Saturday, July 29, 2017

Should I keep my Instant Pot or Return it ?

Should I keep my Instant Pot or return it?

My Instant Pot was delivered more than 2 weeks ago ( bought it on the Amazon Prime Special), and it has been sitting in the garage unopened ever since. 

I think I have regrets that I ordered it

I've had vacillating thoughts racing running through my mind everytime I look at the box still sitting in the garage. 

Con Thoughts

1. Do I need ANOTHER appliance in the kitchen. After all, I have a slow cooker and I am a vegetarian. Do I really need it to boil eggs and make yogurt in an Instant Pot? 

2. Do I want to return it and be bothered making a label, taking it to the post office, paying for postage??

3. Can I give it as a gift? Surely someone other than me would be thrilled with it? 

4. I'm not in the mood to learn how to use it. I understand there is  learning curve, so I keep putting off using it. 

5. Where the heck am I going to keep it. It's big!! I got the 8 qt size ( of course) and really have no room for it. 

6. Blah Blah Blah

On the other hand: Pro Thoughts

1. I got a good deal on it

2. My mother always used an old fashioned pressure cooker and loved it! ( even though I was scared of it as a little girl) 

3. Many bloggers and friends are raving about it.. My friend Noreen said it makes the best hb eggs ever and the peels just slide off.

4. I can make my own yogurt. I buy raw milk organic yogurt , it's expensive. If I made my own yogurt, I could just buy the raw organic milk and make my own which will make 4 times as much for the money. 

5. I could make beans, soups, and chili - maybe I'll use it more in the winter months

6. The Instant Pot is also a slow cooker , so I could consolidate


What would I make in the Instant Pot? ????

Well there you have it- should I open the box or return it? 

Do you have an Instant Pot? Do you love it ? What are your suggestions? Help! 
What are your favorite GF vegetarian/vegan recipes to make in it?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Alert: GMO Free Cheerios Test Positive for Round Up Weed Killer

GMO-Free Cheerios Test Positive for Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide 

Do your kids eat cheerios? Can you believe this?
If things were not upsetting enough with Monsanto and our food supply, recent testing found that Cheerios-

a children's breakfast GMO free cereal had the highest amounts of weed killer of the products tested.

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream indicated too: 

In addition, the NY Times published an article a few days ago about Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Ten of their flavors were found to have residues of Monsanto's weedkiller  in 10 samples of their ice cream

There were other products too that showed residues of the weed killer that has now being questioned in California EPA because of its known cancer causing effects. 

Goldfish Crackers also tested positive: 

  • Original Goldfish crackers  – 18.40 parts per billion
  • Goldfish crackers colors – 8.02 parts per billion
  • Goldfish crackers whole grain – 24.58 parts per billion
Whole Foods 365 Round Crackers had residue as well:

The greatest concentrations seemed to be in cereal, crackers, and cookies. Mostly in wheat, oat, and grain products- even GMO free products.
see article "Dangerous Levels" posted below for more info 

Is residue of weed killer harmful in our food products?

California is the first state to take a stand !
California EPA Moves to Label Round Up ( weed Killer)  as Carcinogenic

"An FDA-registered food safety lab recently conducted testing on common foods and their results were nothing short of alarming. The lab found high levels of a chemical known as glyphosate in several popular foods. If glyphosate sounds familiar, it may be because you know this chemical as Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killer. Test results indicated that these foods have over 1,000 times the glyphosate levels that are considered to be harmful."
Quoted from the article: Dangerous Levels Of Glyphosate Found In These 9 Food Brands!


Are you aware of these findings? What type of cereal and grains are you eating? Even organic has had traces.Please leave a comment

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wordless Wednesday- Philadelphia

I live about a half hour from Center City Philadelphia . I'm participating in Wordless Wednesday where the post is primarily photos and sharing some photos from a walk in Philadelphia 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

7 Must Try Homemade Salad Dressings that are Family Favorites

Homemade salad dressing is so quick, easy to make, and delicious that we always make our own. Making our own ensures us that we will know that are made from healthy quality ingredients, and I can be certain that they are gluten free.

 I've rounded up 7 of our family favorites for you to try.

No chemicals, no additives,,, just good wholesome ingredients like the herbs growing in your garden.

Homemade salad dressings are not just empty calories, they contain fresh herbs, fruits, and other ingredients that add nourishing enzymes and nutrients.

Over the years, we've experimented with all kinds of flavors. Our basic dressing is usually just freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. Somedays when we are feeling more adventurous,  take the extra 5 minutes to make a special dressing like one of our seven family favorites below.

We love to add fresh herbs from the garden like basil, mint, and dill. Fresh and amazingly fragrant, they make the dressings not only taste wonderful,  but these gluten free dressings also smell fabulous.

Our fresh ingredient salad dressings add a delicious zing to any salad.

