Monday, March 25, 2013

Real Food for the holidays

Happy Passover and Happy Easter 

Those observing Passover won't be able to eat cereal , pancakes, bread, crackers etc. . So , I've rounded up some real food ideas that are permissible to eat . For those celebrating Easter, these real foods are great too. 

Grain Free Pizza; ( absolutely delicious and the crust is a surprise!!) Add sauce and cheese if you like

Spinach Pesto stuffed mushrooms ( vegan, raw, easy to make, and delicious to eat)

Marvelous Mini Quiches for breakfast or lunch ( mushroom, spinach, or broccoli)

Breakfast or lunch Shakshookah ( eggs cooked  in a middle eastern tomato sauce)

Steamed Artichokes and Lemon ( couldn't be more simple and yet very tasty)

Baked Sweet Potato Fries ( Cajun flavored or regular)

5 minute Carrot Ginger Soup  ( Great if the weather is still chilly)

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Friday, March 22, 2013

Passover Gluten Free Matzo Balls

You gotta have matzo balls on Passover. However, my regular matzo ball recipe that we eat on Rosh Hashana and Shabbat is amazing , but it contains gluten free breadcrumbs and therefore is not suitable  or kosher to make for Passover.

I tried an almond meal recipe last year  for Passover ( picture above), but was not impressed with it..OK .. I didn't like it at all..  This year, I scouted around for gluten free matzo ball  recipes, but haven't had a chance to try actually making the matzo balls. Hopefully, I will make them for the 2nd Seder.

my kitchen table 

Therefore, I am going to share the links to the two recipes that I plan to try.

1.  The number one recipe that got good reviews is from a blog called Gluten Free Bay which has a wealth of gluten free recipes, but stopped publishing in 2007. Non the less, she posted a potato dumpling recipe that looks like regular matzo balls and got great reviews.

Gluten Free Matzo Balls # 1

2.  This next gluten free matzo ball recipe was published in 2011 by a blog called , " Girl's Gone Child" . She wrote a great story about the recipe and her background that was very interesting.

Gluten Free Matzo Balls and Chickenless Soup

Looking forward to a warm spring
Almond Flour Matzo Balls from Refusas Haguf

If you have a good gluten free Passover matzo ball recipe, please do share in the comments.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Power Foods During the Passover & Easter

Will you be eating healthy during Passover and Easter? Just because it's a holiday is no reason to eat poorly.  Remember to include these power foods in your holiday menus. Like what, you ask?
Here are some ideas.
1.  Avocado : a perfect power food that is rich in good fats, contains Vit E  and lots of important minerals. It can be added to salad, made into a dessert ( chocolate pudding)  , guacamole or eaten with sliced tomato and fresh basil served on a platter.Avocado is filling, delicious, and versatile.

avocado guacamole
2. Quinoa: surprise! quinoa is not a grain, it is a berry and therefore considered permissible to eat on Passover. Since it's high in protein and vitamins and minerals it qualifies as a power food,  and  is a perfect ingredient to remember to add into your Passover menu. Make a quinoa pilaf, into a quinoa tabooli, or use as a stuffing. It is sure to please both the appetite and the desire to eat healthfully.

Perfect lemony quinoa pilaf- looks like a grain , but it's a berry

3. Fresh Fruit- fruit is full of powerful antioxidants that help protect against disease. It's so important to eat sufficient fruit everyday in your diet. So don't forget to use fresh fruit to make fruit salad, fruit smoothies ( I use frozen banana -Yum) and pack whole fruit as a snack for when you are out. Just because its Passover, you don't have to compromise eating healthy. Choose from blueberries, apples, oranges, pomegranates, kiwi, grapes, strawberries, etc. Make dessert a big fresh fruit salad topped with some walnuts or pecans.


4. Nuts- nuts make a great snack or add chopped nuts to yogurt. Nuts are good fats, that also help keep insulin levels lower. ( read how  nuts can  help diabetes ) . Making a platter of fresh fruits?  Include raw nuts like pecans, walnut halves, and almonds. Fruit and nuts go great together. In addition, put some nuts in a baggie and carry it with you when you are out shopping.

5. Butternut squash, sweet potatoes, are rich in beta carotene and are very easy to make.
    I simply bake them in the oven until tender and then enjoy the sweet tender fleshy vegetable. I sprinkle with cinnamon and a little apple or orange juice. Perfect side dish for the Seders that is simple to make and delicious. Easiest recipe for butternut squash. Try to include a rainbow of colors from fruits and veggies in your daily menu for the greatest coverage of antioxidants for your family.


6.  Fresh or Roasted Veggies- We all know that veggies are really good for us and they taste fabulous when they are oven roasted on a cookie sheet. Try roasting Brussels sprouts, eggplant, tomatoes, cauliflower, or all of them. It's a great way to eat more veggies because they are so good, you won't be able to stop eating them. Great for the Seders or any night of the week. Try honey roasted Brussel Sprouts or roasted eggplant . In addition, cut up fresh cucumber, red peppers, carrots for snacking.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

      shared on the following blog carnivals                    

Monday, March 18, 2013

Greek Salad

I always enjoy a Greek Salad, but some salads are better than others. I was once traveling ,and we ate in a Greek restaurant called the Olympia Cafe on the waterfront in historic Savannah, Georgia

It was a charming setting with a view of the Savannah river, the Riverboats, and the water ferries. The dining area was decorated with bright blue tablecloths and contrasting white cloth napkins. There were potted trees of a tropical variety placed strategically throughout the room,  giving the restaurant a very inviting feeling.

I was immediately delighted the decor of the restaurant even before I saw the menu. However, the menu didn't disappoint me, there were plenty of gluten free choices . I decided to play it safe and order the Greek salad.

Although it only contained the typical ingredients of lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumber, olives and Greek hot peppers, the dressing and the generous portion of " riced " feta cheese made it thick and exceptional. I've never seen feta cheese " riced".. but I really liked the texture.

What makes a great Greek salad?

In my opinion its the flavor and texture of the feta cheese. If it's soft and creamy, to me the salad is amazing. If it's dry and semi hard, to me the salad just isn't going to be that good.

At this Greek restaurant , the feta was absolutely sensational, making for an amazing Greek Salad.
I highly recommend the restaurant if you are in the area. The food is delicious and the prices are modest

Here is a recipe for Greek Salad that I tried from Rachel Ray that was very good: 
3 vine ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 European seedless cucumber, cut into bite-size chunks
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chunked
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chunked
1 cubanelle pepper, seeded and chunked
1 cup Kalamata black olives
Several sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, about 1/2 cup
2 (1/4 pound) slices imported Greek feta
1/4 cup  extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed in palm of your hand
Coarse salt and black pepper

Combine vegetables, olives, and parsley in a large bowl. Rest sliced feta on the top of salad. Combine oil, vinegar, and oregano in a small plastic container with a lid. Shake vigorously to combine oil and vinegar and pour over salad and cheese. Season with salt and pepper and let the salad marinate until ready to serve. 

If your make a great Greek Salad , leave your idea in the comments. Thanks

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday and a quote

No words, just a few pretty pictures to brighten your day and an insightful quote

Quote: Remember that

" The power inside of you is stronger than the troubles in front of you "

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Honey Or Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts with honey or maple syrup glaze? 
Yes, and they taste amazing.

maple glazed roasted brussels sprouts

 It's a great way to roast Brussels sprouts in the oven without oil.  But they are just as tasty, since the honey or maple syrup and the sprouts caramelize in the heat.

brussels sprouts

bowl of honey

Brussels sprouts are perfect on the Thanksgiving table and these come out crunchy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside. Most guests will enjoy them!

The honey or maple syrup is mixed with freshly squeezed orange juice for a hint of citrus flavor as well. Go light on the drizzle-

20 brussels sprouts
1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix honey and orange juice or maple syrup and orange juice.
Wash and remove the end of the sprout if needed.
Lay sprouts on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup mixture..
Bake for about  25-30 minutes or until the sprouts begin to caramelize and are soft inside.
Remove from oven and enjoy.. It's that simple..

Friday, March 8, 2013

Gluten Free Lunch Idea

I invited a friend for lunch. I made a simple, but healthy and delicious meal.
We had my chickpea, celery, and artichoke salad. Baked butternut squash with orange juice and cinnamon drizzle, packaged stuffed grape leaves, and egg salad.

It was actually easy to prepare and assemble, made a great presentation, and was very satisfying

I started with the salad. It was a chopped vegetable salad that did not contain lettuce. For some reason, that has been my salad of choice lately: chick peas, chopped red onion, halved cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, chopped celery, chopped red cabbage and marinated artichoke hearts ( chopped up) from a jar. I love it.

I made a dozen hard boiled eggs the night before and in the morning mashed them into egg salad using the lower fat olive oil mayo. Served it with gluten free crackers. ( sometimes I just get very into egg salad.. this was one of those times)

In addition, I simply halved and baked a butternut squash face down until tender. Turned it face up and drizzled it with fresh squeezed orange juice and sprinkled it with cinnamon.

The stuffed grape leaves was a last minute thought since i had a container in the closet.

It was a healthy lunch and it looked pretty too.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Gluten Free Spaghetti Vegetable Salad


Pasta salad is an easy meal when you really don't have time to cook. I've been on a kick lately using alot of celery, cabbage, avocado, and cherry tomatoes over rice, pasta, and in just salads.

For this very simple meal,   I opened a bag of gluten free spaghetti from Trader Joe's, cooked it up in about 20 minutes, drained it and served it mixed with a chopped tomato, chopped celery, chopped red cabbage,  and fresh basil .

 I used Italian dressing,  a jar of marinated artichokes, and some cumin ...

It came out really tasty and was satisfying, healthy, and loaded with fiber. In addition, it is vegan. Sometimes you just need something simple..  What have you been cooking??

3/4 package of gluten free spaghetti ( from Trader Joe's)
1 package of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 of marinated artichokes in oil  ( from a jar)
1/2 cup red cabbage, chopped
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup cooked chick peas
1 -2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1/2 cup Italian dressing or ( juice of a fresh lemon, olive oil, and salt and pepper)


Cook pasta, wash and drain
prepare the remainder of ingredients and toss with cooked pasta and salad dressing.
Eat as a quick meal.

May be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals
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