Plant-Based Cooking: How-To, Recipes & More

We enjoy sharing our fun and delicious Plant-Based Cooking in our videos. If you’re new to the plant-based diet, we can help reduce some of the mystery.

Cuenca Ecuador Bloodwork + High Cholesterol on a Vegan Plant-Based Diet (Episode 92)

We recorded this video several weeks ago, but it kept getting pushed down the queue for other, more time relevant videos. We start out with a trip to the Santa Ines lab to get our Cuenca Ecuador Bloodwork done. I get my cholesterol checked regularly to make sure it’s under control.

Since we recorded it, the Nut Wars between Jeff Nelson at VegSource and Dr. Joel Fuhrman that inspired this video have simmered down, but that doesn’t make this issue less concerning for people like me (JP) with a strong family history of heart disease and a long-term battle with high cholesterol.

This video isn’t about the science or the confusion about cholesterol that has been systematically manufactured by the dairy, meat, egg, nut, cooking oil, avocado and other high-fat product industries. I’ll share the science below in case you’re wondering about it. Instead, our video is about MY frustration with the plant-based doctors for not coming to consensus on this very important topic.

Fuhrman, Greger and other doctors say nuts are the key to living longer. Ornish and Esselstyn say they contribute to heart disease and can shorten our lives. Both sides can’t be right and they owe it to those of us in the high-risk heart disease category to put their egos aside and agree on the best recommendation.

If you have total cholesterol under 150 without paying any attention to your saturated fat intake, good for you. Please think of me when you’re chowing down on nuts, avocados, chocolate and coconut oil.

See More: Cuenca Health & Beauty Services

My History with High Cholesterol

When I was 34 years old, I got routine blood work done for keyman life insurance policy for my business. My business partner was 10 years older than me, but his premium was half the cost of mine. That prompted the question: why?

My total cholesterol was 270! If you want to know the truth about cholesterol, just look at the stance taken by life insurance companies. They’re in the business of assessing risk, and they know high cholesterol is a risk factor for sudden death. Some life insurance companies like Health IQ are now giving discounts to vegans due to our lower risk of death compared to non-vegans.

After getting this shocking news, I went to see my doctor to find out what could be done, and he recommended a Mediterranean-style diet with fish, lean mean, olive oil, fruits, veggies and no more than 2 eggs per week. NOW I know that diet is a recipe for heart disease, not a cure for it.

After a few months on this diet, regular exercise and 10 pounds of weight loss, my cholesterol barely moved so he put me on a statin and told me there was nothing else I could do.

That simply wasn’t true.

On the statin, the lowest my cholesterol got was 196. Eating a vegan whole-food plant-based diet without a statin, my total cholesterol has been as low as 188.

Our Whole-Food Plant-Based Diet

Before I share links to the science and my cholesterol numbers, I think it’s important to discuss our diet. For the past 3 years, we’ve been 100% vegan, consuming no cholesterol-laden animal products.

For the past 2 years, we’ve eaten a Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) Diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans) and a few seeds (chia and flax for Omega-3), but almost no nuts or oil.

Almost 9 months ago, after finding out my total cholesterol was still 225 (the exact average cholesterol level of heart disease victims), I cut out all oil, nuts, avocados and chocolate. We even ask our restaurants to cook without oil for us.

We tracked our diet on MyFitnessPal for a month after going truly low-fat, no-oil and I averaged 10% fat, 15% protein and 75% carbs. Amelia’s was a little higher in the fat category because of her chocolate addiction.

Even with this truly low-fat diet recommended by the experts on heart disease prevention and reversal, Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish, I still have high total cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol, low HDL (good) cholesterol and high triglycerides. That’s 4 for 4 in terms of heart disease risk.

And considering my family has a strong history of heart disease and stroke, I’d say it’s a safe bet that I have heart disease that just hasn’t manifested itself yet.

In the video, I mentioned Amla Powder as a treatment for high cholesterol. It’s dehydrated, powdered Indian gooseberry and has been shown to lower cholesterol in most people as effectively as statin drugs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to work for me.

How Do We Know Cholesterol Causes Heart Disease?

Most people are very confused about cholesterol thanks to the efforts of high-fat food industries like meat, dairy, eggs, oil, nuts, avocados, etc. Some people are even adamant that cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease. They think it has been unfairly maligned by the sugar industry, which is the real cause of heart disease.

While sugar products are no-doubt unhealthy, our heart disease epidemic is due almost entirely to foods that are high in cholesterol and/or saturated fat. The below video by Dr. Greger at NutritionFacts.org is a great review of the science showing how we know, without a doubt, that heart disease is caused by high blood serum cholesterol, especially high LDL cholesterol.

The dairy industry launched a full-scale assault on this science starting back in 2012 to manufacture doubt where none exists because their profits were tanking. They even had me believing their corporate junk science for a while, and some people very close to me still believe it, but it’s simply the best marketing money can buy. Don’t believe a word of it.

What Are the Optimal Cholesterol Levels?

Based on decades of legitimate, irrefutable science, the optimal cholesterol levels to avoid heart disease are total cholesterol below 150 and LDL (bad) cholesterol below 70. In populations around the world, with cholesterol levels below these numbers, heart disease is almost non-existent.

What Are MY Cholesterol Levels?

Here are the results from my last blood test.

Total Cholesterol: 195

In the medical profession, a total cholesterol below 200 is considered “normal.” But nearly 1/3 of all heart disease patients have a total cholesterol between 150 and 200, which means “normal” is actually abnormal. Ideally, my total cholesterol should be below 150.

LDL (Bad) Cholesterol: 109

In the medical profession, LDL cholesterol below 100 is considered normal. But the optimal level is below 70. Again, in populations around the world with LDL below 70, heart disease is unheard of.

HDL (Good) Cholesterol: 42

The medical profession likes to focus on the good HDL cholesterol. They say having an HDL above 40 is optimal, but in reality, HDL is almost meaningless. That’s because if your total and LDL cholesterol are low enough, in the optimal range, HDL doesn’t matter. This measure is unimportant in terms of heart disease risk.

Triglycerides: 219

The optimal range for triglycerides is below 100, but the medical profession says anyone with triglycerides above 150 is at elevated risk of heart disease. My blood test from 9 months ago when my total cholesterol was 225 (before we went truly low-fat) showed triglycerides of 296, so that has improved, but it’s still not good enough.

Based on these test results, which are actually quite a bit better than past tests, I’m at high risk for heart disease. Considering my long-term battle with high cholesterol and a strong family history of heart disease, I think it’s a safe bet I have undiagnosed heart disease.

Additionally, heart disease might actually be the cause of my degenerative disc disease, as well as my struggle with breathing at high altitude here in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Nut Wars 2019 Between Jeff Nelson and Dr. Joel Fuhrman

The motivation for this video came from what I call the Nut Wars 2019 between Jeff Nelson at VegSource and Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Here are the videos I’m referring to.

You may notice that Dr. Fuhrman isn’t featured in any of these videos, yet he suggested in his interview with Plant Based News that Nelson’s criticisms were directed squarely at him. A case of guilty conscious or maybe extreme narcissism? 🤔

Nuts Won’t Save Your Life (Part 1 of Nuts)

Nuts Studies Are a Hoax (Part 2 of Nuts)

You Don’t Need Added FAT to Absorb Nutrients (Part 3 of Nuts)

Nuts and Heart Disease – Dr. Esselstyn (Part 4 of Nuts)

More Nut Industry Lies Exposed (Part 5 of Nuts)

Dr. Joel Fuhrman Loses His Mind in Plant Based News Interview

Dr. Fuhrman accuses people like Esselstyn, Ornish and Jeff Nelson of trying to protect their legacy despite contradictory science. However, this appears to be a severe case of projection.

He has a long legacy of recommending nuts, even to heart disease patients. He also sells nuts and nut butters on his website. If anyone is attempting to protect a legacy, I think it’s Fuhrman. Jeff Nelson has no legacy to protect. He’s simply trying to determine what the truth is.

You can also read Dr. Fuhrman’s rebuttal on his website: The Attack Against Nuts and Seeds—Getting Nuttier All The Time. Rather than refute Nelson’s review of the science, Fuhrman resorts to name calling and ad hominem attacks while insisting that studies funded by the industries that benefit from positive results have no impact on the findings.

If you think industry funding doesn’t affect the outcome of studies like Dr. Fuhrman suggests, you should consider reading Unsavory Truth by Dr. Marion Nestle.

Unsavory Truth Nestle

She has devoted her entire professional career as a scientist to studying corruption in the food industry and she has proven without doubt that the funding source affects the study methodology, the outcomes and the conclusions. In fact, she calls industry funded studies “marketing studies” because their sole purpose is to sell more products, not discover scientific truth.

Dr. Fuhrman needs to read Nestle’s book before suggesting that funding source doesn’t matter.

Heart Disease Experts Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish

For the time being, I’m going to continue to trust the advice of Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish when it comes to heart disease prevention and reversal. If you have heart disease or a history of high cholesterol, I suggest reading both of their books:

To reiterate, I don’t care WHO is right! I only care WHAT is right! This is a serious issue for people like me with genetically high cholesterol and a strong family history of heart disease. The experts in the plant-based community need to put their egos aside, stop protecting their legacies, and come to consensus on this issue to prevent more unnecessary premature deaths.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Vegan vs. Plant-Based: What’s the Difference? (Episode 83)

If you’re confused about vegan vs. plant-based, you’re not alone.  When we first went vegan in 2016, we didn’t know there was a difference either. We thought being vegan meant eating a vegan diet, but that’s not entirely accurate as we later learned. Some people who claim to be vegan experts, are still confused about the fundamental differences between being vegan and eating a plant-based diet.

This video is a response, of sorts, to the rash of “ex-vegan” YouTube “celebrities.” Several, including Rawvana and Raw Alignment, have said they’re eating animal products due to health issues caused by their previous “vegan” diets.

These people were never actually vegan, though. They ate extreme fad diets that were plant-based, but they lacked the vegan ideology and mainly focused on the diet/vanity aspects related to being thin. Additionally, many of them were using veganism to hide an eating disorder for which they need to seek professional help.

Welcome to our blog!

Before we dive in to vegan vs. plant-based, welcome to our blog! We haven’t thought to promote it before, assuming people would dig deeper and find it, but several people pointed out they didn’t know about it so we thought we’d tell you.

All of our videos have an associated blog post with more pictures, context, details and links to relevant information and businesses. If you ever have a question that we didn’t cover in the video, check the blog post linked in the YouTube description. It might be there.

Veganism Defined

Many people try to redefine veganism to paint vegans as hypocrites. However, there is a clear definition of the vegan ideology that was written more than 40 years ago. It states:

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

The key phrase in this definition is “as far as is possible and practicable.” It’s impossible to be a perfect vegan in a world built on top of animal exploitation. All we can do is try our best to avoid most animal products “as far as is possible and practicable.”

Just because we have to get a vaccine that’s made using eggs doesn’t make us hypocrites. Unfortunately, the companies who make vaccines are resistant to adopt vegan methodologies because it costs money to switch their production systems over, so we’re stuck with what they offer.

The same goes for bugs and small animals killed during the harvesting of our crops. There are ways to reduce the impact of our farming methodologies on insects and animals, but they’re more expensive so most companies haven’t adopted them.

With that said, nearly 80% of all land on this tiny planet is used to either raise livestock or the grain that’s fed to livestock, which yields less than 20% of the calories we consume. So if you really want to reduce the number of insects and small animals killed during farming, go vegan.

