Saturday, May 7, 2022

Italian Style: Vegan Gluten Free Dishes - Grilled Vegetables & Air Fried Sweet Potatoes

Here's another great couple of dishes I've perfected over the last year while we hunkered down during the pandemic.  I discovered that using an air fryer is actually very convenient and cooks so many meals in no time and in a healthier way.   Here's a great post about the benefits of using an air fryer: (Read here) 

This week I made a grilled vegetable  (zucchini and eggplant) for this I used my trusty old George Foreman grill, which I love.  I slice the vegetables on my cutting board usually in circle shape of the vegetable not long ways to get more onto the grill. I lay them onto the grill and drizzle a tad of olive oil, I only use extra virgin oil btw.  I also lay a few garlic slices across the layer of vegetables to give it an extra great taste, I love garlic. 

For the stuffed mushrooms, I combined my 4C Gluten Free bread crumbs with Kosher salt, garlic salt, dried basil, dried oregano, some slices of fresh garlic.  I then mix that and insert inside my cleaned mushrooms, I remove the stems and save those for an upcoming chicken dish or omelet contents.  I then drizzle olive oil onto the tops put into the air fryer at lower temp and for about 20 minutes.  You can add mozzarella cheese to the tops.  

My sweet potatoes are amazing! Let's just start there. I wash the potatoes first just to get any dirt off.  I think cut them into French fries shape, it took me a while to figure out to cut potatoes so they would be better in the air fryer.  

I then put them all cut into another dish and drizzle olive oil, garlic salt and dried basil.  I cover the dish and shake it making sure everything is coated.  I then put into the air fryer at a low temp for up to 25/ 30 minutes. I flip the potatoes often because I like them golden.   

Once all your dishes are done cooking I plate them and wow! Healthy, quick and very satisfying!  


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Italian Girls, Curly Hair! Part 3!

My most popular posts on the IAG site are a combination of topics, a lot of times I get tons of emails about my ethnic curly hair. I do truly believe there is a correlation of my Italian heritage with the texture of my hair. Of course as you see many ethnicities across the world, you will encounter curly hair and more ethnic textures. I will say from seeing and interacting with Italian people we do tend to have extremely curly hair and there may be many reason for it geographically.   Here is a quote from a professor who puts it well - “Hair form is genetically controlled,” explains professor Erik Trinkaus from Washington University in St. Louis. “But to my knowledge nobody knows what the underlying genetic basis for it might be, and it is likely to be very complex.”

My father had very tight curly hair and even as a man his hair even at 91 maintained its curly texture.  I definitely took after my father, and interestingly enough both my parents are direct from Reggio Calabria, Italy.  In my family, there a few of us with my type of hair and now with the newer generation, my niece has my hair, so its fascinating to understanding DNA and how it evolves over generations and lineage.   

Here's a link to the hair products I use and for me personally, its a full on task to take care of curly hair. Most days, I actually wear my hair up in a bun or braid.  I do get away with not washing hair for a few days because curly hair allows for it, just my preference.  You do have to comb out your hair though on wash days because any type of bun or braid seriously knots my hair.   The other element that I believe is the secret sauce for maintaining and getting my hair to look good is actually coloring my hair.  I get my hair highlighted and honestly when I do, it controls my hair even more.  

Happy to chat more about hair! 


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

New Recipe! Vegan and Gluten Free Pasta with Cannelli Beans!

It's Spring time, so many amazing new and clean dishes are on the horizon. I love cooking clean, so anytime I can put together something easy and super healthy is a huge win for me!  What I ended up making recently was a very easy gluten free pasta dish with cannelli beans.


Here's the recipe:  

  • Gluten Free Pasta
  • Cannelli Beans (I usually use Goya brand) 
  • Garlic 
  • Olive Oil 
Ok so sorry for those of you who need specific measurements, but like many Italians ( not all) we usually eye it.. (shrug) 

  • I boil the water for my pasta first, I add a pinch of salt in my water and the only salt I use is Kosher and wait for the water to come to a boil.
  • I open my can of beans and rinse them first. 
  • I put a pan on with olive oil (extra virgin), once the oil is hot I add my garlic its important not to burn your garlic so adjust your heat accordingly. 
  • I add my can of beans to the pan and start stirring the beans so they get entrenched with the garlic and oil  I leave this on for about 15 minutes, its important not to burn your beans literally because they will dry out and start to crack, you want it moist.  
  • Ok, back to the pasta: the water is boiling and now I add my pasta.  I cook the pasta for about 8-10 minutes, every pasta is different on cook times and also depends if you want it al dente, which I do. 
  • Then pasta is ready, I do the test with my wooden spoon scoop one out and eat it, if its good I then drain the pasta. 
  • I now marry the pasta with the beans and mix them up nicely. 
  • I like to garnish the final dish with basil and some red hot pepper flakes, and finito.! Enjoy.