Thursday, October 30, 2014

10 Fabulous Finds



What are fabulous finds? 
They are posts that I found on Pinterest or on the Internet that I want to share. Sometimes they are articles; sometimes they are recipes. I hope that you find some that are interesting or helpful to you. 

Educate yourself Category:  


1. Ebola:  10 things you should know about Ebola- symptoms, how it is spread, how to protect yourself.

2. Natural Virus Protection : 10 natural ways to boost immunity to protect against viruses ( including Ebola)  Author and Nutritionist explains natural ways to protect against viruses. ( viruses do not respond to antibiotics)

3. Why you should ditch bagged microwave popcorn and what you should eat instead  Excellent article about the harmful chemicals in bags of microwave popcorn. Easy way to make popcorn on the stove or in a brown bag in the microwave

4  Why Styrofoam cups are dangerous- who knew?

5. How to get enough calcium without dairy- great resource

6. 17 signs your body is not taking out the trash and what to do about it.- a must read

Recipes:
7. Dinner Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi- Delicious grain free recipe

8. Uplifting Quote on relationships- very true


Blogging Tips:

9. Canva vs Picmonkey - the battle for the blog images - I like them both, but use Canva more Great comparison article of between the two photo editing programs.
Both have a free version.

10. How to embed an Instagram video into a blogpost

 Follow Gluten Free A-Z's board Blogging Tips on Pinterest.Pin It 

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Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for Amazon and receive a very small compensation when you buy anything from Amazon by clicking on to Amazon from my blog - This helps me defray the cost of blog expenses. Thank you for your support.

Food is my passion. I am gluten intolerant, busy. and strive for a healthy balanced lifestyle. It has taken me many years to develop easy healthy recipes that meet gluten free, vegetarian and real food standards. On my blog I share my journey, my struggles, my discoveries, and my new recipes. I hope you find ideas, resources, and recipes that will be helpful to you. Come Back soon.



Author: Judee Algazi



 Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments. I love comments and love to be introduced to your blog. I will usually visit and follow on G+ , Bloglovin, and Twitter. Thanks for stopping by.
 Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree - The Easy Way




It's pumpkin season! Why not make your own pumpkin puree! 
Cooking or baking a pumpkin is not any different than making a butternut or acorn squash! 
Everyone loves pumpkin, but very few of us have ever cooked a real pumpkin or ever made our own pumpkin puree for baking. This was a first for me, and it was so easy I was amazed and delighted with the result!

I use pumpkin recipes so infrequently that I usually just buy one or two organic cans of pumpkin at Trader Joe's each fall.  I am never really comfortable using canned food, but really didn't know how to make my own pumpkin puree. But not this year! This year I made my own simple and fast homemade puree and used it in a simple pumpkin pie ( GF and vegan)  and 1-2-3 easy pumpkin pudding bars!

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Truthfully, in the past seasons,  I never really saw the small "sugar pumpkins" which are the kind used for baking pies and other pumpkin baked goods. However, this year they seemed to be in my face everywhere! I saw them at Trader Joe's , Whole Foods, and even the local supermarket. I don't know if the big pumpkins work, they are very bland tasting as opposed to the sugar pumpkin which is flavorful and sweet.

The  "sugar pumpkins" were so cute, I decided to buy one, bake it, and puree my own pumpkin. It just $1.99 at Trader Joe's, and it made what would be equivalent to two cans of pureed pumpkin.

Why would I bother to make my own puree?  BPA, Aluminum, and Copper are part of the reasons
  • First of all canned foods are not all that healthy because of the cans. 
  • There is BPA in cans!!
  • Also, cans  are usually made of tin ( which contains considerable amounts of aluminum and copper and can leak into the food), and who knows what else lurks in there. Heavy metals are toxic, especially for little children !
  • Truthfully, we forget that even organic canned pumpkin in stores like Trader Joe's still expose us to the undesirables that lurk in the can. 
  • The pulp of my "sugar pumpkin" was so sweet- it tasted like butternut squash! I wanted to eat it as a side dish for dinner!
Author: Judee Algazi
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Scoop and Mash Time: 5 minutes
Vegan, Gluten free


The couldn't be easier Easy Steps to Making Your Own Puree

1. Cut the pumpkin in half- ( first cut from stem to bottom on one side, turn the pumpkin and then do the other side.

2. Scoop out the seeds ( wash them well and you can roast them at 375 for about 25 minutes- they are tasty and healthy)** see below for how to roast the seeds.

3. Place the two halves of the pumpkin face down on a rimmed cookie sheet or large casserole pan. Add 1 and half  cups of water to the pan ( pierce the pumpkins a  few time with a fork)

4. Bake for about 1/2 hour at 350 degrees. ( It is done you can pierce a knife easily into the skin)

5. Allow to cool enough to scoop out the soft flesh and blend with an immersion blender or mash with a fork ( I used a fork)

Use it that day or the next or freeze it !

THAT'S IT!!

Use it within two days or freeze it. It will only stay fresh for two days in the refrigerator.
However, it freezes for about 3-6 months. If you want to freeze it, do this firs to remove liquid:
Put the puree into a small mesh colander with a small plate on top to release excess liquid before freezing. Your puree will be firmer after thawing.


cut in half and scoop out seeds- 


Place on cookie sheet ( rimmed) with a cup and half of water 
scooped and mashed with a fork or use an immersion blender for a whipped version

Bonus: scoop out seeds, soak in water , and rinse and drain. Spread on cookie sheet and roast for 25 minutes on 375. Season and eat!


Don't forget the pumpkin spices! You can buy a container of pumpkin spice mix iOR use this very easy recipe make your own pumpkin spice mix from ingredients you have in your kitchen.

There are also pumpkin pie recipes and other recipes 





                                                      pumpkin recipes 

Note: Pumpkin is considered a winter squash and it not only tastes great , it provides excellent nutrients. 
  • High in Fiber -1 cup cooked 3 grams
  • Very Low in Calories- 1 cup cooked 49 calories
  • Rich source of Beta Carotene ( which converts to Vitamin A in the body) 
  • High in antioxidants
  • Rich orange color gives it the properties for anti aging for eyesight
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Food is my passion. I am gluten intolerant, busy. and strive for a healthy balanced lifestyle. It has taken me many years to develop and discover easy healthy recipes that meet gluten free, vegetarian and real food standards. On my blog I share my journey, my struggles, my discoveries, and my new recipes. I hope you find ideas, resources, and recipes that will be helpful to you. Come Back soon.



Author: Judee Algazi

 Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. I love comments and love to be introduced to your blog. I usually visit and follow your blog on G+ , Bloglovin, and Twitter. Thanks for stopping by. To Comment: Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for Amazon and receive a very small compensation when you buy anything from Amazon by clicking on to Amazon from my blog - This helps me defray the cost of my blog expenses. Thank you for your support.


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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mushroom "Barley" Soup ( Gluten Free Version)



I know it seems strange to make a mushroom barley soup without the barley. But being gluten free, I can not eat barley ( It is not gluten free) .  This recipe is my best gluten free version of a soup that reminds me the most of Mushroom Barley Soup.

When I was young, my mother used to make a thick heavy soup in the winter that was authentically called mushroom barley soup. The recipe originated in Eastern Europe where mushrooms could be dried and stored for the  long very cold winter and barley was always plentiful. The soup was hearty and delicious.

Over the years,  I've longed for the soup that I remembered from my youth. I've tried to make a gluten free version . It's not exactly the same, but it is similar and exceptionally delicious.

I'm still using mushrooms, but replaced the starchy  barley with a starchy dried bean. I used a baby lima bean. It works great and dried baby lima beans do not taste ANYTHING like a green lima bean.. trust me on that one. The soup is hearty and delicious ,  just like the soup my mother used to make.

If you prefer a Paleo version, just leave out the beans- it will still taste great! Just cut the cooking time to 45 minutes.

This soup is perfect for the colder weather and is extremely satisfying. I think it would also be a nice addition to a Thanksgiving meal.

When I have a group, ( as I often do because we are a very large family) ,I use my crock pot as a soup server  and keep my soup in the crock pot on warm until ready to serve. For a formal dinner I serve the soup; for a buffet I keep a ladle next to the crock pot and allow everyone to serve themselves in mugs! It works great!

Author: Judee Algazi
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Requires: overnight soaking of beans
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Ingredients: 
1 and half cups of dried baby lima beans, soaked overnight in a large bowl of water ( they will expand)
 ( baby limas are white and are available in a bag in the dried bean section of the supermarket- does not taste anything like the green lima beans- trust me on that one!)
1 cup of chopped onion
1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil
1 cup of chopped celery with leaves
1 cup of diced carrot
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8 cups vegetable broth
6 cups water
1/4 cup chopped curly parsley
2 cups of sliced white or sliced baby portabella mushrooms


Directions: 
The night before: 
Soak the dried baby lima beans in a large bowl of water overnight

In the morning, drain the beans and do not use the soaked water.
In a large soup pot , slowly sauté the onions in the olive oil.
When onions begin to soften, add the celery, carrots, and garlic and continue to saute until all vegetables begin to soften.
Add the drained lima beans,  the 8 cups vegetable broth, and the 6 cups of water
Allow to cook for an hour covered on a medium heat. Check to stir occasionally.
After the hour, add the sliced mushrooms and parsley and continue to cook for another hour partially covered on a medium heat. **If the liquid starts to cook down, add a cup of vegetable broth and then a cup of water alternately.

Note:( If you are not gluten free and are able to eat gluten,  my mother's original recipe called for 3/4 cup of soaked overnight and drained pearled barley that can be added when  add the beans- of course it will no longer be gluten free)



dried baby lima beans soaking overnight in water 

Chopping veggies for the soup


I couldn't decide which photo to use - I made the one above on Picmonkey and the one in the beginning of the post on Canva! S0 - I've included them both! Which do you prefer ? Do you use Picmonkey or Canva?

What would you use instead of the barley? Is there a better substitute? Please leave a comment

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Food is my passion. I am gluten intolerant, busy. and strive for a healthy balanced lifestyle. It has taken me many years to develop and discover easy healthy recipes that meet gluten free, vegetarian and real food standards. On my blog I share my journey, my struggles, my discoveries, and my new recipes. I hope you find ideas, resources, and recipes that will be helpful to you. Come Back soon.



Author: Judee Algazi
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 Please leave a comment so I know you stopped by. I love comments and love to be introduced to your blog. I usually visit and follow your blog on G+ , Bloglovin, and Twitter. Thanks for stopping by. To Comment: Scroll down to the end of the post and click on comments

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for Amazon and receive a very small compensation when you buy anything from Amazon by clicking on to Amazon from my blog - This helps me defray the cost of my blog expenses. Thank you for your support.

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