6 Pre-fast Menus for Tisha B’Av


July 23rd 2014

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Fasting is no easy task, even less so at the height of the summer. My physical preparations for the fast involve a 48-hour hydration binge in which my water bottle never leaves my side.  As for food, during those 48-hours I try to increase my intake of fruits and vegetables that are high in water. I save my fish, egg or dairy intake for erev Tisha B’Av, the day before the fast, in order to prevent bloating and increase my overall nutrient intake.  Below are three menus– dairy, fish, and vegan– to help you plan out your pre-fast meal.



Dairy Menu 1:

Greek Wheat Berry Salad

Tabouli Feta Salad

Pasta Roulade with Ricotta and Spinach


Dipped Straweberries or Chocolate Bread Pudding



Pappardelle with roasted pepper sauce

Dairy Menu 2:

Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Pecans

Greek Yogurt Caesar Salad

Pappardelle Pasta with Sundried Tomato Cream Sauce

Roasted Tomato Cream Gnochi

Goat Cheese Cheesecake




Fish Menu 1:

Corn and Wild Rice Kugel

Almond Olive Sole

Avocado Cream Pasta

Light Corn Salsa

Almond Pot au Creme



Pecan Crusted Salmon


Fish Menu 2:

Nectarine and Tomato Salad

Pecan Crusted Honey Mustard Salmon

Polenta Portobellos

Warm Fingerling Potato Salad

Almond and Olive Oil Cake


Vegan Menu 1:

Linguini Grilled Summer Vegetable Salad

Lentil Rice with Carrots

Easy Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

Coleslaw with Crispy Tofu

Chocolate Avocado Mousse


Vegan Menu 2:

Sweet Daikon Salad with Sesame Citrus Dressing

Zucchini Spaghetti Salad

Tofu and Mushroom Lettuce Wraps

Curried Vegetable Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Raw Date Brownies


Check out more Tisha B’Av pre- and post-fast ideas here.


Keeping Kosher in the Caribbean


July 23rd 2014

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How to Survive Your Vacation When Keeping Kosher

You’re packing to go on vacation, and you’re headed for the Caribbean. In your mind’s eye you see yourself relaxing under the soul-warming sun, taking in all that beautiful blue sky with the crystal clear water, and dining – hey!  Where do we factor kosher food into the perfect Caribbean experience?

So you’ve got two choices: you can pack your own, enough to last you for the duration of your stay, or you can see what’s available on the particular island you’ll be visiting. Hmm, what is available, you ask?

We had the same question, and furthermore, we wondered: what about people who live on the Caribbean islands all year long? What do they do about kosher food for themselves? And what is available for tourists?

We turned to some Chabad families who live on the various islands of the Caribbean.

Rabbi Levi Stein of Puerto Rico and Mrs. Simcha Nemni of Martinique were kind enough to give us a glimpse.

“In Puerto Rico there is no meat, chicken, or Cholov Yisroel dairy products to be found in any stores. We ship it all in from Miami, and offer it to the community to purchase through the Chabad shipment,” Rabbi Stein tells us. National products bearing a kosher symbol such as ketchup and mayonnaise are available in all the large supermarkets.

Rabbi Stein works in conjunction with Rabbi Mendel Zarchi who is the founder and spiritual leader to Chabad of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands since 1999, and together they provide for all the kosher needs for tourists.

They have a kosher takeout system where visitors can place their orders in advance online (www.chabadpr. com/kosherfood) and can either choose to pick it up or have the food delivered directly to their hotel.

They also run a really nice kosher eatery in Old San Juan, aptly named Kosher in Paradise, where locals and visitors come for lunch or dinner, order their food on the spot, and eat it there or take out. This eatery is 100% vegetarian, strictly kosher and serves mostly Israeli- style foods, along with tostones (fried plantain), a Puerto Rican favorite. You can view the mouth- watering menu at www. chabadpr.com/kip.

There’s so much to do in Puerto Rico, visit www.chabadpr. com/59960 for a list of suggested activities, and be sure to take advantage of the Chabad rate!

Some ways you can make use of Chabad’s services:

  • They can deliver kosher food to any location on the island.
  • They offer a villa kashering service so a visitor will arrive to an already kosher hotel room and kitchen.

Martinique is an overseas region of France, located in the eastern Caribbean Sea.

