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High Protein Banana Souffle Pancakes!

August 16, 2017

I can’t tell you how long I gave up pancakes. When I was in my 20s, I could metabolize anything with no ill effects, but once I entered my 30s I realized I could not eat a bunch of refined carbs in one sitting.  Take for instance, pancakes. If I indulged in a stack of pancakes for Sunday brunch, I would end up feeling dizzy and light headed from the sugar rush. And worse yet, after two hours I would feel ravenous all over again! So I said, to hell with pancakes for many years…until I discovered how to make low sugar high protein pancakes my way. Now I have them several times a week! These pancakes help me retain my muscle mass, so I eat them after a weight lifting session. I also eat these as a dessert at the end of the day when craving something sweet. As an intermittent faster, I don’t give up breakfast, I just have breakfast later in the day, anytime between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. These pancakes keep me full well until dinner at 6 or 7 pm. 

 

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The magic in these pancakes lies in the protein powder. In the video I used a high quality vanilla whey protein powder by Antler Farms Whey Protein but you can use any kind of protein powder you wish. Just make sure the powder is organic without artificial colors or sweeteners.  I like the Antler Farms brand because there are only 4 ingredients I recognize, and the product is from New Zealand, where the standards for meats and whey protein are high. New Zealand is the world leader in animal welfare, the 1st out of 50 countries in animal protection. Oh, and of course, these pancakes are gluten free because there is no flour! 

For the recipe tutorial, click on the video below, and let me know what you think! If you want more healthy recipes like this just drop me a comment.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 banana

1 egg (or a flax egg for vegans) 

1 scoop  Antler Farms Vanilla Whey Protein Powder

1 tsp coconut oil 

2 tbs whole milk ricotta cheese (or any non dairy soft cheese)

½ tsp baking powder

Toppings: berries, nut butter, sugar free syrup

Garlicky Herb Roasted Artichokes

August 1, 2017

Sometimes,  the time spent cooking with loved ones is just as gratifying as eating the final dish. I don’t think there has ever been a time when my “baby” brother hasn’t made me bust a gut laughing so hard, so it’s no wonder this artichoke video turned out to be a bit um….unconventional for a cooking tutorial.

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Artichokes are such fun finger food for family parties, family gatherings, and picnics. But where who the heck discovered this odd looking vegetable? Many scholars believe artichokes originated in the Middle East, which doesn’t surprise me as there are numerous Arab dishes paying homage to this vegetable. Artichokes are high in fiber and low in fat and carbohydrates, yet meaty, flavorful, and satisfying.  In the following recipe you can use baby artichokes too, but I like to use the large globe varieties and quarter them.  These artichokes make a great appetizer as they are beautiful to look at and fun to share with a group of people as an appetizer.

For the cooking tutorial, click on the video below:

 

 

ROASTED GARLICKY HERB ARTICHOKES

4 whole artichokes

¼ cup lemon juice

3 tbs olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbs  Chopped fresh herbs, like parsley, oregano, thyme, mint or combo of all three

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

First trim the stems of the artichokes to less than 2 inches in length. Slice off the tips of the artichokes with a sharp knife, then slice each artichoke in half lengthwise. Remove and discard the inner “choke” or white fibrous hairs and inner purple leaves.

Toss artichokes in a bowl with the oil, lemon juice garlic, and herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Place on a baking sheet, and wrap the chokes individually with aluminum foil and place face down on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes When done, arrange on a plate and serve with either hummus or tzatziki dip.

 

Breaking the Fast with a Pina Colada Smoothie!

