Saturday, December 31, 2022

Antipasto Pasta Salad With Olives and Artichokes

antipasto pasta dish with olives

 You are going to love this easy to make simple Italian pasta salad, especially if you love olives like I do!

What could be easier or tastier than assembling an antipasto pasta salad using the fixings from a salad bar or your own fixings bar? 

It simply involves cooking up a little pasta, mixing it up with fixings, and enjoying. It's easy, yet very tasty. 

In fact, it is so tasty and appealing, it's good enough to serve to company! 

My favorite add-ins are the marinated artichokes, olives, chickpeas and cherry tomatoes and then an oil-free Italian dressing.

antipasto bowl with artichokes, cucumber, tomato

The concept is easy. Make your pasta and then mix it with whatever you find on the salad bar. Then add Italian dressing ! 

I love pasta and often make it on the spur of the moment. 
Once cooked, these simple additions make the pasta dish into something special.

tomato, basil

The pastabilities are endless for this wonderful plant-based gluten-free meal!

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all of my followers a wonderful happy new year! May all your wishes come true!

1. I use gluten-free pasta
2. This is delicious for a party
3. I toss it in Italian dressing ( I use a oil-free dressing, but use what you like)- this makes it!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Vegan Shakshuka- Plant-Based and Gluten-Free

vegan shakshukah, tofu, vegetables

If you love Middle Eastern cuisine, you'll love this plant-based version of a traditional Israeli favorite- Shakshuka. 

Traditionally, Shakshuka is made with eggs cracked over tomato sauce with onions, garlic and colored bell peppers. When the vegetables begin to cook and the sauce is nice and hot, eggs are poured into the skillet and poached in the tomato and vegetable sauce until done.

vegetables for Shakshookah

Although the origin of the dish is not specifically known, it is thought to have come from Yemen or Tunisia. Regardless, it is a popular dish that can be found in almost any restaurant in Israel. It is eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

Shakshuka, Food, Dish, Cuisine, Meal
my husband still eats shakshuka with eggs

With the popularity of Israeli chefs and restaurant owners such as Yotam Ottolenghi  who owns seven restaurants in London and 
wrote a few bestselling cookbooks, including, Jerusalem, 
people have started to become aware of dishes such as shakshuka. 

Another popular Israeli chef, cookbookauthor, and owner of multiple 
restaurants in Philadelphia, Michael Solomonov (Zahav restaurant) has
 helped popularize Israeli/Middle Eastern cooking as well. 

Vegan Shakshuka!!
My love of Israeli/Middle Eastern cooking takes a small twist since I
 no longer eat eggsI veganized the recipe by substituting tofu for the 
eggs and voila- Tofu Shakshuka was born!!

vegan shakshukah with tofu

A plant-based version of an old recipe! Of course, it is gluten-free, 
easy, and delicious.

Shakshuka is traditionally eaten for breakfast- 

1 cup of sliced onions
1 cup of sliced red, yellow, or green bell peppers
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 jar of chunky organic salsa
2 cups of marinara sauce
1/2 cup of water
1/2 package of firm tofu, sliced into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup of cilantro or parsley
cracked pepper, cumin, paprika to taste 
optional: green or black olives sliced 

I sautéed 2 cups of eggplant in the mixture and 1 cup of mushrooms

Sauté (I sauté in water or broth) the onions and peppers and garlic. 
Add a jar of mild chunky salsa, water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to
simmer, add tofu and cilantro or parsley, seasoning 
and cover for the remaining cooking to give the tofu a 
chance to pick up the flavors.

Serve as is or over cooked brown or white rice.

My Notes: 
1. If you don't want to use a salsa, substitute marinara sauce. 
2. Laura- this is delicious
3. Vicki- you can leave out the garlic 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Air-Fryer Latkes for Hanukkah

latkes, chanukah, potato pancakes, applesauce

Potato Latkes -the traditional fried Chanukah indulgence has met it's match.  I don't eat fried food, but I still wanted latkes on Chanukah! 

