Thanksgiving Side Dish Idea: Low-Gluten Farro pilaf w/ Carrots, Celery, Leeks and Chicken Sausage

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Happy Friday before Thanksgiving to all!! As everyone prepares for the upcoming holiday ahead, we usually have our main courses covered… turkey, chicken, roast beef or maybe lamb if you’re Greek like me and can’t pass up a holiday without lamb. It’s usually the SIDE dishes that have all of our panties in a twist, figuring out just WHAT the heck to make that’s yummy and thanksgiving-y. Well, since I will be cooking a few of the side dishes this upcoming Thanksgiving, I thought I would get started early “practicing” some ideas this week, This way I would have a plethora of fool proof ideas to choose from, and you, reader, will get some ideas on what to make come next Thursday as well! The question then became, “where do I start?”. After scouring the Food and Wine archives for some ideas, I came across a farro soup recipe that I thought looked great, but bookmarked for another meal, another day.  I continued to scour the web, but that farro recipe kept creeping back into my train of thought…until I couldn’t shake the farro fever. I then recalled one of my favorite dishes at Oddfellow’s here in Dallas: a farro salad with the freshest, most delicious veggies that holds such merit in my belly that I have even picked it over their buffalo mac and cheese come ordering time. Well, maybe once. Crazy, I know! Anyways, the wheels in my brain started turning, and I then came up with this Thanksgiving side dish idea that’s rustic, original, and so delicious you would never know it was “good for you”. I present to you my chicken sausage & veggie farro side dish.  It’s highly addictive…but who cares?? Edit: While farro is low in gluten, it is NOT glute free. Good for those watching their gluten, but not for the gluten- intolerant. That tricky little bastard. That is all. Enjoy the recipe. The end.

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Fluffy Oat Waffles w/ Blackberry Sauce

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Greetings!! After a very temporary culinary hiatus, I am back and ready to share more recipes just in time for the cold weather and upcoming holiday season ahead. I will be posting some of my favorite healthy and comfort classic foods to give everyone some ideas on what to cook for all of your holiday parties these next couple of months. That’s right, Culinary Jam is back (again), and this time with a silver tray, tall glass of OJ, and breakfast in bed!! Who doesn’t love a fluffy home-made stack of waffles dripping with maple syrup when it’s chilly out? In this recipe, I’ve made a healthy, gluten-free, sugar-free version of my beloved waffle, to satisfy my craving for these gut-bombs for breakfast but with out the gut-bombing-ness of all that gluten and sugar. And the best part is they taste soooo good, you would have no idea that they are good for you. Think of it as a “safety meal” you can enjoy without the guilt so that when you DO chow down on all of those holiday treats, you won’t feel quite so much like a tubby Santa.

(Serves 4/ Difficulty: Easy)

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Soupa Avgolemono- Yia Yia’s Egg-Lemon soup

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Happy Wednesday Everyone! I have to say, it feels wonderful to be back in the blogosphere! Yes, I know, it’s been a hot minute since I last posted. I’ve been exploring new job options, all keeping with the end goal of learning to run my own successful business one day. Working the classic 9 to 5 versus my usual and familiar yet erratic Realty gig has been invigorating in that reassuring, “I can be just like any other hard working human” sort of way. In the searching process, I have to admit, I was neglecting my passion for cooking. Now that I am back, it feels so good to be back in the kitchen, creating. Through all of this, I have learned that no matter what the future holds, I can always count on cooking to bring me back to life and re-ignite my creative passions. I can always find comfort in my very own kitchen. So, with that, for my first recipe post in over a month, I present to you a classic from my Yia Yia’s kitchen: My all-time favorite comfort food, Soupa Avgolemono

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One Pot Monday Presents: Kolokithokeftedes! (AKA Greek Zucchini Fritters)

ImageImageSince returning from my overseas adventures, I’ve slowly gotten back into the swing of things. I have noticed that I am cooking more Mediterranean-themed meals, however, hoping to hold onto my Cyprus summer memories just a little bit longer through my cooking: yet another magical quality of food. So, in keeping with this “not wanting to let go of summer” theme, I present to you: My version of squash patties, or “kolokithokeftedes”.  These are also “One-Pot”, so a great One-pot Monday meal as well. Just make sure to use the freshest ingredients possible, as usual, to do these babies the justice they deserve. I actually remember making some version of these at the beach house in Cyprus, after plucking a few stolen zucchini from the farm next door. One bite, and you will be transported to a Mediterranean island far, far away.

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Ingredients:

 

1.5 lbs zucchini squash, grated

1 large egg

¼ cup olive oil

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp freshly cracked pepper

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp fresh thyme

1 heaping tablespoon of freshly minced mint

¼ cup parmesan cheese

 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

¼ cup bread crumbs

½ cup grated yellow onion

zest of 1 large lemon

 

½ cup of flour, for coating

1 tsp lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving

 

The instructions are easy. Just mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Form the patties at your desired size.

In a large frying pan, heat up 4 tbs olive oil over medium high heat.

Right before placing patties in the pan, coat each side with flour in a shallow plate.

Cook for about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown. Repeat in batches 

As soon as they come out, season with extra salt and lemon juice.

These are really good with tzatziki sauce or hummus on the side.

 

 

 

Goodbye, Cyprus: My last meal at Zephyros

ImageImageAfter 3 relaxing weeks of adventures in Cyprus, topped off with an overnight stay in Amsterdam, it’s bittersweet to be back. Since my husband could only partake in a week’s worth of Cyprus fun, I’ve been so happy being back on the same part of the planet as him. However, leaving my cousins, whom I consider my “second” brothers and sisters, is always such an emotional and tearful experience.  Continue reading

One Pot Monday Presents: My Very Crabby Little Crab Cakes

ImageHappy Monday after Fourth of July weekend everyone! Hopefully everyone had a super fun yet safe weekend and ate plenty of hotdogs and pie! For today’s post, and in keeping with my light and refreshing theme (which will probably not last for much longer), I’ve decided to post my famous crab cakes recipe. I’ve tried numerous crab cakes at restaurants all over the land, and I believe that what really makes the delicious ones stand out from the not-so-delicious ones is the use of fresh, real crab meat, and a high crab to bread crumb ratio. These have the freshest ingredients, and the use of home-made bread crumbs just contributes to that home-made flavor. Another plus? I bake them in the oven rather than frying them up in a pan, so they are actually really healthy as well.  Who doesn’t love a good crabby cake in July?!

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One-Pot Monday Presents: Tuna and Beans and Squash, Oh My!

ImageImageImageHappy boiling hot Monday everybody! I don’t know about how it is where you live, but here in Dallas, Texas, it’s freaking HOT!! Leather-car-seat-causing-second-degree-burns-on-your-poor-exposed-legs-hot.  Stay-inside-with-your-head-permanently-glued-to-the-inside-of-your-fridge-hot. So-hot-you-could-kill-for-a-one-way-ticket-to-the-North-Pole-or-somewhere-equally-as-gloriously-cold-hot…Well, you get the gist of our agony down here. So, with the record highs the past few days literally scorching my desire to eat anything too heavy or, for that matter, anything above room temp, I thought it was high time to make my go-to hot weather meal: Tuna “salad” with squash and beans. This is actually a tinkered-with adaptation of a meal we would have at my grandmother’s house in Cyprus on a weekly basis. As she didn’t have AC, this was one of my favorite meals to eat on those hot summer days. I have added my own personal twist to it with green onions, delicious cherry tomatoes, and my bright, lemony dressing, but the heart of the meal is the same.  The best part? Not only is it filling and absolutely delicious, it’s super cost effective as well.  Until these temps start dropping, I may be eating this meal multiple times a week! Enjoy, and STAY COOL FOLKS!!

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One-Pot Monday presents: Mama D’s Mushroom Risotto

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This risotto is one of my favorite one-pot meals to make, because it’s SO EASY, and you would never guess that there weren’t a million steps involved to create such flavors.  Whenever I go out to a new fancy restaurant and spot a mushroom risotto dish on the menu, I always have to compare it to my mom’s version. And, usually, it never really matches her simple, yet satisfying version. It can very well serve as a stand-alone meal with a little simple side salad, or it’s a really great side dish to serve with a main course. One thing to keep in mind when you are cooking with very few ingredients is that the ingredients have to speak for themselves and really shine, so the fresher and more high quality the ingredients, the better your end product will be! That being said, I’ve even brought this dish to a Pot Luck or two, and gotten rave reviews…Mama D really nailed it with this one!

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Gorgeous & Delicious: Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

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I know, I know… it’s been waaay to long since I’ve blogged any recipes. The truth is, Andy and I had a magical, wonderful whirlwind wedding weekend. (Try saying that three times fast).  We had family and friends fly in from all over the world to celebrate. The whole weekend was brimming with such a positive, happy energy, it’s carried over to real life. Yay!! But now, it’s back to the blog, and this week, I wanted to post something special. After a week of literally eating giant slices of wedding cake multiple times a day, I knew it was time to put down the cake fork and get back on the healthy track. I’m not one to normally take notice of the negative effects of too much sugar and gluten, but after eating so much cake, my body has definitely revolted, leaving me feeling ill and craving all things nutritious and healthful. But who’s to say healthy can’t still be yummy and sweet-tooth satisfying? After doing quite a bit of research online, I came up with my own perfect recipe for a no-bake, gluten free, chocolate peanut butter dessert that’s so decadent you would NEVER guess that its-SURPRISE!!!- healthy!! The bananas work really well as a binding ingredient for the bottom “dough” base, and are a perfect, creamy swap to butter. I didn’t go the extra step and buy vegan chocolate, but if you substitute vegan chocolate for the chocolate here, you will have a delicious VEGAN dessert as well! Just make sure to refrigerate at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight, so that it will firm up. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.  You can cut them into large, desert-style pieces, or little tiny bite-sized snackable squares . However you slice them, I promise you will LUURVE them! Man it feels good to be back in the kitchen….

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Easy Shiitake Asparagus Couscous

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Hello beautiful. It’s been a while. With the wedding almost two weeks away now, and moving to a new house THIS weekend!!!, I haven’t had much time for blogging. However, I DID receive this gorgeous food photography book from some sweet friends for my birthday, and I can’t wait to utilize its techniques for this blog after the wedding. Once everything is settled and the wedding is over, I look forward to blogging multiple times a week again. For now, I wanted to post a quick and easy recipe for just these times in your life, when cooking may seem like the last thing you even have time for, but know you can’t eat out every night of the week. My shiitake and asparagus couscous is a great side dish, but can also work as a main with a little side salad. You could add a little grilled chicken in the mix as well. My recipes are all about giving you ideas on what to make for dinner, where you can make your own adaptations or versions. This is what I refer to my stack of cookbooks for: inspiration. On that note, I hope this recipe inspires you, and I promise I will post a LOT more in a couple of weeks after all this excitement 🙂 Have a wonderful Tuesday!!

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