Garden Herbs and Baked Southwestern Sweet Potato Cakes

Sweet potatoes are full of wonderful vitamins, are alkaline and help reduce blood sugar.

You can enjoy them several times a week cooked in various ways.  They're versatile enough to be in a stew, curry, veggie patty, side dish or served on their own or in a dessert. I modified this recipe I found online.

Baked Southwestern Sweet Potato Cakes

  • 2 organic Sweet Potatoes, halved
  • 2 c. cooked organic Black Beans, drained
  • 2 cloves organic Garlic, minced
  • 3 organic Spring Onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbs. organic Red Onion, diced
  • 2 Tbs. organic Parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. organic Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • ½ tsp. Cumin
  • ½ tsp. Chili powder
  • ½ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh organic Thyme, minced or ¼ tsp. dry
  • 2 tsp. fresh Lime Juice
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • Avocado or Olive oil for baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Steam sweet potatoes in their skin, covered, until soft. Do not boil, as they lose flavor and will be too mushy.

Remove potatoes from pot, peel and mash in a medium bowl.

Place 1/2 the beans in food processor and blend.

Add all the beans to the potatoes.  Add the garlic, onions, parsley, cilantro, and spices. Stir together to combine.

Stir in the lime juice, zest.

Form mixture into 8 patties, just under 1/2" thick.

Southwestern Style Sweet Potato Cakes 1
Southwestern Style Sweet Potato Cakes 1

Place patties on oiled baking sheet. Brush tops lightly with olive oil.

Bake for 12 minutes, flip carefully and bake for another 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Southwestern Style Sweet Potato Cakes 3
Southwestern Style Sweet Potato Cakes 3

Serve topped with a fresh salsa (tomatoes, onions, cilantro, cucumber, lime or lemon juice and 2 Tbs. plain almond or coconut yogurt), or enjoy in a high-fiber gluten-free bun with condiments.

~ Cheers! ♥

Pink Coconut-Banana Cream Squares with Chocolate Chips

Food coloring lives on a very high shelf of my cupboard, awaiting its once a year service as dye for boiled eggs on Easter. Natural, edible, safe food-based coloring is thankfully available, but I enjoy making my own too.

I had some beet juice left from steaming beets, and decided to experiment with flavors that might soften or mask the beet flavor in a dessert.  I am happy to say, I was successful!  This pretty treat is super simple, actually good for you... in all ways. :)

Pink Coconut Banana Cream Squares1
Pink Coconut Banana Cream Squares1

Pink Coconut-Banana Cream Squares

  • 1 can Coconut Cream (not milk), refrigerated overnight
  • 1 organic Banana, mashed
  • 2 - 3 Tbs. liquid from boiling organic Beets
  • 2 Tbs. Psyllium Husk (don't skip this, if unavailable use freshly ground flax seeds)
  • 1 Tbs. Apple Pectin (or Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Orange Blossom Water (in ethnic section of market)
  • 1/2 c. Dark Chocolate Chips (or Carob chips for Vegan)
  • Blueberries or Raspberries for topping

Drain liquid from coconut cream.

Place cream in mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 6 - 7 minutes.

Add mashed banana, and the rest of the ingredients.  Beat for 2 more minutes until well mixed.

Stir in Chocolate chips.

Pour into round glass pie shells, or a rectangular glass dish. (I don't recommend using metal pans for this dessert.)

Top with berries, cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Cut into square and serve with more berries if desired.

Cheers! ♥

Kale and Lentil Salad

Here is a salad that I accidentally created today when I was trying to finish off some leftovers... it turned out to be amazingly Delicioso! Yesterday I cooked some sprouted lentils with onions as a quick version of Mjaddara(The Lebanese Lentil Mash dish).  The sprouted version hold their shape much better, so not really as creamy as Mjaddara, but still very tasty.

Here is that recipe.

1. Hoda's Sprouted Lentils with Onion

  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small organic white Onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c. organic brown Rice
  • 1-1/2 c. hot Green Tea (or boiling water)
  • 2 c. sprouted organic Lentils
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

Place medium size pot over med heat for 1 minute.  Add onions and saute for 2 minutes stirring occasionally, until lightly brown on edges.

Turn heat to med-low.  Add olive oil and rice, stirring for another 2 minutes. Add water, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

Add lentils and salt, stirring to mix. Cover and simmer another 10 - 15 minutes, until rice is done and the water absorbed.  You may need to add a little more water after adding lentils if too dry.  There should be enough water at that point to soak but not cover the lentils.