If you read my previous blog post yesterday (link), you may remember that I searched the Internet for a oil-free vegan latke. I thought it was impossible to make a good vegan latke (oil-free) but they actually came out quite good! 

Potatoes, Root, Vegetables

I baked them in the air-fryer which probably makes them somewhat crispier than making them in the regular oven, but not sure. 

These untraditional potato latkes tasted great with some organic applesauce that I picked up at Trader Joe's. (Yes, Laura- good one)

They were crispy, tasty, and very easy to make. 

I followed the recipe for Latkes on a blog called Plants Rule- but I took a major shortcut. 

My Grated Potato Shortcut
Instead of grating the potatoes, I bought a bag of grated hash brown potatoes that have nothing in them but grated potatoes. 

I simply allowed the grated potatoes to thaw and then followed the recipe. That was my shortcut, but you could grate your own potatoes if you prefer.

Also, I baked the latkes in my air-fryer until one side became crispy, and then I turned them over and baked them until the other side looked crispy. 

Apple Sauce, Chunky, Applesauce, Bowl

We enjoyed them topped with applesauce

potato pancakes, latkes,

I'm thinking about trying the latke recipe again with a mix of grated carrot, broccoli slaw, and potato. I'll let you know.

I'm letting you know:
This is an update using grated potatoes and grated broccoli and carrot slaw! 

Grated Potato, broccoli slaw, Carrot

Update: I tried making these latkes with a mixture of grated potato and broccoli slaw (which contained some grated carrot). It came out good but was slightly more difficult to handle than the mixture with strictly grated potato. I ended up adding a 1/4 cup of water to the vegetable and potato mixture to help it adhere better. 

I did prefer the all potato latkes. 

Vegetables, Cartoon, Root Vegetables

Wednesday, December 21, 2022


happy Chanukah banner

Chanukah/Hanukkah began on Sunday evening and will last for 8 days! Each night we light the Chanukah candles on a special candelabras called a "Chanukiah" or a "Menorah" to commemorate the miracle that took place many years ago in the temple.  

As we light each candle each night, we are reminded to bring light, peace, and love into our homes, hearts, and into the world. 

Hanukkah, Hanuka, Judaism, Chanukah

What am I cooking? : 
I customarily make potato latkes for the holiday. 
I bought a few jars of organic applesauce at Trader Joe's which we usually use for a topping, but I have not attempted to make the latkes yet since I want them to be oil-free, egg-free and totally vegan. I wasn't sure how to attempt it. So, 

I looked online and found a recipe on a blog called Plants Rule but haven't tried it yet. I'll update when I try make them. 
Meanwhile, he is a link to the recipe : Latkes (oil-free and vegan)

What are we doing for the holiday? 
Since we are snowbirds in Florida, we are not near family. Friday night we are having a pot luck dinner with our Florida friends to celebrate the holiday together. 

There are 6 couples. Each couple will bring his/her Chanukiah and we will all light the candles and sing the prayers together. It should be quite a site with 6 Chanukiah's burning bright. 

Potato Pancakes, Reibekuchen, Potato

Do you remember the singing group, Peter, Paul, and Mary? 
They wrote a song called, "Don't Let The Light Go Out" that is a beautiful Hanukkah song about freedom! It is very inspiring! I found it on Youtube. 

Wishing those who celebrate Chanukah a happy holiday! 

The miracle of Chanukah is that the oil that was needed to light the temple was only enough to last for 1 day and it lasted for a full 8 days keeping the temple well lit! It is a custom to make fried foods using oil on this holiday. 

Since I try not to use oil, I want my latkes to be untraditionally oil-free....

Hanukkah/Chanukah is a Hebrew with a multiple English spellings.. I use them all !!

I don't know why but my blog is not showing up in the feeds again. I wrote to blogger and hope they can fix it again! 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Brown Basmati Rice With Cranberries and Walnuts

Basmati rice and chickpeas

Do you like rice? Have you ever tried Basmati rice? 

