Saturday, August 13, 2022

Going To The Beach

Thin, Sea, Fence, Water, Vacation

We are on vacation, finally celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary (it was this past March) with our kids and grandkids. 
This is the most special vacation ever for us to all to be together. 

We are in a house with 5 bedrooms and 5 baths with our own private beach in Delaware. I live in Pennsylvania, so it is about a 3 hour ride.

It took a lot of prep to pack up to go. 

We needed to bring anything and everything that we would need for daily living. The only things provided in the house are furniture, a kitchen stocked with blender, dishes, knives, etc., and beach chairs. 

Toilet Paper, Hamster Purchases, Panic

I packed and packed and packed
Hand soap, laundry detergent, dish detergent, paper towel, toilet paper, food, my Instant Pot, snacks, sheets and towels if you don't rent from a service, umbrellas, (they only provide beach chairs), and of course all our clothes and toiletries including shampoo, etc.
 We will do a run to the supermarket or Costco too. 

Special Eating Needs
Two of us are gluten-free and one of us is vegan as well (me) which makes the food situation a trifle more challenging. Most likely I'll take over the cooking. I brought my Instant Pot. Yay!!

Breakfast and lunch: 
We plan to eat breakfast and lunch in the house and go out to local seaside restaurants for dinners. With 10 people, including a 3 year old, 6 year old, 11 year old and a 14 year old, eating out isn't so easy. In addition, this is the week that camp ended, so this is a very crowded week at the shore.

What kind of restaurants can I eat at? 
I actually can usually find the best selections for me in an Italian restaurant where I can get gluten free pasta or GF pizza, or in an Asian restaurant where I might order steamed vegetables, rice, and tofu, miso soup or pho, or vegetarian sushi rolls. Indian cuisine works well too, or sometimes I do well in a  Mexican restaurant for black beans, rice, and guacamole- Ethnic restaurants offer the best a vegan and gluten free selections for me.

We are eating in. It will be oatmeal bake with fresh fruit such as peaches or overnight oats (link) with fruit and toppings of walnuts, chia seeds, etc. which requires no cooking and is creamy and delicious. (recipe link) .
The kids eat oatmeal too.

Overnight oats with blackberries

Lunch for me: 
Salad (I made 6 Mason jars of salad at home and brought them, so the salad is ready daily). (Salad in a Mason Jar- Link to how I do it) I also packed steamed red potatoes to add to my salad and brought chickpeas. 

Salad in Mason Jars
I made 6 ready to eat jars. I kept them on ice for the trip down and they will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator. I just have to dump one in a bowl for a ready made salad. 

Lunch for everyone else: 
Sandwiches, pizza, grilled cheese, guacamole and dip, etc.

Happy Hour in the House-  after a day at the beach!
White and red wine, crudités and corn chips with dips such as guacamole, hummus, lebanah and za'atar,  and cherry tomatoes.

Beach, Sand, Sea, Sandy Beach, Vacations

We have dinner reservations in one Italian restaurant, but there are mostly seafood restaurant choices for the other dinners because it's a beach town. I'll manage (I hope) while the nine others will win out for their choice of restaurant and that's fine since there are not a lot of ethnic restaurants to choose from (I'll eat something before I go). 

Beach Body

I've been dieting and getting myself in shape for the beach ! 

Bikini, Swimming, Woman, Swimswuit

OK. just kidding. That's not me - 
We are just settling in so I will post photos of us as the week goes on. 

Organization Idea
A friend suggested that I keep a list of everything that I needed to bring for this vacation including things I should have brought in case we do this again. She said to leave the list inside my suitcase. I thought it sounded like a great idea, so I'm passing the idea on. Of course the techies probably already have it on their phone? 

Bucket, Toys, Sand, Beach, Vacation

Family Photo 
We are taking a beach family photo taken on Thursday! 
The plan is wear white tops and jeans or a white dress. 
It will be a wonderful memory from our 50th anniversary celebration.

I feel so blessed and grateful. Have a good week everyone and I'll be back soon!

Follow Me on Instagram at Judeethefoodie  (link) .. for additional recipes, entertaining ideas, and healthy lifestyle. I'm just getting started on Instagram and want to build followers. Thanks. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Mason Jar Salad Prep- A Real Time Saver

large salad

Are you pressed for time or energy, but still want to eat healthy salads and meals? Finding ways to eat healthier may require finding ways to prep smarter. Mason Jars are the answer for me.

