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Endless Summer Vegetable Strata With Cilantro-Lemon Pesto Recipe


  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tsp. salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 12 cups chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 cups chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 cups cooked white beans, drained and rinsed if canned
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 6 Vidalia onions, chopped
  • 6 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 6 yellow bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 18 cups cubed day-old French or Italian bread, crusts removed
  • 9 lbs. zucchini or yellow summer squash, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 24 ripe plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. toasted chopped almonds, breadcrumbs, or grated soy parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a food processor, combine the garlic and 1/2 tsp. of the salt and process until the garlic is minced. Add the cilantro and parsley and process until well-minced. Add the beans, 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil, the lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and vegetable stock and blend until smooth to make a pesto. Set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining 1 cup of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bell peppers, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  3. Spread the bread cubes on the bottom of a lightly oiled hotel pan and layer half the zucchini or squash
    slices on top. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon about 1/4 of the pesto on the zucchini or squash and top with 1/2 of the potato slices. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and layer with 1/3 of the tomato slices. Layer 1/2 of the onion-and-bell-pepper mixture evenly across the tomato slices. Top with a layer of the remaining zucchinislices. Season with salt and pepper and top with 1/4 of the remaining pesto. Continue layering in the same order with the remaining ingredients (excluding the almonds, breadcrumbs, or cheese). Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Cover and bake about 45 to 50 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the cover and top with the almonds, breadcrumbs, or cheese and return to the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the top is browned.
  • Makes 24 servings

Orange Almond Cake Recipe – Gluten Free 

I admit, when I first thought of gluten-free desserts, my nose would automatically scrunch up and a look of disdain would cascade over my face right away.

That was a few years ago, and not only has a lot changed since then, but an array of dishes have been created with the gluten-free consumer in mind. Not everything has to take like dusty, old solid brick anymore. I wanted to share this delicious recipe with you – not only does it look delicious, it is scrumptious to eat! Bon appetit!

Flourless Orange Almond Cake Recipe


  • 2 whole medium size oranges If you only have big ones just use 1 1/2
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups of almond meal or 3 cups of whole almonds that you’ll grind up
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder


  1. Grease and flour a 9″ spring form pan-  You can do a regular 9 ” round but it is harder to get it out of the pan in pretty slices.
  2. If you have almond meal- skip this step- Place 3 cups of whole almonds into the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until the almonds are a fine even texture. I actually left mine a little rougher because I like more texture in  the final cake. It’s up to you but DON”T over process or you’ll be eating almond butter sandwiches for the rest of the month! Remove the meal from the bowl and set aside.
  3. Stir 1 tsp of baking powder into the meal.
  4. Zest all skin off of the 2 oranges and place in a bowl.
  5. Preheat oven to 340º.
  6. Peel the oranges then slice or pull into the sections and place the pieces into the Food processor bowl. There will be some almond meal in there but so what, it’s all going to be mixed together in a minute. Pulse until the oranges are a nicely pureed. Pour the puree in with the zest and set aside. Try to get as much of the orange out of the bowl as you can.
  7. Crack 3 eggs into the processor bowl and add the 1 cup of sugar. Turn on processor and process until the eggs and sugar are thick and pale yellow. About 45- 60 seconds.
  8. Add the almond meal, the orange puree and zest into the egg mixture and process for about 10-15 seconds until combined.
  9. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
  10. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and come out clean.

Serve dusted with powdered sugar.

You’re supposed to boil the oranges to soften the skins up and make it easier to cook. But, I think to myself what a wonderful world…. Whoops- I’m not supposed to be singing right now… I think to myself- if you boil the oranges and drain the water- wouldn’t all the flavorful oils from the peel go down the drain? That’s my conclusion.  So I came up with a new plan, played with the recipe, made it 3 times and here is a delicious alternative that only took 8 mins to get into the oven and that time includes grinding the almonds. Plus Bonus- I used the food processor for every step. Less to clean up! I could have made the original recipe faster but where would the fun be in that?!!!

Black Bean Cocoa Cookie Recipe

Most of you know that I am an enthusiastic cook but baking just isn’t my thing. That is until my Mom turned me on to this easy and healthy cookie recipe!

These black bean cocoa cookies are easy to make, quick to bake and so creamy and yummy!

The black beans give them a creamy texture and coupled with the almond butter, they have whopping amounts of protein. The dates and vanilla give them a sweet flavor making them a great non-sugar/low glycemic alternative for kids. Plus, they are gluten free!!!

