Pumpkin Seed Snack Bars

Did you know, I didn’t, that women donate their old wedding dresses so that the lace and detail work can be deconstructed and used as appliques on burial baby gowns? These gowns are donated to parents in need who have lost their children. Such a beautiful cycle, to go from marriage to loss. Celebrating your beautiful day to help others who are suffering.Then there’s Menstrual Reusuable Pads for women in third world countries, who miss so many days of school for having to stay home  during their times of the month. Each girl gets two resuable waterproof pads, and two bars of soap and one to three pairs of panties for girls. You can donate any part of this. Based out of Bellingham, WA. is the company that starts these things. My daughter’s mother-in-law got her kits funded byvThrivent and has made 4000 pads already – changing the lives of 2000 girls already. You can apply for a grant through them and they give you $250 in supplies to start out helping others. Pretty. Dang. Cool.
Recipe of the Day – Pumpkin Seed Snack Bars:

Ingredients:

4 c. toasted oats
1/2 c. coconut cream
1/2 c, almonds
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds (pepitas), raw or roasted (150 degrees C for 45 minutes)
1/2 c. dried berries of choice
1/2 c. cacao nibs
1/2 c. shredded coconut
dash salt
Syrup – 1/3 c. Grade B maple syrup, coconut syrup, honey,

OR make your own:

1/2 c. panela or brown sugar or stevia leaves
1/4 c. honey
1 T. coconut oil
1/4 tsp. salt
Directions:
Lightly oil a 13×9″ pan with coconut oil. In a large bowl, combing the oats, coconut cream, nuts and berries. Set aside.
For the syrup – Use Maple syrup, or, In 1-quart saucepan, heat all syrup ingredients over low heat, stirring occasionally, until oil is melted and sugar is dissolved. Pour over oat/nut mixture; gently toss to coat. Press in pan; cool 30 minutes. For bars, cut into 5 rows by 3 rows. Store tightly covered.
Word of the Day – angeles – angels
Tip of the Day – You could do this with Cheerios or any other cereal for a great snack mix!

Vegan Gingerbread With Aguafaba

My daughter made vegan gingerbread for her in-law’s Christmas, and she says this recipe sacrifices no flavor. She added in allspice , cardamom and a little extra ginger. Every minute that you bake with ginger in an oven,” she says, “a little ginger flavor dies off. If you oven-bake it, you will ruin it.” And she used Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening – a vegan-friendly product.

Recipe of the Day –Vegan  Gingerbread House

Ingredients:

3 1/4 c. flour of choice

1/3 c. vegetable shortening + 2 T room temperature

1/4 c. + 2 T. Molasses

1/2 c. milk of choice

1 c. Sugar

1 tsp, baking powder

3/4 tsp.  Cinnamon

3/4 tsp. Ground Cloves

2 tsp. Ground Ginger

1/2 tsp. allspice

  • 3/4 tsp. cardamom
Royal Icing
  • 1- 2 lb bag powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c. aguafaba (Garbanzo juice)
  • 1-2 T. fresh lemon

Directions:

Gingerbread Dough
  1. Combine shortening, molasses, sugar, milk, and spices in bowl. Mix by hand or with a mixer until ingredients are well combined and sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add baking powder and gradually add all of the flour while constantly mixing. The dough will turn from sticky to stiff by the time all flour is added. Continue to stir until all the flour is incorporated.
  3. Dough should be firm and pliable. Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness parchment paper. Cut into shapes and peel away excess dough. Do not move the dough or else the shape will be distorted. (It may seem too thin but the dough will puff up while being baked)
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes. Look for the edges to turn golden brown and the center will appear dry to touch. Allow to full cool before moving or assembling. (You can make it in advance to allow the cookies to dry out)
Royal Icing
  1. Pour powdered sugar with the aguafaba into a blender or large food processor. Mix until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Scrape down sides and mix an additional 1-2 minutes. Icing will be very thick.
  2. Pour a portion of the icing in a heavy duty ziplock bag. Seal and cut a small hole on one of the corners to pipe frosting/glue for house assembly.
  3. Use the same icing for decorating icicles and designs; add a little water to make it thin enough to create designs but not too thin or else it will run.
House Assembly
  1. Pipe a thick line of icing on the back borders of the cutouts. Start with a front and side piece. Firmly press all pieces making sure there is enough frosting to cover gaps. Repeat with other pieces.
  2. Allow to dry at least 2-4 hours before moving. Decorate however you choose and have fun!

