Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Wordless Wednesday- Whale Watching

I'm getting on the Wordless Wednesday bandwagon.

There are bloggers who post photos every Wednesday.

I find myself enjoying their photos of places they have visited, their hometown photos, food, outfits, family gatherings etc. -

I recently went to Cape Cod and took a ton of photos. Since it's Wordless Wednesday, I'm going to share a few of  them with you today.

Le me just say that it was a magical day!!

Whale Watching Cruise from Hyannis, Massachusetts in Cape Cod

looking for whales on a misty day in our friend's Noreen and Avi's raincoats

Monday, July 17, 2017

Papaya and Blueberries Make a Beautiful Fruit Cup

I was having company for dinner the other night and blueberries and papayas were in season.
So I decided to forgo the typical fruit salad that I usually make and instead make a dessert using only the two fruits.

Their complementary colors presented a brilliant contrast that was lovely and appealing . My summer dessert was very extremely easy to make, made a beautiful presentation, and was simply delicious. Of course it was naturally gluten free and vegan as well.

When I served it, I sliced a 2 inch thick piece for each person . Some fresh whipped would make it divine.

We ate it with a fork and knife.
Actually the skin and seeds are edible, but I don't know how good they taste.

I Live Near The Blueberry Capital of the World

We live about an hour from Hammonton, New Jersey which is nicknamed " the blueberry capital of the world." (Google it)  Hammonton is located on the way to the Jersey shore where there over 250 blueberry farms on 8,000 acres of sandy soil.

blueberry bushes 

It wasn't always that way. Fifty years ago, the farms were smaller and served mostly local markets.

However, today I understand that most of our local berries are now contracted to Driscoll.
So, no matter where you live you may very well be eating our local berries.

Years ago when my two sister in laws were still teenagers, I took them blueberry picking on a pick your own farm in Hammonton, NJ .

After picking ( and tasting) for about three hours in the vast sea of blueberry bushes, we went home with quite a haul.

We froze most of them, ate many of them, and made a few batches of blueberry muffins. It was a fun but exhausting. It was the one and only time I picked blueberries.

My dessert reminded me of my blueberry adventures.

Since blueberries are in season, why not make this simple dessert. It's naturally gluten free, low in calories, and rich in appeal.

Remove the seeds from the papaya

I sliced the papaya in two lengthwise and scooped out the waxy round black seeds from the core of the papaya and was left with a large long cavity. I filled it with blueberries.

I placed both the papaya and the blueberries in the refrigerator to chill.

My Notes:
Papaya tastes great with freshly squeezed lime..
Papayas from Hawaii are GMO ( their flesh is yellow)
Papayas from Mexico and Belieze usually are not GMO ( these have a more orange flesh)

How to Freeze Blueberries
Blueberries freeze really well and it's very easy to freeze them.
Simply wash them, dry them well, place them in ziploc freezer bags and freeze them.
Be sure to dry them well so they will not stick together.
Use the frozen berries for smoothies, muffins, pancakes, etc.

I usually freeze them when they are on sale,or whenever I can get organic blueberries at at reasonable price

How to Select a Papaya
Papaya are an extremely nutritious fruit. However, most papayas that come from Hawaii are genetically modified ( GMO) they have yellow fruit inside -
try to look for papayas that come from Mexico or Belieze which are usually not GMO- often called Caribbean Reds and Maradol- they look orange inside.
I found  an article online that explains more about safe Papayas 

I also found this Youtube that explain how to select a papaya when it's ripe- he talks about the Hawaiian variety (which will be GMO- he doesn't mention that) but he also explains about the Caribbean variety and how to identify it ( which is the non gmo type)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Pasta Salad with Olives and Veggies

Sometimes you need an easy go-to recipe to serve on those hot hot hot summer nights when you just don't feel like doing any real cooking. Pasta (gluten free of course) salad seems to be that recipe for me.

This Mediterranean style salad is flavorful, fragrant and can be made in advance. We enjoy it paired with  cold soup  or cheese and ( GF) crackers.

Since the salad contains carbs, protein, and lots of veggies, you could actually eat it as your entree. Although I added crumbled feta cheese, omit it to make this a vegan salad.

Omit the cheese if you are vegan
I used red peppers, red onions, olives, fresh basil, tomatoes, celery, scallions, cucumbers, and feta cheese , but feel free to add or substitute any vegetable that you prefer like peas, carrots, radishes, capers, chopped raw broccoli, raw sliced mushrooms, marinated artichokes etc.

Because this recipe can be served at room temperature, it's a great recipe to bring to a pot luck dinner or BBQ-

If you make your pasta in advance, then the prep is just like making a simple salad!

I toss the salad with homemade Italian dressing or try my bold lemon dressing and it is absolutely delcious . 

Where do I get my gluten free pasta? 

 Trader Joe's and Aldi's carry a variety of gluten free pastas at very reasonable prices. 

I recently started shopping in Aldi's and was pleasantly surprised to find a huge selection of gluten free items ( breads, wraps, crackers, snacks made from decent ingredients) Aldi's also has many organic packaged products and produce.

If you want to cut back on the carbs in this recipe, omit the pasta and substitute florettes of lightly cooked cauliflower.


Author: Judee Algazi @ Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes to cut up vegetables
Cook Time: 25 minutes to cook and drain GF pasta
Serves: 6-8


12 ounces of uncooked GF pasta, boiled and drained
1 cup of chopped tomatoes
1 cup of sliced cucumbers
1/2 cup of diced celery
1/2 cup pitted Greek olives , chopped
1/4 cup of chopped scallions
1/3 cup of diced red onions
1/4 cup of freshly chopped basil
1/2 cup of diced red peppers
3/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
Optional: top with slices of avocado

Cook and drain GF pasta according to package directions.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the list of the ingredients with the pasta.
Toss with 1/4 of Italian dressing or my bold lemon dressing.
Taste best served at room temperature.

Linked to : Souper Sunday ( soup, salad, sandwich blog carnival) and

These are great cutting boards because they are so lightweight, I even take them with me when I travel.  I love having color coded cutting boards. These are light yet durable and store easily. Also BPA free
Premium 4 Piece Cutting Board Set with Stand - Dishwasher Safe - Color Coded - Microban - BPA FREE

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