Thursday, June 24, 2021

My Cell Phone For Dinner


                    Cream, Cheese, Tomato, Souse, Chips
Wy did I need my cell phone for dinner? 
This is the story of why a cell phone is certainly not a luxury and essential to function in today's world.

The other night I went out for a simple Mexican dinner with a friend. We selected a restaurant in an artsy historic tourist district of Lambertville, New Jersey (link). After driving though the beautiful scenic bucolic area of Bucks County for 1/2 hour, we reached our final destination. 

I parked the car on the street near the restaurant and immediately noticed that it required that I download an "app" to pay for parking (I know that in the cities this is protocol, but I live in the suburbs/country and have never been required to use an app to park my car). 


Parking Meter, Parking, Meter, TrafficParking Meter, Parking, Auto, Blue



My problem: 
I need a new phone and despite trying to charge it in the car, my phone was dead and I could not down load the parking app. Feeling totally frustrated, I finally realized that the meter would also accept coins. Yay!
 
But then a quick Boo!! The meter required $1.25/hr in coin, and I only had bills.

Dollar, Bank Note, Banknote, Currency

Coins, Money, Change, Finance, Monedas
 
I ran to the restaurant (a block away) where I had a reservation and since they had no parking lot, I begged them to change a $5 bill to coins. Well it turns out they had no change either. Luckily a patron was able to give me $3 worth of dimes, nickel, and quarters. 

As I noisily jingled back to the meter to spend 5 additional minutes feeding the meter the dimes, nickels and quarters, I wondered if anyone else has ever had this happen? 

Cartoon, Smiley, Questions, Puzzle

Once the hungry meter was happy, I did an about face and hurried back to the restaurant for our 6 PM reservation. 

As we settled in the seats,  I noticed a scan card on the table in lieu of a menu. Apologetically, I explained to the wait person that my phone battery had died and that I would need a regular menu. 

Sorry- no such item available- only scan menus!!!!

WHAT?? Have I been living in the dark ages? 
My battery is dead (I almost sobbed) because at this point I was really frustrated and hungry. What can I do? 

Cell Phone, Mobile, Phone, Technology
The young girl looked at me in disbelief and gave me her cell phone- (do you think I knew how to use her phone???) Sheepishly, I asked for her help so she took her phone and walked away saying she would get the manager to see what he could do. Surprisingly, the manager never showed up, but another wait person did. 

You may be wondering about my friend. Well yes her cell phone worked but was very small and we did scan for the menu but had to enlarge the print so much that only a small section took up the entire phone. 

Finally, I just explained to the new wait person (who was also young and very surprised about our lack of tech skills) that I wanted a gluten free vegan meal. 

She suggested a vegan enchilada platter (forgot to take a picture) that came with, rice and black beans. I took it!! 
And it was outstanding. 

City, Street Cafe, Gastronomy

I really enjoyed the meal, the outside dining, and the beautiful atmosphere once we settled the order, but I was not prepared to need to depend on my phone to park the car and see the menu. My iPhone is old and outdated and small. I only use it for texts and calls.  

I realize now that when I update my phone (very soon), it's going to have to be a larger size, so I can attempt to deal with all the new required technology just to eat out, shop in the markets such as Whole Foods to get their "app" to be entitled to discounts. I've been kicking my feet, but I can do it!

Here is a link to one of my favorite Mexican recipes- 

homemade mango salsa in a glass bowl

Is anyone else feeling overwhelmed, outdated, or reluctant to join this new high tech age? 




Saturday, June 12, 2021

Easy Pasta Salad -Healthy, Vegan and Gluten Free


Easy Vegan Pasta Salad


Eating pasta just got healthier so it's pasta salad time in our house! 

Mixed with any kind of vegetable, the new high protein pastas, which are on all the supermarket shelves, are a great base for a quick and easy healthy meal, and you can be as creative as you like with the variety of vegetables that you add to the salad.

Many of these new pastas, available in most supermarkets, are frequently now made from beans, lentils, or quinoa providing a high level of protein and fiber, which boost the nutritive value of eating these varieties of pasta. And they taste light and really good too.

If you have fresh or frozen peas and a box of pasta (gluten free), you have the makings of a quick and easy pasta salad (or add some marinara sauce for a simple dinner entree).

It's been really hot are here, and I'm not sure if it's still spring or is it summer. However, when it's 93 and humid it certainly feels like summer. During this kind of weather, I like  my meals to be light and easy to prepare. 

