Posts Tagged ‘gluten-free’

Gluten – Friend of Foe?

I was thinking recently how much is too much. I am following mostly gluten free diet most of time. My intolerance test showed that my gluten intolerance only 1 point out of 3 point scale. Is it high or low? And lately i decided to keep mostly wheat free diet then gluten free. I figured that i might start introducing organic barely and rye into my diet – like maybe will start of once a week and see how it feels.

As for now – there is some pretty interesting read on “Gluten” . As for myself now, i am sure of one thing – non organic wheat is bad. It is being homogenized and modified for mass production and definitely lost many of whole grain qualities, but gains dozen of pesticides.

I sure feel much better without gluten – i wake up fresh and get less tired during the day. My abs flatter without it and my digestion greatly improved. Now is the time to experiment – will i be feeling as good with some of above grains included in my diet or my intolerance is to all gluten product other then only wheat.

Some recent Gluten Free Meals of the day:

Buckwheat Pancakes from “Organ” Ready Mix 

Buckwheat Pancakes


1 Package “Organ” Pancake Mix

3 Organic Eggs (Or substitute)

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup Rice Milk

Baked on the pan sprinkled with Organic Coconut Oil.

My Lunch was – Zinc and Vitamin B6 loaded.

Baked Eggs with Spinach

Baked Eggs - My Favorite Lately


3 Organic Free Range Eggs

250 gr. frozen spinach, unthawed

Goat Gaude Cheese

1 Goat Labneh Ball

1/4 red onion

1 garlic clove

1. Preheat oven to 200 C. Sweat choped onions and crashed garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes.

2. Add spinach and stir fry till spinach welts – 3 minutes

3. Turn off the heat, mix in 1 goat labneh ball. Spread spinach mixture over baking dish.

Lebanese Goat Labneh Balls in Olive Oil

5. Whisk eggs with salt, pepper and oregano. Pour eggs mixture over spinach.

6. Sprinkle some goat gaud a on top and bake for 20 minutes.

7. I also added some Organic Salsa on top =) really loving it.

Saaaaalsa! mmmmm......

Post lunch snack aka My Mother-In-Law’ s favorite “diet” dessert

Pomegranate and Banana Mix

Pom. Banana. Yammmmm!

Method of preparation: Just mix hit up! =) And indulge!… Will give you a boost prior to work out too – full of antioxidants, vitamin C and Potassium.

It was the day -) all of the above, plus some apples and some dinner eats as feel – which were not pictures, but were definitely gluten and sugar free 😉

Some cakes posts are coming up next =)


Lazy Weekend Meals

So, weekend is over in Dubai! How was yours?

We finally watched “X-men First Class” and totally loved it! Such a treat for fans.
Then we hanged around the mall and had a a very pleasant dinner with family after all.

Mr.R was overly occupied with his new game and I was happily spending my time at the kitchen, enjoying it after a few days break because of the finger healing process.

Miso Glazed Salmon with Red Rice and Baked Vegetables


Baked vegetables:
I chopped a lot of different Low Glycemic vegetables (avoiding potato of course): baby zucchinis, red cabbage, white cabbage, carrot, celery, broccoli, red onion, baby eggplant. In small sauce pan added 1/3 cup of olive oil and placed pot on medium fire. Added 4 minced garlic cloves and fried it until just fragrant, removed from fire and let it stand for 20 mins to absorb more flares into oil. Chopped fresh basil leaves and fresh rosemary leaves, mixed it with oil too. Seasoned with salt and pepper. Poured oil dressing over chopped vegetables and mixed to coat evenly. Baked in preheated to 220 C oven for 40 minutes, mixing once.

Red rice from Organic supermarket has an amazing nutty taste which is so pretty different to the regular brown rice variety. But it requires much longer cooking time. I washed and drained 1 cup of red rice and 1/2 cup of brown rice (to make it more colorful). Added rice to 4 cups salted boiling water, covered with a lid so no steam can escape, reduced heat to minimum and left it for 40 minutes on the stove, without opening or stirring. After that, removed from heat, opened it, fluffed it with a spatula and covered again. Let it rest for 15 mins, while was preparing salmon.


