Monday, November 21, 2016

Stress Buster: Relax Now

Feeling Stressed Out? 

Relax with this incredible piano performance from YouTube (link below). I can't get enough of the music and the performance. You will watch it over and over again. And while I'm listening and watching, I sip a relaxing cup of homemade herbal tea to sooth my tummy and my frazzled nerves. 

I was just browsing around Youtube and found this video: 

After hearing and watching this music performance on Youtube- I wanted to share it because it is so uplifting and relaxing at the same time!!
It's music to soothe your soul.. so beautiful

So grab a cup of herbal tea ( see my favorite recipe below)  or coffee- relax- and listen!!

Two Choices to Listen to Right Now on Youtube: 

Want upbeat, invigorating, and fun- Listen to the first Youtube- Let It Go!

Want something slower and more classical? Listen to the 2nd one- classical music

Let it Go from Frozen!! Upbeat and Inspiring


 This group is called "The Piano Guys"

                   The Piano Guys have about 20 Videos on Youtube 

                       They also have a beautiful Christmas Album!

Play the music!!
What did you think?
 Have you heard them before?

The Tea

Anise is great for better digestion-
drink a cup after meals!

My favorite home brewed herbal tea recipe- 
For a step by step tutorial: 

My friend Vicki introduced me to this simple delicious herbal tea.
 It's made from two ingredients: Anise seeds and cardamom pods
Vicki serves it with a little raw honey- 
You can make it in just 7 minutes
I posted the recipe years ago, so here is the link if you missed it- 

You can purchase cardamom pods ( organic) online;

                                                               Anise Seed Tin

Are you an herbal tea drinker?
 Do you make your own, buy teabags? 
Which one is your favorite??

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

Just so you know: I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click on a link and then buy something from Amazon, I will be compensated a very tiny amount but at no additional cost to you. I appreciate the support as it helps me defray the costs of running a blog. 

My Best Thanksgiving sides ( GF)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Spinach Pecan Casserole - a low carb side

Spinach and cauliflower rice casserole
Still looking for a healthy Thanksgiving side dish?
You might be interested in this low calorie- low carbohydrate delicious, easy to make, casserole for as part of your feast!  It's made from "cauliflower rice", spinach, and pecans!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hungarian Mushroom Soup from The Old Country

hungarian mushroom soup

What is it about Hungarian mushroom soup that everyone loves? 
Recipes from the old country are flavorful and delicious. 
They call for real food ingredients that are both healthy and tasty. 

My mother's good friend Bernice used to make a her family's recipe when I was a teenager and always shared some with us. It brings back wonderful memories of warming up with a hot bowl of this flavorful soup on a cold and damp autumn evening.

Since it's been raining and cool for the past five days, I've been digging up all of my soup recipes. 

It's a simple easy to make recipe with a hearty mushroom flavor. 
It's allergy friendly too for those who are gluten free, dairy free, egg free-  

chopped portebello mushrooms

Judee Algazi@ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Serves: 6 bowls


2 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced in half moons

5 cups of sliced mushrooms ( white or baby portobello) 
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped fine
1/4 cup of dill, chopped fine
2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced in large pieces 
4 cups of vegetable broth 
4 cups of water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of paprika


Sautee onions in a large skillet in olive oil spray +  1 teaspoon of olive oil on medium heat.  Cook slowly stirring until onions are soft. Add mushrooms and continue to sautee for another 5 minutes until mushrooms are tender. Stir well and add sauteed vegetables to a large soup pot. Add the remainder of ingredients ( celery, parsley, dill, water, vegetable broth, potato, lemon, salt, pepper, paprika) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 1 hour covered. 

Garnish with additional chopped dill and sour cream if desired before serving.

Mushroom soup

My Notes: 

1. If you want to cut down on the carbs, you can substitute kohlrabi or turnips for the potatoes. 

2. I find that soup is easy to make, feeds a group, and is easy on the pocketbook.
    Of course, I am a soup LOVER...

3. I eat soup at least 3-4 times/week- Once I make a big pot, I either freeze some or we continue to eat it throughout the week. How about you? 

