Thursday, October 30, 2014

Vegetarian Harira (hareera) Soup حريره

Harira is a Moroccan soup that is traditionally made with lamb/beef. My recipe is simple, delicious, and doesn't necessarily call for any meat/meat broth but you can use it if you want to!

1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, minced
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 handful brown lentils
1 handful red lentils
1 quart vegetable broth
1 large handful chickpeas (or half of a 15 oz. can)
1 handful vermicelli noodles
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 can diced tomatoes, or 4 large tomatoes diced

- sauté onion in olive oil until golden brown, add carrots and celery and sauté for another 3 minutes or so.
- add lentils, broth, and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer while covered for half an hour. Check on your soup, if it's too thick you can add more water or broth. Add chickpeas, vermicelli, cilantro, parsley, and tomatoes. Simmer for another half an hour and your soup should be ready!
- remember to add broth or water if the soup is too thick for your liking. You can also add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste to intensify the taste. There's no right or wrong way, be creative and enjoy :)

- to make this into a meal, you may like to make some couscous next to it and put a tablespoon or two in each bowl when you serve it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Roasted Eggplant Salad

I really wanted to make Baba Ghanouj (or baba ghanoush) today but I wasn't in the mood for tahini. So I made up a recipe!

1 large eggplant
1 beef steak tomato, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 sprigs of green onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1.4 cup of finely chopped parsley
olive oil
salt (to taste)
a dash of Sumac spice for decoration
1-2 tsp. Pomegranate Molasses or apple cider vinegar (you can start with 1 and add more if you like it more tangy)

-Preheat oven to 400. Wash and dry eggplant, then poke holes with a knife in it (I did one  or two on each side). Bake eggplant for 40-60 minutes or until the skin starts to brown. Mine took 40 minutes. Let the eggplant cool.
-After the eggplant has cooled, peel off the skin on top with your hands then scoop all the pulp out with a spoon and into a bowl. Try not to mush it too much. I used my kitchen sheers to cut the eggplant into medium/small chunks but I didn't mash it.
-Heat some olive oil in a pan, add the onions and fry until they start to brown. Then add the garlic, and in about a minute you can add the tomato. Once the water from the tomato starts to reduce (in about 5 minutes on medium high heat) add the pepper. Saute until the pepper is a bit tender (about 5 minutes).
-Remove mixture from heat then toss over eggplant. Add parsley, salt, sumac, another drizzle of olive oil and the vinegar or molasses. Toss together gently and enjoy! :)

This salad goes really well with kabobs. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Blackbean Salad

I'm on a temporary carb-fast. I'm avoiding bread, rice, pasta, grains of all kinds, and sugar. That means no processed foods, nothing with added sugar. I'm doing it to retrain my taste buds not to crave something sweet after every meal, and to cut down on the amounts of carbs that I have every day. I've never been a big carb eater in general but lately I've been having a sandwich for lunch more often than a salad and I knew that had to change. 

I made this salad today next to my roasted chicken dinner. I usually make rice, but today I had salad instead and not only was it delicious but also very satisfying!

1 cup sweet corn, steamed from frozen organic corn
1 cup cooked black beans (you can also used canned, choose cans without bpa lining if possible)
1 cup chopped parsley
2 green onions with stems, finely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 English cucumber, finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1 lemon juiced
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

- Mix all ingredients and save in fridge until ready to eat. This salad gets tastier the longer it stays! Enjoy with some ripe avocado and a grilled protein of your choice :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Chocolate Banana Muffins (gluten free)

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 TBs melted butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond meal 
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chunks/chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with liners, or grease with butter or coconut oil.
  2. Beat bananas until well mashed in bowl of electric mixer or with hand mixer.
  3. Add oil, honey, egg, and vanilla, and beat on medium until well combined. 
  4. Add almond meal, coconut flour, cacao powder, baking soda, and baking powder and beat on low until well combined. Stir in ¼ cup of chocolate chips. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin liners. 
  5. Bake 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
(adapted from

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Honey Banana Bread

I've tried numerous Banana Bread recipes in the past, and they were all delicious. Banana Bread is one of those things that you just can't mess up. However, this recipe is my favorite thus far because it does NOT call for sugar. Instead, you will use honey to sweeten the bread. Here it goes:

