Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quick Gluten Free Lunch Ideas

Do you need some quick gluten free ideas for lunch?

Sometimes I find myself just roaming around the kitchen, rummaging through the pantry, desperately trying to figure out what to eat for lunch. I  am usually hungry, so without a plan, I  devour something  high in carbs and much more caloric than I really want to eat, which leaves me feeling regretful and guilty.

So, I have decided to record some of my quick healthy lunches

Monday is Wrap Day:   
Warm up a wrap ( Trader Joe's Brown Rice wrap)
Fill with egg salad and tomato
Fill with almond butter and raisins
Fill with Greek salad
Fill with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato and fresh chopped basil
Fill with mashed black beans and tomato
Open a can of organic beans, drain and pour into a wide mouthed bowl. Mash slightly, add salt , pepper and cumin to taste. Slice tomatoes. Warm a gluten free tortilla wrap. Assemble all ingredients in the wrap. Garnish with 2 TBSP each chopped fresh basil, cilantro, and parsley.  Eat half and save half for tomorrow.

Tuesday : Cottage Cheese Day
Chopped tomatoes, red onion, scallions, and a scoop of cottage cheese drizzled olive oil and cumin.
On a lunch size plate, put a scoop of cottage cheese in the middle. Quarter tomatoes, slice red onion, slice scallions and chop yellow peppers. Arrange vegetables around the cottage cheese. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and cumin.( If you don't like cumin, substitute paprika)

Wednesday:  Homemade Humus and Crackers
 Homemade chickpea humus, celery sticks, gluten free crackers tomato chunks, and cucumber slices
1 small can chick peas, drained
Juice of 1 lemon
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP fresh parsley
2 TBSP fresh cilantro
1 clove raw garlic ( optional)
1tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Use the  food processor with the metal blade. Pulse cilantro,  parsley and optional garlic first,and then add all other ingredients until well blended. Eat with gluten free crackers or tomato, cucumber slices, celery sticks and carrots.

Thursday:  Quick Basmati Rice and Beans..
Microwave a 3 minute packet of Trader Joe's basmati rice and set aside.  Saute garlic, onions, carrots, and red pepper in olive oil in a skillet. Open a can of black beans, drain and add to the saute and season to taste with cumin, salt and pepper. Mix beans well and  serve with the cooked basmati rice.

Friday:   1-2-3- tomato soup with add ins
This is really fast and simple. Open a jar of tomato or V-8 juice, pour two cups into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour hot juice into a bowl ( It tastes like tomato soup)  Add 1/4 cup of cooked brown rice,sliced scallions, cilantro, and peanuts for a hearty, healthy quick soup.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Middle Eastern Tomato Shakshookah

Are you looking for a really flavorful and healthy breakfast or brunch idea? Shakshookah is a favorite Middle Eastern recipe that makes a perfect gluten- free meal that can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, lunch or even dinner. 

My husband's family ate this breakfast growing up in Cairo, Egypt and brought their recipe with them when they came to the United States over fifty years ago. 

Although my husband doesn't really cook much, he does have a repertoire of about four recipes that his mother made, and this colorful tomato shakshookah is one of them.

He also makes wonderful plant-based dishes such as  Middle Eastern lemonade, Ful Medemas bean dish, and a lentil and rice dish called majeedera that we all love.

His Shakshooka an ideal recipe during the summer when local vegetables are plentiful and you are wondering what can you do with those tomatoes, onions and green peppers. Shakshookah could be the perfect recipe!

This flavorful breakfast idea is fast, easy, healthy and you don't have to even turn on your oven. You can serve it with a nice slice of polenta  or eat it with a baked potato for a heartier meal. It won't disappoint! Look at the end of the recipe for my favorite hack to speed up this recipe!

Author : Judee Algazi
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook and Sautee Time: 10-12 minutes
Serves: 2 generous portions

Olive oil 
1 med onion, diced
3 large summer tomatoes, peeled and diced in chunks or sliced
1 green or red bell pepper, diced in chunks or sliced
1/2 cup of thinly sliced zucchini (optional)
1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
Fresh basil or cilantro, chopped as a garnish
4 eggs

Sautee onion in olive oil in a large skillet on medium until translucent. Add tomatoes, red pepper, and optional vegetables and continue to cook on high for 2 minutes and then turn down to medium. Cook until vegetables are soft about 6-8 minutes. Turn flame to low and crack one egg at time over the vegetables giving space for each one. Cover the skillet and cook until eggs are the way you like them. Add salt and pepper.
Remove from skillet by portion and garnish with fresh basil..