Taste, and adjust salt seasoning.

Sprouted lentils
Sprouted lentils

So this was what I added to my Kale salad which had the following ingredients:

2. Kale, Tomato and Parsley Salad

  • 3 c. organic Kale, chopped
  • 1 organic Tomato, chopped
  • 2 organic Green Onions, chopped
  • 1 c. chopped organic Parsley
  • 1/4 c. chopped organic Mint
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 3 Tbs. extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt

Mix it all together.

Combine the two Salads in any ratio that pleases you.

P.S. I ate the combo before I had a chance to take a Photo!  Will update next time I make this. ♥  :)

Lentils and Mung Beans - the Whole Story

There are some days when I get an awfully strong craving for Indian spices. I either want to have a curried dish, or a lentil dish... those are the two competitors for my attention. My favorite dish when I was a girl, is called Mjaddara, a 'peasant' type winter dish popular in the villages of Lebanon.  It's basically a lentil/rice/onion mash that is sooo tasty, sooo comforting and sooo healthy!  That's THREE Soooo's!!  :) Mom was an expert Mjaddara maker, like her father.

According to Choosemyplate.gov...

Health Properties

"Aside from their slight differences in calorie, carb and protein values, red and French lentils have very similar health benefits. Both are protein-rich, plant-based foods, which gives them a unique set of positive nutritional properties.

mung bean sprouts 1
mung bean sprouts 1

According to ChooseMyPlate.gov: low-fat proteins such as lentils are essential for growing, building, repairing and maimaintaining tissues in blood, skin, bone and muscle cells.

Protein is also a particularly satiating nutrient and may be able to keep you full for longer than carb- or fat-rich foods, which can be important if you’re watching your weight. Both red and French lentils are high in dietary fiber, which means they can improve digestive health and potentially lower levels of blood cholesterol and blood sugar."

Mung beans are low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Folate, Copper and Manganese.

To find out if a carb food you are about to buy (bread, crackers, pasta, etc..) is a healthy choice do the following:

Add a zero to the total grams of fiber per serving, so 2g becomes 20.  Compare it to the total grams of Carbs per serving.  The fiber number should be MORE than the total Carbohydrates number.  This means if a product has 20g of Carbs and 1g of Fiber (i.e. 10) Then put it back on the shelf!There is not enough fiber to slow down the conversion of the carbs into glucose, and it will spike your blood sugar.  These spikes that occur all day long are what predispose us to Diabetes and other diseases.  Aim for at least 1.5 times the Fiber to Carbs.

1 cup of cookedMung beans has 2 grams of Fiber vs. 6 grams of Carbs.  That's 20 vs 6! A very good ratio.

1 cup of Lentils have 16 grams of Fiber vs. 40 grams of Carb...160 to 40!  An Excellent ratio.

And of course we know that a diet high in fiber can help prevent colon and breast cancer. So eat your beans!

I adapted this recipe to include both lentils and mung beans.

Sprouted Lentils and Mung Beans, Indian Style

  • 2 c. sprouted organic brown Lentils
  • 1/2 c. organic Mung Beans (soaked overnight)
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 c. organic Onion, chopped
  • 1 green organic Chili Pepper (I use Serrano)
  • A 1-inch piece of organic Ginger
  • 1 Tbs. organic Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Coriander powder
  • 3/4 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • 1-1-1/2 c. hot Water

Heat a medium stainless steel pot over medium heat for 1 minute.  Add oil and wait another 1 minute.

Add onion and chili pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Add ginger and cilantro, stirring for 1 minute.

Add beans and spices and 1 cup hot water, stir, cover and simmer over medium-low for 15 minutes.

Press one of the beans between your fingers to make sure they are done, and add the last 1/2 c. of hot water if too dry.

Adjust seasoning, and serve hot or at room temperature.

lentils_Indian style
lentils_Indian style

~ Cheers! ♥

Haight Street and Roasted Vegetables with Tea Leaves

I had an appointment with my anthroposophic Doc in San Francisco yesterday.  I've been having vertigo that lasts for a few seconds when I lay down, and inner ear congestion, so I sought her help.  She is an amazing woman with more accomplishments than I can ever remember. 

haight street SF
haight street SF

J and I drove in 4 hours early since he had a meeting on Haight Street with contractors bidding for a remodel on a new building his boss purchased to turn into another Music store.  I hadn't been to Haight in a number of years.  My niece and I used to go to a Middle Eastern restaurant across from the building where J has his appointment, to enjoy the food and belly dance to live music.

