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I am so proud of myself, that I needed to brag. I just never knew that making an almond milk could be so easy.

sweet almond milk, home made

sweet almond milk, homemade

Lately I have been trying to find new kinds of “milk” besides cow’s milk, as the latter felt too heavy.

The almond milk  that’s found in the stores isn’t just almonds, but has other additives. So, in my search, I found a great site, full of  explanations about the different milks (cow, soy, nut) and a recipe for homemade almond milk. Guess what? It worked, and it’s so EZ, Not to mention- white and sweet.

I made mine with less dates- thus less sweet, and didn’t use cheesecloth or a “nut milk bag”, but a regular strainer/sieve.

without further ado, turn to choosing raw.

Cheers !

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It’s no secret that the essence of the Jewish holidays is food. Yes, it is a big deal. Each holiday has it’s own traditions, rules, restrictions, and expectations. We love to make a fuss and we love to eat.

So Passover is around the corner, and the basic rule is that leavened bread and any product that is fermented or can cause fermentation may not be eaten, including five grains: wheat, rye, barley, oats, and spelt. Why? because, life is not easy, just as it was not easy for the ancient Israelites who ran away from Egypt, and didn’t have time for gourmet food.

So when I stumbled upon a bag of chickpea flour, I had a eureka moment. What if, what if, what if I can bake a cake with the… hummus flour?! It’ll work for Passover. Well, I decided to explore. I found many recipes for some pancakes, flat breads, veggie burgers, and such. Nope, not satisfying. I need a cake. Based on the interesting fact that I did find– this flour can substitute the use of eggs, I decided to be brave, and try to bake a simple chocolate cake.

chickpea flour chocolate cake

just one slice ???

The reported results of the experiment: three very happy children who loved the cake.

The potential benefits: wheat-free, gluten free, easy to digest, vitamins and minerals = nutritional.

you’ll need:

  • greased 9″ round cake pan. I used the spring-form one.  A square pan will also do.
  • 2 cups chickpea flour;
  • half cup sugar, or if you’d rather keep out of sugar, use Raw honey, or stevia, but feel free to adjust sweeteners according to your sweet tasting buds (most cake recipes call for 1.5 cups of sugar, but we don’t like it that sweet);
  • 1 tsp baking powder;
  • 1 tsp baking soda;
  • 2 Tbsp good quality cocoa powder;
  • 100 gr/3.5 oz of good quality dark chocolate bar (I use 85% and up cocoa);
  • 2/3 cup olive oil;
  • 1.5 cup water.

how-to:

heat oven to 350°f.

combine all dry ingredients together, and mix well.

chocolate cake dry ingredients

pour olive oil and water into the mixed flour, and whisk slowly together, until smooth and all the flour dissolved.

break the chocolate bar into a microwave-safe glass dish, and melt in 20 second time segments, mixing it between each time, until chocolate is uniformly smooth and liquified.

add 1 Tbsp of the batter into the melted chocolate, mix together, and add all melted chocolate back into the batter. mix well together.

mixing chocolate with batter

mixing chocolate with batter

pour the whole mixture onto greased pan, and into the oven it goes for 35 minutes. Don’t expect a high cake, this one’s a shorty.

notes:

  • the kids did recommend, however, to add chocolate chips. since the cake is bit on the drier side, that could be a good advice.
  • when adding the water, you may notice that you need a bit more than 1.5 cups. you want to have a smooth fluidish batter.
  • you may need more than 35 minutes- all depends on your oven.
  • yes- some add ice cream on top, some add frosting. I just like to dunk it in tea. the kids like it as is…

check out my gluten free carrot cake, and gluten free blueberry cake.

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“Summertime,
And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high..”  by DuBose Heyward.

So I gathered bits and pieces from here and there that I felt I needed to tell the world.

  • Starting with food. Here’s a real quick and tasty recipe of Pattypan summer squashes. I just got them at our local farmers market. They’re not only cute and add color to your dinner table, but also, ahammm, healthy (here). Most of all- they’re yummy !

Pattypan squashes fresh from the market

All there’s to do: Cut them into halves wide-wise. Also cut a thin flat slice at each end, so the half squashes could rest steadily in the baking dish (wide side facing up). Turn oven to 400 F or 200 C. Drizzle olive oil, bit of salt, crushed or chopped garlic and coarsely chopped rosemary on the yellow shining faces of the squashes.

pattypans go into the oven

That’s all folks. Cover with aluminum foil, put in oven for 30 minutes. Take off foil and let them pattypans get some oven tan till they’re golden(ish). Out of the oven and into your plate they go. With some nice green salad on the side. Ahh ha. Oh yeah- don’t over roast them, they don’t like to dry out.

  • more food: Yesterday, on our way to one of the last shows of HAIR in Broadway, a small window on 9th Ave. caught our eyes.  A pile of some fine-looking Bourekas just called us in. The owner, Gazala Halabi, was placing paper-thin rounds of dough on the taboon, which will later become Druze pitas.
tasty druz bourekas

Gazala makes pitas on the taboon

We had wonderful bourekas: one filled with sun dry tomatoes and goat cheese, and the other was with spinach and feta cheese. The kids had a Druze pita wrap (“laffa”) with salad and falafel. The plate was wiped clean off the lamb kabab that was there merely 20 minutes before.

