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…..

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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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Asian Style Soup Bowls

I love everything about these soups. It’s basically the perfect comfort food.

The broth is rich and layered with flavor, the veggies are cooked but still maintain the slightest crunch, and bonus, it is soooooo healthy. I could eat a giant oversize bowl, be completely stuffed and have zero guilt. And the colors. Oh, those crazy beautiful colors just pull me right in. I am 100% guilty of liking my food more when it is beautiful. This plays right into that!

The absolutely best part about these soups though, is how versatile and customizable they are. You can make them completely vegan, you can use a chicken or beef broth, you can add in any protein or no protein, and use whatever vegetables you have lying around! The possibilities are literally endless. I have made this soup so many times and have never made it the same twice. 

              

              

Plus, because of how I cook everything that goes into it, one pot can feed everyone the soup of the dreams. All the vegetables get briefly blanched directly in the soup, then removed and set aside. This was you create a “soup bar” of sorts where everyone can add whatever veggies, proteins or any other add ons you can think of. There’s no picking little pieces of whatever a child may not like. And that my friends makes this soup absolutely perfect!

I found my noodle basket in Thailand but they sell them on amazon for a reasonable price. It is worth the purchase!

I am going to add links here to all the broth varieties but will post everything you can do with the soup right here.

Hope you all have as much fun making and eating these soups as we do!

Peas and Love, 

Danielle

Asian Style Soup Bowls
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Ingredients
  1. 1 batch of any Asian Style Broth
  2. Mix and match proteins and vegetables that YOU like!
Protein Options
  1. 3 boneless chicken breasts
  2. 2 bone-in chicken bottoms and 2 chicken breasts, with skin
  3. 1/2 lb. thinly sliced filet
  4. 1 lb. ground lean ground beef
  5. 1 package firm tofu
  6. poached or fried eggs (as many as you want)
Vegetable Options
  1. (amounts will vary depending on how many different vegetables you use and how much you want of them. These amounts are just suggestions)
  2. 1 cup shredded carrots
  3. 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  4. 4 baby boy chops, halved
  5. 2 large zucchinis, julienned or zoodled
  6. 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  7. 2-3 thai chiles, thinly sliced (blanching these in the soup will not really make the soup spicy. Only adding them to your bowl directly and eating them will increase the heat level.)
  8. 1 cup mungbean sprouts
  9. 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  10. 2 cups broccoli florets
  11. 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes (don't cook just add to the bowl for a cold crunch!)
extras
  1. ramen noodles
  2. rice noodles
  3. udon noodles
  4. brown/white rice
FOR THE PROTIENS
  1. Boneless Chicken Cutlets: season with salt and pepper and cook on a grill pan for 3-4 minutes on each side. Slice thinly on an angle and add to your bowl of soup.
  2. Bone-in Chicken: Drizzle olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle salt and and pepper. Bake in a 350f (180c) oven for 1h30m until chicken is cooked through. Discard skin and bones and shred chicken. Add to your soup bowls.
  3. Filet: If the filet is very very thinly sliced you can put it right into your soup bowl. The heat from the boiling broth will cook it perfectly when you pour it over the meat. Add to your soup bowls
  4. Ground Beef: Preheat the pot you are going to heat up or make your broth in. Add 1 tbsp canola oil, beef, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1 tsp soy sauce. Cook, stirring often to break up big pieces until beef is cooked through. Remove from pot and set aside. Use that pot to make the broth. It will add another delicious layer of flavor.
  5. Firm tofu: Pat tofu dry and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Make a marinade of 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tbsp. honey, 1 clove minced garlic and 1/4 tsp chili flakes. Marinate for at least 1 hour and then sautéed slices on both side in a pan or grill pan for 1-2 minutes on each side. Add to your soup bowls.
  6. Poached or Fried Eggs: cook how you like and add to your soup bowl.
FOR THE VEGGIES
Use a strainer or asian noodle basket (the link to buy one is in my post) and fill with each vegetable to cook one at time
For example
  1. Add the shredded carrots to the strainer or basket.
  2. Slowly lower the basket into the boiling broth.
  3. Gently swirl the basket and hold it their until the veggies are cooked to your liking.
  4. Lift basket out of the soup allowing the liquid to strain back into the pot.
  5. Pour the blanched carrots into its own bowl.
  6. Now refill basket with next veggie and repeat the process.
  7. Continue to do this until all your veggies are cooked through.
  8. *The vegetables will soften a drop as they sit so take that into account when cooking them.
FOR THE ADD-INS
  1. Ricen Noodles, Udon Noodles & Rice: Cook separately as you normally would in water. Strain and set aside. Add to your soup bowls.
  2. (I like to cook these in water bc they absorb to much liquid and I don't like to waste a drop of that insanely flavorful broth)
  3. Ramen: Put all the ramen in a bowl or pot.
  4. Add a few ladles of the broth to the pot.
  5. Just enough to cover the ramen.
  6. Allow it sit for 3-4 minutes and then strain and return broth to the pot.
  7. Serve ramen in soup bowls!
Peas, Love & Carrots https://peaslovencarrots.com/
For the printable Asian Style Vegan Broth recipe click here 

For the printable Asian Style Chicken or Beef Broth recipe click here

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MOROCCAN FISH BALLS

     

These are so nostalgic for me. My mother only really made them on holidays and it was always something to look forward to. 

Starting off the meal with the flavorful, herby fish and hot delicious tomato sauce that you scoop up with the fresh homemade challah always meant the start of something good. 

A beautiful meal filled with family and friends. 

I love to serve this on Succos when the air just begins to have the slightest in chill in it and the hot, comforting fish just warms you up inside and out. 

This fish is really best made fresh, the day you are planning to serve it, but I promise it’s worth it!

For the printable Moroccan Fish Balls recipe click here

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NO-FAIL CHALLAH RECIPE

    

The first year I was married I kept trying different challah recipes. No to were alike. They all had different measurements, ingredients, tools, rising times, and braiding techniques. A few months into the insanity of searching for the right recipe I realized that at this point I had tried so many different recipes that I knew what I liked from each one, what my requirements were and that if I tried hard enough I could probably come up with my own recipe. This way I would have a dough that was everything I wanted.  

So, what was on my list?

  1. It had to be easy. Meaning no weird ingredients that I don’t regularly keep in my house and as few bowls, spoons and measuring cups/spoons as possible 
  2. It had to be a dough that is equally delicious when made by hand as in a mixer. At the time, I assumed I would one day have mixer. Fast forward ten years, nope. No mixer
  3. The recipe had to be extremely versatile. All the ingredients are adjustable. It can be made more or less sweet depending on your mood and it can easily be made with whole wheat or split flour for a “healthier” challah.
  4. Lastly, it had to be really nice to work with. Pliable, not too sticky and not to dry. 

It took me a while, but once I knew what to aim for I kept trying and trying until I came up with a recipe I was happy with. 

Within this recipe I’ve devised ton and tons of little tips and tricks for how to achieve extra special result. So read the recipe in it’s entirety before you start. 

Also, and I do not say this lightly, no matter what you do and how exactly you follow the recipe our challahs will never taste them. A hundred people could make the same recipe exactly the same way and I firmly believe that it will yield 100 slightly different challahs. Everything from the temperature of our houses, to how we need the dough, to the brand of yeast, to the temp of our eggs to the quality of flour and even our emotions will all effect the final product. AND THAT’S OK. Because, then, that recipe truly becomes yours. 

For the printable No-Fail Challah recipe click here 

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Pull Apart Potato Boreka Flower with Shredded Beef

   

I originally wrote this recipe for FYI magazine over a year ago and I still. can’t get over how much I love it. It’s easy to make, customizable, and a total showstopper on the table!

During this season of endless meals, I like to make one or two of theses flower borekas to keep in my freezer. Then, to change things up a bit I like to alternate what I put in the middle. Sometimes I use shredded beef, like here, or chicken for a main course dish, and sometimes I like to keep it first course style by serving it with a mushrooms sauce, or Israeli style ground beef and chummus, or even just really yummy sautéed veggies. 

Really there are so many thing you can do with this!

The recipe for the shredded beef that I made here, happened out of necessity. Shockingly It was another 3 day holiday that brought it on!

developed this recipe when I was trying to figure out what to do with my cholent pot after the first day of yuntif. Most people put their crockpot on a timer but somehow, and I know some of you out there feel me on this, the timer just doesn’t work. It either shuts off too early, doesn’t shut off, or turns on at all the wrong times. And, yes it’s definitely the timer. Not me.

Anyway, I had to make cholent so that my boys wouldn’t riot but didn’t want to leave an empty crockpot plugged in. So, I made this deckle. I seasoned it, seared it, let it cool and froze it. Before yuntif, I moved it to my fridge to thaw and then after I lit candles the second night, I washed my cholent pot, threw in a bunch of sauces, added the meat and let it do its thing. The next day we had the most amazing, fresh, soft and delicious pulled beef.

Whether you prep this ahead or just make it all in one shot, it’s the perfect yuntif recipe. It’s quick, easy, super yummy and feeds a lot of people for a little money!

You can serve the meat in the center of the pull apart potato flower, or change things up and warm soft tacos to stuff them in, or just on top of some steamed rice. However you do it, make it your own and enjoy!

(You can also make this dish in its entirety, pull the beef, let it cool completely and freeze it. It will hold up beautifully).

THIS RECIPE MAKES TWO BIG POTATO FLOWERS SO DEFINITELY FREEZE ONE FOR A RAINY DAY!

Happy cooking everyone!

Peas out, 

Danielle

For the printable Pull Apart Potato Boreka Flower recipe click here

For the printable Prep Ahead Shredded Beef recipe click here

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Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sweetened Condensed milk is everything. Its literally liquid crack. One taste and you are hooked for life. It’s milky, it’s thick and creamy, it’s sweet and it’s the perfect addition to a myriad of desserts.

The only drawback is that there is currently nobody making a cholov Yisroel version of it. So, in an attempt to make sure that my recipes are accessible to as many people as possible I set out to create my own sweetened condensed milk. 

I made a huge batch because truthfully, this stuff is good in everything. If you are already making it, you might as well have enough left over to make truffles, salted dulce de leche, or even just add to your coffee for the best latte you will ever have in your life! I’m gonna include links to some of my recipes that use it to give you a few ideas!

Watch the video and see how easy it is to do! 

For the printable Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk recipe click here

For the printable Salted Coffee Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream click here

For the printable No-churn Chocolate Lovers Ice Cream click here

For the printable Salted Condensed Milk Caramel click here

 

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DAIRY LEMON POUND CAKE

I’m not a huge dessert person. I know that sounds crazy but it’s just how it is. I would choose a slice of pizza or a bowl of hot and sour soup over cake or cookies any day!

But, I am also sane. So, if there is dessert in front of me, I will eat it. Because. Wasting food is bad. Also, food. 

If I’m going to eat the dessert I want it to either be something satisfying but light or something super duper decadent that I can indulge on. I don’t want to eat whole meal and then end it with a heavy, coma inducing piece of cake. I prefer my desserts fruity or citrusy with just the right amount of sweetness to them. Even better is when they pair perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea. 

Thats what this cake is all about. It’s made with simple pantry ingredients, cooked in a basic loaf pan and perfectly balanced in flavor. It will probably underrated when you serve it. But you will graciously cut and plate it for all your guests, who will take one bite and understand why you made this most perfect cake. 

I don’t recommend making this dairy free. This cake needs the butter. Together with the lemon zest it creates a dense cake that does not weigh you down. Plus, I think it’s understood that all desserts are better with butter. 

This cake also freezes beautifully. So get a head start on your cooking a pop this in the freezer to make your Shavuous prep a little bit easier.

For the printable Dairy Lemon Pound Cake recipe click here

*recipe adapted from Ina Garden

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