Miso Glazed Salmon was a bit of a down part of the dish – since it was my first ever experiment with miso dressing (other then mKing miso soup). But still was pretty eatable -)) I mixed 1 tbsp of Organic Brown Rice miso paste (did not have white miso paste a hugely regretted it after tasting – it must be with white paste – it would be milder) with 1 tsp of Gluten Free Organic Soy Sauce, 1 tbsp of fresh minced ginger and 1 tsp of sesame oil, added just a small drizzle of Raw Organic Blue Agave And mixed it all very well. Marinated salmon for 30 minutes in this mixture and then baked under broiler at 220 C for 4 minutes on each side. It was ok, but next time will make the paste milder and use White Miso. Will be experimenting with it, so Improved versions will be coming soon -))




Saturday morning went to Yoga after 2 days break and felt great! Did powered up Sun Salutation and really worked on those abs and core, which always make me break into sweat and loving it more an more. My favorite pose for core straightening is Full Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana)

Through this pose in the middle part of our practice and hold it for at least 30 seconds, repeat twice and you will feel your abs burning.

Tomorrow will be new yoga mat shopping – yey! Can’t wait to finally have my Manduka Eco Light Mat in cherry color.



Sick leave

I cut my finger filly bad recently. Was rushing to separate slices of frozen corn bread for snack and the knife went right through my finger. The cut was really dip and doctor even recommended to stitch it. I preferred to let it heal naturally though and just being very careful with it now.
Down line: no rush when you have a knife in your hand.
Since I am cut of of cooking for a couple of days – keeping it simple and nutritional.

Mighty Cereal Breakfast – my fav lately – mix of organic brown rice, millet and corn.


I boil little less then 1/2 cup of this cereal in 1,5 cups of water for 10 minutes, add 2 tbsp of sesame seeds paste, Raw Organic Protein, and mix in the following: chia seeds or hemp seeds for omegas, goji berries or other berries for antioxidant, Lucuma or Maca or Yacon syrup or stevia powder for sweetness. That is all all tastes very good, plenty of whole grains and protein.

For lunch I made Salmon with spicy Lentil salad.


Seasoned salmon – 200 gr. Fillet – with salt and pepper and some turmeric. Grilled in the oven for 15 minutes. Boiled French lentils for 20 minutes, added chopped red onion and coriander. Dressed it with lemon-walnut oil and Garam Masala dressing.
Really good lunch and really great for one person.

Fr dinner we headed to the Mexican Restaurant on Jumeirah and I was hugely disappointed to discover that they have not prepared Tamale for that day, so we ended up sharing beef corn taco with guacamole and salsa. I even purchased some of their home made corn tortillas and brought them home with me for a quick fix later.

I miss yoga and did simple stretches and few poses just to keep my muscles stretched, sincei and not going for the classes lately (no to put any pressure on the cut finger).

Hope everyone is healthy,


Moroccan Harira

To continue my post on ramadan – recipe of Moroccan Harira. I adjusted it to my diet preferences. For example, some cooks adding noodles to it – I could not do that since they r not gluten free, so I opted for only rice. And I. The end soup most of the time being thickened by flour – I could substitute it for some gluten free starches but decided to fully omit it since the soup boils on the stove for a couple of hours – the stock becomes really thick by itself.


I cook it in 6 quart pressure cooker to speed up the process, but also can be done without with extended time.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter in the pressure cooker. Add 300 gr of lamb (pieces and bones) and brown the meat all over.
In meantime in food processor mice 1 kg seeded and skinned tomatoes with 1-2 celery sticks (optional but give nice flavor to the stock) and 1 medium onion. Add this mixture to meat. Finely chop parsley and coriander to make 1 cup in total. Add to soup. Add pre soaked over night chickpeas – approximately 1,5 cups and add 3 cups of water. Season with 1 tbsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp of white pepper and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Now, add the res of the spices: 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp saffron threads, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp Moroccan coloring (not available in UAE as long as I know, so if you dod not have it just increase turmeric to 1 tsp.), 1/2 tsp of paprika. Also you can add some dried chilly if you like it spicy – I don’t – since it is Iftar meal is best to keep it not spicy.
Mix all of it, close the lid of pressure cooker and bring to maximum temperature, reduce the heat and cook for 40 minutes. Remove from heat, let the pressure drop, open lid and keep it simmering on law heat. Mix 3 tbsp of tomato paste with water and 2 tbsp of lemon juice and add to soup. Add 1/4 cup of brown lentils and add water to come to the maximum possible of pressure cooker. Let simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes or cook under pressure for 15 minutes. when lentils almost done – add 2 tbsp of white rice and cook for 15 minutes until rice is done. Make sure not to overcook your soup – lentils should be always in soup – it should not reach the point of mashy texture.
Serve Harira with a lemon wedge on the side and fresh bread – like “Msamen” or any other fresh bread.