  • ⅓ cup melted butter (you can use coconut oil if you prefer)
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1¾ cups sprouted whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat/white whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mash bananas, then add butter and honey and mix. Add eggs and beat well.
  3. Stir in vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Lastly, stir in the flour, just until combined.
  4. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then mix briefly into batter until it is evenly distributed. Spread batter into the greased loaf pan.
  5. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (I used convection baking and it only took 45 minutes). Cool and serve! I recommend serving it with a dollop of your favorite nut butter.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Lunch Idea #1

We all run out of ideas sometimes but this is a nice quick salad that is very filling.

boiled egg
baby tomatoes
sliced avocado
crumbled feta cheese
red leaf lettuce
cooked red quinoa

balsamic vinegar
olive oil

you can also add:
chopped dry roasted pecan pieces
dried cranberries
sunflower seeds

be creative and enjoy :)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Zucchini Bechamel Casserole (كوسى بالبشاميل Kousa Bechamel)

One of my favorite dishes from the Egyptian Cuisine. It's easy to make but it does take some time to prepare all the different components of this mouth watering dish.

This casserole consists of 3 layers: Sautéed zucchini slices, ground beef, and béchamel. 

3 pounds zucchini, peeled and sliced 
1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar/mozzarella) 
olive oil/ghee*
salt and pepper

3 cups whole milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup white flour
1 tsp. salt

-Sauté zucchini until golden brown and wilted. Then place in 9x13 baking dish.

Note: This step is necessary to take the extra water out of the zucchini. I have tried many methods (grilling in grill pan, pan frying, oven baking...) and I found the best/easiest/quickest method is to sauté the zucchini in a wok with a little bit of ghee or olive oil on high heat. 

-Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in skillet and sauté onion until golden brown. Add ground beef, salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until beef is cooked, then place on top of zucchini as your second layer.

-Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of beef layer.

-To make béchamel: Melt butter on medium high heat, once melted add flour and whisk for a few seconds then start gradually pouring milk while whisking continuously. 

The trick to a creamy béchamel  is to whisk quickly and make sure you add milk gradually while you whisk away any lumps. Once you've added all the milk keep whisking til sauce thickens slightly then turn off heat. Don't forget to whisk in the salt! 

-Pour into baking dish. 


-Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until béchamel has a nice golden color. 
-Enjoy with a side of rice/quinoa and salad. 

*Why ghee you ask?
Because ghee is a natural unprocessed fat. It's one of the healthiest fats you can cook with. Read this article to learn more. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Orange Cake

Although I prefer not to use sugar in my baking I do still make this cake every once in a while for two reasons: 1) it's absolutely delicious 2) It's a recipe that's been in our family for years and it never fails.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup melted butter
zest of 1 orange
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

-Preheat oven to 375
-Mix dry ingredients in bowl
-Beat eggs with sugar and melted butter until fluffy
-Add dry ingredients to egg mixture gradually as you continue to mix.
-Add orange juice gradually as you mix
-Place in buttered and floured cake pan, bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup:

1 pound organic carrots, peeled and finely grated/chopped in food processor
1 medium onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 TBs olive oil
2 TBs organic butter
1/2 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup chicken broth
chopped parsley for garnish

-Saute onion in olive oil and butter until golden. Add celery and saute for 2 more minutes.
-Add carrots, broth, and spices. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
-remove from heat, puree in blender.
-Serve and garnish with parsley.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Best Almond Meal Cookies!

I have to warn you that these cookies are addictive! My family and I can never have enough of them. There's always a new batch in the oven when our supply is running low. You can never just have one of these delicious, guilt-free cookies!

2 cups almond meal (I use the Trader Joe's brand)
1 TBs ground flaxseed (optional)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. water
6 TBs melted organic butter
4 TBs honey
6 TBs semi-sweet chocolate chips

-Preheat oven to 350
-Mix dry ingredients together, then add cooled melted butter, vanilla, water and honey. Mix well then add chocolate chips. The batter should be able to hold its form once you roll it into balls (a heaping tablespoon for each ball). If it's too soft or sticky feel free to add a bit more almond meal, and if it's too dry you can add 1 tsp of water.
-Place rolled balls on parchment paper and bake in preheated oven for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. Leave in pan for 10 minutes to cool before handling.

Just replace the butter with coconut oil and instead of chocolate chips you can use dried cranberries.

Tip: Best served fresh and warm!