Friday, April 29, 2016

Fire Roasted Eggplant Tutorial: How to roast an eggplant

Grilled or roasted vegetables are the perfect gluten free side dish. I happen to love eggplant and find that fire roasting an eggplant creates a unique flavor that is absolutely delicious.
If you want to get away from the SAD ( Standard American Diet) don't reach for gluten free prepared products. Think vegetables and find a variety of healthy interesting ways to make them.

My favorite way to make eggplant is to grill the entire uncut eggplant over an open flame. Where do I get the open flame? Right on the burner of my gas stove in my kitchen!!

Char grilled Eggplant tastes tender, smoky, and delicious.  The first time I tried this method, I have to say I was hesitant. After all, I was putting the eggplant into the flame on top of my stove without a pot??? It sounded crazy, but it worked great!

I simply wrapped the eggplant in a triple layer of aluminum foil and placed it right over the flame.
( Some cooks don't even wrap it in the foil- they place the eggplant directly in the flame)
Using tongs, I turned it over once or twice and waited for 25 minutes. Removed it from the stove, unwrapped it, put it in a bowl, sliced it down the middle to let the juices run out, and then scooped out the delicious inner tender flesh! Easy!

The outer eggplant skin chars while the inside of the eggplant gets soft and  is almost melted. It's easy to scoop out and is the secret in spreads like homemade Babaganoush or Smoky Eggplant zero smart points dip!

Step By Step Tutorial

Roasted eggplant is a staple in Middle Eastern and Italian cooking.

It will take you about 30 minutes to roast your eggplant. Follow my step by step procedure:

1.  Wash and pierce your eggplant with a fork in a few places

2.  Cover your eggplant completely with three layers of aluminum foil.

3. Place the eggplant over an open flame on your stove top. Keep the temperature on low/medium.
    do not place the flame higher or the paper will burn.

4. Turn after 10 minutes.

5. Using tongs, remove the eggplant from the flame and place in a glass Pyrex.

6. Slice the eggplant and begin to scoop out the flesh into another bowl.

7.Scoop as much eggplant as possible into a glass bowl and set aside.

                                  This recipe is linked to these fabulous blog carnivals
I'm a Young Living Essential Oil's Distributor. If you would like to learn more about using Essential Oils, please feel free to contact me at Judee Algazi- Email: Distributor #3329912

Visit the Young Living Website

Pin It Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Egg Free Banana Coconut Macaroons ( GF)

These easy egg free banana coconut macaroons are made from a few simple gluten free and vegan ingredients. I whipped them up with my grandkids in just 3 easy steps in less than 25 minutes from start to finish!

3 Easy Steps: 
1. Mix ingredients in a bowl with a spoon
2. Shape into balls
3. Bake for 15 minutes

It's a healthy, dairy free, dessert that can be packed in lunches, taken along in your purse just about anywhere, or elegantly served at the Seder. The ingredients are made from real food and offers a nutritional boost.

Since it's Passover this week, what better than a simple ( KP) cookie that is fun for little ones to make and tasty enough for everyone to enjoy!

Sometimes you just want something sweet; try this real food quick and easy recipe!
If you are making these for Passover- all ingredients should be labeled with a hecture.

Coconut is a good fat, the sweetness comes mostly from the banana, and they are filling.

Author: Judee Algazi @Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 15 minutes
Total : 20 minutes
Makes: 1 dozen macaroons
Adapted from: Paleo Table

2 cups of shredded coconut ( or coconut flakes)
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 Tablespoon of honey ( or sugar if you must)
1 Tablespoon of cocoa
2 Tablespoons of oil ( coconut or olive)
1 tsp. cinnamon
Optional: chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with a spoon. Shape the mixture into 1 inch ( ish) balls and place on a covered cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and place in mini muffin holders if desired.

Place on parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes

Shared on Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads
where anyone can share a food related post every Saturday!

See all my recipes at a glance: Bloglovin 

Pin It Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Gluten Free and Vegetarian Passover Seder Recipes

Happy Passover! Looking for easy vegetarian and or gluten free Passover Seder ideas?

