Thursday, November 26, 2015

Homemade Cranberry Sauce in 25 minutes

This is a perfect cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It is a mixture of tart cranberries, sweet apple, walnuts and tangy citrus. Fresh cranberries cook very quickly ( under 15 minutes), so it is easy to make this delicious seasonal sauce. It is a quick recipe that tastes exceptional and needs only about 5-10 minutes of prep and 15 minutes to cook. Can be and should be made in the day before which frees you up Thanksgiving day.

Fresh Cranberries are tart. Many recipes call for a significant amount of white sugar to overpower the tart cranberries. This recipe has no added sugar and uses fruit and honey to sweeten up the recipe.

fresh red cranberries

The final product is a rich warm red color that looks very inviting and tastes delicious. In addition , i added some chopped walnuts for some little bit of crunch and to take away from the sweetness.

Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

1 12 ounce bag of organic cranberries
2 cups of organic apple, chopped
1/4 cup of water
Juice of 3 (med-large) organic oranges
1/2 cup honey ( I always use raw local honey)
Zest from 1 organic orange
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts added at the end

Place everything except the honey in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer stirring frequently until mixture thickens ( about 12-15 minutes) . Remove from the stove, allow to cool slightly and then mix in the honey.
Pour into a serving bowl, chill overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Healthy Vegan Thanksgiving Sides

A collage of Thanksgiving vegan Recipe Sides at
 Can you imagine Thanksgiving without all of the FABULOUS seasonal sides made from sweet potatoes, string beans , potatoes, stuffing, roasted vegetables, pumpkin pie,cranberry sauce, soup etc. ?

This is a collection of healthy real food recipes 

( gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan )

Monday, November 9, 2015

Quick and Easy Chinese Cabbage Soup

Think that you are too busy or too tired to make healthy homemade soup for your family? This Chinese Cabbage Soup can be made in a Jiffy.

I love making and eating homemade soup because it isn't overly salty, full of chemicals, or high in fat like packaged or canned soup  or soup from restaurants. Not only is homemade soup delicious, nourishing, and healthy, it can made relatively quickly. This flavorful Chinese Cabbage soup took only 10 minutes preparation and around 20-25 minutes to cook.

Why not try it? Cooking a pot of homemade soup warms your house, your belly, and the soothing aroma greets each person as he/she enters your home.

 I used Napa cabbage for this recipe, a soft flavorful cabbage that cooks up quickly and  cuts as easily as a head of lettuce. It's almost always available in regular supermarkets and Asian markets.
Combined with onions, carrots, fresh ginger and fresh garlic, this cabbage makes a wonderful Chinese style soothing light vegetable soup that is sure to please.

Garlic and ginger are powerful immune builders

Author: Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 4-6 cups

5  cups of Napa cabbage, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of chopped onion
2 cups of sliced carrot
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 small finger of chopped fresh ginger
Cracked pepper to taste
3 cups of boiling water
5 cups vegetable broth

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil in a soup pot for about 4 minutes ( stirring). Add the cabbage, carrot, and fresh ginger, toss and continue to saute and stir. After about 5 minutes add the water and vegetable broth, Cook for about 20 minutes about carrots are soft.

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Vegan Cuban Black Bean Soup-Hot, Spicy and Smoky

This easy recipe is as authentic as it gets for Cuban Black Bean Soup without the meat! As I say,
" no meat- no problem"

Smoked Paprika adds smoked flavor

The flavors are Cuban, but the soup is vegan.
I added smoked paprika to the recipe to give it what otherwise would be the" smoked ham hock" taste. But that's optional- you decide whether to add the smoked paprika or not.
The soup will taste great either way-

Healthy Soup Recipes for Busy People
Do you like to cook healthy recipes but be in and out of the kitchen quickly? 
This recipe can be assembled in 10 minutes, and you can do other things while the soup is cooking.  Black Beans and the other simple vegetables in the recipe make for a healthy high fiber meal.

There is definitely a reason that black beans are so widely used and so popular in Latin countries.
Satisfying and filling, this soup is perfect for a cold winter day ( or a chilly fall night).