How often do you eat soup?

This post is linked to vegan fridays ,  Souper Sunday , and my list of Blog Carnivals

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Walking Through The Fancy Animal Carnival In NYC

I went to visit my kids in NYC last week and on my walk from the train to their place I passed through the famous Garment District- It was raining, but I managed to get a few photos of some of the new sculptures in the " Fancy Animal Carnival " by Taiwanese artist Hung Yi.

I don't usually share my outings, but with so many visiting NYC over the holidays, I thought these might be of interest.

Garment District Free Art Show through April 2016

The Carnival, which starts around 41st street and ends on 37th street, features eleven large to life whimsical statues each symbolic of bringing luck! 

The statues are extremely colorful and big!! It made more 40 minute walk to their place very enjoyable

Bryant Park- over 100 fun holiday kiosks

I loved this.. In addition, there were many little kiosk type shops that opened up just for the holidays in Bryant Park on West 40th between 5th and 6th Ave- It was so much fun going around the wintery type wonderland with all the little shops all lit up for Christmas! 

Just because I mentioned these things, I'm including a link with other like holiday markets in NYC!!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Another Falafel Cracker Recipe with Za'atar ( GF)

I know I made falafel crackers last week, but this is a totally different recipe.
It's lighter and crispier than the previous recipe, so you might want to give these a try.

 I had never made crackers before last week, but they are really fast, easy, and fun to make. A batch of these 50 crackers from start to finish took me under 30 minutes ( I didn't count the 15 minutes of chill time). In addition, they are gluten free, dairy free, egg free and delicious.

We love falafel and it's interesting spices,  so naturally I knew we would love these tasty falafel flavored crisps.

What makes them taste like falafel? The chick pea flour, the sesame seeds, the cumin, the turmeric, the coriander and the spice blend called za'atar.

What is za'atar or zahtar?
Za'atar is a prepared spice blend that is used in many Middle Eastern countries.Although the recipes might vary, Za'atar may be made of any of the following spices: ground thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac, hyssop and toasted sesame seeds. It depends on which Middle Eastern country it comes from.

It is a very tasty and popular spice preparation. We use za'atar in omelets, on (GF) bread, sprinkled on humus, crackers, yogurt , and gluten free pizza to name a few.

Another common way they use Za'atar in the Middle Eastern countries is to prepare a flat dish of olive oil, mix it with Za'atar, and use it for a dip for pita bread- very similar to how the Italians use other spices in olive oil and dip their bread in it.

Spices Have Great Health Benefits

Spices have been important sources of nutrients throughout history. The Spices in Za'atar are an excellent source of flavonoids, antioxidants, and have antiseptic properties. Its recipe goes way back. In fact, in the 12th century in Egypt, the famous Jewish Spanish philosopher Maimonides prescribed Za'atar to his patients with respiratory ailments.

Where do you find za'atar?

Of course you can find za'atar in any Middle Eastern grocery store or you can make your own, purchase Za'atar online , or find it many supermarkets in the ethnic isle ( sometimes in the Kosher section since they use it in Israel too) .

This is one of the Za'atar Seasoning  that I buy online. It is from Israel ( Kosher and Parve) and is made with hyssop which is an herb mentioned in the bible.

This is another Za'atar that I buy online which is a Lebanese recipe. It contains oregano and sumac as the main spices  Sahadi Lebanese Style Zaatar - 7 ounce

Being Middle Eastern by marriage, the falafel cracker idea really intrigues me. But I want my crackers topped with Za'atar.