Basmati rice makes a simple yet exotic tasting side dish that can be cooked quickly and easily.

Its fragrance is light, its flavor and aroma are unique, and is enhanced with spices, chickpeas, nuts and even dried fruit such as dried cranberries. 

Walnut, Nuts, Fruit, Dried Fruit, Food

Most basmati rice is exported from India or Pakistan where this long grain rice has been cultivated since the 1700's to produce this special aromatic flavor. 

Asian, Brown, Catering, basmati rice

Trust me, your kitchen will smell wonderful after cooking this rice. I find it cooks a little faster than traditional rice and is lighter and fluffier. I've used both the brown basmati rice variety and the white basmati rice variety and enjoy them both in a variety of recipes.

Buffet, Indian, Food, Spices, Lunch
Photo from the Indian buffet at a restaurant

Although very popular in Indian cuisine, I find that this interesting variety of rice can be used for other more Americanized dishes as well. In this easy recipe, I simply cook the rice and then toss in walnuts, cashews, and chickpeas. Yup! That's all folks!

Since I made this dish for a weeknight dinner, I omitted the dried cranberries- but they are festive and pretty looking. My husband is Middle Eastern and his palate tends to gravitate to salty spicy as opposed to a sweet taste in his food. (of course he LOVES his desserts sweet). 

As a bonus, this side dish tastes great hot or at room temperature allowing you to make it in advance.

2 cups of brown basmati rice, washed well 
2 cups of water (double water for stove top cooking)
1 tablespoon Salt
1/2 cup of walnut halves
1 cup of cooked chickpeas from a can or homemade, drained well 
optional : 1/2 cup of dried cranberries.

Directions for Instant Pot
Place rice, salt, and water in the insert liner of the Instant Pot. Secure the lid, press the rice function, and allow to cook. When done cooking, allow to sit for 5 minutes before manually releasing steam according to the manufacturers directions. 

Directions for Stove Top
Follow directions on the bag for 2 cups of rice.

When rice is done, toss with walnuts, cooked chickpeas, and optional dried cranberries.

1. If omitting the dried cranberries, season with cumin and turmeric.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

On Vacation

Taking a week off  for a cruise in the Caribbean ! 
See you soon with lots of food ideas!
Follow me on Instagram where I'lll be posting photos all week

vacation announcement

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Exotic Salad Platter With Mango Dressing

Looking for ways to eat more salad vegetables?

 I eat salad daily, but I do like to mix it up with a variety of vegetables and get away from the common lettuce and tomato salad, and I like to make the salads look appetising.

Food, Healthy, Fruit, Desktop, Sweet, mango

Exotic yet simple, this beautiful salad is a great way to enjoy some of your favorites. I love the presentation of this interesting salad platter. 

The center is tri-colored quinoa, there is a cup and 1/2 of chopped cucumber, a cup of chopped mango, a whole avocado peeled and sliced, sliced cherry tomato and sprouts all on a bed of spicy baby arugula. It is then dressed in a simple mango dressing. 

Avocado, Guacamole, Food, Green, Healthy

This is an example that proves salad doesn't need to be boring. What do you like to add to your salads? What are your favorites? 

Mango salad dressing

Mango Dressing

2 whole mangos, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro or parsley (your choice)
1 small clove of fresh garlic 
1/4 cup of water

Place the garlic in the food processor and process until well chopped. Add remainder of ingredients to make a pulpy dressing. 

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Egyptian Lentils and Rice- Mujadara in the Instant Pot

mujadara, rice, lentils, onions

Got brown lentils? You'll love the exotic, yet simple Middle Eastern plant-based entree that I make quickly and easily in the Instant Pot. Of course it is also gluten-free.

Mujadara has been a favorite meal in my family for generations. It's 
a simple Egyptian lentil and rice casserole that is tasty, nourishing, and easy to make. 

Onion, Slice, Knife, Food, Ingredient

Previously, I've shared a recipe for making mujadara on the stove top; today I'm sharing a recipe for making this delicious dish in the Instant Pot. 

