CHEESE STUFFED FRIED OLIVES, 2 WAYS

  

I’m that person. You know, the one pretending to go wash my hands in a restaurant so that I can not so subtly look at whats on everyones tables. Or the one who walks by people sitting at a sidewalk table outside of a little pastaria in Italy and asks them what their eating because the smell coming off there table is so intoxicating that I just can’t resist. 

I’m Danielle, I love food. Nice to meet you. 

 We were lucky enough to spend this past in southern Italy with Miriam Schreiber on one of her legendary Legacy Tours trips. My children had the most amazing time touring ancient cities, volcanoes and roman ruins. I had the most amazing time staring at peoples plates. Every where we went there were little hole-in-wall restaurants/cafes serving the most simple looking, but ridiculously incredible smelling food. Obviously I had to stop and ask every single table of patrons we passed and ask them what they were eating. 

There were a few dishes that stood out in my mind that I knew I had to recreate. I had to wait for the perfect opportunity though to spring these recipes on you all. Some are a little too labor intensive for a regular dairy week night dinner. But, for Shavuous, a holiday that we are willing to go the extra step for to create a beautiful dairy kiddish or meal, is the perfect opportunity! 

You’ll have to wait a little longer for a few of the other dishes that MUST be recreated, but I wanted to start you off with a BANG. 

These olives were on sooooo many peoples tables. Usually, served as a small appetizer over a fresh, house made tomato sauce that was probably made from San Marzano tomatoes pick the day before!

We may not have fresh San Marzano tomatoes but we all have access to cheese, olives and breadcrumbs!

Do not miss the chance to make these olives. This is definitely not a recipe that you’ll try later.. You need to make these while the shavuous cooking feels are in the air! They take a few extra minutes to make but I included prep ahead instructions into the recipes!

Also, because I was so obsessed with them, and genuinely could not decided which h version of the olives I liked more (the green mozzarella stuffed or the kalamata labaneh stuffed), I included both recipes! I even included 2 different ways you can serve them! 

Oh, and BONUS, another awesome salad dressing!

Wishing you all a Happy Monday and of course, HAPPY COOKING!

✌🏻💜 & 🥕,

Danielle

                        

For the printable LABANE STUFFED FRIED KALAMTA OLIVES click here

For the printable MOZZARELLA STUFFED FRIED GREEN OLIVES click here

For the printable BALSAMIC AND SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE click here

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SAVORY STOVETOP BRISKET

Seder food can be a challenge. It’s not easy to work hard to make food that you know will end ups mostly being served as leftovers. By the time it comes time to eat the meal, everyone is so stuffed up on matzah that after they gulp down their chicken soup everyones appetites have seriously decreased. 

So, I like to make food that reheats well, since thats where most oil the food is headed. Brisket is the perfect candidate for that. It’s naturally fatty which protects the meat from drying out.

This version is something I developed for the seder since it is cooked totally in a pot. Nothing roasted at all! For me, this is all I want at the seder. Something deeply savory to balance out all the wine!

It’s super simple to make and reallllly delicious! Plus, the leftovers are amazing! Just reheat covered and serve again over fresh creamy mashed potatoes! 

Happy cooking everyone!

For the printable Savory Stovetop Brisket click here

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SAVORY JAMS + SAUSAGE BOARDS

Here’s the thing. Pesach is all about the proteins. Fine, potatoes also but this post os just about the proteins. We’re talking everything from beef, lamb, veal, chicken, turkey duck and eggs! It’s all good and all delicious. For some reason though, because we are limited in the products we can use on Pesach we have this idea in our head that all the food is “simple”. In reality that couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

How many of us actually use products to cook our proteins with anyway? Maybe the occasional quick recipe will use an already bottled sauce or an ethic recipe will call for an ingredient that although could totally be kosher for Pesach just doesn’t have certification. Really though, with a little bit of research into those flavors you can reproduce so much of them using the limited ingredients we have access to on Pesach.

But wait.

There is another option. 

We. can take our proteins and go in another direction completely. An all together easier, but equally delicious directions. We can leave the proteins very lightly seasoned with basic staples like salt, pepper and garlic. Then we can create a variety of our own condiments to serve along side our proteins. Beside for how awesome it is to have a fridge stocked with the right sauces, salads, dips and jams it is also super convenient if you have to feed lots of people with different food preferences. Like I said in my last blog post, keeping a well stocked fridge on Pesach is half the battle when you need to feed people every single meal for more than a week! 