  • Tips on making quick homemade salad dressing
    • Use your Vitamix, Bullet, or blender to make a salad dressing in minutes
    • Use fresh herbs that completely pulverize in a strong blender and add an incredible flavor
    • Use balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or fresh lemon juice
    • Use olive oil or coconut oil or simply blend in an avocado
    • There are no chemicals 
    • It hasn't been sitting on a shelf for a year
    • It's tastier
    • You control the amount  and type of oil you want to use in the recipe
Homemade salad dressing can bring out the best of any salad! Whether you prefer a fruity dressing or a savory dressing, I'm sure you will find one in our favorites! 

Linked to: Wednesday Waste Less Linky and Weekend Cooking at Read Fish Reads which is open to anyone wanting to share a food related post.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Wordless Wednesday- Whale Watching

I'm getting on the Wordless Wednesday bandwagon.

There are bloggers who post photos every Wednesday.

I find myself enjoying their photos of places they have visited, their hometown photos, food, outfits, family gatherings etc. -

I recently went to Cape Cod and took a ton of photos. Since it's Wordless Wednesday, I'm going to share a few of  them with you today.

Le me just say that it was a magical day!!

Whale Watching Cruise from Hyannis, Massachusetts in Cape Cod

looking for whales on a misty day in our friend's Noreen and Avi's raincoats

Monday, July 17, 2017

Papaya and Blueberries Make a Beautiful Fruit Cup

I was having company for dinner the other night and blueberries and papayas were in season.
So I decided to forgo the typical fruit salad that I usually make and instead make a dessert using only the two fruits.

Their complementary colors presented a brilliant contrast that was lovely and appealing . My summer dessert was very extremely easy to make, made a beautiful presentation, and was simply delicious. Of course it was naturally gluten free and vegan as well.

When I served it, I sliced a 2 inch thick piece for each person . Some fresh whipped would make it divine.

We ate it with a fork and knife.
Actually the skin and seeds are edible, but I don't know how good they taste.

I Live Near The Blueberry Capital of the World

We live about an hour from Hammonton, New Jersey which is nicknamed " the blueberry capital of the world." (Google it)  Hammonton is located on the way to the Jersey shore where there over 250 blueberry farms on 8,000 acres of sandy soil.

blueberry bushes 

It wasn't always that way. Fifty years ago, the farms were smaller and served mostly local markets.

However, today I understand that most of our local berries are now contracted to Driscoll.
So, no matter where you live you may very well be eating our local berries.

Years ago when my two sister in laws were still teenagers, I took them blueberry picking on a pick your own farm in Hammonton, NJ .

After picking ( and tasting) for about three hours in the vast sea of blueberry bushes, we went home with quite a haul.

We froze most of them, ate many of them, and made a few batches of blueberry muffins. It was a fun but exhausting. It was the one and only time I picked blueberries.

My dessert reminded me of my blueberry adventures.

Since blueberries are in season, why not make this simple dessert. It's naturally gluten free, low in calories, and rich in appeal.

Remove the seeds from the papaya

I sliced the papaya in two lengthwise and scooped out the waxy round black seeds from the core of the papaya and was left with a large long cavity. I filled it with blueberries.

I placed both the papaya and the blueberries in the refrigerator to chill.

My Notes:
Papaya tastes great with freshly squeezed lime..
Papayas from Hawaii are GMO ( their flesh is yellow)
Papayas from Mexico and Belieze usually are not GMO ( these have a more orange flesh)

How to Freeze Blueberries
Blueberries freeze really well and it's very easy to freeze them.
Simply wash them, dry them well, place them in ziploc freezer bags and freeze them.
Be sure to dry them well so they will not stick together.
Use the frozen berries for smoothies, muffins, pancakes, etc.

I usually freeze them when they are on sale,or whenever I can get organic blueberries at at reasonable price

How to Select a Papaya
Papaya are an extremely nutritious fruit. However, most papayas that come from Hawaii are genetically modified ( GMO) they have yellow fruit inside -
try to look for papayas that come from Mexico or Belieze which are usually not GMO- often called Caribbean Reds and Maradol- they look orange inside.
I found  an article online that explains more about safe Papayas 

Quick Blueberry Mug Muffin

I also found this Youtube that explain how to select a papaya when it's ripe- he talks about the Hawaiian variety (which will be GMO- he doesn't mention that) but he also explains about the Caribbean variety and how to identify it ( which is the non gmo type)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Pasta Salad with Olives and Veggies

Sometimes you need an easy go-to recipe to serve on those hot hot hot summer nights when you just don't feel like doing any real cooking. Pasta (gluten free of course) salad seems to be that recipe for me.

This Mediterranean style salad is flavorful, fragrant and can be made in advance. We enjoy it paired with  cold soup  or cheese and ( GF) crackers.

Since the salad contains carbs, protein, and lots of veggies, you could actually eat it as your entree. Although I added crumbled feta cheese, omit it to make this a vegan salad.