Mrs. Simcha Nemni lives with her family as Chabad emissaries to the French Caribbean Islands. Aside from the fruit, vegetables, fish and eggs that are naturally available, there is the Makolette – a kosher store which stocks most of their needs, and as of late includes glatt kosher meat.

Cholov Yisroel dairy products, however, are hard to come by since there is not much demand for it on the tiny island. When they hear of someone coming from France (which has the only direct flights to and from the island) they put in requests for yogurts and cheeses for their children. They are already accustomed to doing without milk.

Many ingredients that you likely use in your kitchen for baking such as cinnamon, vanilla, and rum are grown in Martinique, and you can even visit a rum distillery to watch it in action.

There is no kosher catering service, so when there is a simcha in the community, whether for a Bris, Bar Mitzva, or even a wedding, everyone pitches in to help with the cooking.

If you are planning a trip to Martinique, you can count on the Makolette, the community’s grocery, and a restaurant in shul every noon. Tourists are always advised to bring their own kosher food as well because life in Martinique is costly and kosher products
are inevitably pricey.

If you are in need of any assistance, don’t hesitate to contact them at +596696710770 or Habad.fr

Chabad of the Cayman Islands has an online kosher food service option similar to the one offered in Puerto Rico where food can be ordered and delivered to your hotel. Visit ChabadCaymanIslands. com to view their delectable menu and to place an order. There is also a section that includes a list of hotels that are within walking distance to the shul for Shabbat.

Chabad of St. Maarten (an island belonging to the Netherlands) has information for tourists on their website Jewishsxm.com. They offer a “Wine and Dine” Shabbat meal free of charge (donations are welcome). There is a supermarket on the island “Le Grand Marche” that carries a variety of kosher products – many of them certified by the OU, as well as chicken, wine, and meats. They welcome you to email them a week prior to your arrival and they will find out for you what the store currently has in stock so you can know what additional items you may want to bring with you (there are no customs restrictions on the food you bring in).

Chabad of the Dominican Republic also provides a catering service where kosher food and Shabbat meals are provided to locals and tourists. You can also purchase freshly baked goods at the Chabad House, where they occasionally offer frozen poultry as well. The local supermarkets carry basic kosher products such as pasta, sauces, ketchup and mayo. Be sure to visit their website (chabadominican. com) for valuable tourist and visitor information.

The local supermarkets in St. Thomas on the Virgin Islands carry quite a variety of kosher food products. Anything available stateside is generally available there as well. Due to the nature of the island, many of the items are seasonal and not available consistently so it is advisable to call the supermarkets to see what they have in stock. Frozen kosher meats, kosher wines, Cholov Yisrael dairy products and Pas Yisrael breads can be ordered through Chabad of the Virgin Islands for timeshare owners and vacationers 6 weeks prior to one’s arrival. In addition, you can have them kosher your kitchen before you come. Chabad offers Shabbat meals as well. Visit JewishVirginIslands.com to see more detailed visitor information, including local attractions and hotel recommendations within walking distance of the shul.


Hidden Vegetables – What You Don’t...


July 22nd 2014

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My husband Ed likes to tell the story about when he was a boy and ate dinner at his grandma’s house on Tuesdays. One time she gave him spaghetti – a favorite – and when he had almost finished he found a slice of meatloaf that had been hidden underneath the pile of pasta.

Ed hates meatloaf.

I suppose his grandma figured that if she put the meat under the pasta, Ed would either not realize it wasn’t spaghetti(!)! Or he would eat it anyway, because it had touched the spaghetti, and therefore he would like it.

He didn’t.

Kids are smart. You can’t hide much from them, least of all when it comes to food. And if they catch you trying to deceive them it doesn’t send a good message, does it?

So what do you do when your child won’t eat stuff that’s healthy? Like vegetables?

I don’t have all the answers and I am not a psychologist, nutritionist or expert on health matters. I can only relate what I have found to be successful.

