Monday, March 18, 2019

Gluten Free Honey Cake Muffins

If you love honey cake, you will love these healthy honey cake muffins. They are gluten free, dairy free and have an egg free option.

When I was growing up, my mother used to make a delicious honey cake. Her cake was intentionally a little on the dry side and firm, but had a great flavor and it was usually eaten with a cup of tea.

honey cake muffins

The other day my neighbor, Yda, brought me some of her gluten free " healthy" muffins.. As soon as I took a bite, they reminded me of my mother's honey cake . Sure enough when I asked for the recipe, my neighbor's muffins had honey in them.

The flavor was delicious and the texture was perfect to go with a cup of tea, glass of nut milk, or coffee. .I prefer my muffins a little dryer and firmer than the soft fluffy ones just don't fill me up.

What made these muffins "healthy"?

gluten free muffins

My neighbor used my all purpose Bob's Red Mills gluten free flour that I gave her. It's made from chickpea flour and rice flour and has a good texture, fiber, and protein. In fact 1 cup of this flour provides 16 gms of fiber and 12 gms of protein. In addition, she used unsweetened applesauce, honey, blackstrap molasses, walnuts and raisins.

There are lots of healthy ingredients in these muffins. Blackstrap molasses has a unique flavor and is rich in vitamins and iron. In fact

The recipe makes 18 muffins. Enough to eat some, share some, and freeze some.

gluten free muffins

They are easy because they are made in a bowl, mixed with spoon and baked for just 20          minutes.

Healthy muffins are a great grab and go breakfast or a great gluten free snack.

These muffins are made with walnuts and raisins, a combination that I find crunchy and delicious.

It doesn't get much easier than simply mixing some batter with a spooning and spooning it into muffin tins to bake.

Everyone will love them.

2 cups of gluten free flour ( I used Bob Mills All purpose which is heavier than a rice flour)
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of black strap molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup of raisins
1/4-1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of almond milk
2 eggs, beaten ( or egg replacer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine gluten free flour, baking soda, and salt. Add honey, molasses, oil, almond milk, and eggs.
Mix with a spoon and spoon into an 18 count greased muffin tin.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from tins after cooling for 20 minutes. Place muffins on a rack to cool.

Blackstrap molasses contains vitamins and minerals especially iron.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Why I've added Moringa Powder to my Smoothies for Breakfast

I've started to make a smoothies again for breakfast. This time I've added moringa powder which is very rich in calcium.
I know it's winter, but I'm in Florida, it's hot, and I just don't feel like eating much in the morning. In addition, I LOVE  the taste and the boost I get from my delicious smoothie.

Smoothies are easy to make, contain lots of nutrients, and easy to digest. It's a great way to start the day especially for anyone with gluten intolerance who may have difficulty digesting and absorbing nutrients.

When I wake up, I first have a glass or two of water with lemon.
Then I take an hour walk.
When I return, I make my smoothie which is usually about 9:30 am.

It holds me until around 11: 30 ish when I start to prepare lunch.

The smoothie I've been making is only 1 point on Weight Watchers. It's part of my wellness and self care program, and it can be part of a weight loss program as well. Many times I'm asked what can you have for breakfast when you are gluten free. This is a delicious and power packed breakfast.

In addition to fruit ( blueberries and banana) and vegetables ( kale), I add cocoa powder and calcium rich moringa powder. Sometimes I top it with diced mango and some fresh mint and eat it with a spoon!!

What is moringa powder? The Moringa tree is considered to be one of the most nutritious plants world wide. Aside from being a good source of antioxidants, moringa powder is rich in calcium, Vit A, and iron. It's a popular supplement to help boost the nutritional content of smoothies!

I was first introduced to moringa by the knowledgeable owner of my local Russian health food store. I live near a Russian community part of the year and they seem to be very interested and knowledgeable about herbs. OMG! Superfoods Organic Moringa Powder - 

I also have become interested in the writings of Anthony Williams, the medical medium.
His Book: Medical Medium Life-Changing Foods: Save Yourself and the Ones You Love with the Hidden Healing Powers of Fruits & Vegetables  - I was able to find a copy at my local library- He has other books too that focus on thyroid. 