How to cook your own dry Black Beans

If you want to avoid using cans ( because of BPA and other chemicals in the lining) , then it is important to buy dry beans ( sold in bags in the supermarket) and cook your own. You will need to soak the dry beans overnight, rinse them, and then cook them according to the instruction of the package the next day. Here is how:
  • Wash the beans according to directions on the bag
  • Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with water
  • Soak the covered beans over night
  • Rinse off the water in the morning 
  • Place beans in a large pot and boil for about 1 and half hours until beans are soft
  • When beans feel soft, remove from heat, drain, and use in recipes that call for cooked beans

Fastest Method Use Canned Beans If You Are In A Rush

 If you are in a rush, and want to eliminate the soaking and cooking step for the beans,  you could use organic canned black beans! Some organic brands do not contain BPA in the lining.  If you do use canned , this recipe becomes a really quick and easy soup and surprisingly whether you cook your own or use the canned,  either way, the soup tastes just as good!

Vegan Cuban Black Bean Soup 

Author: Judee Algazi of Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time:  10 minutes if using canned beans or previously cooked beans
Cook Time:  1 hour

7 cups of cooked black beans ( make your own or use 2 large cans of organic canned beans)
1 cup of chopped red or yellow bell pepper
1 cup of chopped onion
4 cloves of fresh garlic , chopped
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
Cracked black pepper to taste
3 cups of water
6 cups of vegetable broth
1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped
 1 teaspoon smoked paprika ( I got mine at Trader Joe's ) or more to taste
 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
Add cooked rice to each bowl.
1/2 cup of diced red onion and red pepper for garnish


In a large soup pot slowly saute the onions, garlic, and red pepper in the olive oil.
Add the cooked beans, jalepeno, seasoning , water and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium and cook for about an hour ( 1/2 hour covered;1/2 hour uncovered) , stirring occasionally. The beans will soften up into the soup.
If the liquid begins to cook down and the soup thickens too much, add an additional 1 cup of water and 1 cup vegetable broth. Season with with additional black pepper and smoked paprika to taste.
For a thicker soup- use an immersion blender to blend it partially.  Garnish with chopped red onion and chopped red pepper.

These will cook down and almost disintegrate in the soup and the red pepper
flavor will be very mild ( I only had a green pepper) 

What are the Heath Benefits of Black Beans ?

  • Packed with antioxidants.The darker a bean, the greater its antioxidant value, making black beans antioxidant superstars even surpassing the antioxidants in oranges! Studies report that  antioxidants help boost our immune systems to help protect against cancer, degenerative disease, and general health.
  • Loaded with fiber. In addition, black beans are loaded with fiber which helps rid toxins from building up in your system by keeping your elimination regular. 
  • Does it Fight Heart disease ? Just one of many available studies was an impressive 19 year study that followed 10,000 persons ( Archives of Internal Medicine). The study found that high fiber foods like black beans, helps prevent heart disease. Eating at least 21 grams of fiber rich foods a day brought down the risk for heart disease by at least 15 %. A cup of black beans provides about 12 grams of heat healthy fiber.
  • Stabilizes Blood sugar  Fiber also helps you maintain healthier glucose metabolism, so the high fiber content of black beans can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Provides lots of Minerals. Black beans are a good source of minerals including iron, magnesium, and folates. If you have Celiac, check with your doctor, you may may be low in minerals due to years of poor absorption. ( especially iron)
  • Low in calories and fat- black beans are filling, satisfying and taste great, yet they are low in calories and low in fat. On Weight Watchers, they are  one of the suggested filling foods.

My Notes:
  • For an interesting kick, add 1/3 of a cup of vinegar ( white or apple cider) to the soup during the last 15 minutes of cooking.  
  • I add 1/4 cup of cooked white or brown rice to each bowl before eating
  • I sometimes top each bowl with plain Greek Yogurt or sour cream 
  • Chopped red onion and raw chopped green or red peppers is also a good garnish 
  • Freeze leftover soup for another meal ( freezes well) 
  • If cooking your own black beans, make them the day before
  • Make your rice while the soup cooks or the day before

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Cauliflower Rice Snow Patties-

Low Carb, easy, delicious and nutritious describe these real food cauliflower snow patties that are baked in the oven, not fried. They are my new low carb Hanukkah latke! I need to watch my carbs and this is the perfect solution for me,

 Made from cauliflower snow( see how below) or you might call it cauliflower rice, these tasty patties are great to have on hand in the refrigerator or freezer. I just grab them from the freezer and heat one or two patties up when I'm looking for a quick low carb snack or a nice side dish. See my notes at the bottom of the page for additional ideas.

