Ready & Munchin’

You know labor is near when you’ve downloaded your contractions app to keep track of their length, intensity and frequency and your mom moves in and brings with her delicious delicacies to make the wait bearable!

Upper left: dried grapes (malban) with raw walnuts  Lower left: fresh-from-the-field green almonds Right: Pickled mini eggplant  stuffed with peanut & spices

Upper left: dried grapes (malban) with raw walnuts
Lower left: fresh-from-the-field green almonds
Right: Pickled mini eggplants stuffed with peanut & spices

Burst of Antioxidants

pomegranate

As I shopped this morning through the produce section of my neighborhood’s market I saw these fresh bursting red pomegranates and my taste buds started a dance! I can’t wait to introduce my little girl to this juicy mosaic so we can become pom-buddies! Pomegranates rush you burst-by-burst into a heavenly state of mind. In fact, the pomegranate is an ancient fruit mentioned in almost every religion symbolizing various positive concepts and has also historically appeared in art and medicine for centuries. Today there’s a renewed focus on researching and studying the health benefits of this fruit and the juice made from its seeds and white membrane (an even higher source of antioxidants), especially in the western world where it’s still an exotic and relatively unknown fruit in opposition to the Middle East and some Mediterranean regions where it’s taken for granted for cultivation reasons. By virtue of its antioxidant richness, the pomegranate is considered very healthy for the heart and an anticancer food. It’s also a good source of Dietary Fiber and Folate and a very good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K. In season starting September to February, you can indulge in these sweet and tart little red gems full of juice, nutrients and energy!

Summer Soups

Foodies! Delight in the last days of summer with my selection of refreshing seasonal soups!

Soup “is the new black”! Tummy friendly as it consists mostly of cooked and/or blended ingredients, it is usually light in Kcal particularly when it’s a potage or a clear soup instead of creamy and is super nutritious since it is mostly or entirely a combination of veggies full with essential nutrients. Soup can easily replace a complete meal when it’s a combination of veggies, protein and complex carbs. While most people think of soup as a way to keep warm in the winter, soup is really fabulous all year round! What’s better than a zesty Gazpacho or a Minty cucumber with yogurt during those last days of summer?

Gazpacho

It is a soup originally from Spain prepared nowadays mainly with tomato, cucumber, red pepper and onion. It is basically a blended salad. That makes it even better than many other soups whose ingredients loose many of their nutrients in the cooking process. It’s super quick and easy to prepare if you have a blender and could be made in a big batch and stored in the fridge to be served later in many ways like an appetizer, a main course with a side or simply as a refreshing and super healthy drink.

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Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 4 medium tomatoes finely chopped
  • 2 small cucumbers finely chopped
  • ½ red pepper finely chopped
  • ½ red onion finely chopped
  • 1 small Jalapeno pepper chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped
  • 700 ml tomato juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 40 ml or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp of ground cumin
  • ½ tsp of fresh ground pepper
  • Salt (optional, take into consideration that the tomato juice used covers for the salt unless it’s homemade or unsalted)

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Place ½ of the amount of the chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, onion into the blender bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix. Let it chill in the fridge then serve topped with the rest of the chopped veggies.

Minty cucumber with yogurt

It is my favorite summer soup. Cucumber itself is very refreshing and hydrating as its main component is water (96% water). It’s also a diuretic, that means it helps flushing out water surplus and toxins. Choose this soup for stocking up on protein, Calcium and
vitamin D. Try my mom’s recipe; it’s the simplest and the easiest:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (~500g) plain low fat or fat free yogurt (preferably Greek yogurt)
  • 1½ cup (~375 ml) water
  • 5 Persian cucumbers or 2 large cucumbers
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp crushed dry mint
  • ½ tsp salt

Chop cucumbers finely. I prefer to keep the skin particularly if the cucumbers are organically grown and that’s because a major part of the cucumber nutrients are found in its skin! Also the deep green color of the skin makes a great color contrast with the yogurt. Mash garlic. Add the water to the yogurt and mix to make it more liquidy. Add the cucumbers, garlic, salt and mint and mix with a spatula or a kitchen spoon. This soup can be a perfect match for a wide variety of dishes.

                

I Say Tomato!

Marché aux Fleurs, Cours Saleya, Nice, France - July 2013

Marché aux Fleurs, Cours Saleya, Nice, France – July 2013

It’s pomodoro season and nothing tastes better than a fresh juicy tomato on a hot july day! Tomato is a fruit considered a veggie mainly for it’s culinary use. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, mainly vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid and potassium. Rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, it’s a cancer-fighting SUPER superfood!
This is the best time to hit your local market and get some fresh shiny tomatoes for a citrus tabbouleh, a delicious Caprese, a rich homemade tomato sauce or simply for a tasty cherry tomato afternoon snack…
p.s.Royal baby is here, “I say tomahto”!