He is a big advocate of the power of fruit for healing. I used to cut down on fruit, but he has convinced me of it's amazing benefits. I find all of his books very informative. His most recent book is Liver Rescue :  

Medical Medium Liver Rescue: Answers to Eczema, Psoriasis, Diabetes, Strep, Acne, Gout, Bloating, Gallstones, Adrenal Stress, Fatigue, Fatty Liver, Weight Issues, SIBO & Autoimmune Disease- It's a great read!

I feel like my smoothie is a simple way to boost my nutrition and immunity-

My Daily Smoothie: 

1.5 cups of almond milk
1 cup of frozen wild blueberries
1 ripe banana
1-2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 tablespoons of moringa leaf powder
1 stalk of kale
1 small piece of organic lemon peel
a few drops of liquid stevia

Place almond milk, frozen berries, banana, cocoa, moringa powder, kale, stevia and lemon peel in a strong blender. Whiz util smooth and blended. Drink and immediately.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a very small compensation at no cost to you. Like most bloggers, this allows me to continue to offer free content and defray the cost of running a blog.

Shared on Beth Fish Reads where anyone can share a food related post every Saturday morning

Friday, February 15, 2019

Eat Pasta; Lose Weight

Book Review: The Mamma Mia! Diet

Can you eat pasta and lose weight?
Anything is possible!

The Mamma Mia! Diet is a book and cookbook which explains how you can eat pasta , enjoy wine, and still lose weight. 

This less restrictive approach to dieting boasts better health with Italian flavors and the proven benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. 

According to the authors, Dr. Paola Lovisetti Scamihorn and Paola Palestini , PhD, " The more doctors test it, the more they find that eating Mediterranean is the absolute best way to lose weight".

Of I course I only use gluten free pasta!

The Mama Mia!Diet supports eating olive oil, fruits, and vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish and poultry, whole grains, and wine! 

It is not a vegetarian cookbook, yet there are many vegetarian recipes.

The recipe for spaghetti with pesto and cherry tomatoes used 5 cherry tomatoes, 5 ounces ricotta, and 3 Tablespoons pesto mixed and tossed with the cooked pasta. Simple and easy, yet delicious.

This book was divided into three sections. 

Parts one and two of this book explain the premise of the diet in its entirety emphasizing nutritional information, do's and don'ts, and how to make smart choices for a healthy balanced diet.

Although the book encourages eating pasta, it is not the cornerstone of the Mama Mia! Diet. The menu suggestions are varied and focus on balanced portions of fruit, vegetables, healthy fat, animal protein, etc. Pasta can be eaten but does not have to be eaten.

In addition, the book reviewed individual vegetables, noting their benefits and how to shop and select the best quality. Actually, I found lots of interesting information that was helpful.

Part three is the actual cookbook which features a good selection of recipes and suggested seasonal menus. I found the recipes uncomplicated and fairly basic.

Of course for anyone gluten free, like me, you would need to use gluten free pasta.

If you are looking for a weight loss plan that is healthy and allows for variety in eating, this book may be a good one for you to explore.

Here are some examples of the vegetarian recipes. 

Pasta with Eggplant looked delicious as well as the Chickpea Salad. 

The Tagliatelle with Peas and Asparagus,  Lentil Salad, Pasta with Broccoli and Pasta with Kale all were dishes I would consider trying.

In addition the Veggie Balls, Beets and Ricotta Dumplings all looked tempting. 

For those who are not vegetarian there were lots of choices using chicken, fish, and beef. 

I love Mediterranean cooking. This diet seems like a healthy and satisfying way to eat. 

Shared on Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking where anyone can share a food related post

Disclaimer: I was sent this book for free in exchange for an honest review-

I am not endorsing this book and all opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Butternut Squash with Orange Honey Drizzle

Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables.

