Monday, February 28, 2022

Another Family Emergency

picture of our grandmother

I haven't posted in over a week because we had another family emergency- My husband's 96 year old mother (Nona) died. Although she lived a long life, it was non-the less still a terrible loss especially following the death of my brother- in -law, Lou, just a month ago. 

Airbus, Airplane, Jet, Flight, Airport

The weather when we returned to New Jersey was erratic- warmer the first two days in the upper 50's and then down to upper twenties and low thirties the other days. 

Relaxing, Lounging, Saturday, Cozy

Last week we received a text from my husband's sister saying that Hospice was giving my mother- in-law 24-48 hours. We hopped a plane and arrived to New Jersey before my mother-in -law died. We were able to spend almost the entire day with her on Sunday. She died first thing Monday morning. 

In accordance with Jewish tradition, after the funeral we spent a week sitting Shiva- receiving visits from family and friends and had a nightly prayer service.

I didn't do any real cooking while we were sitting Shiva, other than making a pot of sweet and sour cabbage soup. since our neighbors, friends, and family sent in food platters for the mourners which is a Jewish custom.

sweet and sour cabbage soup - vegan
This is one of my favorite soup recipes

When I made the pot of vegan cabbage soup, I followed the recipe as posted, except that I did not have any raisins or dates that are called for to add sweetness, so I substituted a whole chopped unpeeled apple instead and truthfully it was just as good as the original recipe and easier.

Apples, Fruits, Red Apples

On another day, I did make my vegan spring roll recipe for myself. I often vary the ingredients that I use to fill them based on what I have available in the house. I have gotten much better at rolling them- I guess practice makes perfect.

spring rolls and dipping sauce

I am back in Florida and hope to start cooking and posting recipes again this week. 

1. All of my recipes are naturally gluten-free

Monday, February 14, 2022

Happy Heart Healthy Valentine's Day-

       Heart, Fruit, Isolated, Healthy, Meal
Have aValentine's Day is full of hearts, health, and happiness!

Banner, Header, Health, Nourishment

Learn Something New 

Are you familiar with Dr. Esselstyn? He is a well known surgeon who wrote the book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease

Here is one of his many Youtube Videos. Its so interesting and worth the 16 minute watch. Great tips to help prevent or reverse heart disease.

For more information about healthier eating 
visit these very helpful websites.  

Forks Over Knives Website - a great site for beginning to eat more plant based foods. Lots of articles written by doctors and lots of great plant-based recipes. 

Nutrition Facts - a great website by Dr. Michael Gregor with quick helpful facts about plant-based health. Author of How Not to Die

(Dr. Neal Barnard-President) - author of Reversing Diabetes. 

Food for Thought: If you keep eating the standard American diet composed of processed foods, dairy, meat, chicken, eggs, etc., most likely you will also experience the standard American diseases of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancers, etc.

My Favorite Heart Healthy Immune Boosting Soup


Sunday, February 13, 2022


         Spices, Shelf, Jar, Kitchen, Cooking

It's time to take a peek into my kitchen and see what's happening in the month of February. I'm still in my Florida kitchen.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Heart Healthy Valentine's Soup With Zucchini and Yellow Squash

Love, Spoon, Letters, Heart, Soup

Love and hearts are synonymous with Valentine's Day, and there is no better time than Valentine's Day to eat a heart healthy soup such as this yellow squash and zucchini soup.

 I love to create beautiful tablescapes for Valentine's Day using pink tables-cloths and decorative pink dishes, candles, hearts, love, and flowers. 

Love, Valentine, Valentines Day

So, I've made a heart healthy soup recipe for thisValentine's Day  using yellow squash and zucchini which provides lots of taste and nutrients without lots of fat and calories.- perfect heart healthy food.

Vegetables, Zucchini, Food, Meal

If you care about your health (and of course you do), you've got to re-think what you eat. It's a choice that you need to make everyday as well as on special occasions.

You can also think healthy red soup for this holiday and try my red (Link) Russian Borsht Soup


My Russian Borsht Soup 

zucchini vegan soup

I decided to make this yellow squash and zucchini noodle soup in my Instant Pot, but of course it can be easily made on the stove top. 

Costco sells produce bags that contain 3 organic zucchini and 3 organic yellow squash. I buy them for the zucchini but then always have to figure out what to do with the yellow squash. 

soup, vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, zucchini

Nutritional Value of Yellow Squash and Green Zucchini

Zucchini: zero fat, low carb, low calories, Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, fiber, the carotenoids- lutein and zeaxanthin - which are excellent for the eyes, bones, and heart. 

Zucchini, Noodle, Noodles, Zoodle

Yellow Squash: Low carb, low calorie, no cholesterol, zero fat, good source of beta-carotene, high in fiber, A, B, and C vitamins plus many minerals. It's a heart healthy choice. 

Lots of nutrients in this plant-based heart healthy soup which also meets gluten-free, vegan, and oil-free standards.

I recently purchased a hand held very small zucchini spiralizer that is very easy to use especially for a small amount such as for this soup. 

