Monday, November 29, 2021

Mediteranean Tomato and Red Onion Salad

Tomato and red onion salad is simple to prepare yet makes a lovely presentation and is very delicious. It's made of a few ingredients and can be thrown together quickly. With all the rich heavy food for the holidays, why not serve some healthy low calorie salads as well. 

Tomato, Vegetables, Knife, Food, Produce

I like the combination of red ripe tomatoes with some pungent sweet red onion, parsley, black olives, green onion, and spices. 
Splashed with a simple citrus salad dressing, these tomatoes are at their best.
Onion, Chopped Onion, Tropea Red Onion

This salad goes well with most kinds of food, but especially well with Italian food.

Tomatoes, Garlic, Spring Onions, Parsely

Who doesn't like tomatoes?  It's the perfect base for a delicious easy salad. In fact, I like to serve a variety of salads that do not contain lettuce such as my shredded carrot salad, tomato salad, and a quinoa salad. The salads go with any kind of meal. 

As a vegan, I like to make soup and salad meals. There are 8 nights of Hanukkah which started yesterday (Sunday night). 

My Chanukah potato latke serving platter 

I will make soup, salad, and potato pancakes at least two of the nights and the other nights probably soup, salad, and sweet potato dish or another starch.

Christmas dinner at my friend Bobbi's house Dec 2019 (pre-covid)

These salads are also perfect for Christmas celebration. The red color of tomatoes is a perfect addition to a lovely table and the (link)  carrot salad is festive, light, and delicious too.

6 medium-large tomatoes, quartered
1 small red onion, diced 
1/4 cup of chopped scallions
1/4 cup of capers
10 pitted black olives

Assemble ingredients and toss with Italian dressing or the following homemade oil-free dressing. 

1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon of Italian seasoning 
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder 
Salt and cracked pepper to taste 

Shared on Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, sammie or salad recipe. Come check out the shared recipes.

Vegan Potato Latkes and Oil-free

Oll-free Vegan potato pancakes

Latkes without oil? Yes, it was a first for me, but they were not bad at all! 

Hanukah 2021 is early this year and is being celebrated from November 28 until Dec. 6. Let the celebration begin with lighting of candles, playing dreidel, and eating potato latkes.

Hanukkah, Holiday, Candles, Jewish

Who doesn't love a crispy potato latke? It's been a Jewish tradition to eat fried foods on Hanukah ever since the miracle of the oil in the Jerusalem temple many years ago. 

Potato latke, vegan, oil-free, gluten-free

History tells us that despite there only being enough oil to light the candle menorah in the temple for 1 day, the miracle is that the tiny bit of oil lit the temple for 8 days. Therefore we celebrate Hanukah by lighting candles each night for 8 nights. The oil becomes significant to the celebration. 

Hanukah, Burning Candles, Chanukah

It's traditional to fry latkes or doughnuts in oil for the holiday. Ok this is where I am exit-ing. I don't eat fried foods anymore- holiday or no holiday. 

chocolate glazed gluten free doughnuts
                                       Baked Donut Recipe

No fried foods for me. It's taken me years to finally take that stand. 
So, despite tradition, I am making my latkes baked with NO OIL. YUP.. I'm sure they will not taste as good, ok- I know they won't taste as good, but I'm giving them a shot with my air-fryer. 

Thank goodness for my air-fryer. I made a crispy potato latke without oil (and of course no eggs for this vegan) that tasted pretty decent. 

4 cups of grated potatoes
1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 cup of oatmeal flour or gluten-free flour 
2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons of ground flax added to 1/2 cup of water)

Squeeze out as much liquid from the grated potatoes as possible. Then add to a large bowl with the parsley, onion, garlic powder, onion powder, oatmeal powder and flax egg. Mix well, shape into patties and place on parchment paper and place parchment paper on the fryer basket. Turn to air fry and air fry for 5 minutes and then remove the parchment paper once the patties are holding together. Continue to air fry for 10 more minutes until crispy. The oatmeal will make them a little whiter looking, but still taste good. 

Eat with applesauce and enjoy.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Turkish Shredded Carrot Salad

Turkish shredded carrot salad

Salad is a good choice for the holidays. Since holiday meals often mean heavier richer food, we need some tasty lighter foods for the mix. One interesting low in calories but rich in taste salad is a family favorite- Turkish shredded carrot salad.

Carrots, Vegetables, Harvest, Healthy

Salads don't always need to be made with lettuce. Carrots are versatile, colorful, sweet and delicious, and perfect for a salad. The Mediterranean countries, such as France, Turkey, Spain, Israel, or Syria, are known for their extremely tasty salads. This is one of them. 