Everyone knows that one aspect of San Francisco's charm is the wonderful Victorian architecture.  The intricate designs and eye-catching colors never cease to please me.

red victorian SF haight
red victorian SF haight

Haight Street is best known as the principal street in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. The Haight-Ashbury district is famous for its role as a center of the 1960s hippie movement. College and high-school students began streaming into the Haight during the spring break of 1967.

Hunter S. Thompson labeled the district "Hashbury" in The New York Times Magazine, and the activities in the area were reported almost daily.  I'm sure we all remember the Summer of Love, the social phenomenon in the summer of 1967, when about 100,000 people converged on the Haight-Ashbury triggering a major cultural and political shift.

The 'Peace Cafe' located in the Red Victorian, is neighbor to a Vintage Costume and Rental store.  We got ourselves something to drink from a cafe across the street, decorated with huge paintings on canvas based on "The Wind in the Willows".

Back at home, I decided to roast some veggies, bake some Cod filet with ginger and green onions, and steam Butternut squash with a hint of coconut oil, salt and pepper. For a salad a Slaw with Red and Napa Cabbage.

Roasted Rainbow Vegetables

8 Servings

~I only use veggies that are Organic.

  • 1 cup chopped Red Cabbage
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped Onion
  • 3 Zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced 3/4" thick
  • 3 Carrots, sliced 3/4" thick
  • 1/2 large Eggplant, cut in chunks
  • 2 cups Butternut Squash, cut in bite size chunks
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes, cut in bite size chunks
  • 7 -10 cloves Garlic, halved if large
  • 2 Tbs. Green Tea leaves (reserved from making tea, or soaked)
  • 2 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Caraway Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425ºF ; 220ºC.

Combine veggies in a large bowl with tea leaves. Add Olive oil and toss to coat thoroughly.

Sprinkle with Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Caraway and Cayenne. Toss again until evenly coated with the spices.

Spoon Veggies into a large ceramic or glass baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with Coconut or Olive oil.

Roast veggies for 30 minutes, toss them with spatula and continue to roast for another 10-15 minutes or until carrots are tender.

veggies roasted
veggies roasted

Adjust seasoning, and serve hot.

~ Bon Apetit! ♥

The King of Vegetables and My Eggplant Caponata

As a child, eggplants were my least favorite vegetable, much to my mother's disappointment.  The only exception was Baba Ghannouj, a must at every Lebanese appetizer table.
You see, in the Middle East, the Eggplant is referred to as the King of Stuffed Vegetables due to its versatility and the large number recipes that feature this violet beauty.
When I was in my preteen years, I decided that every couple of weeks or so I would force my self to eat one food item that I did not like. When the eggplant's turn came around, it took a while, but slowly I grew to love that little bit of creamy bitterness it offers.  Soon my favorite recipes included 4 eggplant dishes... 1) Eggplant rounds pan-fried in olive oil and topped with a Spicy Tomato-Onion medley; 2) Eggplant stuffed with Rice, Lamb, Onions, Tomatoes and Spices; 3) Eggplant-Beef boats with Pine Nuts; and 4) Baba Ghannouj.
The recipe below calls for the Caponata to be served cold as an appetizer.  Since it is versatile, I have heated it up and spooned it over hot whole wheat couscous that has been cooked in chicken or vegetable broth, for a wonderful meal!

Recipe

Serves @ 10 as an appetizer
  • 2 lbs. organic Eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 c. organic White Onion, small diced
  • ½ c. organic Bell Pepper, small diced
  • 2 Tbs. Garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 c. organic Tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and small diced)
  • ¼ c. organic Basil, fresh chopped
  • 2 Tbs. Sherry Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. organic Lemon, squeezed
  • 1 packet Stevia
  • 1 small Green Chili, minced (opt.)
  • ¼ c. Green Olives, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1 Head of Green leaf Lettuce
Sauté diced eggplant in olive oil until lightly browned; removed from pan. In the same pan, sauté onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic for 2 minutes (vegetables should still have some texture, and garlic should not brown). Mix everything else together in a large bowl with the cooked vegetables.
Refrigerate overnight.
Serve a large scoop of pate over a bed of lettuce and surround with toasted whole wheat pita bread triangles, or scoop onto whole wheat Tuscan bread that has a light smear of Vegenaise.

