Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Vegetable Pakora Appetizers

I frequently order vegetable pakora appetizers when I dine in our local Indian restaurant.
As much as I enjoy them, I never thought of actually making them at home.

I recently visited Masala Vegan food blog where, Priya, the author shared an easy recipe for making pakoras. I thought I would give it a try!

 I do not have any experience cooking Indian food and was a little intimidated.
The recipe called for a lot more spices than I actually had on hand, but even with my adaptations using less spices, the pakoras tasted really good.

Most cultures, other than Americans, rely on a variety of spices that not only add flavor to their recipes but vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals as well. It turns out that spices like cumin, turmeric, garlic, and red chili powder( all in these pakoras) are little powerhouses of nutrients.

Vegetable pakoras can be made using a variety of vegetables: potato, corn, shredded cabbage, spinach, peas etc. However, this recipe uses only cabbage.

It was so easy because I simply bought a bag of shredded cabbage for the recipe. I was pleased with the results.

This recipe is a home run for me because it is baked, not fried, gluten free, and vegan! Yahoo!!

You can find Priya's recipe for her pakoras on her site at Masala Vegan

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Wordless Wednesday - The Shook in Jerusalem

A few photos from my trip this past May to Israel, Spain, Portugal,
Tangiers Morocco
for Wordless Wednesday : The Shook In Jerusalem

The  Shook ( marketplace) in the old city of Jerusalem 

Merchandise at the shook 

Beautiful tiles 

Colorful scarves in the market place

Tea set 
Mosaic entrance in Portugal

A cave in Tangiers, Morocco 

Shared on Wordless Wednesday at Beth Fish Reads 
  Wordless Wed on Tuesdays wordless on tuesday, image in ing,   and Saturday snapshot hosted by West Metro Mommy  Create with Joy bethere2day nanahood

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Cucumber Melon Gazpacho

chilled fruit gazpacho

You know what they say, "cold soup is hot in the summer"!
This chilled cucumber melon gazpacho is a perfect hot weather soup.
The combination of sweet melon blended with juicy cucumber is light, not too sweet, and refreshing.

Melon and cucumbers are really not a surprising combination.
They both from the same family called Cucurbitaceae, 
Both cucumbers and cantaloupe have a high water content, thus helping with hydration during the hot and humid summer months. In addition, cantaloupe is a great source of Vitamin C. 

Since gazpacho is made from raw blended produce, you get the full benefit of all the nutrients!

I peeled the cucumber for this soup as I was concerned the peel might add bitterness

 I also included some savory fresh thyme and fragrant fresh mint from my patio herb garden. Finally I added banana to give it some creaminess. The color, the taste, and the aroma are very intriguing.

The first time we ever had a chilled fruit soup was on a cruise. Each night the menu listed one chilled soup made from fruits or vegetables. For example, they offered a chilled gingered pear soup one night, and a carrot lime the next.

Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries were also used in other chilled soups. I found it interesting, but I just couldn't wrap my hand around it initially. It took me a while to develop a taste for cold soup. However, surprisingly my husband, who doesn't usually like sweet food, loved these soups.  
He ordered one every night of our 14 day cruise.

cucumber melon gazpacho

One of the chilled soups he particularly liked was a cucumber melon gazpacho. I've tried to replicate it. The cruise version was made with yogurt.  Personally, I wanted to keep this soup vegan and dairy free. The banana did the trick. It thickened up the recipe and made it nice and creamy.

It isn't exactly the same as the soup we had on the cruise, but my husband enjoyed it just as much. 
In this hot weather, it is a pleasure to be able to whiz a refreshing soup in the blender.  No cooking needed.

Author: Judee Algazi @ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: N/A 
Serves: 4 cups 

2 cups of cantaloupe, chunked
1 cup sliced cucumber
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup of slice banana
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (remove leaves from stems)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
Optional garnish: chopped red grapes

Place all of the ingredients in a blender or Nutribullet and whiz until well blended. Pour into 4 soup bowls or glasses and chill until ready to serve. 

1. I used cantaloupe, but I think honeydew could work as well. 
2. I garnished the soup with chopped red grapes and additional fresh mint
3. This isn't for everyone- you gotta like cold soup!
4. Recipes are always a guideline. Everyone has different tastes- so please add more or less thyme or mint depending on your preferences. Maybe you can even think of another herb to add!