Step by Step (see my shortcut method/hack at end of post)

Chop Vegetables

Sautee vegetables in olive oil in skillet until tender

Crack eggs one at a time over cooking vegetables

Cover and allow eggs to cook until eggs are desired consistency ( soft or hard cooked)

Remove from heat and place on serving dish

Decorate with fresh chopped basil, cilantro, cucumbers or whatever you choose

My Shortcut for making Shakshookah!
Don't have all these vegetables or time to chop veggies? Here is my favorite hack for making this delicious dish in half the time! Shakshooka shortcut link

Have you ever tasted Shakshookah? What's your favorite Middle Eastern Recipe?

Shared on : 
The Intrepid Reader Weekend Cooking

and originally shared on 
Katherine Martinelli's Breakfast

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's Too Hot To Cook! Think Wraps

Yogurt is a great food for cooling off and building the good bacteria in the stomach, thus building the immune system. Although I eat it in the winter as well, it is a perfect summer dish. This has been one of the hottest summers I can remember. Everyday for the past three weeks the temperatues have been in the high 90's. When it hit 96 again today, I decided I am not cooking. Instead, I prepared a tasty gluten free wrap made with Trader Joe's Brown Rice Wrap, Tziziki ( recipe below), sliced farm fresh Jersey tomatoes, shaved romao cheese, and fresh basil and mint. It was so good, I could have eaten two of them, but I didn't. In this hot weather, it was a easy choice for lunch or dinner with a salad.

It makes a great, tasty quick lunch or snack!

I know of two companies that sell gluten free wraps:
Food for Life ( sold frozen in Whole Foods and health food stores) and Trader Joe's ( their tortillas are found on the shelves). They both make brown rice gluten free tortillas which can hold your favorite fillings.

My wrap in progress

gluten free wrap with tomato and yogurt
This is not mayo! It is Tzatziki ( garlic, mint, and cucumber with Greek yogurt; ), farm fresh tomatoes, shaved cheese, and fresh basil and mint

Recipe for Tzatziki
1 cup or 1 small container of yogurt cheese ( 0% fat)
1 large kirby cucumber, diced small
1 clove fresh garlic, diced small ( or garlic powder )
1 TBSP olive oil
1/8 cup fresh dill, chopped (optional)
1 tsp dried mint
sea salt to taste
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate for about one hour before serving . This makes a great dip or spread for tortillas.

Ingredients for wrap:
1/2 cup homemade or store bought Tzatziki
1 large summer tomato, sliced thick
1/4 cup aged Romano cheese, shaved
4 large fresh basil leaves
1 slice of red onion (optional) 

Directions to Assemble Wrap: 
One brown rice tortilla wrap, warmed
Spread with Tzatziki
Arrange tomatoes over Tzatziki 
Sprinkle shaved Romano cheese over tomatoes
Spread fresh basil leaves over tomatoes ( not shown)
Add sliced red onion if desired.

Rolled gluten free wrap

I then rolled the tortilla and was ready to eat. Actually, the wrap could be cut in half ; it is very filling.

Remember to warm the wraps for a minute to soften before filling

Each plain wrap has 130 calories, 2 gms of fiber, and 2.5 gms fat. Ingredients: brown rice flour, filtered water, tapioca flour, safflower oil, rice bran , vegetable gum ( xanthan, cellulose) and sea salt.

In addition,
Trader Joe's also makes some spreads that could be used for wraps as well:
I like them all, but really love the eggplant garlic spread. Use any of them for a base spread for your wraps. They are fairly low in calories about 15-30 calories for a Tablespoon.

Disclaimer: The spreads are not certified gluten free, but do not have any ingredients in them that seem to contain gluten. Read the ingredients and use them at your own risk..I am not endorsing these products, nor do I receive any money from these companies. I am just sharing products I have tried and liked. Trader Joe's is great because the products are all natural

Please leave your comments! Let's get a discussion going on Wraps! What is your favorite gluten free filling?

ok ! I thought of a breakfast wrap... vegetable omelette in a wrap!

