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Brown Butter Apple Galette With Your Kids

 

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The way I see it, there are two kinds of pie in this world: Perfect pie and imperfect pie.

To make a perfect pie, you have to get all the steps and proportions and assembly just so. But if you make a galette, you can relax. This free-form pie is supposed to be rustic and homey — not bake-shop perfect. And don’t worry, it tastes just as good (if not better).


 

Kosher Shopping At Asian Markets

 

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Eight years ago, when I came back from a vacation in Thailand, I wanted to find all the new ingredients I learned about and I searched everywhere for an Asian market.  I discovered an incredible selection of produce for amazing prices.  If you live near a large Asian market you should try to do most of your fruit and vegetable shopping there.  Not all Asian markets are created alike, some are better than others and you have to find the best one near you.  Here is why it is worth the hunt.

Asian markets have large and impressive produce section with a tremendous variety of fruits and vegetables.  They have so many green vegetables that you can cook for a month without eating the same thing twice.   I’ve tried sweet potato greens, Yu Toy, Bok Choy, several new kinds of cabbages, and my favorite, Thai Basil to make a Thai Slaw or Thai Pesto you will love.  You can find pomelo, dragon fruit and Asian pears.  You will also find an incredible array of inexpensive mushrooms to make a delicious Roasted Mushrooms, yum.


 

Adventures with My Pasta Maker

 

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I always dreamed about making my own pasta, but it seemed way too daunting.  An Italian family in our building invited us over last year for dinner and served three different kinds of homemade pasta.  My foodie son (who won’t eat dried pasta) licked his plate.  Soon afterwards, my friend David revealed that he also makes his own pasta.  Apparently, his mom used to sell pasta machines and he ended up with an extra and offered to let me try it out.

What David had was actually what they call a Pasta Extruder.  The best way to describe it is like one of those play dough machines you used to enjoy as a kid. You take the dough and push it through a tube with the shape of your choice to make ziti, penne, tubitini and macaroni.  I found a recipe and tried it out. The kids had fun, we made a mess and we ended up with a nice bowl of fresh pasta that everyone loved.  Still, it felt like a lot of work for not much more than small bowl for each of us, but I knew I had to try it again.


 

Cooking By Heart

 

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Everyone has a few dishes that are their standbys. The dishes that you can make without opening a recipe book (or looking up the recipe on your iPad), the recipes that are so familiar to you that you can make them in your sleep. For each chef this list is different. Mine is pretty basic. And the recipes that I use I am not sure I have written down anywhere although some I have shared here, forcing myself to figure out quantities. I measure quantities by eye or by feel, only sometimes by taste. I am the kind of cook that feels like she is conducting a symphony in the kitchen, and I try to be one with it. But I have children. Oneness and peace when I am cooking is not something that happens very often.

I can make my challah with my eyes closed. Truth be told, most of the time on a Friday morning I have the dough rising before the sleep is even cleared from my eyes. I have made it so many times, it just gets done without me thinking about it.


 

Declutter Your Closet With a Party

 

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Tu B’Shevat, coming up this year on February 8th, is the New Year for the Trees. What better time to think about how reducing closet clutter can help the environment? How many of the outfits in your closet have not seen the light of day for months or even years? Probably more than you care to admit! Here is a fun and easy way to reduce some of that clutter, give your clothes a new home, and your closet a fresh new look.

Invite over a group of friends for a Tu B’Shevat clothing swap party. You can make some delicious holiday hors d’oeuvres and help your friends go through and streamline their closets in honor of this festival of renewal. Ask each friend to bring over at least 10 pieces ofclothing. Here are some tips to share with your friends to help them as they brave their closets:


 

Kids Recipes – Cooking with Kids

 

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In the Purim issue of Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller, Julie Negrin shares the perfect Mishloach Manot filler, Mini Quiches.   (more…)


 

Spin the Globe Dinners with Your Kids

 

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Everyone is always talking about getting the kids in the kitchen.  Get them involved in the preparation and they will eat the food, the theory goes. WhileI love cooking with my kids, for most weekday meals, it just isn’t going to happen.  They make such a mess and we have so little time after school and homework.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to get your kids involved.

A few months ago, my kids came up with a game.  It was one of the many yom tov days that I was hoping the kids would sleep in and let me relax a bit.  When I awoke (much later than normal) I found them enjoying a game of spin the globe.  On their own they thought up this game where one of them would close their eyes and point a finger on the globe while spinning it.   When it landed they would open their eyes and read where on earth they were.  Then they would talk about all the food they would eat if they went to that country (they are my kids after all, foodies from birth).


 

Chanukah Placemat Designs You Can Print

 

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When I design my placemats I always make a front with a fun design and space to put their name and a back that they can draw on with washable markers.

Print out these designs, fill in your child’s name and have them laminated.  Now you have a decoration that doubles as an activity for your kids.


 

Easy and Gorgeous Do-It Yourself Chanukah Table...

 

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Calling all Jewish Hostesses! Let’s use our year-round Jewish holidays to express our creative passions, as well as our desire to keep our families coming back for yummy food and a great Jewish holiday atmosphere. With so many table setting shopping resources at our fingertips, its exciting to set a fun holiday table that combines the old with the new, has a dash of color and sparkle, while also making sure to connect to the Jewish holiday theme at hand. No matter what your own personal style, budget, and the table decor that you already own, there is always a creative, yet easy way to update your holiday look.

This year, I decided to stick with the traditional Hanukkah blue and silver color combo mainly because I already owned blue water glasses given to me by my consuegro (Syrian word for son-in-law’s mother) as a Rosh Hashanah gift, plus I happen to own a set of blue and silver rimmed Greek style dishes (a perfect Macabee theme!). Wanting to add some holiday knicknacks to my Chanukah table, I decided to check out the local Ikea and West Elm stores and see what I could pick up without too much of a dent to my wallet.


 

Quick & Crafty Chanukah Decorating With Pom...

 

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With Chanukah just around the corner, now is the time to pull out some quick and crafty decorating ideas to get your home ready for the holiday! Not to worry, I’ve got a few ideas that will get you started in no time, and your house will look more festive that ever without too much effort. Sounds great, right?

Chanukah Pom Pom Chandelier JOK


 

Homemade Granola

 

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I remember the first time I realized that granola ain’t exactly a low cal diet food.  SO disappointed!  I mean, it just screams healthy, doesn’t it?  Shouldn’t a girl be able to eat all she wants of the stuff and go on losing pounds & inches? But I got over it. In an incredible feat of denial, I decided granola shouldn’t be a guilty pleasure.  I still categorize it in the “good-for-me” food group.  Hey, better granola than Godiva.

My recipe for Homemade Granola includes flaky light coconut chips and is sweetened with brown sugar, maple syrup (with its rich, earthy flavor) and raisins.  You can swap in an equal measure of craisins or chopped apricots, or pineapple, or any dried fruit of your choice in place of the raisins.


 

Easy Rosh Hashanah Crafts To Dress Up Your Holiday

 

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Rosh HaShana is just around the corner and I’m so happy to be here on Joy of Kosher! Now of course, you came here looking for recipes for the upcoming holidays, which is certainly a great start, however in my biased humble opinion, no holiday table or home is complete without some holiday specific decorating! And now you’re thinking “well of course she thinks that, she’s the crafting queen!” But let me tell you, you don’t have to be an expert crafter to make crafts or introduce creativity to your family— I’m here to help you!

And most importantly of all, I can tell you from personal experience, that when I sit down both with and without my kids to make craft projects for upcoming holidays, our enjoyment of the holidays themselves are so much more meaningful. Anticipation and preparation are key, and craft projects not only add joy to our timeless traditions, but help make lasting memories for children and adults alike. So do give it your all and prepare some amazing meals for your family and friends, but this year set aside just a bit of time to complement your delicious cooking with some touches of creativity that will make your holidays extra special.


 

Cool Kitchen Gadgets for Apples

 

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When the weather’s just right, my husband and I take the kids out to the apple orchard. Apple picking is the perfect outdoor family activity in September and October.

The Sprechers are an apple-picking family, and for that matter, we love picking any fruit or vegetable that’s in season. When we come home with  bushels of apples, what do we do with them? Well, first we eat some of them raw – delicious!


 

How To Spatchcock Turkey and Chicken

 

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Ok, the name is funny, but this is serious cooking. Spatchcocking poultry is the process of removing the backbone and sternum of a bird. The bird is then flattened out by pressing on it. (more…)


 

Get Cooking With Your Kids

 
 

Many parents find it challenging to incorporate nutritious, well-balanced meals into their children’s diets. They complain that their kids want the same thing for dinner every night or that the only vegetables they eat are peas and corn. It can be difficult for parents to work on improving their children’s diets day in and day out, but teaching children healthy eating behaviors at a young age is essential.

As a dietitian and nutritionist, I get so much enjoyment from seeing the interest and excitement that children have when it comes to food. Teaching them at a young age about nutrition, where food comes from, and how to use food is a very important part of child development. Research has shown that cooking with kids and assigning them tasks surrounding mealtime promotes independence and a sense of responsibility. It also encourages them to build their strengths wherever they are in the course of development – coordination, use of utensils, and learning about foods and certain kitchen objects. As kids get older, cooking with them is a great way to reinforce subjects that they are learning in school, such as math and science. Another amazing benefit of cooking with kids is that they tend to be more excited to try a new food or dish that they helped make than something you just put in front of them. And if these aren’t enough reasons to start cooking with your kids, focus on the fact that it is a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy!