Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush 5 ingredients

I first remember tasting Baba Ganoush when I was about 7-years-old. Our neighbors in Brazil had Syrian roots and they were pretty much responsible for my first taste of Middle Eastern food. Birthday parties in their home were, in one word, scrumptious. Best of both countries. Baba Ganoush, Hummus, mini Kibbees, Dolmas, Brigadeiros (Brazilian chocolate fudge bites), and coxinhas (Brazilian chicken fried dumpling.)

I don’t think I tasted Baba Ganoush again until I moved to the States.  Every time I eat Baba Ganoush I go back to my neighbors Claudia and Andreia’s birthday parties and Sunday suppers. I see their dad, Senhor Luis, in the kitchen mixing some Za’tar and proclaiming I would never taste anything like it.

I wish I could share this Baba Ganoush with Senhor Luis and tell him “thank you” for the delicious memories.

THE DEAL: I used 4 small eggplants (2 Casper and 2 Szechwan) from our garden for this recipe. It was the perfect amount and use for our fresh picked eggplants.

Fresh Eggplants from Garden

Roast the eggplant and garlic with the skin on. I dressed the eggplant slices with Trader Joe’s Pacific Smoked Salt and black pepper for extra flavor.

Roasted Eggplants for Baba Ganoush

Add all the ingredients to the food processor. Since the eggplants were so tender I didn’t remove the skin. I used pure Tahini sauce and I needed to add a little water to the final mixture to thin it out a bit.

Baba Ganoush


Baba Ganoush
  • 4 small Chinese eggplants or 1 medium regular eggplant
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, peel on
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice according to taste
  • ¼ cup tahini sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt plus extra depending on size of eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus some extra for drizzling
  • Pinch of paprika for garnishing
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice eggplants in small pieces. In a bowl, toss eggplant slices with salt and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Place it on a baking sheet along with the unpeeled garlic. Roast until tender, 30-40 minutes. Remove the eggplant and garlic from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing the garlic peel.
  2. Place the eggplant, garlic, tahini and lemon juice in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Add the olive oil and salt and process it briefly. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, taste and add more lemon juice or salt to taste.
  3. With the back of a spoon, make a swirl in the top of the baba ganoush, drizzle olive oil in the swirl grooves, and sprinkle with paprika.



Making peace with fall and a Pumpkin-Free Autumn Recipe

Roasted Maple Pork Loin stuffed with Apples and Blueberries

While everyone can’t wait to talk about the crisp air and turning leaves, I’m quietly questioning why everyone seem to love this season. Although I have much to celebrate in the fall (anniversary, hubby’s birthday, Halloween and Thanksgiving) I seem to never really embrace it. With fall come super mutating viruses, crazy weather (even in SoCal), allergies, football, college football and the inevitable…winter! Treat or trick is fun for the kids and extra fat for me because I have no will power. Everything will soon die. No more flowers, no green…all will be red, brown and dead!!!!! It’ll be dark outside. Not a thing to wear because the weather won’t decide what to be; hot, cold, rainy, dry, frosty, windy????

Should I even mention the PUMPKIN everything? As much as I love the pumpkin coffee, pumpkin carving, pumpkin pie, pumpkin décor, pumpkin patches…it is just WAY too much pumpkin. Cooks act as if they will loose their minds if they don’t cram as much pumpkin in their recipes before the end of the season. How many people actually bother to cook with real pumpkin? It taste grosser than canned pumpkin to me.

How do I make peace with fall?

Since I can’t stop fall from coming and I can’t keep the world in perpetual, blissful summer, I’m going to embrace it (with moderation). I’ll grow fall vegetables in my garden, take daily antihistaminic, get the flu shot, buy new boots and scarves that match my tank tops, and think outside the pumpkin.


Because no food blog venting should post without a recipe, here is what I made today (sans pumpkin) for tonight’s dinner.

Roasted Maple Pork Loin Stuffed with Apple and Blueberries

THE DEAL: Costco had an instant rebate on Pork Loin ($2.80) yesterday on a package of 2. Each pack has 2 loins. I used 1 pack/2 loins for this recipe (I’ll freeze the extra pack.) In addition, apples are in season and on sale everywhere.

Ingredients for Maple Roasted Pork stuffing

For the stuffing you will need: 1 apple (diced); 1/2 cup of blueberries; 3 diced shallots or 1 small purple onion; fresh rosemary; 2 tbsp bread crumbs; 1 1/2 tsp olive oil; salt and pepper to taste.