To begin, I would never serve my children vegetables that were completely objectionable to them. As long as they chose, say, green beans I was okay that it was not broccoli. There are enough choices without having to push one or another.

vegetable burgers

Second, I would include vegetables in dishes I knew they liked rather than serve them as a “side dish.” For example, I would sauté diced zucchini (and occasionally carrots) along with the onion in my homemade spaghetti sauce. Sometimes I mixed in finely chopped cooked carrots, celery, parsnip or green beans or raw spinach or zucchini into meatballs or meatloaf. I added all sorts of chopped, cooked vegetables to corn fritter batter and macaroni and cheese. I mashed my chicken soup veggies with egg and matzo meal and made them into “burgers.” (Those were big favorites, especially if I put them on a bun.) The vegetables in these dishes were not hidden exactly, let’s just say they were veiled, and it made them less objectionable. I liken this sort of thing to people who will not eat fish if it is presented whole, but are fine with filets.

Another thing I realized is that my children didn’t seem to mind eating what looked like a vegetable if it was oven-roasted to mimic French fries, so I made carrot and parsnip fries a lot.

They were also okay with vegetable soup, especially if it included pasta, or any mild-tasting soup that was essentially a puree, like carrot soup or avocado soup, where, again, the food didn’t resemble its raw form. Occasionally I would puree some of the soup (stock plus vegetables) with canned beans, which they didn’t want to eat, and they didn’t realize they were also eating the beans too. They never asked what made the soup so thick so I never had to tell.

In order to get us to eat cooked spinach, my mother mashed it into cooked potatoes. She told us it wouldn’t taste like spinach that way. She was right: the bland, starchy potatoes mellowed out the vegetable’s metallic tang. I served my Mom’s “creamed spinach” very often with great success.

I didn’t make vegetable smoothies when my kids were young, but I know that it is simple to add cooked spinach, avocado or other pureed vegetables with a banana and yogurt or kefir to make a tasty drink children will taste and probably like too.

Squash (or carrot) Muffins

I am not a fan of mixing vegetables into ultra-sweet desserts such as brownies and cake. The amount of nutritional value they get for the load of sugar never seemed worth it to me. Carrot cake, while one of my very favorites, is not exactly healthy. However, I have added vegetables to muffins, cornbread, scones and other quickbreads where the sugar load isn’t as fierce.

Here are some of the “veiled vegetable” dishes that became favorites at our house.

Chicken Soup Veggie Burgers

Turkey Veggie Meatballs with Panko Crust

Squash or Carrot Muffins


Smoked Salmon Salad *Smokey Linkup*


July 21st 2014

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For those of you that have been paying attention you know we do monthly, theme based, recipe link ups with bloggers from around the world.  This month’s theme is smoky.  I decided to ditch the obvious BBQ direction in favor of a light summer salad featuring smoked salmon – that counts, right?!

I am going to breakdown the salad ingredients here and give you the “WHY” of each:

12 cups arugula, washed and dried well

I absolutely adore arugula.  A nice change from standard lettuce, it has a delicate peppery bite and is excellent in salads, on pizzas, tossed with potatoes, and more.  If you are new to arugula or find it too bitter consider tempering its bite by tossing together with salad greens of your choice.

1 (8-ounce) package sliced smoked salmon, cut into 1-inch pieces

I like smoked salmon off a bagel.  I of course love me a SS + CC bagel but when I don’t want a heavy meal I toss smoked salmon pieces into green lettuce and rice salads.  In Israel we don’t have kani so I always make this Sushi Salad with smoked salmon flakes and have my friend Miri to thank for the idea.

1 cup plain bagel chips, broken into bite-sized pieces

A little crunch goes a long way.  These can of course be whole wheat or everything flavored or even homemade, whole wheat, everything croutons.  I have this thing against store bought croutons and would rather not eat a crouton if I didn’t make it.  I use all my leftover challah (scraps are fine) to make croutons and feel uber thrifty and super satiated when I do.

5 small sprigs, fresh dill, torn into pieces

Do not underestimate the power of a little green.  Fresh herbs bring such vibrancy, beauty and a bevy of health benefits to your plate.  Dill of course perfectly complements the flavors here but a bit of parsley thrown in, in addition, never hurt anyone.

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

We buy one to two LARGE cartons of grape tomatoes per week in our house.  I love red, yellow, orange, and chocolate covered cherry tomatoes which are rich mahogany in color and have a strong tomato tang.  Make sure to halve them lengthwise – much prettier that way.

1 small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

Red onion – because it’s milder, sweeter and more beautiful than yellow.  Perfect for eating raw, I like to slice mine paper thin.

 3 tablespoons capers, drained

This pickled berry provides a pungent burst of flavor perfect for cutting the rich fatty salmon.