Try one of my other chilled soups:

Chilled Carrot Ginger   or    Chilled fresh corn chowder with fennel

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

Also shared on Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, sammie, or salad recipe!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Wordless Wednesday-Parsley Caterpillars

Wordless Wednesday 

These beautiful green and black caterpillars ate every morsel of my parsley plant. One day it was lush and full of parsley and the next day all the curly parsley was stripped and gone!

So much for growing herbs on my deck!!

likes dill too

These caterpillars will turn into the Black Swallowtail Butterfly

With all the rain, we also had a little unexpected visitor on our deck- I've never seen a frog in my yard before!

Shared on Wordless Wednesday at Beth Fish Reads 
  Wordless Wed on Tuesdays wordless on tuesday, image in ing,   and Saturday snapshot hosted by West Metro Mommy  Create with Joy bethere2day nanahood

Monday, August 12, 2019

Pasta Puttanesca Bowl

raw tomato sauce

Sometimes you are just in the mood for a big bowl of pasta (gluten free of course) with a great healthy topping.Whether you make traditional (gluten free) pasta or zucchini spiral pasta, this vegan Puttanesca sauce is sure to delight your taste buds especially in the summer when fresh produce it at it's peak.

I was able to find locally grown cherry tomatoes at a near by farm stand.
They were exceptionally flavorful and much better tasting than any I buy at the supermarket.

This simple recipe of a combination of capers, parsley, and sliced black olives, makes a delicious, low calorie, nutrient dense topping for any kind of pasta or rice.

The colors really popped, and the dish made a spectacular presentation.

If I had red onion or shallots in the house, I might have diced some up and added it to the recipe.

tomato and caper sauce

The combination of simple ingredients was quick and easy to assemble as the recipe does not require cooking. A perfect solution on a hot summer night when you want to keep cooking to a minimum.

zucchini spiral pasta
I made zucchini pasta and stir fried it for about 2-3 minutes before adding my tomato topping

tomato, caper, and olive sauce

If you do not want to eat this over pasta or rice, it is delicious on its own and can serve as your salad.
You could even add a cup of cooked chickpeas to give it a little protein.


3 cups chopped tomatoes, ( I used cherry tomatoes)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup of capers
3/4 cup of sliced black olives
Any kind of cooked pasta (I use gluten free or spiralized zucchini)


Mix chopped tomatoes, parsley, capers, and black olive in a medium size bowl and set aside.
Cook up your pasta, drain, and toss with the Puttanesca sauce!

I sauteed some white mushrooms and added them to my pasta bowl.

See all my recipes at a glance on my Bloglovin' site

Best Summer Salad: Raw Corn, Cilantro, and Cucumber salad 

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

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Healthy Vegan Wraps

Bright green collard greens stuffed with mixed colorful raw vegetables, a little avocado, and some flavorful hummus, make a satisfying vegan lunch and a delicious way to eat more greens!

Transitioning to an all vegan diet is not easy for me.
 I'm not always sure what to make to eat but I'm discovering as I go!

My newest idea are these healthy looking collard green wraps!

collard green wrap

They are  easy to make and easy to eat. Not only are they vegan, they are gluten free too! Perfect for me! 

They are filling and delicious and easy to pack and take with me. 
It includes lots of colorful beautiful vegetables with a simple hummus dressing. 

collard green wrap

 It's important to focus on eating lots of vegetables, especially raw veggies on a vegan diet. Honestly, sometimes I'm just not full enough, but I'm trying. Today I ate my wrap with a sweet potato on the side and that helped. 

salad filling for wraps

Adding hummus to the filling not only held the mixture together, but it also added taste and made it more satisfying. 

There are so many varieties of hummus, you could use different flavors for each wrap. Some of my favorite flavors are cilantro jalapeño from Trader Joes, red pepper, spinach and artichoke, olive, and plain.

I really love the beautiful colors and freshness of this wrap. 

 I made 6 of them total and will eat 2 each day for lunch. 

vegan collard green wrap

I used soft curly green lettuce, carrots, celery, red cabbage, avocado, parsley, scallions, avocado and hummus.
I quickly blanched the collard greens before using them to soften them up and bring out their bright green color, and it worked great.

