Sunday, September 18, 2011

Living Frugal, Healthy, Happy, and Free in Cuenca

Are you all vegetarians?   

Someone commented on one of our restaurant videos; they asked if we were vegetarians. We get asked that a lot. The answer to that question is no, we are not vegetarians. But we do try to limit our intake of meat to only twice a week because we have found it to be healthier than eating meat every day.

I know that our videos usually show us eating at a vegetarian restaurant or preparing vegetarian pizza, pasta, or pesto in our kitchen at home and it just so happens that was a day without meat. We do eat chicken, some fish, and even hamburgers (usually made with ground turkey) occasionally. We also eat eggs and some dairy.

We bought some ground beef at Coral and it was virtually fat free and about the same price as in the U.S. When cooking the meat into hamburger patties it literally stuck to the frying pan because there was no fat! The meat was actually too dry because of the lack of fat, if that is possible. The ground beef at Super Maxi is not as dry and better tasting, in our opinion. 

The videos of us eating out in restaurants is at almuerzos (lunch) time here. Typically almuerzos comes with a bowl of soup, a raw veggie salad, rice, lentils or beans, a meat (usually chicken or beef), and a freshly squeezed juice or a small dessert for $2, give or take $0.50. It is a great deal for the price.

We probably eat lunch out twice a week because we are almost always out and about at lunch time; the food is quite wholesome and good priced, so we take advantage of the many traditional Ecuadorian restaurants in Cuenca. We would prefer brown rice but we eat a lot of that at home.

For your information we have never gotten sick from drinking the tap water or eating out in Cuenca, ever!

We usually eat home for dinner and we cook, or well, I cook.  When Frank and I first met, I was still a kid. I was 19 and did not know how to (sorry mom :-)) boil an egg, seriously! Oddly enough, Frank and his mother taught me how to make a few things, but most of my cooking abilities came from trial and error. It took me about 3-years to master bread-making. I finally figured that one out. Now, I (usually) enjoy cooking and prepare International cuisine for my family; mostly, Italian, Mexican and Asian dishes.. I'm learning to prepare some of the Ecuadorian dishes too. Last week I made tomatillo salsa to put on brown rice. It was pretty good.

On another note, Frank and I did try one of the Italian/Greek Restaurants here and we liked it a lot. I had the Spaghetti Carbanara for $4.95 and he had stuffed cheese filled raviolis with an incredible blue cheese sauce for $4.95. We left satisfied, probably not as healthy and a pound heavier, but we both said we’d go back. The restaurant is located in Mall Del Rio called Creta.

We are living frugal, healthy, happy, and free here in Cuenca! And we want to show you how you can too.



The DIY Cuenca Landing Guide book we wrote to help newcomers to Cuenca  details how we have lived frugal, healthy, happy, and free since living in Cuenca for the last 9-months; we share our favorite restaurants, places to go, sites to see, in this guide book, plus much more to help your life here in Cuenca easier and less stressful.

 If you are on a budget and if you do not want to be targeted as a rich gringo then this guide book will show you exactly what we are doing now, living frugal, healthy, happy, and free in Cuenca!



Health-wise we really like the abundance of fresh food in Cuenca. It is one of the reasons wee like Ecuador so much, and especially Cuenca for it’s wonderful veggie markets…we can hardly contain our enthusiasm about the quality of the food here…well…need I really say more? If you haven’t seen the video here it is….

                          

                           And the chicken is the best tasting chicken we have ever had, no kidding…

12 comments:

  1. I am happy to see your family eating so well. I think you are a good representation of what healthier Americans are like.

    I have read about what many south American's comment on North Americans and that is that they are all so fat.

    I am glad you are also requesting brown rice at places and ordering healthy foods. This gives the merchants monetary incentives to carry those items.

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  2. Thanks for the encouragement. It's always a bit more challenging to stay healthy when eating out. Although we're not "retirement age" which is an ambiguous term, we're not spring chickens either...hehe You can see from our posted budget there's no budget for health insurance. That's no accident...

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  3. you have a beautiful blog. And I would like to ask the price of gas, is that per gallon or per liter?

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  4. Thanks for your comment Monique. Yes, it is per gallon. (:-)

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  5. I recently saw your youtube video posted of the single mom who had just moved to Ecuador, renting an apartment for 200.00 or 250.00 a month. Her name in Spanish is Karina. It is my dream to move to Ecuador, but don't know how I can pay my living expenses. How does anyone pay their expenses overseas unless living off a retirement pension and to make enough income generated from a blog takes time.

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  6. Well those are good questions, and frankly could easily have a totally separate blog on just that issue. The thought crosses my mind occasionally, just because we get asked it a lot. But the fact is there's a lot of information on the internet already on that. Also, if you've never been in business before, I would recommend finding a service you could offer over the internet. Most blogs don't make any money...

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  7. Thank you for sharing! Very helpful information. My family and I are considering moving to Ecuador. Can you offer some advice on how to do this please?

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  8. Hi, I have enjoyed reading your blog, thank you for taking the time. I am in Cuenca for 3 months, my third time here. I live in Canada where it is just too cold in winter. I want to ask where in Cuenca do you buy ground turkey?
    Sandy

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    1. Thanks, glad you are enjoying the information.

      They sell ground turkey in the Coral Hypermercado in the Mall Del Rio. In the meat department it is behind the counter, you'll see it in the window. They will also grind up turkey fresh for you if you ask them with a big smile!

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  9. Thank you. I went to Coral today to get some ground turkey. They did not have any, the only turkey there today were frozen whole turkeys. I asked if they would have some tomorrow the young lady behind the meat counter said no. I do not speak spanish but I did find out how to correctly ask for ground turkey but I did not know how ask if not tomorrow then when? I did find some turkey filets at Supermaxi. I will go back to Coral better prepared to ask questions. I need the ground turkey for my dog, I make his food. He gets hot spots from beef and chicken so they are not an option. I can feed him salmon occasionally. Pain in the butt, ironically he is from here, I bought him as an 8 week old pup last January. I brought enough frozen meals with me to last a week which has gone by.
    Sandy

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    1. My son reminded me that it was "ground chicken" that we bought in the Mall Coral. But we both agree if you ask them they will grind up turkey for you. Ask for the manager, they are more willing to help gringos. Also, don't forget to try Supermaxi grocery store.

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    2. Thanks again and I will follow your advise and ask for it. Good practice for learning Spanish.

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