Monday, July 25, 2011

Arugula and Cashew Salad


Why did I make this colorful summer arugula and cashew salad?

When my mother- in- law offered me a container of baby arugula, I couldn't refuse. It is one of our favorite greens, and I knew we would put it to good use with some of the cashews I had.


Arugula is a pungent green that looks like little pieces of wild spring lettuce. 
Of all the salad greens, it is one of the most nutritious. 
It is also a cruciferous vegetable which provides the some of the same protective health benefits as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages. 


I decided to make a salad with tomatoes, red cabbage, cashews and raisins!

arugala and cashew salad


Arugula has a somewhat light peppery flavor and gives a salad a real pick me up. The raw cashews give the salad some protein and good fat, while the raisins sweeten up the bitterness of the arugula. The red cabbage adds crunch and additional antioxidants making this a nutrient rich meal.!

arugula, tomatoes, red cabbage and raw cashews


Salad Ingredients

I mixed the arugula with 2 cups of organic romaine lettuce,
 1 cup of chopped purple cabbage,
2 chopped vine ripened summer tomatoes,
one chopped green tomatillo, ( which has a tangy flavor)
1/2 a chopped sweet red pepper,
1 cup raw corn from the cob ( in summer)
1 cup sliced baby persian cucumbers
1/4 cup each of raw cashews, raw walnuts ( opt), and plump dark organic raisins.

Easy to make mint and lemon dressing 




I dressed the salad with my sister in law Joyci's dressing made with lemon, mint, parsley and red onion
The salad was stellar and tasted as good as it looked.

With some rice crackers and humus, my arugula salad served lunch to two hearty salad eaters.

You could be as creative as you like making this salad and use any vegetables that are seasonal. Personally, I love to include some purple cabbage in all my salads. It not only adds some incredible phytonutrients to the mixture, but it also adds some incredible color contrast. I love the purples, greens, and reds.
It's appealing, nutritious, gluten free and vegan.




This salad could be a perfect match with :  Quick and Easy Hummus Bruschetta Appetisers or

 shared on a few of the following blog carnivals including  Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has a food-related post to share.


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Monday, July 18, 2011

Mango Orange Blossom Popsicles



These beautiful popsicles are my SECRET RECIPE CLUB ENTRY. They are made from slices of  freshly cut mango, laced with orange blossom extract,  blended in a base of rich organic coconut milk and a speckled banana for texture and sweetness. They are exotic popsicles that are highly nutritious, delicious, and of course gluten free.

My mango orange blossom popsicles were inspired by Rhubarb-Coconut-Cinnamon and Raspberry Popsicles at my Secret Recipe Club assignment  "Foodiva Kitchen,. It was so much fun to look through her blog.The author features delightfully interesting recipes, stories, and beautiful photos ( like the one below).


Photo of Rhubarb Coconut Cinnamon and Raspberry Popsicles   from  "Foodiva Kitchen,.
 
My creation of Mango Orange- Blossom and Strawberry  popsicles 

Materials needed for Mango Orange Blossom Popsicle
9 ounce paper cups
popsicle sticks ( I couldn't get any, so I inserted plastic spoons)
Blender

Ingredients:

Bottom Layer of popsicle
1 cup of organic strawberries, cleaned and sliced
1 ripe banana
1 cup of organic coconut milk or any milk ( I used the refrigerated kind)

Top Layer of popsicle
1 cup of mango, sliced
1 Tbsp of orange blossom water ( see information about this product below)
1 ripe banana
1 cup organic coconut milk
1/4 cup water ( add a little at at time if needed)

Directions:
1.  Using a blender, blend ingredients for the bottom layer: strawberries, banana, coconut milk, and agave syrup until completely smooth.
Fill  9 oz. paper cups 1/2 way . Tilt cups and place in the freezer with cups leaning and tilted.  Allow to freeze for about an hour or more until frozen.

2.  When bottom layer is frozen, blend the top layer :  mango, orange blossom water, banana, agave syrup, coconut milk and water ( whatever amount is needed to make it smooth). Fill the cup with the mango mixture and return to freezer with cups standing straight. Allow to freeze for about a 1/2 hour and then place a popsicle stick in center ( or use a plastic spoon like I did). Allow popsicles to freeze for about 2 more hours until completely frozen.

Popsicles can stay in the freezer for up to  2 or 3 days.

When ready to eat, peel paper cup from the popsicle, hold on  to the stick and enjoy.



sliced mango


Fresh strawberries

Blended coconut milk, strawberries, banana, agave syrup,

9 ounce paper cups

orange blossom water and coconut milk ( from the refrigerator case)

Orange Blossom Water is an extract made from orange blossoms and is  very fragrant and delicious. It gives cake, cookies, drinks, etc. a delightful taste. It can be purchased in a Middle Eastern grocery store, or possibly a Mexican grocery or even French grocery. It might be available in some supermarkets. If you can not find orange blossom water, you might want to substitute rose water extract or vanilla extract.

All of this month's Secret recipes are linked below.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fresh Berry and Rosewater Ice Cream



Where did I find fresh berry and rosewater organic ice cream? In an absolutely delightful organic ice cream parlor in L.A.


I just returned from a fabulous three week vacation which included five days in beautiful Glendale, California which is about 15 minutes ( or 2 hours if you've experienced Los Angelos traffic) from Beverly Hills.

Glendale is an adorable quaint little town with lots of restaurants, shops, theaters and cafes. Every night we took a ten block walk from our hotel to what is called , The Americanas. It is basically a center of activity that showcases an active fountain of dancing water, a larger than life golden statue of Zeus, a lit up replica of the Eiffel Tower, continuous melodies of Frank Sinatra type music piped in on a pa system, kiosks, upscale stores, restaurants, and a beautiful square which reminded me of being in Italy.

In the early evening, it was flourishing with lots of locals walking babies, seniors drinking coffee and chatting in the outdoor cafes, community teenagers enjoying the safety of a fun place to gather, and some tourists ( like us) taking advantage of the beautiful weather and exploring and enjoying the shopping and culinary treats.

On my first night there, I discovered the L.A.Creamery ( http://www.lacreamery.com/)  which hosted an array of  homemade all organic ice cream. I thought I was in heaven, and it was love at first bite.
Despite tasting a sample of many of the exotic flavors and delicious choices,  I stuck to the fresh berry ( organic blueberry and strawberry ) ice cream that was laced with the right touch of exotic rose water. I had it 4 nights in a row ( thank goodness for the 10 block walk up and back).

Yum.. fresh berry and cream ice cream

Berdi ( our helpful and very friendly server at the Creamery)



Day 1 of vacation still sticking to my diet

Day 20 of vacation eating my ice cream  
This is the closest I got to a celebrity

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mujadara; Lentils, Rice and Carmelized Onions

Middle Eastern mujadara lentils and rice dish

Mujadara ( pronounced moo-ga -dara) is a delicious, yet simple, Middle Eastern entree made with  brown lentils, rice, and caramelized onions. I learned to make this tasty recipe from my mother in law who grew up in the Middle East. 

Naturally gluten free, it is a healthy meatless entree that is quick and easy to make. It is also a complete protein that is high in fiber, iron and other minerals. I served it to my family last week with a wedge of plain steamed red cabbage ( which was fabulous) and a generous splash of fresh lime.

You can use any kind of rice that you like: brown rice, white rice, or basmati. 
I used brown rice in this recipe.
It's all made in one pan and is quick and easy. For an extra treat, top it with plain Greek Yogurt.

Ingredients:
1 cup brown lentils, cleaned and washed
1 and 1/2 cup rice
2 Tbsp. olive oil or coconut oil
2 onions, sliced and caramelized
2 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
4 and 1/2 cups water ( or vegetable broth)
optional: pinch of cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste.
1/2 cup chopped parsley to decorate

Directions:
In a large dutch oven, saute the onions in oil on slow until they are reddish and caramelized. Add lentils and rice to the caramelized onions and allow to toast a little; stir or toss frequently for about 5 minutes Add cumin and water ( or broth if desired) bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer covered until rice and lentils are soft. ( about 1/2 hour) Add salt and pepper to taste and cinnamon if desired. ** NOTE: Add the salt after the lentils are soft; some say salt keeps the lentils hard.  Top with chopped parsley and a dollop of Greek Yogurt if desired.






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Food is my passion. I am gluten intolerant, busy. and strive for a healthy balanced lifestyle. It has taken me many years to develop and discover easy healthy recipes that meet gluten free, vegetarian and real food standards. On my blog I share my journey, my struggles, my discoveries, and my new recipes. I hope you find ideas, resources, and recipes that will be helpful to you. Come Back soon.



Author: Judee Algazi

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