Another Way Your Family Can Eat Meat

 

January 1st 2015

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I’m sure that this is how all of our grandparents ate. That Shabbat chicken was probably the only meat for the week – and it was probably shared by the entire family plus guests. The rest of the week, it was that illusion of meat – the chicken-scented broth – that kept everyone happy.

I’m sure you’re aware that meat consumption affects our health, our finances, even the environment. And just maybe you know deep down that you and your family are never going to give meat or dairy up. I get that and respect it.

But you know what? Eating less meat and dairy need not be all or nothing. You don’t need to say good-bye to meat and dairy for the rest of your life to enjoy more plant based foods.

In fact, over the course of a few years, I’ve slowly transitioned my family into a largely (notice I said “largely” and not “totally”) plant-based diet, with minimal fussing.

  The secret to my diet-switching success? I watched + learned from Cambodian women.

  During these years living in developing countries, I noticed that the non-western world views meat differently than we do.  Most of the world doesn’t (and can’t!) have meat as the center of their meal.

They view meat as a flavoring agent.
  Almost a condiment.

  Those Cambodian women use an ounce of meat to flavor the soup stock, so the whole soup is infused with flavor – without all the fat and cost. They shred ½ an ounce of beef over rice or noodles. They drop a bone into the curry base and call it a day.

These simple, strategic preparations give the dish the taste and feel of meat without piles of actual meat.  You can do exactly the same thing in your kitchen.

  • Top your spaghetti with just a sprinkling of ground beef.
  • Shred one chicken breast and divide that between six plates.
  • Drop a quarter-sized piece of beef into your soup broth and then toss it when the soup is done.

Your family will still be eating meat, but just a little bit differently.

Here are some recipes that use meat to add flavor, but are not the center:

Minted Pea Soup With Pastrami

Tuscan Vegetable Soup with Boerewors

Beef and Mushroom Barley Soup

 

 

 


 

Cooking With Joy: Mexican Skirt Steak Salad

 

January 1st 2015

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This was my first time cooking skirt steak. I have eaten it many times. When Hubs and I go out he usually orders a softer piece of meat like a filet or short ribs and I usually order a chewier saltier piece like hanger or skirt. So I was really looking forward to making this recipe!

I loved the idea of dressing this down by making a salad. This is a perfect dinner for a warm summer night or after a three day Yom Tov when all you did was eat heavy for the last few days.

Hubs LOVES cilantro, anytime he hears the word herb he says, “I love cilantro”. He was so excited to hear that this salad had a cilantro dressing! I seared the steak for 4 minutes on each side since we like it on the medium side. Meanwhile I opened and drained the cans of corn and black beans (hello time management) and prepared the salad. While the steak was resting I whisked the dressing together.

Skirt Steak With Salsa Verde page 191
DRESS IT DOWN Mexican Skirt Steak Salad

Before I dove in, I took the picture and then sat back for a second. First thought was- “I would pay for a salad like that in a restaurant”! It was such a good feeling knowing that I could cook up something that looked that good! Now to see if it tasted as good as it looked. The sweet cilantro dressing and corn offset the saltiness of the steak perfectly! Every forkful I took I tried to taste everything all together. The cool lettuce and tomatoes with the warm steak and dressing just kept me digging in.


 

10 Healthy Mains and Worth-it Desserts

 

December 31st 2014

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Aren’t we lucky to have two new years and subsequently two calendar designated times to starting fresh? I’ve been reading a book (fine you caught me, a diet book) about the French approach to diet.  To sum it up, the word diet should be banished.  Eating healthy depends on the individual, we all need different things and occasionally we all need a treat.  Below are 5 healthy, easy weeknight meals and 5 treats for, well, no explanation necessary.

 

 

Quick and easy, this Asian Vegetable Stuffed Flounder is packed with flavor and vegetables to make healthy eating even easier.  Treat: Goat Cheese Cheesecake

 

 

Chicken Gyros seem like a guilty treat, but in this recipe the chicken is broiled with nothing more than spices.  Put it in pita or on top of a large salad and enjoy!  Treat: Salted Chocolate Chip Macaroons 

 

 

Baked Portobello Shakshukais a brilliant take on traditional shakshuka.  Both are healthy in my book, but by baking it in the portobello you get an extra serving of veg and  need less oil.  Treat: Double Espresso Fudgy Brownies

 

Homemade Kit Kat

Spinach Vegetarian Taco Salad is great for dinner and lunch the next day.  Loaded with beans and greens this salad is very filling and packed with healthy fats such as avocado and evoo.  Treat: Homemade Kit Kat

 

 