The Plant-Based Diets

When you think about vegan vs. plant-based, remember that veganism is NOT a diet. However, it does have a major dietary component because we eat several times per day. Just like with the omnivore diet, there are several different types of plant-based diets:

  • Fruitarian Diet – only eats fruit.
  • Raw Vegan Diet – only eats uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains.
  • Vegan Junk Food Diet – doesn’t care about health; eats anything as long as it doesn’t come from an animal.
  • Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) Diet – the Mediterranean Diet without animal products; lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and mushrooms.
  • WFPB No-Oil – WFPB without any oil (olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, etc.).
  • WFPB No SOS – WFPB without any added sugar, oil or salt.
  • Starch-Based Diet – Dr. McDougall’s version of a WFPB No SOS diet that focuses on complex carbs like potatoes and whole grains.

There are others, plus some people also opt for water fasts, juice fasts and intermittent fasting.

However, NONE of this has anything to do with veganism. They’re diets that happen to be vegan or mostly vegan, and just like all the omnivore diets (Mediterranean, Atkins, Keto, Paleo, Weight Watchers, Zone, South Beach, DASH, etc.), some have been scientifically proven to be healthier than others.

Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) No-Oil Diet

After extensive research and reading, we opted for the WFPB No-Oil Diet promoted by many doctors and scientists, such as Dr. Greger, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Popper, Dr. Garth Davis, Dr. Neal Barnard and many others. It’s essentially the Mediterranean Diet without animal products.

We have a LONG blog post on our sister website, LottaVeg.com, that lists our Credible Nutrition Sources and we also share our criteria for selecting them. We encourage you to read through that blog post and develop your own criteria for choosing who to trust because not every “expert” is trustworthy.

Credible Nutrition Sources Banner

Please keep in mind that just because someone publishes a book doesn’t mean it’s true or scientifically valid; it only means the publisher thought the book would sell. Unfortunately, a lot of so-called “experts” misrepresent the science to sell books, supplements and diet programs that don’t actually work. Trust no one.

We also have a list of the Best Plant-Based Books for a Longer, More Vibrant Life over on LottaVeg.com. If you want to know the science behind our diet, we encourage you to read two or three of these books.

Proteinaholic by Dr. Garth Davis is a good place to start because he goes into detail about how to spot bogus, corporate junk marketing science. If heart disease is a concern for you, skip straight to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

Recommended Plant-Based Books Covers

That’s the difference between our diet and most other diets: there are dozens, probably hundreds of doctors and scientists who study it and use it to treat their patients. It’s not one guy who published a book or YouTube channel that misrepresents the science in order to profit from your confusion.

They may not agree on all the fine details, but they all agree on the main premise: eat plants, not animals. We evolved from primates who eat plant-based diets. We didn’t evolve from lions and tigers and bears.

If you’d like to see what we eat on a WFPB No-Oil Diet, check out our Plant Based Cooking videos.

Unsavory Truth

If you want to know why we don’t trust science paid for and/or conducted by corporations or industry associations, please read Unsavory Truth by Dr. Marion Nestle (no relation to the food company). She has made it her life’s work to uncover corruption in the food industry, and it’s far more insidious than we ever thought.

Unsavory Truth Nestle

Studies funded by any industry, including beef, diary, egg, nut, avocado, olive oil, pomegranate, cereal, blueberry, etc. cannot be trusted. Whether plant or animal, food studies funded by industry are setup to sell more products, not discover scientific truth.

Other Useful “Ex-Vegan” Response Videos

Don’t take our word for it, thought. A lot of people have shared their thoughts on the confusion about vegan vs. plant-based. Here are just a few:

GojiMan on Vegan vs. Plant-Based

Mic the Vegan on Vegan vs. Plant-Based

Plant Based News on Vegan vs. Plant-Based

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Single Vegan What I Eat In A Day (Episode 61)

While Amelia is back in the States, I thought I’d share a Single Vegan What I Eat In A Day video. These are some of my favorite, super simple recipes that make enough leftovers for lunch the following day. Here are the recipes:

  • Raw Rolled Oats Breakfast
  • Easy Garden Salad
  • Pasta w/ Marinara & Veggies – your favorite whole grain pasta, one jar of your favorite fat-free marinara sauce, one small chopped onion, one tablespoon minced garlic, one cup each chopped broccoli and cauliflower. Plus, oregano, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Sauté the veggies first, then add all the other ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Mexican Stir Fry

Back by popular demand, I added a little Daisy Cam footage. I adopted Daisy almost 8 years ago from a shelter in Denver, CO. She’s a super sweet girl, unless you’re an invader in her territory.

Amelia also shared her delicious dinner at Watercourse Foods in Denver, CO. We used to live just a few blocks from Watercourse when we lived in Uptown before we moved to Ecuador. It’s one of the few 100% vegan restaurants in Denver and it’s freaking amazing! They have lots of vegan comfort food. It was our Denver version of Fratello.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

LEARN ABOUT VEGANISM and the WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED DIET (WFPB)

★ Cowspiracy ➞ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV04zyfLyN4
★ NutritionFacts.Org ➞ https://www.youtube.com/user/NutritionFactsOrg
★ Plant Based News ➞ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJRjK20fHylJyf-HiBtqI2w
★ What The Health ➞ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jf44vLndiRM

Video Transcript

Hola veggie lovers.
I’m JP with Amelia And JP.

Amelia is currently still back
in the States in Denver for her job.

If you’re new to our channel,

we post videos every Tuesday, Thursday
and Saturday at 2PM Eastern Time

and we hang out
for about an hour afterward

to respond to your comments and
answer any questions you might have

so come join us during that time.

If you’re NOT new to our channel, we
really appreciate that you are

watching our videos and providing such
insightful comments.

We really appreciate that.

While Amelia was gone
I decided to record a

Single Vegan What I Eat In A Day video

to show you all what
a single vegan can eat.

So let’s go ahead and get started.

[Upbeat Music]

For breakfast almost everyday we eat
Raw Rolled Oats.

We put some ground flax that we grind up,

usually chia, too, but
we were out of chia,

with some oats and then we add in some
nutmeg, cinnamon,

amla powder, it’s supposed to help with my
cholesterol, and a little maca powder.

And we use almond milk here that’s
fortified with calcium and Vitamin D

because with my back I want to make sure
that I keep a good calcium level.

And then we top it all with fruit.

You can use whatever fruit you like.

Frozen fruit is just fine, too.

I put bananas and papaya on this
with some walnuts.

I just love that for breakfast.

Let’s take a little break for a Daisy Cam.

We get a lot of requests from people
to see more of Miss Daisy.

And she is adorable, isn’t she? Oh my
God she’s a sweetheart.

For lunch almost everyday, I eat a salad,
a big salad.

I normally top it with
all kinds of veggies,

but I didn’t have any prepared so I just
put some sliced onion, tomato and

sunflower seeds, oregano,
some balsamic vinegar on it.

I had made some pasta with a pasta sauce
the night before.

I decided to eat that,
which is really simple.

It’s just tomato sauce and some
chopped up veggies:

broccoli and cauliflower
and onion and garlic.

I just opened up a jar of tomato sauce
and poured it in.

Amelia wanted to share her dinner with us
that she had at Watercourse

so let’s jump over to Denver and see
what Amelia is up to.

>> Amelia: Hi veggie lovers!

I’m Amelia with Amelia And JP.

I’m still here in Denver, CO and I thought
I would share

my meal with you guys last night.

I decided to go to Watercourse Foods,

which is a 100% vegan restaurant
in Denver.

It’s in what I consider downtown Denver,

but the neighborhood
is actually called Uptown.

Anyway, I highly recommend
you all check it out

if you’re ever here in Denver because
it is the first 100% vegan restaurant

and it definitely delivers. They have
a great selection of

comfort food and definitely more
on the gourmet side I’d say.

I decided to start my meal with the
Baked Brie appetizer

and it was AMAZING!

It was super light and decadent.

The brie filling itself is made with tofu,
cashew and a little nutritional yeast

that they use as a binder.

At least that’s what the server said.

It is wrapped in a very light and flaky
pastry puff. Quite tasty.

For my main course, I decided to have the
Sage Sweet Potato Gnocchi.

And wow! It was so incredibly flavorful.

The gnocchi dish comes with a
sweet potato puree,

roasted butternut squash and mushrooms,

a sage oil, fried sage leaves, and
it is topped with a walnut parmesan.

Yes please! If you get that, you will
not be disappointed.

It is pretty filling. I had
a little bit leftover

so I had that as a snack today.

Lucky me!

That’s all I have from Denver right now.

I will see you all soon, but I am going to
go ahead and pass it back to JP.

Bye veggie lovers!

>> JP: For dinner, I made a
Mexican Stir Fry

with onion, garlic, some red
and green peppers, a jalapeño.

And then I just sauteed all that,
or steam fried it,

in veggie broth on the stove until
it was nice and tender

all the veggies were nice and tender.

Then I added in some black beans,

some black pepper, some salt, cumin.

Love cumin! It’s one of
my favorite spices.

And then some chili powder.

And then just stirred all that up and let
it heat through.

[…]

Wow that looks amazing!

So delicious. And very simple too.

You can buy your veggies already
pre-chopped to save time, as well.

And I just threw some cilantro in
at the end there.

[…]

I had already made some brown rice,

fresh out of our pressure cooker.

Put the Mexican Stir Fry over the
brown rice

and then I topped it with some salsa.

Ah. Delicious.

As you can see, it is pretty simple
to eat as a single vegan.

All of those made leftovers so I had
leftovers for lunch

and then that Mexican Stir Fry made enough

that I had leftovers for lunch the next day.

So it’s a really good use of time.

I know some people don’t like leftovers.

Those people would be crazy.

Because we eat leftovers all the time.

Well I hope you enjoyed our Single Vegan
What We Eat In A Day video.

If you haven’t yet, please subscribe
to our channel.

We really appreciate that.

We have lots of really cool and
interesting things coming up

and you want to make sure and
get notified when we post those videos.

That’s it for today from JP
home alone in Ecuador.

We’ll see you next time.

Bachelor Vegan Dinner + Amelia’s Goodbye (Episode 59)

Amelia is back in the states for a couple of weeks so I’m cooking my own bachelor vegan dinner. She still works for a company based in Denver, CO and she has to go back once every 3 to 4 months for facetime and account reviews. She manages their CRM tool and does various other sales related activities.

The Cuenca airport is very small, as we showed you in our Return to Cuenca video. In this video, we show you the food court, which is very thin on vegan options. We looked at all the menus and didn’t see a single vegan meal option. They do have lots of vegan drinks and snacks, though, including papas fritas, but nothing hardy or healthy.

When I got home, I walked down to the fruit lady who is located in our neighborhood a couple blocks from home. There are small produce stands and shops all over the neighborhoods in Ecuador, which makes it easy to get fruits and veggies. Some even have flowers. The abundance of produce shops is one of the many things we LOVE about Ecuador.

Bachelor Vegan Dinner

Bachelor Vegan Dinner - Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup

For my first bachelor vegan dinner, I made some Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup with steamed broccoli. This is probably the easiest recipe we make, and one of my favorites. It’s perfect for a single person’s dinner. I had enough left over for lunch the next day. I like to put Tabasco on my broccoli, or sometimes fresh lemon juice.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Video Transcript

>> Amelia: Hi veggie lovers. I’m Amelia
with Amelia And JP.

This is JP. He is holding the camera
this time as you can see.

He is not behind the camera.

[Laughter]

Stating the obvious, I know.

I ammm.. going to Denver.

>> JP: I know. We’re not very happy.
>> A: Yep.

>> JP: She’s leaving me.
>> A: I’m leaving JP.