I love eating salads, but I hate the mess and the prep of making them daily. My solution is to make one GIANT salad on Sunday and divide it into mason jars for the next 5 days. 

Mason Jars 

The air-tight mason jars keep the salad fresh for  up to 5 days. This way I only have the mess of washing, cutting, and cleaning up once - but we eat a delicious healthy salad for 5 days. It takes me about 35-45 minutes to prep- wash, cut, pack the jars, and clean up any mess.

Yes, I've posted about this before, but it's worth a reminder!

Salads are a vital part of a healthy diet and helps keep calories down too. It's important to get a mix of vegetables daily - uncooked and cooked. 

Farmer's Market Every Saturday Morning
I visit the local farmer's market each Saturday and stock up on whatever is growing at the organic farm that week. 

Right now I am getting radicchio, romaine and leafy green lettuce, micro-greens, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, scallions, and corn. All of fresh and organic.

Salad, Fruit, Berry, Healthy, Vitamins

My salads are certainly not boring. They are varied, tasty, and colorful and color is the key to getting enough protective antioxidants since each color has its own job to do in the body. 

bowl of salad

I wash everything and then start the cutting and slicing. The salad  gets divided into two large salad bowls and then I toss them and divide them into my mason jars which help keep them air-tight for the next 5 days. - Actually I have even used regular jars that I've washed and saved from other products with lids and it works well too.

Salad, Salad Plant, Lettuce, Vegetarian

Personally, I do not usually add dressing to the jars as it can make the salads soggy. Instead add your salad dressing just before consuming your salad or add the dressing to the bottom of the jar and don't turn over until ready to eat.

Want a full lunch in your jar? 
If you would like your entire lunch in each jar, add a layer of beans such as chickpeas, rice, quinoa, etc in each jar if you want to take it with you for a full lunch. If you want to add the dressing to the jar for a grab and go lunch always add the dressing first, to the bottom of the jar to prevent the dressing from making the entire salad soggy.

Cucumber, Vegetables, Salad, Meal

Apples in Salad? 
I like to add chopped apple to add sweetness, crunchiness, and juiciness. In addition to the produce that I get at the farmer's market, I like to chop up some sweet red apple into my salad which I find is juicy and eliminates the need for me to add a salad dressing.

Apples, Red, Bowl, Still Life, Fruits
You can add other items to your mason jar salad such as: 
Red cabbage, shelled and chopped nuts such as walnuts or pistachios, radishes, raw mushrooms, chickpeas, olives, red pepper, capers, etc. - Just drain any liquid.

Don't like lettuce salads? 
Sometimes I don't even use lettuce in my salad- doesn't matter. Make your salad how ever you enjoy it. 

Free photos of Vegetables

A Real Time Saver for 5 Days of Fresh Salad
I make enough salad for both me and my husband to have a large healthy salad each night.  This is a real time saver and I know there are many nights that I would just be too unmotivated to take all the salad ingredients out of the refrigerator and make a salad.

When the salads are pre-made, we are more likely to eat salad everyday. Remember raw uncooked vegetables provide enzymes and antioxidants that are vital for our health as well as fiber. (Always check with your doctor before making any changes in your diet). AND yes, the salads do stay fresh for a full 5 days!

Use Wide Mouth  Mason Jars 
I buy the wide mouth Mason jars because they are much easier to add the salad to them or I save wide mouth jars with lids from other products that I use as well. Make sure your jars are very clean and dry before you add the salad to keep salad fresh.

Do you prep your salads in advance or make them the day you are going to eat them? 

Follow Me on Instagram at Judeethefoodie  (link) .. for additional recipes, entertaining ideas, and healthy lifestyle. I'm just getting started on Instagram and need to build followers. Thanks. 

My Notes: 
1. Use a salad spinner to help dry lettuce after washing it (thanks Noreen).

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and am not trying to give medical advice- always consult with your doctor about your personal diet needs.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Easy Summer Gazpacho- Chilled, Thick , and Creamy

gazpacho, no oi,

What makes this summer gazpacho thick and creamy? 
In addition to the tomatoes, cucumber, and red peppers, this chilled summer soup contains dehydrated potato flakes which gives the soup a creamy thicker consistency.

