DIY Vanilla Extract

Did you know there are pressure points to wake you up?

Press each one  for at least six minutes:
  • The top of the head.
  • The top of the back of the neck.
  • On the back of the hands (in between the thumb and forefinger)
  • Just below the knees.
  • Bottom of the feet—at the center just below the balls of the feet.

Recipe of the Day – DIY Vanilla Extract

  • Ingredients:

    • 8 oz. Glass Bottle or Jar
    • 7  vanilla beans
    • 1 cup Vodka 70 Proof/35% Alcohol (or you can also use Bourbon, Rum or Brandy; any brand/quality)
      • Directions: Scrape the vanilla beans from the pods, if you need to. Split vanilla beans in half lengthwise, leaving the tip of one end attached. Place into a clean bottle(s). If the vanilla bean is too long for the bottle, cut in half or thirds as needed. Fill the bottle with vodka or bourbon and secure the top to the bottle. Label the bottle and shake vigorously. Store in a cool, dark location for at least a month, shaking once per week. The longer the vanilla extract steeps, the darker and more intense the vanilla flavor and scent.

      Word of the Day – pulsar

      Tip of the Day – This yields 1 cup of homemade vanilla extract – 1 (8-ounce) bottle or 2 (4-ounce) bottles. Try different kinds of vanilla – like Madagascar Vanilla or Ecuadorian Vanilla.

Carrot-Rice-Nut Loaf

My sister says, “Tonight I’m making a variation of that old carrot rice nut loaf we used to make. I’ve added spinach,arugula, and sesame seeds.”

And these flowers in the picture cost $1.50 at Sunday Market. There’s an orchid in there!

Recipe of the Day – Carrot Rice Nut Loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 c. brown rice
  • 2 c. sunflower or almond cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 c. shredded carrots
  • 1/2 c. oats or gf breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 c. spinach or arugula
  • 1/4 c. walnuts
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 c. sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Italian herbs
  • optional – 2 c. spaghetti sauce

Directions:

  1. Combine all into a  greased 9-inch loaf pan.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees 50 to 60 minutes until firm. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan and slice. Serve with heated spaghetti sauce, if desired.

Word of the Day –hoy dia – today during this day/all day

TiP of the Day – Put the cheese and avocado on top, if you want, too!

Champurrado – Corn Cacao Drink

A friend gave me this amazing recipe: corn with cacao truffle, topped with frozen bananas. Wow! Then I read about it – The Mayans recorded their complex cacao recipes, inscribing each drinking vessel with glyphs for the beverage they contained! A variation on this porridge, or chocolate atole, is still widely made today and is now known as champurrado.

Ingredients:
  1. 3 c. water.
  2. 2 cinnamon sticks.
  3. 1 anise star.
  4. ¼ c. masa harina.
  5. 2 c. coconut or other milk.
  6. ½ disk Mexican chocolate, chopped (Abuelita or Ibarra chocolate)
  7. 1/3 c. panela , honey or other sweetener

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan boil water with the two cinnamon sticks and anise star. Remove from the heat, cover and let the cinnamon sticks and anise star steep for about 1 hour. Remove the cinnamon sticks and anise star, return to low heat and slowly add the masa harina to the warm water, whisking until combined. Add milk, chocolate, and sweetener.
  2. Heat over medium heat just until boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted and sweetener is dissolved, whisking occasionally. Serve immediately.
  3. Word of the Day – Champurrado – Corn Cacao Drink

Tip of the Day –You can turn it into a sweet truffle by leaving out all but a tsp. of the milk, rolling into truffles and  topping with frozen banana ice cream!

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.

Cascarilla and Valeriana Teas

These workers for the Taxi Cooperative, working on the land adjacent to mine, were talking about herbs with me. And they said they had valerian and cascarilla on their land, They brought it today. And planted the valerian for me!

Cascarilla is a very long, tall tree which has the benefits and caffeine of Guayusa. For strength of the body and bones, You use the bark, to protect against evil. He brought me a whole big bag of stripped bark which I’m to dry in the sun.The finely ground outer bark of this large, tropical shrub is known for its medicinal properties that included reducing fevers, operating as an expectorant, and even clearing flatulence. These workers said it’s especially for the bones. In fact, the word cascarilla refers to any kind of outer skin or husk.

Valeriana smells like lemongrass, and looks like it, the leaves and smells like it. But the roots are  a great sedative. My friend is using it for his seizures and having great success! from one a day to one a week! (See my recipe for Valerian Tea by typing it in to the search engine on the front page of this blog.)