My husband's family is from the Middle East and also lived in France. Many of my recipes are influenced by dishes I've enjoyed my mother- in- law's  kitchen. Shredded carrot salad is a basic recipe that she frequently made along with homemade hummus and or tomato salad for side dishes. Although my husband's family did eat very small amounts of meat or chicken, vegetables were the basis of most of their meals. The meal usually ended with mint tea served in a glass and a pastry. 

Tea, Turkish Tea, Drink, Glass, Spoon

This easy recipe is made by simply shredding some carrots in the food processor or with a hand grater (you could probably buy shredded carrots in a pinch), adding some chopped green onions, chopped parsley, cilantro, chickpeas, sliced olives, salt, and cracked and added a simple dressing made in a base of fresh lime. 

shredded carrots, salad

Sometimes my mother in law would add the chickpeas and olives, or substitute raisins. 

Green Onion, Vegetables, Food, Knife 
There are lots of variations to this simple salad. You can leave out the chickpeas if you don't like them or leave out the cilantro .. your choice. It's the shredded carrots and the dressing that make the salad. 

Kitchen, Cook, Cooking, Aperitif

If you are concerned about your health or your weight, finding ways to cut back on oil is a good way to cut back on loads of calories and can make your recipes lighter in calories as well as unnecessary fat.

My mother- in- law used olive oil and lime juice to make her simple dressing for this salad; I omitted the oil and simply use the juice of a lime. You can choose to make it however way you prefer- with or without oil.

 Lime, Citrus Fruit, Angry, Green

I try to make my recipes oil-free since I've read many of the progressive plant-based doctor's, including cardiologists, views on the elimination of oil ( but not good fat such as nuts, seeds, avocado etc.) from the diet for heart health and blood sugar health (one source). 

This will be a festive, low calorie, tasty, satisfying salad to add to your holiday meals! 

I also make a similar recipe (link) kohlrabi and carrot raisin salad which is delicious and light too.

Carrot, raisin, and kohlrabi slaw  at

Today's Turkish carrot salad can be made the day before and sealed well and served cold the next day. Add the dressing and toss just before serving. 

5 cups of shredded carrots (about 7 large carrots)
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
1/4 cup of chopped green onions (scallions) 
cracked pepper 
Optional: cilantro, chickpeas, or raisins 

1/2 cup of fresh lime juice
1/4 cup of maple syrup of honey 
1 teaspoon of ground cumin

Directions for salad: 
Using a food processor with the shredding disk or a hand grater, grate about 7 large carrots and pour into a large salad bowl. Add parsley, chopped scallions, and cracked pepper. Add optional ingredients ( I added chickpeas) and toss well with the dressing just before serving. 

Directions for dressing:
Squeeze the lime juice into a jar, add maple syrup or honey and cumin. Mix well and toss over the salad just before serving. 

1. All my recipes are naturally gluten-free and vegan. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Wordless Wednesday Thanksgiving 2021

        Celebrating Thanksgiving at the beach in South Florida

thanksgiving display, flowers

A Thanksgiving Flower display in my friends condo lobby 

Took a walk on the beach and saw this fellow

All decked out and no where to go

Pre- Thanksgiving get together with cousins 

Happy, Thanksgiving, Wordpress

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Scottish Oatmeal Vegetable Soup

Scottish Oatmeal Vegetable Soup

Oatmeal soup? 
Sounds strange, but it is a popular dish in Scotland where oats have been grown for centuries and is a staple of the country. Scottish oatmeal vegetable soup is simple yet unusual. It's fast and easy and worth making. It often includes carrots, cabbage, turnips, onions,  leeks or even tomatoes. It comes out creamy and filling.

Oatmeal, Porridge, Breakfast, Healthy

Oats are good for you (Even though oats are gluten free, oats need to be certified gluten-free, otherwise cross-pollination may occur and contaminate the oats when they are growing or being processed). Oats may help lower cholesterol levels and provide a decent amount of fiber which may help regulate blood sugar levels.

Soup, Pot, Creamy, Cooking, Food, Dish, oatmeal

The first time I tasted this kind of soup, I was amazed how good oatmeal tastes with vegetables. After all, I've only ever eaten oatmeal for breakfast with cinnamon, (nut) milk and raisins. 

The idea of oats in vegetable soup was totally foreign to me. I've made the recipe two different ways; I'll share both ways. The first way is more traditional.  The 2nd recipe is my own crazy, but good, creation. 

