Humintas al Horno, to celebrate Bolivian week

Having a bicultural family involves a lot of passing part of each culture.  One of my favorite ways to live my Bolivian Culture is through my food.  My children have lived a bit of Bolivian life through my cooking.

This week Bolivia is celebrating 189 years of Freedom.  And of course I am celebrating it at home with History, a bit of music and Bolivian Food.

Today I made Humintas al Horno.  Humintas are sort of tamales.  They are made out of corn and cheese.  When they are wrapped in corn husks and boiled, they are called Humintas a la olla (Humintas in a pot).  And when they are baked, they are called Humintas al Horno (Baked Humintas).

It took me a while to learn how to make Humintas al Horno with the  American Corn because of its characteristics. American corn is sweeter, smaller and a bit more tender than the Bolivian Corn.  Both are delicious!  Here is a picture, so you can see a First sight difference.

cornAnd here one of my favorite Gluten Free recipes.


  • Kernels of 12 ears of corn,  I usually use frozen corn that I preserved during Summer.  For a full 9×9 pan a quart bag of frozen corn is good.IMG_3872
  • 1 Cup of Sugar.  If  you are using the American corn I reduce to 3/4 cups of Sugar.
  • 3 Tbsp of melted Butter
  • 1/2 cup of warm Anise tea.
  • 1 Tsp of Salt
  • 1/2 cup of Corn Starch.
  • 3 tsp of Baking powder separated. (2 for the mix, one for the egg whites)
  • 4 Yolks (3 for the mix) One for shinning the top.
  • 4 Egg whites beaten.
  • 2 cups of Shredded cheese, I prefer Mexican Farm Cheese, Mozzarella or Muinster.


I like my corn almost mashed, so I pass the defrost kernels through my Kitchen Aid Food Processor. You IMG_3877can use a blender if you want them a bit mashed.
To the mashed corn add the Sugar, the melted butter, the warm anise tea and mix well.  Add Corn Starch, salt, 2 tsp of Baking Powder and 3 bitten yolks.  Mix well.

In a separate bowl beat the egg whites and 1 tsp of baking powder. Until is foamy.  Add the whites to the mix slowly. To this add 1 cup of shredded cheese and mix.

Pour the mix into a 9″ x 9″  baking pan previously greased and floured.  I usually use corn flour to keep the recipe 100% Gluten Free.


With a brush spread the beaten yolk.  It will make your huminta look prettier.

Bake it in a 400 F oven for 45 minutes, covered with Aluminium Foil. Then take the cover of the pan and bake it for 15 more minutes or until is firm and golden.


You can have it for lunch or supper, with a salad or soup.  Or for Breakfast, accompanied with Hot Coffee is so good! Kind of hits the spot.

In any case, Buen Provecho!




Una buena Embajadora de la Quinua ante el mundo, Ana Chipana

Royal Quinoa Ambassador

2013 fue el Año Internacional de la Quinua.  He tenido el gusto de entrevistar a la Boliviana residente en los Estados Unidos Ana Chipana, invitada del Gobierno de Bolivia a participar del lanzamiento oficial del “Año Internacional de la Quinua 2013″ realizado en las Naciones Unidas en New York   Cecy: Ana, antes que nada muchas gracias…
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Villancicos, music to teach my culture

Navidad en Bolivia

Villancicos are the Christmas Carols for Spanish speaking countries.  When I lived in Bolivia, they sounded to me repetitive and almost tiresome. The reason why they sounded like that is because they are meant to be played with native instruments and to the rhythm of native music.  When you hear something over and over for a month,…
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Anticuchos from the Heart

These ABC’s has gotten me going not just with Spanish lessons but also with Bolivian cooking.  I got up this morning with the thought of Bolivian dishes that start with A. Suddenly the word “Anticucho” popped in my head (and my stomach).  I wished so badly I could go to the Anticuchera to satisfy my antojo.  I could see the flames cooking the antichos. Yumm, almost smell them,  and have them fresh served with potatoes and peanut sauce.

Looks yummy doesn’t it?

Living in the country has its pros, but it is hard to get ahold of your antojos.   I called my farmer neighbor to buy some cow’s heart, and she did not have any for sale. She uses it for her dog’s food, I could not believe it!.    The other Organic farm that usually provides me of this unusual beef cut is at least 35 miles away.

What to do if my antojo is growing by the minute?.  Use chicken instead!.

I do not have chicken’s hearts, besides, probably I would have to sacrifice all my hens to fill one skew, and we are a family of 8!.  I thought chicken breast would do. And guess what, it worked!

Just if you ever want to do this extra delicious Andean dish, you will need.

  • 2 pounds of fresh beef heart, thinly sliced and cut into squares (2″ squares) or chicken breast thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red vinegar (red wine vinegar is better)
  • 1/2 Ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • Parley
  • Cilantro
  • Aji Amarillo
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 10 -12   boiled potatoes, peeled


Place the pieces of heart in a deep glass bowl

Blend the vinegar, garlic, aji Amarillo (or dried chile), and all other ingredients  with 1/2 of the oil until you have a soft paste.

Cover the meat with the marinate and let sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Save the rest of the marinade in a cup adding the rest of the oil, for basting the anticuchos and potatoes on the grill.

Skew the meat in the wet wooden skewers.  When the coals are ready and the grill is hot  place the anticuchos flat on the grill . Baste them generously with the leftover marinade.