>> JP: She’s leaving me for the states.

>> A: Yep. So I’m flying to Quito

and then I’ll fly out of Quito and
head back to the US tomorrow.

>> JP: So we’re going to take her
to the airport right now

and then I’ll come home and
get back to work.

>> A: That’s right. [Gun Sound]

Oh wait. That was like a gun.
That’s not what I meant.

It was supposed to be a whip.
[Whip Sounds]

[Laughter]

>> JP: We’ll have to work on that.
>> A: Yeah. Ok.

>> JP: Alright, please remember to
subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

We have some very exciting news
coming up

and we are not quite ready to share
it yet, but we will soon.

>> A: We will.

>> JP: We share videos at 2PM Eastern Time
every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday,

and we hang out for about an hour

to respond to your comments and
answer questions if you have any.

>> A: I think that’s it for now. We’ll
see you at the Cuenca airport.

>> JP: Yep.

[Upbeat Music]

[Sad RnB Music – If You Let Go by LEL]

>> A: The Cuenca airport is really small.

They only have two gates, I think.

And I’m flying out of numero uno.

They also don’t have a lot of food
options here.

You can get some french fries,
papas fritas and juice.

They have a bunch of snacks so you can
get potato chips,

but nothing of substance.

Good thing is, this is a
really short flight

so I can get food in Quito.

Bye! I’m about to go through security.

>> JP: Have a good trip.

>> A: Thank you. I hope to..
this is a nice short flight.

>> JP: There’s Miss Daisy.

Aww. Aww. Got here high step on.

Well I took Amelia to the airport.

Got a cab back home.

The last time I took her to the airport

the cab driver went this round about way

and I told him he was going the wrong way

and he wouldn’t listen to me.

It cost me 5 bucks to get home
from the airport.

Today it was $2.70, about half the rate.

It sure does save money being able to
speak in Spanish

because I told him how to get home today.

Now I’m gonna walk down..

since Amelia was leaving today we didn’t
go to the mercado like we normally do

on Thursday so I’m gonna walk down
to our little fruit lady

and get some pineapples and bananas
cuz I’m out of all of my fruit.

[Sad RnB Music – If You Let Go by LEL]

We really like having our little fruit
lady in our neighborhood.

She’s about 2 and a half blocks from
the house

so if we ever run out of anything,

we can just run down there and buy
from her and she’s super cheap.

So I got all of this fruit here
that you see.

I got the bananas, a giant papaya,

a pound of strawberries, 3 mangos,

5 granadillas, 3 red onions, and..

they call them purple onions here.
Morado. Cebolla morada.

And a piña. All of that for $7.70.

That is quite the deal, especially for
these tropical fruits.

It’s hard to believe we can get them
that cheaply here.

And now I’m going to cook myself
some dinner.

I’ll show you what a bachelor vegan eats
for dinner.

I’m gonna make our Easy Black Bean Soup
for dinner.

I think I’ve done this on a
What We Eat In A Day video

so I’m not gonna really go through

in detail what’s in it. It’s black beans,
salsa and some cumin.

And it tastes amazing and it’s super easy.

And I went ahead and made some brown rice
to go with it.

And steamed some broccoli.

So I’m gonna eat this for dinner tonight.

My first bachelor night alone here
in Cuenca.

I already miss Amelia. She’s probably
arriving in Quito about now

or maybe already at the hotel.

Alright, this is it for today.

Hopefully you enjoyed our video of
Amelia’s departure.

She’ll be back in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I’m gonna do a lot of
solo filming

and hopefully I’ll get her to send me
some video from Denver.

There’s lots of good vegan restaurants
in Denver and

hopefully she’ll go to a couple of them.

Alright, please remember to subscribe

and leave us a like
if you enjoyed this video

and ring that little bell.

The notification bell so you make sure and
get updates.

We have some really cool stuff coming up

that we can’t wait to share with you.

We’ll see you next time.

Cuenca Ecuador Rental House Courtyard Tour + Plant-Based Locro de Papa Soup (Episode 58)

We cover lots of stuff in this day in the life video. Amelia will show you how to cook a veganized version of a traditional Ecuadorian dish called Locro de Papa Soup and I’ll give you a tour of our Cuenca Ecuador Rental House Courtyard. I’ll also explain how hot water and trash pickup work in Ecuador, and show you an example of door-to-door sales.

I also painstakingly translated the Cuenca song played by the gas trucks. You can find both the Spanish and English lyrics below.

Plant-Based Locro de Papa Soup

For lunch, Amelia made us some Locro de Papa Soup. This is a traditional Ecuadorian dish that’s usually made with dairy milk and a bland white cheese. Amelia veganized it by replacing the cheese with tofu and the milk with almond (or soy) milk. You can find the full recipe on our sister plant-based recipe website: LottaVeg.com.

Vegan Locro de Papa Soup

When we first came to Ecuador on our exploratory trip, we ate Locro at a restaurant thinking it was vegan. The waiter assured us there were no animal products in it. We later learned that we needed to be more specific because lots of people in Ecuador don’t think of milk, eggs, cheese or fish as animal products; just mammal meat.

We’ve been told that none of the cheese in Ecuador has much flavor. The cheese in the soup we had was so plain and bland, we thought for sure it was tofu. It had no cheese flavor whatsoever, which is why tofu makes such a good substitute in this dish.

If you make this recipe, please let us know what you think in the comments!

Hot Water, Trash Pickup and Door-to-Door Sales in Ecuador

Lots of things Americans take for granted work quite differently here in Ecuador.

Cuenca Gas Delivery (It’s Propane)

Cuenca Gas Truck Song Lyrics English Translation

Ecuador doesn’t use natural gas for energy. Rather, propane is used for hot water, ovens, stoves and heaters. Delivery trucks drive through the neighborhoods playing music like ice cream trucks do back in the States. The propane trucks used to honk their horns instead of playing music, and some still do.

For those who are curious about the words in the song played by the gas trucks, I pieced together an English translation of the Cuenca Gas Truck Song Lyrics (Cuenca’s Anthem)…

Propane Tanks

If you have an empty tank and you hear the music, you run out of the house as fast as you can to wave them down. They bring in the new tank (which is VERY heavy) and remove the empty one. We have a couple of spare tanks so we never run completely out.

As of January 2019, one tank costs $2.50. A hot water tank lasts about 2 to 3 weeks for two people (without a dishwasher). We replace the oven/stove tank about once every 2 to 3 months. That means we spend about $7 to $10 per month on propane (we’ll do a full cost of living review in a future video).

Having propane tanks for hot water is a big pain when you’re in the middle of taking a shower and your tank runs out! Amelia just yells downstairs to me and I go change it, but I’m not so lucky. I have to get out of the shower, dry off, get dressed, go outside, change the tank, and then resume my shower…usually accompanied by lots of profanity. 😠😡🤬

On-Demand Hot Water: Calefones

Our oven and stove have their own propane tank. The tanks in the video and the photo above are only for the hot water heater, which is called a calefon. All the hot water heaters that we’ve seen in Ecuador are on-demand; they don’t have hot water tanks like we’re accustomed to in the States.

Calefon

We lived in our rental house for over a year with really poor hot water. Sometimes it was hot; most of the time it was warm. We had a plumber look at the calefon, but his advice was to install a bigger one, but we didn’t want to deal with that hassle or expense. Eventually, the calefon broke completely and the plumber who came to repair it showed me how it worked.

When you turn on the hot water, the water flows through the calefon creating pressure on a little rubber plunger that pushes a pin up, which opens the gas flow. The amount of hot water pressure affects the volume of gas and the size of the flame.

In our calefon, that rubber plunger had a tear in it, which caused a reduction in the pressure on the pin and a lower flame to heat the water. That’s why we had such poor hot water for a year!

Eventually, the tear in the plunger grew so large that it no longer pushed up the pin to trigger the flame so we had no hot water at all. Now that the rubber plunger has been replaced, we have truly hot water and it’s a glorious thing!

The rubber plunger part cost $8 and the labor cost $15, although I’m pretty sure those were gringo rates. I doubt the plunger cost more than $1 and since he was only there for about 15 minutes, the labor probably should have been lower.

However, it’s all perspective. In the states, a plumber’s minimum rate for a house call usually starts at $100, so paying $23 for a plumber to fix our hot water heater is a pretty good deal, even if we did get gringoed.

Trash Pickup

We talked about trash pickup in an earlier video, but in case you missed it, here it is again…

Since there are a lot of street dogs in Ecuador, they use trash racks mounted on the walls to keep the bags out of reach of the dogs. They’re made to fold up out of the way when not in use, but most people (including us) seldom put them up.

That means you have to be really careful walking down the street to avoid hitting your head on them while you’re watching for holes in the sidewalk or objects sticking out of the ground.

Cuenca Ecuador Trash Rack

In our neighborhood, trash pickup is on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, even when one of those days falls on a holiday. They don’t bump the pickup day for holidays. In other neighborhoods, trash pickup is on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with Wednesday being recycle day.

Thursday is the recycle day in our neighborhood. That’s when we put out our blue bags containing all our recyclable items except for glass (or vidrio en Español). We take our glass recycle to special containers located in several of the parks around town.

Door-to-Door Sales

Remember when people used to go door-to-door selling things in the States? Well, that still happens here. You can buy everything from clothes to trashbags without leaving home!

Door-to-Door Sales

Most of the time, they ring our bell at our gate, but some walk down the street yelling what they have for sale, like this guy selling brooms. I thought it was odd that he asked me if I wanted a broom EXACTLY like the one I was using at that very instant, but I guess it never hurts to ask. 🤷‍♂️

Our Beautiful Cuenca Rental House Courtyard

Living in a tropical environment means year-round lawn maintenance for our Cuenca Rental House Courtyard. We’ve hired landscapers to maintain our courtyard before, but the last guy who did it seriously gringoed us so I told Amelia I would do it myself next time.

Cuenca Ecuador Rental House Courtyard

The first guy we hired charged us $15 to trim all the plants and haul away the debris, which was a pretty good deal. The next guy told us it would be $20, which we still thought was a good deal considering how much work there is to do.

However, he wanted to put down fertilizer, but we told him no. After he finished, he told us he put down the fertilizer anyway (which killed one of my favorite plants), along with some fresh topsoil, and told us the total bill for labor and supplies was $95! That’s ridiculous by Ecuadorian standards!

He still comes to our gate wanting to maintain our yard, but he shot himself in the foot by gringoing us. We’ll never use him again!

Getting “gringoed” is a real thing in Latin American countries, at least all the ones we’ve been to. But it’s also a thing in the States, especially if you’re a woman with a car at the auto mechanic.

Some people, regardless of their location in the world, will try to take advantage of other people for their own personal gain. It’s human nature to be selfish, greedy and short sighted, just like it’s human nature to be on guard against people who try to take advantage of you.

Villainy in the Vines (or Daisy’s in the Dog House)

While I was trimming the vines and plants in our Cuenca rental house courtyard, I made a gruesome discovery, which is why Daisy’s in the proverbial doghouse!

Cuenca Ecuador Rental House Courtyard - Daisy

We knew she killed a baby bird because she left it on the porch for us. But we didn’t know there was a whole nest of baby birds and she killed all of them! The smell was so awful I almost vomited! Those parent birds did NOT pick a good spot to build a nest!

Daisy is normally a very sweet dog, unless you’re a foreign invader in her territory. Then she goes vicious… Kinda like some humans we know 😏

That’s it for our Cuenca Ecuador rental house courtyard tour and cleanup. Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Video Transcript

>> JP: Hola veggie lovers.
I’m JP with Amelia And JP and

Amelia is currently in the kitchen.

She is preparing to make us
a veganized version

of a traditional Ecuadorian dish
called Locro.

It’s like a potato.. the traditional dish
has cheese in it

and we didn’t know that when we
first came to Ecuador.

We ordered some at a restaurant

because the waiter assured us
it was vegan.

And then we found out later that the
little diced

cubes in it were cheese.

Since they didn’t have any flavor

and looked just like tofu,

we just assumed it was tofu.

But it wasn’t. It was cheese. Yuck!

So anyway we just make ours with tofu

and it tastes the same to us.

So while she’s doing that though,

we need to do a little bit of yard work

so I’m going to do some trimming
in our courtyard.

So I’ll give you a tour
of our courtyard, too

and explain our gas situation here.

They don’t have natural gas here.

They use propane.

So I’ll show you how all that works.

Alright, let’s get started.

[Upbeat Music]

>> Amelia: Today I’m going to make my

vegan version of the Ecuadorian soup:
Locro de Papa.

It’s a traditional soup that’s
typically made with cheese, dairy milk

and of course potatoes or papas.

But I make mine with tofu,
with non-dairy milk.

My original recipe I use soy

but today I’m going to use almond milk.

And we use nutritional yeast to get that
cheesy flavor.

It’s actually really easy and quite tasty.

The first thing I need to do
is peel the potatoes.

So let’s get started.

I’m heating 2 tablespoons of veggie broth
in my pot.

And to that I’m going to add the onion

that I chopped and the minced garlic.

About a tablespoon of minced garlic.

And I used two little bitty onions.

I also have one teaspoon of achiote powder

and one half tablespoon of cumin

and this is going into our pot as well.

And I’m going to sauté these until the
onions are translucent.

So that should just take a couple minutes.

>> JP: That smells good.

>> A: I know. I know how much
you love your cumin.

So the achiote powder is important too

because it gives the soup
the proper color.

While my onions are sautéing

I’m going to quarter my potatoes.

You don’t need to cut the potatoes
into really small or bite-sized pieces.

We are going to cook them
until they’re very soft

and then mash them with a potato masher,

but we still want a little bit of chunks
in there.

I’m going to add my potatoes to the pot

and continue to cook them in the spices

for about another 5 minutes.

So we’re gonna kinda toast everything
a little bit.

If you run out of liquid,

if it starts sticking
to the bottom of the pan

you can just add maybe a tablespoon
of water or veggie broth.

You wanna toss these to coat

the potatoes with the spices

and just let them cook.

I’m going to add 6 cups of our homemade
veggie broth.

Of course you can use store bought.

Just make sure it’s oil free.

And we just need to let that simmer

for about 45 to 60 minutes.

As I mentioned earlier, we want to

cook this until the potatoes
are nice and soft.

>> JP: While our Locro de Papa Soup
is cooking

I’m going to do some yard work.

I’ll give you a tour of our courtyard too.

With my little handy sheers,

I’ll trim up all these overgrown bushes.

This is our courtyard.

I LOVE this courtyard.

Especially these Dr. Seuss plants.

I think these must be a member
of the allium family.

But I’m not exactly sure what they are.

And these ferns are really nice too.

And then we have what I call
a muppet plant.

It looks like one of those
muppet characters.

Obviously it needs to be trimmed up.

Daisy loves it out here too.

She stays out her almost all the time.

I need to trim all the dead buds
off of that.

And we have a Calla Lily
that blooms regularly

and it’s beautiful.

It’s not.. we only have one bloom
right now, but..

it is very pretty.

And then we have a palm tree

and I need to trim this bush that’s
under it.

Oh and this is our table and umbrella
that we bought here.

We got the umbrella I think for 120 bucks
at a store that’s near here.

I think the table and chairs
were not very much.

They were like $80 I think.

And we love this vine.

This vine has completely grown over this.

This is a door, like a garage door

that you can park a car in here

and it’s completely covered that since we
moved in.

Then we have another one of these with
a lot of dead stuff.

And there’s another Calla Lily.

Need to trim off those dead things.

And this is our hot water heater.

Now this is something,
if you’re in the States

you might not know what this is.

It’s called a calefon, here.

And it’s an on-demand hot water heater.

And those are the tanks.

Everything runs on propane here
not natural gas.

So if you need to refill your tank

there’s always somebody driving through
the neighborhood

and they play a song that’s about Cuenca.

I need to look up the lyrics for it and
see what it says.

But it’s basically.. it says
“that’s why I love Cuenca.”

And they just drive through
the neighborhood.

It’s kind of like an ice cream truck.

You hear the music and you run out
and wave the guy down

and they carry a tank in

and they carry away the empty one.

So that’s how you get your propane here

and the propane runs the hot water

and the stove and the oven.

Alright, now it’s time to get to work.

[Soul Music – Grow Remix by Gloria Tells]

Now I have to trim up this pretty purple
flowering plant that Daisy smashed.

There was a baby bird, a bird’s nest
over here in our bushes

and she completely destroyed

this beautiful bush, plant,
whatever it’s called

getting at the baby bird

and she killed the baby bird

and left it on our doorstep for us.

As vegans, we did not appreciate that!

[Soul Music – Grow Remix by Gloria Tells]

Ah. Gross. GROSS! AHHH!

AHHH! GROSS!

Alright this is really gross!

There are dead baby birds

and they stink horribly!

Ahhh. Gross! Ahhh. I’m going to throw up!

Uhh. I can see two of them

and they smell awful and I don’t have
any gloves.

Daisy! You are in the DOG HOUSE!

I am very mad at you right now!

Very mad!

This is gross!

Yuck!

In lieu of gloves,

I’m gonna use a plastic bag

and pick up these dead baby birds

like they’re dog poop

which really BOTHERS me!

This is gross and I don’t like this!

Yeah! Returning to the scene of the crime!

Gross Daisy!

Aw God they smell awful!

Ahh. This is what you did!

Ahhh!

You destroyed this bush too!

[Soul Music – Grow Remix by Gloria Tells]

I am not at all happy
with little miss Daisy.

Ahh. Those birds were gross!

I’m done inside, now I’m gonna go outside

and trim these vines are growing
over the wall.

And I got mad at my neighbors..

on New Years Eve they lit a monigote

on.. leaning up against our telephone pole
outside our house

underneath this vine.

I got mad and yelled at them.

I feel a little bad about that, but still

everybody else burns them in the middle
of the street

and for some reason our neighbors

decided to light their monigote on fire

underneath our overgrown vine.

I guess it’s my own fault for
not trimming it sooner, but

anyway, hopefully they’re not too

upset with me for yelling at them

to not burn things in front of my house.

But, they told me it was tradition.
[Laughing]

I’m not sure if they meant tradition

to burn things in front of your neighbor’s
house, or

they were just referring to the
burning of the monigotes

or the Años Viejos.

If you are curious about what that is

watch our New Years Eve video

or the New Years Eve prep video.

We go into lots of detail about monigotes.

[Soul Music – Grow Remix by Gloria Tells]

Alright so you’re gonna see
where they burned it.

See this vine right here?

This is dead because they burned

their monigote right here
in front of my house.

Oh well. We survived.

Gotta let it go!

Find my inner peace!

[Soul Music – Grow Remix by Gloria Tells]

Let’s move around to the other side now.

As you can see,
this is very much overgrown.

[Soul Music – Grow Remix by Gloria Tells]

Man this was really overgrown.

Oh and you might be wondering,

if you haven’t watched any of our
other videos,

what this tray is here.

This is where you put your trash.

They uh.. since they have a lot of
street dogs here

they keep their trash up off the ground

and you put your trash up on those racks

and they.. in our neighborhood

they pickup every Tuesday, Thursday
and Saturday.

And Thursday is recycle day

so you put out your blue bag
with all your recycle in it on Thursday.

Alright, I gotta finish this.

Amelia says it’s time to eat.

[Soul Music – Grow Remix by Gloria Tells]

Alright. I’m going to take a break
and go eat.

And then I’m gonna pick up

all this debris and I’ll show you
the finished product after that’s done.

>> A: My potatoes are nice and soft

so I am going to mash them

with my potato masher.

Or you could use a fork if you don’t
have one of these handy gadgets.

And as I mentioned earlier

it doesn’t have to be smooth

we want some little chunks of potato
goodness in here.

That looks really good.

Now that our potatoes are mashed

it is time to add some more ingredients.

So I have one cup of
unsweetened almond milk.

You can use your favorite
unsweetened milk.

Although I wouldn’t use coconut milk

since that has a pretty strong flavor.

One quarter cup nutritional yeast.

That’s gonna give us that cheesy flavor.

For my additional spices, I have

one teaspoon salt which you could
certainly reduce or leave out

if you’re watching your salt intake.

And then one tablespoon of dried cilantro.

And we’re gonna let this simmer
for a little bit longer.

Just a few minutes.

And while this is simmering

I need to drain my tofu, pat that dry

and then cut that into cubes.

It’s time to chop up our tofu into cubes.

The traditional soup is made with
some sort of cheese

they use here, which is cubed.

>> JP: And white.
>> A: And white.

And this will go into the pot

at the very end because it really just
needs to be heated through.

And it’ll absorb some of the
delicious flavors.

We are just going to let this simmer

for a few more minutes.

3, 4, 5 minutes, until the tofu
has absorbed the flavors

and it is nice and warm.

Looks good, huh?
>> JP: Mm-huh.

>> A: Smells really good.

And now it is time to eat.

It looks really yummy, doesn’t it?

Hardy and delicious.

Time for the taste test.

Hopefully it’s not too hot.
I don’t want to burn myself.

Mmm. Ooh! It’s really good!

Yummy.

You can find the recipe on our website:
LottaVeg.com.

Let us know if you decide to make this
dish. I’d love to hear your feedback.

>> JP: Lunch was delicious.

I really love Amelia’s
Vegan Locro de Papa Soup.

It’s so tasty.

I already picked up everything.

All of the leaves and debris
from my yard work.

And I’m tired now.

It was a lot of work.

While I was outside sweeping up
all of the leaves on the street,

and the sidewalk.

A guy went by selling brooms.

>> Broom Guy: ESCOBAS!!!
[Brooms in Spanish]

>> JP: A lot of people go door-to-door

selling things here,

but I found it very strange that he
offered to sell me a broom

while I was using a broom.

And it was pretty much
the exact same broom,

only in a different color.

I thought that was really strange.

I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask, does it?

The worst you can say is, “No.”

Alright, let’s do the tour
of the finished..

cleaned up..

courtyard.

[Soul Music – Grow Remix by Gloria Tells]

That looks a lot better
and I’m glad it’s done.

Amelia is in the kitchen cleaning up
from our lunch.

And man I’m tired now.

I’m gonna go take a break.

So please remember to subscribe to our
YouTube Channel

and hit that little notification bell

so you get updated when we
post new videos.

We post videos every Tuesday, Thursday
and Saturday at 2PM Eastern Time.

And we hang out for about an hour

to answer any of your
questions or comments

so come join us and we will
see you next time.

Vegan Mexican Lasagna + Plantains w/ Peanut Butter (Episode 56)

Our good friend and Amelia’s FAVORITE yoga instructor came over for another Food With Friends to make some delicious Vegan Mexican Lasagna. Olesya is from Russia and speaks several languages, so you get to hear some cool pronunciations.

Amelia Olesya

Vegan Mexican Lasagna Recipe

Olesya had never tried tofu, so we invited her over in our first Food With Friends video back in Episode 35 to cook Tofu Scramble. And in this video, she learned how to make our easy and satisfying Vegan Mexican Lasagna Recipe. YUMMM!!! Amelia also walked her through our Vegan Refried Beans recipe, but you can use store-bought to save time (just make sure they’re oil and lard free).