Shared on Flu Fighting Foods

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Safety tips for using cell phones

OK I couldn't help posting this information, although it has nothing to do with gluten free eating.
It is an article that I read about how to take precautions with cell phone use to reduce exposure to EMFs .. Click on the word  null below if you are interested. It will take you to another site ..

EMF exposure from cell phones is something that concerns me.

Does anyone have any good suggestions for a low EMF Sprint phone that works well?? Post it in comments at the end of this post.  thanks.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Eggplant Chili and Black Beans

                        eggplant chili ingredients

This is a wonderful chili to make especially during eggplant season when eggplants are plentiful. It is a delicious combination of black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, and eggplant cooked in a medley of rich aromatic herbs and spices with just the right kick of heat.

It makes a hearty meatless meal cooked in one pot that is filling, healthy, and satisfying. It can be served topped with grated cheese, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, or  eat it as a dip with gluten free tortilla chips or cut up vegetables. 

Did I forget to mention it is also easy to make and absolutely "delish!"

Personally, I love black beans! I don't know why, but I could eat them everyday. Luckily for me there are so many interesting recipes that can be made with black beans.

Are they healthy? You bet! Not only do they have a good amount of vitamins and minerals, they are also very high in immune building antioxidants and good quality fiber. If you are looking to boost the nutritional value of your meals,  check out my July 2010-blog entry Powerful Reasons to Eat Black Beans 

If you are serving this chili at a get together, put the cooked chili in a crock pot on low to keep it warm, and let guests help themselves.

vegan eggplant chili recipe

4 cups of eggplant, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 large can of organic diced tomatoes ( or 4 cups tomatoes, peeled and chopped)
2-4 cloves of fresh garlic, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 cups fresh salsa (mixture of chopped tomatoes, green pepper, onion, cilantro, hot pepper all diced small)
1 can black beans, drained ( or make your own)
1 can kidney beans, drained ( or make your own)
1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped fine( optional)
2 tsp of ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground dry ginger ( not fresh ginger)
salt and freshly group pepper to taste
Garnish: 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
* fresh salsa is sold in many supermarkets. It is finely cut up tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and onions. 

Steam cubed eggplant until slightly soft and set aside.
In a dutch oven type pan, slowly saute garlic and onions in 1/4 cup of vegetable broth. Add the  slightly steamed eggplant and cook for about two minutes, stirring frequently. Add diced tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, hot pepper (if desired), cumin, cinnamon, ground ginger, and fresh salsa. Cook on low covered  for about 20 minutes until flavors mingle. Serve hot with gluten free corn muffins ( see recipe Aug 2 post)


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Friday, August 6, 2010

Summer Corn Chowder

It's summer and farm fresh corn is abundant right now.
Why not make this fabulous chowder recipe!

They say we need a minimum of at least 5-9  fruits and vegetables a day to stay healthy.
Lots of people complain that they can't eat five a day!.

Not to worry. Most of my recipes provide at least five and sometimes more life giving fruits or vegetables. This recipe for Summer Corn Chowder is full of health giving vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is a perfect choice to make use of the abundance of fresh summer produce.

I live near a local farmers market that grows non GMO corn! Freshly picked means the produce had a chance to ripen on the vine. When fruits or vegetables ripen on the vine, they have a much better vitamin and mineral content. Produce that is shipped from other countries or across the states, need to be picked green and then ripen are not exposed to the sun and vitamin C like vine ripened. You can taste the difference between a ripe tomato off the vine and one that has been ripened in a truck.  without the same nutrients.

I love soup and eat it all year long regardless of the weather. I made this recipe this morning . It has a rich inviting yellow color that comes from the carrots and is packed with green cabbage which is known to contain many anti-cancer immune building properties. This is one healthy soup! Enjoy.

The bloggers community is sponsoring a Summerfest celebration .
This week's focus is on corn.
This is my corn recipe contribution...