Scottish Oatmeal Vegetable Soup -Vegan, GF, and Oil-free

1 cup of diced onion 
1/2 cup of diced celery
1/2 cup of grated carrot
2 cups of chopped cabbage
1/4 cup of chopped curly parsley
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
1/4 teaspoon (or more) of garlic powder 
2 cups of nut milk 
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/8 teaspoon of cracked pepper

Add onion, celery, carrot, parsley, and cabbage to the bottom of a soup pot. Begin to heat vegetables on a medium heat for a minute stirring continuously. Add 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth, and slowly sauté the vegetables for a few minutes on a low heat stirring to avoid burning. Add the turmeric, garlic powder, cracked pepper, nut milk, vegetables broth, water and oats and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook on a medium/low heat for about 8-10 minutes (stirring to prevent sticking) until soup thickens somewhat and vegetables are soft. Turn off heat, wait 5 minutes, stir and serve.

Soup Two 

Judee's Quick Broccoli Oatmeal Soup- Oil-free, GF, and Vegan
The next recipe, I make really quickly. It was originally based on what I had in the house. I used frozen broccoli, rolled oats, vegetable broth, turmeric, water, and garlic powder.  Drumroll----- I eat it for breakfast!!

oatmeal, broccoli, breakfast, soup

Ok, stay with me- it tastes better than it looks and sounds. In fact, I really love it- it's creamy, thick, flavorful, savory, and convenient. Can you trust me on this one ? It's a perfect breakfast for anyone on the starch solution. 

broccoli oatmeal soup

It's a very un-refined soup. I leave the broccoli florets on the large side, and I dont blend the soup- but you could blend it partially if you prefer.

I simply open a package of frozen broccoli florets and put them in a 3 quart soup pot with the other ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or burning, until the broccoli is soft and the oatmeal is cooked-

Then I dig in. This recipe is enough for two but  sometimes I eat it all.

2 cups of frozen broccoli florets
1.5 cups of water
1.5 cups of vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
Optional: few pinches of ground turmeric 
1/2 cup of rolled oats

Add broccoli, water, and vegetable broth to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes until broccoli softens. Add turmeric, garlic powder and rolled oats. (add 1/2 cup more water if needed). Stir and cook for 4 minutes and serve.

Sharing on Weekend Cooking (at The Intrepid Reader and Baker) where anyone can participate by sharing a food related post. 

Friday, November 19, 2021

Butternut Squash Red Lentil Soup- Instant Pot Version

Pumpkin Cream Soup, Meal, Soup, Delicate

Butternut squash soup is a popular fall favorite. Although I have made (link) sweet butternut squash soup recipes in the past using apples or pears, this particular recipe is savory. 

Butternut Squash, Butternut, Squash

Combined with red lentils, butternut squash makes a hearty cool weather soup that is filling, comforting, and delicious. The savory flavors come from tomatoes, peppers, onions, chiles, potatoes and cumin. 

Pumpkin Soup, Soup, Pumpkin, Fall, Plate

Butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are pretty much interchangeable in this soup. All four have similar flavors, with sweet potatoes being the sweetest and having the heaviest texture. 

Background, Food, Fruit, Bowl

Although this recipe could also be made on the stove top, I made this version the Instant Pot. It's fast and easy, especially if you buy pre-cut up butternut squash to avoid having to peel, clean out the seeds, and chop the firm squash (I peeled and chopped).

cubes of butternut squash

I simply added all the ingredients to the Instant Pot, set the pressure cooker for 11 minutes, walked away and came back when I heard the beeper signal. 

butternut squash and excellent peeler
Get yourself a good peeler that peels with ease. I like this one

Are you still holding out getting an Instant Pot? 
 I find that I use mine for everything, and I really depend on it and love it. This is the one I use.

Clean up is a snap too with the IP. Initially I thought it might just be another appliance that sits on the counter taking up space- it's not! I use it almost everyday. 

I make the basics such as rice, vegetables, and soup. No spills on the stove top to clean up and I only need to clean the insert of the IP. 
Of course there are more interesting recipes such as cake, lasagna, etc.

Back to this recipe: 
When the soup was done, I partially pureed it and intentionally left some chunks of vegetables in it. I don't care for the texture of super smooth soup, but you might- so fully puree if you prefer.

My husband and I enjoyed this soup for lunch with some gluten-free crackers. The red lentils added protein to an otherwise vegetable based soup. With generous amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein, this delicious soup is a winner. 

I'm thinking this could be a good choice for Thanksgiving made with butternut squash or pumpkin.