Word of the Day – Casa de jengibre – gingerbread house

Tip of the Day – “I used powdered ginger,” Clare says. The dough was incredibly wet so I advise having extra flour on the side. 1-2 cups extra.

 

Clare’s Meringues with Aguafaba

You know the viscous water that you’ve cooked your garbanzos or white beans in? You can use it for a direct replacement for egg whites. It’s used for frostings and so many recipes, Including meringues, fudge and marshmallows. Clare’s using it on her vegan gingerbread house!

1 egg white = 2 T. agua faba

1 whole egg = 3 T. agua faba

Recipe of the Day – Clare’s Midnight Meringues

Ingredients:
8 T. aguafava , and beat the hell out of it.
4 drops chocolate stevia
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
t tsp. raw unsweetened coconut flakes,
2.5 TBS cocoa nibs
1/4 c. cocoa powder
Directions:
    Beat the aguafaba with the cream of tartar until they stand in peaks. Gently fold in the rest of the ingredients and bake at 225 degrees F. for one hour… – less than 1 g. of sugar in each. BAM.
Word of the Day – agaufaba – bean water
Tip of the Day – You have to beat the heck out of it.

Joy’s Almond Ginger Turmeric Cookies

You know, on our trip to Zamora something wonderful happened. I got into the cold, cold Andean water, right? Submerged the whole body for a second, and it was so cold I couldn’t even gasp. And i said, “I”m gonna try and stay in for one minute, ” so I started to count. At 40 seconds there was this huge, “whoosh” of feeling from my solar plexus to the base of the throat. The whole area expanded and warmed with pleasure. I told Joy about it as it happened. And i was able to stay in for fifteen minutes, what!!!! Come on. Well, I mentioned in to three people . One said it was a heart-healing from the waters. Another said it was a gift from the fairies in the waters. I love that! the other said it was a kundalini experience. I think, now, maybe it was all three. I will never forget that in my life. What happiness.

Joy Lopez brought these cookies on our trip to Zamora. They were So good, it was all I could do to not eat them all!



Recipe of the Day –
Almond Ginger Turmeric Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds, soaked in water for several hours (alt: Peanut butter)*

1 Tbsp flaxseed soaked in 3 Tbsp water for at least one hour

1/3 cup cane sugar (Panela)

1 tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger

2 Tbsp freshly grated turmeric

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 350 deg.F (175 deg.C) 2. Blend almonds in food processor till buttery. *3. Mix together the almond butter and sugar in a bowl. 4. Add the flaxseed, vanilla, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and shredded coconut and mix thoroughly. 5. Batter will be thick but not crumbly. *6. Scoop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto oiled cookie sheet. Slightly flatten the tops with the back of a spoon. 7. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes .8. Let cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.  *Alternates:Substitute peanut butter for the almonds.If mix is too runny, add ground flaxseed and/or coconut flour to achieve desired consistency.

Word of the Day – bienestar – well-being
Tip of the Day – Says Joy, “Here’s my Ginger cookie recipe. (Note, I used ground turmeric powder in the ones you tried because I didn’t have any fresh.)”

 

Joy’s Granola

Here in Zamora -2 1/2 hours from Vilcabamba, they don’t have that many interesting restaurants. So Joy brought us her home-made granola! Taken from ketodietapp, it’s a low-carb granola, and so amazingly good! There’s Joy, below, planning our next move in Zamora.

Recipe of the Day – Joy’s Granola

Ingredients (makes 6 cups)

1/4 cup pinenuts (34 g/ 1.2 oz)
1 1/4 cup whole almonds, skin on (179 g/ 6.3 oz)
1/4 cup cashews (45 g/ 1.6 oz)
1/4 cup slivered almonds (27 g/ 1 oz)
1/2 cup pecans (50 g/ 1.7 oz)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (70 g/ 2.5 oz)
1/2 cup pepitas (65 g/ 2.3 oz)
1/4 cup sesame seeds (36 g/ 1.3 oz)
1/2 cup flax meal (75 g/ 2.6 oz)
1 cup shredded or shaved coconut, unsweetened (75 g/ 2.6 oz)
1/4 cup sugar-free maple syrup (85 g/ 3 oz) –
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (120 ml/ 4 fl oz)
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
2 tsp orange zest (can be dried)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 – 1/2 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt

1/4 c. cacao

optional – cacao nibs, raisins, bananas, strawberries

Pre-heat oven to 150 °C/ 300 °F. Combine all nuts, seeds and spices, except for the salt and orange zest, into a large bowl.
Melt the coconut oil in a small pan. Add the syrup and mix well. Pour melted ingredients into nut and seed mix and combine thoroughly.
Spread mixture out in an even layer onto a lined baking tray and bake for 60 minutes.
Stir every 15 minutes and keep a close eye on it after the 45 minute mark, it can easily go from toasted to scorched.
Once brown and crunchy, remove from oven and let cool. While still warm,  sprinkle sea salt and orange zest over granola and stir through. Once chilled, transfer into a jar or airtight container and keep at room temperature for up to a month.

Word of the Day – carbohidratos – carbohydrates

Tip of the Day – Good maple syrup is hard to find here, but they did have it at SuperMaxi in Loja!

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!

DIY Sweat Lodge

Here’s my new sweat lodge – made with carriso – like guadua and bamboo but tougher, more resilient and bendable. Wilson Picoita made it! You dig the hole. Then put sticks with room underneat. Then, seven big stones, sticks again, then seven more, in the traditional way. You light and tend the fire for about 3 hours, letting the stones get super hot. Then, remove the fire and sit in your tent, with a bucket of water and eucalyptus leaves. Every 15 minutes, or when you want more steam, pour a cup of water over the rocks. There’s your truco – your steam bath! I’m so happy. You feel amazing agterwards, especially if alternately get out and take a cold shower. Whew! My skin always looks so good afterwards.

Word of the Day – truco – steam bath

Tip of the Day – Start slow, just a few minutes  at a time, if you’re not  used to steaming. Don’t let yourself get dizzy or faint!

Grain-Free Mocha Brownie Bites

Thanks to my gorgeous guests who give me papayas, oranges and now…avocados from their land, woohoo! Organic and delicious!

Recipe of the Day – Grain-Free Mocha Brownie Bites

Ingredients:

4 eggs

3/4 c. cacao powder

1/4 c. coconut oil

1/4 c. coconut milk

1/4 c. coconut crystals

2 tsp. coffee

Pinch vanilla powder, or 1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

Options: handful coconut, handful cacao nibs, walnuts , 1 c. yucca flour, 1 c. oats, (But honestly, I like it better without the grains – fudgy!)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the eggs, oil, milk and coffee.Add the cacao, baking powder, salt and then the vanilla. Pour into a greased pan and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely. They will be fudgy!

Word of the Day – pusimos – we put

Tip of the Day – Use honey or coconut nectar, and they will even more fudgy! Add an avocado for chocolate avocado bites. You won’t be able to tell it’s there once you mix it with the cacao.

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.

Garlic Coconut White Sauce

I saw a package of White Sauce in the store, and as usual, thought I’d just go home and make it! Great for your gluten-free noodles and breads, pizzas, etc….!

Recipe of the Day – Garlic Coconut White Sauce

Ingredients
  • 2 T. Coconut Oil
  • 1 green onion, chopped fine
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. fresh or dried herbs
  • 1 c. coconut cream
  • 1 tsp. miso paste or soy sauce
  • pinch salt
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the oil. Reduce the heat and add the onions and garlic. Simmer 10 minutes until tender.

  2. Allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes or until tender Add the cream , miso, herbs and salt and stir until smooth. Blend, if you like it more creamy.

  3. Store in a sealed jar or container in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

    Word of the Day – salsa, sauce

Tip of the Day – A lot of my friends would use butter or ghee in this recipe.