However, it is not one of my favorite vegetables to prep and cook!

After all, these squashes can be hard to peel and hard to cut. 

If you own an Instant Pot, you are in luck.

Did you know that butternut squash can be cooked whole in the IP without peeling or cutting it? After pressure cooking on high for 25 minutes, the thin skin comes off easily and the cooked vegetable becomes tender and can be cut in cubes or mashed.

What used to be time consuming and difficult task is now easy in the Instant Pot! 

Yes, you can also roast a whole butternut squash without peeling or cutting in the oven.  However, it's a lot messier, hogs the oven for an hour, and heats up the kitchen. I find it MUCH easier and just as tasty to make the squash in my Instant Pot.

Butternut squash is a great winter choice. It's available, it will keep for at least a week ( or more) on the shelf, and it's rich in beta carotene ( for the eyes) and protective antioxidants.

Amazing amount of nutrients

Our bodies depend on antioxidants to fight free radicals that can cause disease and also to help reduce inflammation. Scientific research on the cancer preventing benefits of antioxidants lead cutting edge doctors like Dr. Axe to say, "  That’s because the best way to reduce your risk of cancer is to fuel your body with nutrients that keep it healthy and able to fight infection and disease. The moral of this story? Fill your diet with antioxidants, like the ones in butternut squash." his full article

If you are not selecting foods for their nutrient value, maybe it is something to consider the positive impact healthy food may have on our health. We are learning that what you eat may make a difference in the way you feel and look. It seems the old adage, " you are what you eat" may actually be true!

How Do I Eat Butternut Squash?

If you are fortunate to get a sweet squash, eat in plain. It tastes amazing.

If the squash is not sweet, I like to make a honey, lemon, and orange blossom water dressing to sweeten it up a bit. In addition, I  sometimes top it with antioxidant rich and colorful pomegranates seeds.

This dish not only tastes great, it packs a great deal of nutrients.

How to cook butternut squash whole in the Instant Pot


1 medium butternut squash, washed well
1 cup of water


Place water in the Instant Pot liner. Use the steamer basket and place squash in it. Secure lid, close steam valve and set to pressure cook on high for 25 minutes. When done, release steam manually according to manufacturer's directions. When all steam is released, carefully remove lid and using pot holders remove the steamer tray with the squash. Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Scoop out squash or scrape off skin and slice squash. Drizzle with the honey orange drizzle. Top with pomegranate seeds if desired.

Recipe for honey orange drizzle 
1/2 cup orange juice ( freshly squeezed) 
1/2 cup of lime juice ( freshly squeezed) 
1/2 teaspoon of orange blossom water
2 tablespoons honey
optional: 3 Tablespoons pomegranate seeds

Mix all ingredients together and drizzle over the cooked butternut squash

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Chinese New Year- Quick Soup

Today is the celebration of the Chinese New Year- 
It's the year of the pig!

Being vegetarian/vegan, you won't find any pork or ham recipes here , but I am sharing a wonderful Chinese soup that I've made in the past. 

It's perfect for cold weather and is a nourishing immune booster for winter flu season. 
It's quick and easy to make, so you can have it ready from prep to finish cooking in 30 minutes!

Cabbage adds amazing flavor to soup. The flavor of cabbage tones down when cooked, and is also easier to digest than raw cabbage.  I used Napa cabbage in this recipe which is a soft, easy to cut, flavorful cabbage available year round in supermarkets and Asian stores.

Why not make a small pot this week in honor of the Chinese New Year? 

Of course all my recipes are naturally gluten free and vegan.. Enjoy 

                             Recipe for Quick Chinese Cabbage Soup

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Moroccan Chickpea and Olive Salad chickpea salad

Chickpea and olive salad is easy to make and absolutely delicious.
Moroccan recipes often include a fair amount of olives, and this dish is no exception.
This wonderful vegan salad can be made with green and or black olives, chickpeas, and cured lemon with lots of healthy herbs and spices.

Ethnic recipes draw from a variety of plant based ingredients, as well as powerful herbs and spices- Ethnic recipes are full of high energy ingredients which are so good for you.