¼ cup olive oil + 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar + 1 teaspoon kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper

Tied for my favorite simple dressing on earth, it’s only rival: EVOO + lemon juice + salt.

Finally, serve your Smoked Salmon Salad with lemon wedges so folks can squeeze just before eating.  Sure to brighten your dish and your day. :)

Happy smoky linkup to all!


How To Make A Layered Cocktail


July 18th 2014

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We are back with Tomer Narkis, from Duvdevan Events on behalf of Morad Winery.  In this video Tomer teaches us more cocktail tips and tricks. First we learned how to make a Summer Breeze, then we made a Chocolatey Nutty Night Cap and now we learn how to make a beautiful chocolate and cream layered cocktail. Press play to get all the secrets.

Don’t miss all our Morad Winery recipes, cocktails and videos – click here.


I Stop Eating After 6ish


July 17th 2014

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That’s my goal, most every night.

But now that the kids are getting older and staying up later and our dinner time has been pushed from around 4pm to around 5pm, I have turned my no eating after 6pm “rule” into a no eating after sometime between 6 and 7pm.

This cut off and adherence to it really stems from my desire to drop a few pounds. Not sure when I first came up with it or where I may have read about it but it’s been my thing for quite some time. Not saying I have been following it religiously for quite some time BUT I have gone in and out of implementing it for years. And I really do see a big difference in how I feel when I wake up in the morning if I stop eating earlier the previous evening. I generally feel lighter and happier and healthier in the AM. I don’t wake up bloated or with headaches or have the heavy, can’t-get-out-of-bed, feel-icky, kinda feeling. And my clothes fit better, right around my waistline, which is my problem area.

I did a stint a few years back at the Food Network and had the chance to meet lots of producers on different shows. I worked with one producer who worked with one food network star who I will not name but who has the build of a petite model more than a world famous food personality. She is not known for healthy cuisine per say or really for skimping on fat or calories in any way. I asked this new producer acquaintance of mine if this star even eats. Yes I know that was more than a little “gossipy” of me and I am not at all proud but sometimes you let your desire to “know” overcome you (and that inner voice that says “you should know better than to talk about other people”), especially when it comes to the secret of just how someone can work in food 24/7 and look like that! He said this star really does eat. (WOW really?!?!) But she doesn’t eat after 4pm. (WOW really, again?!?!) Now 4pm is really early to cut it off in my opinion. But then again I am sure there are night owls out there who think my 6-7pm cut off is really too early.

For me, my 6-7pm no eating “rule” works (and lets’ be honest this is one of those rules that was made to be broken when the occasion calls for it) because it falls within a reasonable time frame for my schedule. It’s post dinner but with enough time pre lights out to digest. I spend the rest of the evening drinking loads of water (when I am super disciplined).

Do you have a cut-it-off nighttime food time or evening food or drink ritual that you follow?


Cooking With Joy: Pastrami Fry Salad


July 17th 2014

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We love meat and we love salad- so this recipe was perfect for us! One of our new favorite things is Jacks Facon- its sooooooooooooooooooooo good! This salad would be great with Facon or any of your favorite deli fried to perfection.

For this salad I used Jack’s first cut pastrami, it’s one of the best on the market. Hubs and I just kept eating it, straight from the package- What? We really like meat! One thing that I have noticed from this book so far is that Jamie clearly likes vinegar, and that’s OK, I’m sure that lots of people do, just not us. I mean we don’t hate vinegar, we just don’t like putting so much of it on our food. I added a little honey to the dressing to decrease the vinegar flavor a little and it worked wonders. The fresh basil, with the crispy pastrami with the flavorful dressing was AMAZING!!!!! I felt like I was eating at a fancy restaurant!

This definitely will be one of our top new salad and dressing combos!

Pastrami-Fry Salad with Creamy Chili Dressing
DRESS IT UP Pastrami-Fry Tomato Cups page 86


Lunch and Dinner Recipes for the Nine Days


July 16th 2014

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The period known as the nine days, which lead up to Tisha B’Av, a day of fasting, are difficult for more reason than one.  The spiritual preparations leading up to one of the most tragic days on the Jewish Calendar is a hefty burden that includes the physical limitations including a ban on meat. In the hope of easing some of the difficulty of this time, below are nine days worth of meat-less lunch and dinner recipes.



