Monday, March 6, 2017

Avocado Celery Salad from Chile

Avocado and celery are two healthy alkalizing greens that come together in this crunchy delicious salad that is prepared quickly and easily.  I'm always on the look out for new ways to include avocados in our meals. I was delighted to find this gluten free vegan recipe during my recent travels throughout Chile.

Read about my travels here or scroll down for the Aipio Palta Avocado Salad Recipe
My travels in Santiago Chile:
I recently visited the long and narrow country of Chile where life is sandwiched between the majesty of the Andes Mountain and the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Our first stop on our 3 week journey to Patagonia was the city of Santiago, which was much more modern than I expected. 

Our all night flight brought us to Santiago in the wee hours of the morning. Our shuttle got us to our hotel in the heart of Santiago at 6;00 AM. The local coffee shops were setting up outdoor seating and people were slowly emerging from their high-rise apartments. The familiar aroma of muffins, pastries, and coffee began to permeate the air on the little side street.

Being my first day in Chile, I wanted to take it all in. Questions raced through my mind like Where was I, how do the people live, what kind of work do they do , how do they dress, what is  the standard of living like etc. etc.

My hotel stored our baggage because much like any American hotel, check in was closer to 3:00 PM  I used the 6 hours to explore the city. 

My Friend Jan with her coffee that doesn't come with cream unless you order it upfront- who knew? She drank it black
Me, waiting for my coffee at 6:15  They didn't know from decaf 
My first adventure was ordering coffee in the European type cafe a few doors away from our hotel. I say adventure because I do not speak any Spanish and no one outside of our hotel spoke English.
I quickly realized there was an ordering system similar to Starbucks. You get online, tell them what you want and get off line an wait.
My friend Jan and I didn't get exactly the coffee we wanted, but we were satisfied and enjoyed our early morning cup of java at an outdoor table while listening to the local Spanish chatter.

The locals were dressed in business attire- men in ties, women in dresses. Everyone seemed to be hustling around walking towards public transportation. There were plenty of cars as well, and I felt the familiarizes of a modern city.

After a short walk around the neighborhood, we returned to our hotel for a typical Chilean tourist style breakfast buffet that consisted of eggs,sliced cheese, bread, jam, coffee and tea. I was very very surprised that they provided gluten free bread upon request.The staff took it very seriously and brought me out a plate of wrapped gluten free bread, gluten free crackers and gluten free cookies. I was delighted to say the least.

After breakfast, we decided to take a hop on hop off city tour of Santiago. On our city tour, we learned about the previously harsh and financially difficult living conditions in Santiago under a dictatorship and the devastation to the town caused by earthquakes. Thus, most of the buildings in the city were new and very modern and lacked the charm of older historical buildings. In the 1960's many new projects were undertaken and the city was rebuilt including an efficient railway system, In the 1990's the city saw the boom of modern shopping malls, urban highways, and lots of modern looking corporate buildings.

Since the new very modern construction dominated the skyline of the city, I focused on the breathtaking background view of the Andes Mountains. Despite being near the mountains, it was a sweltering 90 degree humid day that even I ,who loves the heat, felt was difficult to tolerate.

Where and what did we eat dinner?
Not having a car, we found a food court in the nearby super mall that was walking distance from our hotel. Unlike the food court's in US malls , the food court included 3 or 4  sophisticated restaurants with beautiful seating. We chose a lovely Chilean restaurant decorated with a super large salt water fish tank over our 2nd choice of Hard Rock- Chile.

Our waiter was delightful, spoke English well,  but our food was not particularly good or memorable. The choices seemed very American. My friends had fish, French Fries, and a vegetable. Being a vegetarian, I had some vegetables and a potato and a simple avocado salad called Apio Palta.  The combination of crispy cold celery and the room temperature avocado dressed in a tangy citrus dressing hit the gluten free and vegetarian spot for me. That is the salad I am sharing today.

Recipe begins here: 

There are many variations of this basic Chilean recipe. I've seen recipes that add sliced radish, some add walnuts, others romaine lettuce, and yet other recipes call for red peppers.
This is the basic recipe which I ate in Chile
Avocado and Celery Salad (Aipio Palta Salad from Chile)


2 Haas type avocado or 1 large Florida avocado
4 stalks of celery, sliced thick
1 organic whole lemon or lime
Salt and Pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 cup walnuts

Slice celery in med thick slices
Cut avocado into chunks
Squeeze the juice of 1 organic lemon
Season with salt and pepper
Add chopped walnuts if desired

Shared this post on the Souper Sunday linky at Deb's Kahakai Kitchen Visit to link up soup, salad or sandwiches- LInky

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Middle Eastern Eggplant Ratatouie

Rich and flavorful, this chunky low calorie Middle Eastern eggplant ratatouille makes a delicious side for a family dinner or an inviting appetizer for your next get together..

I love recipes from Middle Eastern countries like like Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Morocco,and Israel which are famous for their tasty eggplant dishes. This family recipe is a middle Eastern classic that is like a stew- tender, satisfying and easy to make.

The secret to the recipe is roasting , not frying, the eggplant and veggies. Roasting brings out the vegetable's natural sweetness, saves calories, and is easier on the digestion than frying.

This eggplant recipe is my version of one of my mother in laws authentic recipes that she brought with her from the old country. It is so versatile that we enjoy in a variety of ways:

  • Over Baptismal rice or cauliflower rice, 
  • Paired as a side dish with a bean dish, 
  • As a topping for an omelette ( really good) 
  • Or a cold or hot appetizer with crudites or gluten free crackers. 

The best part is that once you make it, you can keep it in the refrigerator and it use as a condiment to enhance any food.

My mother in law insists on using the long and thin Japanese eggplants for this recipe. Although many similar recipes call for the regular full round Italian type eggplant, we think the Japanese variety is more tender and less bitter than the regular eggplants. They are also easier to cut and have fewer seeds than the larger eggplants.

I was reminded of this family favorite when we recently had dinner in a Syrian restaurant. I had not made this recipe in a long time, so as soon as I saw it on the menu- I knew I wanted to order it. In addition, I ordered Tzaziki, majeedara , falafel and a Greek salad. My husband and I shared the Mezze type dishes and felt like we had a feast! Everything was naturally gluten free and vegetarian just the way I like it!

Author: Judee Algazi ( family recipe) @ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes roasting, 15 minutes simmering
Serves: 6 for appetizers


3 large Japanese eggplants/quartered and then quartered again
2 large orange or red pepper, cut into eighths
5 cloves of fresh garlic
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon of Trader Joe's " 21 Salute" salt free herbal blend or similar type blend
Himalayan salt to taste
1 can of organic chopped tomatoes ( 15 ounces)
juice of half lime
Optional : red pepper flakes and cumin


Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Toss the chopped eggplant,chopped orange or red peppers, garlic , cherry tomatoes and olive oil  in a large mixing bowl Place the tossed veggies on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
Bake at 400 degrees until vegetables are roasted and soft.
In a large skillet , add a can of chopped tomatoes-lime, and the grilled vegetables.
Cook for about 20 minutes stirring frequently. Add optional cumin and red pepper flakes if desired
Serve hot, room temperature, or cold ( side dish, spread on GF crackers, top an omelette, appetizer)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Soothe Your Tummy and Your Mood

Cardamom and Anise tea is a great way to soothe your tummy 
and music is a great way to soothe your mood. Today, I'm sharing both!

I know I usually have an easy real food healthy gluten free vegetarian/vegan recipe for you to help nourish your body, save you time in the kitchen, and direct your thoughts to healthier eating,  but today I deviated just a little - 

Today I am sharing a cup of quick and easy 
homemade cup of Ayurvedic Tea ( See recipe at bottom of post)  
and some soothing music I found on a Youtube Video.

I was just browsing around Youtube and found this video: 

After hearing and watching this music performance on Youtube- I wanted to share it because it is so uplifting and relaxing at the same time!!
It's music to soothe your soul.. so beautiful

So grab a cup of herbal tea ( see my favorite recipe below)  or coffee- relax- and listen!!

Two Choices to Listen to Right Now on Youtube: 

Want upbeat, invigorating, and fun- Listen to the first Youtube- Let It Go!

Want something slower and more classical? Listen to the 2nd one- classical music

Let it Go from Frozen!! Upbeat and Inspiring


 This group is called "The Piano Guys"

                                              The Piano Guys have about 20 Video on Youtube , 

                                                They also have a beautiful Christmas Album!

Did you decide to listen to the music? What did you think?
 Have you heard them before?

The Tea

Anise is great for better digestion-
drink a cup after meals!

My favorite home brewed herbal tea recipe- 
For a step by step tutorial: 

My friend Vicki introduced me to this simple but delicious herbal tea.
 It's made from two ingredients: Anise seeds and cardamom pods
Vicki serves it with a little raw honey- You can make the tea 7 minutes
I posted the recipe years ago, so here is the link if you missed it- 

You can purchase cardamom pods ( organic) online; Cardamom pods

                                                               Anise Seed Tin

Are you an herbal tea drinker? Do you make your own, buy teabags? Which one is your favorite??

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