I make pasta salad in a variety of ways using a variety of vegetables. (I always use gluten-free whole grain pasta)

It doesn't get much easier than boiling a little pasta (I use a high protein gluten free brand) and tossing it with some simple chopped vegetables such as fresh or frozen peas, some sliced olives, a little fresh basil, and some chopped cherry tomatoes as in the photo above.

Pasta, Rotini, Raw, Uncooked

.Eat, Food, Delicious, Fresh, Healthy
 
Ingredients: 
Whole Grain pasta- cooked and drained
Vegetables- cooked, raw, or canned
Fresh herbs- such as fresh basil 

Directions: 
Toss vegetables and herbs of choice with cooked and drained pasta

Use Whichever Vegetables You Have 
Actually, you could use whatever vegetables you have on hand or leftover. Sometimes I use green beans, red pepper strips, artichoke hearts, sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, olives, etc which makes a really hearty meal.

Pasta, Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian, Healthy

Keep It Simple
Sometimes I just add some greens such as chopped fresh spinach

Rotini Pasta, Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes

There are many new varieties of pasta that are made from lentils, beans, and or quinoa that provide a substantial amount of protein without sacrificing good taste and most are gluten-free as well.

Prefer It With Marinara Sauce? 
Pasta is so versatile. It can be consumed as a hot dinner or a cold salad. This beautiful pasta and pea salad is colorful, light, and quick to make. If you prefer a hot pasta dish, just add some chunky marinara sauce and heat. 

pasta and sauce

My Health and Diet Notes: 
1.  Use any kind of dressing you like. Personally, I'm on an oil-free diet and have been looking for oil-free pasta sauces- which surprisingly there are a lot. I find a 365 brand at Whole Foods and a marinara sauce at Aldis. 

2. I ate the cold salad without a dressing, but you could do Italian dressing or oil, lemon, and Italian seasoning. - I'm still working on an oil-free dressing for me. 

3. I am following The Starch Solution Diet  by Dr. Jon McDougall called The Starch Solution which extols the benefits of eating starchy vegetables such sweet potatoes and white potatoes and starchy whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, etc. 


I also read  How Not to Die  by Dr. Greger who has a free website at Nutritionfacts.org with a wealth of information and a video library about healthy eating for heart health and weight loss and health in general. He has videos on Youtube and he also has a book called, How Not to Diet. I like his nutrition suggestions on his video , The Daily Dozen.


Sharing on Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, salad, or sammie recipe. 

Also sharing on Weekend Cooking at The Intrepid Reader and Baker where anyone can share a food related post. 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Peek at My Week -





















Remember when you were in elementary school and you had to write a book report?  I feel like I'm still doing it when I write these posts about what I'm reading. 


                  The Great Alone by Kristan Hannah. 

I really enjoy this author, Kristin Hannah, and have read many of her other novels including her #1 NY Times Bestseller, The Nightingale. If you haven't read The Nightingale, I highly recommend it. 

The Great Alone takes place in the 1970's in beautiful uncharted wilderness of Alaska. The author's stunning descriptions and brilliant metaphors bring this majestic setting alive.  

The story: After returning from the Vietnam war, Ernt Allbright is a changed and more violent man. Unable to easily fit back into society and unable to keep a job, Ernt moves his family to Alaska to live in a remote area and live off the land. It is a survival story of a family in crisis and the difficulties which highlight the extremes of experiencing challenging and sometimes difficult Alaska living. We are introduced to their community who are strong group of survivalists both men and women. It is an exciting and heart wrenching story of human nature. A good read. 

What I'm Watching on Prime: 
2 documentaries- I liked them both- very interesting and informative

Shalom Bollywood - This is about the film industry in India and why so many stars came from the Indian Jewish community. I wasn't aware of the large Jewish community in India. " The unlikely story of the 2000- year-old Indian Jewish community and its formative place in shaping the world's  .".






In My Mother's Garden-
A selected group of women of color are interviewed to talk about their lives and their relationships with their mothers and grandmothers and how it impacted their lives. These interesting women share about the wisdom passed down to them regarding love, spirituality, sexism, family, food, and racism. 





I also just started a new series on Netflix called, " BlackSpace". It's an exciting detective series that will keep you on the edge of your seat . A murder takes place in a local high school in front of the entire assembly of 12th graders. Four students are shot- Were these four students targeted or were they shot randomly??  Could be your next series to watch!! It takes place in Israel and my version was dubbed.