Brazilian style rice and black eyed peas

Traditional Brazilian recipes like the Brazilian Onion and Garlic Rice with Black Eyed Peas and Slow Cooked Greens, Brazilian Style pair well with down-home favorites such as Chili Garlic Sweet Potatoes and maybe a small slice of Corn Bread.  This meal would be very filling and is probably best for dinner when the temperature is cooler and you can watch kids fall quickly into bed with full stomachs and smiling faces.



Eggplant Tomato Stacks

This is great as dinner and even the next day as leftovers.  These Middle Eastern flavors compliment each other, from the with a salad of Sabra Moroccan Carrots to the Eggplant Tomato Stacks and Persian Quinoa with Tadig.



Braised and Raw Kale

Depending on the portion sizes served, this meal could work for both lunch or dinner. It is Italian inspired, but with a twist.  Try the Braised and Raw Kale with Pine Nuts alongside the Baked Polenta Fries and Tofutti Fettuccine Alfredo.  If you want to keep things light, either serve a small portion of the alfredo or swap it for fish.



A very healthy lunch of greens and protein is the theme of this Asian inspired lunch of crunchy Sautéed Sugar Snap Peas and the Tofu and Mushroom Lettuce Cups.




The Vegan Thai Lettuce Cups with Peanut Sauce are a hearty yet healthy lunch entree.  The Grilled Red Pepper Salad has a slightly different flavor profile, but makes a nice side try adding smoky almonds and a soy sauce mayo dressing to really pull the two dishes together.



Here’s another healthy Asian inspired lunch starting with the Asian Salad with Wasabi Dressing.  Then the tofu stands in for meat and fish in the Miso Glazed Tofu with Soba.



Portobello Tacos

The Vegan Portobello Tacos and the Refried Beans are a meat-free Mexican inspired meal that would be great for both lunch and dinner.




Avoid the added sodium and calories by making your own falafel at home withe the Homemade Dried Falafel Mix.  Serve it in pitas for lunch or alongside Freekeh Pilaf for Dinner.



This mediteranean inspired meal is great for lunch or dinner, get the most mileage by serving the Crunchy Curry Cauliflower with Tahini and Pomegranate, Quinoa and Lentil Salad, and Rosemary Roasted Chickpeas for lunch, maybe with fish, and then serve the leftovers for lunch the next day.



Meixcan Fried Rice

The Jalapeño Black Bean Quinoa Burgers and Mexican Fried Rice make for a really filling meal.  The textures and heartiness are perfect for midway through the nine days when those meat cravings kick in.



Vegan Enchiladas

The Black Bean, Potato and Cheese Enchiladas make for a hearty dinner and are pleasantly offset by the lightness of the Jicama Radish Mango Salad.



The Thai Noodle Bowl with Crispy Tofu is great for lunch or dinner.  Serve it alongside Lila’s Lunch Sushi for the refreshing crunch raw vegetables.


See more Nine Days recipes here.


5 of The Best BBQ Safety Gadgets *WIN a Grill*


July 16th 2014

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Every summer there are new ways to make BBQ season even more fun and even more safe.  Of course it all starts with a great grill and/or smoker, check out our full guide to choosing the best one for your needs here.  Then there are lots of fun gadgets like a hamburger press, a vegetable basket that can make things a little easier.  But the most important gadgets for a fun BBQ are the ones that keep us safe.  BBQ means an open fire and very high temperatures so we need to be extra careful when cooking this Summer.

Always have a meat thermometer on hand to make sure you are cooking your food the minimum temperatures for food safety. This one is digital which makes it extra easy to read and it is quick to measure too.

A Gas Watch is a handy tool for gas grills, it will let you know how much propane you have left so you won’t run out in the middle of your cookout, but it also has a safety mechanism that checks for leaks and limits flow in the even there is a leak.

Start your BBQ by making sure your grill master is extra prepared, with tools, condiments and lots of his favorite beverages.  This BBQ master apron has room for everything you need to grill for hours.

Stay safe and watch out for burns.  Try these awesome silicon gloves, I love the color most so you can easily find them.  You can actually use these gloves to touch hot food and pans directly without feeling a thing.

Even with all the protection available to us, accidents still happen.  Make sure to keep Burn Jel Plus® on hand to #StopTheBurn when it occurs.  Burn Jel Plus® will relieve the pain immediately so you can get right back to the fun.

ENTER TO WIN – right now as part of our partnership with Burn Jel Plus® you can enter to win a Weber Grill valued at $499. We are also picking winners weekly to win one of 50 gift baskets filled with fun BBQ items and products.  Check out the details by clicking here.

Win A Weber Grill (value at $499)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Learn more about how Burn Jel Plus® works to #StopTheBurn and enter to win a gift basket and Weber Grill here.


Fruit and Cheese Quesadillas


July 15th 2014

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It’s hot.  Like really, really, really hot.  I wouldn’t call the heat oppressive, because I simply don’t like that word when describing Israel but yeah, it is hot.  The summer heat brings with it this need to feel lighter.  This naturally sweet and savory recipe is a perfect summer treat when a heavy sandwich can feel, well, heavy.

My Blueberry and Cheese Quesadillas make for a lovely summer lunch.  Filled with blueberries, sliced peaches, goat cheese, red onion and thyme you can savor them warm or at room temp.   In Israel (or anywhere else for that matter) you can skip the blueberries and instead add sliced plums, strawberries or event pitted cherries.  I also like using soft whole wheat flour tortillas for this recipe.  We are actually now, after 10 years of marriage, making the switch to whole wheat (everything) in our home (YAY – only took me a decade to convince Hubby!).

You can follow the instructions to fill the tortillas, fold them over, and warm them side by side in a large sauté pan.  Or you can simply toast the tortillas using tongs over an open flame on your stovetop for: 30 to 1 minute or warm them in the microwave, then just fill the warm tortillas.  Then eat.  Then give a little moan of delight.  Then eat some more.

Click for the full recipe here.

Share your super summer quesadilla ideas with us in the comments below.



Pick Your Own Blueberries and Make A Salad


July 14th 2014

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Summer is a time for playing outside, riding bikes, jumping in the pool, and of course fresh berry and vegetable picking.

As a child I never actually went to a farm to pick berries. There was a wooded area in our neighborhood that had wild berries. My siblings and I used to take strolls through our neighborhood to pick the unruly red berries right off the bushes. No washing was necessary. How we knew they weren’t poisonous, I don’t know! (That was the 70’s.) It wasn’t until I was an adult and had children of my own that I found out about picking berries and vegetables on farms.

One fall, before Rosh Hashana, when my oldest was in preschool, the school had a trip to a farm to pick apples. I had no idea that picking could be an actual school trip. In my day, a school trip meant a museum in DC or a visit to the Kennedy Center. Not an actual fun outdoor activity! Well, from that day forward, picking has been our family tradition. Every summer, we go to “the farm”. We have picked green beans, strawberries, sweet cherries, sour cherries, plums, peaches, black raspberries, red raspberries, dug for potatoes, pulled beets, you name it. But our absolute favorite things to pick are blueberries.

There is something about blueberries that bring a smile to our faces. From little kids to adults hearing that little “ku-plink, ku-plank, ku-plunk” in the bucket just brings sunshine to our world. Perhaps, for me, as I hear the tiny “ku-plink, ku-plank, ku-plunk” it brings fond memories of the children’s book, Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McClosky. It is about a loving mom, taking her child to Blueberry Hill to pick and store blueberries for the winter, and a mama bear taking her cub to eat and store blueberries for the winter as well.

My kids, like all kids, don’t just pick the blueberry and put the berry in the bucket; for every one berry that goes in the bucket 3 or 4 go in their mouths. Surprisingly, the laissez-faire environment of outdoor picking allows for fabulous family bonding and deep philosophical discussions. Perhaps, as a mother, that is what I really enjoy—seeing all my children getting along and having fun, forgetting about our everyday stress. There’s nothing like the “city mouse” going to the country for the day!

My children have grown. The youngest is 18, another is married, others have full time work, and yet blueberry picking is still a summer favorite in the Lebovic household.

When you bring home your free blueberries it is time to make my favorite Summertime salad – Corn and Blueberry Salad.

Order this bowl and/or spoon and to see my many other designs when you visit me at SwirlGifts.com or on Facebook here.