I like to serve huge platters of proteins every night. Then I switch up the accouterments each night so things don’t get boring. I try to have the proteins stick to a theme. Every night I serve one tip of chicken, think chicken legs, cutlets, pargiyot or wings. Then I add in a meat. Somenights its veal ribs and veal chops. Other nights ill go the lamb route and serve baby lamb chops and keftas. If I could find kosher for Pesach sausages I by a variety of those and serve them on a huge platter with the jams. It keeps the dinners interesting but still super easy and quick to create!

Here’s all the added advantages to this style of Pesach cooking:

  • Have more free time on Pesach by spending one day stuck in the kitchen making all the dips, salads, jams and condiments then spend the rest of Pesach throwing meals together in no time at all!
  • Feed lots of people exactly what they want but serving simply season proteins and letting everyone build their own plates with whichever flavors they like!
  • Since proteins can go on a grill or under a boiler, the only dishes you’ll have to do each night are the ones you eat off of!

and last but not least…

  • Your food will be infinitely more delicious!

My last suggestions, which is really more of a strongly advised statement is make all your accoutrement parve. After you turn over your kitchen, make sure to do these first. Double and triple the recipes you love so that they last the whole yuntiv because you are going to want to eat them with every single meal!

Happy Cleaning Everyone!

*NOTE: These recipes call for already sautéed onions. I start off all my Pesach cooking with 40 onions that I cook on low heat for 5-6 hours until they are golden and practically melted. I wrote up about how I do it in my last blog post!

For the printable MELTED PEPPERS AND ONION JAM click here

For the printable FENNEL AND ONION JAM click here

For the printable JALAPENO AND ONION JAM click here

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CHIMMISCHUG PESTO + HOW DIPS & SALADS CAN YOUR CHANGE PESACH FOREVER!

I hear a lot of complaining from people that all they have to eat on Pesach is chicken, meat and potatoes. I get it. Everyone missed their bread and their oats. But you know what, chicken, meat and potatoes are awesome! They are blank canvases that can pair with a huge palette of sauces, dips and salads. (Like how did that canvases, palettes…)

I have a few tricks snd some staple dips that I make in huge batches on the first day of my Pesach cooking. They stay beautifully in the fridge all Pesach long and switch up which ones I serve at each meal! 

I’ve said it about a million times by now but I’ll say it again. I LOVE PESACH! It’s the beginning of nice weather here in Israel and that means it’s officially barbecue season! We grill up a variety of different proteins every single night and serve them with all the fridge staple dips!

Before I start giving you a few of my best staple tips and dips heres a few things to keep in mind:

  • I like to make all my dips and base ingredients first so that they are parve. This way I can use and serve them with everything!
  • Adjust the flavors to your families preferences. If you don’t like cilantro, swap it for parsley. Spicy foods are not your thing…Leave the heat element out!
  • Double or triple each recipe. Starting from scratch the second days is just not fun. So make sure to make enough of everything so that it lasts you the whole holiday.        

SAUTEED ONIONS:

The first thing I always do is sautée up 40 onions. Yup, that’s right 40. Why so many? We go through tons and tons of onions on Pesach. They get smothered on chicken, add to hash browns, mixed into our eggs, turned into dips and layered into our yapsik.

  • I use my food processor’s slicing blade to cut them into really thin strips (takes 5 to cut 40 onions, it’s amazing!)
  • Add them to a huge pot with a few tbsp oil, 1 tbsp salt and little crushed black pepper.
  • Set the fire to medium heat, cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Once a little water has come out of the onions, remove the cover, lower the heat to medium low and cook for 5-6 hours till they are a deep golden color and have a beautiful melty texture!

Garlic flavored oil:

The second thing I do is peel about 20 cloves of garlic. I do three things with the cloves.

  • I take about 16 cloves and add them to a large 16 oz jar. Fill the jar up to the top with whichever oil you prefer. Stick it in to the fridge and then any time you need oil for sauteeing, salad dressings, searing meat or marinades use your garlic oil. It is the ultimate flavor booster!
  • The second thing I like to do is right away make a few batches of confit garlic. All you do is stick however many cloves of garlic you want into an over proof dish. Add whatever spices or herbs you like and little salt and pepper. Cover the garlic with olive oil, wrap dish tightly in foil and bake in a 350f oven for about 35-40 minutes. 
  • Lastly and probably most importantly, take the rest of the cloves and stick them right into the food processor. Pulse until all the garlic is minced. (be careful not to over pulse or it will turn into a puree) Mix in a few tbsp of canola oil and pour all the minced garlic into an airtight jar. Top off with a little more oil and pop in the fridge. Your cooking will be sooooo much easier!