Free photos of Chana

Eaten with a salad and some pita bread, mujadara makes a wonderful balanced plant-based meal that is high in protein, fiber and nutrients. It's a great cost-conscious meal for any weeknight dinner and even when serving guests.

mujadara, chopped tomatoes, lentils, rice

I topped it with caramelized onion and freshly chopped cilantro or parsley, spiced with cumin and garlic and decorated with chopped tomato. 

Are you ready to dig in?  

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 cups of soaked lentils (soak lentils overnight and drain)
2 cups of white rice, washed well
4 cups of water
1 cup of freshly chopped cilantro
Salt, cracked pepper, and cumin to taste
1/2 cup of freshly chopped cilantro
2 bay large leaves (remove before serving)

2 cups of onion slices, sautéed and caramelized
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro (additional from the recipe)
1 teaspoon of sesame seeds
1 cup of chopped tomato

Place garlic in the insert liner of the Instant Pot. Stir until soft. when the garlic begins to stick, add 2 teaspoons of water and stir for a
minute. Add lentils, rice , and coriander, water and seasonings. Mix and Secure lid. Set to pressure cook on the rice setting. When done, allow to sit for 10 minutes and then release the pressure. When all pressure is released, remove lid and gently place into a serving dish. (do not stir as it will be sticky and get too mushy.) 

Once it is in the serving dish, add the toppings- caramelized onions, fresh cilantro, sesame seeds, and chopped tomato).

Thursday, December 1, 2022

What's IN MY KITCHEN for December?

It's December and it's time to take a peek INTO MY KITCHEN and see what I'm up to.

Ninja air fryer

I have a new air-fryer!! Why? I am sad to share that my previous beautiful (expensive) Ninja air-fryer with fold up features broke when accidentally dropped. The Inside glass tubes cracked, fell, and were hanging. I had to debate whether to re-invest in a new one or do without.  10 minutes later, I was ordering the same air-fryer that I had before on Cyber Monday sales! So now I have a new air-fryer. 

falafel balls

I love falafel but don't love to fry! I found these absolutely delicious falafel balls in the freezer section of a near-by store in Florida. It is made by a company called, "Chef Tzali." I suspect it might be easiest to find in stores that carry kosher items such as the Shop-rite in Mercer Mall in NJ. They are gluten-free and vegan which is PERFECT for me. In addition, 3 balls are only 70 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. I microwave 3 of them for 1 minute and they taste great!! 

Hanukkah candles in the sand
My brother-in-law made this Hanukkah Menora for Florida using mini beach chairs, sand, and a Chanukah plate

The first night of Hanukah is December 18 this year. I'm starting to get out the Chanukah decorations.

This is a lovely glass tray with a beautiful message- It's uplifting and represents the essence of the Chanukah holiday.

Chanukah glass tray,

I found this platter at Home-Goods this year.  
I'll use it to serve latkes (potato pancakes). They had 4 of them when I purchased but I went back the next day to get another one for a gift- all gone!!

Hanukkah platter with beautiful decorations

I made my mother-in-laws Egyptian Bamia (baby okra) (recipe link)  We usually eat it with rice. I use frozen baby okra.

baby okra in tomato sauce, bamia

My sister-in-law made a beautiful salad for Thanksgiving. It contained arugula, pear, blueberries, and sliced nuts and vegan feta cheese. 

pear and blueberry salad with arugula

Sharing this post at Sherry's In My Kitchen linky where anyone can share by following simple directions at the beginning of every month. 

My Notes: 
1. I've seen the word Hanukkah/Chanukah spelled in multiple ways. I've used both ways in this post. I like using the CH which is more authentic to the Hebrew pronunciation with a guttural CH sound not like in channel-

2. Did I like the vegan feta? Didn't taste like the real thing to me. 

3. I haven't opened my air-fryer yet. Still deciding whether I need it- because it takes up so much room on my counter and my kitchen in Florida is small. However, I do love using it.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Easiest Mexican Black Bean Dip Made in Minutes

black bean dip and a bowl of sliced yellow peppers

With the holidays and holiday parties just around the corner, you will be happy to have this quick and easy guilt-free Mexican black bean dip on hand that can be made last minute and in minutes to help spread the cheer! Tired of hummus? 