~ Buon Apetito!

Kale Medley Wraps

Kale and Greens

medley bags from Trader Joe (baby kale, baby chard, baby spinach)  and decided to create an Asian Style wrap filling using that and a few other ingredients.

I had a cup of soaked and sprouted mung beans in the fridge, and about a cup of sprouted lentils that I cooked with green tea, onion, cumin, salt and pepper. So here's what was born from this starter.

Kale seasoning
Kale seasoning

Kale, Greens and Bean Filling

  • 5-6 cups mixed organic Greens (Kale, Chard, Spinach, Collards, Watercress, etc..)
  • 2 tsp.organic  extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 organic White onion, sliced thin
  • 1 c. organic Carrots, shredded
  • 1 c. cooked sprouted Lentils (cook in broth or green tea and spices to give it flavor)
  • 1 c. Mung Beans, soaked overnight till sprouted
  • 1/4 c. Water or Vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs. organic Ginger, chopped
  • 3 Tbs. Tamari Sauce (Gluten Free)
  • 3 Tbs. Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 packet Stevia
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

Pour olive oil into a large sauté pan over medium heat, for 1 minute. Tilt pan to spread oil a little. Add onions and saute for 2 minutes, then add greens and carrots.

Stir for 5 -6 minutes or until greens turn bright.

carrot onion kale saute
carrot onion kale saute

Add Mung beans, lentils and water. Stir to mix.  When it starts to simmer, turn heat to Low, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Kale burrito filling 3
Kale burrito filling 3

Add ginger, and all seasonings.

kale saute _ginger
kale saute _ginger

Stir well, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender. Add a little more water if necessary.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Kale burrito filling 4
Kale burrito filling 4

Serve wrapped in wilted Chard leaf, whole grain Tortilla, or open face on whole wheat Pita bread. May also be served on top of wild rice or mixed in with buckwheat noodles!

 Bon Apetit!

Black Bean Brownies - Revisited!

On June 5th I re-blogged the Black Beauty recipe from Chronicles of Passion.  I said that I would post the results after I tweaked the recipe to fit in with our Anti-Cancer Diet.

Well, I baked up a batch last week, and below is the end result presented in photo and words.

black bean brownies
black bean brownies

Here is the recipe with my modifications

.

maple syrup Josephs
maple syrup Josephs
  • 1 c. organic Black beans, drained
  • 1 Banana, cut into 5 pieces
  • 1/4 c. organic Zucchini, shredded
  • 1 generous tsp. pure Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup organic Raw Cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbs. Xylitol or Chicory Root powder
  • 3 Tbs. pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbs. brewed Green Tea or Water
  • 1/4 c. organic Oat Flour
  • Toasted Pecans (opt.)

Then I followed the recipe instructions for the most part.

Preheat oven to 375º F. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Place beans and banana in food processor and pulse until completely mashed.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until combined, scraping often.

black bean brownies 4
black bean brownies 4

Pour batter into pan, spreading it evenly, and push pecan pieces into batter.

black bean brownies raw
black bean brownies raw

Place pan on middle rack of oven.

Bake for 22-27 minutes, or until edges curl away from paper. The brownies may seem a little gooey, but they harden as they cool. Let cool on a rack and slice into squares.

I spread a little sugar-free (no artificial sweeteners) raspberry jam on my slice.. and oh my gosh.. it was amazing.  By the time J and I finished tasting them, 1/3 of the pan was gone!

I liked them cold out of the fridge the next day.

Do try this, and tell me what you think!

Make it Fruity

I'm sifting through my Hot Weather recipes to gather them for reference in the upcoming weeks of Summer.  

Fruit is the main feature in a number of tasty meals I am planning for many reasons... its nutrition content, its ease of preparation, its tastiness and its cooling effect, not to mention the gorgeous colors it brings to our table.

I replaced the dairy I used to use with Tofu here.  It's possible to serve this without the topping, and just sprinkling the mint on the fruit.  Watermelon and grapes have high sugar content, so don't overdo those two fruits.  Also make sure you bananas are firm and a little on the green side, since they too are overly loaded with sugar when ripe.