The Winter Vegetable Soup has just about every vegetable in it!  There are a lot of vitamins floating around this soup and the multitude of root vegetables makes it creamy enough to be a full meal, made even better with a slice of good, crusty bread.  Treat: Peanut Butter Brownies

 

 


 

Crowd Pleasing Cocktail Punch Recipes

 

December 31st 2014

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Punch has grown up from the days of the Kool-Aid Man, but that doesn’t mean the kids can’t still enjoy it. Punches can run the gamut from non-al- coholic, G-rated batches that are fun for the whole family (but often taste like sugar-saturated, camp “Bug Juice”) to boozy, knock-your-socks-off, frat-party concoctions (that would only be suitable for Purim, if then!).  The two punches I have created for you walk the delicate line between the two extremes. Both recipes are balanced: maybe a little sophisticated for a punch, but nothing that the whole family won’t enjoy. The flavors and colors are in keeping with the season, and each one can be made with or without the alcohol to suit your crowd.

Just remember that you really can’t go wrong here as long as you keep taste-testing along the way. A little less fruit or a little more bubbles won’t hurt anything!!

Cranberry Flame Punch

Pearpourri PUnch

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Chanukah 2013

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Submit Your Best Sausage Recipe, Vote For Your...

 

December 30th 2014

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5 Hot Cocoa Drinks For Winter Warmth

 

December 30th 2014

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I love tummy warming hot drinks, even in the summer, but especially during the cool winter months. I drink about 3 large glasses of green tea a day (I have appropriated Hubby’s big beer mug for this noble effort) and a tall hot cocoa a few times a week. The kiddies have followed suit and regularly beg for tea, which someone usually manages to spill and when I say usually, I do mean always!

Last night, the boys were out and my 3-year old was busting out of strapped safely in her high chair so I decided to make something warm and sweet and chocolaty for my girls.

In Israel it’s traditional (and so pleasantly easy) to place a few squares of your favorite chocolate at the bottom of a mug filled with hot milk. You stir and spoon and taste, and stir and spoon and taste, as the chocolate melts in the mug and in your mouth. It’s easy and interactive and especially exquisite when topped with lots of sweet whipped cream.

 

If you are ready to roll up your sleeves and want to experiment with unique varieties and flavors try one of Felissa Billet’s Citrus, Peanut Butter or Spicy Homemade Hot Chocolates, torn straight from the pages of our magazine.

I also have a Triple Hot Chocolate (an oldie but goodie from when I lived in NY and made hot chocolate the hard way) and a decidedly adult Spicy Hot Cocoa with Khalua, but you can also use Morad Double Espresso which is easier to find kosher these days.

Take your pick.


 

A Healthy Brunch Menu

 

December 29th 2014

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As I sit down to write up this menu, I am still full from the Sunday birthday brunch I just came from for my almost 9 year old niece.  My sister in law did got raves for her egg casserole and pecan streusel french toast shuffle, which she noted are her faves because she can prep the the night before.  They were delicious, but after hearing about them, I have to note they were not the healthiest.

Just a few days after Chanukah and a long winter ahead of us, I thought the best Brunch menu I could share would be one low in calorie, high in vitamins and still easy to prepare.  Most people will have bagels, lox and cream cheese (at least at any respectable Jewish home for brunch), so my best advice is never leave off the veggies.  Make sure to include a platter of sliced tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cucumbers.  Consider offering ricotta cheese as a spread of choice that has only 25 calories per tablespoon versus the 50 calories in average cream cheese.

 

Pine Apple Fruit Salad

Pine Apple Fruit Salad

I love to serve lots of salads including this favorite Fall Fruit Salad or a nice Citrus Salad is also great this time of year and will give you and your guests lots of immune boosting vitamin C.  Favorite brunch vegetables salads would include:

Smoked Salmon Salad

Creamy Kale Salad with Capers and Hazelnuts

Creamy Kale Salad with Capers and Hazelnuts

Balsamic Cucumber and Carrot Ribbon Salad

Balsamic Cucumber and Carrot Ribbon Salad

Now for the eggs, it is always nice to have an eggy dish at the table and I am all for eggs, but considering there is a need to serve a lot of food when having company, let’s stick to egg whites or egg substitute this time, not only will it save calories, but it will save you time, no need to crack any eggs.

egg-white-frittata

Egg White Frittata with Tomatoes, Spinach, and Mushrooms

Here is a recipe for an egg white frittata, but any frittata recipe on the site can be made using egg substitute, just use 1/4 cup per egg.

Stay away from layered french toast type dishes ands tick to layered yogurt and granola parfaits!!

If you really like to bake, try something with a few more vegetables and/or lower in fat and sugar, like these morning carrot muffins.

Curried Cauliflower

Crunchy Curry Cauliflower

Finally, instead of potatoes, consider a crunch flavorful cauliflower dish, like this one smothered with Tahini.

What do you like to serve for brunch? Want any ideas for healthier swaps for your favorite go tos? Let me know in the comments below.


 

Week {9} Recipes

 

December 28th 2014

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Here are the recipes for week number 9!!!! Looks like some more amazing yummies ahead!

 

Kale Soup

Spicy Chorizo Potato Bourekas

Cauliflower with Tahini and Silan

Chicken Diablo

Pan Seared Marinated Hanger Steaks with Peppers…

Bukharian Pilaf with Kidney Beans & Carrots

Chocolate Cigars


 

/RECIPE/ Layered Polenta Casserole

 

December 28th 2014

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This one can be found on the site right over here.

This was a fun recipe to make. I’ve never made Polenta before and is was a neat experience! I’m sure to be making Polenta again in the future that’s for sure.

I made this recipe sans the Parmesan cheese for a pareve option. It came out fine. This recipe was an interesting thing, its a pretty good recipe and about 50% of the people I served it to really liked it. It seemed to me that it needed a little bit of a creaminess or marinara sauce, but I’ll keep playing around with it.

I wasn’t able to find any kosher canned Cannelini beans so I substituted dried Northern beans. It was no big deal and worked out just fine. I loved that I was able to use some of my sun-dried tomatoes! This was the best recipe that I’ve ever used them in.


 

/RECIPE/ Potato and Parsnip Latkes

 

December 28th 2014

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This latke recipe has blown me away. Officially blown me away. I’ve tried many different latke recipes and most are so-so. You know the normal stand-bys. But these latkes will wake up your holiday fry fest!

Here is the link to this little beauty of a recipe!
So pull our your food processors and get ready to fry up one more latke recipe. You want to be prepared for next year!

I love incorporating some things that are at least a ‘little’ bit more on the healthier side. This is an absolutely fantastic recipe for that. For latkes these are very quick, especially when using a food processor. And then using a Fry Daddy to fry them up keeps the oil at just the right temperature and makes the whole process much safer and faster.


 

Week {8} Recipes

 

December 26th 2014

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SO many delicious recipes this week!!!!!!!!
Beet & Carrot Latkes       or       Baked Sweet Potato Latkes and Gingered Sour Cream

Non-Dairy Cronot  or   Sugar Sugar Doughnuts

Asian Beef and Broccoli Noodle Bowl

Vegetable Fried Rice

Un-stuffed Cabbage Soup

Quick and Easy Baklava Rolls

And a Polenta Casserole recipe! Which sounds great!

 


 

The Secret To Rich Chocolatey Desserts *Giveaway*

 

December 26th 2014

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Chocolate and coffee and go together like chocolate and vanilla.   Coffee highlights the chocolate deep, rich flavor without imparting flavor of its own. There are many ways to get the coffee flavor, but my new favorite way is this Double Espresso Liqeuer form Morad winery in Israel.  They just started bringing in the Doulbe Espresso, so look for it in your liquor store by you or ask them to get it for you.  It is wonderful to sip over ice or to mix with a dairy  milk based cocktail, but I am most excited about the way it pairs with chocolate.

Hot Chocolate With Double Espresso Liqueur

When I first tasted this liqueur I knew I had to mix it up in a hot drink and a rich and creamy hot chocolate was the perfect choice.  I made it with almond milk to keep it parve and keep the calories down a bit and topped with my homemade marshmallows for extra gooey goodness.  But the best part was the liqueur and don’t worry about drinking it too late in the night, my theory is the alcohol counteracts any caffeine their might be.

The real wow factor will come from these brownies.  When my husband was eating the leftovers a couple of days after we served these bad boys he couldn’t help but declare how great they were, even when they were starting to go stale.  I worked to keep the calories lighter here and even made them with whole wheat flour, although I think it would be a little less crumbly if you use regular all-purpose.  They are non dairy of course so yo can make them any time, just make sure to add the liqeuer it really enhances the chocolate flavor.

Now that you know my secret, I would love to hear yours? What do you like to use to enhance flavors in your foods?

Let me know in the comments below and enter to win a $50 gift card from Amazon.  Use the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

Cooking With Joy: Pretzel Chicken

 

December 25th 2014

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This recipe seemed like a great way to jazz up the common schnitzel or chicken nugget, and who doesn’t love a good dipping sauce? To me and Hubs our favorite thing about going to a schnitzel bar is getting to taste all the sauces and slathering them on sandwiches. So I was looking forward to tasting this herbed curried mustard.