I also recently saw the Vincent Van Gogh exhibit( link to my post about it) which was FABULOUS.. This exhibit is traveling all over the US and the world. I saw it in Miami, friends saw it in Toronto, in Israel, etc. 
Landscape, Scene, Scenic, Nature





What I'm cooking: Instant Pot Potato Salad

This is a mayo free French type potato salad made with lemon and oil ( recently I have begun to make it oil-free too) 
potato salad


trailer for Black Space 

men from across the globe unlock stories of their mothers to redefine holistic lives rooted 


Saturday, June 5, 2021

My 2nd Best Hummus Recipe Is Oil-Free





Are you looking for the best, yet easy, homemade lower fat hummus recipe? Well there is a reason I call this my second best (which is great).
Homemade hummus is so easy to make and most people like it.

The weather has been warm enough to invite family and/or friends to our deck for some casual outdoor dining. Homemade hummus is usually one of the appetizers that I like to serve to give guests when they get here to give them a chance to mingle and take the edge off their appetite before the meal. 

My new updated hummus recipe is light and creamy, absolutely delicious, and is always a hit!

table and chairs on a gray deck
My deck and chairs and table


peonies
My peonies are in full bloom 

Influenced by recipes from our Middle Eastern heritage, I am happy to share what I consider my 2nd best homemade hummus recipe because it is made without tahini or olive oil and is not strictly traditional like my Best Homemade hummus (recipe link).

I still like the hummus recipes that I've  previously shared with you on the blog. However, I'm always modifying my chickpea hummus recipe, so it is easier to make, uses less ingredients, and contains less oil and fat making this recipe heart healthy, weight watchers friendly, and oil-free. Of course all of my recipes are always gluten-free and now totally vegan since 2019. 

oil-free hummus with tomatoes


One easy way to reduce the calories is to reduce the fat. I did that in this recipe without sacrificing taste. I had 5 test tasters for this recipe and all concurred that is was a "5" out of 5!! (Included my 2 older grandkids)

This recipe calls for only five ingredients: 
Cooked chickpeas, whole sesame seeds, aquafaba (the starchy liquid that is a result of cooking dry chickpea or the liquid in the can of chickpeas) freshly squeezed lemon juice, and whole cumin seeds (plus any seasoning you like such as salt, pepper, or garlic powder). 

Sesame, Sesame Seeds, Seeds, Bowl


I Use Sesame Seeds Instead of Tahini Paste
You may have noticed that this delicious recipe omits one of the  traditional ingredients in hummus- tahini !
I do like the taste of the thick white tahini paste, but did you ever open a container of it? It's swimming in oil. 
For this recipe, I've eliminated  the intensely caloric tahini from my recipe. However, I brought the sesame flavor back in with some whole sesame seeds. 

Great Flavor 
Truthfully, I was surprised that I could leave out the tahini and still create a great  authentic tasting hummus that was simple and healthy.

I used my food processor and processed everything until I reached a very light, smooth, and creamy whipped consistency.

The aquafaba (cooking liquid from the chickpeas)  is the secret. It really adds a lovely flavor and a little extra starch to the recipe.

At the end, I always love to garnish the dip with some whole cooked chickpeas and a little salt. 

If you are looking for a healthy dip to serve to company or as a snack for yourself- THIS IS IT!!

It feels like summer!!


Beach, Coffee, Tables, Restaurant

Ingredients: 
2 cups of cooked chickpeas (or one 15 ounce can)
(save 6 chickpeas for garnish) 
2 tablespoons of whole sesame seeds
1/4 cup of cooking liquid from the chickpeas or can (aquafaba)
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds (plus more for garnish)
Optional: salt, ground pepper, or garlic powder to taste


Directions: 
Place the sesame seeds and chickpeas in the food processor. Pulse until begins to come together. With the motor running, slowly begin to add the lemon juice. Then add as much of the aquafaba as needed to get a thick yet creamy whipped consistency. (you may only need a tablespoon of the 1/4 cup). Add the cumin seeds and pulse once. 
Spread on a flat plat, decorate with a few chickpeas and additional cumin seeds if desired. 

Again, if you are looking for my absolutely best traditional hummus recipe follow the (recipe link for hummus)

My Notes: 

Tahini contains
 90 calories/tablespoon. 8 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber 

Sesame seeds contain
 52 calories/tablespoon, 1.6 grams of fat and 1.06 grams of fiber 


My friend Laura spills off all the oil from her tahini paste to reduce the calories leaving thick dry paste.