Vegan Mexican Lasagna

And since Olesya never arrives empty handed, you’ll also learn how to make rich and delicious Plátanos con Pasta de Maní (You can find the recipe here: Ecuadorian Peanut Butter Plantain Recipe). It was the perfect dessert to follow our Vegan Mexican Lasagna.

Plátano con Pasta de Maní

We always have SOOO much fun when our friends come over to cook with us!

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Video Transcript

>> Olesya: Hello.

>> Amelia: Buenos días.

>> O: Buenos días.

>> JP: Buenos días.

>> O: Are you read to film?
>> A: Yeah.

>> JP: Are you ready for another
Food With Friends?

>> O: [laughing] Yeah, I am.

>> JP: Not friends FOR food.

>> O: More tofu, right?

>> A: Yes. More tofu.

>> O: You look nice!

>> A: Thank you! I like your earrings!

>> O: Thank you. It was a present from
one of the Rumisol [inaudible] actually.

>> JP: I like your necklace.

>> O: Wow! Guys!

[laughter]

>> O: What else you like?

[Upbeat Music]

>> A: High veggie lovers. I’m Amelia
with Amelia And JP.

JP is behind the camera and I’m
here with Olesya.

And we are going to make our
Vegan Mexican Lasagna today,

which is another tofu dish.
Yes. And delicious tortillas.

And JP’s homemade salsa.
And I already made refried beans.

You’re gonna really like this.
This comes together so quick.

All we have to do is drain the tofu
and then we’re gonna just

kinda smash it in here, put some salsa
and lime juice in here.

And then JP’s going to cut these
tortillas for me

because he didn’t like the way
I did it last time.

[laughter]
>> O: Wow!

>> JP: It’s just more efficient
to cut them.

>> A: Yes. He’s all about his efficiency.

And then we’re gonna layer it in

this casserole dish. And put the layers
on, put some salsa on,

and we’ll be good to go.

>> O: And how long does it take
in the oven?

>> A: About a half hour.
>> O: Ok.

>> JP: Yeah, it’s super fast.

>> A: So in the meantime, JP also made
some chips.

>> JP: Yeah, those are just corn chips.
>> O: Wow.

>> JP: Corn and water.

>> A: Yeah. They’re just.. We just use
these tortillas.

>> O: Uh-huh…

>> A: Which are just corn.

>> O: Where’d you get
those tortillas, guys?

>> A: We got them at SuperMaxi.
>> O: SuperMaxi, ok.

>> A: Yep. There’s nothing.
No oil added. Just baked so

we’ll have a delicious snack.

We have some avocado, too.

Alright! So let’s get started.

>> JP: And we have a salad.

>> A: Oh yes.
>> O: My stomach is talking to me.

[Laughing]

>> A: We have to have salad.

Alright, so I’m gonna.. Whoops..

>> JP: That’s why we cut that over the sink.

>> A: Yeah, well.. What can I say?
I’m not perfect. [laughter]

>> JP: I love my new Fitbit!
It’s got a timer.

>> A: That’s awesome.

>> JP: So that I don’t forget the chips
and burn them up.

>> O: Yay! Chips!

>> JP: See I just put those and
bake them on there.

>> O: Uh-huh..

>> JP: And then we’re done.

>> A: Yeah. Doesn’t get much
easier than that.

>> JP: This is a whole package of chips.

A whole package of one of these.

So the nice thing is there’s no oil,
no salt.

You can put salt on them.

Sometimes I like to squeeze a little
lime juice or spritz it with lime.

And then put some.. a little salt over em,

but I didn’t do any of that because
my salsa is so good you don’t need that.

[laughter]

>> O: Do you like it a little bit spicy?

I think in [inaudible] they put some
kind of you know..

spice.. paprika or something like that.

>> JP: Oh, that would be good
on the chips.

>> O: And mango salsa. Mangos they eat
with pepper, or paprika.

>> JP: That sounds good.

>> A: Alright so we’re going to start
the tofu mixture,

which has a really cheesy consistency.

It’s very tricky. It’s tricky/sneaky.
[laughing]

>> JP: Well, it’s kind of like ricotta.
The texture of ricotta.

But there’s a Mexican cheese..
What’s it called?

>> O: I think that it’s called oaxaca,
but I’m not sure.

>> A: I think you’re right.
>> O: Look it up.

There is a city in Mexico, in the
south of Mexico that is called..

oaxaca? I’m hoping that I pronounce
it right.

[laughter]

>> A: Sounds good to me.

>> JP: Hopefully no one from there is
extremely offended right now.

[laughter]

>> A: Well if they are they can tell us
how to pronounce it properly.

So now we’re just going to.. sorry,
I didn’t explain that very well.

[laughter]

Just basically like we were doing the..
>> O: Eggs.

>> O: Yeah?
>> A: Exactly.

>> O: So I’ve got experience
so don’t worry.

>> JP: You’re going to be a tofu expert

>> A: I know..
>> O: [laughing]

>> A: She’s gonna re..

We’re gonna have to do a different
dish next time.

>> JP: Looks good!
>> A: Yes.

>> O: I’m done here?
>> A: Yes. Nicely done.

Ok. So I have one cup of salsa.

So I’m just gonna go ahead and
pour that in.

>> O: Nice…

>> A: And then if you wanna start
mixing that up.

While you do that, I’m gonna squeeze
in the juice of one lime.

>> JP: The juice of one lime.
That sounds so formal.

[laughter]
>> A: The juice of one lime.

Which I have cut in half so this is
the juice of a half a lime.

>> O: So it needs another half..

>> A: Yes.
>> O: ..juice of another half a lime.

>> JP: Poor little lime. You can hear it
screaming if you listen closely.

>> A: Oh God! That’s not funny. [laughing]

And I am going to use salt.
The salt is optional.

So I’m gonna do a teaspoon of salt.

>> O: Okay..

>> A: So this looks great!

>> O: Good.
>> JP: Wow! Yummy!

>> A: Ok. So now we’re gonna set
this aside.

And then what we’re gonna do..

actually checking my recipe.

You think I’d have this memorized by now.

Oops.

>> JP: Where can that recipe be found,
Amelia?

>> A: That can be found on LottaVeg.com.

[laughter]

>> JP: Cut these into quarters so that
it’s more uniform

and this is also faster than ripping
them up,

which is what we used to do.

But this is so much faster.

>> O: Um-huh..

>> A: I don’t know if it’s really faster.

>> JP: It is too! Look at that!

It’s completely done!

>> A: Ok. Alright.
>> JP: Done!

>> A: Good job!

[laughter]

>> JP: Thank you!

[laughter]

Alright, now you can use as many
as you need.

>> A: Ok. Thank you.

>> JP: And then the rest, I will just
put in the oven and bake into chips.

>> A: Alright. That sounds good.

So this recipe calls for refried beans and
I made my own although

you could use jarred or canned
refried beans of course.

>> JP: These are so delicious.
>> A: Oh, I know they’re so good!

So they’re really easy to make.

I use dried canary beans but you could
use pinto beans

or black beans would be good too.

And I soaked them overnight and then
I cooked them in our pressure cooker.

But of course you could cook them on the
stove.

Just be careful, you have to add
lots of water.

I’ve had bean burns before. [laughter]

Very disappointing!

>> JP: And if you buy them, make sure
you get oil free and LARD free.

>> A: Lard-free. Yes.

>> JP: A lot of the refried beans in the
states have lard.

>> A: Yes.
>> JP: You have to look at the labels.

>> A: So once they’re cooked, I just
poured them into a pan

or a soup pot, obviously, with the
juices that they cook in.

And then I added some veggie broth.

And I did one small onion, so that’s about
a half a cup of chopped onion.

And I did about two tablespoons garlic.
I like it garlic-y.

And then I put in some salt, about..

One to two teaspoons of salt depending
on how salty you want it.

And then, you just let it cook.

So you just keep stirring it. Let it cook
and it gets nice and thick.

And then you mash it with a..
>> JP: Potato masher.

>> A: This nice little tool.

And then at the end I squeeze in
the juice of one lime.

So one of these little limes.

Little lime.

And that’s it!

So I made it ahead of time so it would be
cool enough that we could work with it.

Because we didn’t want it to be
scalding hot.

And per JP’s request we have some extra
if we want some on the side.

>> JP: I love to have extra.
>> A: Yeah.

Ok. I’m going to start the
layering process.

So I’ve got 3/4 cup salsa to go on the bottom.

I’m just gonna spread this out.

>> JP: And you don’t need to oil that,
right?

>> A: Nope. The salsa will keep anything
from sticking.. to the bottom.

No oil in this recipe.

Step number two.

I’m going to layer our NICELY cut…

[laughter]

…tortillas.

On the bottom here so this is our
first layer.

So on a traditional lasagna, this
would be pasta.

Yeah, I don’t know what the actual
meaning of lasagna is,

but I’m guessing it just means like
layered.. dish.

>> JP: Isn’t that the type of noodle?

>> A: No, because, I mean.. people..
I don’t know.. people..

>> JP: Spaghetti is a type of noodle.
Fusilli is a type of noodle.

>> A: That’s true. Maybe it is,
I don’t know.

I was just thinking how you see people
do like raw lasagna..

>> JP: Wouldn’t it be called a parfait?
If it was…

[laughter]

>> A: I have no idea!

>> JP: Everybody love a parfait!
[quoting Donkey from Shrek]

[laughter]

>> A: OK! Moving on!
[laughter]

I’m going to use 1 1/2 cup
of refried beans.

And I just like to do.. measure out
1/2 cup at a time.

This can be a little tricky to spread.
Yes.

>> JP: Without moving the tortillas
all over.

>> A: Yes. You kinda have to press
it into place.

So this would be tricky if you did..

made this and had your refried beans
in the refrigerator.

So if you make these ahead of time,
which I often do..

I would just pull them out and let
them come to room temperature.

Next step is to add in one cup of our
tofu mixture.

And again, you wanna just kinda
evenly spread that.

>> JP: Olesya’s taking over.
>> O: Ready. Set. Go.

[laughter]

>> A: Alright so now we’re doing
the second layer.

>> O: Does it have to be perfect?
>> A: No.

>> JP: Yeah it does. Has to be absolutely
perfect. Geometrical.

>> A: Oh geez.
[laughter]

>> O: I can use all of these
for this layer?

>> A: Yeah.

The thing is, you know, it doesn’t
have to be precise

so if like.. maybe you want to use
flour tortillas..

you can use flour tortillas.

Maybe you want more tofu..

or maybe you want less tofu.

Well JP I don’t know how many extra
beans we’re gonna have.

>> JP: [Gasping]
>> O: [Laughing]

>> JP: That was my ONE requirement!

>> A: Well we do have.. I will always
make more.

The beans.. refried beans are in
steady rotation here in this house.

>> JP: A mainstay?
>> A: A mainstay, yes.

>> JP: Along with the juice of one lime?

>> A: Yes.

[laughter]

I don’t know why you find that so funny!

[laughter]

>> O: Mmmmm… A lot of beans
and that’s good.

>> A: I know. This is a very hardy lunch.

But it’s not heavy so you won’t feel
the need to take a nap afterwards.

>> O: You think so?

>> JP: No gut bomb.
>> A: No.

>> O: I just like taking a nap.

[laughter]

>> A: YES! You will DEFINITELY need
to take a nap afterwards.

[laughter]

Ok. Next thing is to put our
tofu mixture on.

>> O: Do you like it?
>> JP: Looks good!

