Locro: Potato Soup, Ecuadorian Style

Cold, gray days usually give me the blues. But for some miraculous reason, I’ve actually been enjoying it this time around. These days of freezing rain have, of course, called for soup, and this delightful warm treat has been welcomed by the entire family.

This week I went back to my roots and made this family favorite: Locro. It is easy to make (which is the only kind of recipe I go for) and it is very satisfying!

In a large pot, you will need about 4 liters of water for 5 lbs of white potatoes. Cut the potatoes in various sizes so they cook at different rates. Boil until smaller pieces of potato are able to be mashed and large pieces broken down easily with a large utensil.

Right in the pot, as you mash and break down the potatoes and the soup thickens, add 2 c. of milk, salt, pepper, and powdered garlic to taste. You will also need about a 1/2 tsp of Bijol, which can be found in the foreign foods (mainly Latin-American) isles of most grocery stores.

The last two ingredients are cilantro and either “Queso fresco” or “Queso para freir”, a Latin American cheese, which in my case here in RVA, I can only find in Walmart.

Add the chopped cilantro and cubed cheese at the very end. Continue cooking for another five minutes and stir well before serving. Satisfaction guaranteed!


  • Water for boiling
  • 5 lbs. white potatoes
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 small package of white cheese (queso fresco or fying cheese), cubed
  • 1/2 c. chopped, fresh cilantro
  • Bijol, salt, pepper, and powdered garlic to taste

Cut potatoes in various sizes and boil until easily mashed and cut with a large spoon. Add condiments and milk. Continue mashing the potatoes, leaving chunks as well, until desired consistency. Add cilantro and cheese and cook for 5 additional minutes.

Gluten-Free Discoveries

A little over 4 weeks ago I decided to eliminate gluten from my diet. I armed myself with information and recipes and set off to discover if some of the health issues I’ve been feeling have anything to do with gluten intolerance.

Here is what I experienced: My digestion did not improve. In fact, it worsened. My heartburn did not improve either. My blood sugar may have improved, but honestly, I wasn’t measuring it. None of the other minor issues took a turn for the better either.

Yesterday I decided to eat gluten and see if I would react to it in any way. I had heard that experiencing an averse reaction would be something to be expected. But I braved it anyway. I took a couple of bites of a delicious pizza slice Juan was eating (I ate the edge only). I waited. Nothing; I did not feel bad. Needless to say, I felt relief. This morning I ate a flour tortilla. A whole flour tortilla! And nothing bad happened. I have concluded I do not have a gluten intolerance (yay!)

Freeing myself of gluten did give me one advantage: It helped me realize my intolerance to dairy. So here I go, adjusting my diet all over again, eliminating milk in all forms. I just purchased my first container of almond milk. Not sure I like the idea, but I’ll do anything to improve my digestion.

I will add gluten back to my diet, but I will continue to be careful with carbs in general, reducing them enough to lose weight and lower my blood sugar levels. Also, I bought the book recommended by several friends, Trim Healthy Mama. I will review it once I read it and give it a fair try.

Flour-less Banana Muffins

Thanks! Must try 🙂

This morning’s Sunday fun-day Kitchen sesh, centred around the need to use up two very-ripe bananas in my fruit bowl.

After a few google searches, I came across this recipe by the lovely Amanda at www.runningwithspoons.com. A flour-less banana muffin recipe without oil or butter? Could it really be?

With a little tweaking of the recipe, I managed to make it not only flour-free and fat-free, but also sugar-free! I was able to substitute honey for brown sugar and ended up omitting the chocolate chips completely – and they still tasted delicious.

This recipe was an absolute winner! Not to mention super quick to whip up as all ingredients were able to be whizzed up in a food processor. These will make an excellent lunchbox addition this week, or a healthy option for an afternoon or post-dinner snack, when those sweet cravings kick in.

View original post 102 more words

Cauliflower Rice

I need to try this. Thanks for sharing, Immanuel Table!

Immanuel Table

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to love vegetables! Here is a simple vegetarian recipe that make it to our dinner table pretty regularly. Served as a side dish, it’s easy to make, inexpensive, and delicious!

Vegan and gluten-free

  • prep time: 5 minutes
  • cook time: 10-15 minutes


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 glove minced garlic
  • 1 small shallot or half of a yellow/red onion, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons of oil
  • Kosher salt

Trim the leaves and tough stem off and rinse the cauliflower. Cut it into medium pieces (about 1-2 inches) and put into a food processer. Pulse until the cauliflower has been cut up into tiny pieces, resembling rice or couscous.

In a medium-sized pan, heat the oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and onion and sautee for 2-3 minutes until the onion softens and turns translucent. Add the cauliflower “rice” and a pinch of salt…

View original post 48 more words

Going Gluten-Free

My friend, Laura, has been after me (for years) to try to get me to change my diet, in order to improve my health. She is very persistent. And I’m very stubborn. I’ve always resisted the thought of eliminating wheat from my diet. I can hardly imagine a life without it!

But here I am, at the point of no return, actually seriously considering this craziness. I’m pretty scared and intimidated about facing life without wheat (all you Celiac sufferers must have no empathy for me, but hey, no judging), but I believe I need to give it my best try. One of the scariest thoughts is that I’ve read and heard that once I give up wheat, I will not be able to go back to it. Chances are it will make me very sick. So I think that by “trying” to see how I feel without wheat, sort of means that I will never be able to tolerate it in the future. Yikes.

I guess if it helps me with my “foggy brain”, reduces my aches and pains (I sound like I’m ancient), improves my acid reflux, and helps me fight against diabetes, it will be worth it.

So please feel free to share your favorite recipes and tips with me. I am at an absolute starting point, so I’m terribly ignorant about everything I might need to know. So far I’ve gone 3 days without gluten, and I’m still smiling, but I need all the help I can get.

PS. I’m a pretty lazy cook, which means I like recipes that are simple to prepare. Also, I’m on a budget, so I cannot go overly fancy. Any recipe or tip that meets this criteria will be readily welcome 🙂