Omit the cheese if you are vegan
I used red peppers, red onions, olives, fresh basil, tomatoes, celery, scallions, cucumbers, and feta cheese , but feel free to add or substitute any vegetable that you prefer like peas, carrots, radishes, capers, chopped raw broccoli, raw sliced mushrooms, marinated artichokes etc.

Because this recipe can be served at room temperature, it's a great recipe to bring to a pot luck dinner or BBQ-

If you make your pasta in advance, then the prep is just like making a simple salad!

I toss the salad with homemade Italian dressing or try my bold lemon dressing and it is absolutely delcious . 

Where do I get my gluten free pasta? 

 Trader Joe's and Aldi's carry a variety of gluten free pastas at very reasonable prices. 

I recently started shopping in Aldi's and was pleasantly surprised to find a huge selection of gluten free items ( breads, wraps, crackers, snacks made from decent ingredients) Aldi's also has many organic packaged products and produce.

If you want to cut back on the carbs in this recipe, omit the pasta and substitute florettes of lightly cooked cauliflower.


Author: Judee Algazi @ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes to cut up vegetables
Cook Time: 25 minutes to cook and drain GF pasta
Serves: 6-8


12 ounces of uncooked GF pasta, boiled and drained
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 cup of sliced cucumbers
1/2 cup of diced celery
1/2 cup pitted Greek olives , chopped
1/4 cup of chopped scallions
1/3 cup of diced red onions
1/4 cup of freshly chopped basil
1/2 cup of diced red peppers
3/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
Optional: top with slices of avocado

Cook and drain GF pasta according to package directions.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the list of the ingredients with the pasta.
Toss with 1/4 of Italian dressing or my bold lemon dressing.
Taste best served at room temperature.

Linked to : Souper Sunday ( soup, salad, sandwich blog carnival) and Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish 

These are great cutting boards because they are so lightweight, I even take them with me when I travel.  I love having color coded cutting boards. These are light yet durable and store easily. Also BPA free
Premium 4 Piece Cutting Board Set with Stand - Dishwasher Safe - Color Coded - Microban - BPA FREE

Disclaimer: As most bloggers, I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click on a link from my blog and purchase something from Amazon, I receive a very small compensation at no cost to you. This helps me defray the cost of running a blog. As always, thanks for your support.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Steam Zucchini for Sweetest flavor

My CSA farm share was overrun this week with twelve beautiful yellow zucchini amidst a variety of summer lettuces, giant scallions, firm cabbage, creamy colored turnips, dark green dandelion greens, flat kale, fragrant basil and cilantro, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, purple beets, juicy raspberries, and crisp Persian cucumbers.

      With all these glorious vegetables it's easy to eat gluten free and vegetarian/ vegan

The brutal 95 degree humid heat wave of last week was probably responsible for ripening the vegetables quickly producing bumper crops of everything in the fields.

Yellow zucchini growing
Once I collected my veggies and loaded the car with my bulging baskets of freshly picked produce, I ventured back to the overgrown landscaping on the bucolic Bucks County country roads hoping to get a glimpse of a deer or fox on my drive home.

I actually did see a tiny baby fawn under a tree in an empty field. The mother was not in the photo but she was nearby in the field too.

To entertain myself on the twenty minute ride , I began to imagine what I could make with all of those lovely yellow zucchinis.

However, after picking vegetables in the heat, I was tired.
The last thing I want to do that evening was cook.

First, I thought about my mother in law Toni's flavorful zucchini quiche casserole.  However, I didn't have all the ingredients in the house, nor did I want to turn on the oven.

Next, I thought about making one of my delicious zoodle recipes, but I just didn't feel like spiralizing.

Finally,  I decided to simply steam the zucchini whole. Yes that was all I did- I washed them, and didn't peel or cut- and just put them in the steamer basket just the way they were.

I steamed for 8 minutes, removed, and served. The sweet tender squash came out absolutely delicious. Each person got a whole zucchini to eat as he/she pleased.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture. We devoured them so quickly.

It was easy, simple, healthy, and nutritious. Even my husband commented on delicious they were.

So, there you have it- you don't always need to make a fancy recipe to enjoy farm fresh summer vegetables. Sometimes simplicity is the best solution.

Steamed Whole Yellow Zucchini ( not yellow squash)

4 small to medium yellow or green young tender zucchini
3 cups of Water 
salt and pepper to taste 

Place water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Insert steamer basket, place 4 zucchini in the basket, cover and steam for 5-8 minutes until tender ( depends on size of zucchini)  Insert sharp knife into the zucchini to see if it is cooked. 
Serve with salt and pepper to taste and a pat of butter if desired.

My notes: 
Yellow zucchini is not the same as yellow summer squash.
The deeper yellow in the picture below are the zucchini - the lighter yellow in the photo are summer yellow squash
They have a different taste and texture; I prefer the zucchini

''shared on Beth Fish Reads weekend linky