Broccoli Cheese Soup


Broccoli Cheese Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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I have been on a healthy lifestyle for a year now and one of the vegetables that I could have on this diet is broccoli, it does not matter if its fresh or frozen as long as I have it with any of my meals..So I have a lot of bags of broccoli in my freezer..

What to do with them?!

Well I knew Broccoli cheese soup is one of my husband’s favorite soups so it was a no brainer to use most of the broccoli I have in my freezer and make him his favorite soup for dinner…

Everyone knows that winter is my favorite season and this year winter is lasting longer than usual…It is cold outside and one of the best dishes I love to cook on these cold days is soup…

Hearty delicious food that will keep you warm and cozy…

My original broccoli cheese soup recipe has a full fat of half and half, whipping cream and sour cream but I wanted to test this healthier version by eliminating them and only use the cheese on its own…let me tell you it turned out amazing, delicious and full of flavor…It had so much flavor that we didn’t miss the fat at all…

I call this version of only using the cheese without any added fat a successful recipe…

This recipe makes a lot of soup that freezes really well, just store in individual plastic freezer containers and the soup will be ready whenever you need it to enjoy a healthy, hearty and delicious meal…

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4 bags 16 oz. each frozen broccoli floweret or about 8 cups fresh

4 tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2 cups pearl onion

1 tbsp. garlic powder

4 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese

1 cup mixed fiesta cheese

7 -9 cups water or chicken broth

1/2 tbsp. sea salt

1/2 tbsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

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In a medium stockpot heat olive oil on medium high heat, add pearl onions, sea salt and black pepper sauté until golden.

Add broccoli florets, nutmeg, garlic powder and cook for two to three minutes.

Add broth or water stir to mix well, bring to boil, cover and lower the heat to simmer for twenty five minutes or until the broccoli and onions completely softened.

Off the heat and with an emerging blender carefully purée the mixture until completely smooth.

Turn the heat back on to medium low and add all the cheese, mix until the cheese is melted and the soup is completely smooth and velvety.

Adjust salt to your liking.

The thickness of the soup is easily adjusted by adjusting the amount of broth is used, add more or less to your liking.

Enjoy!

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Basbousa– Harisi


Basbousa-Harisi

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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There is so many names for this delicious, sugary sweet and yummy dessert. Either Basbousa, Namora or Harisi as we call it in my house.

Whatever may the name be or giving, I believe that it should be only called delicious, scrumptious, sweet and ohhh sooo addicting…I guarantee there is no way to eat only one piece, it is that good!!

Every time I bake a pan of this amazing dessert we have few pieces and give the rest away to friends and families so I don’t have this guilty pleasure around me…

Harisi is served at weddings, engagements and birthday parties as a symbol of happy times and gathering.

Basbousa – Harisi is made with coarse semolina, butter of course and topped with a delicious flavorful rose water syrup..

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The syrup that I always make for this awesome cake is made with rose water, it adds a touch of sweet and delicious fragrance…

I have used orange blossom water, Jasmin essence and lemon juice in different versions of this syrup and they all turned out with amazing flavors…

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I wrote this recipe back in high school in my home economics class, This was my first cooking notebook and that’s how my cooking and baking journey have started…This notebook have seen better days as you could see but its my happy memories, I get so exciting every time I open it or look at it, after all I wrote my first recipe in it…

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To this old recipe I added unsweetened shredded coconuts, just as an extra-added delicious flavor.

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I have made this cake as sugar free cake for my husband so many times and it was equally sweet and yummy as much as it sugary counterpart…

Cake

.3 cups of coarse semolina

.1 stick room temperature butter

.1 cup sugar substitutes or regular sugar

.4 tbsp. baking powder

.3 cups plain yogurt

.4 tbsp. untoasted peanuts or almonds or pine nuts. (for this version I choose almonds).

.1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconuts

Syrup

.6 cups sugar substitute or regular sugar

.1 cup water

.1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg

.2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

.3 tbsp. rose water

.1 stick of cinnamon

Always prepare the syrup before baking the harisi.

In a medium sauce pot, add syrup ingredient except the rose water, stir until sugar is fully dissolved.

Bring to boil on high heat about 2-5 minutes, lower the heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes or until its semi thick.

Off the heat add rose water and carefully stir until it’s combined.

Set aside to cool.

For The Cake

Preheat oven 355

Butter an 8 x 8 baking pan , set aside.

In a large bowl mix coarse semolina and butter, with clean hands work the semolina into the butter until both incorporated and resemble a coarse crumbs.

Add baking powder, sugar, shredded coconuts and yogurt, mix well with rubber spatula until all combined.

Add the batter to the prepared pan and smooth with rubber spatula making sure it’s leveled.

With a dinner knife score the batter into small or large triangles, place one peanut or almond or pine nuts in each triangle.

Bake for 30-40 minutes.

If your oven does not brown correctly after the baking time is up, turn it off and turn the broiler on high and positon the pan on the lowest rack in your oven under the broiler, broil for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown making sure not to go over the 2 minutes or it will dry out and burn, rotate the pan if necessary.

Remove the pan from the oven and place it onto a cooling rack, pour the entire syrup on top of the harisi while it’s still hot, with a dinner knife carefully rescore the triangles again.

Let the pan stand until completely cooled, about 30-40 minutes or preferably overnight if you have the patience to wait that long.

Serve with hot tea or Arabic coffee.

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash soup


Butternut Squash Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Butternut squash soup is one of my favorite soups, flavorful, healthy and delicious… I love to serve this soup as a healthy meal for a light lunch or dinner when it’s cold outside.

I love making butternut squash soup at home, it’s made with fresh and simple ingredients, no added artificial flavors or the crazy amount of sodium or sugar in the ones that sold at the store…Yes trust me the soup that is sold at the stores has a huge amount of sugar and they call it “healthy soup” how?!!

One of my favorite stocking up short cuts in the kitchen is to buy fresh butternut squash and roast them at home….I cut them to cubes, a little olive oil, salt and pepper…40-50 minuets later I have a huge amount to freeze…After the roasted butternut squash is cooled I store them in individual zip freezer bags, mark the bags and freeze them so they are ready to be used when I need them in any delicious recipe I am making.

This delicious recipe is very easy to make all you need is 20-30 minutes and the meal is ready, especially when you have the squash ready to use straight out of the freezer …

I added delicious chard roasted acorns squash to this recipe, same as the butternut squash, peeled, cut to chunks and roasted to perfection and frozen in individual bags.

The acorn squash must have chard sides to it in my opinion, it adds a smoky flavor to any soup, salad or any mixture of vegetables as a side dish.

Do you smell ittttt…… yummmmm!!

This soup freezes so well in airtight containers or freezer zip bags for months…

Ready to eat? Again yummmmm!

Recipe:

3 1/3 cup roasted butternut squash

1 tbsp sea salt or to taste

1/2 cup nonfat half and half or soy milk

5 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp hot curry powder

2 tbsp grated ginger (I peel my ginger and store it in a zip freezer bags and it last for a long time in the freezer)

1 large orange bell pepper chopped

1/2 cup diced onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1 1/2 cup chopped carrots

3 tbsp olive oil

Into a heavy bottom pot on medium heat add olive oil, sea salt and onion sauté until golden brown.

Add carrots and bell pepper, sauté for two minutes with constant stirring to avoid burning.

Add garlic, black pepper, grated ginger and curry powder, cook for few seconds.

Add acorn squash and butternut squash to the mixture and sauté for about one minute, keep stirring.

Add chicken broth or vegetable broth, stir to combine.

Bring to boil, cover and reduce the heat to low, simmer for 15 minuets.

With emerging blender carefully purée the vegetables until the soup is smooth, add extra broth if the soup is too thick.

Stir in half and half or soy milk and simmer for a few seconds.

The soup could be served with a dollop of sour cream if you desire that kind of richness but I love the simplicity and the flavor of the nonfat half and half, it does not over power the flavor of the squash.

Enjoy!

Basketball Game


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Saturday March 31st my granddaughter had a basketball game at USC basketball training center… USC is her dream college…

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One day she will with gods willing attend USC because dreams due come true and when you believe in your self there is nothing impossible or could stop you in life..

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She really hustle in three games in a row…. some of the girls were twice her size…

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Sugar Free Nuts Clusters


Sugar Free Nuts Clusters

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe came about when I realized I had so many bags of leftover of trail mix in my pantry.

We buy them all the time and I only eat the almonds and leave the rest of the nuts, dried berries and seeds inside the bags!

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I know you will say just buy almond bags!

But where is the fun in that?!

Digging inside the bags looking for the almonds is like treasure hunting and It is fun to do at night when I am watching my favorite show…so what to do with the leftovers?

I came up with this recipe to use up all of the nuts and seeds I had in the bags…why waste a good nutritious food…

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This recipe is easy to prepare even if you don’t have a leftover mixture of the nuts, just mix any of your favorite dried berries, seeds and nuts and follow the recipe…

These treats are healthy, nutritious, delicious and sugar free at same time…

I paired the mixture with nonfat yogurt and fresh berries to enjoy as a healthy breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

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I made up my own flavored yogurt by adding vanilla extract and smashed fresh blueberries to serve with these delicious and yummy clusters…Flavored yogurt from the store are loaded with sugar and I cannot serve that to my husband…

Preheat oven to 375′

3 1/2 cups of mixed nuts and seeds.. sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, dried berries and raisins or any of your favorite mix.

1 1/4 cup salted shelled pistachio

1 cup roasted salted almonds

1 cup raw almonds

1 1/3 cup mixed raisins and dried cranberries

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup sugar substitute

1 cup sugar free pancakes syrup

1 tbsp rose water

Coconut oil spray to grease the pan

Spray 9×13 pan with coconut oil spray and set aside

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well until all the nuts, seeds and dried berries are completely covered with the pancake syrup, sugar and rose water.

Add the nuts mixture to prepared pan and with clean wet hands firmly pat down the mixture making sure all in one single layer.

Bake for 35-45 minuets

Cool over night or at least for 4 hours.

With a fork break the clusters to chunks and store in an airtight glass jar.. add it to yogurt as a nutty parfait, mixed with your favorite cereal or by itself as an afternoon snack…

I assure you they will be gabbled down so fast that you have to make another batch at least once a week…

Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes


Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • Servings: 27
  • Difficulty: easy
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In two weeks it will be two years since I posted my carrot cake recipe! Time flies so fast when you’re having fun baking…

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I made my carrot cake for my friend and coworker Rosie’s birthday two years ago, the cake looked amazing and was delicious and full of flavor….The spice mixture, the delicious nuts and raisins I used in the batter made the cake extra scrumptious…

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I was supposed to bake her a cake for her birthday this year but I will be on vacation during her birthday week…

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I always bake a cake for everyone’s birthday at the office and I was not going to miss this one..

Last year I made Rosie my delicious and scrumptious chocolate cake  and since I wont be there to celebrate her birthday this year I made her favorite cake of all times…carrot cake…

last night I made the carrot cake again but for this year birthday I didn’t make the full round cake like two years ago, I made the same batter into cupcakes and they turn out lovely… lovely cupcakes for a lovely lady…

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The Recipe for the carrot cake is linked in this post, the batter yield exactly 27 cupcakes and I baked them for 35 minutes…

Cupcakes are a wonderful idea and I love them for  birthdays or a weekend gathering especially when having kids over.

I frosted the cupcakes with my sugar free cream cheese frosting and top them with chopped mix of pecans and walnuts…

Happy birthday Rosie… we all love you…

Enjoy!

Berries Pie


Berries Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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I always stock up on everything and berries are no exception, when I see berries on sale at the store I buy them, fresh or frozen it won’t matter to me… I fill my freezer drawer and forget about them until I envision a recipe to use them!

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I also stock up on readymade pie crust… I do have my own delicious pie crust recipe of course and I make it a lot, but I love having the readymade ones on hand to help me when I am in the mood to bake and too busy to make the crust from scratch to bake a pie or any other recipes that needs a crust… I use them for sweet and savory…

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Few weeks ago I made my delicious Apple Pie and everyone loved it at at the office… That day my coworkers and I were enjoying the pie when one of them said can you please make a chocolate pie next time, I said you mean a tart?  I said I will that is next on my list to test, but I wanted to test this berries pie that I wrote a long time ago first, and I been reminding myself to test it since I wrote it…. And I have a lot of berries in my freezer…. So last night I was ready to test this recipe!

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The pie turned out amazing, it had the flavors I envisioned when I wrote this recipe…The barriers worked perfectly with the cinnamon and the orange extract… The aroma was amazing and filled my kitchen… and the flavors were just delicious to perfection…

BERRIES PIE 2

Preheat oven 400′

4 bags frozen blueberries 12 oz. each thawed and drained

2 bags of mixed berries, strawberry, blackberry and raspberries, 12 oz. each thawed and drained

3 heaping tbsp sugar free strawberry custard powder.

3 heaping tbsp cornstarch

2 cups sugar or sugar substitutes

2 tbsp orange extract

2 readymade pie crusts

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

In a large bowl combine the drained berries, sugar or sugar substitutes, orange extract, cornstarch, cinnamon and custard powder.

With a large spatula stir the mixture well until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Into a pie dish spread the one of the pie crust evenly.

carefully add the berries mixture and top it with the second pie crust, tucking in the side…

Place the pie dish onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Cut three or four slits off of the top of the crust for the steam to escape.

Some of the juices will spell out of the dish but its ok, its a homemade gorgeous looking and rustic pie.

Bake the pie for 1 hour, remove and cool completely before serving.

Sprinkle powder sugar on top and decorate it with fresh berries.

Some other topping that goes well with this pie are a dollop of fresh whip cream or a big scope of vanilla ice cream .

Enjoy!