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Vitality Foods  - July 2016 - Santa Fe

The Love of a Foodie is the Joy of Cooking

By Valeria Alarcón



It’s breakfast time and I’m already thinking about what to make for lunch and dinner, yes food is my life! I am a foodie – I love food and I love cooking.  I often wonder when was this seed planted in my soul? As a small child growing up in coastal Ecuador I quickly recognized that food was life. I can still savor the moment I realized this, I was a child and I remember being at the beach on a nice hot sunny day, where I was surrounded by grown ups enjoying small bowls of ceviche and chifles, and dancing to Salsa music. It was a delicious stimulation of the senses! The rhythmic beat moving people into playful and sensual dance; the sound of the waves crashing onto their dancing feet; the scent of ocean breeze mixed with the burst of citrus flavor and seafood in my mouth, it was beyond explicable. I remember just melting into the joy of that moment, where all my senses where being initiated. I think this is when my love for food was birthed.


Helping my grandmother bake was one of the many highlights and most nurturing moments of my childhood. Watching her move about the kitchen while cooking or baking was like watching an artist in the midst of creating a masterpiece. Every dish made - every bread baked - every juice juiced was a joyful process, expression and experience. Making a meal was a ritual of joy not a chore; it was a process of thoughtfully and carefully choosing ingredients to make a delicious dish filled with love that would be enjoyed with every bite. Food, family and fun are center-stage in our Latin culture and I think this is where my love for food was instilled. My appreciation for food, real food, stems from my culture and family values; where food is recognized as a blessing from Mother Earth and as medicine for our bodies, minds and spirits.


Quinoa Salad Stuffed Avocado


Quinoa Cooking Instruction:

  1. In medium heat sauté ½ cup of chopped onions and five chopped garlic cloves in a teaspoon of butter for five minutes.

  2. Add a cup of tri-colored quinoa, and cook while stirring for five minutes.

  3. Add 1.5 cups of vegetable or chicken broth, bring to boil then cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes


Salad Ingredients:

1 Tomato chopped into small pieces

1 Small cucumber chopped into small pieces

½ Red onion into small pieces

1 Ripe mango into small pieces

1 Cup of feta cheese

½ Cup of minced cilantro

2 Tbs of limejuice

2 Tbs of olive oil

2 Avocados, peeled and cut in half lengthwise



  1. Invite a few friends over, turn on some music and make a pitcher of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice and minced mint. Open the window, turn on some music and sing along to your favorite tunes!

  2. Enjoy this time together to make this delicious and nutritious summer salad.

  3. In a glass-mixing bowl add the freshly squeezed limejuice and olive oil, add a pinch of salt and pepper and mix well.

  4. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, onions, and mango to the lime-olive oil dressing.

  5. Add the quinoa to the mixed vegetables and mix well together, add a little more lime and olive oil if needed.

  6. Place the half avocado in a small serving dish; place a heaping tablespoon of the salad in the avocado and garnish with the feta cheese and minced cilantro.

  7. Buen Provecho!

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Valeria Alarcón is a Holistic Health Coach and Advocate AADP, whose mission is to inspire, educate, and empower individuals who are committed to reclaiming life and vitality through health and wellness. 


As a cancer survivor Val knows what it takes to reclaim life and vitality, and she is delighted to be of support to her community. For more information visit



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