Honey Lavender Hot Chocolate

I’ll bet you’re wondering how Lucas is doing! Well, wonderful! If you recall, he had hip dysplasia, due to what one Vet said was a herniated disc – and the other in town said “long-dog” syndrome. But then, when we went in for his degradation in health, they found tick and mite disease. The nurse said, “When the meds kick in, his hips will be better.” And sure enough, that’s what happened. As soon as his system cleared up, so did his hips! He still has the tiniest sway in his hips, but is running like mad, stealing socks, taking paper from the waste can, and playing with Tiko, like a puppy again! I am SO happy for him, and for us! Love you, Lucas!

Recipe of the Day – Lavender Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

2 c. almond or coconut milk

1/8 c. cacao powder

2 tsp. honey, or 3 drops Honey-Flavored Stevia, liquid

pinch turmeric

2 grains pepper

2 grains salt.

1 sprig of lavender, ground fine

Directions:
  1. Place milk and cacao in a small sauce pan and turn to medium heat. Whisk until dissolved.
  2. Add in  honey, or honey-flavored stevia and whisk until melted.  Add in the spices – turmeric makes cocoa creamy! The pepper ignites the healing elements of the turmeric, and salt makes chocolate wonderful! You can also just throw in a sprig of lavender without grinding it up.

Word of the Day – curación – healing

Tip of the Day – Try it with peppermint or ginger!

Ortiga Tea

Okay, I voted! By absentee ballot online, for my state of Montana, while I’m here in Ecuador! And you can, too, at  FVAP.gov, and follow the instructions for your State.

Also known as Stinging Nettle – I used to serve this to my kids for their allergies. It’s know as Ortiga here – used for bleeding, gingivitis, hay fever, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, Diabetes, Anemia, Circulation and Anemia!

Recipe of the Day – Ortiga Tea

Ingredients:

1 pot water

1 tsp. ortiga

Directions: Put a teaspoon of the fresh or dried herb in a cup, and pour almost boiling water over it. Let steep for twenty minutes.

Word of the Day – votar – to vote

Tip of the Day – It’s pretty calm-tasting. You can mix it with another herb to help you sleep,(valerian) or calm down, (chamomile) or wake you up! (guayusa)

 

Peaches and Curcuma (Turmeric) Smoothie

Well, I kept track of my expenditures last month.  Every day I wrote down the tiniest things. I felt like a total spendthrift, eating what ever I wanted and having smoothies whenever I wanted. And I’m so thrilled. And shocked! I’m still only spending $225 a month. Including swimming! (But not counting yardwork.) That’s what I was spending 4 years ago! (The difference in using my electric bike – no taxis, as I was 4 years ago.)

Ingredients In The Turmeric Smoothie
  1. 1 c. peaches, frozen
  2. 1 tsp. turmeric powder.
  3. 3 drops vanilla stevia
  4. juice of 1/2 lemon
  5. 1 c. coconut milk
  6. 1/2 an orange, juiced.
  7. 1/4″ ginger root, grated

Directions: Blend.

Word of the Day – curcuma – turmeric

Tip of the Day – Turmeric root powder contains 2-4% curcuminoids where all of the turmeric benefits are stored) while standardized turmeric extract contains 95% curcuminoids! That’s quite a difference!

Black Morada

Happy Day of the Dead! (Día de los Muertos) The colada morada,  black punch with sweetbreads are all over town and the country! The punch is made from fruits like blueberries and elderberries/blackberries. Sangorache (ataco), is a purple grain with black leaves, and to it the black fermented corn is added Nowadays they make it with ishpingo (Cinnamon’s Flower), myrtle leaves, strawberries and blackberries. Some people also use fruit, like pineapple.

Recipe of the Day – Black Porridge

1 c. mora, boysenberries or other berries

 Directions: Bring the water to a boil with the corn, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a large pot. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain o remove the corn and spices. Stir the lemon juice and sugar into the chicha until the sugar has dissolved. Chill until cold. Stir in the chopped pineapple, berries and apple before serving over ice.

Word of the Day – maiz morado – purple corn

Tip of the Day – Share this drink with others. It’s meant to be shared in ceremony, in parties, a common practice in the barrios of Ecuador.

Geranium Tea

Did you know you could make things with geranium leaves? And they smell amazing! My good friends Darina and Oracio gave me Bulgarian Geranium to plant, and Bulgarian Rose Perfume. Wow! What treasures, both the friends and the gifts!

Recipe of the Day – Geranium Iced Tea

Ingredients:

 5 c. water

 1-4  Geranium leaves, depending on the strength you like it
1 heaping tsp. mint leaves
1/2 tsp. chamomile flowers
Ice cubes

optional – sweeten with your sweetener of choice, stevia, coconut crystals, honey.

Directions: Bring water to almost a boil, then throw in the mint, chamomile and geraniums. Turn off heat and add sweetening.Cover and steep 20 to 30 minutes.  Strain into a pitcher and chill. Pour over ice cubes and add fresh sprigs or leaves, if desired..

Word of the Day – geranium –geranio

Tip of the Day – Darina puts them in her jams and jellies!

Green Smoothie Bowl

I’ve been doing my water therapy for two weeks, and have been out of pain nearly the entire time. Maybe one hour of day with ice after working out. Oh, my gosh! It’s a friggin’ miracle!