This recipe is oil-free, gluten-free, vegan, kosher, -perfect for most of your guests. 




Saturday, May 29, 2021

My Favorite Homemade Salad Dressing-Vegan, oil-free, gluten-free

Food, Dressing, Salad

I'm loving my new favorite salad dressing. I haven't given it a name yet, but it's really tasty, sweet and tangy, and quick and easy to make.

It's amazing how you can make a flavorful delicious salad dressing without using oil- which really cuts back on the calories (if that's a concern). 

Sauces, Sauce, Mustard, Mayonnaise

I used three ingredients: Dijon mustard, minced white or red minced onions, and a Hoisin Sauce (I used a gluten-free brand). 

The Dijon mustard is tangy, the Hoisin sauce is sweet, and the minced onions are pungent. Together the three create a delicious tasting dressing for salads or vegetables.

 It is simple and easy to make and the low calories and low fat.

Hand, Kitchen Equipment, Whisk, Cooking
I use a small bowl or ramekin, a mini whisk, and make it fresh each time I need salad dressing. However, I have also made a larger quantity and added it to a little Salad dressing bottle. When I make a larger quantity, I can use a blender and add 1/2 teaspoon of water.

Food, Dressing, Salad
Just for the record
Dijon mustard has zero calories and Hoisin sauce has 25 calories per tablespoon as opposed to olive oil which has 120 calories per tablespoon and most people use two tablespoons- at least. Oil really packs on the calories- so I try to be creative and find salad dressings that are oil-free and thus low calories and fat.  Onions pack some healthy antioxidants and are low in calories as well.

For those who are not concerned about calories but still are looking for something that tastes good, this simple but delicious salad dressing won't disappoint. 

Since I make it fresh each time I want to eat it, this recipe only serves one. 

Salad, Lettuce, Mixed Salad, Beetroot

However, you can increase the recipe to serve multiple people-directions at the end of the post for a larger quantity of dressing.  

Ingredients: 
2 tablespoons of Hoisin Sauce (check for a gluten-free variety)
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard 
1 tablespoon of minced white or red onion

Directions: 
Whisk ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle over salad

For multiple people: 
3/4  cup of Hoisin sauce 
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard (or to taste)
2 tablespoons of minced red or white onion
1 teaspoon of water 
Whisk and add to a pourable bottle or for this larger quantity- or blend in the blender. 

Health and Nutrition Notes:
 
1. My mission on this blog is to encourage/inspire healthier eating by providing suggestions and recipes.  

2. See my time saving (link) tips for prepping salads to save you time and energy if you want to eat a fresh salad everyday.

3. If you doctor agrees, eat at least 9 servings of plant-based foods a day- such as salads, vegetables, whole grains, beans or lentils. Plant-based foods are where you get the greatest amount of fiber to help keep your bowels cleansing regularly from daily ingested toxins, antioxidants to help protect against degenerative diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and nutrients to nourish the cells. (Did you know that meat, chicken, and fish, contain NO fiber and little or no antioxidants? )

**Studies indicate that antioxidants (which are found in plant-based foods) help protect our bodies against the deleterious effects of free radicals. 

Quotes about antioxidants(which defend) and free radicals (which attack)-

1. "Antioxidants are substances that play a role in preventing or at least delaying the effects of cell damage."  

2. "While a young body can produce enough antioxidants to quench free radicals, as the body ages its antioxidant defenses eventually cannot keep up with the constant generation of free radicals."  

3. "Free radicals cause oxidative stress by triggering various types of cell damage that influence cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. "

4.  "Antioxidants, commonly found in fruits and vegetables, can improve health."

4. I like to watch inspiring Youtube Videos that support and give great suggestions for a healthy plant-based lifestyle to increase my consumption of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables and bring my body to a healthy weight naturally. One of my favorite videos are Plantiful-Kiki who is a joy to watch. She has lost and maintained a 70 pound weight loss and totally eliminated her high cholesterol and high triglycerides, pre-diabetes, obesity, hormonal problems and a host of other conditions. She shares suggestions, ideas, and recipes on her Youtube channel. Watch her to the end for the best ideas. 


This post is shared on Weekend Cooking at the Intrepid Reader and Baker  where anyone can share a food related post.

This post is also shared on Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, sammie, or salad recipe.



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