Summer Corn Chowder


2 cups organic carrots, diced
2 cups green cabbage, chopped small
2 cups organic potatoes, diced
1 cup organic onions, chopped small
1/2 cup parsley, chopped fine
2 TBSP olive oil or  Olive oil spray
1/2 cup coconut or almond milk
4 cups of vegetable broth ( see recipe at bottom of page ,and make the broth first to use in this soup)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups fresh raw corn cut off the cob

Chowder Directions:  ( see step by step pictures below)
Spray a large deep skillet ( like a dutch oven type) with olive oil spray or olive oil and saute onions, carrots, potatoes, and cabbage stirring frequently for about 6 minutes. Add parsley, vegetable broth, and coconut or almond milk, 1 cup of corn, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook on low for another 10-15 minutes until vegetables are very soft. Take out 2 cups of soup and puree in blender and then return it to soup. Add the other cup of raw corn. Stir well and serve.

carrots sliced and chopped
Slice carrots into 4 sticks and then dice carrots small

bowls of vegetables diced
Prepare the vegetables: Chop all potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots and parsley 

Spray deep skillet with olive oil spray, butter and saute vegetables for 6 minutes, stirring frequently

Make your own vegetable broth for soup and add to vegetable mixture

Save vegetables and puree ( add some water) ; save to add to soup

Add pureed vegetables, coconut milk, parsley  to soup and cook until all vegetables are soft

Add raw cut corn to finished soup

Makes about 8 cups of soup

I am new at blogging,  so I would appreciate if you leave me comments .. thanks
If you really want to live on the edge..
Before eating the soup, sauté /2 onion and 1 more cup of raw corn in butter, sea salt, and fresh group pepper .When the onion is translucent, add soup to the pan to heat it up.. the extra butter.. YUM!!

Make your own vegetable stock:

Vegetable Broth Ingredients  (For healthiest results use organic vegetables)
6 cups water
potato peels from 4 organic potatoes ( or more)
2 organic carrots
2 stalks organic celery
1/ 2 cup organic parsley
1 organic onion, diced

Put all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until vegetables are very soft. Strain liquid to use as vegetable broth in the soup.
However, save the cooked vegetables, add additional 1 cup of water , put in a blender and blend until smooth. This can also be added to the soup at the end.

If you do not want to make your own broth.
Use prepared vegetable broth and then take 2 cups of the finished soup, puree and add back to soup.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Polenta with Fresh Corn

Who doesn't love fresh sweet corn on the cob and recipes made with it. Growing up in New Jersey farm country, I remember eating local corn on the cob all summer. It was so good, we just boiled it up, slathered it with creamy butter and salt and ate away. There was rarely any left to do anything else with it.

Everyone had their own method of eating it . I bit into the kernels randomly, my mother cut the corn off the cob, and my cousin Harriet ate her corn neatly row by row. There was nothing like Jersey Corn, and we couldn't get enough of it.  

Fresh corn is still one of our summer favorites.. The raw corn is sweet and easy to digest. We are lucky enough to have a farm close by that only grows NON GMO corn.  

Polenta with fresh corn is a fast and easy recipe that you make with corn meal..  It is an interesting  side dish and makes a wonderful presentation. . If  you want to eat it as a meal, add protein by adding 1 cup of black beans to the recipe.
Fresh corn cut corn off the cob
Creamy Polenta with Fresh Corn and Peas
This polenta recipe uses the basic recipe but just before the polenta is finished cooking, you add fresh peas and fresh raw corn.

3 cups water or vegetable broth
1 cup of corn meal , quick cooking
1/2- 1 tsp salt
1 cup of frozen peas slightly thawed or fresh peas
1 cup of raw corn cut off the cob
1 cup black beans, drained well ( optional)


1.  Bring water ( or broth) and salt to a boil in a sauce pan. Add corn meal slowly, stirring until blended. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to stir until mixture becomes thicker and shut off the heat.
Spoon mixture into a small bowl and allow to set for about 10-15 minutes.

Spoon mixture into a small bowl and allow to set for 10-15 minutes

 Invert bowl and polenta will come out like a dome. Slice and serve . Top with marinara sauce

Monday, August 2, 2010

Corn Muffins: Spicy Mexican or Carrot Raisin

Gluten Free Corn Muffins
 I am always on the lookout for fast and easy gluten free baking recipes that use " normal" ingredients.

