Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Candied Butternut with Pecans and Cranberries

Tis the season to be experimenting with a variety of butternut squash recipes.
One of my favorites is this medley of roasted butternut squash cubes,  pecans, and dried cranberries in a maple syrup sauce that are dusted with cinnamon and vanilla. Can you imagine???

There is something about pecans that I just love, especially when they are added to a casserole. The pecans in this dish are candied, which adds a extra sweetness to the entire dish. Paired with the tart cranberries and lots of cinnamon, the flavors are heavenly. 

This could be a perfect recipe for Thanksgiving since it tastes as good at room temperature as it does out of the oven. My good friend Laura always reminds me that dishes that can be eaten at room temperature work best for entertaining since it frees up the host and the oven.  I know the holiday is still six weeks away, but it's good to start planning in advance. 

This recipe was given to me by My daughter -in- law Wendy who does a lot with roasted butternut squash. She made it for company dinner the other night and trust me, there were no left overs! Children and adults alike went back for seconds of this exciting fall side dish.

This recipe is another example of real food that is naturally gluten free!


6 cups of cut up butternut squash ( or 2 packages)
Olive oil spray ( or 2 Tablspoons of olive oil)
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 cup of dried cranberries
1 cup of plain or candied pecans
2 teaspoons of cinnamon


Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Toss butternut squash in the olive oil or spray the squash with olive oil spray.
Bake on a parchment covered cookie sheet for about 45 minutes.
Remove from the cookie sheet and place roasted butternut squash into a large bowl. Add maple syrup, vanilla, cranberries, and pecans. Toss well. Add cinnamon and toss again. Serve immediately

My Notes: 
Vegetables, nuts, and fruit are naturally gluten free. I find that using naturally gluten free recipes is healthier than trying to make your GF diet a mirror of a gluten diet by continuing to eat unhealthy  substitutes for bread, pastas, bread crumbs, flour, cereal etc. which is what irritated the gut to begin with and is the culprit in most diseases. Rather than look for substitutes for breadcrumbs, flour thickeners, bagels, I look for naturally gluten free real food ingredients that offer fiber, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

I'll be linking this post to these  weekly blog carnivals

Peek Into Some of My Daily Self Care:  

Upon Waking: Alkalizing drink - Apple Cider Vinegar

5 minutes stretching on the deck in the early morning sun 

Balance My Chakra 5 minute guided meditation

Exercise- 30 minute walk on the treadmill 

Then begin my day and my breakfast

Do you have a morning self care routine? Please share

Shared on Rock my Vegan Sock blog carnival and Linked :My Blog Carnival List

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Mild and Creamy Cauliflower Kale Soup -

I love making easy seasonal soups that are both tasty and healthy. In this recipe cauliflower and kale, two cruciferous vegetables, team up with coconut milk to make a mild creamy fall soup just in time for the cooler damper weather. I adore soup and can't think of a better way to make sure I get my fill of antioxidant rich vegetables. In addition, this vegan soup has sauteed garlic, onions and turmeric , goes a long way, and is deliciously satisfying.

Despite that the four vegetables are very bold flavored vegetables, the soup actually tastes mild and pleasant . It's a great way to include more dark greens into your diet, especially for picky family members who will not actually detect the taste of the kale in the soup.

This time of the year, I don't mind turning on the oven to bring a little extra warmth into the house. This recipe calls for roasting a cut up head of cauliflower, which takes about 45 minutes . 
Then the roasted vegetable is added to the soup pot where the kale and other vegetables are brought to a boil and simmered for about 30 minutes until the soup is done!

I first tasted this soup at my daughter-in-law Wendy's house. I liked it so much I had to have her recipe. I was delighted to know it was vegan and of course gluten free. I loved it's creamy texture and mild taste. Something about it screams comfort food. Maybe it's the cup of coconut milk.

Blended with coconut milk, this soup is the perfect fall soup: healthy, comforting , delicious

1 head of cauliflower broken into flowerettes, roasted
4 cloves fresh garlic
1 large onion, sliced in half moons
Olive oil or olive oil spray
3 cups of kale, deveined and chopped
1 cup of coconut milk
2 cups water
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
Himalayan salt and cracked pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400
Toss the cauliflower in olive oil and sea salt ( or spray with olive oil spray)
Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the cauliflower over the parchment paper. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a large soup pot, sautee the onion in olive oil spray until translucent,  add  water, broth ,kale, garlic and roasted cauliflower. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 25 minutes. Remove from stove, add the room temperature coconut milk and turmeric . Then using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy.

My Notes:

1. This is a great recipe for flu season-since the soup has a powerhouse of protective vegetables: garlic, onion, cauliflower and kale. The garlic and onion contain allicins which are antioxidants that protect against virus and the kale and cauliflower nutrients rich , In addition, it contains turmeric.

2. Keeps well in the refrigerator for 5 days

3. Freezes well

4. If you want to reduce the calories, you could leave out the coconut milk

5. Blended soup is easy to digest making it easier to absorb the nutrients. This is especially helpful for those with absorption difficulties like those with celiac or gluten intolerance. It is a very nourishing soup for anyone who might be ill..

6. You could top each bowl with pumpkin seeds!

7. Yes, this soup is real food and and naturally gluten free. Eat it with a salad for a light lunch.

Friday, October 14, 2016

My Grandmother's Healthy Green Sorrel Soup Recipe

Sorrel is a leafy green that looks similar to spinach but has a powerful lemony flavor. It can be cooked and eaten like spinach or made into a soup. Either way, sorrel is tangy and delicious. 

This recipe for homemade sorrel soup, or "Schav" as my Russian grandmother called it, is a simple family recipe that my grandmother made in the old country. I never thought that I would actually ever make Schav despite that my grandmother, mother, and father ate it regularly when I was growing up. I never even tried it as a child. My family ate two versions: a chilled schav or warm schav. Since it's fall, I sharing the hot version.

Guess what I received at my CSA today! You got it- close to a pound of sorrel leaves!

When I first noticed the sign saying sorrel leaves at my CSA, something clicked.
I remembered them from my grandmother's soup. 

So today, I made my own schav for the first time using my grandmother's recipe with the sorrel leaves, potatoes, and leeks from my organic CSA farm.  

My grandmother lived to 107 years old in good health. When I looked up the nutritional benefits of sorrel, they were many. This chlorophyl rich green is loaded in calcium, iron, Vitamin C, powerful antioxidants, Vitamin A, plus many other vitamins and minerals. It definitely is a healthy green. 

Although traditional "Schav" calls for sorrel, you could substitute spinach. It just won't be as lemony.
It's a shame that most supermarkets don't carry sorrel. It is truly a treat!

In addition, I sauteed some sorrel with leeks to eat a side dish- it was also fabulous!!!!
I have to say that although I love most greens, this might be my favorite!

A few years ago,  in its March 2009 issue , D ( Dallas) Magazine listed Schav as one of the 5 worst Jewish recipes. I don't know why they would pick on Schav. My grandmothers' recipe is so good that I regret I never tried it before. 

Have you ever tried sorrel? How do you make it? 

Judee Algazi @ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves : 4 cups 

1 large leek, cut lengthwise in half and then sliced ( use green and white part) 
1 medium- large potato, chopped in small pieces ( I left on the skin bc my potato was organic)
3 cups of sorrel, chopped into ribbons
olive oil spray 
4 cups of rich tasting vegetable broth 

In a large skillet, sautee the sliced leek for 2 minutes in olive oil spray. Add the sorrel and continue to sautee, stirring frequently. The bright green sorrel will turn a khaki color as it cooks. Add the chopped potato ( add more olive oil spray if necessary)  and mix well. Remove vegetable medley from skillet and add to a soup pot. Cover with 4 cups of vegetable broth and cook for about 5-7 minutes until potatoes soften. Serve immediately. Optional:

As the bright green sorrel leaves cook, they begin to turn a khaki color
Leeks, sorrel, and potatoes are the base of this delicious recipe
linked to healthy vegan Fridays
Linked on : My Blog Carnival List and Souper Sunday at Kahakai Kitchen