The flames produced by the oil will make the anticucho even yummier.

When the meat is almost ready place the boiled pealed potatoes on the grill and baste them also with the mix, grilled them until they look yummier, they looked grilled and are browned.

Serve the skewers in each plate accompanied by the potato.  You can also cut the potatoes in half (across not length wise) and stick a piece at the end of each skewer.  In Peru they serve this plate with grilled corn also.

Serve hot, right out of the grill.

I like to accompany mine with peanut sauce and a salad.  My husband loves colors in the food so ensaladas are just perfect for us.

Here a picture of my Anticuchos!!


Facts that I did not know about this yummy food.-

  • According to the text file from the National Library in Lima (Peru), it is believed that the term comes from the quechua antikuchu (anti: ‘Andes’ + kuchu: ‘court’ or uchu: ‘porridge, mix’)..
  • Anticuchos can be found on street-carts and are sold by anticucheras in Peru, Chile and Bolivia.
  • A similar dish, shish-kebab is found in Mediterranean cuisine.
  • Anticuchos can be traced as far back as the 16th century,
  • The Conquistadores, added garlic to the recipe. Also, they started to use beef instead of Llama.

Bolivia in a Child’s eyes

What makes me smile is people that have visited Bolivia and loved it. Some loved it so much that decided to live there. Others loved it and still remember it today. Others, like my husband, loved it so much that he married a Bolivianita.

My son takes so much pride in being a Bolivian!  Last week he had a presentation in his Geography class and he chose to talk about Bolivia. We baked some Bolivian goodies for the class to try. He did not miss the opportunity to talk about his time down there. He talked about the altitude, talked about the flag, talked about the cities, the currency and the people. Somehow children’s eyes see life with a different perspective. They do not see the inconveniences presented, instead they see opportunities.

A clear example of what I say was written beautifully by Mary Anne from Mamasmiles.com. She experience life in Bolivia as a child. When I read her post, it brought joy to my soul, because I could see my country through kid’s artistic eyes.

I lived in La Paz, Bolivia with my family from the summer of 1992 to the summer of 1994. We arrived when I was 12, and left the day after my 14th birthday. The 9,840-13,450 ft elevation of this city (depending where you are; our home was a little over 12,000 ft above sea level) makes for very few trees and bleak mountains that reminded my family of photographs of the moon.
My mother brought a bunch of Sculpey Polymer Clay with us, and my 7-8-year-old sister R and I spent hours trying to capture images of the local Aymara and Quechua people, who we greatly admired. I found these pieces at my grandma’s house in Utah last week, and thought it would be fun to share them here. They are quite tiny – that’s my grandmother’s carpet they are sitting on!
Two Bolivians watch over their alpacas
To read more …..

Next time I visit my country I will do what Mary Anne’s mommy did. I will bring some clay and see what their perception of my country is. I think it is a wonderful way to keep memories alive!



Play with your children while practicing your Spanish verbs – Lobo lobito ¿Qué estas haciendo?

Everybody has heard the story of the bad wolf and the three little pigs. There is a children playground game in Bolivia called, Lobo, lobito ¿qué estás haciendo? (Wolf, little wolf what are you doing?). The story narrates the dialogue of a sleepy wolf and roaming sheep.

I played it  when I was a little girl, I play it with my kids today. It is amazing how their action verbs start coming out when it is time for playing. The best of all is that they do not even know that they are learning.

The lyrics are in a dialogue between a wolf (lobo) and the roaming sheep:

Lobo, lobito ¿Qué estás haciendo? 
Children around the wolf chant chant:
Hay qué lindo es pasear por aquí  (Oh how wonderful is strolling over here)
Cuando el lobo está durmiendo,  (while the wolf is still sleeping)
¿Lobo, lobito qué estás haciendo?  (wolf, little wolf what are you doing?)
Lobito in the middle answers
Poniéndome mis zapatos.  (I am putting my shoes on)
Children continue singing
Ay qué lindo es pasear por aquí
Cuando el lobo está durmiendo,
¿Lobo, lobo qué estás haciendo?
Estoy poniéndome mi camisa.  (I am putting my shirt on)
Ay qué lindo es pasear por aquí
Cuando el lobo está durmiendo,
¿Lobo, lobo qué estás haciendo?
Estoy afilando mi cuchillito.  (I am sharpening my knife)
¿Para qué? (For what?)
Para matar a mis ovejitas (To kill my sheep)
¿Quiénes son tus ovejitas? (Who are  your sheep?)
¡Ustedes! (You!!)

Once the wolf has said ustedes, all the children escape from the wolf and the wolf needs to tag one child, the one who will be the next wolf.

Changes I did to the game.

I keep adding action verbs for the wolf to do, like I am brushing my teeth (me estoy cepillando los dientes), or I am tying my shoe (me amarro los zapatos), and instead of sharpening the knife I just say I am getting the keys to go out (estoy buscando mis llaves para salir) and then I say I am opening the door and I can see you! (Estoy abriendo la puerta y puedo verte!). By then, my kids are so nervous than they just run from me,

The best of all is that this game can be used to practice action verbs in different languages!

Try this: After you play the game, ask your kid, ¿Qué estás haciendo? And I am sure he will know what you mean. My little daughter comes to me and tells me, “¿mamalita, qué estás haciendo? as part of our routine now. And sometimes she likes to pick on me and says. “¿Abuelita que estás haciendo?