Judee Algazi
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill Time: 15 minutes
Makes:  50 delicious crisps
Adapted from : Mission Food .
Materials Needed: rolling pin, parchment paper, cookie sheets, waxed paper, pizza cutter

My adapted recipe: 

Dry Ingredients: 

1 cup garbanzo ( chick pea)  bean flour
3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon ground almond meal flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda ( I use aluminum free)
1 1/2  teaspoons of cumin
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

Wet Ingredients: 
5 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of honey mixed with 1/3 cup of water

Topping: Top with Freshly Cracked Himalayan salt. sesame seeds, and or Zatar ( make sure your Za'atar is gluten free- some brands may add wheat)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Making the dough: 
Using a food processor with the sharp blade, process the dry ingredients. With the food processor running add the olive oil quickly and then stop and process with bursts till crumbs form. With the processor running add the honey and water mixture- stop immediately and burst if necessary to form a ball. Divide dough into 2 balls and refrigerate for at a minimum of 15 minutes .

Rolling the dough:
Take out one ball of dough to work with at a time, leaving the other in the refrigerator.
Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Remove the parchment paper and lay it on the counter.
Place one ball of dough on the parchment paper. Place a large piece of waxed paper over the dough and using your rolling pin, roll out to 1/8 thickness. Using a pizza cutter, cut into small squares or strips. Remove the parchment paper, place it back on the cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes till the crisps look crispy!

Repeat with the other ball of dough.

Cover the dough with a piece of waxed paper to roll it out . This tip works great.
Nothing will stick to the rolling pin and the waxed paper will peel right off.
falafel crackers ready to be baked
Work on your piece of parchment paper and then just transfer to the cookie sheet when ready to bake
I cut some of the dough in strips 
When I sprinkled the sesame seeds on the uncooked crackers, I pressed then in slightly to hold

I bought these cute camels on our vacation to Tunisia 8 years ago-
They go great with my Middle Eastern theme

Whatever shape you decide to cut them, enjoy!!

I was inspired by a recipe that I saw on a blog called Mission Food . It was a review from Ivy Manning's cookbook Crackers and Dips Crackers & Dips: More than 50 Handmade Snacks

Note: I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click on a link from my blog, I may receive a very small compensation if you purchase,  but it will not affect your cost. I appreciate the support to help defray the cost of running the blog.

This post is linked to vegan fridays and my list of Blog Carnivals

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Apple Slices Won't Turn Brown with This Tip


How many times have you sliced apples, doused them in lemon juice yet they still turn brown an hour later?

That used to happen to me, but not any more. Not since I discovered a simple tip that keeps my apple (or pear) slices looking just the way they looked when I initially sliced them, even 4-6 hours hours later!

This method is so easy and simple, you probably won't believe it will work so well!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Falafel Crackers Anyone?

falafel crackers for gluten free entertaining

This is an interesting gluten free snack idea and entertaining idea !  Can you imagine crackers that taste like falafel! For those of you who have tasted falafel before, you know you are in for a treat.
For those who have never had falafel, you will have to trust me on this one. I assure you that the recipe is truly flavorful and is reminiscent of falafel.

I found this recipe on a blog called May I Have That Recipe- a delightful blog created by two sisters who post vegetarian, vegan, and kosher recipes. This recipe happens to be gluten free as well - as many of their recipes are; many of their other recipes can be easily adapted to be gluten free.

falafel crackers for gluten free entertainingThe Flour

There are different types of gluten free flours that you can use to make gluten free snacks.
This recipe calls for Garbanzo bean flour ( chick pea flour) which can be found online or in most health food stores or health food isles in the supermarkets.
I like this Garbanzo bean flour : Bob's Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour - 16 oz.

It a high protein, but it is a heavy flour. However, it makes a good supplement for some interesting gluten free recipes. Usually, you could substitute regular GF flour in a recipe, but in this case it is the garbanzo flour that gives the recipe some of the falafel taste. ( Falafel is often made from chick peas),

The Spices
The remainder of taste similarities come from the seasoning- falafel often contains coriander, cumin, and other typical Middle Eastern spices- so do these crackers.

This recipe makes truly a hearty dense cracker that goes great with Greek yogurt, humus, or just about any dip. This was my first time making crackers and I was surprised at how easy it was.

If you would like the recipe, you can find on their blog at May I Have That Recipe.

This post is linked to vegan fridays and my list of Blog Carnivals