I've dived into my recipes and created a traditional Kosher for Passover Seder menu for you that is both GF and Vegan! Choose from the recipes listed below.

Hope you get some inspiring ideas and enjoy a delicious meal. If you are not vegan or GF the recipes are still delicious and make a great parve ( non dairy)  side.

Passover Seder Recipes

These Passover Sorbets are made with frozen fruit and your blender. They are easy to make and delicious!

Did You Know ? 

The Conservative Movement Overturned an 800-Year-Old Passover Ban on Rice and Legumessee article)- Now you can eat it.. Everyone is happy but especially vegans!

I've included recipes that contain rice! All of the recipes are vegan except the matzo balls and mini kugels which have eggs.
Check out all my recipes at a glance : Bloglovin 

Pin It Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Strawberries Contain the Highest Amount of Pesticides!

The new list of dirty dozen fruits/vegetables just came out from EWG!

Strawberries were number one on the list for the fruit/vegetable with the highest amount of pesticides!

When I read the article , I was sad at how little the consumer really knows about what we are eating.
Can you imagine that with every bite of a red luscious strawberry we are eating more than we want in pesticides! It's bad enough for us , but what about our kids?

When it comes to strawberries, I guess it's one fruit that need to be organic! From now on, I'll buy organic when it comes to anything on the list from the dirty dozen. 
I already always buy organic apples, celery, and spinach. I often buy organic strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and grapes. I need to step it up a little!

The EWG has a list of what they consider the

Dirty Dozen= highest amount of pesticides

1. Strawberries

2. Apples

3. Nectarines

4. Peaches 

5. Celery 

6. Grapes

7. Cherries

8. Spinach

9. Tomatoes

10. Bell Peppers

11. Cherry Tomatoes

12. Cucumbers

CLEAN 15 based on the amount of pesticide exposure according to EWG.
These are the cleanest vegetables/fruit  * Look for non GMO vegetables

1. Avocado 

2. Corn 

3. Pineapple 

4. Cabbage

5. Frozen sweet peas

6. Onions

7. Asparagus

8. Mango

9. Papaya 

10. Kiwi

11. Eggplant

12. Honeydew

13. Grapefruit

14. Cantaloupe

15. Cauliflower
Americans eat nearly eight pounds of fresh strawberries a year – and with them, dozens of pesticides, including chemicals that have been linked to cancer and reproductive damage or are banned in Europe.
Strawberries tested by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2009 and 2014 bore an average of 5.75 different pesticides per sample, compared to 1.74 pesticides per sample for all other produce, according to a new EWG analysis.  Bill Walker,

This is the beginning of the article on strawberries from EWG: Click to read full article

Pesticides + Poison Gases = Cheap, Year-Round Strawberries

By  Investigations Editor, and Sonya Lunder, Senior Analyst
Read their research and info : EWG 

Pin It Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Horseradish Soup ( Perfect for Passover)

Who ever heard of horseradish soup? Not I .. but once I tasted it , I was hooked.
This intriguing soup is creamy, flavorful, and can be made in 20 minutes ( my kind of soup) .

It is a delightful vegan spring soup made from cauliflower, onions, garlic and potatoes.  The horseradish is added at the end ( if you want to) and adds a little kick and lots of flavor.

Soup for Vegetarian/vegan Passover Seder

For those of us who are vegetarian/vegan, it is always an interesting challenge to find holiday foods that feel traditional, are healthy, taste good and are easy to make. This soup works for Passover!

Having a vegetarian/vegan Passover Seder? I love starting the meal with soup, and this soup is perfect! After all, horseradish is one of the foods on the ceremonial Seder plate and bitter herbs are traditional to eat on Passover. Horseradish commemorates the "bitter tears" that our ancestors shed in Egypt when they were slaves unto the Pharaoh! My mother used to use fresh horseradish root and grated it herself. It was so strong; it really brought out the tears! Today's jarred horseradish is milder and easier to eat. 

