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Curried-Cumined Zucchini Soup

Curried-Cumined Zucchini Soup

Our winter is too long and too white. There, I said it! To break all this whiteness, I made a warm green soup.

you’ll need:

  • 2 Tbs fat (butter, ghee, coconut oil, tallow);
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds;
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped;
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped;
  • 1 tsp curry powder (if you like less spicy, use 1/2 tsp curry and 1/2 tsp turmeric);
  • 3-4 zucchini, coarsely sliced (I also used one Dudhi, an Indian type of long zucchini);
  • 3-4 cups liquids (bone broth, chicken broth, vegetable broth, water). Use less liquid (3 cups) for a thicker consistency;
  • salt and pepper;
  • lemon;

* optional: garnish (cilantro, parsley, sour cream)

ingredients assembly. not in the photo: lemon, broth, parsley, salt n' pepper

ingredients assembly. not in the photo: lemon, broth, parsley, salt n’ pepper

how-to:

  1. Melt fat in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and allow them to heat just until they let out their wonderful aroma. They will start to splutter. Don’t allow them to burn or blacken.

    sizzling cumin opening it's fragrance

    sizzling cumin opening it’s fragrance

  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 4 minutes until they start to soften.

    zuc·chi·ni. noun, plural zuc·chi·nis

    zuc·chi·ni. noun, plural zuc·chi·nis

  3. Add liquid, zucchini, curry powder and salt (add more salt if using only water as your liquid). Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook gently for 30 minutes, until veggies are tender.
  4. Allow soup to cool, and blend (I use an immersion stick) until just smooth.
  5. Before serving, reheat soup. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Ladle into bowls, squeeze some lemon, and add some garnish.
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gluten free, dairy free, carrot cake

gluten free, dairy free, carrot cake

It’s been over a few months that I have been living Paleo style. Although the transition for me is not that hard (tossing away breads, pasta, cakes, etc. are, in fact, a piece of cake. It’s the yogurts that I miss), I can’t force it on my kids.

In order to minimize, what I believe, is one of the most harmful “foods” that can go in my kids’ bodies, aka gluten, I try and make snacks, cakes, and munchies that are gluten free for them. These are not a major portion of their diet, but “that little something” when they need something sweet, when they have friends over, or when I have friends over 🙂

Experimenting before with gluten free chocolate cake that turned out awesome, I went ahead and concocted this carrot cake, after a regular recipe that I had, but of course, modified it. Once again, the star ingredient is the chickpea flour, that I discovered in the Indian store.

my secret ingredient to gluten free baking

chickpea flour, also called Besan flour, or Gram flour, from the Indian store.

So if you’re looking for a gluten free cake, for any bunch of reasons (hey, Passover is coming up, so it’s kosher, too), give it a try.

you’ll need:

  • greased 9″ round cake pan. I used the spring-form one.  A square pan will also do.
  • 1.5 cups chickpea flour;
  • half cup sugar;
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder, aluminum free;
  • pinch of salt (yap, salt);
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder;
  • 2 tsp good quality vanilla extract;
  • 3 heaped Tbsp coconut oil, in a small glass;
  • 1 cup water;
  • 2 cups grated carrots;
  • 1 egg;
  • good quality chocolate chips, optional.
love the colors

love the colors

how-to:

Heat oven to 350°f.

Throw the chickpea flour in a bowl. Since this flour tends to have clusters, try to crush them with a tablespoon. Add the rest of the dry ingredients (not the chocolate chips), and mix well.

Add the grated carrots in the dry mixture, and mix so the carrots are covered well with the flour all over, and you see these cute orangy little chunks.

carrot chunks, cuties

carrot chunks, cuties

Insert the glass with the coconut oil into the micro, run it for 20 seconds, mix the oil with a spoon until it’s melted. If not melted, insert for another 10 seconds. This should be enough. Add the coconut oil to the mixture, along with the water, and vanilla extract, and whisk slowly together, until smooth and all the flour dissolved. Now add the egg, and once again, whisk slowly together.

It's not snow. It's coconut oil in a cool blue glass, waiting to be melted

It’s not snow. It’s coconut oil in a cool blue glass, waiting to be melted

Pour the whole mixture onto the greased pan. Now is the time to add some chocolate chips if you want, right on top.

The whole thing goes on vacation in the oven, for 50-60 minutes. As with chickpea flour, don’t expect a high rise. Good things come in small packages.

notes:

  • Grated carrots? I just throw them in the food processor. Life should be easy.
  • I try to use coconut oil for almost all of my bakings/fryings, for two main reasons: (1) I stay away from bad industrial seed oils (corn, cottonseed, soybean, safflower, sunflower, canola, etc.) and use only, what I consider, good fat, for the reasons mentioned in the link about the gluten (above), and (2) coconut oil is not vulnerable to the oxidative damage that occurs with high-heat cooking using other fats.
  • If you’d rather keep out of refined sugar, use Raw honey, or, soak a few dates in hot water for 30 minutes, and  throw them with the carrots in the food processor and don’t use any other sweetener. 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);
  • when adding the water, you may notice that you need a bit more than 1 cup. you want to have a smooth fluidish batter.
  • I mentioned 50-60 minutes in the oven, as every oven is different. Check after 50 minutes to see that the cake is dry on top, and golden.
  • If you want to get fancy, real fancy, sprinkle some powdered sugar on top, once the cake has cooled down.
fancy carrot cake

fancy carrot cake

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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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This quinoa salad is not only pretty on your dinner table, all festive and fancy, but it is also yummy,promises a fiesta right in your mouth. Quinoa had been called, for a good reason, the vegetable caviar.

I found this recipe a long time ago in a magazine, and used it lots and lots.

colorful fresh quinoa salad

you’ll need:

  • 2-3 spoons of coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 handful parsley, thinly chopped (if your taste buds are out for cilantro, go for it)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 5-6 scallions (green onions), sliced width-wise
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • fresh lemon juice (at least 2 lemons)
  • salt
  • olive oil for seasoning

how- to:

  1. rinse the quinoa under cold water and strain.
  2. heat olive oil in a medium pot and add the quinoa. stir a minute, and add the water. stir again, cover pot with lid, and bring to a boil.
  3. when water is boiling, lower heat to minimum, cook for 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed in the quinoa seeds. take off the lid, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. move pot from heat source, and stir quinoa with a fork, to air the seeds and separate them (they tend to stick together).
  5. in a salad bowl, mix together the quinoa, parsley, mint, scallions, and cranberries.
  6. roast walnuts on a skillet or frying pan, on medium heat,  for 2-3 minutes, make sure not to burn them. after cooled a bit, add to the salad bowl. this whole step can be done while preparing the quinoa, just so you know….
  7. season salad with lemon (lots), salt, and olive oil.

bon appetite !

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I first noticed these sweeties at the Indian store. Of course I bought them, and they looked and tasted yummy. Online, I found this recipe, but have decided to make mine a little different, with the ingredients I had at home, and no butter. These are gluten free, but if you don’t care, you can add wheat, oats and more, to your taste.

I usually chew down a few balls right before I start my run, for a boost of energy.

Now- you’ll need to excuse the lack of exact quantities, as I made them without measuring.

ingredients for date energy bombs

sweet and crunchy

you’ll need:

  • 1 handful pistachios
  • 1 handful almonds
  • 1 handful walnuts
  • 1 – 1.5 cups of pitted dates or pitted date mixture*, or half of each combined together
  • 2-3 tablespoons tahini (100% ground sesame seeds paste)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or silan**

how-to:

  1. throw walnuts + pistachios + almonds in the food processor, and chop chop- yet- not till it’s powdery, but way before that, when the mixture has small chunks that you would feel in your mouth.
  2. add dates + tahini + honey (or silan), and mix till it’s blended to a nice, soft mixture that kind of sticks together. If you feel that it falls apart, add more dates and a bit of honey.
  3. with hands, roll mixture into little balls, place on a tray and into the freezer they go. Take out or move to the fridge for a softer bite.

notes:

* date mixtures can be found in specialty cook stores or any middle eastern or indian stores. I find the regular pitted dates to work great !

** silan is honey made from dates. Can be found in the kosher isle of some stores. Reg. honey will do !!

***finally, add-ons: almost anything yummy can be added to compose a real good snack: cocoa powder, coconut powder or flakes, any kind of nuts, puffed kamut/rice/wheat, chia, quinoa, corn flakes, old dried cookies, sesame seeds, etc. Also, instead of dates, you can put figs, or a combo of both.

Deliciouso !

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