It’s the Great Pumpkin

Okay, so it’s not quite the great pumpkin. It’s more like a tiny pumpkin. But if Mr. N and Miss A have taught us anything it’s that great things can come in tiny packages. 

Our cooking experience with Ecuador has taught us some helpful child rearing techniques. First we learned that serving popcorn with dinner is a way to ward off any complaints about dinner – even one that includes their least favorite ingredients, tomatoes and onions. We also learned that the quickest way to stop a three-year old’s tantrum in its tracks is to cut open a pumpkin. 

Our last Ecuadorian recipe on this little culinary tour is a dessert (of course!). We found tonight’s recipe, Dulce de Calabaza, while perusing Laylita’s Recipes and thought it sounded both fun and seasonal. The first step in the sweet pumpkin dessert is to remove the seeds and pulp from the pumpkin. I’m telling you, this step put an instant end to the so-called “witching hour” described by Parents magazine as “when the day’s stresses catch up with the whole family, turning well-mannered children into kidzillas.” Continue reading

Make It Pop

Our brief exploration into Ecuador has taught us quite a bit. For instance, it is one of only two countries in South America that does not border Brazil and it also includes the Galapagos Islands. Mr. N was even able to point out Ecuador in his social studies class this past week! We’ve also learned that Ecuador is known for its variety of seafood ceviches and particularly for its shrimp ceviche, or Ceviche de Camaron.

This recipe couldn’t be any easier, making it great for a weeknight meal or a dinner party appetizer. We started by thinly slicing a few tomatoes and a red onion. 

We tossed them into a bowl and Miss A added our juices – key lime juice (but regular lime would work just as well) and bitter orange juice. Continue reading


This post’s title is dedicated to Charles at Five Euro Food who posted a link to this video in his comments on our Ecuadorian beans. Since then, I cannot say the word “Ecuador” without yelling it in my head (or out loud) just like in the song. Fortunately it makes me laugh every time too, so I’m not annoyed…yet. But I’ll give you fair warning, if you listen to the song you will never hear the word Ecuador the same way again. Ever.

In addition to our bean stew on Sunday, we also made a wonderful fruit dish. This recipe is again adapted from Laylita’s Recipes and would be wonderful on a hot summer day. We also thought it would be a great complement to our hearty and spicy beans. (Translation – just in case I hated the beans, I needed something to fall back on!)

The dish is called Come y Bebe, or Eat and Drink. It’s a brilliant concept for a fruit salad. It’s basically an Ecuadorian drinkable fruit salad with a name that the kids loved to say! Especially Miss A who loves all things “baby,” never mind it didn’t mean that kind of baby. Continue reading

Beans, Beans Good for Your Heart

I can’t help it. I still think of that silly rhyme every time I think about beans. Juvenile, I know, but there you have it. So did you guess tonight’s meal features beans?

Miss A is our culinary guide for the next two weeks. She made her international choice after studying (and spinning) the globe for a bit; and much like her first pick, she’s taking us back to South America. This time, however, we’re on the Western coast in the country of Ecuador.

Unlike some of our international picks, finding recipes for regional dishes from the “Republic of the Equator” wasn’t terribly difficult. We adapted tonight’s selections from Laylita’s Recipes, a blog featuring recipes from South America and Ecuador among others. So to kick off our adventure we chose Menestra de Porotos, or Ecuadorian Bean Stew. It just seemed fitting for our unseasonably cool (and gloomy) weather today.

The boys kicked off the meal for us. Mr. N measured out all the spices and Mike took care of the chopping. Continue reading