Monday, June 26, 2023

Quick Asian Lunch Idea For One

vegan noodle soup with tofu and kale

When do I make this quick and easy lunch for one? 
Usually when I'm in a rush, I do not feel like cooking, or when I'm lazy or tired! In just minutes, I am able to make my quick and delicious lunch idea for one.

It's one of my easiest and favorite lunches! 

Friday, June 23, 2023

A Day In Barcelona

man on entrance to a cruise ship

Although I have shared bits of pieces of details of our recent vacation in two previous posts, in this post I will be sharing our evening and then full day in Barcelona before we joined the cruise ship: 

(For the best view, read this blog post on my blog-not your phone (

Day 1 of our adventure started when we flew to Barcelona from Miami (our winter home) to begin our 5 week dream vacation to the French Riviera, Italian Riviera, and Israel. 

Barcelona, tourist

The cruise ship was departing from Barcelona, so we flew in a day earlier to enjoy an afternoon, evening, and then a good part of the next day in Barcelona before boarding the Celebrity Reflection at 3:00 for a 16 day cruise of the Mediterranean. 

Our charming little hotel, "Hotel Barcelona Catedral," was located in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona perpendicular to the famous Cathedral, Placa del Rei, in Las Ramblas and was adjacent to many old narrow stone streets and buildings lined with modern eateries and interesting stores. 

Cathedral in Barcelona
The Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter ( not Familia)

Quaint, modest, and clean, the Hotel Catedral was a great choice because it was in walking distance through the old Gothic Quarter to the heart of the city, Plaça de Catalunya, the Palau de la Música concert hall, the Picasso Museum, and Santa María del Mar. 

Barcelona Gothic Quarter

Although we had been to Barcelona before, we decided to take a hop on hop off bus to get an overview of the sights of the city with a guided tour in English. 

Barcelona, Gaudi

We spent 3 hours touring (but not going inside ) the main sites (we had already viewed and went inside La familia and the other Gaudi sites on our last trip).

 After the tour, we spent the remainder of the first day/evening on foot checking out the La Ramblas area and of course having dinner. 

One of the highlights was the "Mercat De La Boqueria" which is world famous. It is a market with over 200 vendors who share some of the  most amazing local and imported gastronomic delicacies. It is quite a market and a site not to miss in Barcelona!

market in Barcelona

    • Mercat De La Boqueria

Being extremely tired at this point, we chose to eat dinner in a restaurant directly across the street from our hotel. To my surprise it turned out to be a Vietnamese restaurant which actually worked perfectly for me because their menu offered plenty of vegan and gluten free choices. 

The decor of the restaurant was festive, the wait staff attentive, and the food was very good. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the restaurant.

Vietnamese restaurant, Barcelona

Vietnamese restaurant in Barcelona
The decor of the restaurant 

I ended up ordering a hot rice noodle, tofu, and vegetable dish that I enjoyed. Our group of four shared some edamame and summer roll appetizers (forgot to mention we had two other friends with us). 

restaurant , dinner, Barcelona

At 10:00 PM, the large courtyard in front of the Barcelona Cathedral was lined with restaurants and at dark became a gathering place for musicians, magicians, and other street entertainers. It provided for an enjoyable evening of music, singing, and some dancing.

We spent over 2 hours listening to a large (about 80 people) volunteer church choir, made up of locals who seemed to come and go as they pleased, sing amazing songs and entertain us with dancing and stories. 

Their performance went on for many hours and it was hard to pull ourselves away at midnight- but tomorrow was another day! (they also passed around the hat for money for the church? or perhaps to cover their expenses? ) 

statue in Barcelona
Statue of Christopher Columbus  built in 1888 for the World's Fair. The monument is Called "Monument a Colon" in Spanish. Located in La Ramblas, it is supposed to be the location of where Columbus arrived on his return to Spain from  his famous voyage to America.

The 2nd day we explored the area, visited the Apple store to replace my phone charger which would not work, and shopped in a wonderful reasonable store called  "Lefties". 

For dinner, we found many restaurants that offered "Vegetarian Paella" - which was a more authentic choice for dinner in Barcelona than the dinner we ate the evening before. 

The weather was moderate (about 70 degrees) which made it extremely pleasant to tour the city.

barceona, shopping

I have to elaborate about "Lefties" the department store I mentioned earlier. 
It is a chain store in Barcelona that sells clothing. The three story department store offers stylish everyday wear for kids, women, and men, at very reasonable prices. 

dinner , man,
My husband wearing his windbreaker from four years ago
We knew about Lefties because we had shopped there four years ago on our previous visit to Barcelona.  My husband and I had purchased matching yellow, white, and blue hooded well-made windbreakers for $14 dollars each that we wear all the time and they still look brand new! The quality is great!

What a system ! All of the garments that people try on as well as the hangers and accessories go down a Shute and there is no accumulation of clothing in the dressing rooms. I have not seen this system in the US.