Tomato, Cucumber, Food, Vegetables

Food Processor
Gazpacho can be made in a food processor or blender, but I prefer to use the food processor to keep it somewhat chunky. For a smoother consistency, use the blender.

Tomatoes, Vegetables, Cherry Tomato

A refreshing chilled gazpacho hits the spot during this oppressive heat wave! (I'm in love with summer produce). Today the temperature hit almost 100 degrees- so who feels like cooking? Not me!!! 

Cucumber, Slices, Fresh, Food, Healthy

That's the beauty of gazpacho.  It requires no cooking and uses the ripe seasonal vegetables that are flooding the farmer's market stands right now. 

I feel so good and earthy after I browse the farmer's market, select produce for the week, and go home with some of the freshest, richest tasting, wholesome, nutrient packed vegetables grown right here in Bucks County, Pa. 

Tomatoes, Vegetables, Cucumber, Salad

The star ingredient in gazpacho is tomatoes and what better time to get sun-ripe sweet local tomatoes than in August! 

Gazpacho, Cold Soup, Tomato, Tomato Soup

I used cherry tomatoes
You can use any type of farm/home grown tomato that you like, but I decided to use farm grown cherry tomatoes for this gazpacho. Why? 

First of all I had 3 containers of cherry tomatoes that needed to be used/eaten.  Second, I thought that the thinner skin on the cherry tomato would just disappear into the gazpacho and it did. The cherry tomatoes were sweet and less acidic making a simple very tasty gazpacho.

Sour Cream
If you eat dairy (we don't), typically gazpacho is served with some sour cream. There are recipes fovegan sour cream. I found an easy recipe on the blog Cookie and Kate which is a very popular vegetarian blog that I frequent. 

Glass, Cup, Sauce, Sour Cream, Table

Google vegan sour cream and find lots of similar recipes all over the web. Most use cashew nuts as a base for that creamy white look. Vegan sour cream is great for anyone dairy free, vegan, or kosher who needs a parve recipe.

Can gazpacho be made in advance? 
Yes! since it needs a minimum of 8 hours to chill, it is a perfect summer appetizer/starter that you can serve to guests or your family  and make it in advance. Make it in the morning and enjoy it for dinner. Or even make it the day before. Gazpacho keeps for about 4 days covered in the refrigerator. Remember to stir before serving.

Talk about adding more vegetables to your diet- Gazpacho is a winner.

Author: Judee Algazi
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: none
Serves: 2
Double the recipe to serve 4

1 pint size container of farm grown sweet cherry tomatoes, washed
1/2 large English cucumber, chopped
1/4 of a red onion, chopped
1 clove of fresh garlic, sliced in half
1/2 large red pepper or 5 colorful mini peppers, seeded and sliced
1/4 cup of potato flakes
1/2 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)
Optional: fresh oregano, basil, hot pepper, or thyme (I did not use any)

Place the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and red peppers in the bowl of the food processor (or blender). Process until consistency is on the smooth side. Add potato flakes and any seasoning of choice (I only added salt). Divide between two 6 ounce cocktail glasses. Chill for at least 8 hours and serve. Garnish with chopped vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, or a little nut milk if desires.

gazpacho, no oil, tomato

My Notes

1. If you make this gazpacho with store bought tomatoes, it may not have the right flavor. The best flavor is from ripe and locally grown farm or homegrown produce.

2. If your produce is not as tasty, you might want to add a little vinegar or lemon juice to enhance the flavors. 

3. I did not blanch the tomatoes to remove the skin. I found the skin on the cherry tomato very thin and totally disappeared in the gazpacho and I think the skin would disappear using any tomato. Let me know if you try it.

4. I must confess that sometimes I can't wait 8 hours to eat my gazpacho. I have chilled it for as little as 4 hours. It wasn't as refreshing, but the flavor was there and I enjoyed it just the same.

5. If you do not have potato flakes (which are sold in most supermarkets)- simply leave it out. I've made it both ways and it is still very good. I buy this one- it say instant mashed potatoes from Whole Foods.

    365 by Whole Foods Market, Potatoes Instant Mashed Original, 8 Ounce