Salatim:

This is probably the most food enhancing part of all my Pesach cooking. We like strong flavors around here and the right kind of dips and salatim enhance all food. 

Weather I serve chicken, meat, potatoes or eggs everything gets served with a different salad or dip. This way, evenjhough were technically eating the same foods over and over, they’re always paired with different flavors so nothing gets boring.CLICK ON THE LINKS TO GET THESE RECIPES!

Heres this years newest addition:

SPICY CHIMMISCHUG PESTO

Here’s a few more we can’t do without:

ALMOND “TECHINA”

GARLIC MAYO

TOMATO DIP

GARLIC CONFIT

JALAPENO LEMON GREMOLATA

OLIVE TAPENADE

ROASTED RED PEPPER DIP

 

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FRENCH DIP SANDWICHES

I have been dreaming about bring you all the French dip sandwich for sooooo long. The only thing is that I had to find the exact right timing to thrown this most bomb dignity recipe at you. Making your own roast beef, although incredibly easy, just sounds intimidating. Then top that off with making the crazy luxurious and most insanely delicious Au Jus, which also simple but seems complex and I knew I’d lose you. 

I decided I needed to save it for a time when were all willing to put a little more effort into our food. So that meant a holiday. But what holiday is it really acceptable to serve a glorified steak sandwich. 

Only one.

PURIM. 

It’s the fun-est of the holiest days of the year. It’s the one holiday where having a huge pot (or crockpot) of roast beef in simmering jus is not only acceptable but perfectly appropriate. 

This dish can stay warm all day and the meat and rice only get more and more flavorful by the minute. Every guest that come to your seudah can right away wash and sit down to a perfectly hot, irresistible and super yum french dip sandwich. 

And that my friends, is how we win PURIM. 

Wishing each and every one of you the most joyous, happy, healthy and love filled Adar ever!

✌🏻💜&🥕,

Danielle

              

For the printable French Dip Sandwich recipe click here

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ORANGE & WHITE WINE MORROCAN BRAISED LAMB

SHABBOS

If you come here to peas love & carrots often, you know that normally the words just flow for me (the spelling not so much…). For some reason though, as I sit down to type up my thoughts on shabbos I feel like I’m struggling to properly put my feelings to words that accurately describe them. 

I’m conflicted between the spiritual side of me that loves to disconnect from our crazy world and take time to reconnect to our Creator and people we love, and the side of me that knows that as a mother of young children, shabbos doesn’t really mean a day of rest. 

I love to cook beautiful and delicious foods that are served on platters befitting the holiness of the day. I love to set the table with my nicest dishes and glasses. I adorn every plate with cloth napkins dressed in my favorite napkin rings. I start out shabbos with a sparkling kitchen, counters that are spotless, and everything in it’s place.

Then comes time to light the candles. It’s truly my favorite time of the week. In that millisecond where the whole world changes from a place that wasn’t something special and then with a simple bracha became a world filled with  holiness I am overcome by my desire to be close to Hashem and his Torah. 

All of that is real for me and inspires me. These days though shabbos also means something else. With a house full of little kids, it means serving food, clearing the table, sweeping, rinsing, resetting the table, heating up more food, serving more food and clearing more plates in addition to getting kids dressed, getting them redressed after they took off their clothing, picking up toys, changing diapers, and finding lost shoes. 

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember what excalty it is I love about shabbos. But no matter how hard I work on shabbos, every week come Thursday night and I am counting down the minutes until I get to light my candles. 

This didn’t come easy to me. I went through a phase where I wished that shabbos would come every ten days instead of every seven. So I thought a lot about what I want to get out of my shabbosim and totally reframed the way I think about. 

Instead of thinking about shabbos as a day of connection through rest, I now think about strengthening my relationship with Hashem by strengthening my relationship with my family and people I love. 

That means being totally present and mindful to the time I get to spend with my family on shabbos. This period in my life will only come once and I don’t want to take a minute of it for granted. I listen to their, sometimes long but always sweet, divrei torah with an attentive ear. I play games with them that we all enjoy. I make extra shabbos treats so that everyone can find exactly what they like to munch on while we sit and do puzzles. I set the table with a little extra love and attention to detail so that my family can sit down to a beautiful shabbos seaudah no matter how many seconds it takes for someone to spill their grape juice. 

Come time to make havdalah and every week, no matter how hard I worked all shabbos, I am always sad to see it go. Whether I napped or not, said the extra tehillim that I wanted to or not, finished reading the article that I started at least ten times throughout shabbos or not, I am relaxed and calm. 

Why?

Because at each stage, rest means different things to our souls. 

Now, at this stage in my life, resting my soul means giving my family as much of myself as I can. 

Every shabbos that I accomplish building my relationships with the people I love I know that I am now one step closer to my Creator as well. 

And that is why I love shabbos. 

NOW, ON TO THE FOOD!

                                 

This dish is actually super simple to make but packed with enough flavor to have people thinking it took you days!

It’s loaded with just the right amount of deep flavored spices, and the rich lamb is perfectly balanced out by the acid in the wine and oranges. It’s like a modern, American raised girls version of her Moroccan grandmother Lamb Tagine. 

For the printable Orange and White Wine Braised Lamb Stew click here

This post, is really part of a larger post that was the brilliant brain child of the uber-talnted Sina Mizrahi from the Gatheratable blog. She wrote an extremely beautiful post all about what shabbos means to her and over the course of two weeks posted her favorite shabbos recipes. To finish off the series she came up with the idea of a virtual pot lock. 

What’s a virtual pot luck you ask?

Well, it’s where Sina, myself and a bunch of other extremely talented and creative bloggers get together, divide up the different dishes that make up a shabbos seudah and each of us develop a recipe for that dish. 

We all posted our recipes on the same day, thus “bringing our food to the virtual pot luck”. If you put all our recipes together you will end up with an extremely delicious, creative and absolutely beautiful menu to prepare for shabbos.

What’s a pot luck though without people to share the food with? You’re all invited to join in our meal!!

To make it really easy for you, the links to everyone else’s recipes are below! 

So, click away to get in on the action and come have some fun!

Oh, and of course, SHABBAT SHALOM!

For Between Carpools egg wash tips click here
For Cooking in Heels “How to Hack a Challah” click here
For Spice and Zests Roasted Eggplant click here
For the Katamon Kitchen’s Salatim post click here
For the Sugar Box’s Red Snapper with Charred Patatoes, Tomatoes and Lemons click here
For Sina’s T’Bit: Iraqi Slow Cooked Chicken and Brown Rice click here
For my printable Orange and White Wine Braised Lamb Stew click here
For Kitchen Tested’s Roast Vegetable Platter click here
For Beth Warren’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups click here
For Jamie Gellers Cinnamon Bun recipe click here
For Busy in Brooklyn’s Funfetti Rice Krispie Bites click here
 

 

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HOW BUSY PEOPLE LUNCH + LUNCH INSPO

                                 

                       

LUNCH. The meal that got away. 

Life is busy. Whether your a mom or not, every single person out there has things to do. Unfortunately, unless a meeting or one of our many “things” happens to take place at or next to a really goos salad bar, or sandwich shop, lunch just does not fall high on the “to-do” list. 

So what happens?

You skip it. 

Why?

Because. LIFE!

and then what happens?

At around 3/4:00 your stomach starts screaming “feed me women or I’ll eat myself”.

Now, that would be awful. So what do you do? 

You immediately start shoving anything edible (on a bad day it doesn’t even have to be edible. Just in close proximity to your hand) into your mouth. 

By the time dinner comes along you’ve now eaten enough calories to replace the lunch you missed and just to be safe, you even ate enough calories to replace dinner. 

So you shower and use go to bed.  However, now is the tine you need to sit down with your children/husband/friend or whoever is around to a proper meal. The only problem is, your not hungry and now sitting through dinner time is just inconvenient because you could be sleeping. 

Well, that needs to change. I set out on a mission to eat lunch.

EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

This is not the first time I’ve attempted this. But much like counting the Omer, I never get past day 1. (just kidding, I made it to day 7 last year. Also, it’s Eli’s fault.) This time though, I am determined to make lunch happen.

As I write this I am two days in and know that if I could make it to Friday then maybe I have a chance of actually keeping this up. I just need to build momentum! 

So far I’ve learned a few lunch rules…

  1. I need to make lunches I actually want to eat. (No tempeh for me)
  2. They need to be very, very, wait did I say very, easy and quick to assemble. 
  3. The components need to be mostly prepared in advance. (Salad dressings, roasted veggies…)
  4. I can not commit to putting the lunch together the night before. I need to eat what I’m in the mood for and I can guarantee that whatever I think I want the night before will be the exact opposite of what I want to eat the next day.
  5. LUNCHES MUST BE DELICIOUS, NUTRITIOUS AND BEAUTIFUL. 

In order to meet all these criteria, I realized that the key is having a well stocked fridge. My plan is to buy a few key ingredients every Friday, this way Sunday morning I can wake up, spend 30 minutes in the kitchen making some staple foods that we’ll call “building blocks” and have whatever I need all week long to throw together yummy and satisfying lunches. 

So heres how we’re going to do this. 

I’m going to give lists of BUILDING BLOCK ideas and recipes this way you can choose food that YOU like to eat. 

Then underneath, I’m going to include TONS of lunch ideas, some with recipes and some not b/c they’re self explanatory.

I will keep adding to this post as I go, so if you get bored of your lunches, or need some inspiration, just keep checking back! 

Also, if you have any awesome lunch ideas, send ’em my way!!!!

BUILDING BLOCKS

THESE ARE ALL FOODS YOU CAN CHOOSE FROM TO PREP AHEAD AND HAVE AVAILABLE ALL WEEK, IN YOUR FRIDGE, TO MAKE LUNCH CREATIONS SIMPLY, QUICKLY AND EASILY!

SALAD DRESSING/SAUCES

Roasted Garlic and Herb

Meme’s Supersized Lemon Vinaigrette 

Techina

Caesar Dressing

Creamy Sesame Dressing

Carrot Ginger Dressing

Raspberry Vinaigrette

Lightened Up Green Goddess Dressing

Spicy Peanut Sesame Dressing

PROTIENS:

Vegan Protiens:
  • Quinoa (think patties, to go in salads, use in place of sushi rice)
  • Nuts 
  • Tofu 

Try Spice crusted tofu cakes (kitchen-tested)

  • Techina
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Almond Butter
  • Peanut Butter
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Edamame
  • Miso paste
Vegetarian Proteins:
  • Eggs
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Halibut
  • Seabass
  • Kani (fake crab)
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
Fleishig Protiens:
  • Grilled skirt steak 
  • Grilled chicken
  • Ground turkey (think burgers, chili, taco meat…)
  • Beef Jerky
  • Cold cuts
  • Cubed Turkey Breast
DAIRY PROTEINS:
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Feta Cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Low fat sour cream

VEGETABLES:

  • Roast you’re veggies in advance: pepper, onions, zucchini, eggplant, chickpeas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, peas, snap peas, string beans, carrots, corn
  • Zoodle your zucchini
  • Sautee onions
  • Wash lettuce for quick salads
  • Roast Spaghetti Squash

GRAINS:

  • Farro
  • Barley
  • Wheat Berries
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Rice noodles
  • Brown rice
  • bulgur

BREADS/WRAPS:

Tortillas

Tacos

Whole wheat wraps

Sliced sourdough bread

Sourdough Rolls

ACTUAL LUNCH IDEAS:

Pick a few ideas every week and use the building blocks to figure out what ingredients you need to buy on the house and can prepare in advance to make your actual lunch assembly quick and easy!

Lunches you can assemble the night before and take on the go:
LUNCHES THAT ARE BEST MADE AND EATEN FRESH
  • String bean Shakshuka (kitchen-tested)
  • Hash brown eggs  (@just_food_by_t) (recipe on her Instagram feed!)
  • Spaghetti squash pizza
  • Mexican quinoa bake
  • panini wrap with avocado chickpeas and cheese
  • Veggie burger panini wrap
  • egg white and veggie sandwich/wrap
  • shakshuka 
  • quinoa burger with melted cheese
  • rice cakes with turkey
  • breaded cauliflower (the pre breaded, frozen ones), baked with sauce and cheese
  • feta cheese omelette
  • quesadillas 
  • burritos
  • smoothie with protein powder or ground nuts
  • pizza on a whole wheat wrap
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HEALTHY EATING TIPS by NECHAMA + KHOLRABI FRIES + GRANOLA STUFFED PEARS

    

We started with breakfast. Shakshuka and baked oatmeal muffins. 

Now its time to move on to the hardest part of the day. Well, for me at least. This little things called “snacks” that nutritionist like to get us to eat, so that our bodies never go into “hunger” mode. 

It’s always a challenge. As busy 21st century women, we are constantly on the go. Grabbing a snack that doesn’t come in the for of a chocolate bar or a bag of chips can be a huuuuuge challenge. So, in addition to Nechama’s wise words and guidance I gave you two super yum and easy recipes. 

The Granola stuffed pears totally hit that sweet craving thing that happens around 3 in the afternoon. Or late at night. Or in the morning. The pears are soft and sticky, the granola is crunchy and satisfying. Most importantly they are delicious! I had to actually hide the last one from my kids to save it for the next day!

Sometimes though, its not the sweetness were craving. It’s the savory, salty, crunchy bites that we’re looking for. So, heres my ode to that. The kohlrabi fry. They fill all your starchy needs and can be seasoned any way you like. They are a blank canvas that can be altered to suit whatever mood you’re in. 

SO, take a break today, read what Nechama has to say, then do yourself a favor and make these! 

FOR THE KHOLRABI FRIES RECIPE CLICK HERE

FOR THE GRANOLA STUFFED PEARS CLICK HERE             

Now it’s time to turn things over to Nechama…..

_________________________________

You know those stories that inspire you to do what you do? Well I heard my story when I was visiting my friend’s grandmother years ago and it just stuck. “ I was at a meeting in a school with a bunch of parents and a behavioral therapist,” she said us as we sat down for lunch. “Well one of the mother’s got up and said, ‘my five year old child comes home from school with a tantrum. He throws his bag down, refuses to listen to me when I tell him to put it away, slams doors, pays no attention to anything I say and in general is really moody, I am at my wits end’. The therapist began talking about discipline strategies and ADHD tendencies. You know me, never one to hold my tongue so I raised my hand and asked if I can say something. ‘Your child just got home from a long day in school,’ I said. ‘He hasn’t eaten anything substantial in a long time plus he was probably running around all afternoon. His blood sugar is very low. What he needs is some good food and a hug.’ Guess what? Everyone looked around and started clapping!”

Don’t get me wrong, this is no indicator that some children really need help and eating right will not be the only answer, sometimes it is the simple things that help us all perform better throughout the day.

Let alone children, most of us adults get angry faster when we are hungry. There is even a word for it: Hangry. Ideally it is the best to create an eating plan in which you fill up on balanced, filling meals for breakfast, lunch and supper so that you keep your blood sugars stable so you don’t need the snacks. But let’s face it: sometimes it is hard to incorporate enough protein, carb, fat and fiber into every meal and sometimes even if you do, you still need a little something to keep you going in the afternoon. Sometimes you are just craving something sweet. We got you covered for all of these situations.

What are great snack ideas? The first thing you should be turning to when you feel like you need a little extra something is a vegetable. Imagine a pill that boasts having cancer-fighting properties, feeling “full” and satisfied properties, with all the vitamins and minerals to help every part of your body work the best way possible. Imagining that pill? Cut up some vegetables and imagine the pill no longer, it is right there in front of you! Vegetables are literally packed with vitamins, minerals, and cancer fighting properties. Plus they are full of fiber so they can keep you full throughout the day making you less likely to reach for junk. There are many ways to get veggies in your diet. I grew up coming home from school to a platter of cut up veggies on the table and there was never any left over at the end of the day. I find that kids are actually happy to eat the vegetables if it is so easy and accessible for them. I remember my best friend in third grade confessed to me that she was coming over everyday after school because she loved munching on my mother’s veggies drizzled with olive oil and salt. Oh well, and I had thought it was my vivacious personality…

You can cut up a few cucumbers, peppers, carrots, tomatoes and celery and place it on the table right before the kids come in. You can switch up the dipping options, some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, hummus and tahini are good ideas. Did you know that per gram, tahini actually has 3 times the amount of calcium than milk! That’s an easy way to strong bones. Veggies are also an easy thing to send kids to school with. 

Another great idea is Danielle’s amazing Kohlrabi Fries. Your kids will think they are eating fries, they are that good! And oh, while they eat their fries they will also be nicely packing into their little bodies, vitamin C, K, A and B complex vitamins. They will also be packing in copper, potassium, fiber and antioxidants. Pass the fries please.