The root of the horseradish looks like this; some people make their own horseradish
If you are not a vegetarian or vegan, you can use your leftover horseradish ( from the Seder) to make this soup for lunch during chol hamod .

You won't be disappointed with this soup! It's unusual and delicious!

Horseradish is a Powerhouse of Immunity

In addition, horseradish soup is packed with high antioxidant vegetables ( garlic, onion, cauliflower)  and horseradish itself is a winner when it comes to immunity! Horseradish is high in nutrients and phytochemicals which are known to be immune protectors. No wonder my Russian grandmother lived to 107! Her daily diet included fresh horseradish!

Whether celebrating a holiday or not, this soup is a tasty addition to any meal. I have to admit that I love horseradish, and it is particularly delicious in this flavorful horseradish soup!

Author: Judee Algazi of Gluten Free A-Z blog
Adapted from: A Virtual Vegan
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 -6 ( depends on size of bowl) 

1 medium cauliflower , broken into flowerettes ( I used a large bag of frozen cauliflower) 
1 large potato, chopped 
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped in half
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 cup of almond milk ( how to make your own from just almonds) 
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of white jarred horseradish to taste
Optional: garnish each bowl with radish slices

In a large soup pot add potatoes, cauliflower, onion, garlic, water, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until potatoes and cauliflower are soft. Add almond milk, salt,  and cracked fresh pepper to taste. Blend with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender. Taste and add the horseradish ( or don't)  to taste.

My Notes: 

1. I eat this soup without the horseradish- it still tastes good- just different! 
I then call it Creamed Cauliflower soup. If you add the horseradish, go easy- a little goes a long way!

2. Originally, I thought I would leave out the almond milk - it sounded strange to me in this soup, but to my surprise it enhanced the soup and it was better with the almond milk than without it!

3. The original recipe at A Virtual Vegan called for 2 potatoes - I wanted my soup to be less caloric so I substituted a cup of celery and used only one potato. You could add more chopped potato if you like.

4. This is a great cold of flu busting soup as well. Horseradish has powerful antioxidants so make it when you are under the weather as well. I read that horseradish has natural antibiotic properties and helps clear mucos!!!

5. Substitute kohlrabi for the potato. Kohlrabi is a vegetable that tastes very much like a potato, but with much fewer carbs! Kohlrabi would be a great substitute in this soup. I usually get kohlrabi in the fall at my co-op . If you want to read more about kohlrabi, check out my previous post. Kohlrabi ; The low carb potato 

Pin It Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments.

Homemade Babaganoush

eggplant dip baba ganoush

If you love eggplant and Mediterranean spices you'll love this flavorful Middle Eastern appetizer called babaganoush (or baba ghanoush or baba ganoush or babaganouj). You may have tasted this dip before in a Lebanese, Syrian, or Israeli restaurant. Although it sounds and tastes exotic, I promise it's very simple and easy to make this tasty recipe.

Baba ghanouj ( ganouj/ganoush)  is an Arabic name that translates to " pampered father". Legend has it that an elderly father needed his daughter to mash his food for him because he was without teeth and couldn't chew. Thus the daughter baked and mashed eggplant and called it " baba ganouj"

There are two methods to prepare this vegan dish. One is to bake the eggplant; the other is to char-broil the eggplant.The first method is delicious and has a mild taste. The second method is delicious and has a smoked taste. The remainder of the ingredients and processing is the same for each method. I will explain both ways.

This recipe is my friend Debra's recipe. Debra is thoughtfully conscious about serving something gluten free for me when I visit. She prepared this recipe for a recent women's gathering. I liked her particular recipe because it's made from real ingredients and is healthy, low calorie, and about 1 smart point per 2 Tablespoons!! Everyone at the gathering was impressed with Debra's culinary talents and were delighted with the taste.

Use 3 medium eggplants for the recipe

Eggplant is available year round, but this would be exceptionally good during the summer months when eggplant is plentiful and in season.

This dip can be made the day before and only tastes better the longer it sits.