On a medium fry pan heat the olive oil. Brown the shallots until translucent. Add apples and cook for about 3 minutes. Add blueberries, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute or until the bread crumbs absorb the juices. Reserve.

Roasted Pork Stuffing

Butterfly each loin (I could not spare more than 3 minutes butterflying the loins, so there you have it. Not pretty but works. A reminder that this shit is real!!!!!!!Real cooking!!!!) Season all sides with salt and pepper (be generous but reasonable).


You could use the “Saran warp and meat hammer” technique (aka pound it until thin) to make it flatter and easier to roll. I had limited time and wanted to get dinner done as quick as possible, so I topped one loin with the stuffing and made a “sandwich”. Then I simply tied the loins together (no tying skills required). Placed the “sandwich” in a roast pan/pyrex lined with shredded napa cabbage (To add flavor and retain moist. This step is totally optional.) Season again with some salt and pepper and finished with 1/2 of maple syrup over the top.

Roast ready   Maple over Roast

Place a piece of foil over the loin (don’t cover the whole pan, just the loin to keep it moist) and roast for 45 minutes at 360-370F. Discard the foil and roast for additional 15 minutes.

I haven’t decided yet what to serve the roasted pork loin with. I know Farro will be a great side, but the kids can’t take it. I’ll probably make a quick couscous right about before dinner time. The whole family loves the roasted garlic and herbs couscous from Near East. It takes literally 5 minutes to make and 2 minutes to disappear from our plates.


A very personal detox!


Summer is almost done and it’s time to clean up my gut, liver, skin, mind…Call it detox if you like but it really is ‘nourishing’. Not all appetites are created equal and the juice type of detoxing just doesn’t work for me–not for my hunger, not for my pocket. I can’t handle being hungry and a all juice 3 day diet it’ll seriously harm my mental health, not to mention the family’s emotional health.

So rather than starving and punishing my system in order to clean it up, I adjust my diet and habits in order to remember how good my body feels as a whole when I nourish it rather than punish it!

Detox/cleansing doesn’t have to be complicated. Replacing is better than eliminating. For 3 days I eat mostly raw green foods, drink only water or homemade juice, and add some supplements like chlorophyl, fiber and probiotics to help flush the toxins. I still drink my coffee in the morning (my apologies to all the orthodox detoxers out there) and have a small taste of whatever I’m making for the kids (no, I don’t put them through cleansing…not yet!)

It’s my third time doing this and I’ve learned a couple of DOs and DON’Ts.

I DON’T start on a Monday. Why? Mondays are usually busy and sucky. It sets the tone. I rather start easily on Tuesday, seriously continue on Wednesday and finish easy on Thursday. By Friday and the weekend I’ll be tempted to screw up my clean insides, but I’ll think twice before indulging.  I DON’T expect to feel amazing right away. I usually feel shitty before I feel great.

I DO make a list and prep ahead. There’s no way! I could NOT succeed without having healthy detox appropriate food ready to eat. DO make sure you have a bathroom available all the time. Drinking liters of water and eating lots of greens and going to a movie, meeting or long event is just dumb. Be ready to pee like a horse and poop at least 3 times a day. If you don’t, you’re doing something wrong.

So here is how it goes down. I make a big batch of Green Soup (see recipe bellow) and eat that for lunch and/or dinner, wash a lot of salad (I dress it with whatever I like as long it’s not cheesy), cut a lot of fruit (pineapple is a must), leave my juicer on the counter (at least 8oz fresh juice a day) and exercise at least 15 minutes for the 3 days (walking works too). I won’t even touch cheese (I have an addiction problem) or anything that comes on a sealed package (ham, crackers, and even oatmeal). If I get hungry I eat soup, veggies, fruit…you get the idea. If I need something sweet, I juice some veggies and fruit, eat a couple of dates or blueberry banana chia pudding (recipe bellow).

Green detox soup

Green Soup with Bone Marrow

  • 1 container (32 oz.) of organic or free range chicken broth (I used Pacific)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 small beef bone with marrow (available at most regular supermarkets but I usually get them at Whole Foods where they cut it in small sizes upon request)
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 1 small (really small) sweet potato
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1 bunch of dandelion OR 1 bunch of green kale (aprox. 5 cups if chopped)

If you have a pressure cook (which it’s indispensable in my opinion) all you need is to throw all of it together and cook for 1o minutes after pressure valve starts making noise. If you don’t have a pressure cook GO GET ONE. You won’t regret it! Meanwhile, on a big pot cook the bone with the liquid for at least 45 minutes than add 2 more cups of water and the rest of the veggies. Let it cook for another 45 minutes. Add more water as need it.