They taste great plain or with the added chopped vegetables like kale or red onion. However, you can also leave the vegetables out.

I need food that is fast and easy to cook
My quest is to be able to cook my own healthy meals without spending hours in the kitchen. I try to develop recipes that taste great, are gluten free, vegetarian or vegan and can be quick to prepare. My emphasis is on health and ease!

Convenience and Low Carb Is The Key 
This recipe makes 10-12 patties. They will remain good in the refrigerator ( cooked) for about 3 days; they will last in the freezer for about 3 months. So, when you freeze them, they can be popped out of the freezer and heated very quickly. You'll have a quick snack available at your finger tips. You can do the same thing with another recipe I make called mini vegetable quiches. Keep a batch frozen in large baggies and pop out as needed. Planning in advance is really the key to healthy convenience.

Healthy Nutrient Dense Food is Important To Me
I love this recipe because it is not only low carb and very tasty, it also is made from healthy vegetables. Kale and cauliflower are powerhouses of antioxidants and the red onion also has lots of immune boosting properties to help during  flu and cold season. These little patties are healthy!

How To Make Cauliflower Snow ( rice)  the Easy Way 
( or buy some already made)
Cauliflower snow( rice) is made from a fresh cauliflower. You simply wash and cut the cauliflower into bit size flowerettes. Then place the cut up cauliflower in the food processor with the sharp blade. Pulsate quickly on and off for about 2-3 spins( On off, On off, On off) It happens very quickly. The cauliflower turns into cauliflower snow( rice) which I use as the base for many recipes. For some reason when you cook the snow, it no longer tastes like cauliflower.

Cauliflower Snow( rice) Can Be Made In Advance
I make my snow ( rice) in advance since it will keep in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for about 2 days.
Then I can make the recipe very quickly. One batch of snow will make two batches of this recipe which is about 24 patties. Eat what you need and freeze the rest in a ziploc bag in the freezer.

Recipe for Cauliflower Snow Patties 

Author:  Judee Algazi at Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 15 minutes ( but can be divided on two days)
Cook Time:  30 minutes

5 cups of Cauliflower snow ( make your own OR buy in a bag pre made)
1 cup chopped kale
optional: 1/2 cup chopped red onion ( I liked it better without)
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese ( or any cheese of choice)
salt and cracked pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Make your cauliflower snow(rice) in the food processor and then place 5 cups of snow in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and cheese and mix well with a spoon. Fold in the kale and onions if desired.
Season with the salt and cracked pepper. Make into 10-12 patties and bake for about 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and using a spatula turn the patties over. Raise the temperature to 400 and continue to bake for about 5 more minutes to brown up more.
Remove from oven and eat immediately.

This photo is before baking 
This batch I made plain without vegetables added

This picture is before baking 

My Personal Notes:
We enjoy these patties hot out of the oven, but truthfully they are also good at room temperature.

Don't be fooled by the cauliflower, it taste is completely undetectable in the recipe.

You could add any vegetable of your choice or even leave out the added vegetables and make it plain. ( can't leave out the cheese; it acts as a binder)

If I smother the previously cooked patties with additional grated cheese and marinara sauce ( then heat),  two patties serve as a healthy snack, or with a bowl of my low carb soup for a satisfying lunch or light dinner.

Hanukkah is coming up- Could you serve this as a low carb latke with sour cream or Greek yogurt topping? you bet; it would be fabulous!

Cauliflower Snow can be used for many low carb recipes

Cauliflower snow is the base for so many low carb delicious recipes. If you haven't given it a try, you are truly missing out.  Here are some of the other mock cauliflower recipes I make

Cauliflower Crust Pizza     ( cauliflower crust instead of reg pizza crust) so so good

Breadsticks                         ( cauliflower crust  with sesame seeds- crunchy and delicious) 

Cauliflower Cous Cous       ( cauliflower snow as a substitute for cous cous) 

Riced cauliflower pilaf    ( cauliflower as a substitute for rice) - amazing!!

Cauliflower Cheese Fritters  ( nice side dish) - fabulous 

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