Ramadan Kareem – Ramadan Generous, in deed!

There is just something in Moroccan dishes what hugely attracts my appetite. The spices, the combination of sweet and spicy, which creates this irresistible flavor.
I discovered for myself Moroccan cousin at it’s very best last year during Ramadan. That time I was going to the house of one woman, very good friend of my in-laws. This woman (I will redder to her as A.) has a very big heart and every Ramadan she is making her cooks to prepare fresh daily meals and give it to poor.
It was amazing experience for me to be part of it!
Every day there was a full on cooking happening in her kitchen. The cooks and servants (who were also fasting) were waking up early and starting cooking up to Iftar. Daily meals included:

Freshly made from the scratch Moroccan Harira – hearty soup with chickpeas, lentils and lamb. Huge three pans were steaming on the specially installed stoves from early morning:


Moroccan bread “Msammen” – was also prepared fresh on daily basis


from this amount of dough:


And that was not all! There was also Moroccan Pancakes made of semolina and served with warm butter and honey mixture:


Before every single Iftar poor people were gathering close to the gates and waiting for their tern to get a set of those three course meals. Majority of those poor people do not have meat ever since it is too expensive to afford.
In meanwhile we were putting in plastic containers servings of bread and pancakes and pouring steaming hot Harira with pieces of best quality farmed lamb into their thermoses. By the beginning of evening prayer – all the food would be gone and then finally the cooks could rest and have their Iftar and rest a bit, since the same cooking pattern would begin the next morning.

It was an amazing experience and this is all what real Ramadan meaning is.
Ramadan Kareem!

Socca Al-Arabia and a little more


How is the week going? Mine is full of cooking so far. I made beautiful lunch the other day – all what my cravings were asking for. Thinking of the post of a fellow blogger regarding cravings i decided to incorporate all of them and at one in a wholesome protein rich food and as a package gluten free.

While sun is shining in Dubai, you do not really feel eating heavy loaded meals. We do not require here heavy loaded meals to keep our bodies warm, like some people need in northern countries. But our bodies still require good dose of protein and healthy fats to be injected regular. So here is the challenge comes to place – how to create protein reach food omitting huge amounts of meat or protein powders (even though my relationship with protein powder is beyond believe – do not feel that breakfast can be more fulfilling without it). But, even though – natural sources are all there too, so why not to stock up from your nearest grocery and make it into meal!

I was running late that day. After yoga I had to go for a quick grocery sopping and reached home by around 1 pm. Lunch had to be done in minutes.

Here is the 1 Hour – 3 Course – Wholesome Meal:

Salad- Sprouted Beans Salad (adapted from )


I diced carrot, tomato, onion and cucumber, mixed with mixed sprouted beans and chopped coriander and parsley. Mixed 1 Tbsp of olive oil and juice of 1 lemon, seasoned it with Garam Masala and pureed over the salad, mixed it well and let it stand in the fridge while was preparing the rest of the dishes.

Starter – Chicken Livers in Pomegranate Molases (typical arabic “Mezze”)


I soaked chicken liver (about 250 gr) in room temperature water for 1/2 hour. Then dried it up with paper towel and kept aside. Chopped onions into quarter rings. Heated some olive oil in the pan and dried them for 4 minutes on law heat so they will just become very soft and transparent. Added 1 minced clove of garlic and chicken livers. Stir died on low heat until livers became very pale and cooked through. Discarded extra fat and oil from the pan and return to fire. Added 2 Tbsp of Pomegranate Molasses, 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and 1/4-1/2 cups of water. Made it come to light simmer and waited till sauce got thicker up to our liking. Removed from fire and covered with foil to keep it warm.

Main – Socca (“Farinata”) Al-Arabia


I discovered this lovely gluten free bread like goodness via website of two beautiful twins, girls who became one of my inspirations to change my lifestyle and eat healthy – this is their website Pure2Raw and all about Socca. Now there is a story of my relationship with Socca.