1 cup of chopped onion
2 cups of butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 cups of chopped tomatoes (or see notes at bottom of page)
1 cup of chopped green or red peppers
1 cup of red lentils, washed well 
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (or less to your own taste)
2 cups of diced potatoes
4 cups of vegetable broth
4 cups of water 
1 teaspoon or more to taste of ground cumin
Cracked black pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to the Instant Pot. Cover and set to pressure cook for 11 minutes. When done, allow to sit or about 5-10 minutes and then manually release the steam according to the manufacturers directions. When all the steam has been released, carefully remove the lid and partially blend with an immersion blender. 

Shortcuts for making this soup. 
1. Use pre-cut butternut squash cubes
2. Substitute 2 cups of chunky organic mild or medium salsa for the tomatoes, peppers, and chiles.

I am an affiliate for Amazon and may be compensated if you follow a link from my blog and make a qualified purchase- it is at absolutely no cost to you. I appreciate your support for helping me maintain a free blog.

Shared on Weekend Cooking where anyone can share a food related post. 

Shared on Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, salad, or sammie recipe.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Vegan Gluten-Free Stuffing- Delicious and Easy

Thanksgiving is "stuffing time" and this vegan recipe will knock your socks off. Guaranteed not to stuff you with calories or fat, this delicious stuffing can be eaten as an entree on it's own or used to stuff any kind of vegetables (stuffed peppers, stuffed tomatoes, stuffed acorn squash).

Fall Flowers, Thanksgiving Flowers, Fall

My choice for Thanksgiving is to stuff an acorn squash which makes a lovely presentation for this special meal.

It could be the perfect solution for a vegan or gluten-free family member or guest that you just didn't know how to accommodate for a Thanksgiving entree or side dish.

Stuffing an acorn squash is relatively easy. I make my stuffing in advance,  roast the squash separately, add the cooked mixture to the roasted squash and then roast for about 10 more minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. 

The "stuffing" provides protein from the chickpeas, vegetables, and rice and the seasoning create the traditional Thanksgiving "stuffing" seasoning flavors.

This recipe can be made a day in advance and then served the next day. I haven't tried to freeze it, but if you are good at freezing, it might work.

Thanksgiving, Dinner, Table, Turkey, Holiday

1/2 cup of chunky salsa or chopped tomatoes for sauteeing
1 1/2 cups of chopped onion
1 1/2 cups of chopped celery 
2 cups of sliced mushrooms, any variety
2 cups of cooked chick peas
2 cups of cooked rice ( brown or white)
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts 
1 teaspoon of garlic powder 
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder 
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
1/2 teaspoon of sage 
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Add salsa (or chopped tomatoes) to a wide (deeper-type) skillet and turn on medium. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add celery and mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring. (add a tablespoon or two of water to prevent burning). Add chickpeas, rice, garlic powder, onion powder, sage and thyme. Stir well and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes until hot.

Use as a stuffing for any kind of vegetable or enjoy a portion as an entree with a salad. 

My Notes: 

1. If you don't have and  prefer not to buy thyme and sage just for this recipe, you can substitute poultry seasoning if you have any.

2. I used a bag of frozen mushrooms

3. I've chosen to sauté my vegetables in some salsa. My motto-"Get your calories from food, not oil"- 2 tablespoons of oil, that we usually use for sautéing, has 240 calories, no fiber, and insignificant amounts of vitamins and minerals. - this recipe contains walnuts for fat, which have calories but also fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Stuffed Peppers - Vegan and Gluten Free

stuffed peppers, vegan, gluten-free

Stuffed peppers are impressive to serve, easy to make, and taste divine. Looking to eat less meat?  This vegan recipe will make a filling side dish ( Thanksgiving??) or you can turn it into a meal by adding the optional walnuts and or chickpeas. All of the ingredients that I use are naturally gluten-free too. 

stuffed peppers, gluten-free, vegan, rice

I was happy to find four beautiful large sweet red peppers at a reasonable price. 

red peppers

red peppers, sliced red peppers

I simply cleaned, washed, and sliced the peppers lengthwise and then made the filling separately, added it to the peppers, and cooked the peppers once they were filled. 

vegan stuffing, gluten-free stuffing,

When the filling was done cooking, I filled the pepper halves and cooked everything in a dutch oven pot until the peppers became soft.

vegan stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers are always a treat. They are both appealing and delicious.

My mom frequently made stuffed peppers when I was growing up. We lived in New Jersey where farmer's markets were plentiful and locally grown summer produce was cheap. 

I remember the farmer's market in Trenton, NJ. There were about 20 farmers who brought their fare to the market every weekend from all over the state. We were able to get baskets of local tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and  eggplant at a very reasonable price.

The (link) Trenton Farmer's Market is still operating today on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the summer and maybe winter too. It's expanded from strictly produce. The prices have gone up significantly, but the produce is always fresh and local.

