Friday, April 24, 2015

Pecan Pesto Pasta

I love, love, love pasta! But I don't love the "food coma" feeling afterwards. So when I found this great substitution at Trader Joe's, I couldn't believe my eyes! A pasta that is detox approved? Yes!!! I actually can't taste the difference between this and "regular" pasta.  I made the creamy version of the pesto. For regular pesto, skip the avocado. You can also experiment with different kinds of nuts. The traditional pesto is made with pine nuts, I had lots of pecans and it was perfect for a tongue twister title. But I'm sure that cashews or walnuts would be great, too. So go ahead and play around with the recipe. Go nuts. Pun totally intended. 


1/2 bag of brown rice quinoa pasta
1 Tbsp of chopped garlic
1/2 pecans (or any other nut or combination of nuts)
6 cubes of frozen basil (fresh is better, just not sure of the amount)
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/2 avocado
S&P al gusto

 Paso a paso:

 1) Cook pasta according to instructions on bag. Do not overcook as it will become a mushy mess.

2)  While pasta is cooking, blend the garlic, the pecans, the basil the avocado and the olive oil until smooth.

 3) Add S&P to pesto, and if needed add a little more olive oil. Check on the noodles, they should be done by now.

 4) Strain the noodles very well and mix in the pesto.

5) Serve and eat immediately.

Remember that a pasta serving should only be 1/8 of your plate. We had it with a small steak, lots of mushrooms, and... you guessed it, an arugula salad.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Huevos De La Finca

This is the peruvian twist of huevos rancheros. Rancho and finca have basically the same meaning, they are just from different Spanish dialects. My grandpa used to say "¡Pa' la finca!" when we had left overs from a restaurant. So, that's where the title comes from. 

The awesome thing about this dish is that you can have any time of the day! You can put it together very quickly and it so hearty that will keep you very full for more than a few hours.

The traditional huevos rancheros, has tortillas at the bottom of the eggs, and refried beans along with salsa. This one is just a little different. I used quinoa and pretended it was the tortillas. I also used organic black beans, for protein with less fat than refried beans. And I was going to make fresh salsa, but didn't have any tomatoes or limes, so........

Ingredientes para dos personas (and maybe a little left over for lunch the next day) 

1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
1 lb of ground turkey
2 Tbsp of Aji Panca (or chipotle)
2 tsp of garlic powder
S&P al gusto
1 can black beans
1/4 tsp of powdered cumin
4 eggs
1/2 an avocado
A million ways dressing
Olive oil

Paso a paso:

1) In a large frying pan, start cooking the turkey with some olive oil. Season with S&P and 1 tsp of garlic powder. 

2) Add the ají panca and cook thoroughly. 

3) In the meantime, heat up the beans and season with the other teaspoon of garlic powder and cumin.

4) On a plate, shape the quinoa like two tortillas. 

5) In a frying pan, cook two eggs to your liking and place them on top of the quinoa patties. My husband does not like the runny yolk, so these are over easy.

6) Add the beans, the turkey and garnish with avocado and arugula on the side.  Drizzle dressing over the arugula "salad" and avocado. Voilà! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Not Your Mama's Chicken & Broccoli

The first meal my husband cooked for me was grilled chicken and steamed broccoli.  I was still trying to make a good impression back then, so I didn't tell him I wasn't a fan of eating little trees. Love makes you do crazy things sometimes, so I took a bite, and I've eaten it ever since.

When you think of being on a diet, chicken and broccoli would definitely be one of the dishes on your menu. Such a simple and delicious meal, but it can get old quickly, especially if all you eat is salads and chicken with a vegetable next to it.

This however, is not a diet, but a detox and beyond. So I, of course, had to spice it up somehow. For this recipe you're gonna have to make another run to your local latino foods market and get a jar of Ají Panca paste. It's basically your Peruvian chipotle: smoky flavor, and not too spicy.  I promise it's worth the trip. To quote my husband: "Why have you been hiding this recipe all these (7) years?!" 

Ingredientes (serves 4) :

4 pechugas de pollo
2 Tbsp of Ají Panca paste
1 Tbsp of garlic powder (fresh garlic is even better)
S&P al gusto
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 hot pan
A lot of steamed broccoli, because it's good for you and you might just love it.

Paso a paso :

1) In a bowl mix the ají panca, the garlic, the salt and the pepper.

2) Butterfly the chicken breast. This makes for faster cooking and flavor all over.

 3) Place butterflied chicken breasts in marinade and let it rest for about 15 mins.

 4) Heat up olive oil.  Once the pan is hot, add the chicken breast and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

5) Serve with steamed broccoli, or another green vegetable (because that's the rule!)

6) You can also add a small serving of brown rice. We decided to make some Arroz sin Leche and had the rice for dessert.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Million Ways Dressing

First of all, I am a total arugula junkie. It has a nice peppery flavor and it looks so elegant. I can eat it by itself, but my husband has to have salads with dressing. It is very difficult to find dressings with no dairy or soy, not to mention that they are very expensive. This is an extremely easy and inexpensive way to dress up any salad. And if you change the herb alone, you can have a million different variations. 


One cube of chopped garlic
One cube of chopped basil (or cilantro, rosemary, oregano, etc)
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 lime (juice) or 1 cutie (juice)
Sal y pimienta al gusto

Paso a paso:

1) Put all ingredients in a dressing container and shake.

2) Shake some more.

3) Make sure you shake it until the basil and garlic cubes have completely disolved.