 

bowl-723390_1280.jpg

Makes 4 servings

  • 1/2 c. seedless organic Red Grapes
  • 1 c. organic Strawberries, halved
  • 2 c. organic Soft Tofu, crumbled
  • 2 Tbs. organic Mint, chopped

In a bowl combine Vegenaise, lemon juice, and Stevia; stir well and set aside.

In a large bowl combine fruit, and spoon into serving dishes. Mix Tofu with mint and divide among dishes. Serve with the dressing.

Enjoy!

What's that Black Stuff Doing in my Rice?... wondered Mochi

Black Glutinous Rice...

is an unprocessed, short grain,  that is purplish in color. It is also referred to as forbidden, sticky or sweet black rice.

Lotus Foods Organic Forbidden Rice, 11-Pound Bag
  1. Black rice bran contains high levels of the antioxidant anthocyanins. Anthocyanin is a water-soluble antioxidant that is common in blue and purple fruits. The American Chemical Society reported that you can eat 10 spoonfuls of steamed black rice to get the same amount of anthocyanins you would by eating a spoonful of fresh blueberries. (Those amazing blueberries!)
  2. Black rice has high fiber content because the bran is intact and is not processed
  3. Black rice also contains many essential vitamins and minerals. It contains high amounts of vitamin E, a fat soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties. Like most whole grains, black rice is a rich source of the B vitamins.
  4. Chronic inflammation is associated with diseases such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease and many others. Black rice bran may help reduce inflammation.

I haven't priced this rice at Whole Foods yet, but 6 15-oz packs from Amazon are around $22 (so about $4/lb).

Sources:

The fiber content of Black Rice is similar to Brown Rice, so not really optimal with our Good Carb Formula:

Good-Carb formula:Multiply total fiber per serving by 10.  The resulting number should exceed the total Carbs per serving. The higher it is than total carbs, the slower it will break down and the less it will spike blood sugar.

But due to its antioxidant benefit, you can allow yourself a 1/4 c. a couple of times a week. Cook with coconut oil and chopped veggies, or eat with a protein to further slow down the glucose effect. OR for a treat, make Mochi Balls!

Mochi Recipe

  • 2 c. organic Black Sweet Rice
  • 1-3/4 c. Water (or Green tea, or half Blueberry juice)
  • 1/2 c. Xylitol (skip for savory Mochi)
  • 1/4 c. canned organic Coconut Milk
mochi
mochi

Fillings:

  • Seasoned, cooked organic Portobello. Shiitake or Maitake Mushrooms
  • Seaweed and dash of ginger
  • Baked organic Tofu and splash of Tamari

or:

  • Bean paste
  • Almond butter
  • A dollop of low-sugar Fruit Spread
  • Raisins

Preheat the oven to 325ºF, 170ºC.

Soak rice in water and coconut milk Then put in blender, bit at a time, processing until all is well blended. .

Pour batter in to a metal baking dish lined with foil, and then with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper with coconut oil.

Top with another greased sheet of parchment, so it's touching the batter, and another piece of foil right against the parchment so they are touching.

Bake for 1 hour.

Let Mochi cool for an hour, then remove from pan inverting onto a surface dusted with potato starch. Be careful as Mochi will be super sticky.

Form into balls with filling of your choice, or cut into tiny squares dusting with potato starch.

You can toss Sweet Mochi on cereal, a top no sugar Sorbets, or enjoy as is with Green Tea! Savory Mochi can be added to soups and stews, or filled and enjoyed as a snack.

~ Itadakimas! ♥

Baked Falafel

The first couple of times I tried making baked Falafel in our oven, they were just OK.  They dried out a bit more than they should have, and weren't as crispy as I like them... even though I brushed them lightly with olive oil.

Well, tonight I decided to give Big Boss a try.. and it didn't disappoint!

Big Boss Falafel
Big Boss Falafel

I put the first batch in for 10 minutes at 400ºF, and then flipped them and added another 10 minutes. Hmm, not very crispy.

So J suggested we cook the second batch at 425ºF for 10 minutes on each side, and YAY, the edges were nice and crunchy, and the middle still moist.

Flafel big boss
Flafel big boss

I stuck with Tradition and whipped up Tahini Sauce, and sliced some organic tomatoes, onions and pickles to go on top. Steamed broccoli, broiled chicken and baked Mac 'n Cheese for the kids completed dinner.