July 12, 2017

Because of the incredible feedback I got after I posted my last Intermittent Fasting (IF) on Youtube, I decided to do a 3 part series on this lifestyle. In my last blog I talked about the benefits of IF, and in Part II today I want to talk about the importance of breaking the fast wisely. If you fast for 14 hours or longer, the body is primed for some real nutrition. A mistake some people make is to binge on anything in sight, but it’s important to be gentle to the body after a fast. I usually like to drink a superfood drink containing wheatgrass and spirulina spiked with some lemon juice after a long fast. This combination helps further regulate insulin, and floods the cells with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. I use superfood powders because they provide more condensed nutrition than a bucket of vegetables (which I eat daily anyway in the form of a salad) The powders also save me time and are cost effective. One particular brand I like is called  Organic Greens by Antler Farms.  This particular powder has 4 powerhouse ingredients that are all organic: Barley Grass, Wheat Grass, Spirulina, and Chlorella.  One scoop of this stuff is equivalent to 6 wheatgrass shots!  I either drink this right before my first meal, or I drink it between meals, as it gives me energy and even suppresses my appetite. After taking this stuff for about two weeks I noticed I had more energy,  needed less sleep, my skin glowed,  mental clarity improved, and I didn’t need my 10 minute catnaps anymore.  I totally understand that some people might need something more substantial  than a green drink, so in comes my luscious Pina Colada Smoothie. This power shake has plenty of good fats to keep you full, along with fiber from fruits and veggies, and a refreshing creamy flavor perfect for summer!  I love adding any toppings I have on hand, because I love to eat my smoothies rather than drink them–it keeps me satisfied that way. For the recipe, click on the video below:

 

So tell me, are you interested in giving this lifestyle a try? I am so in love the benefits of IF there is no going back now. I haven’t eaten breakfast before noon in 2 months, and I love it that way!

Pina colada smoothie shopping list:

Antler Farms Organic Greens

Cashew Butter or Macadamia Nut Butter   (or any nut or seed butter you like)

Banana

Avocado

Pineapple- good for gut health and eyes! Fights inflammation

Coconut Cream– tropical summer flavor

Spinach -easiest to digest, not as bitter as kale great source of iron and potassium, folate 

Toppings: Toasted Coconut or Macadamia Nuts

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How Intermittent Fasting Changed My Life- On Fasting and Feasting

July 11, 2017

 

While this blog is on Middle Eastern food, I am also a fitness trainer, and am very passionate about health and fitness. Many people in the middle east live long healthy lives because they regularly fast. How many times have you heard “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” or “You have to eat every 3 hours or else your metabolism slows down” or “Don’t eat after 8 PM or else you will pile on weight” or “Never work out without eating something first” What if I told you that every single statement here is wrong? I learned that myself while I tried intermittent fasting for two months. Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle where you fast between the last meal you eat and the first meal that you eat the next day. So if you fast after 6 p.m, then don’t eat a single thing until 10:00 am the next morning, that is considered a 16 hour fast. Some people fast 16 hours, some fast 20 hours, some for 24 or more hours. And guess what? That is the most effective way to burn fat stores, because the body is pumping human growth hormone (the fat burning hormone) instead of insulin (the fat storing hormone). So long as you are eating, you are pumping out insulin, so that the body uses the food you just ate for energy. The only way to allow the body to use your fat stores is to fast. Once you are fasted for at least 12 hours, the body will start to burn fat for energy. If you exercise while fasted you even burn that much more fat! So you see, losing weight does not involve spending money, but saving money on food, diet supplements etc! I have lost 7 pounds in 2 months after 8 years with no progress after having my second child. Intermittent fasting works! Intrigued? Check out my latest video on the subject:

 

Interested in trying it our or have any questions? Leave them in the comments below. In my next blog I will talk about the strategic way I break my fast for optimal nutrition!

Announcements and Giveaways!

July 10, 2017

Hi Everyone!