Remove marrow from bone with a small spoon and add it to the soup. Discard bone. Blend the ingredients directly in the pot with a handheld blender. You can also transfer only the cooked vegetables to a blender and poor the mixture back into the soup liquids left on the pot. If you like your soups chunky, just smash veggies around with a masher.

Try the soup. Season with liquid aminos and cayenne pepper.

Blueberry Banana Chia pudding

Blueberry Banana Chia Pudding

  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used plain almond milk)
  • 4 dates (soak in hot water beforehand if they are tough)
  • 1 frozen or fresh ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds

Blend everything except chia seeds. Add chia to mixture and let it refrigerate overnight. Easy, right?

Detox water

Boost cleansing by dressing your water with lemon, lime and cucumber.


I also add chlorophyll to my water 2 times a day (8-10 drops) which helps to purge toxins.

Sesame Kale Chips

Munch on kale chips. There are a zillion of recipes out there but my favorite way to bake kale is dressed with salt and a little bit of sesame oil. Use one bunch of washed green kale, pat dry and cut into big pieces. Place kale in a large bowl and massage it with 1 1/2 tsp of coconut oil and drizzle of sesame oil. Place it on a cookie sheet, bake it at 300 F for 30 minutes or until kale is dehydrated and crispy. Season with salt to taste.

Zucchini Noodles with fresh tomato and mushrooms

I save my most creative dishes for the last day because I know I’ll be tired of soup and salad quickly. Zucchini noodles tossed with fresh tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms and herbs is pretty satisfying and easy to make if you have one of this.

Detox doesn’t have to be brutal. For me it’s all about nourishing without loosing my mind. Detoxing is a way of improving my relationship with food while helping my body to somehow stabilize.


Fresh Peach Crumb Cake

Fresh Peach Crumb Cake for

Every summer, we get a good amount of peaches from our peach tree in the backyard. Peach size, sweetness and juiciness are unpredictable. Last year, we had sweet and perfectly plump peaches through summer so we enjoyed them as they came. This year, however, we got most of our peaches at once. So…I made my way through the load of peaches! I grilled and added them to salads. I roasted them with brown sugar, butter and cinnamon and ate them with vanilla yogurt. But the real winner of all things peach was this scrumptious crumb cake. What you see here in the picture is exactly what you get. Light and fluffy cake in the bottom, slightly sweet peach pure in the middle, and crunchy crumbs on top.  Perfection!

The Deal: Peach season is almost over and our peach tree is bare. Luckily, Vons-Pavillions has local California peaches on sale this week for $1.99 lb.

Fresh Peach Crumb Cake
  • For the peach filling:
  • 4 large peaches (if small use one or 2 more)
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1tbsp water
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • For the cake:
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp melted butter (1/2 stick)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • For the crumbs:
  • 4 tbsp melted butter (the other half of the stick)
  • ¼ up brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup of flour (I used whole wheat flour for the crumbles but reg flour can be used too)
  1. For the filling:Peal and slice the peaches. Place peaches and filling ingredients on a small pan. Cook it for about 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced. Puree the peach with a hand mixer directly in the pan OR in a blender.
  2. Butter or spray an 8'' cake pan and preheat the oven to 380.
  3. For the cake: Whisk dry ingredients over the wet until JUST combined (don't over mix.) Pour into cake pan and dot with the peach puree.
  4. Mix crumb ingredients and crumble over the cake.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes.
The peach puree can be replaced for any kind of jam and even Nutella.


Summer favorites

June came and went and July is melting its way into August. We’re certainly enjoying the beautiful SoCal weather and all the great things that come with summer-including the lack of time for blog posts. We’ve been eating our summer favorite foods, creating new ice cream flavors, exploring refreshing cocktails and bubblies and gardening. Of all things we’ve made and tried this summer these are my favorites so far:

Dealicious Cooking Grilled Pizzas

GRILLED PIZZAS. I do dream with a built-in italian brick wood oven where I’ll make ridiculous amounts of pizza and breads. For now, grilling is by far the easiest way for a ‘dealicious’ homemade pizza.

Gronomics Raised Garden for

GARDENING: I can’t raive enough about our Gronomics raised garden. I literally L-O-V-E it! It’s a fun project to do with the kids and it’s a great investment. I use lots of fresh herbs in cooking and anyone who has bought herbs from the grocery knows they aren’t cheap!