Recipe of the Day - Cascarilla Tea

Ingrdients:
3 3" strips cascarilla bark
1 pot water

Directions: Bring the pot of water to almost aboil.
Turn off the heat abd drop in the bark. Let steep for twenty minutes.

Word of the Day - cascarilla - bark

Tip of the Day - Use for only a few days a t a time. It's ver potent and not meant to be used for long periods.

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 Chocolate Spirulina Truffles

This picture is a group of butterflies in Zamora, Ecuador. The big one in the middle is the Zebra Swallowtalike. The red and brown “89” has an 89 on it’s back, and the Skippers are the little, brown grey and black ones! At least, so says my friend, Jim, butterfuly aficionado!

These truffles are based on Karl’s Spirulina Truffles! And they are the best I’ve ever tasted, including my own!

Recipe of the Day – Spirulina Superfood Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients:

There are three options for the Filling:

Option 1 –

2 c. almonds

1 c. dates

1 T. maca geltainized

3 T. spirulina

1 T. goji berries

1 pinch sea salt

1/4 c. cacao nibs

2 T. chia seeds soaked in 1/2 c. water

1 T. turmeric

optional: add mint or orange food grade essential oil

Option 2 –

1 c. cashews

1 c. almonds

1 c. dates

pinch salt

1 T. spirulina

Option 3 –

1 c. cashews

1 c. coconut flakes

1 c. dates

1 T. maca

2 T. cacao powder

pinch salt

Directions: Blend in a food processor until smooth. Roll into balls.

Coating –

1 c. cacao butter

1 c. cacao powder

1 c. coconut crystals

1/2 tsp. vanilla powder

pinch sea salt

Directions: Grind the coconut crystal to a fine powder. Melt cacao butter and add remaining ingredients. Stir until smooth. Dip balls in chocolate and place on waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm. The coating is somewhat grainy depending on how fine the coconut crystals are.

Makes 24-28 balls with about 1/2 oz. of coating each.

Word of the Day – mariposas – butterflies

Tip of the Day – Try them with walmuts and stevia for a low-glycemic option!

 

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!

Herbal Ice Cubes

Everyone I tell this to says, “That is brilliant.” My daughter, Clare thought of it. For when you need pain relief, fast, but don’t want to mix all your herbs, let them brew, then drink it. It’s ice cubes! You make the whole pot, pour it into ice cube trays, and have it ready in your freezer. I’ve been doing for maybe a year, as a muscle relaxer. Here’s my blend:

Recipe of the Day – Herbal Ice Cubes

Ingredients:

2 bags chamomile tea (or 1 bunch fresh

2-3 poppy buds with the stems

1/4 tsp. poppy seeds

1 tsp. valerian

a whole, dried passionflower

optional – your sweetening, if desired

Directions: Bring a pot of water to almost a boil, then pour in the herbs. Stir gently and let steep for 20 minutes while simmering. Let cool, then pour into ice cube trays. Freeze.

Word of the Day – brilliante – brilliant

Tip of the Day – Pop one ice cube into a cup, or your last favorite drink, before bedtime or when your muscles are in pain. One is enough to give me a deep night’s sleep.

Caraway Sauekraut

I was lucky enough to be invited to Kimberly’s 7-Course Gourmet Meal at Madre Tierra last night. What a gourmet! Every single dish, (Which there was too much of) tasted absolutely delicious and elegant. I loved it. The menu is below.


Recipe of the Day – 
Caraway Sauerkraut

Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium Head of Cabbage
  • 1-3 T. salt, as desired
  • 1 beet and 3 carrots (optional)
  • 1 T. caraway seeds
  • Directions:
  1. Put the cabbage, and carrots and beets, if you like, into the food processor with salt and caraway.. Press down the cabbage with something – I use the plunger to the food processor – it works great! For several minutes, until there is enough liquid to cover. Or you can press it down with a plate, with a stone on top. There has to be enough liquid to cover the cabbage. You can add water if you need to.
  2. Cover the jar with a lid, paper towel or coffee filter and a rubber band.
  3. Let sit for a two weeks and let the air out daily. I put a note on top to tell me when it’s done. But if there’s too many fruit flies here, in Ecuador, after several days, then I put it in the fridge.excess pressure. The sauerkraut’s flavor will continue to develop as it ages.
  4. Word of the Day – gastronomo – gourmet
  5. Tip of the Day – Some people like to put the cabbage leaves on top to keep in the moisture, and bury it underground. That keeps the bugs out. Keep checking those leaves, though, to make sure they aren’t moldy.