Happy summer! I want to thank my Patreons for helping me keep Feast in the Middle East afloat. It is quite expensive to churn out high quality cooking videos, and the only way I can produce these videos more often is through viewer’s help. So thank you so much to those that have contributed, and if you want to see more videos, no amount is too small (even a buck a month helps!) Patreons get all the recipe ingredient measurements and directions in great detail, as well as behind the scenes stories and their names in the credits at the $2.00 level! To become a Patreon, click HERE. I also wanted to announce a giveway because I am so grateful to every single subscriber–if you click “subscribe” on the top of this page,  and, on my YouTube page subscribe HERE , you will be eligible to get my Feast in the Middle East tote bags! You must live in the United States to be eligible. I will be posting a series of vlogs and information on health related topics this month, in particular to weight loss. What many of you may not know is not only am  I an avid cook, but I am a fitness instructor passionate about health and nutrition. I am excited to share a fat loss method that benefits the whole body–helping to shed weight, increase energy, and mental clarity. Best of all this method costs nothing (you don’t need to buy a thing) and is completely natural.  So look out for these videos tomorrow!

 

 

Busting through a fat loss plateau: Intermittent Fasting!

July 6, 2017

I know this is off the topic of Middle Eastern food, but in some ways this blog has very much to do with a lifestyle practiced in the Middle East for millenia. I am talking about intermittent fasting, the eating plan that has recently taken the fitness world by storm. I have gotten many e-mails about how I maintain a lean frame despite having children and I am not going to tell you it’s because I eat cheeseburgers and cream puffs while doing yoga (isn’t that annoying when celebrities say that?) I am going to keep it real, and I have found that nothing burns the fat off the body like fasting. When I say fasting, I do not mean starving, I simply mean timing your meals out so that there is more fasting that feasting. When you fast for 16 hours or more, you can finally tap into the stubborn fat stores and burn that up for energy. The reason why people can’t lose fat is they have been taught to eat constantly–but what happens is the body gets used to burning the constant fuel but never gets the chance to get to the fat. Not only that, but fasting increases human growth hormone, which makes you look younger. Fasting also gives the body time to heal from any maladies, whether autoimmune diseases or allergies. The ancient Egyptians (and Indians) learned about the benefits of fasting years ago.  But don’t forget to feast as well! It’s important to eat big satisfying and healthy meals so that you can fast for longer periods of time. Forget eating lettuce, yogurt and carrots every 3 hours! Interested in learning more? Check out my vlog below, and let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below!

 

 

 

 

Layali Lubnan- “Lebanese Nights” Semolina Custard with Rose Flower Water

June 27, 2017

My love affair with Layali Lubnan began when I was 10 years old. My mother brought me along with her to a bridal shower, and to be honest the endless conversations and gift opening of fine china bored me to tears. However, the lavish dessert table I eyed in the corner of the room redeemed the whole afternoon. Trays of baklava, semolina date cookies, chocolate kisses and sesame anise cookies lined the whole table covered with white lace. Layali Lubnan prominently occupied the center of the dessert spread–a heavenly looking white custard adorned with chopped pistachios.

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I had never tried this dessert before, but one of the guests who came from Lebanon made the treat for all of us try for the first time. Layali Lubnan literally means “Lebanese Nights” in Arabic, one of the most popular desserts originating from Lebanon. At that age I pondered the name: ‘Are real Lebanese nights filled with white clouds? Are the pistachios supposed to be colorful stars lighting up a foggy evening?” My curiosity escalated to the point where I asked my mother if I could have a piece before lunch. She miraculously said yes, as she could sense my boredom (remember there were no iPads then).  So I took a piece, sat down, and fell in love at first bite. The dessert had two distinct layers, a creamy semolina custard on the bottom, and an fluffy whipped cream layer on the top. The chopped pistachios added a nice crunchy contrast in texture and color, and the whole confection was draped with a lemony rose sugar syrup. As I put the spoon to my mouth I literally smelled the mild fragrance of roses. I felt sophisticated eating Layali Lubnan as a child, and now as an adult, I serve this fancy dessert to the people I love.  And now, I share this recipe with you in this easy tutorial, my latest video:

 

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Grocery List:

Whole milk

Sugar

Semolina

Eggs

Vanilla

Rose water

Whipping cream

Corn starch

Shelled roasted pistachios

 

Lemon

 

 

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