It was a no brainer for me to opt for the dressed down version here- I knew better than to give my kids skewers. I knew how that would end- SWORD FIGHT!!!!!!!

Since like most of you, I need to get dinner on the table pretty quickly, I look for convenience when I can. Evergreen had chicken cutlets that were already cut into nuggets for a very similar price to the regular cutlets that I couldn’t pass them up!

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Skewers with Herbed Curry Mustard page 161
DRESS IT DOWN Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets

I prepped the sauce and set that aside for the flavors to come together. Then I crushed the pretzels and added the spices. I have mentioned before that I do not like standing at the stove after a long day at work, so I opted to bake the nuggets rather than fry them. This was to my detriment, these nuggets came out a little soggy, I really wish I would have been able to get them crispy- live and learn.

After letting them cool a bit I tried one sans the curried mustard, I found it needed salt and pepper. Then I tasted one dipped in the curried mustard- WOW that sauce packed a wonderful punch of flavor!


 

20 Healthy, Homemade Chinese Dinners

 

December 24th 2014

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There’s a certain day in December when an extraordinary number of Jews head out to their local Chinese restaurant to enjoy a healthy dose of delicious wok-fried foods.  If you don’t have a kosher Chinese place near you or you’re looking to make some healthy changes to your favorite Chinese restaurant worthy recipes, then have no fear below are 20 soup, appetizer, vegetarian, and main meals to help you get your fried fix.

 

 

My family always seems to order more soups than there are people because we each have our undisputed favorites.  Mine is hot sour, including this Vegetarian Hot and Sour.  Some other favorites include Wonton Soup and Egg Drop Soup, and this new Spicy Ginger Beef & Rice Soup with Lime.

 

 

Vegetable base options don’t exclude flavor when you’re using spices like garlic, hoisin, and ginger.  Enjoy Chinese inspired salads such as the Shanghai Cobb Salad (exclude meat to make it vegetarian) and  Celery and Tofu Salad with Scallion Oil.   The Vegetable Fried Quinoa and Tofu and Mushroom Lettuce Wraps make for great vegetarian main dishes or as side dishes.

 

Impress family and guests with restaurant mainstays such as Wontons and Dim Sum Baskets.  You would be surprised by how easy it is to make your own egg and spring rolls with ingredients you would find everyday in your kitchen, try the Fast and Easy Egg Rolls or the Chicken and Vegetable Spring Rolls.

 

 

peanut chicken

Enjoy the classics such as Vegetable Lo Mein, Orange Beef and Broccoli, Stir Fried Chicken or Kung Pao Chicken from the comfort of your own kitchen.  If you’re looking to dress things up try the Chicken with Lime, Garlic and Cashews, Kung Pao Gai Ding, Chinese Kebabs with Plum Sauce, and Chicken with Ginger and Cashews.

 

For more Chinese inspired recipe, click here!

 


 

The Sichuan Peppercorn Story

 

December 24th 2014

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Ever have Chinese food with a lot of spice, but more than the heat from the peppers, you feel a sort of tingling sensation in your mouth?  It doesn’t happen very often at kosher restaurants, but if you learn to cook your own you can make it spicy and tingly now that the ban on sichuan is over.

Sichuan peppercorns can be used or ground up into a spice blends.  It is commonly used whole in Szechuan cuisine and it is one of the classic ingredients in Chinese 5 spice powder, it provides and almost acidic flavor but most notable is the tingly sensation it leaves in your mouth that makes it ideal paired with hot spices.

Sichuan peppercorns were banned for import by US government in 1968 because they could carry a canker which destroys citrus trees.  That doesn’t mean it wasn’t being sold or used around the country, supposedly it was pretty easy to find if you knew where to look, but in 2005 the peppercorn came back on the scene.  A technique was found to kill the canker by heating the peppercorns to 140 degrees. You can find them pretty easily these days in gourmet markets or Asian markets or even on Amazon.  Whole spices do not need hashgacha and I recommend you buy it whole.

You can use the whole spice in chicken recipes or to liven up any of your Chines cooking or you can grind up for spice blends.  It is really best paired with chili peppers or other hot spicy flavors.  My introduction to Sichuan peppercorns for you starts with this Kale Salad with Sichuan Peppercorn Dressing.  Make the dressing and use it for cucumber salad or carrot and celery salad.  Feel the tingly sensation and then go and explore.

In searching for more ideas I can’t wait to try this recipe for Sichuan Peppercorn Peanuts from Michael Natkin.

Let me know if you try out this new/old spice in your cooking.