[laughter]

>> A: We do wanna finish up the tofu.

>> JP: Yeah, so there’s only two layers.
>> A: There’s only two layers

I had that mixed up.

>> O: There is not so much left, though.
>> A: No.

Now we do our final tortilla layer.

>> O: Are we going to put
anything on top of this?

>> A: We are. We’re going to put
more salsa on top.

And then one final thing of salsa.

And then we just need to smooth that out.

And if you want more salsa, you can put
more salsa on top as well.

We usually just do the 3/4, but…

>> JP: You definitely want it
to be covered.

>> A: Yes.

Alright, that’s it!
>> O: Let me know when it’s perfect.

>> A: That is perfect.
>> O: When you think it’s good.

>> A: I think that looks amazing.

>> O: Ok.

>> A: And now we just need
to pop it in the oven.

Actually, that’s not true. We cover it
with aluminum foil first.

Because we don’t want it to get
burnt on top.

>> JP: Or for our British watchers, it’s
aluminium.

[laughter]

We’re using aluminium.

>> A: We don’t.. we try to use as little..

>> O: How do you say in Spanish actually.
Oh, aluminio.

>> A: Oh yeah.
>> JP: Aluminio?

>> O: Aluminio.

>> JP: How is it?
>> O: Papel aluminio.

>> JP: Aluminio.
>> O: Eso es.

>> JP: Eso es.

[laughter]

And then we’re going to
put it in the oven for..

>> O: 30 minutes?
>> A: 30 minutes. Yes.

>> JP: Treinta minutos.

How do you say it in Russian?

>> O: 30 minutes?

>> JP: Or aluminium.

>> O: Alumini.

>> JP: Alumini?
>> O: Uh-huh.

>> JP: And how do you say 30 minutes
in Russian?

>> O: [Speaking Russian]

>> JP: WHAT?!

>> O: [Speaking Russian]

>> A: Wow!
>> JP: That’s so cool!

>> A: That is cool!

>> JP: I know. Olesya speaks
so many languages.

>> A: Fluently too!
>> JP: Fluently!

>> A: I’m lucky I can make..
get English words out.

[laughter]

>> JP: Yeah. Extremely lucky!

[laughter]

>> O: Sometimes you forget?

>> A: Yeah. I get them mixed up now
with Spanish. Uhhhh…

It’s like I’m making up my own language
that only I understand.

[laughter]

It’s a little scary.

>> JP: Alright, what are we doing now?
>> O: Ok, let’s wait.

>> A: We gotta wait.

>> JP: Do we wanna make..

Olesya brought.. what did you bring?
Mamey and..

>> O: Mamey and if you want to
have like a dessert

we can make some plátanos verdes with
peanut butter paste.

>> A: I would love to make that!
>> JP: Do you want to make that?

>> O: Yeah, sure. And it’s going to take
around 30 minutes to boil them.

>> JP: Awesome. Now what’s it called?

This is a traditional Ecuadorian dish,
right?

>> O: Yeah. They make it with
plátano maduro, the yellow one..

the sweet one and with plátano verde
this one that I brought.

I wanted to try with this one because it’s
less sweet.

It has to look a little bit..

It always looks like this a little bit
blackish.

[laughter]

So yeah. Basically we just boil the
plantains

and then we mix it with peanut butter.

Mash it very well and it’s good!
It’s delicious!

>> JP: It is delicious.

Wow! Look at how she’s peeling!

>> O: I’m just peeling this.

>> A: Yeah. That’s not how I did mine.

>> JP: Yeah. We did ours..
>> O: How did you do it?

>> JP: We tried to peel it like a banana
and then we cut it..

>> O: That doesn’t work.
>> JP: ..then we ended up peeling it off.

>> A: You’re right. It does not work.
>> JP: It doesn’t work..

[laughter]

..with plátanos. With plantains.

These are..?
>> O: Maduros.

>> JP: Maduros. Yep.

>> O: Cut them into small pieces
so they cook fast.

Let’s add some water guys.
Cover it with water..

and let it boil for about 20, 30 minutes.

I cut it in small pieces so I don’t think
it’s gonna take too long.

>> A: I’m just gonna check the lasagna to
see how it’s coming along.

And we do wanna end up taking foil off
and letting it cook uncovered.

Ooo, it looks perfect.
>> JP: Wow. It does.

>> A: I think stage two now is to
uncover it.

And we’ll finish the cooking.

>> JP: And how are the maduros coming?

>> A: Do we need a fork?
>> O: They still need.

They still need time.

>> JP: Quite a bit. That was really hard.

>> O: They gonna take awhile.

>> A: So the maduros are duro?

But those aren’t maduros.
Those are verde. Yeah.

>> O: Verde.
>> JP: No, those are verdes.

>> A: Maduros are the yellow..
>> JP: The yellow ones.

>> A: Alright. I think we’re ready.
Let’s check it out.

Let’s take a look!

Oh. See, it’s all bubbly.

And look at our tortillas kinda
getting puffed up.

Perfect!
>> O: Looks delish.

>> A: Yes. Yum.
>> O: Can’t wait.

>> A: Smells really good.

>> O: It’s that time.

>> A: It is that time.
>> O: [laughing]

>> A: Alright. It probably is gonna
need to sit for a minute or two

otherwise it’s just gonna kinda
spill out everywhere.

>> JP: Yeah, I would let it sit to cool
for a few minutes.

>> A: Yeah.

>> JP: How is our plántanos coming?

>> O: I think they need a little bit more
time because they need to be soft.

I don’t think they’re ready yet.

>> A: Do we wanna get our salad ready?

>> JP: Yes.
>> A: And I warmed up those refried beans.

>> JP: Yay!

>> A: Ok.
>> O: Thank you.

>> JP: That looks DElicious.
>> A: It does look delicious.

>> JP: Alright what are you guys
going to eat?

>> A: Hahaha!
>> O: [laughing]

>> A: I don’t think
we’re missing anything.

>> JP: So you’re gonna try the…
>> O: I think we..

>> JP: You’re gonna try
the nutritional yeast?

>> O: Yeah. I’ll put a little bit
just to see how it tastes.

>> A: I would just try sprinkling a
little bit on top

since you’ve never tried it maybe
just a little in one spot

in case you don’t like it.
>> O: Ahhh. Yeah.

>> JP: What’s everybody think?

>> A: Delicious.
>> O: Delicious.

>> JP: Muy delicioso.

>> O: Delicioso.
>> A: Sí.

>> A: Wow it smells really good.

>> O: Peanut always smells good.
>> A: I know, right? [laughing]

>> JP: So how do you know how much
peanut butter to put in there?

>> O: I don’t actually. It depends..
depends on the taste. [laughing]

>> JP: You have to taste it.
>> O: Yeah.

>> O: I know that my Ecuadorian family
usually uses the mixer.

They actually mix it in a
very smooth texture.

So it doesn’t have all this chunks.

But I don’t think that it’s needed,
honestly. [laughing]

>> JP: YouTube needs to invent
smell-o-vision.

>> A: Yeah, wouldn’t that be nice.

>> JP: For all these cooking channels so
people can be really envious.

[laughing]

>> JP: Alright, what are we adding?

>> O: I added some cranberries.

So it’s a little bit sweeter.

And let’s put a little bit more.
>> A: It looks delish.

>> JP: Dried cranberries.

>> O: Yep.
>> A: Yummy.

>> O: I like cranberries.
>> A: What a neat idea for dessert.

>> O: [laughing]

But if you want real dessert, make it
with plátano maduro actually.

>> A: Ok.
>> O: Which is the yellow one.

>> JP: The yellow plátanos
are much sweeter.

>> O: It’s very good.

>> JP: And then we’re going to drizzle
some date syrup over it.

>> O: Yeah.
>> JP: Wow! That looks really good!

>> O: [laughing] Hope it tastes good also.

>> A: I’m going in.
>> O: Let’s do it!

>> A: That’s really good.. yeah.

It’s just the right amount of sweet.

>> JP: It sounds just like me!
>> A: Awww…

Aren’t you funny?!
You’re just full of it today.

>> JP: [chuckling]

>> A: Thanks for joining us for our
second episode of Food With Friends.

Thank you for teaching us how to make
the verde plantains.

>> O: Yeah.
>> A: Oh, there’s an unhappy dog.

Geez.

>> O: We had a delicious lasagna today.

It was tofu and hopefully next time you’re
gonna teach me something…

somehow the desserts.
>> JP: Without tofu?

>> A: Without tofu.
>> O: [laughing]

>> A: We’ll move on to our next..
>> O: Yeah…

>> A: And we’ll do something
with nutritional yeast.

>> O: Yeah, that would be great.
>> A: Yes. Awesome.

>> O: Thank you so much guys!
>> A: Thank you.

>> O: I love being here!

>> A: Aww. Well we love having you.
Thank you.

Thank you. We’ll see you guys soon.

Oh don’t forget to subscribe!

Hit that notification button so you get
our next episode.

[Blooper Beep]

Alright. Bye…!

Stop…!

You’re not stopping…

Cuenca Ecuador Pharmacy Tour and Paying Bills + Beet Burgers Cooking Video (Episode 54)

If you’ve never been to Cuenca or a South American country, you may be curious about basic things like paying bills and shopping at pharmacies. In this video, we’ll show you the unusual (by American standards) way of paying bills and perhaps reassure you about the quality of pharmacies with a Cuenca Ecuador Pharmacy Tour.

Thinking about moving to Ecuador? Our Ecuador Expat Info page has lots more videos and detailed blog posts.

Paying Utility Bills

The process for paying our utility bills here in Cuenca has been a constant learning process. We used to pay for our water, electric and landline at the Farmasol pharmacy near our house, but they stopped accepting utility payments for some reason. Now we go to JEP Cooperativa, which is a co-op bank here in Ecuador.

Paying for Electric, Water and Phone at JEP

JEP

JEP only accepts cash and they don’t accept our American ATM bank cards, so we have to go to a regular non-coop bank first to get cash. We prefer Banco Pichincha because they don’t charge ATM fees.

Banco Pichincha

Our utility bills run about $60/month: $40 for electric, $15 for water and $3 for our landline phone that came with the house. For reference, we have a single family 2-story home that’s about 1,500 square feet. Some landlords include the cost of utilities in the rent, but ours doesn’t so we have to pay them ourselves.

Our Internet with Puntonet

We use Puntonet for our Internet access, which costs us $35/month for high-speed, fiber to the curb. It’s FAR better here than our crappy Comcast service back in Denver. We pay Puntonet with auto-pay using a credit card (no international transaction fees).

Our Mobile Phone with Claro

We use Claro for our Ecuadorian mobile phone. It only costs us $17/month! We bought a cheap Samsung phone for $170 when we setup the account, but it was awful. We still have iPhones with Verizon back in the states (we both still work, Amelia for a company in Denver and I have web design clients) so after we upgraded our iPhones, we swapped the SIM card from the Samsung to our old iPhone and it works much better.

Claro

We’ve tried setting up auto-pay at Claro using our credit card multiple times, but it never works so we go every month in person to pay. When you go in the front door, you have to get a number and wait your turn.

Claro Number

They ask for your Claro phone number at the front desk, but it doesn’t get recorded on the ticket so you have to repeat it to the clerk who takes your payment. It usually takes less than 15 minutes to pay.

How Our Electricity Got Shut Off

In the video, Amelia mentioned that our electricity got cut off one month. That was due to the confusing nature of bill paying here in Ecuador. There is no online access to bills, so we don’t know what the amounts due until we go to JEP. Furthermore, the bills are only available after a certain day of the month, which has been changed several times in the year we’ve been living here.

The bill available dates are currently between the 1st and 5th of the month (it varies). However, they used to be available between the 19th and the 24th, then the 24th and the 29th. If you go before that date, the bills aren’t available so you can’t pay them.

That’s where the confusion arose with our electricity getting shut off. We went to Farmasol to pay our bills (before they stopped accepting payments) and the electric bill wasn’t available yet because they changed the available date. We figured we would save a trip and just pay for it next month after several friends told us paying a month late wouldn’t matter. The next month, we paid our bills after all of them were available, but they cashier didn’t charge us for the previous month’s electricity.

The next month, Farmasol stopped accepting payments and our payment dates changed AGAIN when JEP took over. The missing month still hadn’t been paid so on our first trip to JEP, they charged us for the missing month and the current month, but when we got home, our electricity had been shut off already for non-payment of the bill three months before.

Thankfully, our landlord happened to drop by and we told him what happened. He took our JEP payment receipt to the electric company showing that we had just paid the late bill and our electricity was turned back on a few hours later.

Paying Rent

We didn’t cover how we pay rent in the video, but it’s worth a mention. This is a cash society. We haven’t seen personal checks, online bill pay is still in its infancy here, and most individuals and small businesses don’t accept credit cards.

So in order to pay the rent, we go to the bank, withdraw cash from the ATM and deposit it directly into our landlord’s bank account. He gave us his account information and we use it to fill out a deposit slip.

Paying the bills and the rent is a great way to get our 10,000 steps in for the day!

Cuenca Ecuador Pharmacy Tour – Farmacias/Pharmacy’s

Cuenca Ecuador Pharmacy Tour - Pharmacy's/Farmacias

Pharmacies are abundant here in Cuenca and throughout Ecuador. For some reason, Ecuador hasn’t gone through the corporate consolidation process like the states has so there are lots of consumer options here. Within walking distance from our house, we have a Cruz Azul, Pharmacy’s, Fybeca and Medicity. And we’ve seen others.

For our Cuenca Ecuador Pharmacy Tour, we went to a Pharmacy’s, but most of the larger pharmacies are pretty similar. They’re a lot like a Walgreens or CVS back in the states and they have a lot of the same major brands.

Cuenca Ecuador Pharmacy Tour - Lubriderm

Most of the beauty products are a LOT more expensive here. My physical therapist has us bring back Cetaphil for her because it only costs $11 in the states compared to $41 here.

Cuenca Ecuador Pharmacy Tour - Cetaphil

Most of the packaged medicines and vitamins are kept behind the counter so you’ll need to ask for them. In the smaller pharmacies like the Cruz Azul in our neighborhood (below), nearly everything is kept behind the counter.

Cuenca Ecuador Pharmacy Tour - Cruz Azul

If you would like us to look for something in particular, just let us know.

Núcleo Nerve Medicine

Núcleo

Núcleo is a drug that’s available in most countries, but not the United States. This drug helps regenerate damaged nerves and the protective sheath around nerves. It also helps with neuropathy from nerve damage or diabetes. And from my experience, it actually works without side effects and only costs me $45/month.

Due to my spinal issues, I have nerve damage in my hands, legs and feet. The neuropathy in my feet was really bad before I started taking Núcleo several months ago. I’ve also regained some of the lost feeling in my hands and legs. It’s difficult to say for sure if this is solely due to the Núcleo or if part of the improvement came from my stellar physical therapy here in Cuenca or the natural healing process.

Regardless, it’s unacceptable that this isn’t available in the states when it’s available in most other countries. It could help millions of people suffering with nerve damage or diabetic neuropathy. I was prescribed Gabapentin following my surgeries, but the side effects, especially depression, became unbearable so I had to stop taking it. Núcleo would have really helped me.

Tosta Sourdough Bread

On our way home from paying our bills, we stopped by Tosta for some delicious sourdough bread. We timed it perfectly because it was straight from the oven and still warm! Yum!

Tosta

Tosta Inside

Tosta Bread

Beet Burger w/ Black Beans & Quinoa Recipe

We’ll also share our Beet Burger w/ Black Beans & Quinoa recipe in a cooking video. You can find the full recipe on our sister recipe website, LottaVeg.com.

Beet Burgers

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Video Transcript

Hi veggie lovers! I’m Amelia with
Amelia And JP. JP is behind the camera.

Today we are going to go pay our
utilities and our cell phone bill.

We also need to go to the pharmacy,
which is perfect because we had a viewer ask us

to do some video of the
pharmacies here in the area.

We will post these videos, all of our videos,

at 2 p.m. Eastern time every
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

and we do stick around for about an hour to answer any questions or comment on any

of your comments so please join us and
remember to subscribe and ring that bell

so that you get notified on all our
latest and greatest.

♫ Upbeat Music ♫

I’m standing outside Claro. Amelia is
inside paying our bill. We’ve tried to

set up automatic payments
with our credit card at Claro several times,

but for some reason it never works correctly.

So we just come down here once a month

and pay in person. It’s $17 a month
for our mobile phone bill here in Ecuador.

There is another company called
Movistar, but most of the people we

talked to recommended Claro
so that’s why we went with them.

And after we leave here after Amelia pays our bill we’re gonna head down to JEP and pay our utilities.

Now that we could also pay
online if we had a JEP account, but since

we don’t we just go pay it in person, too.
And you have to pay that with cash.

They don’t take credit cards there so we’re
gonna go do that next and then go down

and tour a couple pharmacies.

JP: Still waiting?
Amelia: Still waiting.

It actually hasn’t been that long.

I’m going into JEP now to pay our
utilities, which is the water, electric

and we pay I think $3 a month
for a landline that just came with the

house that we rent so it just is part of
rent as far as I’m concerned.

As another thing we do pay our utilities in cash here.

Umm.. I’ve heard that you can set up a

JEP account pay some of these online
but we haven’t tried that.

If somebody knows let us know.

I’m standing outside of JEP
waiting for Amilia.

You can’t use your phone or any
electronics while you’re in the banks here.

They all have security guards. The security guard will come up and yell at you and tell you to

put your phone away or leave. So I’m just
standing outside under a shade tree next

to this woman selling delicious looking
cherimoyas and cherries.

They have the most amazing dark cherries here!

Oh my God they’re like candy!

A: Success!
JP: All paid?
A: All paid.

JP: So they aren’t going to shut off our electricity again?
A: No. [chuckling]

We’ve had some issues figuring out
when we’re supposed to pay bills

and they changed our due date and they changed the location where we can pay them,

but luckily our landlord helped us through all of that.

We only had our electricity shut off for what, nine hours?

JP: Yeah [laughing]

That was embarrassing. [laughing]

And the funny thing is we had just paid it that morning!

But we didn’t realize we
had a short window and somehow one month

apparently didn’t get paid when they
made the bill switch. I don’t know.

Now we are heading over to the pharmacy
right down the street

to get JP’s prescriptions.

We decided to stop on the way home
and get some bread from Tosta.

We timed it perfectly, although
that was an accident and they had just

pulled some fresh out of the oven. Yay!I

[sounds of cutting bread]

JP: Yummy bread.
A: I know. I’m hungry and I could not wait for a piece.

A: We are back from running our errands and
enjoying our delicious bread from Tosta.

A: Sitting outside and
enjoying the wonderful weather.

JP: I know. It’s beautiful here today it.

A: It is. We had…a viewer asked us
to record the pharmacy’s,

which we were happy to do so

since as I mentioned we needed to go
anyway. There are many different

pharmacies out here they’re super easy
to find. Umm, there.. I think they’re pretty

similar to like a Walgreens or a Rite
Aid. What do you think JP?

JP: Yeah they’re very similar to like Walgreens,
except a lot of the stuff is behind the counter.

JP: Things that you don’t actually need a
prescription for but they still keep it

behind the counter anyway.

A: Just obviously to minimize theft.
JP: Yeah.

A: Especially the little stores everything in the little
pharmacies are behind the counter so you

have to know what you want because most
of the people working there do not speak English.

JP: So the pharmacies are the ones
that we know of are Farmasol, Medicity

No, that was Fybeca.
Fybeca, Farmacias, Cruz Azul,

which is Blue Cross in English.

A: Yes and I think..
JP: Is that it?

JP: There may be more there’s a lot

of pharmacies and a lot of little ones like
the little one in our neighborhood.

JP: The Cruz Azul. It’s really tiny. They..
Almost everything is behind the counter there.

A: Yeah, but they’re really helpful so we’ve
gone and gotten prescriptions there

before and they have had to order them
but they get them the same day usually.

JP: Usually the same day or the next day.

A: But if you’re in a hurry I would definitely

recommend going to a larger pharmacy

or if you actually do want to
wander up and down some aisles..

JP: And see all the stuff.
A: Yes. Go to a larger pharmacy.

A: The interesting thing, I mentioned
prescriptions. JP, you want to..?

JP: Oh yeah I’ve got my
prescriptions here.

This is Núcleo. And this is a drug that
helps with the regeneration of nerve damage

and the protective sheath that coats nerves.
And this is not available in the United States,

but it is available here and it
doesn’t even require a prescription.

I’ve been taking this for a few months and I
definitely think it’s helping with my

nerve damage from my spinal issues
and I don’t feel any side effects from

it so it I feel better I’ve got more
feeling back in my hands and legs and

feet and there’s no side effects.

A: Yeah and it’s very affordable so a lot of

the stuff here is really affordable um
the doctors will write you a

prescription so that you know what to
get from the pharmacist, but then we can

go back and just buy them normally.

JP: Yeah, we just show them the box.
A: Like the B vitamins, for example.

JP: We got these B Vitamins, too. My neurologist

here recommended I take these
every day as well

because that’s also supposed
to help with nerve damage.

A: So not everything
is available over-the-counter.

A: I think that they have changed their
policy on antibiotics

and that you do need a prescription for that.

[loud car alarm; laughing]

JP: Car alarms galore. It’s non stop here.

A: Anyway, not everything is available over-the-counter.

A: Some prescriptions..
[loud car alarm]
JP: It’s never-ending.

A: Not everything is available over-the-counter.
Certain things like antibiotics require

a prescription now.
I would assume opioids probably.

JP: Probably. You used to be able to buy
antibiotics without a prescription

You could just walk in and tell them
you want some and they give them to you,

but because of the over over prescribing of

antibiotics and all the antibody
antibiotic resistant bacteria or

whatever now they’re.. they require
prescription now, thankfully.

[chewing sounds]

JP: Anything else?
A: I was hungry.

JP: Amelia’s hungry. I’m hungry, too.

JP: All right.
A: The bread is delicious.

JP: All right. So now you’re gonna go do yoga?
A: Mm-hmm.

JP: I think I’ll do my workout and then we’re
gonna do some cooking this afternoon.

A: That’s the plan.
JP: All right. See you soon.
A: See you soon.

I decided to make Beet Burgers
because JP and I have not had them in..

..ages I think a year, year and a half maybe.
And they sounded really delicious.

The beets here are really good and it’s
pretty quick and easy to make.

Although, I had to review my notes a
couple times because, like I said,

I haven’t made him in a long time.
So let’s run through our ingredients.

OK. So I have two beets, which I have to grate.

These are raw. I have peeled them.
I have 1 cup of black beans that I have rinsed and

drained.. or drained and rinsed.
I have 2 cups of cooked quinoa.

One onion that I need to chop still.
1 teaspoon paprika.

1 teaspoon cumin.
1/2 teaspoon mustard.

1/4 teaspoon salt (kinda hard to see in there).
I have 3 tablespoons minced garlic.

