Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Wordless Wednesday- Whale Watching

I'm getting on the Wordless Wednesday bandwagon.

There are bloggers who post photos every Wednesday.

I find myself enjoying their photos of places they have visited, their hometown photos, food, outfits, family gatherings etc. -

I recently went to Cape Cod and took a ton of photos. Since it's Wordless Wednesday, I'm going to share a few of  them with you today.

Le me just say that it was a magical day!!

Whale Watching Cruise from Hyannis, Massachusetts in Cape Cod

looking for whales on a misty day in our friend's Noreen and Avi's raincoats

Monday, July 17, 2017

Papaya and Blueberries Make a Beautiful Fruit Cup

I was having company for dinner the other night and blueberries and papayas were in season.
So I decided to forgo the typical fruit salad that I usually make and instead make a dessert using only the two fruits.

Their complementary colors presented a brilliant contrast that was lovely and appealing . My summer dessert was very extremely easy to make, made a beautiful presentation, and was simply delicious. Of course it was naturally gluten free and vegan as well.

When I served it, I sliced a 2 inch thick piece for each person . Some fresh whipped would make it divine.

We ate it with a fork and knife.
Actually the skin and seeds are edible, but I don't know how good they taste.

I Live Near The Blueberry Capital of the World

We live about an hour from Hammonton, New Jersey which is nicknamed " the blueberry capital of the world." (Google it)  Hammonton is located on the way to the Jersey shore where there over 250 blueberry farms on 8,000 acres of sandy soil.

blueberry bushes 

It wasn't always that way. Fifty years ago, the farms were smaller and served mostly local markets.

However, today I understand that most of our local berries are now contracted to Driscoll.
So, no matter where you live you may very well be eating our local berries.

Years ago when my two sister in laws were still teenagers, I took them blueberry picking on a pick your own farm in Hammonton, NJ .

After picking ( and tasting) for about three hours in the vast sea of blueberry bushes, we went home with quite a haul.

We froze most of them, ate many of them, and made a few batches of blueberry muffins. It was a fun but exhausting. It was the one and only time I picked blueberries.

My dessert reminded me of my blueberry adventures.

Since blueberries are in season, why not make this simple dessert. It's naturally gluten free, low in calories, and rich in appeal.

Remove the seeds from the papaya

I sliced the papaya in two lengthwise and scooped out the waxy round black seeds from the core of the papaya and was left with a large long cavity. I filled it with blueberries.

I placed both the papaya and the blueberries in the refrigerator to chill.

My Notes:
Papaya tastes great with freshly squeezed lime..
Papayas from Hawaii are GMO ( their flesh is yellow)
Papayas from Mexico and Belieze usually are not GMO ( these have a more orange flesh)

How to Freeze Blueberries
Blueberries freeze really well and it's very easy to freeze them.
Simply wash them, dry them well, place them in ziploc freezer bags and freeze them.
Be sure to dry them well so they will not stick together.
Use the frozen berries for smoothies, muffins, pancakes, etc.

I usually freeze them when they are on sale,or whenever I can get organic blueberries at at reasonable price

How to Select a Papaya
Papaya are an extremely nutritious fruit. However, most papayas that come from Hawaii are genetically modified ( GMO) they have yellow fruit inside -
try to look for papayas that come from Mexico or Belieze which are usually not GMO- often called Caribbean Reds and Maradol- they look orange inside.
I found  an article online that explains more about safe Papayas 

I also found this Youtube that explain how to select a papaya when it's ripe- he talks about the Hawaiian variety (which will be GMO- he doesn't mention that) but he also explains about the Caribbean variety and how to identify it ( which is the non gmo type)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Pasta Salad with Olives and Veggies

Sometimes you need an easy go-to recipe to serve on those hot hot hot summer nights when you just don't feel like doing any real cooking. Pasta (gluten free of course) salad seems to be that recipe for me.

This Mediterranean style salad is flavorful, fragrant and can be made in advance. We enjoy it paired with  cold soup  or cheese and ( GF) crackers.

Since the salad contains carbs, protein, and lots of veggies, you could actually eat it as your entree. Although I added crumbled feta cheese, omit it to make this a vegan salad.

Omit the cheese if you are vegan
I used red peppers, red onions, olives, fresh basil, tomatoes, celery, scallions, cucumbers, and feta cheese , but feel free to add or substitute any vegetable that you prefer like peas, carrots, radishes, capers, chopped raw broccoli, raw sliced mushrooms, marinated artichokes etc.

Because this recipe can be served at room temperature, it's a great recipe to bring to a pot luck dinner or BBQ-

If you make your pasta in advance, then the prep is just like making a simple salad!

I toss the salad with homemade Italian dressing or try my bold lemon dressing and it is absolutely delcious . 

Where do I get my gluten free pasta? 

 Trader Joe's and Aldi's carry a variety of gluten free pastas at very reasonable prices. 

I recently started shopping in Aldi's and was pleasantly surprised to find a huge selection of gluten free items ( breads, wraps, crackers, snacks made from decent ingredients) Aldi's also has many organic packaged products and produce.

If you want to cut back on the carbs in this recipe, omit the pasta and substitute florettes of lightly cooked cauliflower.


Author: Judee Algazi @ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes to cut up vegetables
Cook Time: 25 minutes to cook and drain GF pasta
Serves: 6-8


12 ounces of uncooked GF pasta, boiled and drained
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 cup of sliced cucumbers
1/2 cup of diced celery
1/2 cup pitted Greek olives , chopped
1/4 cup of chopped scallions
1/3 cup of diced red onions
1/4 cup of freshly chopped basil
1/2 cup of diced red peppers
3/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
Optional: top with slices of avocado

Cook and drain GF pasta according to package directions.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the list of the ingredients with the pasta.
Toss with 1/4 of Italian dressing or my bold lemon dressing.
Taste best served at room temperature.

Linked to : Souper Sunday ( soup, salad, sandwich blog carnival) and

These are great cutting boards because they are so lightweight, I even take them with me when I travel.  I love having color coded cutting boards. These are light yet durable and store easily. Also BPA free
Premium 4 Piece Cutting Board Set with Stand - Dishwasher Safe - Color Coded - Microban - BPA FREE

Disclaimer: As most bloggers, I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click on a link from my blog and purchase something from Amazon, I receive a very small compensation at no cost to you. This helps me defray the cost of running a blog. As always, thanks for your support.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Steam Zucchini for Sweetest flavor

My CSA farm share was overrun this week with twelve beautiful yellow zucchini amidst a variety of summer lettuces, giant scallions, firm cabbage, creamy colored turnips, dark green dandelion greens, flat kale, fragrant basil and cilantro, kohlrabi, garlic scapes, purple beets, juicy raspberries, and crisp Persian cucumbers.

      With all these glorious vegetables it's easy to eat gluten free and vegetarian/ vegan

The brutal 95 degree humid heat wave of last week was probably responsible for ripening the vegetables quickly producing bumper crops of everything in the fields.

Yellow zucchini growing
Once I collected my veggies and loaded the car with my bulging baskets of freshly picked produce, I ventured back to the overgrown landscaping on the bucolic Bucks County country roads hoping to get a glimpse of a deer or fox on my drive home.

I actually did see a tiny baby fawn under a tree in an empty field. The mother was not in the photo but she was nearby in the field too.

To entertain myself on the twenty minute ride , I began to imagine what I could make with all of those lovely yellow zucchinis.

However, after picking vegetables in the heat, I was tired.
The last thing I want to do that evening was cook.

First, I thought about my mother in law Toni's flavorful zucchini quiche casserole.  However, I didn't have all the ingredients in the house, nor did I want to turn on the oven.

Next, I thought about making one of my delicious zoodle recipes, but I just didn't feel like spiralizing.

Finally,  I decided to simply steam the zucchini whole. Yes that was all I did- I washed them, and didn't peel or cut- and just put them in the steamer basket just the way they were.

I steamed for 8 minutes, removed, and served. The sweet tender squash came out absolutely delicious. Each person got a whole zucchini to eat as he/she pleased.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture. We devoured them so quickly.

It was easy, simple, healthy, and nutritious. Even my husband commented on delicious they were.

So, there you have it- you don't always need to make a fancy recipe to enjoy farm fresh summer vegetables. Sometimes simplicity is the best solution.

Steamed Whole Yellow Zucchini ( not yellow squash)

4 small to medium yellow or green young tender zucchini
3 cups of Water 
salt and pepper to taste 

Place water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Insert steamer basket, place 4 zucchini in the basket, cover and steam for 5-8 minutes until tender ( depends on size of zucchini)  Insert sharp knife into the zucchini to see if it is cooked. 
Serve with salt and pepper to taste and a pat of butter if desired.

My notes: 
Yellow zucchini is not the same as yellow summer squash.
The deeper yellow in the picture below are the zucchini - the lighter yellow in the photo are summer yellow squash
They have a different taste and texture; I prefer the zucchini

''shared on Beth Fish Reads weekend linky

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

This Instant Pot is $40 Off today only

Do you have a Prime Account? I just bought an Instant pot at $40 off- I believe it is on sale until a little past midnight tonight ( Tuesday July 11 EST! ) It's a special Prime Day promotion.

Here is a link to the one day Prime Day sale page

Instant Pot DUO80 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, 8 Quart/1200W

I was visiting my friend Noreen this past weekend in Cape Cod and listened to how excited she was with her new Instant Pot.

She made many recipes in it including homemade yogurt, a chocolate lava cake, hard boiled eggs that the peel just slides off, corn on the cob, some chicken dishes etc.  The greatest part was she never had to turn on her oven- not even for her delicious chocolate cake! This is perfect for the summer.
 She just recently got hers, so she was still experimenting but she loves it!

I've also read that it makes fermented foods in a jiffy, beans, soups, stews, etc. and most cooks prefer it over the slow cooker. In fact, I've seen many posts that tell you how to convert slow cooker recipes to use in the Instant Pot.

I've been thinking about it for a while and with the sale, I just decided to go for it. From everything I've read, it works great and makes cooking faster and easier.. you can even sautee right in the pot!

If you are interested in checking it out ,here is a link to the sale Insta Pot. I had to look through pages on Amazon until I found it! The sale wasn't listed on the first ones to pop up!

Instant Pot DUO80 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, 8 Quart/1200W

If you have been thinking about getting one and want to take advantage of the sale like I just did, you will have to do it by midnight EST ( or by maybe 2:00 AM EST) ** You must have a Prime Account.
The sale is part of a special Prime Day Sale!!

I will start posting recipes as soon as I have a chance to try mine which I should get in 2 days! Yay!

Do you have an instant Pot? Do you love it? What do you make with it?

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for Amazon- Anytime you click on a link from my blog and buy something- I receive a very small commission at no cost to you.. This is what helps me defray the cost of running a blog. Thank You

How to Freeze Spiralized Zucchini

Did you know that you you can spiralize raw zucchini and freeze it for future use? 
It's so fast and easy, you will always want to have some handy in the freezer.

Freezing zucchini lets you take advantage of summer zucchini when its plentiful and reasonable and use it long after the prolific zucchini crop has long disappeared. 

5 Reasons I like to freeze zucchini Spirals

1. I have too much zucchini that will go bad if I don't use it
2. Frozen zucchini spirals can be cooked in sautées or soups
3. Frozen zucchini spirals cook in minutes
4. Frozen zucchini spirals can last for months in the freezer
5. Less waste- 

Prep your zucchini in 4 easy steps: 

1. Use your spiralizer to make zucchini spaghetti noodles ( tutorial) 

2. Sweat your spiralized zucchini in the colander for 25 minutes by salting it to release moisture.

3. Wring your zucchini in a clean dish towel to remove moisture before freezing it. 

4. Freeze zucchini sprials in individualized portions in a baggy. 

5. Use right from bag for sautéing and cooking like in this Zoodles and Purple Cabbage recipe.

I am in love with spiralized zucchini ( yellow or green zucchini) 
because it's easy to make, low in carbs, very low in calories, and satisfies my pasta cravings.  

If you need a spiralizer, I use this oneSpiralizer By Palermo- Voted the Best Vegetable Maker, 

You can read my previous post that teaches you how to make your zucchini into zucchini pasta tutorial) 

Buy Green or Yellow Zucchini

This time of the year, local yellow zucchini squash is abundant from CSA farms and farmer markets as well as green zucchini.

This is yellow zucchini which is different from yellow squash- 

Personally, I'm just as happy with a bowl of healthy spiralized zucchini pasta, marinara sauce, and grated cheese as I am with the real pasta or sometimes I make this zoodles ( zucchni noodles) in an avocado pesto sauce with cherry tomatoes. 

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Last week I went to the farmer's market and bought 6 medium/large organic yellow and green zucchini. I don't know what I was thinking. After all, 1 medium/large zucchini makes two large bowls of zucchini pasta.

 As much as I love it, I really don't want to have to eat it every night.

I thought about freezing it, but had never done it before. It was worth a try. 
I decided to spiralize all six that I purchased,  and then froze the results. It worked like a charm, and now I have frozen zucchini pasta in the freezer all ready to use! Convenient!!

Recap:  For Best Results  
1. Spiralize the zucchini
2. Place in a colander, salt it, allow it to sit for about 25 minutes
3. Place in a clean dish towel, twist the dish towel from both ends to squeeze out the water
4. Divide into individualized portions ( about 3 cups) and freeze in a baggy
5. Do not defrost before using- use directly from the freezer
6. Use in cooked zucchini noodle recipes or soup

creamy zucchini soup ( vegan) 

What is your favorite "zoodle" ( zucchini noodle)  recipe?
Have you ever frozen your zoodles?