Okay, Here’s the skinny on the pools in Vilcabamba.                                                                      -Hotel Paraiso – $4, never warm,  but you get to use the sauna, steam room and jacuzzis.          -The new Old Folks Home. $3, heated by solar panels, so wait for the late afternoon when the sun has heated the pool,  but you get to use the workout room and if you wait 5 minutes the shower is hot.  But you can’t use it weekends when they clean the pool, and evenings are reserved for the residents.    And a 100-year old man may hit on you, but it’s okay.           -Hosteria Vilcabamba – $7. Free if a group eats there. If you tell them ahead of time they’ll heat the jacuzzi and steam room, but not the pool. They need two hours to heat the others. -El Rio Chamba – Across from the Zoo, in a beautiful setting. They often have Saturdays free swim!                                                                                                                                                                     La Molinda – Before the Hotel Izchcayluma,  on the right. Not only is it the warmest pool, but it’s $2 to use the pool. The showers are HOT. The jacuzzi is nice and warm. The steam bath is extra, but it looks wonderful. And you can eat there, too! Open 7 days a week and they will give me a monthly discount.

Recipe of the Day – Green Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1/2 ripe avocado

  • 1 lg ripe banana, frozen and sliced

  • 1 c. berries of choice

  • 1 handful spinach or  kale, stems removed

  • 1/3 c. coconut, almond or oat milk
  • 2 T. sunflower or chia seeds
  • 1 c. pineapple or mango, chopped and frozen
  • options: 1 tsp. cacao nibs, chocolate chips or shredded coconut

Directions: Put 1/2 c. of your nut or seed milk in the blender. Add 1/2 of the bananas, 1/2 of the berries, and 1/2 of the pineapple or mango, and all of the spinach and avocado. Blend well. Divide smoothie mixture between 2 bowls and garnish with the rest of the sliced fruits. Add t opping options like granola, cacao nibs, chocolate, granola and coconut.

Herb Teas for Cleansing the Blood, Liver and Kidneys

Even if you don’t have liver problems, your liver is old enough to need cleansing. My liver will be sixty years old soon, for goodness sake!
Recipe of the Day – Liver cleansing Tea
Ingredients:
Choose from one of the following:

Ginger helps control blood sugar. Studies have also shown that ginger can help treat nonalcoholic fattly liver disesase (NAFLD)

Roselle is a species of hibiscus with a cranberry-like flavor. It has diuretic effects on the body and may assist with kidney filtration.

Parsley can also help protect the liver. It helps the kidneys get rid of waste. Throw a leaf in your tea!

Dandelion is a diuretic, which helps filter waste from the blood and improves liver function.

Green Tea improves liver health by reducing fat deposits, which is why a lot of people use it to lose weight. Drink at least four cups a day.

Directions: Put a teaspoon of the fresh or dried herb in a cup, and pour almost boiling water over it. Let steep for twenty minutes.

Word of the Day –hígado – liver

Tip of the Day – Drink at least four cups a day, of your choice liver cleanser. And vary them throughout the month/ Sweeten with a little stevia or honey, if you want.

Muscle Relaxant Tea

Been having a lot of trouble with my back lately – the tail end of the watering/dry season, where I spend hours in the garden. Here’s my relaxing tea for tired and painful back muscles/herniated disc. Helps me sleep, too!

Recipe of the Day – Relaxation Tea

Ingredients:

1 c. chamomile flowers

1 c. lemon balm

1 c. passionflower leaves and flowers

1/2 c. grated ginger

1/3 c.  poppy seeds

1/2 c. valerian

Directions: For a big batch, mix the herbs above. You can cut it down to one teaspoon, where it says one cup, and 1/2 tsp. where it says 1/2 cup!

Word of the Day – sedante/sedativo – sedative

Tip of the Day – Chamomile is a mild sedative, and lemon balm improves mood and is a mild pain reliever. Passionflower (above) is another mild sedative, very calming, and ginger enhances the effects of the other herbs! Add stevia or other sweeteners to taste.

 

Tepache

I had this drink in Agave Blu – one of the Mexican Restaurants here in town. Honestly, the gals I was with and I thought it was cranberry juice. But, no! A wickedly delicious, fermented drink known as Tepache. The chef keeps it raw, so that all the natural bacteria is intact. Here’s his recipe, or one close to it while I was rapidly storing his words in my brain!

Recipe of the Day –  Tepache

Ingredients
  • ½ pineapple cut into chunks (leave skins on)
  • ½ c. panela
  • 4 c. water
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp. each of cinnamon, cardamom , Jamaica flower and sweet pepper.
Directions:
  1. Wash the pineapple and  cut into chunks.
  2. Mix the panela and pineapple chunks,water and  spices, and add to a large glass jar or pitcher.
  3. Cover with a cotton cloth or towel and let sit on the counter in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight for 3 days.
  4. Tepache will become cloudy in 2-3 days and white foam will form on the surface.
  5. Scoop out the white foam that forms.
  6. Serve over ice.
  7. Word of the Day –fermentacion – fermentation

Tip of the Day – Use organic pineapple, so you don’t get the pesticides in there!

Walnut Cream Smoothie

Using the walnut butter in the previous recipe, this makes a wonderful smoothie with coconut cream – from the inside of the coconut.

Recipe of the Day – Walnut Cream Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 c. coconut cream

1 c. coconut milk from the coconut

1 T. cacao powder

1 T. walnut butter

2-3 drops Stevia

Directions: Blend.

Word of the Day – usar – to use

Tip of the Day – This is pretty rich, so watch out! I don’t know if I can finish this one glass!