Sunday, January 26, 2014

Istanbul Street Sweets

Living in the land of honey drenched desserts! 

Strawberry Cake 




Izmir Sweets 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ancient Carrot Salad with Fresh Middle Eastern Orange Dressing

One of my favorite things about living in Istanbul is the amazing variety of produce found at the local markets. Unlike America, where farmer's markets tend to be more expensive, Istanbul street markets are a location where you can score vegetables fresh from the surrounding villages for a fraction of the price. Last week, I bought all that I could carry home with me for about 7 USD. Pretty amazing! Well one the favorite things I scored this week were some amazing purple carrots! They are a beautiful deep purple on the outside and fade into a tie died looking purple white on the inside. To show off their splendor I chose to whip up a “Crazy Carrot Salad” for lunch. 

Health Summary
The main thing I like about carrots is their subtle sweetness, even when raw. Raw carrots are a great low calorie way to get some crunch into your diet. Carrots are a particularly good swap for my blood sugars, instead of crackers and chips, with snacks like Hummus. So, to my sugar conscious friends out there, happy guilt free crunching… in purple, white OR orange! 

MYTH Introduction

Origin: Mediterranean, Southwest Asia
Myth: Buddhism
Symbolic Significance: Blood

The Buddhist Myth of Mu Lien

In ancient Buddhist myth, the remarkable depth of color of the purple carrot comes from the blood of Buddha Mu Lien’s fingers. While alive, Mu Lien’s mother ate and killed with no regard to the life she was consuming. She was then sent to the underworld after her death. While his mother was indulgent, Mu Lien was a pious young man who was a devout worshiper of God. He eventually became a Buddha and used his power to enter the underworld to rescue his mother.

Unfortunately, the moment she came to the surface, she quickly pulled some white carrots from the earth and devoured them. Mu Lien, afraid that his mother would be condemned to damnation for the rest of eternity, cut off his own finger and placed it into the earth. The blood from his finger seeped into the surrounding carrots and hence, purple carrots were created.

Ancient Carrot Salad 
2 purple carrots
2 orange carrots
2 cucumbers 
4oz of Goat Cheese 
Fresh Middle Eastern Orange Dressing 
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 Lemon
3 or 4 TBS of Tahini 
Cayenne pepper to taste [optional] 
Black pepper

1. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise into long thing slices
2. First peel the carrots and discard the skins. Continue peeling the carrots into long strips [looks like spaghetti]. Be sure to keep the purple and orange separated. 
3.  Assemble the salad by first putting down the cucumber slices and then layering the orange carrot strips and the purple carrot strips. Sprinkle with fresh goat cheese. 
4. Dressing = Mix all ingredients together and serve on the side of the salad. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Istanbul Street Food

Come visually experience the delicious Food of Istanbul! More coming soon!

Oh My Strawberries!! 

Simit...the Istanbuli Bagel 

Colorful Fruit

Dried Foods to be stuffed and steamed 

Foot and Apples 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Luscious Lazy Lentil Hummus

Lentils are a vitality powerhouse, full of healthy fiber and satisfying protein. I love these gems when I am trying to stay satiated while keeping my meat intake down. I have found ways of eating them for every meal of the day. Lentils for breakfast are actually one of my favorite ways to eat them. Their earthy flavor mingles wonderfully with cinnamon and cardamom for a gentle sweetness that is both satisfying and nutritious.

Health Summary

One of the best things about lentils is their low glycemic index, especially when compared to rice and wheat. These little guys, slowly release their energy into your body keeping you full and satisfied far longer than a big bowl of white flour pasta. Lentils also win out on being a great source of vegetarian protein. I love eating vegan and vegetarian meals and try to keep most of my meals in this realm. I do this mostly for the environment, rather than health considering I feel pretty great both vegetarian and with a bit of meat in my diet. So if you’re trying to go green, forget the electric car, instead try choosing lentils over meat and fish a few times a week. Diabetics…. Lentils will rock your socks off! I find they get absorbed super slowly so I never get blood sugar spikes. = I notice that because they release slowly, I tend to give myself two shots, one before I eat and one about thirty minutes later. See what works for you.


Lentils have served as an essential food for survival since the Neolithic peoples of the Middle East. There are references to Lentils in the Bible, as well as, Egyptian and Celtic Mythology.  In general lentils were linked quite closely to the moon and to the underworld.

Origin: Egypt, Middle East , Central Asia
Myth: Christianity, Egypt, Celtic
Symbolic Significance: protection, moon, resurrection, death, the underworld.

 Celtic All Soul’s Day

In Modernity All Souls Day is a Catholic celebration of the dead. Although currently celebrated by Catholics all around the world, All Souls Day has roots in ancient Celtic tradition. The Celtic people believed that All Souls Day was the day when the dead returned to the earth and these zombies came hungry. And hungry…means HANGRY [ahem..hungry and angry together].

Thus to avoid the Hangriness of the dead, the Celtic people believed it necessary to feed them. In the Celtic tradition [as in Egypyian mythology] lentils were symbols of death and of the world that exists below. This is likely due to the fact that when legumes died and were again buried underground; they would soon bear new offerings of sustenance. Thus, it seemed only fitting to offer the souls of the underworld a food source that also seemingly resurrected.

There are so many ways to cook up and use lentils, it was quite hard for me to decide which lentil dish to post. But in the end I decided on a delicious and simple Lentil Hummus, A great snack to keep in the fridge and easily made into a healthy and affordable lunch with a bunch of sliced up vegetables. Enjoy your dipping!

Lucious Lazy Lentil Hummus

Ingredients =

1 cup of Lentils [cooked]
1/4 cup of Tahini
Juice of 1 or 2 Lemons
salt to taste
onion [optional]
garlic [ optonal]
Olive oil [optiona]
Parsley for decoration.

1.     Cook Lentils according to the directions on the bag.
2.     Once cooked, allow to cool.
3.     Once cool, add tahini, lemon, salt and optional ingredients.
4.     With an immersion blender blend together until smooth.
5.     If serving now, serve in a bowl and decorate with tomatoes and a lemon. 
6.      Enjoy! 

Citations = Text: Nectar and Ambrosia by Tamra Andrews