Sometimes you need a snack because you are feeling tired and need extra energy. Hello Mamas, I get you. You can actually give yourself a little boost by the food you eat. I suggest protein and fats for times like this. My favorite snack at the moment is roasted chickpeas. It’s a great source of protein and some carb and it is so easy to make. Either make your own chickpeas (soak dried chickpeas over night and then boil for two hours) or take chickpeas from a can. Dry the chickpeas and lay them on a cookie sheet, toss with olive oil and whichever spices you like and roast on high for 20 minutes until they are golden and crunchy. They are sooo good! Sometimes I dip them into leftover salad dressing. Another great snack is nuts. They may be little but they are packed with so much energy and good for you vitamins and fats. Just make sure they are the raw and not coated in extra sugar and oil. You can make your own trail mix by simply throwing together a few different kinds of nuts and seeds in a small bag and you can take it with you wherever you go. Another good idea for an energy boost is frozen bananas with natural peanut butter. Cut a banana in half, smear with peanut butter and freeze. Ice cream I tell you.

Then there is always that snack you need when you are just craving something sweet, and that’s ok. Instead of reaching for the ice cream, make Danielle’s delicious and super easy baked pear. Pears are a really great source of fiber which among many things, really helps your gut keep healthy. You get your sweetness along with vitamin C, Vitamin K, fiber, anti aging properties, anti inflammatory properties, and lots of antioxidants. Another easy sweet snack I love is 70% dark chocolate. It’s a great source of magnesium, iron, copper and fiber among many other things. It is not about ignoring your craving until you crash and eat the first food in sight, it is about choosing to fill yourself with healthy delicious foods that fill your body and brain with so much goodness. 

Like in all things with healthy eating, after learning about the importance of it, the main thing that will help you and your family eat healthy is creating a healthy environment. That means stocking up on the wonderfilled foods and limiting the not so wonderful type. Now it doesn’t mean you cant have anything unhealthy in your pantry or freezer, but the more you see Ben and Jerries’ every time you open your freezer, the harder it will be to resist it so it is a good idea to limit those kinds of things in your house. Buy lots of colorful vegetables and make sure to use them often. It may be hard because they are so perishable but remember if food goes bad it’s a good thing! That means bacteria are able to digest it properly, which means the bacteria in your stomach is able to digest it properly. When something can stay in your pantry for months without going bad, you should start worrying about what is in it. In the same vein, while protein is a great form of a snack, a processed protein bar is not. With time it will become a habit and easy to stock up on healthy food and even easier to eat it.

Happy eating, Happy living! 

Nechama Birnbaum is a Certified Nutritionist of Wonderfilled Nutrition who is passionate about helping people achieve a healthy, balanced, wonderful life! She offers one on one counseling and healthy home makeovers. You can contact her through phone 0586147795 or through email at wonderfillednutrition@gmail.com.  

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CRISPY SCALLION & POTATO LATKES TOPPED WITH ASIAN STYLE PULLED DUCK

When the awesome people from Pelleh Poultry sent me a beautiful box of their insanely perfect duck and duck products, I knew exactly what I was going to do with them. 
I mentally stashed some away for some crazy shabbos meals, some products, like the duck fat, I earmarked for our annual Chanukah French fry fest, and these beautiful duck breast I tucked away just for this. 

So often, duck can seem intimidating. And for good reason. Peking duck, which in my opinion is the best actual thing to come out of China, EVER, is craaaaazy difficult to make. Even easier methods of cooking like, a good duck confit, because it is so outside of the box from the way we normally cook, can feel overwhelming. But, alas, there are other easier cooking methods. They require no more effort than you would put into any other protein, but because you are using duck, which by nature is sooooooo much more flavorful and juicy, it is just infinitely more delicious. 

The process here of scoring, mixing a bunch of ingredients, pouring it over your duck, then cooking and pulling, could not be simpler. Maaaaaaaaybe you could say the final step of thickening and reducing the glaze is a bit more tedious. But. It. Is. Worth. It. 

When you finally top your latke with the warm and moist pulled duck and the slowly drizzle the ooey-gooey citrus scented, Asain style glaze over the top, holy moly, you will understand. 

For the Potato Latke + Latke Tips recipe click here

For the Tangerine Scented, Asian Pulled Duck recipe click here

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