2 cups of sliced onions (about 1 large onion)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 cups of peeled and diced potatoes
4 cups of yellow squash, sliced
1 cup of chopped or sliced carrots
1 cup of diced or chopped celery
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of cumin (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon of black cracked pepper
2 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon (low sodium organic vegetable) (see notes)
8 cups of water 
2 large bay leaves (remove before eating or blending)
2 cups of spiraled zucchini noodles (zoodles)
1 handful of raw spinach 

Instant Pot Directions:
Add sliced onions to the insert pot of the Instant Pot. Press sauté and allow to saute for 5 minutes while stirring. ( If it begins to stick after a few minutes add a tablespoon or two of water). Add garlic and potatoes and continue to pan sauté for another 3 minutes. Add yellow squash, celery, Better Than Bouillon, carrots, water and garlic powder, onion powder, bay leaves, cumin and pepper. Cancel saute and press to pressure cook for 12 minutes. When done, release steam manually according to the manufacturers instructions. 
When all steam is released, remove the lid and then remove bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, blend somewhat but leave somewhat chunky.  Add spiraled zucchini noodles and spinach which will both wilt in the hot soup.

Stove Top Directions: 
In a large dutch oven type of pot add sliced onions. Pan sauté the onions for 5 minutes stirring frequently and adding a tablespoon or two of water if needed. Add garlic and potatoes and continue to sauté for more 3 minutes. Add yellow squash, celery, Better Than Bouillon,  carrots, water and garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, bay leaves and pepper. 

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until potatoes are tender about 25-30 minutes. When done, remove the lid and the bay leaves. Add zucchini noodles and fresh spinach which will wilt into the soup, retaining more vitamins. 

1. Don't want to use Better Than Bouillon?- substitute 4 cups of any vegetable broth and then add 4 (instead of 8 cups) of water.

2. I pan saute onions and vegetables without oil. You can use oil if you prefer when you saute.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Look Out For Falling Iguanas In Florida

Iguana, Reptile, Zoo, Lizard, Animal

Palm Trees, Wind, Windy, Weather, Nature

As temperatures dipped into the low 40's last weekend in South Florida, hundreds of iguanas literally started falling out of trees- appearing to be dead.

Wildlife, Tropical, Nature, Iguana

However, they were not dead!  
After a little research, I learned that iguanas simply go into a "cold-stunned" dead-like state to protect themselves in cold weather where they lay dormant but are still breathing and their key bodily functions are actually working. 

Lizard, Lazy, Reptile, Iguana, Animal

I live in South Florida, and I walk in a park on the marina each morning. There is a large orange iguana that I always spot in one of the trees each day. I hadn't seen him all week and assumed he died in the frigid temperatures like many other iguanas. (At that point I hadn't done the research) However, sure enough this morning (74 degrees) he was back up in that tree. 

Lizard, Florida, Iguana, Usa, Tropical

Although not indigenous to South Florida, these large iguanas are now very common in South Florida. Initially the green iguana was native of Central and South America and the Caribbean where the weather is warmer and they are closer to the equator. 

These iguanas made their way to Florida via cargo packages in the 1960's and they have multiplied tremendously over the past 60 years. 

Green Iguana, Lizard, Reptile, Animal
A male green iguana can grow to 5 feet long and weigh as much as 17 pounds. They can run fast and will attack or bite if their territory is invaded or provoked  The green iguana usually lives on the average for about 10-15 years in the wild- but can live much longer. 

Green Iguana, Lizard, Animal, Reptile

I see some fairly large iguanas on my walks, especially in some of the older parks. However, they have never come near me. I often see them on ledges sunning themselves. They can be fierce and ugly looking. My experience has been that they ignore me or scurry away if I get too close. Now, that I know they might attack, I'll be keeping my distance.

Gad, Lizard, Iguana, Animals, Nature

Iguanas are vegans. They eat mostly leaves and plants. 

Friday, February 4, 2022

Vegan Burrito with Easy Navy Bean Hummus

Burrito, Tortilla, Food, Mexican

Who wouldn't love a delicious stuffed burrito filled with favorite fillings such as mashed beans, sprouts, chopped lettuce, hummus, chopped, avocado, scallions, and, salsa or something pickled? I make mine  gluten-free and plant-based and we eat them for lunch or dinner.

Traditionally, I might have used black beans or canned vegan refried beans, but I did not have any, so I had to be creative. All I had was some lentils and a can of navy beans and lots of stuff for toppings. 

vegan, gluten-free,  taco bar
Toppings from my Taco/Burrito party a few years ago 

This time, I decided to quickly whip up a creamy navy bean hummus  in my food processor. It was very fast and easy and easy to fill into the burrito.

navy bean dip

Recipe for Easy Creamy Navy Bean Hummus
I simply peeled a clove of garlic and chopped it in my food processor, added a half can of navy beans, some lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of tahini, water, salt, cracked pepper. I also had a cup of well cooked and well drained cauliflower which I added.- (but you don't have to ). I Whizzed all together for a creamy navy bean spread which I used as my base for the burrito. 

Make It (Your Burrito) Your Way
You could use whatever you have available to fill your burrito (mashed beans, chopped sweet peppers, chopped red or green cabbage, red onion, sprouts, etc.) It makes a tasty healthy plant-based lunch that was filling and delicious. A burrito wrap and travels well for the office, school, or shopping spree and this burrito is vegan and gluten-free. 

I topped it with chopped tomato, cubed avocado, lettuce and, chopped scallion. 
My favorite gluten-free (and vegan) wraps are by a brand called Bfree.. I find them at Publix in South Florida. I believe they sell them nationally in perhaps Whole Foods, Wallmart Superstores, etc. They were on the shelf in the wrap display, not in the freezer case. They are a little pricey but really good and low in fat. They have many varieties including Pita Bread!!!

Burrito, Food, Mexican, Tortilla, Dinner

Although unnecessary, adding steamed and drained cauliflower to the hummus lowers the calories and raises the nutritional value.

If you don't have any wraps- make yourself a burrito bowl. 
What is a burrito bowl? Well it contains everything except the wrap.

What's for dinner tonight? Burritos! 

mexican pottery