Author: Gluten Free A-Z Blog ( Debra Grossman)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Recipe: gluten free, vegan, parve
Serves: 6

3 medium eggplants
3 Tablespoons Tahini
Juice of 1 lemon ( we used Meyer lemon)
2-3 Tablespoons of garlic paste
Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon of cumin


Method 1: 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and pierce the eggplants with a fork in a few places. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper, place the eggplants on the cookies sheets, and bake for 45-60 minutes until the eggplants are soft and wrinkled. Slice open the eggplants, drain any liquid, scoop out the soft insides of the eggplant and place in a large bowl. Allow to cool. 

Method 2: 
If you choose to charbroil the eggplants, place on a gas grill turning them around until the eggplant skin is completely charred. It should take about 8-10 minutes. Slice open the eggplant, drain any liquid, scoop out the soft insides into a bowl and allow to cool. 

Place the metal blade into the food processor. Add the cooled eggplant,  tahini, lemon juice, garlic paste, salt, pepper and cumin. Process until smooth. 

Serve with gluten free crackers or crudite!

My Notes:

1. Passover? By all means make this delightful recipe for Passover if you are Sephardic. If you are Ashkenazic leave out the tahini, and it will still be good. Eat it with celery, carrots, and cucumbers. We have many travelers who attend our Passover Seders, so I like to put out a few appetizers out for them before we begin the seder to take off the edge. ( it's usually at least an hour or hour and half until we finally get to the meal). The recipe is vegan, parve, and light!

2. Weight Watchers? I already mentioned this delightful recipe is about 1 point per 2 Tablespoons of dip! With vegetables , it's a great snack. If you leave out the Tahini ( and you can) it becomes zero smart points! This dip would be perfect to bring to a party so you have something tasty, healthy and low calorie to nibble on. Make it the day before!

3. Does it freeze? I don't see why not - but I am going to have to try it. Perhaps I'll freeze the scooped out eggplant and wait to process it with the lemon, garlic, etc. the day I defrost it. Just a  thought!

4. Spelling?? There does not seem to be a standard way to spell this word! I've seen it spelled so many ways. I looked up Middle Eastern restaurants, checked their menu, and still found a variety of spellings. Pick any spelling you want- they all seem to be acceptable!

Pin It Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Riced Cauliflower- the easy way

If you are grain free, want to eat less carbs, or eat more healthy vegetables , then you MUST try
" riced cauliflower"- You can make your own or now you can buy it frozen in Trader Joe's. It's also available in lots of other stores now- so look for it in bags fresh or frozen.

Do you love "cauliflower rice", but hate to make it?  Problem solved!
Trader Joe now sells bags of organic cauliflower rice in their frozen section.
Maybe I'm late getting on the band wagon, but I just discovered it, and I just can't get enough.

How do I prepare it? I take a skillet , spray it with olive oil, add the package of frozen cauliflower rice and allow it to cook down until nice and hot. I then serve it as " rice"

or sometimes, I sautee some onion first and then add the cauliflower rice-

How else can you use it?

If you are a regular reader on my blog, you know that I've posted quite a few "mock" ideas using the low carbohydrate, low calorie vegetable..:

 click for the following recipes: 

Cauliflower Pizza,  

Cauliflower breadsticks ,

Cauliflower snow patties.-

Cauliflower Pilaf

The crust is made from cauliflower rice Cauliflower Pizza,

These are made from cauliflower rice- Cauliflower Bread Sticks  YUM

Great Pilaf from Cauliflower rice!!! Less Carbs, more veggies  Cauliflower Pilaf

 All the taste without the carbs!
 If you have not made cauliflower rice before, it's time you tried it.

Riced cauliflower is absolutely a fabulous substitution for rice.
It tastes delicious, and it is uncanny how much this low carbohydrate vegetable tastes and has the texture of high carbohydrate rice.

Make Your Own Cauliflower Rice

Yes, I know that I can make my own. 
I've been making it for years.
But it was time consuming and messy.  I had to I've take out the food processor , place in the metal blade, cut the cauliflower into flowerettes, add the cut up cauliflower to the bowl, process it with 2-3 blasts to have perfect riced cauliflower. Easy right? Yes,  but it took 5-10 minutes to prepare and then I had to clean up the processor and the counter.
Click for : Recipe to make your own cauliflower rice

 Not doing that any more- I have found a better way.
 Thank you Trader Joe's !

Why I like this frozen organic cauliflower

  •  It is comes frozen, so I can load up and use the bags at my convenience
  •  It's organic
  •  It's reasonably priced at $1.99/bag
  • There is no mess
  • It cooks up in 5 minutes 
  • It is delicious in a recipe or just heated in a pan with a little oil spray
End of story! 

Pin It Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Creamy Zucchini Soup in 20 minutes ( vegan)

Calling all weight watchers, health conscious eaters, and bearers of too much zucchini!
This quick and easy simple creamy zucchini soup is a great choice . It is quick and easy to make, nutrient dense, and high in fiber- It's light taste is appealing to even fussy eaters. 

If you are concerned about your weight, this soup is considered a soup that doesn't count as any points on the Weight Watcher program. That means you can eat it and not have to subtract any points from you daily point allotment. 

It is so easy
The six key vegan ingredients are just literally thrown into a soup pot, covered with vegetable broth, brought to a boil , simmered for twenty minutes, blended ( immersion blender is easy) and served.
This wonderful summer soup has a mild but soothing flavor that fits well with most meals. If you want to add additional nutrients (and points ) to it try one of these two options.

1. Blend each bowl with 1/4 of a fresh avocado just before serving or 
2 .Blend each bowl with 2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt before serving. 

Either of the choices adds just 2 smart points to each serving but then produces a richer, creamy, satisfying soup that is still naturally gluten free ( what does naturally gluten free mean? ** see my notes below)  . I
In a hurry , but want to eat something healthy? 
It cooks in just 20 minutes and freezes well.
So eat some: Freeze some .
If you grow an abundance of zucchini in the summer, you now have another recipe to make and freeze. Pin it now for later.

Author: Judee Algazi at Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6 bowls

1/2 large yellow onion, chopped or quartered
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 med-large zucchini
3 stalks of celery, sliced
1 and half cups of water
4 cups of vegetable broth
Optional: top with an 1/8 of an avocado per bowl or 2 Tablespoons of Greek yogurt per bowl
Other garnishes: chopped cucumber, tomato, or red onion chopped small

In a medium soup pot, add the onion, garlic, zucchini, celery, water and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Blend the soup with an immersion blender and eat it just the way it is which is the way I like it ! 

Another option is to blend in an 1/8 of an avocado into the soup with immersion blender just before serving per bowl. I don't care for the taste of heated avocado - so after my soup is hot, I blend in the avocado just before serving. If you prefer to use the Greek yogurt add 6 Tablespoons of Greek yogurt to the soup and blend just before serving. Top with the chopped cucumber, tomato, and red onion. 

My Notes: 
Most unprocessed foods are naturally gluten free

1. Naturally Gluten Free **
Gluten is in only 3 ingredients : wheat, barley, rye and any processed products made from these ingredients ( ex: soy sauce, ) .

All Vegetables, fruit, meat, chicken, eggs, milk in their natural state are all "naturally gluten free". Therefore many real food recipes like this one are naturally gluten free because they are not processed and don't have anything added to them,. ( oats are gluten free, but because of processing factories- it is essential to buy only oats or oatmeal that is labeled certified gluten free) .
Weight Watchers? 

2. Are you following Weight Watchers? The basic soup recipe is Zero Smart Points
When you add the avocado or Greek Yogurt it becomes 2 Smart Points!!

Perfect for Passover

3. Looking for healthy Passover Recipes? Everything in this recipe is Kosher for Passover.. Perfect for a Passover spring brunch! It's also parve, making this recipe permissible for a regular Seder or the perfect choice for a vegetarian or vegan Passover Seder.

This post will be shared on my list of blog carnivals including 
Food on Friday : zucchini - featuring 47 interesting recipes for zucchini

Pin It Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments.