Thursday, May 25, 2017

Beets are Easy To Make With This Method

When was the last time you made fresh red beets?

They are really easy to make and there is no need to struggle with peeling them.

I simply wash and steam with the skin on. After the beets are steamed, the skin easily rubs right off.

Once they are cooked, you can cut them up and eat them plain, you can add celery, and spices, or garlic and lemon juice. 

Sometimes I make the golden yellow beets into a beet and apple salad or a red beet and orange salad

They are worth making because they are rich in nutrients and very cleansing. 
my mother in law, me, and my sister in law

I invited my mother in law for dinner. She loves fresh home cooked beets, but doesn't take the time to make them for one person anymore- herself. So, I decided to make them as a side with our dinner. 

Fresh Beets before Cooking 

I bought a bunch of 4 large organic red beets with their greens at our local supermarket. 
I separated the beets from the greens, washed them well, and without peeling them I steamed them using my little steamer basket.

I forgot to take a photo of the beets in the steamer basket, but here is a photo of some artichokes I steamed.

When they were done steaming, I simply rinsed them under cold water, and rubbed off the peel in seconds. I then cut the beets into chunks and served.

 They were sweet, tender, and absolutely delicious. It was very easy- but wear gloves or your fingers and hands will be totally red!!

Cook the beet greens too- healthy & delicious

Don't discard the beet greens,. I also cooked the beet greens that I cut off the bunch of beets.
The greens are tender and delicious.

Made from 6 beets: toss the beet greens in garlic, fresh juice from a lime

Made from 3 beets: Or just toss in some lemon juice

How to cook the beet greens: 

Simply wash them, trim the end of the stems a little if they are very tough, and slice the greens and stems. Then heat  a large skillet that is sprayed with olive oil, toss the beets into the hot pan and stir consistently until well wilted and the stems are a little soft. It should just take minutes!
Just before removing from the skillet, squeeze fresh lemon juice on top and give a final stir. 
It is so delicious, you will wish you had more.

Of course that is the problem. The beet greens will cook down and there will only be one serving. 


Beets are healthy full of fiber, iron content, antioxidants, etc. 

So, when you are looking for a vegetable to make for dinner- don't forget about beets!!

Simple Steamed Beets
3 large organic red beets, washed but not peeled
Boiling water 

Place a small steamer basket in a large pot. Place beets in the basket. Add boiling water to meet the steamer basket and steam covered until the beets are tender and you under you can stick a knife through the beets with no resistance. ( Be careful that the water doesn't evaporate and then your beets will burn. Check frequently as you may need to replace the boiling water at least once) 
Using a large spoon , remove beets , put under cold water so you can handle them, gently rub off the skin ( it will come right off) and cut into chunks. 

Simple Sauteed Beet Greens

Beet greens
3 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed 
1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
Himalayan salt to taste

Spray a large skillet with olive oil spray. Use a high heat. Add garlic stir a little and then add your greens and salt. Stir around untils greens and stems are soft. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top of the greens and cook for 20 seconds more. Remove and serve.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Eggplant with Mushrooms, Peppers, and Tomatoes

Looking for an healthy low calorie/low carb vegetable side dish?
Everyone really enjoyed this simple eggplant medley at a family dinner the other night. 

We eat a cooked vegetable every night with dinner, but I usually make an isolated vegetable like just string beans, beets, or zucchini. Tonight, I decided to make a quick and easy vegetable stew using eggplant, mushrooms, red peppers and cherry tomatoes.

It took only about 20 minutes to cook,  but it tasted really special. 

I've been on an eggplant kick lately. Last week I made my chunky eggplant sauce for zucchini pasta. This week I felt like having eggplant, but I did not want it to be a strong tomato base.  So, I just cooked up the four vegetables in a saucepan until the eggplant was tender. The mushrooms gave off just enough liquid to make it a little bit saucy like what I'm calling a stew.

We ate it as a side dish; If you add cooked chickpeas to it, it could be a vegan entree. 
Regardless, of course "my stew" meets gluten free, vegan, and Paleo standards.

I only used one of the eggplants for this recipe

There is not much to say except that this overly simple recipe was tasty, nutritious, and easy! 
End of story.

This recipe serves four as a side.