 4) After a little more shaking, drizzle al gusto over delicious greens.
5) Toss and enjoy!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Arroz Sin Leche

Those of you who know me well, know that I have a gigantic sweet tooth. Well, it's not that big anymore... but I do enjoy dessert every now and then. Hence, this arroz sin leche recipe. With 5 grams of protein per serving and no sugar, it might just be the healthiest version of this latin classic.

The hardest part of this yummy dessert is cooking the rice. I bought about a pound from the bulk section and cooked it according to instructions from the internet. If you buy a specific brand, please follow the instructions from the bag to ensure that the rice is cooked thoroughly.


1 cup of brown rice
2 1/2 cups of water
2 cloves
2 scoops of Arbonne's vanilla protein powder
1 1/2 cups of coconut milk
1/8 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of cranberries
1/4 cup of pecans

Paso a paso:

1) Cook the brown rice in the 2 1/2 cups of water (with the cloves) over low heat for about 40 minutes.

2) While the rice is cooking, in a shaker combine the coconut milk and Arbonne's protein powder. Refrigerate.

3) When rice is cooked, remove from heat, and get rid of the cloves and add the protein shake.

 4) Put the mixture back on low heat and add the dash of cinnamon, the raisins and cranberries. Take off the heat when desired consistency is reached.

 5) Serve in ramekins and garnish with pecans. Sprinkle cinnamon al gusto.

6) Enjoy it before your family eats it all. =)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Lomo Desintoxicado

So, the real name of this dish is Lomo Saltado, my husband's favorite. The original has french fries and you eat it with a side of white rice. For this detox, I had to nix the rice and substitute the french fries with sweet potato fries and...Voilà!

I also experimented with making vegan ají, which some of you know as "the green sauce." Here's a picture of the perfect, detox-approved, bite.

This is actually a pretty quick dish once you have everything chopped. I'd recommend you use the grass-fed beef. It's a bit pricier, but we're not eating a lot of red meat nowadays, so it was a real treat. You'll also need my favorite ingredient, ají amarillo.


1 bag of sweet potato fries (non-gmo)
1 lb. of sirloin steak (grass-fed)
1 large red onion
3 medium tomatoes on the vine (organic if possible)
2 green onions
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tsp of garlic
2 tsp of ají amarillo

Paso a paso:

1. Bake sweet potatoes according to directions on bag. (Or you can make your own from scratch)

2. Cut steak into strips. Also, cut the red onion and tomatoes into wedges, and chop green onions.

3. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and quick fry the steak.

4. Add the garlic, ají amarillo, and S&P to season the meat. Stir for a couple of minutes until medium rare and remove from the heat.

5. In a smaller pan, heat some olive oil and add the onions. Let them cook for about 2 minutes and then add the tomatoes and the green onions. Add S&P al gusto and cook for another 2 minutes.

6. Add onion-tomato mix to cooked meat.

7. When the sweet potatoes are ready, add them into the meat-onion-tomato mix.

8. Serve and eat immediately!  Provecho.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Ají de Quinoa

I put a lot of thought into what my first recipe was going to be. To honor my Peruvian roots, I decided to make a classic, Ají de gallina. The original recipe is made with day old bread, milk and cheese. All no-no's in this detox. It also has a very special ingredient. Ají amarillo.

Let's just say that if I could only have three items to bring with me to a deserted island, this would be one of them. You can find this at your local latino market, in many different brands.

I figured that by adding quinoa (another peruvian import) instead of the bread, the dish could be very similar in texture and taste. Well, it worked! I haven't cooked this dish in a while because of the ingredient list, but I am SO glad I did! Dinner was ready pretty quickly once I had the chicken breast shredded and the quinoa cooked.

Ingredientes (Serves 4)

2 tbsp of olive oil
Half a medium yellow onion (finely chopped or pureed)
1 tbsp of garlic (or al gusto)
2 tsp of ají amarillo (or al gusto for more spice)
Salt and pepper (S&P)
2 cups of cooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
2 tbsp of cashew butter (for creaminess)
Two chicken breasts (boiled and shredded)
4 boiled eggs for garnish

Paso a paso:

1) In a medium/large pan, heat up the olive oil and cook the onion, garlic, aji in medium heat. Add S&P.

2) Add the cooked quinoa and chicken broth. Cook for 5 mins, until a thicker "sauce" is made.

3) Mix in the cashew butter until completely. Take off heat.

4) Add the shredded chicken, and mix it around evenly.

5) Serve with brown rice (optional) and garnish with egg.

6) Enjoy! 

¡Hasta la próxima!


Thursday, April 2, 2015

¡Hola mundo!

I can't believe I'm actually doing this!

I really want to thank all of you who have encouraged me to start this blog. I'm looking forward to sharing with all of you what I've learned about food in the last few months.

While doing Arbonne's 30 days to healthy living challenge, I was surprised to find so many more new exciting ingredients to make my dishes taste good. In this blog, I will attempt to revamp my favorite recipes, using healthier ingredients that are detox (and beyond) approved.

Since this is my first entry, I though I'd share a fact about myself. I was born and raised in Peru, the land of over 3,500 kinds of potatoes. Ironically, I don't eat many papas anymore. (Since I've been a Spanish teacher for 15 years, I'll throw in a hidden Spanish lesson here and there, out of habit.)

Anyway, thanks again for tuning in. And please let me know if you are craving something. I'll try to find a way to make it healthy, con gusto.

¡Hasta la pasta! (Make sure it's quinoa or brown rice pasta)

Culinary Carmen