The olives can sometimes make this recipe a little salty, but I toned it down by soaking the olives first in water first.


What is cured or pickled lemon?
 My husband's Middle Eastern family call it " Limone Me-cha- layl" 
and they consider it quite an appetite enhancer! My husband eats it with everything!! 

Personally, I have a difficult time warming up to cured lemon. I find it one of those things that is an acquired taste. It's taken me a while.

If you are going to make this recipe, it would be easiest to purchase the lemon already cured.

Where can you buy cured lemon?
In any Middle Eastern grocery store or you can purchase it through Amazon.. Organic Preserved Lemons by Les Moulins Mahjoub (7.05 ounce)

If you can't get the cured lemon, just add some lemon zest to the recipe.
It won't be exactly the same, but it will be good.


3 cups cooked chickpeas, warm
1/2 cup of green pitted olives
1/8 cup of diced very small cured lemon
1 cup of chopped tomato
1/2 cup of chopped red pepper
2 tablespoons of chopped red onion
3/4 cup of chopped parsley and or cilantro

1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic
Salt and cracked pepper
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ( or more)  of Moroccan Harissa ( hot spice)

Mix chickpeas, olives, cured lemon, parsley, cilantro, red pepper, red onion, and tomato in a large bowl and set aside.
Combine ingredients for dressing and pour over the chickpea mixture.

Serve and enjoy

Sharing on Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, salad, or sammie recipe.

shared also on Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads where anyone can share a food related post.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Beet and Walnut Salad with Pickled Onions

Beets are a healthy superfood-especially if you are thinking of heart or eye protection! 
 Personally, I like cooked beets and am always on the lookout for authentic ethnic recipes that include beets.

I was first introduced to this interesting salad at a luncheon given by an amazing cook who lived her first 18 years in Cairo, Egypt. She brought many of her family recipes with her.  

This colorful salad is one of her recipes. It is made with cooked beets, marinated pickled onions, and raw walnuts. The marinated onions serve as the seasoning, although you could add a little touch of vinegar to the beets if desired. 

The unique combination makes a flavorful salad that is high in fiber and vitamins, minerals, and protective antioxidants. Walnuts are a rich source of plant based Omega 3 fatty acids which have beneficial anti- inflammatory properties. Beets are a superfood and body cleanser that help remove toxins. In addition, beets are low in fat.

The natural ingredients in this nutritious salad are good for you, gluten free, vegan, and easy to make.

You can cook your own beets or buy pre-cooked beets in the supermarket. 

I cook beets in my Instant Pot. 

6 medium beets ( scrubbed but not peeled) 
1 steamer insert 
1 and 1/2 cups water

Directions : 

Place steamer insert into the inner liner of the Instant Pot. Add the water and the beets. 
Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, close steam valve, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. 

When done, allow pressure to release on its own for 10 minutes and then release the remaining pressure manually according to manufacturer's instructions. When all steam is released, carefully remove the lid. Using a fork, remove each beet and run under cold water while rubbing off the skin. ( use gloves to prevent red pigments from staining hands) If you do not use gloves, use baking soda to wash off stains from hands. 

Once peeled, cut beets into bite size chunks. 

Beet stains on your hands?

Did you know that baking soda or lemon juice can help remove beet stains from your hands! Of course, wearing plastic gloves to rub off beet skins ( after cooking) will keep your hands completely clean!!

Marinated pickled red onions are easy to prepare. Just need to soak sliced red onions in white vinegar for 2-3 hours. Follow the link for directions for this fabulous pickled onion.. 

Beet Salad Ingredients: 
4 cups of bite sized cubed cooked beets 
1 cup of marinated pickled red onions
1 cup of raw halved walnuts 

Mix the beets, pickled onions, and raw walnuts together in a bowl. 
Serve at room temperature or chill. 

Sharing on Beth Fish Reads  where anyone can share a food related post every Saturday morning.

Sharing on Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, salad, or sammie recipe..