I made it first time 6 month ago during my annual vacation in Russia. That time i was not so much into healthy eating habits and did not know how easy it is to find Chickpea flour in Dubai. So, back in Russia, i suddenly found Green Pea Flour and was happy to give it a try. It was delicious even though completely not authentic. With time passed I found out that chickpea flour is sold in every grocery in dubai and called “Gram Flour” – so it was my pleasure to follow authentic recipe. i also found out there are millions of way to top it too 😉 so i got creative and felt like i just had to make it with Arabic Twist – it really is reminding me of taste of “Falafel” but just does not take such an effort of making it 😉

I mixed 1 cup of Garbazo Bean Flour with 1 cup of water and 1/8 tsp of salt, 1 tsp (or more) of ground cumin and Arabic Twist #1 – 1/2 tsp of “Baharat” (arabic All-Spice Mix) in the morning before yoga and kept it at room temperature. When i came back i checked the dough and added just 1 or 2 Tbsp of water more to thin it out. Preheated oven to 200 C. Added 4 Tbsp of Olive oil into 10 inch round pie pan (yeah, it is a shame, but i do not have that fancy cast iron pans). Sprinkled fresh rosemary leaves on top of the oil and placed it in the oven for 5 mins till oil becomes bubbly but not smoking. Took it out and pour the batter evenly spreading it around the pan. Returned back to oven and baked for 20-30 minutes, until it became nicely browned with crispy edges.

Took it out from the pan and cut in to portions.


Now the Arabic Twist # 2 – this is very popular sauce saved with Falafel, fish or Kofta Dishes! Mixed 2 tsp of Tahineh with 2 Tbsp of lemon juice (i like it zesty 😉 and added some water to thin it out. Spread evenly on top of my socca.


Diced some Tomatoes and placed them on top.

And, Arabic Twist #3 – sprinkled some Sumac (Arab’s fave – zesty spice added to salads, onions, spinach and on top of Tomato slices).


It was so good, so light, so wholesome and completely Sugar Free and Gluten Free! Is in’t it perfect combination?


So here it was – lunch of three dishes, ready in just one hour and all under the dietary guidelines. and so tasty too!

Tasted and approved by Mr. R (not big fan of healthy eating, i would tell you)

Hope you will try it out at home and enjoy it as much as We Did.

Feeling like short in time to cook too? What are your quick fix lunch ideas?

Friday post

Friday is the official day off in muslim word. In Islam, Friday corresponds to Sunday in Christianity and Saturday in Judaism, as a holy day. Friday observance includes attendance at a mosque for congregation prayer or Salat AlJumu’ah. As well as a day of rest it is considered a day of peace and mercy – even condemning a slave is forbidden on a Friday under Muslim law.

For me Friday is our family day. I like to wake up early and make a tasty breakfast for my hubby and usually take off from gym.

It is all so sunny in Dubai, once again have to admit that wake up and see your garden is the beauty of the day


Power breakfast theme to be continued and this is what I had today morning

“Can’t sweeten it – spice it up” Cereal

Bring to boil 2 cups of water and add 1/2 cup of millet. Add 1/2 tsp of each: cinnamon and cardamom. Grind some fresh nutmeg. And add 1/3 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut. Simmer for 15 minutes, adding water if needed.
After this goodness was cooked, I added 1 scoop of Raw Protein, 1 tsp macca powder and 2 tbs of milled flax seeds, thinned it out with some rice milk and mixed in few frozen blueberries (it is first “sweet” food in past 5 days). Tastes like heaven -)

After this I made pancakes with custard for my Mr. R and headed to the pool for swimming.

When I have a day break from gym I always try to go to swim. Why swim? Because i find it very beneficial for my body strength and it is great breathing work out.

There is some of the benefits I value in swimming:


1. Low impact — When you exercise on land, such as running or walking, you put a lot of pressure on your joints, bones and muscles. With swimming, the buoyancy of water acts cushions your body and is no harsh pounding to stress your joints and muscles. In fact, swimming is regarded as one of the safest exercises, with very little risk of injury.
2. Easy to start – anyone can do it — No matter your age, weight, skill level, or fitness level, swimming is an excellent choice for anyone including overweight people, people with disabilities , pregnant women and seniors.
3. Weight loss and great cardio work out — You burn around three calories a mile per pound of bodyweight. After I come out from the water my heart keep pumping for a while and I sweat like if I would be jogging.
4. Muscles recovery – after exercising most of the week – some muscles get really stiff – water massages those muscles and makes you feel like after attending a massage salon -)
5. Physical health benefits — Swimming builds flexibility, endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular health. Water adds 12 times more resistance than air, so it takes more work to move through water than air. Swimming not only helps strengthen muscles, it also helps builds lean, flexible muscles.
6. It relaxes your mind, reduces stress and leaves you feel relaxed and refreshed.

So, all go swimming in your day off and get healthier while enjoying the water and having fun!