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A Trio of Passover Picnic Menus

 

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The interim days of Passover, chol ha’moed, are a great time to take trips and enjoy time with family and friends.  This year Shabbat falls in the midst of the interim days, still leaving three days to take chol ha’moed trips.  It may be hard to find kosher for Passover food while traveling, so consider packing a picnic basket inspired by the recipes below.

 


 

How To Make Your Own Double Boiler

 

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Often times a recipe will ask you to melt chocolate and other ingredients using a double boiler. You can always buy a double boiler, but it’s really not a necessary kitchen tool. It is really simple to make one with tools you already have in your kitchen. All you need is a medium sized pot and a heatproof bowl. To start, you need to make sure your bowl and pot are proper size for each other. The bowl will be resting on top of the pot. It should not fall in, it should be larger than the pot.


 

DIY – Baked Root Vegetable Chips

 

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The first time I tried store bought vegetable chips I was smitten by the colorful, crispy vegetables that are the perfect balance between sweet and salty. They were hard to come by at the time but whenever I had a chance, I’d savor each bag (by myself!). Now that I figured out how to make them at home, I can enjoy these root chips any time, all year. They are very simple, really cheap and taste just as good, if not better. Also, I love dipping them in babaganoush for a healthy, fun snack on Passover or any time.

They key in this recipe is to use a mandoline slicer so the chips cook evenly and are uniform in size. The thinner they are sliced, the crispier and more delicate.  I baked them instead of frying them to keep them even healthier and if you leave the skin on the vegetables that is an extra nutrition boost too.  I used beets, turnips and yams, but you can use any root vegetables and make them this same way.


 

Passover Gift Guide – Seder Plates and...

 

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Whether you are looking for a new gift idea to bring your hosts this Passover or looking to upgrade your Judaica here are a few of our new favorite Haggadahs and Seder Plates.

Some people use the same Haggadah year after year and work to make sure everyone at their table has the same one and some enjoy adding a new one to their collection every year.  Even if you don’t use it at the Seder, every haggadah is unique and offers new insights to help you plan your seder.


 

Healthy Recipe Ideas You Will Love –...

 

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It’s become a healthy habit I can’t break — starting a meal with lots of Mediterranean spreads. With a crowd of hungry guests, a table set with an assortment of appetizing spreads and salads, along with the requisite items for dipping keeps the hungry wolves at bay while I’m busy in the kitchen finalizing the rest of the meal.

During Passover, when every meal starts with matzo, you really need something extra to make it special. Cream cheese and butter are nice, but they are dairy, lack nutrients and add extra fat and calories that we definitely don’t need on the holidays. That’s why the Mediterranean diet is so popular with nutritionists and dietitians everywhere. Eggplants, peppers and tomatoes are in abundance and the spreads are tasty, low-fat and healthy.


 

Uses For Leftover Hamantashen Filling

 

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You have been diligently preparing for Purim making many Hamantashen with many different fillings. Your Shalach Manos baskets need to be filled with assorted treats and your Hamantashen are anticipated additions in your baskets.

Most religious institutions, when preparing for Purim festivities, enlist cadres of cooks to assemble scores of dozens of Hamantashen for their holiday carnivals. Along with the traditional prune (lekvar) and poppy seed (mohn) fillings, apricot, almond, chocolate, strawberry and other fruit flavors have become favorites.  When preparing hundreds or even thousands of Hamantashen at a time, bakers can easily use many different flavors and have no leftovers.


 

A Low Fat Caesar Salad

 

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Caesar salad made have Italian origins, but when we work a little fusion magic we can create an unbelievably creamy Caesar using plain Greek yogurt.  The truth is that Caesar salad is not from Italy, but it is generally attributed to an Italian immigrant and is usually made with Romaine lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, anchovies or Worcestershire, garlic, black pepper and an egg yolk. An average Caesar salad will have almost 200 calories and 15 grams of fat.  That is why we created this lower fat, egg free alternative that is extra creamy and the secret is the Greek yogurt.

