Tuesday, November 21, 2017

WW- Carriage Ride in Central Park in NYC

Went on a carriage ride through Central Park in NYC
The horses line up on the street near the entrance

I'll take the carriage decorated in purple

Look at the pigeons that are in the feed bucket

Taking a Break and Sharing Some Feed with the Pigeons

In the Park

Will be shared on shared on Beth Fish Reads Wordless Wednesday  
Wordless Wed on Tuesdays wordless on tuesday http://thesimpleyear.com/, 

image in ing, 
ClaireJustine linky 
West Metro Mommy  
Create with Joy 
bethere2day nanahood

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Hate to Peel and Chop Garlic and Ginger? Try This

fresh garlic

Do you hate to peel and chop garlic and ginger? 

Do you ever reach for a piece of garlic or ginger for a recipe only to find out that it has completely dried out? I hate when that happens.

It's frustrating to need to stop your recipe and run to the store to get more or not make the recipe. Or perhaps your recipe just calls for a little bit of herb and you just don't want to buy a full bulb or bunch.

fresh ginger

Whether you do not like to chop or peel,  your garlic or ginger dries out, or you just don't have any in the house, I have found a really easy way to always make sure I have some fresh ginger, garlic, basil, parsley, and cilantro available for any recipe!

I have found an easier way that I love!!

I buy freshly frozen cube packages of herbs that keep in my freezer for at least 6 months. They are easy to use, take up very little room in the freezer, and are very convenient.
There is no peeling, grating, chopping, etc.
The frozen cubes are made up of 100% fresh herbs that have been blended and frozen.

I buy these convenient packages at Trader Joe's or most supermarkets.

Dorot brand garlic

The brand I have found ( I think there are other brands too) is called Dorot. The price of the cubes ranges from $1.99 -$3.99 depending where you purchase. I have found Trader Joe's is the most reasonable.

small cubes of garlic and ginger

The frozen herb cubes are available in ginger , parsley, garlic, basil, cilantro, etc.  If you turn the package over, it looks like 20 little ice cubes. You can pop one or two out to use in a recipe and then return to the package to freezer for future use!

I love the ease and taste of this 100 % no additive pure product. It can be used in almost any recipe that calls for fresh garlic, ginger, cilantro or basil. I love it..and what a time saver!!!Note: you must keep it frozen at all times for the cubes to pop out.

I love to use these cubes in my easy Asian Broccoli Crowd Pleaser Recipe

Buy the garlic and ginger cubes ready made for ease or

How to make your own basil, parsley, or cilantro cubes

You will have to use a mini ice cube tray -
I've used this one Silicone Ice Cube Trays BPA Free  or
this one Mini Ice Cube Trays with Flexible Silicone Bottom For Easy Release Pop out | Set Of 3 Ice Molds BPA Free

The object is you want the cubes to be small and pop out easily- both of these are BPA free.

fresh growing herbs of chives, basil , parsley

During the season when herbs are prolific , parsley, cilantro, chives and basil are economical to freeze in this manner.  You want the consistency to come out like pesto or actually you can freeze your favorite pesto recipe for a delicious use for basil in other recipes.

basil and spinach pesto

2 cups of basil, parsley,  or cilantro
4 Tablespoons of water ( or a little more if needed- you want it to be thick)

Blend to thick consistency like a pesto
Freeze in cube tray
Pop out as needed in recipes - no need to defrost to use in recipes

Garlic and ginger are similar but you need quite a quantity of each. 
That is why I just buy the garlic and ginger - it is easier and I believe ends up costing much less.

Disclaimer: I was not asked to evaluate Dorot frozen herb cubes- I use them, like them, and just wanted to share. I have no affiliation to Dorot company.

This post does contain Amazon affiliate links. If you click on an Amazon link and make a purchase, I will receive a very small compensation at no cost to you. Like most bloggers these Amazon links help to defray the cost of running a blog. Thank you for your support.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving Crudite Appetizer for The Kids

Thanksgiving crudite and dip

Thanksgiving is a holiday that's meant to spend  with family and friends. This is a fun activity that you can do with your little ones to get ready for the occasion. It's easy, it's festive, edible and  cute. In addition, all of the ingredients are healthy. Would you call it food art?

Do you remember my Halloween food art post that featured a few photos of various Halloween food creations that my talented friend Gail made for Halloween? 

vegetables and dip for Halloween

Well Gail is at it again. This time she made a Thanksgiving turkey out of fruit and vegetables. 

Her creation is simple but cute and so easy it would be a great project to make with the kids.

Thankgiving crudite and dip

I always serve a few appetizers on Thanksgiving for when everyone is congregating prior to the meal.  This adorable crudite platter lends itself to any type of dip.

You will need a yellow pear, raisins, red pepper, baby carrots, celery sticks, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes and a dip of your choice.

Assemble ingredients according to the photo. Use toothpicks to hold on the eyes and nose.

This recipe will be shared on Beth Fish Reads- Weekend Cooking where anyone can share a food related post ( appears on Saturday)  and my daily lists of blog carnivals

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Too Much Kale? Make Lemon Flavored Kale Chips

lemon flavored kale chips http://www.glutenfreematters.com

If you belong to a CSA like I do, you may be inundated with greens right now. This week I received collards, kale, lettuces, mustard greens etc. Although I am using the greens in smoothies and salads, I am concerned I won't get to all of it- so I decided to make kale chips.

Kale tossed in lemon juice http://www.glutenfreematters.com

Kale or Collard Chips Are Easy, Healthy, and Crispy
Kale or collard green chips are easy to make and are really delicious. Some people find they enjoy kale or collards best as a crunchy chip.

kale chips lemon flavored
Lay out on cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper and spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt

Great Way to Get Kids to Eat More Greens
It is a great way for kids to eat kale! It makes a great after school snack or a healthy appetizer  for kids to snack on while waiting for dinner.

collard green
Cut out the hard stems from collards andk
Does Baking The Kale Destroy the Nutrients?
I was concerned that baking the kale would deplete its nutritional benefits. However after some research, I found out that the heat does not affect the vitamin K( which is vital for calcium absorption) or the fiber content. Although it does affect the Vitamin C and Beta Carotene slightly, it doesn't destroy all of it. So, you still get most of the benefit and you are likely to eat more kale this way! Baking kale removes the water content and leaves you with a crispy delightful snack that everyone seems to love!

Make your Kale Chips Your Way
If the chips are too bland for you plain, you can certainly add seasoning before baking. In the past I've made Spicy Kale Chips for Cinco de Mayo.  You can season with just salt and pepper or add some lemon or lime juice for a tangy flavor.

So, if you ever find yourself with too many greens like kale or collards- don't let them go bad-make kale or collard green chips.


2 cups of kale or collards, de-stemmed and washed
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
Himalayan salt to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and de-stem kale or collard greens. Place in a large mixing bowl. Mix lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Pour over greens and toss. Pour off any excess liquid. Place greens in a single layer on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 10-15 minutes but watch carefully so it doesn't burn. Use two cookie sheets if needed . Do not put kale on top of each other.

Lemon flavored kale chips http://www.glutenfreematters.com

Friday, November 10, 2017

Kohlrabi Carrot and Raisin Slaw - A Nutritional Powerhouse

Carrot, raisin, and kohlrabi slaw  at http:www.glutenfreematters.com

This fast and easy kohlrabi carrot slaw is a powerhouse of nutrients with an incredible taste.
I like it so much, I could eat it everyday- really!

New healthy recipe that your family will love

Are looking for new healthy recipes that can help boost your immune system, your fiber, and reduce calories with easy fall recipes? Move over butternut squash and welcome low carb kohlrabi !

Kohlrabi is a seasonal fall vegetable

I have been seeing kohlrabi recently in many supermarkets. It is softer than cabbage and tastes great in a slaw or salad. Combined with grated carrots and raisins, grated kohlrabi makes a fabulous side that is sweet and juicy. Kohlrabi may be a light green or a deep purple - both taste the same.

Make this healthy slaw in just 5-7 minutes

You know fresh is best. Freshly grated slaw is nutrient dense and extremely tasty.  High in fiber while low in calories, carbs, and fat,  kohlrabi is a powerhouse of nutrition. Of course we already know that carrots are loaded with antioxidants especially beta carotene which our bodies convert to Vitamin A,  The duo may provide some serious health benefits.

sweet grated organic carrots

I Eat 70% ( or more)  Raw 30% Cooked Food

I try to include a significant amount of raw food into my diet. Salad, slaws, and crudite are a few of the ways to enjoy raw food ( uncooked food which retains more of the vitamins).

Store the kohlrabi bulb in refrigerator for 2 weeks

Since a kohlrabi bulb can be stored in the refrigerator at least 2 weeks, I buy 3 or 4 and make this salad every few days. There are no complaints because it tastes so good and can be mixed with green salad as well. You be the judge.

kohlrabi, carrots, and raisin slaw @ http://www.glutenfreematters.com

Other Ways to Use Kohlrabi

This vegetable can substituted for a potato in soup or cooked and served like a potato ( mashed, baked fries, in soups) - but the carbs are much lower than potatoes. Last year when I received this foreign ( to me) vegetable from my organic CSA Farm, I experimented and used it to make a delicious red lentil soup.

kohlrabi and red lentil soup at http://www.glutenfreematters.com

Don't be afraid to try something new.
Next time you are at the supermarket, ask if they have kohlrabi!
It has been popular in Germany for a hundred years! There are two varieties: green and purple. I think they taste almost the same.

Kohlrabi Carrot Slaw is gluten free ( like all of my recipes) and vegan

More about Kohlrabi nutrition and benefits

Author: Judee Algazi @Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 5-7 minutes
Cook Time : none
Serving Size: 2-3 individual bowls

1 kohlrabi, peeled
1 large organic carrot, washed and scrubbed
1/2 cup of dark organic raisins
Juice of half a large lime
1 tsp of Olive oil
Optional: 1/2 cup of raw (unsalted) sunflower seeds

Grate kohlrabi and carrots into a medium mixing bowl. Add raisins and sunflower seeds. Mix lime juice and olive oil and add to the slaw. Mix and serve.

My Notes:
1. This slaw can be made in advance and keeps for 24 hours covered in the refrigerator
2. This would make a great light and healthy colorful side for Thanksgiving 
3. Satisfy your vegans by adding the raw sunflower seeds or even walnuts to make this salad more substantial.

Please see my Blog carnival daily listings where I link my posts. 

This recipe will also be shared on Beth Fish Reads- Weekend Cooking where anyone can share a food related post ( appears on Friday) 

and also on Deb's Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, salad, or Sammie recipe ( appears late Sunday)

Kohlrabi - What is it ?

Are you familiar with kohlrabi?

Its a very tasty vegetable that is becoming an increasing popular. It's been eaten for years in Germany and  now its' available in most American supermarkets and  quite plentiful in the fall if you belong to a CSA farm.  It is so versatile that I use it in salads, soups, crudite, and side dishes. It is delicious but it's the health benefits that really keep me coming back for more kohlrabi!

What is Kohrabi?

Kohlrabi is a cruciferous vegetable in the same family as cauliflower, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage sharing many of the same nutrients and phytochemicals that help nourish and fight disease. So, if you try to eat more kale, make room for kale's cousin- kohlrabi!

What are it's Nutritional Benefits? 

  • High in fiber
  • Low in fat 
  • High in vitamin C
  • Low in Net Carbs ( carbs per cup 8.3/fiber per cup 4.9)
  • High in disease protective phytochemicals
  • Potassium, B-6, calcium, phosphorus, folate

How Does it Taste? 

It tastes like a cross between a broccoli stem and jicama. Kind of juicy, crunchy and a slightly sweet.

Quick, Easy, and Healthy Recipe

I enjoy kohlrabi raw or cooked. Uncooked I like to grate it and add it to salads or cut it into sticks and use it for crudite. In addition, I've peeled and cut kohlrabi like I would a potato and added it to soup recipes.Kohlrabi and Red Lentil Soup

Why add it to your vegetable menu ?

Seasonal vegetables are great for your health. It is often said that it is important to eat local produce to get a boost for your immune system so get it from your CSA or local farmer's market.
Don't be afraid to try something new. It is available in most supermarkets ( it comes in purple and light green varieties which taste just about the same. It's so easy to add some to salad or a crudite platter.. 

How to Peel

Kohlrabi has a tough outer peel. I cut off the top and the bottom and then use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel the remainder. Make sure to take off all the tough skin. My favorite way to eat it is in this quick and easy slaw.

Juicy Kohlrabi Carrot Raisin Slaw in 5 minutes 

Kohlrabi and Red Lentil Soup

In searching the Internet I found these articles that explain more about the nutritional and great health benefits of kohlrabi. The first article by Dr. Axe explains how and why the nutrients in kohlrabi are disease fighters. The 2nd article gives some insight into how this vegetable helps with weight loss- just saying!!

Kohlrabi: A Disease Fighting Phytochemical Powerhouse 

Health Benefits of Eating Kohlrabi ( good article) 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Wordless Wednesday- Giant Ferns

Some shots of giant ferns and a friend on the bottom for Wordless Wednesday

My brother in law EZI 's  pride and Joy - Her name is  Aria 

Will be shared on shared on Beth Fish Reads Wordless Wednesday  
Wordless Wed on Tuesdays wordless on tuesday http://thesimpleyear.com/, 

image in ing, 
ClaireJustine linky 
West Metro Mommy  
Create with Joy 
bethere2day nanahood

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Gluten Free for the Holidays and Turkey-less

I have to share the story of what happened when I hosted a "Turkey-less" Thanksgiving 20 years ago for 18 relatives . 

Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays when I was growing up. It was a time when our extended family was together, the weather was crisp and nippy, the fireplace was roaring, and everyone was relaxed and cheerful.

My mother always set the table brilliantly for Thanksgiving with her best china, her treasured crystal, and beautiful orange linen napkins that complemented her pristine white freshly ironed tablecloth. Our extended table was set for 18. ( yes, she had that many dishes and crystal)

Our main centerpiece was traditionally a huge cornucopia basket filled with farm fresh local Jersey apples and red grapes accompanied by two small centerpieces of seasonal flowers.

My Mother's Traditional Meal
My mother's traditional Thanksgiving meal bragged a huge banquet of Thanksgiving family recipes which included appetizers, soup, turkey, stuffing, gravy, winter squashes, mashed potatoes, salad, Brussels sprouts, string bean and onion ring casserole, pumpkin pie and apple pies.

My Mother Couldn't Make Thanksgiving Anymore and that left me to make it

As my mother got older and could no longer handle the cooking, the set up, and the serving, so the tradition was passed on to me, her one and only late life child. ( she had me at 42)

Don't get me wrong, I shared my mother's love of cooking, her passion for entertaining and her talent for bringing family and friends together.

The Problem 

The problem was that sometime in my late twenties, I decided to become a vegetarian.  This meant that I now refused to kill a turkey and have some poor defenseless bird roasting in my kitchen oven for the better part of the morning and then lay on a platter dead on my holiday table.

How do you explain a turkey-less Thanksgiving to your Thanksgiving guests? 

A turkey-less Thanksgiving did not go over well with my father, the meat eater, who had been a butcher most of his adult life! My mother was willing, my husband was used to it, my other relatives were skeptical and everyone who came was genuinely disappointed. After all , they looked forward to their Thanksgiving Turkey tradition all year long.

That was when I was a young mother and it was the first and last year that I hosted Thanksgiving. It was UNTRADITIONAL yet the food was good, great ! but the traditional eaters wanted a turkey. The following year, Thanksgiving was at my cousin's house and forever after, I have not been asked nor desired to host Thanksgiving.

What did I make for an Un Traditional Thanksgiving?
Well truthfully, I made delicious appetizers, soup, vegetable sides using winter squashes, stuffing and vegan gravy, string and string beans. Except for the turkey everything else was the same, and I made a vegan entree which people liked but didn't replace the turkey.

If you are looking for gluten free and vegan ideas ( even if just for the soup, appetizers or sides) have a look at the list of recipes that I published last year with a comprehensive list of 
my gluten free and vegan Thanksgiving recipes.

                   My Gluten Free and Vegan Thanksgiving recipes.

I love to know what you think..Please leave a comment by scrolling down to the end of the post ( if you are reading in email, you have to click on the top of the post that says, "click here to go to the blog") and then scroll down and click on comments.

Friday, November 3, 2017

How To Make Easy Lentil Soup in Your Instant Pot

Thick and hearty Vegan lentil soup

Lentil Soup made in the Instant Pot is quick, simple, and delicious. No mess, no fuss.
I'm finally learning to use my Instant Pot and yes, I'm enjoying it.
The more I'm using it, the more I'm finding to make in it, and the more I'm loving it because it's so easy!

Instant Pot
                                              Instant Pot

There is a short learning curve, but after using it just once I had the hang of it and I've been experimenting with different recipes. 

Fast and Easy
I cooked this protein rich lentil soup in just 16 minutes. Of course it took the Instant Pot time to warm up and cool down, but that didn't affect my work time. Once in the pot, I was able to walk away and forget about it- and I did.

chopped soup vegetables

So Easy to Make

The Instant Pot is really easy to use and if you don't mind having another big clunky appliance on your counter or to store somewhere, it is a real time saver. In addition, it doesn't heat up the kitchen and doesn't splatter when cooking. It also frees up your stove top space.

Want more? It also functions as a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker etc. Depending on the model you buy, it can have anywhere from 6 to 10 other functions.  Instant Pot

This lentil soup is soothing and nourishing and now quick to make. I love lentil soup because it is a meal in itself. I often grab a bowl for lunch or use it as a starter for a light dinner with a salad, some gluten free bread, and maybe a little humus. 

I used the smaller French Green Lentils for this recipe ( which they sell organic in a local supermarket), carrots, onion, 2 small red potatoes, 2 bay leaves, cracked pepper, salt which I added after the soup cooked, and fresh spinach leaves. I use organic produce which tastes amazing and is not exposed to harmful pesticides.

Packed With Nutrients

3 Tablespoons of these dry lentils have 11 grams of fiber, no fat, 9 grams of proteinonly 1 gm sugar, 15% of your daily iron,  and 120 calories with the added carrots, onion, and fresh wilted spinach ( or any green) - you are getting a lot of healthy nutrients for your buck! Oh! and lentils are so economical - I paid $2.29 for an organic bag of lentils that provides 12 servings.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 15 ounce can of organic diced tomatoes ( or 2 cups of diced fresh tomatoes)
2 cups of French green lentils or brown lentils,  sorted, washed, and drained.  
4 carrots diced
1 cup of diced celery
1 cup of chopped onion
2 small red potatoes, chopped
2 bay leaves ( and then removed after cooking)
cracked pepper to taste
6-7 cups water
4 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons of Trader Joe's 21 Salute or any salt free seasoning mix
2 cups of fresh spinach torn into bite size pieces
Optional seasonings after soup is cooked: salt, cumin, freshly grated parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, lemon juice etc. 

Place the garlic, tomatoes, and onion in the Instant Pot- turn on Sautee setting and sautee for a few minutes until flavors begin to mingle. Add lentils, carrots, celery, onion, red potatoes, , bay leaves, cracked pepper, 21 Salute, water and broth in the Instant Pot. Turn off Sautee and Turn on manual and set for 16 minutes. Allow to self cool or release steam by turning the little steamer know to the left after it cooks. ( follow directions on your Instant Pot manual) 
Season with your choice of seasoning ( I never cook the salt with the lentils as it tends to keep the lentils from softening up)- can't kid you, it tastes great with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top ( Just saying)

My notes: 
1. Once you learn to use the Instant Pot, you will find many uses for it-
 sweet potatoes, stews, soups, cooks beans ( You can stop using canned beans which often have chemicals in the lining and expose you to heavy metals like aluminum as well) -
Personally, I don't meat or  chicken but of course you can find lots of recipes for that too. Just about any recipe can be made in the Instant Pot- it comes with a recipe booklet and there are TONS of recipes on Pinterest.

2. It took me a while to finally open the box and learn to use it- the easiest way was just following the recipes in the booklet they give to you or the recipes you can find on Pinterest. I just searched Pinterest for a recipe lentil soup. Then, I adapted used my own recipe following the same steps.

Basically there are 2 steps plus learning about the steam release
1. Sautee function- and then off
2. Manuel- set to time desired
3. Allow the steam to release on it's own OR release the steam button by turning the knob to the right.

Easy !!!

Do you have an Instant Pot? Do you like it ? What is your favorite thing to make in it? 

Instant Pot Lentil Soup http://www.glutenfreematters.com

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for Amazon and like most bloggers will receive a very small compensation if you click on a link from my site and make a purchase. Of course this is at no additional cost to you. This helps me defray the costs of running this blog. I thank you and appreciate your support.

Don't forget to check out these hopping blog parties for additional recipes

This recipe will be shared on Beth Fish Reads- Weekend Cooking where anyone can share a food related post ( appears on Friday) 

and also on Deb's Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, salad, or Sammie recipe ( appears late Sunday)