In addition, I made something similar using red cabbage leaves. I had a very small red cabbage and removed some of the outer leaves. I blanched them with the collards and used them as cups to hold the veggies. Drizzled with some tehina dressing , they were wonderful too. 

raw vegetables and wraps
Outer leaves from a very small red cabbage

I just folded each cup together like a taco and ate it. Again, drizzle hummus, tahini, or gluten free soy sauce over the veggies to enhance the flavor. 

6 collard leaves
1 cup of carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 cup of celery, cut into matchsticks
1 cup red cabbage, diced 
1/2 cup chopped parsely
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 slice of avocado per roll 
1 tablespoon of hummus per roll 

Wash collard greens well and place in a bowl
Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil and pour over collard greens. Allow to sit for 1 minute or more depending on how soft you want them. Remove collards and place in a bowl of ice water. Drain and save for making the rolls.

Assemble ingredients for filling and use a large tablespoon in the center for each collard. Add a slice of avocado and spread a teaspoon of hummus over the mixture. Roll up like a burrito. Cut in half if desired.

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

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Roasted Summer Zucchini Soup

summer zucchini soup

Soup in the summer? Why not? 
Don't overlook this exceptional soup just because its hot outside. 
What spells summer more than fresh basil, fresh mint, and zucchini?

sliced zucchini

Summer soups can be enjoyed hot or chilled. Personally, I like my soup hot. However, if you prefer, this soup tastes equally as good chilled or at room temperature.

basil herb
fresh basil 

Last week Deb at Kahakai Kitchen made a zucchini, pea, and basil soup by Yotam Ottolenghi, an Israeli born chef, restaurant owner, and cookbook author for her weekly Souper Sunday where anyone can share a soup, salad, or sammie recipe. 

It inspired me to make my summer zucchini soup.

fragrant summer zucchini soup
Add caption

Some of the ingredients in my recipe are the same as the ingredients in Yotam Ottolenghi's soup. However, my recipe also has the addition of shallots and mint, no peas and less garlic. In addition, I roasted the vegetables in the oven instead of sautéing them which I feel brings out a richer flavor. 

In fact, the roasted zucchini tasted so good when I took it out of the oven, I almost wanted to skip the soup and just eat all the delicious roasted zucchini.  

minted zucchini soup
Add caption

I grow containers of herbs on my deck all summer,  and I love going out and snipping them for my recipes. With my fresh mint and basil, this soup turned out delicious, was very fresh and tasted light and healthy! Of course it is naturally gluten free and vegan.

herbs in containers

What does zucchini have to offer nutritionally? 

  • Zucchini offers a significant amount antioxidants, particularly found in the skin, so don't peel it. Antioxidants are protective plant compounds that help defend the negative effects of free radical damage within the body which may contribute to aging and disease.
  • Since cooked zucchini is also rich in Vitamin A,  and contains the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene it may benefit the skin, eyes, and heart.
  • Zucchini also contains magnesium and vitamin K which may help strengthen the bones. 
Sounds like zucchini has a lot to offer in addition to taste! So don't forget to enjoy zucchini while it is plentiful all summer. 

I love making my Zucchini Corn Lime Soup or my Baby Zucchini roasted with herbs, or my Chunky Eggplant Sauce for my spiralized zucchini. There are so many ways to enjoy zucchini. 


5 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 medium zucchini, sliced (about 4 cups)
4 shallots, peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon vegetable paste
4 cups water 
Olive oil
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons of lime juice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees 
Spray zucchini, shallots, and garlic with olive oil. Lay all vegetables on a parchment covered rimmed cookie sheet and roast for 45 minutes. 
When vegetables are roasted, remove and add to a strong blender. Add bouillon paste, water, , mint, and basil and fresh lime juice. Whiz until smooth. Eat at room temperature, chill or heat before serving. Garnish with some fresh mint or basil.

1. You can substitute 4 cups of rich vegetable broth plus some salt and pepper in place of the Better Than Bouillon paste.

Sharing on Beth Fish Reads WEEKEND COOKING where anyone can share a food related post

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