Author: Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep: 10-15 minutes ( depends how fast you peel and cut) 
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped into chunks
6 mini red or yellow peppers ( or 1 regular red or yellow pepper) , chopped or sliced 
4 cloves garlic , pressed or chopped 
15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
8 whole white mushrooms, sliced
olive oil spray
optional: add a little kick with some ground red pepper


Spray a 6 quart saucepan with olive oil spray. Add the garlic, chopped peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Sautee for 1 minute and add the chunks of eggplant. Spray the eggplant with olive oil spray and toss with the other vegetables in the pot. Cook covered on low, stirring frequently. After about 10 minutes add the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook and stir until the eggplant is tender. Remove and serve. 

My Notes: 
1. You could eat this over Basmati rice
2. Add cooked chickpeas to make it an entree
3. It was delicious just the way it is

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

gluten free red lentil soup

Red Lentils (available at Trader Joes and most supermarkets) look kind of orange when raw, cook up quickly, and make a delicious soup that is full of flavor.

red lentils

I was first introduced to this unique red lentil many years ago by my (then new to America) mother-in-law who made these lentils which she called "aatz" quite frequently to feed her family of seven on a very tight budget. Her mother 
( photo below) had ten children to feed.

 I call it the never ending soup because the longer it sits, the thicker it gets and we always need to add more broth to leftovers when we heat it up the next day. It stretches and stretches ! 

I am delighted with many of my mother in laws ethnic recipes because they are naturally gluten free and vegan!

man's photo
My Husband's Grandfather with a Fez on his head in the early 1900's 
Grandmother raised 10 kids 

Last summer I made a kohlrabi and red lentil soup that was also delicious, but had entirely different ingredients than this Turkish soup. If you get kohlrabi from your CSA this summer- try this soup ( pin it) 

Years ago, I could only find these bags of dried lentils in Middle Eastern or Indian grocery stores. However, today I see them in the most health food stores and supermarkets.. 

What I didn't know was that lentils are full of health protecting antioxidants. 


Why are antioxidants  important? 

"Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Many experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease (atherosclerosis), cancer, and other conditions." - Web MD

Antioxidants are only found in plant based foods - like fruit, vegetables, spices. herbs and beans
Lentils are high in antioxidants. 

Remember, not only are we looking for food that tastes good, we are looking for food that fuels our energy, protect us from disease, and provides substantial fiber for stabilizing blood sugar and easy elimination.

Eat as many different colored  fruit ,vegetables and spices as you can. Each color has a unique role is providing protection to cells. 

Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables contain carotanoids which protect eye health, 

This soup contains lots of 
antioxidants, fiber & vitamins and minerals

red lentils- protein, fiber, antioxidants, high levels of folate, vitamins, minerals

carrots- high in betacarotene and carotenoid ( antioxidant) which the body converts to Vit A

garlic-powerful antioxidant that has antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic and antiviral properties

cumin- high in antioxidants

turmeric - helps with inflammation 

tomato paste - loaded with lycopene ( purchase organic in cans not lined with BPA) which may be protective for the prostate

This naturally gluten free soup takes only 10 minutes to prep and twenty five minutes to cook.  It's so fast and easy, you can start it when you get home from work and enjoy a hot nourishing bowl of homemade soup by the time you change your clothes and set the table!


Author: Judee Algazi @glutenfree A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes


1 and 1/2 cups of red lentils, picked over and washed well
5 cup boiling water 
3 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of sliced carrots
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of organic tomato paste or 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes - see note #3 below
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
pinch or more to taste of red chili pepper
1/2 teaspoon of cumin + 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
fresh lemon juice


Place red lentils in a 8 quart sauce or soup pan. Add boiling water, sliced carrots, garlic, tomato paste turmeric and stir well. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes until lentils begin to soften. Add the 3 cups of flavorful heated vegetable broth, chili pepper and 1/2 t of cumin , stir well and continue cook for another 10 minutes covered. When lentils and carrots are soft, it's ready to serve. Taste and add additional cumin if desired. We like to squeeze some fresh lemon juice into each bowl before serving.

My Notes: 

1. When the soup is done,  top with a tablespoon or more of Basmati Rice, quinoa, or GF noodles if desired or it can be enjoyed just the way it is.

2.  This soup thickens the longer it sits, add some broth before reheating leftovers.

3. ****If you use fresh tomatoes instead of the tomato paste, sautee your tomatoes, garlic, turmeric, and cumin in a little olive oil or ghee and then add  your red lentils and follow directions. 

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