Bepin de Eto for

BUBBLY ITALIAN WINE. As much as I love red wines, there’s nothing like a crisp and refreshing bubbly wine to go with light summer dishes. I’ve to admit that I totally bought this Spumante for the looks. I mean, look at this bottle! I was so surprised to find that the inside is as delicious as the outside. Not too dry, not too sweet and extremely easy to drink. Bepin De Eto is relatively new in the US market but you can find it (if you haven’t already) at Costco under $20.00. Now, that’s ‘dealicious’!

Ice cream maker for

HOMEMADE ICE CREAM. So far, our ice cream maker has been the most used appliance this summer. I wouldn’t have guessed how much fun it’s to make our own flavors. I’m NOT a big fan of ice cream but I love creating different flavors with the kids. The small batches are perfect for us, ice cream maker beginners, looking for unique flavors. Banilla, salted caramel banana and roasted balsamic strawberry made it to the favorite flavor list. I’ve a feeling we’ll be making ice cream throughout the year no matter how cold the weather may be.




  • I did not use affiliate link advertising in my blog.  I did not receive compensation for links in my posts.  
  • English is not my first language and even after 15 years of English speaking I’m still learning. I ran Microsoft Word’s spelling and grammar check on this blog entry. If it is not grammatically correct, it is MW fault. 



Summer and Pickled Radishes

Pickled Radishes

Summer is here! We don’t have big plans other than lots of beach time, gatherings with friends, and eating lots of summer dishes. The grill will be in full force and my new ice-cream maker is just one of the best things I could hope for this summer. So far we’ve made banilla and also strawberry ice cream. I can’t wait to unleash the not so ‘kid friendly’ flavors.

Our first and probably only summer project is this vegetable garden raised bed. No, I did not built it. I got it from my hubby and kids for my birthday. This one is made by Gronomics and hubby got it online at Crate&Barrel but there are many different elevated garden beds available online. Our green thumbs have been challenged and we’re waiting patiently for our eggplants, hot chili peppers, okra, kale, and mustard greens (still seedling.)

Vegetable Garden Raised Bed

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts and Instagrams of  pickled radishes. I’ve never made it before and I was just curious about all the hype.

I was planning to add them to tacos but after letting it rest for a day in the fridge I tried one, and another, and one more…and I’ve been snacking on them since them. It was love at first bite for sure, but let me tell you, it smells like fart every time I open that jar. But I don’t care. They are radishes after all.

These batch never made it to see a taco, but I added the pickled radishes to this horseradish mustard potato salad. They added a special sweet and sour crunchiness to it. So good!

Potato Salad with Pickled Radishes

And if you ever get to make these pickled radishes try them on top of smashed avocado toast or crackers. I’m hooked on these so bad!

Smashed avocado on Ritz cracker topped with pickled radishes

Happy summer to all!

Pickled Radishes
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 cup vinegar (I used ½ apple cider and ½ rice vinegar)
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey or granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 4 peppercorn smashed
  • 4-8 coriander seeds whole (optional)
  1. Thinly slice the radish bulbs and place them in a jar. In a small saucepan combine the vinegar, cold water, honey/sugar, sea salt, peppercorn, coriander seeds, and the garlic. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, and then remove from the heat.
  2. Pour the vinegar mix into the jar. Place the lid on the jar. Allow the radishes to sit until cool. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 10 days.


100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins from

You should know by now that I have serious baking issues. I won’t bother to repeat again everything I find so challenging about baking. Simply put, baking is a pain and I can only get it right occasionally. One of the rarest occasions happened over the weekend.  I made the most delicious, moist, and fluffy 100% whole wheat blueberry muffins. Now, 100 % whole wheat does not always go with adjectives like these, but this recipe is PERFECT and I’m so happy that I haven’t gave up baking just yet!

Here is one handy baking tip for muffins I’ve learned from a pastry chef; do NOT over mix the ingredients or you end up with rubbery and chewy muffins. The wet ingredients for this recipe should look like this after being mixed:

Secret for the perfect muffin

And it’s totally fine to have a few streaks of flour after adding the dry ingredients.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins with Kefir
  • In a large bow, whisk together:
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2.5oz butter, cut into pieces at room temperature
  • ½ cup of milk (1 or 2%)
  • ½ of blueberry or vanilla kefir
  • 2 eggs
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together"
  • 1-1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup blueberries
  1. Whisk the wet ingredients until the butter just form tiny pebbles.
  2. Pour the dry ingredients over the wet and mix JUST until combined. Do NOT overmix.
  3. Spoon into muffin tins (half way) or paper pannetone cups.
  4. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  5. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until golden all over.
It makes 12 small muffins.