The dark chocolate hue of these cookieswill ground you to the Earth as it is related to the Wood element and represents stability, grounding, and reliability.

Whip up a batch today, set your Intentions and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Here is the black bean cocoa cookie recipe that is simply scrumptious, healthy and something that you won’t find in any run-of-the-mill cookie recipe. That’s why I am sharing it. I think you’ll like this. Enjoy!

Black Bean Cocoa Cookie Recipe

* 85 calories each

* Makes approx 20 cookies


  • 2 cups organic cooked black beans drained retain liquid
  • 10 Large Medjool dates pit them yourself
  • 2 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 1 tspn Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup organic Cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp Amaranth pearls or chia seeds
  • ½ cup slivered almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees
  2. Mix beans, dates, almond butter and vanilla in food processor till smooth. Add remaining ingredients and process again. You may need to add some of the black bean liquid that was reserved to make the mixture creamier but do it sparingly.
  3. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and form cookies – 1 heavy tbspn for each cookie.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until they feel done.

Chocolate Truffle Brownies Recipe (With a Hint of Sea Salt)

I know, I know… I am not big on spending time in the kitchen. I’m better at consuming whatever comes out of it, rather than standing in there creating things myself.

However, one thing that I have enjoyed over the years is baking. I don’t do much of it lately, but this was inspiring… I found a cool chocolate truffle brownies recipe and this was so beautiful, I had to share with you Maybe my family will get a chance to have some of these for an upcoming gathering… if a) I ever find myself IN a kitchen and b) if I do, I don’t devour them all myself, first! 

Chocolate Truffle Brownies Recipe (with a hint of sea salt)


  • 200g/7oz Divine Dark Chocolate
  • 150g/5oz butter
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum (or orange juice) 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 extra egg yolk
  • 75b/3oz plain white flour
  • A good pinch of sea salt
  • Icing sugar for dusting stars (optional)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.  Line the base of a 20cm/8in square tin with baking/greaseproof paper. I like to use a loose based tin for easy removal. 
  2. Sit a heat-proof bowl into the top of a pan of gently simmering water – checking that the base is higher than the water. 
  3. Break the chocolate into bits. Tip it into the bowl with the bits of butter. Leave the two to melt slowly, without stirring. 
  4. Remove from the heat and stir till smooth. 
  5. Beat the sugar, vanilla and rum (or orange juice) into the chocolate. Whisk the beaten eggs in vigorously. 
  6. Add the sifted flour and salt. Beat thoroughly.  Tip the truffle mix into the tin. Shuffle it a bit so the mix spreads evenly. 
  7. Cook for 30-35 minutes. Test by sticking a cocktail stick or wooden skewer into the truffle. It should come out just a bit sticky. 
  8. Remove when done. Cool in the tin. After 10 minutes mark it up into bars, using a sharp knife. I divide it into 4 each way to make 16 brownies. 
  9. When completely cold, run a blunt knife around the outside of the tin. Turn it upside down onto a rack, tap it to release one big brownie slab. Peel away the paper and invert again. Use a sharp knife to cut into the marked bars. 
  10. Leave them plain or cut a star shaped template on a bit of card that’s bigger than your individual brownie. Hold it over the cake and dust with icing sugar.
  11. Serve these after Christmas Lunch, box them up for presents, make them up for Christmas Fairs or just dive in and enjoy when you want!

Nan Katai – Indian Butter Cookie Recipe – A Treat For Your Kids This Children’s Day

Nan katai is a buttery Indian cookie that is popular among kids and elders alike. Nan katai is made from simple ingredients that are available in every kitchen. Nan katai can be easily made at home. These delicate crumbling delicacy is popularly made during festivals like Diwali and as a snack during birthday parties.


14 Nov is celebrated as Children’s day in India to commemorate the birthday of our Former Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who is fondly called Chacha Nehru by children. Several programs are organized in schools and in residential societies to have fun and spread the joy in children. There is no teaching in schools on this day and children attend cultural programs conducted by teachers.

Kids come home early from school with a huge appetite. They do not want the regular stuff prepared at home. They want royal treatment as it is their day, so moms get ready and surprise your kid with this sweet that will bring a big smile on your kid’s innocent face.

All sweets are prepared in the name of kids and in fact the boxes are emptied by older kids and elders. For a change let them too enjoy this special day with a treat. Let us go thru’ the ingredients required to prepare Nan Katai.