Norman’s Greek yogurt is chalav yisroel and provides a great substitute for heavy cream and sour cream.  In this case it works to keep the fat down and also allows us to keep this Caesar salad eggless.  This salad has only 100 calories and 2 grams of fat, add some canned or grilled tuna and make it a full meal. And since we are already going fusion crazy, there is no need to stop at romaine and croutons with this salad dressing.  Go ahead and make extra and use on all your favorite salads.  If you leave it a little thicker you can even use it as a spread for a sandwich.


 

A Chinese Purim Seudah Menu

 

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Looking through all the Purim menus we have shared over the years, Italian, Mexican and the ever popular Persian, I was struck by the absence of a Chinese menu. How could I have let that happen!! Not only do I love to cook and eat Chinese to the point that I make a Passover Chinese Seder that is on permanent repeat from my guests requests, but also because I spent every Seudah growing up at the local Kosher Chinese place.  We didn’t go out to eat very often when I was little, mostly because there were very few kosher restaurants near where I lived in Florida.  Hard to believe I grew up near Boca, which now has an abundant of kosher options.  So, those special meals out for Birthdays or for Purim are fond memories and now that I live in New York I wouldn’t even consider going out to a restaurant for Purim.  I much prefer cooking for my family, maybe a few friends and celebrating in the quiet of our home rather than an overcrowded restaurant.  I can’t wait to share my memories with my kids with this easy to make at home Chinese menu.

Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and Sour Soup


 

10 Candy Recipes for Purim

 

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I’m a big fan of sending, or receiving, candy in my mishloach manot.  Although it is easier to find your favorite kosher candies in the supermarket, it is fun and rewarding to make your own candy at home.  Below are 10 DIY candy recipes.

 


 

20 Unique Hamantashen Recipes

 

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During a leap year, when there are two Adars, it is said to be a time of increased simcha.  This extra month is a blessing and is giving me time to increase my simcha before Purim.  It also has given me more time to think about Hamantashen, those amazing litte hat-shaped cookies and all of the flavors I can fill them with.

 


 

Bread Making Kitchen Tools

 

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I have fully hopped on the no knead bread bandwagon and my family loves it.  I make the best, tastiest and cheapest bread at least once a week that tastes like it comes from a baker and it only takes about 10 minutes active time.  Read about my experiences and get my favorite no knead bread recipes here.

In addition to the various no knead breads that I make, once in a while I still take time out for Challah.  Whatever kind of bread you are making the right kitchen gadgets can make it easier and better for you.


 

The Best Salad Tools

 

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We love salads, they can be made up of any mix of vegetables, the options are endless.  The popularity of salad bars all over have consistently grown over the last 30 or so years because we also all love to make it our own and choose from lots of toppings.  You don’t have to go out to have salad bar fun, consider making your own.  Check out these kitchen gadgets to make salad bar creations that much more fun.

 


 

The Best Slow Cookers

 

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Brrr, It’s cold outside.  This is the coldest winter in years and that means we need hot comfort food more than ever.  Slow cookers make our lives easier during these short winter days.  All we have to do is throw our ingredients in the pot and set it and forget it until we come home out of the cold for piping hot dinner.  Oh and we have 135 slow cooker recipes for you to browse through on this site.

Even if you already have a slow cooker, I recommend considering another one.  First of all you might finally decide it is time to buy a dairy one.  There are lots of wonderful vegetarian dishes that you will want to top with cheese.  Second, check out some of the fun new features, some might not be ok for Shabbat (ask your Rabbi), but they are all great for every day.


 

The Best Ways To Serve Chips and Dips

 

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Whether you are having people over to watch the big game or just for snacks, we all love serving chips or veggies and dips.  Sure you can use any old plate and bowl, but let’s make life a little easier and serving a lot more fun.


 

The Best Gadgets For DIY Vegetable Chips

 

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Do you ever make your own veggie chips? It is my favorite snack and almost all vegetables can be turned into a chip.  I don’t even really like potato chips, but I love hot and fresh from the oven baked potato chips which my husband requests practically every Saturday night.  Sometimes I can convince him to have my Zucchini Chips  or my Carrot Chips.   The issue with all of these recipes is that they need to be cut thin and evenly.  The trick for the slicing is a good mandoline.

This mandoline from OXO has a nice guard and a sharp blade with a few different slicing options, you can use it for julienne cutting too.  With all mandolines be careful and make sure there is a good guard and they are very safe.