. Well, there sure are! This might be the origin of some of them. And not only that, but Ecuadorian women are as interested as the women of any culture in looking pretty and feeling good. We all want that, right? I go into a store, and comment on the vendor’s pretty dress, and she says, “Ohhhh, but look at my big stomach!” Women are the same everywhere. People are the same, in spirit, I think everywhere. We all want the same things – to be pretty, to be happy, to be comforted.

 

Recipe of the Day- Lip Balm

Ingredients:

2 tsp. raw honey

4-5 Tab. almond oil

1 T. beeswax

20 drops Essential Oil: tea tree, lemon, orange, tangerine, or peppermint

1/4 tsp. mica powder – color of choice (I usually use red, or sparkly red samples from Coastal Scents.)

Directions:

In a double boiler, melt the honey. Add the oil and beeswax. Stir until melted. Take off heat.

Add the Essential Oil. Stir very fast for 30-60 seconds. Add natural mica powder, if desired. Pour into little tins. No chilling necessary. Cools very fast.

Word of the Day – labios – lips

Tip of the Day – You can travel with these little things of natural lip balm and moisturizers – your own DIY versions! Even melted, they’re still under 2 ounces and safe with the airlines. But they tend not to melt in those cool airports!

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Saucy Ketchup

 I just went horseback riding! it felt so good to be on a horse again~ the saddle was super old and the horse super beautiful. I rode Caramello. It was just an hour – perfect for me and only $8. And it was perfect for Taylor, my airbnb guest and I. We rode from town back here and all around and Tiko joined us and herded the 3 horses for the last 20 minutes. He had so much fun and felt like he had a job. It was so great and even the horse guide smiled so much when we stopped at the gate to get Tiko. And as we rode under an orange tree he reached up and picked an orange off a tree for each of us.

 

Recipe of the Day – Raw Ketchupimage

Ingredients:

1 c. fresh tomatoes
1 c. dried tomatoes (either sun-dried, or dry them in your dehydrator for 12 hours at 104 degrees

1clove garlic

1/4 c. raw honey
1 T. Bragg’s Amino Acids
1/4 inch piece tamarind (optional – you could add 1 T raisins)
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. onion powder
Directions: Blend to a paste. Options- add olive oil, basil, lemon, onion, dates, basil, pepper, lemon. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Word of the Day – salsa de tomate

Tip of the Day – The ketchup they make here is super sweet. Honestly, the mainstay of Ecuador seems to be mayonnaise, as a condiment. Better to make your own, seriously.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCA5_iR8_oAhttp://

 

 

 

Sun Mint Tea

    An 80-year old neighbor appeared at my doorstep, bringing some gifts of honey, lavanda (lavender), and asking if I wanted some mint from her garden. “I don’t know what to do with it, Dorothy. I have so much.”                                                                                                     “Here’s what you do,” I said. “Take a handful, put it in a pitcher of water, then put in your fridge. Voila! Instant Cold Mint Tea!” I wanted to make it easy on her, but what’s better is to put the jar in the sun for the day, so the heat can bring out the power of the herbs. Next time I came over to her house, she offered me some. “Oh, this is great,” I said!”                             “You taught me that last time, Dorothy!” “Oh, I did? I didn’t even remember. With the weakness of talking too much goes the gift of giving something powerful, sometimes. Luckily. Whew. The neat thing about this advice was that it turns out she’s had a chronic, systemic candida problem. And mint is POWERFUL for getting rid of candida in your body. And she’s got tons of it in her garden!

Recipe of the Day – Sun Mint Tea

Ingredients:

1 handful mint (there are different varities; enjoy them all!)

1 pitcher cold water

optional – 1 squeeze liquid stevia to sweeten, juice of 1 lemon

Directions: Wash the mint and put in the pitcher of water. Stand in the pitcher in the sun where it can absorb the warmth, then squeeze in the lemon and Stevia. Chil

Word of the Day – menta – peppermint

sol – sun

Tip of the Day – There are over 600 types of mint! Enjoy them all! Here are a few of the common ones: Spearmint, Peppermint, Basil, Lemongrass, Apple Mint, Chocolate Mint, Ginger Mint, Mint Julep, Kentucky Colonel Mint, Mojito Mint, Orange Mint, Pineapple Mint, Catnip, Pennyroyal, Catmint…and many more!

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Dolmas – Stuffed Grape Leaves

 Okay, all by myself I went to Guayaquil! I left by taxi to the airport in Catamayo – an hour and 45 minutes, or less from here. Took the 40-minute plane ride over to the coast, to the Port town of Guayaquil – a large city, richer in some places, dirtier in others – but always with the ocean so close. Aah, the ocean breeze really took the edge of the humid heat. I stayed in an Airbnb for the night, then went to the U.S. embassy in the morning, where they renewed by passport and notarized my divorce papers. Turned out my little pic was too small for the passport application! But luckily they took all my papers and I ran out to find a guy leaning against a tree, who walked me quickly three blocks, through a gated community, to a quick doorway, where, for ten dollars, then took one picture and printed out four for me. Then we headed back, went through the four Embassy checkpoints again, yikes! And handed the guy my pictures. Luckily, everyone was SO nice, as usual! Very kind, and often going out of their way to help me.

eRecipe of the Day – Dolmas

Dolmas are a traditional Greek dish. Eat as either a salad, or wrap in Swiss chard  leaves for the with lemon or your favorite dressing to dip in. Try adding raisins, currants, seeds or nuts. Common vegetables to stuff include zucchini, eggplant, tomato and pepper.

Ingredients:

1 c. pine (or other) nuts

4 grape leaves, massaged in olive oil

1 c. sprouted rice or cauliflower/parsnips

2 T. lemon juice

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. garam masala/ allspice

Instructions:

To make the filling:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the parsnip/ cauliflower  until it forms rice-like pieces. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. In a high speed blender or food processor, combine the pine nuts, lemon juice and spices and process until creamy. Add the mixture to the cauliflower.
  3. To make the dolmas: Place one grape leaf, stem side up, on a work surface. Brush with some of the oil mixture. Place one-fourth of the filling near the base of the leaf. Roll up like a cigar, tucking in the sides as you go. Make sure the roll is good and firm. Brush the roll with some of the oil mixture. Set aside. Repeat.

Quick dressing – Blend: 1/4 c.  lemon juice,  1/4 c. olive oil, 1 tsp dill, 1 tsp. mint and a few chiles in a bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Word of the Day – hojas de uva – grape leaves

Tip of the Day – Use leaves from your own land or the countryside surrounding you. Banana leaves for a plate – or as wrap. Corn leaves for tamales, or corn husk dolls, or to start a fire. Grape leaves for dolmas!

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Lavender Tea Cookies

 I went to Loja yesterday, which turned out to be one of the most fun times I’ve ever had there! First S and I caught the Ruta taxi in Vilca. You pay $2.25 now to take the 45-minute drive to Loja. Usually we all wait for the car to fill up, but it didn’t today, so we took off by ourselves and pulled through the next town – Malacatos, where we picked up one more person. It was cool and rainy and grey (as usual there). But being with the right person, a positive friend of who is so upbeat, energetic and fun, made all the difference. We did some bank and telephone errands, stopped at her elderly friend’s house to have tea and visit. Then had lunch of dolmas and got some doggy treats and toys for our puppies. You catch a taxi going by to take you back to the Ruta station, then take another $2.25 cab back to Vilca. So fun! And Tiko really liked his toy. I threw it to him right away so he wouldn’t remember that I left him with the workers all day.

Recipe of the Day – Lavender Tea Cookies

Lightly sweet cookies make wonderful tea-time snacks.They have the perfect combination of sweetness and lavender, with a hint of lemon The cashews are wonderful nuts for desserts. They are a great source of magnesium, which is not only great for your bones, but also helps to keep you calm and relaxed. Together with lavender these little cookie relieve nervous tension and taste delicious!
Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

3 c.  cashew flour (made from 2 c. cashews – grind into a flour)lavanda
1/2 c. almond flour
2 T. dried lavender
Juice of half a lemon
2 T. lemon zest
dash vanilla powder or extract
2 T. coconut oil, melted
2 T.raw coconut nectar, honey or agave
1/2 c. dried coconut

Directions:

1. To make the cashew flour: Process cashews in your food processor or blender until it makes a fine flour. (~1 minute). Don’t over blend or you will get cashew butter. 1 cup of raw cashews makes approximately 1 1/2 cups of flour.

2. Mix together cashew flour, almond flour, 1 T of the lavender, lemon juice, zest, vanilla, coconut oil and sweetener

3. Roll into balls and then in the coconut.

5. Chill to set.

Try it with lavender frosting, instead of rolling in coconut.
Lavender Frosting:
1/4 c. coconut oil
2 T dried culinary lavender flowers
1-2 T almond milk
2 tsp coconut syrup

Word of the Day – lavanda – lavender

Tip of the Day – Visit people for no good reason other than to cheer up their day. Some people are stuck inside all day. And we know what that’s like, being stuck within yourself. To get out and do something for someone else will bring you out of yourself, too!

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Coconut Tahini Bites

This river, hidden in a corner of Vilcabamba, turned out to be a secret spot right on the edge of town! What! And its SO beautiful! I just find myself staring, staring at the bend in the river where the curve of  the water turns in to the trees. This Sunday these little kids all stripped and jumped in, giggling and screaming with the cold water. The weather was so hot and the water SO cold! Tiko went over to check them out immediately, followed by Chevalo, R’s dog, who goes with me and Tiko almost every Sunday now!

 

Recipe of the Day – Coconut Tahini Bites

I can’t get enough of these! I’ve crumling them into my muesli in the mornings!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. tahini
  • 1/2 c. platano flour
  • 1/2 c. shredded coconut
  • 1/4 c. cacao powder
  • 1/4 c. carob powder
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 2 T. coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 pinch vanilla powder
  • 1 pinch salt

Directions:

Blend all in food processor, or stir together by hand. Form into balls and place on paper-lined plate. Chill.

Word of the Day – aperitivos – snacks

Tip of the Day – Besides keeping hydrated, eat high-quality, densely-nutritional foods to keep you sustained while hiking or walking all day in the country markets and towns!

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