Tahini Health Benefits

Tahini is a source of healthy fatty acids, containing 60.1 mg of omega-3 fatty acids and 3.421 mg of omega-6 fatty acids. Your body doesn't manufacture these fatty acids, so getting them from the foods you eat is critical and they are beneficial for your brain and heart.

Thiamine : Consume tahini to boost you thiamine intake. Each serving provides 16 percent of the daily suggested intake of this vitamin, also known as vitamin B-1. The thiamine in tahini influences your nervous system, muscles and digestion.

Phosphorus : Tahini provides 12 percent of the phosphorus you require in each serving. This mineral is important for the strength of your bones and teeth

Copper : You need only small amounts of copper in your diet each day, and tahini can help you meet those nutritional needs. This mineral helps keep your blood vessels and bones healthy

Traditional Tahini Sauce recipe

  • 1 c. organic Sesame Tahini
  • 2 small Garlic cloves, mashed well with 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/4 c. organic Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbs. organic Parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 c. + cold Water, enough to give sauce the consistency of Ketchup.

Pour lemon into garlic and salt mush, and stir well.

Add to Tahini sauce along with 1/4 c. water. Stir.  Tahini will thicken first (due to chemical reaction to lemon juice.  Keep stirring and adding water in 2 Tbs. increments until consistency is reached.

Add parsley and stir. Will keep for 1 week in refrigerator.

Serving Ideas: Use on Falafel, Fish, as a topping on Steamed Veggies, or as a spread on Baked Eggplant and Tomato sandwiches.

Tahini Sauce
Tahini Sauce

Luckily there is enough left for lunch tomorrow!

Falafel Plate
Falafel Plate

 ~ Sahtein (double health)! ♥

Parks and Cool Hot-Weather Recipes

Our city has 4 lovely public parks, each with its own unique character and attractions.  Our family is large..( 2 of my siblings live within a mile of me) so between our 9 children and their significant others, and children we're about 28 people. When we all get together it's often outdoors!

Being blessed with a family of excellent cooks, potlucks have less to do with luck and more with certainty! The certainty of tasty dishes from everyone.

Regular Cast of Characters

These appear at most every picnic event we hold:

  1. Authentic Homemade Hummus
  2. Tabbouleh  or Fattoush
  3. Marinated Chicken Kabobs for grilling
  4. Kafta for grilling
  5. Baked Beans

Below are 3 additional Summertime Recipes for your files.  I chose ones that don't take a lot of prep, and that are full of the Fantastic Foods you want to incorporate into your daily diet.

Quinoa and Mango Salad

This recipe can be made several hours before and refrigerated. Take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.

Mango Quinoa salad
Mango Quinoa salad
  • 2 c. brewed Green Tea
  • 1 c. uncooked Quinoa
  • 1 c. Mango,  cut into small chunks (not too ripe to cut back on sugar content)
  • 1/2 c. sliced organic Green Onion
  • 2 Tbs. dried Cherries, chopped (opt.)
  • 2 Tbs. organic Parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin organic Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbs. Apple Cider Vinegar (I recommend Bragg's organic)
  • 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper

Combine tea and quinoa in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Then transfer to a large bowl.

Add mango, onion, cherries and parsley and mix well.

Combine liquid ingredients with spices and whisk until blended. Pour over quinoa, and mix.

This makes about 8 servings.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Tropical Chicken Macadamia Salad

Spicy Vinaigrette

Combine the following in blender, adjusting seasoning as preferred:

tropical Chicken salad
tropical Chicken salad
  • scant 1/4 c. organic E.V Olive Oil
  • 1/4 c. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Cayenne sauce
  • 2 tsp. Curry Powder
  • 2 tsp. Stevia
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper

Reserve 1/2 c. of dressing.

Chicken Salad

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless organic free-range Chicken Breasts
  • 8 c. rinsed and torn Watercress and Boston or Green Leaf organic Lettuce
  • 1/4 c. coarsely chopped unsalted Macadamia Nuts
  • 1/2 c. shredded organic Coconut, toasted
  • 1 Tbs. organic Red Bell Pepper, diced (opt.)

Place chicken in large resealable plastic food storage bag.  Pour remaining dressing over chicken. Seal bag, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to broil, or prepare barbecue grill. 

chicken-1379373_1280.jpg

Remove chicken from marinade. Grill or Broil 10 - 15 minutes or until center is no longer pink (165º F).  Arrange greens on a platter. Slice chicken breasts and arrange over greens. Tops with nuts, coconut and bell pepper. Serve with reserved dressing.