We’ll be there again.  Gazala’s Place

bourekas

Druze cuisine @ Gazala Place

  • Staying in the city: restaurants will now need to display the cleanliness rating of their facility according to new letter-grading rules. Now, when deciding upon your next dinner in the City, look on the restaurant’s window. Does it have an “A”, “B” or “C”? Under the new plan, a restaurant receiving an A grade will post it at the end of the inspection. If the grade is lower than an A, the restaurant will not have to post a grade until it has a chance to improve its sanitary conditions. The Health Department will return within a month to conduct a second inspection. The ultimate goal is to improve sanitary conditions and reduce the risk of food-borne illness.
  • Going west: San Francisco is requiring stores to post cellphone radiation levels.  Those rates are the levels at which radio frequencies penetrate body tissue. whether or not there is a connection between cellphones (and their radiation) to cancer, it sure brings the question to the table again, to deserve a serious awareness.

Any thoughts to share?

Fun and healthy summer to us all   🙂

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dig my radishes?

our very own first radish

way back in the summer, we planted seeds. radishes seeds. the plants grew real nice, and big green leaves showed up. Only now, at the end of November, we were able to spot a few red radishes. Well, the radishes are cute, healthy and colorful, but it’s the leaves that we hated to throw away, being so good looking 😉

leafy greens

nothing like experimenting. we cut the leaves into thin slices.

thinly sliced radishes' leaves

and… the regular ceremony for getting a tasty result:  saute onions, garlic, salt n’ pepper in 2 Tbs.of olive oil. throw in the radishes leaves. saute a little more, and, aha- yap- ahmmm- yummy tastes good. we’re lovin’ it.

radishes' leaves stir fry

I bet some added slivered almonds or other nuts would even make it better.

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baked ziti

Do you know those kids that almost always make a face at the food served at home, but once they go to their friend’s house, they come back home with stories about how the food was great and how much they ate there.. ?

baked ziti

our very own baked ziti

Well, my daughter is such a kid. So home she came, begging her mom to prepare the delicious baked ziti she has ever tasted at her friend’s house.  Luckily for me, her friend’s mom, is my good friend Michal. Michal, bless her soul, came to the rescue and provided the basic recipe for her famous baked ziti.

Equipped with the shopping list I visited the local store, bought the ingredients, just to find out at home, that I had to forget 2 main ingredients: ricotta cheese and sour cream.

SO I had to make baked ziti from whatever was in the fridge, and guess what, our bundle of joy actually loved it !! Of course I didn’t tell her that I altered the recipe.

what does it take? for a big crowd resulting a big baking dish:

  • 1.5 bags of ziti- any kind will do. Cook ziti according to instructions on the bag- al dante;
  • once ziti has cooled a bit, combine it in a big bowl with 1/3 cup of sour cream (that’s all I had left), 2/3 cup goat-milk yogurt, some chopped kashkaval cheese (which is from sheep’s milk), 3/4 cup organic tomato vodka sauce, 2 organic eggs, salt to taste (though I used 1.5 spoons of nutritional yeast instead), ground pepper, and finally, I couldn’t resist some fresh oregano leaves from my garden; mix together and transfer to a large baking dish.
  • Bake in 350° oven for 30 minutes, add (part-skim) shredded mozzarella cheese on top and bake for 10 more minutes.
  • turn off the oven and let baked ziti stay in there for good 5-7 minutes.

If I had any other ingredients, I would have used them. For a more basic way of preparing the baked ziti, use 1 cup of ricotta cheese or 1 cup of sour cream, without the kashkaval or goat-milk yogurt…

Bon Appetit!

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Hummus is known to be healthy and yummy. Originated in the mid-east, it’s a paste basically made from chickpeas, tahini and spices. It’s low in cholesterol,  a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and manganese, and has lots of dietary fibers (check out the nutritional facts).

As my family consumes a lot of hummus to be “wiped” off the plate with pita bread, occasionally we also make it from scratch, as it is the healthier way of getting it.

You can get many recipes of hummus just about anywhere, BUT, the other day, when I shopped for some healthy foods at an organic food chain, I encountered a unique hummus spread, that I immediately bought. We LOVED it !! And so dear all, there’s a real “aha” moment, and the twist: edamame.

hummus edamame

hummus edamame

Edamame’s nutritional fact? in a nutshell, it’s  low in sodium. Good source of dietary fiber, protein, thiamine, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin K, and manganese.

Put them together and what do you get? a health bomb and a great tasting one, too.

The basic steps for a hummus are:

Soak the chickpeas in cold water for a whole night  (optional: add a spoon of baking soda);

Rinse the chickpeas well, put them in a deep pot with cold water that cover them (up to 1 inch above them). Boil, lower heat (to lowest)  and leave for approx. two hours. Meanwhile, prepare the edamame (frozen) according to bag instructions. Allow hummus and edamame to cool.

boiled hummus

cooked hummus

Combine 2 cups of cooked chickpeas, two garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of good quality tahini, 1/3 cup of squeezed lemon juice, 1 tsp. cumin, salt,  1 spoon olive oil in a food processor bowl. Process until creamy.

Now add 1 cup of cooked edamame and process some more, leaving some chunks of edamame to be seen and felt in your mouth.

add edamame to hummus

add edamame to hummus

You can play around with the ingredients, add more liquids (olive oil or water), more edamame, however you like it…

For us, the hummus doesn’t stay around too long.

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