Monday, July 25, 2011

Arugula and Cashew Salad

I love the flavors of this healthy summer salad. It makes a colorful presentation and has a unique taste. If you are trying to vary the greens in your diet, arugula is a good choice.

arugula salad with cashews, tomatoes, and artichokes
When my mother- in- law offered me a container of baby arugula, I couldn't refuse. It is one of our favorite greens, and I knew I would put it to good use with some of the cashews I had.

Arugula is a pungent green that looks like little pieces of wild spring lettuce. Of all the salad greens, it is one of the most nutritious. 
Being a cruciferous vegetable, it provides some of the same protective health benefits as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages. 

arugula salad, cashews, raisins
I decided to make a salad with tomatoes, red cabbage, cashews, and raisins!

arugala and cashew salad

Arugula has a somewhat light peppery flavor and gives a salad a real kick. The raw cashews give the salad some protein and good fat, while the raisins sweeten up the bitterness of the arugula. The red cabbage adds crunch and additional antioxidants making this quite a nutrient-rich side.!

arugula, tomatoes, red cabbage and raw cashews

Salad Ingredients
2 cups arugula 
2 cups of chopped organic romaine lettuce
1 cup of chopped purple cabbage
2  vine-ripened summer tomatoes, quartered
1 chopped green tomatillo, (which has a tangy flavor)
1/2 a chopped sweet red pepper,
1 cup sliced baby Persian cucumbers
1/4 cup each of raw cashews, chopped raw walnuts (optional), and plump dark organic raisins.

Mix all ingredients together and toss well.

Delicious oil-free cashew dressing (link)

Easy to make mint and lemon dressing 

salad dressing with lemon and mint

I dressed the salad with my sister-in-law Joyci's original dressing recipe made with the recipe:  lemon, mint, parsley and red onion dressing
The salad was stellar and tasted as good as it looked.

With some rice crackers and hummus, my arugula salad served as lunch for two hearty salad eaters.

You could be as creative as you like making this salad and use any vegetables that are seasonal. Personally, I love to include some purple cabbage in all my salads. It not only adds some incredible phytonutrients to the mixture, but it also adds some incredible color contrast. I love the purples, greens, and reds.
It's appealing, nutritious, gluten-free, and vegan.

Enjoy with Quick and Easy Hummus Bruschetta Appetisers

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Mango Orange Blossom Popsicles

These beautiful popsicles  are made from slices of  freshly cut mango, laced with orange blossom extract,  blended in a base of rich organic coconut milk and a speckled banana for texture and sweetness. They are exotic popsicles that are highly nutritious, delicious, and of course gluten free.

Photo of Rhubarb Coconut Cinnamon and Raspberry Popsicles   from  "Foodiva Kitchen,.
My creation of Mango Orange- Blossom and Strawberry  popsicles 

Materials needed for Mango Orange Blossom Popsicle
9 ounce paper cups
popsicle sticks ( I couldn't get any, so I inserted plastic spoons)


Bottom Layer of popsicle
1 cup of organic strawberries, cleaned and sliced
1 ripe banana
1 cup of organic coconut milk or any milk ( I used the refrigerated kind)

Top Layer of popsicle
1 cup of mango, sliced
1 Tbsp of orange blossom water ( see information about this product below)
1 ripe banana
1 cup organic coconut milk
1/4 cup water ( add a little at at time if needed)

1.  Using a blender, blend ingredients for the bottom layer: strawberries, banana, coconut milk, and agave syrup until completely smooth.
Fill  9 oz. paper cups 1/2 way . Tilt cups and place in the freezer with cups leaning and tilted.  Allow to freeze for about an hour or more until frozen.

2.  When bottom layer is frozen, blend the top layer :  mango, orange blossom water, banana, agave syrup, coconut milk and water ( whatever amount is needed to make it smooth). Fill the cup with the mango mixture and return to freezer with cups standing straight. Allow to freeze for about a 1/2 hour and then place a popsicle stick in center ( or use a plastic spoon like I did). Allow popsicles to freeze for about 2 more hours until completely frozen.

Popsicles can stay in the freezer for up to  2 or 3 days.

When ready to eat, peel paper cup from the popsicle, hold on  to the stick and enjoy.

sliced mango

Fresh strawberries

Blended coconut milk, strawberries, banana, agave syrup,

9 ounce paper cups

orange blossom water and coconut milk ( from the refrigerator case)

Orange Blossom Water is an extract made from orange blossoms and is  very fragrant and delicious. It gives cake, cookies, drinks, etc. a delightful taste. It can be purchased in a Middle Eastern grocery store, or possibly a Mexican grocery or even French grocery. It might be available in some supermarkets. If you can not find orange blossom water, you might want to substitute rose water extract or vanilla extract.

All of this month's Secret recipes are linked below.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fresh Berry and Rosewater Ice Cream

Where did I find fresh berry and rosewater organic ice cream? In an absolutely delightful organic ice cream parlor in L.A.

I just returned from a fabulous three week vacation which included five days in beautiful Glendale, California which is about 15 minutes ( or 2 hours if you've experienced Los Angelos traffic) from Beverly Hills.

Glendale is an adorable quaint little town with lots of restaurants, shops, theaters and cafes. Every night we took a ten block walk from our hotel to what is called , The Americanas. It is basically a center of activity that showcases an active fountain of dancing water, a larger than life golden statue of Zeus, a lit up replica of the Eiffel Tower, continuous melodies of Frank Sinatra type music piped in on a pa system, kiosks, upscale stores, restaurants, and a beautiful square which reminded me of being in Italy.

In the early evening, it was flourishing with lots of locals walking babies, seniors drinking coffee and chatting in the outdoor cafes, community teenagers enjoying the safety of a fun place to gather, and some tourists ( like us) taking advantage of the beautiful weather and exploring and enjoying the shopping and culinary treats.

On my first night there, I discovered the L.A.Creamery (  which hosted an array of  homemade all organic ice cream. I thought I was in heaven, and it was love at first bite.
Despite tasting a sample of many of the exotic flavors and delicious choices,  I stuck to the fresh berry ( organic blueberry and strawberry ) ice cream that was laced with the right touch of exotic rose water. I had it 4 nights in a row ( thank goodness for the 10 block walk up and back).

Yum.. fresh berry and cream ice cream

Berdi ( our helpful and very friendly server at the Creamery)

Day 1 of vacation still sticking to my diet

Day 20 of vacation eating my ice cream  
This is the closest I got to a celebrity

Friday, July 15, 2011

Egyptian Lentils, Rice and Cartelized Onions- Mujadara

Middle Eastern mujadara lentils and rice dish

Mujadara ( pronounced moo-ga-dara in Egypt) or (Mih- jed -dera in Lebanon) is a delicious, yet simple, Middle Eastern entree made with  brown lentils, rice, and caramelized onions. 

Chana, Pulses, Daal, Food, Lentils

This is my mother-in-law's recipe from Egypt
I learned to make this tasty recipe from my mother-in-law who was born and lived in Cairo, Egypt in a Jewish community. They had a wonderful life there until for many generations until the late 1960's when the political climate began to endanger and threaten their lives because they were Jews. 

She escaped with her husband and 5 children ranging from age 6 months to 17 years. She still misses and has great memories of her home, life, culture, food, and community in Egypt. However, she learned English, worked many jobs, and made a new stable life in New Jersey at the age of 49. Although they couldn't bring money or possessions with them, she did bring her incredible recipes.

Naturally gluten-free, Mujadara is a healthy plant-based entree that is quick and easy to make. It is also a complete protein that is high in valuable fiber, iron and other minerals that our bodies need. 

Lime, Citrus Aurantiifolia, Fruit

I served this tasty recipe last week with a large wedge of plain steamed red cabbage (which was fabulous too- I love cabbage) doused with a generous splash of fresh lime.

Red Cabbage, Vegetables, Kohl, Violet

Use any kind of rice that you like: 
Brown rice, white rice, or basmati. 

Personally, I used brown rice in this recipe.
It's all made in one pan and is quick and easy. It is a frugal, yet healthy recipe that fed the peasants but is fit for a king. 

1 cup brown lentils, cleaned and washed
1 and 1/2 cup rice
Vegetable broth or 2 Tablespoons of olive oil for sautéing.
  •  ** I have learned I can sauté the onions without oil over a high heat for a few minutes, stirring continuously, and then add 1/4 cup of water or broth and allow to simmer on a very low flame until onions are soft and reddish color (saves a lot of calories and fat)
2 onions, sliced and caramelized
2 teaspoons of cumin seeds or ground cumin (or more to taste)
4 and 1/2 cups water (or vegetable broth)
optional: pinch of cinnamon (I prefer not)
salt and pepper to taste.
1/2 cup chopped parsley to decorate

In a large dutch oven type of pan, sauté the onions in oil (or water) on slow until they are reddish and caramelized. Add lentils and rice on top of the caramelized onions and allow to toast a little;  stir or toss frequently for about 5 minutes Add cumin and water (or broth) bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer covered on low until rice and lentils are soft. (about 1/2 hour) Add salt and pepper to taste and cinnamon if desired. 

** NOTE: Add the salt after the lentils are soft; some say if you add the salt in the beginning, it will keep the lentils from softening up.  Top with chopped parsley.

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Food is my passion. I am gluten intolerant, busy. and strive for a healthy balanced lifestyle. It has taken me many years to develop and discover easy healthy recipes that meet gluten free, vegan, and real food standards. On my blog I share my journey, my struggles, my discoveries, and my new recipes. I hope you find ideas, resources, and recipes that will be helpful to you. Come Back soon.

Author: Judee Algazi

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