Makes about 4 servings.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Egg White Salad

This high protein salad has less than 2g. of fat per serving, and a whopping 11 g. of protein.

  • 6 Hi Omega-3 hard-boiled Egg whites, chilled and chopped
  • 1/2 c. chopped organic Celery
  • 1/4 c. chopped organic Red Onion
  • 1 Tbs. chopped dill or sweet organic Pickles
  • 2 Tbs. chopped organic Parsley
  • 3 Tbs. Vegenaise
  • 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp. organic Lime Juice
  • 1/2 tsp. organic Lemon Juice
  • 1/8 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Cayenne (opt.)

Mix dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.

Mix dressing ingredients in small bowl, whisking till blended.  Pour over egg mixture.  Chill for 30 minutes.

Serve on lettuce leaves, whole grain crackers or on Gluten Free or Whole Grain organic bread.

~ Bon Apetit!

Turnover a New Leaf? Make it Swiss!

Couldn't resist... the leaf is Swiss Chard and it's going to creep into the turnovers I am making. Savory pastries are quite popular in many European, South American and Mediterranean countries.  In my Post about Pies I mentioned a few of them:

Pierogi (Polish), Kulebyaka (Russian), Steak and kidney pie (British), Zwiebelkuchen (German), Tourtière (French Canadian), Banitza (Bulgarian), Kreatopita (Greek), Fatayir (Lebanese). Click on titles for recipes!

My favorite Lebanese turnovers or pies are:  Spinach-Onion, Swiss Chard, Chickpea-Onion, and of course Zaatar (Thyme) Pies.

Note: Only trim 1 inch off the bottom of the stems of any green. There are nutrients in the stems that may not be present in the leaves!  This will alter the amount of greens you wind up with, so I wanted to share that with you.

Make 1 recipe Basic Dough and let it rise for 90 minutes, or until about doubled.

dough rising
dough rising

In the meantime prepare Filling:

  • 1 bunch organic Swiss Chard, trimmed and cleaned
  • 2 c. organic Spinach, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 medium organic Onions, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 Tbs. organic Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbs. Sumac (found at Mediterranean markets)
  • 1 c. organic Walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Stack 3 leaves of Chard and slice lengthwise into 3 - 4 pieces depending on width.

Chard1
Chard1

Chop and repeat with rest of leaves.

Chard2
Chard2

Place in a large bowl.  Add Spinach.

Chop onions and add to greens.

Sprinkle Salt over mixture and using your hands mash all together squeezing the greens and onions until slightly wilted.

swiss chard mix
swiss chard mix

Add lemon juice, sumac, walnuts and olive oil, and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Tilt bowl so liquid will drain on one end, propping with a cloth underneath.

chard filling1
chard filling1

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

When dough is ready, roll into balls the size of walnuts, dipping the bottoms in flour and putting aside.

dough balls
dough balls

Sprinkle flour on your board or counter top, and roll each ball into a thin round  using a little flour if sticky.

flat dough
flat dough

Place 2 Tbs. of filling in center of round. Make sure liquid is squeezed out.

chard turnover1
chard turnover1

Have a small bowl of water nearby.  Dip your finger into water and rub around perimeter of dough round to wet.

Fold 1/3 dough over filling, sealing top tip securely by pressing.

chard turnover2
chard turnover2

Fold other 1/3 overlapping the first and press to seal all along overlapped edge.

chard turnover3
chard turnover3

Bring bottom 1/3 up and press along seams and tips to seal well.

chard turnover4
chard turnover4
chard turnovers
chard turnovers

Place on baking sheet, repeating until all dough it used up. 

P.S. If you are left with any dough balls, allow to rise for 10 more minutes, and pop in the oven to make into Pita bread!

Bake turnovers for 15 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.

chard turnovers baked
chard turnovers baked

Cool to room temperature.  Enjoy warm or cold.

~ Sahtein (double health!) ♥

Petals and Panini

The Petals

The planting continues in the side and front yard. I spoke of my grandmother's hydrangea in my  Flower Patch post, and how huge and bountiful it's huggable round flowers were.

When I went shopping this morning I was greeted by a full display of flowers at the front of the market. To my delight, there on the top row, huddled together, were hydrangeas in several shades.

Below them cheerful daisies and mums. I smiled back as I walked past.