Nan Katai – Indian Butter Cookie Recipe


  • Maida / All Purpose Flour: 1.5 cups
  • B.Rawa / Sooji: 3 tspn
  • Chana powder / Chick pea flour: ¼ cup
  • Ghee / Butter: ¾ cup
  • Sugar: ¾ cup (powdered)
  • Elaichi / Cardamom: 5 nos (powdered)
  • Vanilla Essence: ½ tsp
  • Baking powder: ½ tsp

Optional – For decorating the nan katai: Cashew, Badam/ Almonds, or Pistachio ( chop into fine pieces)


  • In a vessel mix ghee / butter, powdered sugar, vanilla essence .
  • In another vessel mix all the powders: Maida, Sooji, Chana Powder, Elaichi powder, baking powder. You can sift the ingredients through a sieve to ensure uniformity of baking powder in the flour.
  • Now add the mixed powders into the first vessel containing ghee / butter mixed with powdered sugar. Mix till it becomes a soft dough.
  • Grease the baking tray with ghee/ butter.
  • Make small balls of the dough and flatten it a bit. Place the flattened dough rolls on the plate.
  • Maintain distance between the katai rolls.
  • Decorate with the chopped cashew nut / badam / pistachio and place the tray for convection baking at 150 deg c for 35 mins.
  • Non katai- Indian Butter cookies are ready. Serve it when it has cooled down.

You can store Indian butter cookies in air tight containers for 30 days.

As you can see, Nan katai is easy to prepare, requires less time and effort and therefore ideal for travel, birthday parties, kids gathering, so I strongly recommend you make it the next time you are craving something sweet and rich.

Homemade Ginger Wine Recipe 

Christmas reminds us of the Christmas tree, shining colorful stars, carols, nativity scenes, twinkling lights, decorations, foodies and of course the special home made wine. Ginger wine is popular and is served to all the family members and friends who visit our homes during Christmas time. It is a very simple and healthy recipe and can be done a fortnight prior to Christmas time.

Ginger wine has a smooth and moist taste and therefore a popular choice by all. Ginger wine has some wonderful health benefits. Ginger is not only a spice that adds flavor, it is also used as a remedy for many sicknesses and disorders since ages. Ginger has long been known to increase libido. It also increases blood circulation and therefore during winter days it can be served as a health tonic in small measures.

Drinking a glass of ginger wine when you are stricken with cold, will get you back on your feet in good health quickly. Ginger  is an ideal home remedy. Ginger relaxes the body so that the white blood cells can do their job in repairing the damaged cells; it also blocks the hormone that induces fever, headaches and body cramps.

I wanted to share this ginger recipe to make sure you can have a surprise menu for your family.


  • Ginger – 125 gms (finely chopped)
  • Sugar: 750 gms
  • Water : 1 litre ( boiled and brought to room temperature)
  • Yeast : ¼ tspn
  • Dry red chillies: 2 nos
  • Citric Acid: 10 gms
  • Caramelized sugar (optional)


  • Clean the ginger. Chop ginger into fine pieces.
  • Boil the chopped ginger with water, sugar, and broken red chillies for 5 to 8 minutes. Let it cool.
  • Strain the contents. Add yeast and citric acid to the mixture. Stir well till all the crystals are dissolved.
  • Pour ginger wine to air tight containers or you can use the ceramic jar popularly known as barani.
  • The wine is ready for use after 3 days of storage. Hey! you will agree that this was a simple home made ginger wine recipe.

Note: All the storage bottles should be clean and dry prior to transferring the wine for bottling. Fill upto 2/3 of bottle quantity. Leave gap on the top side of the bottle. A safety measure for long term storage.

You can use caramelized sugar to enhance the color of the wine. We like it plain at our home. In case you plan to add caramelized sugar follow this procedure.

For caramelizing heat 3 tspns of sugar in a flat kadai. When it melts on a low flame and start burning add ½ glass of water and mix all the blackened sugar. Filter and add this into the mixture prior to bottling.

Label the bottle with the details of content, date of preparation and best before date. Keep the bottles in a dark and cool place. Best use within 12 months of preparation.

A very simple recipe, yet your timeliness will be appreciated by all who taste the ginger wine. Let this ginger wine be a surprise to all family members too. This can be made into Christmas gifts to your dear ones. This wine is made at home and is a healthy drink. There are no side effects.

Go ahead and surprise your family with this special drink.