Pepper, Red, Vegetable, Green, Healthy

Here is a write up From the Trenton Farmer's Market Website: 
"New Jersey's oldest continuously running farmers market!"

  • "A farmer-owned cooperative since 1939, and located on Spruce Street in Lawrence since 1948, the Trenton Farmers Market is a beloved farmers market filled with a wide selection of Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables, a smoke shop, Amish meats and poultry, a Polish deli, kielbasa, artisan cheese, baked goods, BBQ, rotisserie chicken, vegan selections, clothing, jewelry, handbags, home goods, essential and CBD oils, hand crafted soaps and body care, vintage sports jerseys, sweets and nuts, donuts, local wine, plus an Amish grocery store.ddddddddd

Stuffed Peppers 

4 large bell peppers of your choice (red, green, yellow, or orange)
1.5 cups white or brown rice, washed and soaked for 20 minutes
1 tablespoon of organic raisins, soaked for 20 minutes (save water)
1 and 1/2  cup of chopped yellow onions
2 cups of chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 cup of sliced mushrooms (any)
2 tbsp tomato paste
Juice of 1 lemon, divided
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) of thyme
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
Optional: 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and or 1 cup of cooked chick peas.

Add onions to a large rimmed skillet and turn heat to medium. Sauté (without oil) for about 3 minutes stirring to prevent burning. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, raisins with water, and juice of half the lemon. Sauté on a medium-low heat for about 5 minutes stirring and to reduce some liquid. Add rice and seasoning, stir to coat rice completely. Add vegetable broth and cook for about 5 minutes covered on a low flame. Fill each pepper half with filling and transfer to a Dutch Oven type of pan. Add water and squeeze juice of the other half of the lemon over the peppers. Cover and cook on low for about 20 minutes until rice is soft.

Thinking about Thanksgiving? 4 best Thanksgiving side dishes 

Vegan Thanksgiving side dishes

See my post for my (link)  4 best Thanksgiving side dishes  (ratatouille, quinoa and mushroom stuffing, cranberry chutney, and spinach pecan/or seed casserole) 4 
Thanksgiving side dishes

My Notes: 

1. Taste the filling before stuffing the peppers and adjust seasoning to taste. 
2.  My mom used to like to eat the stuffed peppers with some warmed up sauerkraut which she warmed up in the Dutch oven with the peppers. 

3. We sometimes pierce the pepper with a fork in a few places to allow the flavors to mingle with the cooking juice while cooking. 

                     How to Order My New Soups Cookbook
                                   Over 80 seasonal Soup Recipes with Inspirational Quotes

Monday, November 1, 2021

In My Kitchen (November)

I'm joining Sherry's IMK (In My Kitchen) "blog share" for the month of November. IMK, as the name implies, is an opportunity for bloggers to give readers a peek into what's going on in their kitchens. 

I've been looking at fall tablescapes on some blogs recently, and love all the beautifully set tables for the season. I started digging out an old set of pottery that I had packed away that I haven't used in many years. They look and feel like fall dishes to me. 

It was my very first set of "good" dishes when I first got married. I wasn't into china. I remembered that the pottery was from a company called  Rocky Mount Pottery from the 1970's, but I couldn't find anything like it online. Anyone recognize or know if it is Rocky Mount? 

The teapot is part of the same set of dishes (Each piece was purchased separately). The raw honey is from a local bee keeper (I know the bee keeper), and the homemade tea is my favorite home brewed recipe that I learned from my friend Vicki- 

(link) Ayurvedic Cardamom and Anise Tea -easy and delicious 

I finally purchased a set of china twenty years later-
I love my pink and black rimmed pattern

We had a good amount of local apples, so I made some homemade (link) apple pie filling that I used as a topping for my acorn squash. It was delicious, and we also ate some by itself without the squash. 

Of course I've got my Soups Cookbook in my kitchen especially now that it is soup weather . 

For November I'm making the Creamy Carrot Dill soup,  the 10 minute Shiitake Mushroom soup, and the Acorn Cardamon soup. Anyone interested in a copy of my book for yourself or a great gift ?  

I also finished up the last of the zucchini from a local farmer's market.  I took out my spiralizer and spiralized the zucchini and some beets, and then lightly sautéed them with some red onions. Delicious (link)  side dish that I make every year in the beginning of fall.

zucchini in a spiralizer

Sprializers are fun to have.
I use mine all summer for zucchini, sweet potato, beets 

spiralized zucchini vegetable
I love my vintage bowl for this colorful and flavorful fall
medley of vegetables

The last pickings of my white cone-shaped hydrangeas turning shades of greens and pinks.

white hydrangeas in a crystal vase