Friday, November 25, 2022

Vegan Green Bean Soup Made With Frozen Green Beans

Have you ever heard of green bean soup? 

green bean vegetable soup, vegan soup

From my research, it seems that this soup is of German origin and is called Grüne Bohnen Suppe which translates to Green Bean Soup. 
This is my vegan version of this delicious soup.

Monday, November 21, 2022

4 Amazing Thanksgiving Salads

Wilted kale, roasted squash, pomegranate, red onion and greens make an interesting salad that will dazzle your guests. 

Thanksgiving Acorn Squash Salad

I shared this salad recently but it is so good and so perfect for Thanksgiving that I wanted to share it for anyone who missed it. 

carrot salad , cranberries, walnuts

This is a nice light tomato salad for the holiday made with tomatoes, red onions, and olives. Yum

Tomato salad with olives and red onions

Quinoa Tabouleh Salad
A wonderful way to combine quinoa with vegetables. Light, easy to serve since it doesn't need to be warmed up. 

Pan, Quinoa, Multicoloured, Vegetables

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Instant Pot Black Friday Sales and Recipes

Instant Pot 6 quart (affiliate link) is by far the tool that I use the most in the kitchen. There was a very short learning curve which involved going on Youtube and watching a short video or I could have read the instructions but I was too lazy. 

After using the pot just ONCE , I felt like a pro and started using it for steaming vegetables, making potatoes, quinoa, rice, beans, and spaghetti and all kinds of pasta, soups because I'm vegan. But you can certainly cook roasts, chicken, firs and meat in it!  You have no idea what a great tool it is until you actually start using it. 

I could be making even more, but I am not adventurous enough to make baked goods in it or make gourmet foods- but many people do. 

An easy recipe for the Instant Pot is Broccoli soup (link to the recipe) - an very nourishing and delicious way to eat broccoli. 

I also make my own creamy chickpeas in the Instant Pot (link to the recipe). It is so easy. You don't even have to soak the beans overnight if you don't want to, but for better digestibility I often do. Cans are in aluminum which get into your system.

Quinoa made in the Instant Pot

I make quinoa in Instant Pot  (link to the recipe) in just 2 minutes cooking time and it comes out light and fluffy. Just the way we like it. The Instant Pot is so easy to clean that I would not want to cook it any other way.

Table Setting, Place Setting, Setting

For couples or families, trust me, it will not feel like just an extra appliance on your shelf. It will be a fabulous tool for weeknight cooking and when entertaining.

Who do you know who love an Instant Pot for the holidays? 
Now is the time to get one while it is on sale for Black Friday.
Instant Pot 6 quart (affiliate link to take a look on Amazon)

Noodles, Pasta, Spaghetti, Meal, Italian, Having Lunch

Spaghetti (or any pasta) link to the recipe in the Instant is one of my favorite ways to make it. You cook in directly in the sauce, so no need to boil water, drain, and then toss. No Mess!!! and it is delcious.

If you have not purchased an Instant Pot you might want to look into during Black Friday Sales. 
Instant Pot 6 quart (affiliate link to the Amazon sale)  is on sale for $79.00 which is a good buy. I've had mine for 5 years now and it still works great. It's worth having one. 

Great advantages
It is VERY easy to clean, it doesn't spill over, you can set it and leave it and it will automatically shut off and still keep food warm. I use it for everything. Oh it doesn't heat up the kitchen and if your stove burners are full on Thanksgiving or another holiday, you've to another burner to cook.

It comes in 3 quart, 6 quart and 8 quart. 

I have the 6 quart and the 8 quart that I use all the time ( I am a snow bird and have one at each location).

Instant Pot 6 quart (affiliate link to look at the Instant Pot) is on sale right not for Black Friday Sales. Go Take a Look


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