The store does something unique! When you try on clothing, if you are not buying it, you put it down a chute that is in your private dressing stall- end of clothing; end of mess!

Also, when you go to check out, you simply lay everything on the counter and everything automatically rings up by itself in seconds!! Then you insert your credit card- no employees!

 I bought two 100% cotton button down shirts ($6 Euro each) and two pairs of light comfortable travel pants ($8.90 Euro each). My husband bought 3 really nice peach/light green/ light blue/ sherbet colored t-shirts for $5 Euro each. We wore them all during our two weeks cruising the Mediterranean. I'll take a pic wearing them for another post.

cruise ship

Finally, we took a cab to the cruise ship and since we pre-boarded on line, we were approved to board within 10 minutes of arrival. 

snacks, ice cream, coffee

What did we do first? Grab a quick snack on the cruise ship before unpacking. 

Monday, June 19, 2023

Muffin Tin Entertaining for Snacks, Crudités, and Dips

muffin tin filled with snacks

Muffin tins are practical and can be used for more than just baking muffins. They are also ideal for serving and entertaining! 
I'm sharing lots of ideas in this post! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Hummus with Salsa and Grilled Eggplant- Bat Yam, Israel

hummus with salsa and eggplant

Hummus is a staple in Israel, and Israelis have found many interesting delicious ways to serve it. Basic hummus is vegan and gluten-free and provides a good deal of nutrients. This version adds some spice, color, and interest to an otherwise simple dip. 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Back From Vacation

I'm back from our 5 week vacation:  
We spent two weeks on a Mediterranean Cruise which had daily stops in ports in France, Italy and Spain, then we spent 3 days in Rome, and then flew to Israel for 2 weeks to visit family. 

It was a 13 hour flight from Tel Aviv to Miami so I'm totally jet-lagged and my post shows it. The photos do not match the story.
I promise to organize my photos for the next post!! 

vacationing couple

We sailed on Celebrity Reflection cruise ship for a Meditteranean cruise  and was very pleased with the ship, the food, and the entertainment. 

hummus with salsa and eggplant
Food in Israel - hummus with salsa and grilled eggplant ( Recipe to follow)

The cruise accommodated my special eating needs which included a strictly gluten-free diet along with my vegan diet (skip if you are not into what I was able to eat gluten-free and vegan)

What did I eat? 


I chose to go to the breakfast buffet most mornings where there was a gluten free section with bread, rolls, and muffins. I usually took the bread, got some sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and capers. I asked for guacamole to spread on my bread and enjoyed the meal with a cup of dcaf cappuccino made with almond milk. 

Picnic in Israel on the way to Sefat an ancient town in Israel. My cousin packed the meal.


Most of the time, we were out touring during lunch time and usually skipped lunch. 
However, when we would return to the ship around 4:00, there was always salad available and gluten-free pizza, GF bread, fruit, hummus, etc. 

stuffed peppers, rice, vegan
Vegan stuffed peppers-  ( easy recipe to follow) from my sister in law


We always ate in the dining room and I pre-ordered my meal the evening before. We requested anytime dining and  the computer always had my order. 

street vendor in Jerusalem, breads
On the streets of Jerusalem in the old city. A peddler selling bread! Not gluten free!

Indian recipes, Italian recipes, and my favorite dinner was dish of tofu, rice, and vegetables all tossed together. It was so good, I ordered it multiple times. There was also gluten free bread at each meal as well as wine and gluten free dessert.

vegan stuffed grape leaves
My cousin in Israel made these delicious vegan stuffed grape leaves

This is how it worked for dinner. The night before, I filled out a menu of what I wanted for the next evening from a list of choices. The Italian spaghetti dinners were just ok because I did care for the sauce- it reminded me of Campbell's soup. 

pastries, Middle East
 More pastries on the streets of Jerusalem - not gluten free- The best place for gluten free was in Italy .

In Israel, we mostly ate in the house of relatives. My husband has 50 (maybe more) first cousins in Israel as well as 3 aunts. We stayed with relatives in Tel Aviv / Bat Yam area,  Jerusalem, Rishon and visited relatives in Sefat and Haifa. We stayed in a hotel in Tiberias with my husband's sister and her married children and grandchildren. 

I  was not "gluten-ized" until I ate in a restaurant in Israel. We were on the beach in Bat Yam (near Tel Aviv) and decided to eat in a very charming beach front restaurant. 

I asked the waiter if anything was gluten -free. 
He went into the kitchen and returned saying that the kitchen said adamantly not to eat anything on the menu because of cross contamination. 

But I thought. What could be in a plain salad? 
So I ate a salad and the was the first time in all of the travels that I had severe stomach pains and "Shil-Shul" (Hebrew for diarrhea) for about 2 hours- not fun!!! I should have listened!! Europe and Israel take gluten-free very seriously.