And then I need to make a flax egg.
That’s first thing I’m gonna do and to

do that I’m going to grind up two
tablespoons of flax.

We use a coffee grinder to grind all of our seeds.
We actually do not use this to grind coffee, FYI.

Alright so this is super simple. Just
putting in my two tablespoons of flax

seed which is going to make us some flax meal.

[coffee grinder sound]

So I actually have a little bit more than
two tablespoons.. once it’s ground.

A: You can buy ground flax meal we just did not.
JP: It’s better if you grind it fresh.

JP: It loses its nutritional value as it sits.

A: So I am going to measure out the two tablespoons

and the rest of this we can use for our
breakfast tomorrow and I’m just gonna

give this a quick stir with my teeny
tiny little fork.

Alright and that just needs to sit and
it will kind of turn into this

jelly-like consistency, which will be our
flax egg. So we will set that aside and

then the next thing I need to do is
grate these beets. So I need a cup of

grated beets and I’m not exactly sure
how much that’s going to be, so..

JP: Those are raw, right?
A: Yes. Raw peeled. Please make sure you peel them.

I don’t think the peel of beets would
taste very good.

I did slice these up so they will fit
into our little tube here.

[food processor sound]

So we need a cup of grated beets.
Boy these look delicious don’t they?

JP: Wow, they’re so red!
A: I know.

A: I think we’re gonna have plenty.
We have extra quinoa because I

made a little extra intentionally so we
can have that for breakfast in the

morning and we’re gonna have a little
bit of extra beet, grated beets which is

delicious in salads, which we’ll
also have tomorrow.

I still need my food processor so I didn’t rinse it out.

I did change the blades so we’re now using

this one not the shredder one. We’re
going to put in our grated beets, one cup.

Black beans. I think I’ll go ahead and put our spices
in so that I don’t end up making a mess.

Quinoa is going in here as well. This is
gonna be a very hearty burger JP.

And very pretty. And then lastly we want to
put our flax egg in and in case you have

not made one yet you can see this is
your end result it’s kind of gelatinous.

I’m just gonna pulse this until
everything is blended. We don’t want

things to be mushy we want them
still to be a little chunky.

[food processor sound]

Yeah I think this is good.
Oh my gosh it smells really good.

I’m really excited to eat these!

I’m going to set this aside for a moment,
chop my onion, and I’m going to sauté

the onion and garlic and a little bit of
veggie broth until the onions are translucent.

All right, I’ve heated a quarter cup of veggie broth.

And to that I’m going to add
my three tablespoons of minced garlic.

That spoon’s a little too big to get in there.
I can keep trying but it’s just not gonna work.

And….. Whoops. Our onion..
So in my, on the website we say

to use a yellow onion, which I did not have.
I think any onion will do.

JP: I agree.

A: I love these red onions. I love white onions and I love yellow onions.

They’ll all be delicious, but we can only use one so purple it is.

Ok. And like I mentioned before I’m

just gonna sauté these until they are translucent.

JP: And over here, we’re making some
green beans to go with our Beet Burgers.

While the onions are cooking, onions AND
garlic are cooking, I am going to

transfer our beet mixture to a bowl
because we are going to add in the

onions and garlic along with two
tablespoons of whole wheat flour to this

mixture and then we are going to form
them into patties.

And then we’re going to bake these.
I should mention that.

We are going to bake them in a 350 degree oven.

Wow looks really good.

Alright, I think our onion and garlic is looking good.

So veggie lovers it is dinner time for the
dogs and they are right underneath our feet,

waiting to be fed. They’re gonna have to wait
a couple more minutes. Sorry babies.

Last up before we form these into
patties is to add in two tablespoons of flour.

And I am using whole wheat flour.

All right, now I just need to grab, grab our baking sheet

and then I will make our patties.

This should make six patties.

And you can see I’m just molding them.
They’re kind of fragile.

A: But boy they really look good, don’t they?
JP: They sure do.

A: I love the color. I’m glad I decided to use a red onion.

Fate intervened. Umm.
The nice thing.. these are fragile..

You don’t have to flip these though so
we’re going to bake these now

for 30 to 40 minutes until they’re nice
and done and a little crispy.

Alright..

A: Mmmmm..
JP: Wow! Those look yummy!

A: I know! They look really good, don’t they?
JP: They smell good, too!

A: They DO smell good! Oooo! This is quite hot!

Dinner is ready!

Perfect!

A: This looks delish, JP.
JP: Wow, that does.

A: Uno más.

A: Do you want lettuce and tomato?
JP: Yes, please.

A: I’ll give you two slices.
JP: Thank you.

A: Well you’re very welcome.
JP: That’s so red!
A: I know.

A: Pile that right on top.
JP: Wow! Looky there! Looks so good!
A: I know it’s so pretty!

And then I’m gonna do ketchup and
mustard on mine.. and then I’m gonna eat!

JP: What kind of mustard?

A: Well I’m gonna use regular yellow mustard.

I know you like the spicy brown mustard.

Any of your favorite condiments will do.

A: Avocado would be really good with this, too.
JP: Oh, it would be good.

JP: All right, let’s eat.
A: Next time. Let’s eat!

That’s all for today veggie lovers.

I hope you enjoyed our day in the life
video and I hope you found the pharmacy

information helpful. And I also hope
that you give our beet burgers a try.

Please remember to subscribe. Ring that
bell so you get all the latest and greatest.

And we will see you next time.

Food With Friends Featuring Rachel + Weird Exotic Fruit Tasting (Episode 50)

In this episode of Food With Friends, our friend Rachel joined us for some delicious Lazy Girl Easy Vegan Enchiladas and weird exotic fruit tasting.

Weird Exotic Fruit Tasting in Cuenca Ecuador

The fruits we tasted were Dragon Fruit (pitahaya in Spanish), Ecuadorian Guava and Sapote.

Dragon Fruit

Dragon Fruit

The Dragon Fruit is extremely sweet and juicy. Just cut it in half and dip out the goodness with a spoon. We love Dragon Fruit, but it is a very effective laxative so it’s best to eat in extreme moderation. That little bit I ate in the video completely cleaned me out the next morning!

Ecuadorian Guava

Ecuadorian Guava

The Guava is a lot different than us North American’s are used to. Here in Ecuador, it’s a pod with a white, edible cotton-like pulp and lots of slimy black seeds. The pulp is sweet with the consistency of cotton candy. None of us were huge fans of this fruit. It was mostly seeds and the edible pulp clings to them so you have to put the whole thing in your mouth and spit out the slimy seed.

Sapote

Sapote

The Sapote was quite delicious, but a bit stringy with lots of large seeds. It was hard to cut and the strings got lodged in our teeth requiring floss to remove them. It tasted like a cross between a cantaloupe and a sweet pumpkin, but the the consistency of a stringy mango. While it was a bit more high maintenance to eat than a mango, it was delicious and we all agreed, worth buying again.

See More Food With Friends: Food With Friends Featuring Olesya (Episode 35)Vegan Mexican Lasagna + Plantains w/ Peanut Butter (Episode 56)

LEARN ABOUT VEGANISM and the WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED DIET (WFPB)

★ Cowspiracy ➞ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV04zyfLyN4
★ NutritionFacts.Org ➞ https://www.youtube.com/user/NutritionFactsOrg
★ Plant Based News ➞ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJRjK20fHylJyf-HiBtqI2w
★ What The Health ➞ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jf44vLndiRM

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Plant-Based What We Eat In A Day: Breakfast Quinoa & Red Lentil Bolognese (Episode 49)

In this Plant-Based What We Eat In A Day video, we show you a typical day of recipes. These are all super fast and easy to make, with lots of flavor and high in nutrients. All combined, these meals total more than 60 grams of protein!

Plant-Based What We Eat In A Day

Plant-Based Breakfast

For breakfast, we had a delicious bowl of Breakfast Quinoa topped with fresh fruit and a few walnuts. We normally eat raw oats for breakfast, but we like to mix things up every once in a while. The ground flax and chia make a gray-ish paste, but it’s full of healthy fats and omega-3’s. Once you stir them into your breakfast, the ick factor goes away.

Breakfast Quinoa

Plant-Based Lunch

For lunch, we had some of my premade Easy Garden Salad. I shred the greens and store them in a sealed container in the fridge. I also chop all the veggies and mix them with some artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, corn, beets, etc. and store them in a separate container in the fridge. This way, our delicious power salads are quick to assemble so we have no excuse not to eat at least one salad a day.

Easy Garden Salad

While we were eating our salads, I made some Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup that’s super fast and easy. Just one can of black beans, drained and rinsed, combined with a cup of salsa and a teaspoon of cumin. Heat it up on the stove for about 10 minutes and you’re good to go. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Easy Black Bean Soup

We eat a lot of fruit…WAY more than the average American. Part of the reason is that it’s so delicious and cheap here in Ecuador. We get 3 papayas for a buck, 3 mangos for a buck, 20 bananas for a buck…you get the idea. Fruit is a staple in our house.

Plant-Based Dinner

For dinner, we had another Easy Garden Salad and some Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese. The recipe I made in the video was an experiment that Amelia improved upon for our recipe website, LottaVeg.com. I recommend following her recipe. It was a little more time consuming but the flavor and texture was much better.

Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese

All these plant-based what we eat in a day recipes were very filling, but they only totaled about 1,500 calories so I had an extra helping of the Red Lentil Bolognese and more fruit as dessert after dinner. Popcorn is also a good snack, but try drinking a big glass of water if you still feel hungry after eating, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Sometimes you’ll feel full after some water and waiting.

See More: What We Eat In A Day + How To Cut a Mango (Episode 27)

LEARN ABOUT VEGANISM and the WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED DIET (WFPB)

★ Cowspiracy ➞ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV04zyfLyN4
★ NutritionFacts.Org ➞ https://www.youtube.com/user/NutritionFactsOrg
★ Plant Based News ➞ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJRjK20fHylJyf-HiBtqI2w
★ What The Health ➞ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jf44vLndiRM

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!

Cuenca Ecuador Monigotes – Burning of the Effigies (Episode 47)

Cuenca Ecuador Monigotes are everywhere! Each year on New Years Eve, Ecuadorians and people throughout Latin America burn monigotes in the street as a way of casting out the old and welcoming in the new. The word “monigote” literally translates to ragdoll, but a more accurate translation would be effigy. They’re also called Año Viejos, which translates to Old Year Things.

Cuenca Ecuador Monigotes Chuckie

Cuenca Ecuador Monigotes Alien

Cuenca Ecuador Monigotes Ice Age

Cuenca Ecuador Monigotes Faceless

The monigotes are made of paper-mâché or fabric and usually filled with straw or sawdust. Some are also filled with firecrackers so when they’re burned, they make quite the show and they’re very noisy.

It’s common in Ecuador to put a mask on the monigote that looks like a specific person. Some people even print pictures of politicians or members of opposing soccer teams and affix them to the monigotes. I’m guessing a few bosses and ex-boyfriends or girlfriends also make their way onto a monigote or two. Our friend from Venezuela says, “That’s playing with voodoo, which is playing with fire!”

Cuenca Ecuador Monigotes Masks

We’re looking forward to venturing out on Monday night (New Years Eve) to film the burning of the monigotes in El Centro. We’re not quite sure what to expect, but we’re guessing lots of people, fires and smoke. Stay tuned!

My family (JP’s) comes from Missouri, which is a southern state where Black Eyed Peas are considered good luck to eat on New Year’s Day. There are several theories/myths about this tradition dating back to The Civil War, and even though we’re not superstitious, it can’t hurt to eat some delicious Vegan Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day!

Black Eyed Peas New Year Tradition

See More: New Years Eve in Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 48)

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias!