Monday, November 21, 2016

Soothe Your Tummy and Your Mood

Cardamom and Anise tea is a great way to soothe your tummy 
and music is a great way to soothe your mood. Today, I'm sharing both!

I know I usually have an easy real food healthy gluten free vegetarian/vegan recipe for you to help nourish your body, save you time in the kitchen, and direct your thoughts to healthier eating,  but today I deviated just a little - 

Today I am sharing a cup of quick and easy 
homemade cup of Ayurvedic Tea ( See recipe at bottom of post)  
and some soothing music I found on a Youtube Video.

I was just browsing around Youtube and found this video: 

After hearing and watching this music performance on Youtube- I wanted to share it because it is so uplifting and relaxing at the same time!!
It's music to soothe your soul.. so beautiful

So grab a cup of herbal tea ( see my favorite recipe below)  or coffee- relax- and listen!!

Two Choices to Listen to Right Now on Youtube: 

Want upbeat, invigorating, and fun- Listen to the first Youtube- Let It Go!

Want something slower and more classical? Listen to the 2nd one- classical music

Let it Go from Frozen!! Upbeat and Inspiring


 This group is called "The Piano Guys"

                                              The Piano Guys have about 20 Video on Youtube , 

                                                They also have a beautiful Christmas Album!

Did you decide to listen to the music? What did you think?
 Have you heard them before?

The Tea

Anise is great for better digestion-
drink a cup after meals!

My favorite home brewed herbal tea recipe- 
For a step by step tutorial: 

My friend Vicki introduced me to this simple but delicious herbal tea.
 It's made from two ingredients: Anise seeds and cardamom pods
Vicki serves it with a little raw honey- You can make the tea 7 minutes
I posted the recipe years ago, so here is the link if you missed it- 

You can purchase cardamom pods ( organic) online; Cardamom pods

                                                               Anise Seed Tin

Are you an herbal tea drinker? Do you make your own, buy teabags? Which one is your favorite??

Just so you know: I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click on a link and then buy something from Amazon, I will be compensated a very tiny amount but at no additional cost to you. I appreciate the support as it helps me defray the costs of running a blog. 

My Best Thanksgiving sides ( GF)

I was recently served this delicious vegetarian ( and of course gluten free) casserole at my friend Melissa's house that knocked my socks off! As soon as I saw it, it screamed Thanksgiving. As soon as I tasted it, I was in love and knew it would be part of my vegetarian/vegan Thanksgiving Dinner plan for 2016!

Not only was the presentation sensational, but all 8 adults at the dinner party raved about it. Thanksgiving was on my mind because I had been trying to plan my menu.

Maybe it was the scattered toasted sunflower seeds neatly arranged across the top, the creamy texture of the spinach and rice on the inside, or the brown crusty edges stuck to the four corners. Regardless, I know I couldn't help myself from taking a second helping and eventually asking for the recipe!

I was delighted to see how easy it was to make, and I couldn't wait to share it with you on my blog.

Melissa is an amazing cook and a thoughtful gracious host. To accommodate my vegetarian and gluten free eating needs, she made a variety of delicious naturally vegetarian/gluten free sides that perfectly enhanced her main chicken entree ( that everyone else ate)  .

 I'm sharing the eggplant and red pepper "ratatouille that Melissa Made-" It was the absolutely the best I have ever tasted- even my mother in law who used to live in France and has been making ratatouille for most of her adult life commented about how much she enjoyed it!

There was more- a quinoa and mushroom dish that could easily serve as a healthy vegan and gluten free Thanksgiving stuffing

And a delicious delicious thick vegan split pea soup that I only caught the leftovers for a photo!

In addition,  my 2016 Thanksgiving menu will include my vegan and my silky gluten free blender pumpkin pie, simple chocolate covered strawberries, and some easy cranberry apple chutney.
There are links to all the recipes below.

My grandkids made these!

I call it my dream feast because I'll actually be celebrating Thanksgiving at my son and daughter in law's home,  and I will only be bringing the pumpkin pie and another vegan/gluten free dessert- probably my eggnog baked donuts .

My 2016 Thanksgiving Vegetarian/ Gluten Free Menu 
click for the recipe

 Ratatouille  ** amazing recipe

Gluten Free and vegan Pumpkin Pie 

Cranberry Apple Chutney or 

Quick Homemade Cranberry Sauce

The Casserole: Spinach, rice, and toasted sunflower seed casserole ** see recipe below

Spinach, rice, and toasted sunflower seed casserole Recipe

2 cups of cooked brown rice
1 Tablespoon of olive oil for sautéing
2 eggs ( or egg replacer) 
3/4  cup of non dairy milk ( almond or coconut milk)
2  cups of chopped onions
2 cups of chopped fresh spinach
3 cloves of chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
a shake of cayenne powder to taste
salt and cracked pepper 
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds to use on top

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Spray a large skillet with olive oil or use the 1 T oil. Sautee the onions for 3-4 minutes, add the garlic and chopped spinach and continue to sautee until spinach is wilted. 
Remove from heat and mix with the cooked rice. 
In another large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, add the non dairy milk and the seasoning. Add the rice and vegetable mixture and mix well. 
Pour into a greased rectangular casserole dish and bake 35-40 minutes uncovered. Top with the sunflower seeds.

Wishing everyone a wonderful healthy and happy Thanksgiving.

My Notes: 

1. The Ratatouille- Melissa's Ratatouille was taken from a recipe on Tori Avey's blog. I provided a link for this not to be missed recipe which is actually is Tori's mother in law's Sephardic recipe- Great tutorial- which is very very similar to my Sephardic mother in law's recipe.

2. The casserole
Melissa modified this recipe from the Internet. 
The recipe was originally made popular from a recipe in the Moosewood Cookbook, but has been published and modified by many bloggers. 
 Melissa says she has seen many substitutions for the spinach- including: broccoli slaw mix, collard greens, kale, etc. I posted the version that Melissa made.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Spinach Pecan Casserole - a low carb side

Still looking for a healthy Thanksgiving side dish?
You might be interested in this low calorie- low carbohydrate delicious, easy to make, casserole for as part of your feast!  It's made from "cauliflower rice", spinach, and pecans!

I think we all are a little concerned about packing on extra pounds during the holidays. With this recipe, you can indulge and enjoy all the flavor without carbs.

It's quick and easy to make too, and it can be made in advance and just warmed up before eating.

It never ceases to amaze me how many different ways one can use cauliflower- It certainly is the great impostor. In the past I've made cauliflower rice pizza crusts, cauliflower rice bread sticks, and cauliflower rice snow patties. This recipe is no different- the cauliflower rice gives the impression that it is actually rice!!

How did it come out? Fabulous!! Same delicious flavor without the carbs- 

This is a must for Thanksgiving-

Author: Judee Algazi @ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Sautee Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Serves: 8 sides


4 cups of cooked cauliflower rice ( see instructions below)
I used 2 bags of Trader Joe's frozen organic cauliflower 
1 and half cups of onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic ( or 2 frozen garlic cubes )
3 cups of fresh spinach, chopped
2 eggs, beaten ( or egg replacer for vegans) 
1 cup of almond or coconut milk 
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
2 Tablespoons of sesame seeds
Salt and cracked pepper to taste
1/2 cup of pecans or sunflower seeds 
optional: if you are not dairy free and don't mind the calories, you could add 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese


Spray a large skillet with olive oil spray. Turn heat on high and add the frozen or fresh cauliflower rice. Cook until the cauliflower is softened ( about 6 minutes) stirring frequently. When done set aside in a medium size bowl. Add the sesame seeds to the cooked cauliflower and mix.

Spray the skillet with vegetable oil and sautee the onions for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and chopped spinach and sautee until spinach is wilted. 

In a small bowl mix the eggs and the almond milk. Add in the seasoning. Mix the liquid mixture into the cauliflower rice. 

Spray a rectangular pan with olive oil and spoon in the mixture. Press pecans or sunflower seeds on top and bake for 35 minutes until edges become crispy.

Cauliflower Rice in the Skillet

Chopped onion, garlic, and spinach 

All ingredients mixed together in a bowl before baking in the casserole pan
Casserole with a slice missing
My notes: 

1 I used a smaller Pyrex for my photo because I made a smaller portion.
 You should use a larger less deep rectangular Pyrex baking pan to accommodate this recipe.

2. You could substitute cooked brown rice for the cauliflower rice- just saying

3. Use sunflower seeds if you do not have pecans