Arugula and Grape Salad with Black Forbidden Rice and Blue Cheese

Arugula and Grape Salad with Black Rice and Bluecjeese

Black rice is the new brown and my family is officially converted to black rice. The benefits of black rice are endless and I blogged about it here but if you missed here is the scoop. Like brown rice, black rice is full of antioxidants, which is found in the outer layer that gets removed during the milling process to make white rice. But only black-rice contains the antioxidants known as anthocyanins, (also found in blueberries, grapes, and acai) that have been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer, improvements in memory, and other health benefits.

I was really surprise when my 8-year-old picky eater chose black rice over brown rice today. I’m pretty sure that she would’ve chosen white rice if it was an option, but black rice was her choice…and ‘that’ made my day!

I put this lovely salad together with the  leftover black rice for hubs and me. It was delicious and it took less than 10 minutes to make.

Arugula and Grape Salad with Black Rice and Bluecjeese

The deal: Sprouts has Lotus Organic Black Forbidden Rice for $3.99 (15oz bag) this week, which it’s definitely a great price!


Arugula and Grape Salad with Black Forbidden Rice and Bluecheese
  • For the Salad:
  • 7oz bag of wild arugula (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Wild Arugula)
  • ½ cup of green or red grapes cut in halves
  • ½ cup of steamed black rice (I used Lotus-Org Forbidden Black Rice)
  • ¼ cup of blue cheese (feta cheese and goat cheese works too)
  • ⅛ cup chopped walnuts
  • For the Vinaigrette
  • ⅛ cup minced onion or shallot
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon of liquid aminos or ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 orange squeezed
  1. Combine salad ingredients. Mix the vinaigrette ingredients well and drizzle over salad. Toss salad to coat. Add fresh cracked black pepper to taste.

Apple Honey Cake

Whole Wheat Honey Olive Oil Apple Cake

I just love this recipe so much. For somebody that hates baking, this is a very easy to make cake and it never fails. I’ve made it about a dozen times, and it’s one of my favorite cakes.  It’s easy to bake, super moist, semi-chunky and perfect with a cup of coffee.

I found the recipe at one of my favorite food blogs Pinch of Yum. Their recipe includes a frosting that I never bother to make because the cake is so delicious as it is and we usually start devouring it before it even has a chance to cool off. I know, we are monster!

I’m still taking baby steps on the whole blogging thing, and I may suck at blogging as much as I suck at baking. But I’m trying. I love having my recipes documented and trying other bloggers recipes.

So many recipes to create, to try and to share…So little time.

The Deal: This week @Sprouts Gala, Granny Smith or Red Delicious Apples are 98cents lb. I’ve used Granny Smith and Gala apples for this recipe before and they are both great.

Whole Wheat Apple Cake from

Apple Honey Cake
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 minced apples (I julienne it in the food processor)
  1. Start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a bundt pan or classic 9" tube cake pan. Core the apples and mince or julienne them in a food processor.
  2. Whisk the sugar and oil together until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, honey, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Gently stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture until just combined.
  4. Fold the apples into the batter. Pour into bundt pan (I used a 1Classic 9" tube cake pan.)
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes, let stand for 10 minutes, and invert onto a plate.



Blueberry Orange Chia Seed Jam

Blueberry Orange Chia Seed Jam

This easy jam is a lot better for you than jams or jellies that are loaded with sugar.  Blueberries, orange juice, chia seeds and maple syrup, each of these ingredients carry their own benefits. I usually have it with toast, but it’s also delicious over Greek yogurt and oatmeal.  

The deal: Blueberries are $0.98 at Sprouts starting today!

Happy jamming!!!!

Blueberry Orange Chia Seeds Jam

Blueberry Orange Chia Jam
  • 1 small pack of fresh blueberries (4.4oz)
  • 3 tablespoons chia soaked in ½ cup of orange juice or water or fresh apple juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Start by soaking chia seeds in ½ a cup of orange juice or water or apple juice and one tablespoon of maple. Leave the chia seeds to soak until all the liquid soaks into the seeds and you have a gel (about 30 minutes)
  2. Put the chia mixture, blueberries, and maple syrup in a blender and blend until smooth. Try it and add more syrup if needed.
  3. The mixture will be similar to a smoothie. Refrigerated to allow it to firm up slightly. If you want the mixture thicker and more firm, stir in another tablespoon of chia seeds.
This jam is delicious on fruit bowls, toast, ice cream, or anything that will hold still. It can keep for one week in the refrigerator, but we usually finish it before that.