I made my way to the refrigerated section that carried dairy alternatives, and picked up a block of Almond Cheese and a block of Rice Cheese.

Then to the produce aisle to fulfill a lunch craving...some organic spinach, organic Roma tomatoes, and then a couple isles down for some black kalamata olives.  I completed the rest of my shopping and headed home on this 82º day in the valley.

The hills are beginning to turn yellow as we say goodbye to rainfall until October. Of course with the unpredictable weather patterns of the 21st Century... who knows... they may surprise us and flash green once more.

I like the contrast. The evergreens stand out against the hay colored hills, and Mount Diablo stands ever majestic looking over us, lending its protective energy to life here.

It's  a little after noon when I get home and unpack the groceries.

I am going to make Swiss Chard Turnovers for the week, so I chop and blend the ingredients for the filling. (Will post recipe for these delicious triangles later).  I make a batch of  the Basic Dough we discussed in Authentic Arabic Bread post, and leave it to rise.

Now I can make my lunch!  Am quite hungry by this time.

The Panini

Out comes the Panini grill.  While it's heating I slice some Almond Cheese and Tomatoes, and wash a few Spinach leaves.

The Tapenade

I throw a handful of Kalamata olives in the blender with a large clove or garlic, some dry thyme and a dash of lemon. I turn on the blender for 3 seconds, drizzle 2 Tbs. of olive oil through top opening, and pulse it another 3 -4 seconds to blend everything.

Assembly

Two Gluten Free slices of bread are ready to be smothered in Tapenade, topped with Tomato, Spinach leaves and finally the Cheese. Top bread slice holds it all together.

A light spray of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on each side of the sandwich, and onto the grill for about 3-4 minutes depending on heat of your panini maker.

My green salad is already waiting and lunch is ready!

~ Bon Apetit!

Tart Cherries Invade Unsuspecting Brown Rice!

A lovely blend of flavors, fit for a luncheon served with a grilled fish or lime glazed chicken breast. Keep some tart dried Cherries around for this impromptu dish.  In a pinch you may substitute dried Cranberries.

You may cook the Gaba rice in advance (like early morning) since it takes about 35 - 40 minutes, and leave pot out until you're ready to make the Pilaf. I always have pine nuts in my freezer for immediate availability.

Recipe

Serves 8

  • 1 c.  chopped organic Green onion
  • 2 c.  chopped organic Celery
  • 1/2 c.  dried, Tart organic Cherries
  • 1/2 c. Pine Nuts
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh organic Thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 tsp.  ground Black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. Coconut Oil (or Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 2 c. cooked brown Gaba rice (may use Wild Rice)

Put onion, celery, cherries, nuts, thyme, pepper and oil in a large skillet.

Cook, uncovered, over medium heat 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender; stir occasionally. Add rice; mix well.

Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until thoroughly heated.

That's it, simple and scrumptious!

~ Enjoy!

Chia Chocolate Cupcakes - GF & Vegan

Ok, so how in the world can these cupcakes be ok with our anti-cancer diet? Well, we've upped the fiber by adding chia and flax seeds, and used cocoa powder with antioxidants, replaced the sugar with Xylitol, and used olive oil for the friendly fat.

I'm not saying you can sit down and eat 3 of these...but 1 cupcake is super ok!

For an extra smudge of goodness: Melt 10 oz. 75% dark chocolate in a double boiler, add 1 Tbs. almond or soy milk and 1 packet Stevia. Stir well and smear on the cupcakes as they reach room temperature.

Recipe

  • 3/4 rounded c. Sorghum flour
  • 3/4 rounded c. Potato starch or tapioca starch
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened raw Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 c. Chia seeds
  • 1 Tbs. ground Flax seeds
  • 3/4 c. Xylitol (or 3 packets Stevia)
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Omega-3 Egg (use 1 Tbs. Egg substitute of 2 Tbs. freshly ground Flaxseed for Vegan)
  • 3 Tbs. virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. distilled Vinegar
  • 1 c. warm Water or Green Tea or Decaf Coffee

Line a 12-c. cupcake pan with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350º F.

Whisk together the dry ingredients.

Add in the warm water (or tea or coffee), egg, chia seeds, oil, vanilla, and vinegar and beat until smooth. Beat for 2-3 minutes.

Scoop the batter into the 12 lined muffin tin cups.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely.

~To Your Health!