Personally, I shy away from recipes with with a long list of ingredients that are hard to find .

I found a good cranberry corn muffin recipe on a great blog called, Wheatless and Meatless Blog .  I played around with the basic recipe and changed it to suit my needs.

I decided to make these corn muffins because the recipe is usually fast, easy and simple.
However, I make it two ways; Savory or Sweet

The savory version is my Mexican Corn Muffins which are a little spicy!
The sweet version is my carrot raisin/cranberry muffins which are moist and sweet.
I use the same basic batter, but the add ins are different.

I get my corn flour from a quaint little Mexican grocery store in New Hope, Pa. It sells authentic Mexican corn flour for a very nominal price. My corn meal is from the local supermarket.

The recipe only takes about 5 minutes to assemble and just 15 minutes to bake.
It can be whipped up anytime you are in the mood for nice warm healthy muffins.

Corn meal adds variety and nutrients to a gluten free diet.

Carrot and Raisin Corn Muffins
1 1/2 cups of corn flour ( see brand below)
1/2 cup of corn meal
1 tsp  baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup raw grated carrots, squeeze out liquid
1/2 cup of raisins or dried cranberries
2 eggs
1 cup of vanilla coconut milk  ( sold cold in the supermarket in the refrigerator case with the milk. soymilk, almondmilk etc.)
(or use 1 regular cup milk, 1/4 cup honey, 1 tsp of GF vanilla)
Full 1/4 cup melted butter or olive oil.

Mix all dry ingredients:
corn flour, corn meal, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl, then add raisins.
Wet and dry ingredients

In a small bowl beat eggs, coconut milk, ( milk, honey & GF vanilla) melted butter or oil, then add grated carrots

Add wet mixture gradually to dry mixture and stir until smooth.
Put into greased muffin tins and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until top and bottom are browned.
Corn muffins tend to be dry, so warm them up and enjoy with butter or jam...

Savory Mexican Corn Muffins

1 1/2 cups corn flour
1/2 cup corn meal
1 cup milk ( any kind you prefer- almond, coconut, soy, cow)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter, olive oil, or coconut oil
1/2 cup grated sharp pepper jack cheese or white cheddar and add fresh jalapeno pepper to taste

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl: corn flour, corn meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and set aside
Mix eggs, milk, melted butter or olive oil with a fork in a small bowl  and then add grated cheese.
Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients and pour into greased muffin tins.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until the tops are browned.

Kathernine Martinelli

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chelsea Clinton's Wedding Cake Was Gluten Free!!


 Guess who else doesn't eat gluten???

I was watching the news yesterday and learned that Chelsea Clinton is one of the three million Americans who has a sensitivity to gluten .Along with her vegan wedding menu, Chelsea served a beautiful gluten free wedding cake. So, at least at her own wedding, Chelsea could have her cake and eat it too...

It is not easy to find gluten free special order cakes. If you want a gluten free or other allergy friendly birthday cake in the Philadelphia area these two bakeries might be able to accomodate you.

"Main Line Baking Co. offers great-tasting baked goods that are gluten-free and dairy-free. Whether you have a special diet or not you will love our freshly baked treats – cupcakes, muffins, cookies, cakes, brownies, bread and more. All bakery products are made daily at our dedicated gluten-free bakery located at the Wynnewood train station, in the Main Line just minutes from Philadelphia.
Wynnewood Train Station" ( taken from their website)

75 E. Wynnewood Rd.
Wynnewood, PA 1909
Open Monday - Friday
7:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Sweet Freedom Bakery 
They ship...

"We are so proud to be Philadelphia's first and only completely gluten-free, vegan, allergen-friendly bakery!
Not only are our products vegan (dairy-free, casein-free, egg-free) and gluten-free, but we avoid the use of corn, wheat, peanuts, and soy as well. The only sweeteners we will ever use are the most natural and unrefined of sugars that are gentler on your body. Rest assured that we also avoid the use of toxic chemical sweeteners and other highly processed sugars and preservatives at all times. We at Sweet Freedom bakery have made it our mission to provide the best tasting allergen-friendly treats that even those without allergies will love! " ( taken from their website)
Whole Foods also has great gluten free cupcakes and other gluten free items in their freezer section.