A Quick and Easy Summer Meal


July 11th 2014

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It’s Summertime and the cooking is easy. There aren’t many days that I feel the urge to cook ad infintum over a fryer and multiple pots of boiling water. I tend to lean on the easy, which isn’t true the rest of the year – or of course for a holiday. I’m busy researching for a book so with time at a premium, I thought about a 15 minute soup.

I had an overload of dairy from recently kitchen testing, so I thought of a cooling White Gazpacho, like I had year ago in the Costa Del Sol, on the southern coast of Spain. It was quite a meal, but I had a bit too much Rosé wine and I can’t recall the entree.

greek grilled cheese

Greek Grilled Cheese

Dinner needed an easy centerpiece and it could not be Rosé. I thought about those yummy cheeses of the Eastern Mediterranean and wondered what my family might want. Voila! Grilled cheese. I had a few loaves of tart sourdough with a crispy crust and some cheeses and few scallions. A dish was born.
I tried it grilled, first inside, then outside and then again toasted in the oven. Roasted was a bit easier to handle logistically, but they were all under 10 minutes.  I tried it with cheese on one side, but it was even better with cheese on both sides of the bread.  If you’ve got a panini press, or a cooking iron, grab it now. If your old George Foreman grill is dairy,  now is it’s moment. You can switch out the cheeses as long as you avoid really oily cheeses (think cheddar) or super strong and stinky ones that don’t melt (think feta). The scallions are so darn good, it matches so many cheeses. So enjoy, cook quickly and cook well.
Don’t miss the full recipes:

Greek-style Grilled Cheese Hoagies with Scallions

Spanish-style White Gazpacho


Watch How To Make a Night Cap Cocktail


July 10th 2014

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Building on what we learned from Tomer in the first Morad Winery Video where we made the Summer Breeze Cocktail, here we learn to make a night cap.

Don’t miss all our Morad Winery recipes, cocktails and videos – click here.


Cooking With Joy – Stuffing and Mushrooms


July 10th 2014

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Today, I was home with my sick 2 year old. She had fever and was up the whole night. I took off from work to stay home, be a good Mommy and take her to the doctor. I was exhausted, but took the “day off” as an opportunity to cook full speed ahead.

I made the Chestnut Challah Stuffing and Hearty Mushrooms. I prepped the stuffing and while it was in the oven I made the mushrooms. Both dishes totally done in an hour.


Cranberry Chestnut Challah Stuffing
DRESS IT UP Stuffed Baked Onions page 79

I opted to make the stuffing Pareve since I had a carton of veggie stock that was expiring soon. The stuffing came out tasting great! I really like chestnuts and craisins, Hubs doesn’t like either, but there was enough other yumminess for him to enjoy (sauteed garlic, onion  and celery). He really liked the stuffing too and even wants me to make it next time with Turkey. It actually is much easier than making my usual thanksgiving stuffing, so I may take him up on it!


Hearty Mushrooms with Herbs and Wine
DRESS IT UP Mushroom Phyllo Cups page 84

I’ve mentioned before that I love mushrooms. While the mushrooms were sauteeing two other dishes came to mind. The first was Chicken Marsala. I know that Marsala wine and dry white are not very similar, but something about the garlic, onions, mushrooms and alcohol in the pan summoned up that flavor in my brain. And the other dish was the mushroom polenta from Abigaels in NYC. Hubs and I have been there many times and usually have that as an appetizer. The aroma of the herbs and mushrooms brought back that food memory!

 I decided to use the variation and make them Dairy. I used veggies stock, dry white wine and topped it with crumbled feta. Considering on a normal sick day I have random whatever from the fridge, today was a delicious deviation. The warm rich mushrooms topped with the fresh cold feta was SOOOOOO good!

I cant wait to try the mushrooms in the meat variation. Mushrooms, beef stock, red wine and steak- my mouth is already watering!

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15 No Cook Recipes


July 9th 2014

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It’s difficult to not love the summer with it’s long sunny days and the abundance of ripe produce begging to eaten raw.  The summer heat is a welcome treat to those of us who live in colder climates and enjoying the great weather is reason alone to minimize your time in the kitchen, not to mention those blistering hot days when standing by the stove or oven can be very uncomfortable.  Below are 15 no-cook recipes to keep you out of the kitchen and enjoying the ever too short summer.



Raw Vegan Corn Chowder

There are certain summer days when a hot meal, let alone a hot bowl of soup, is simply unimaginable.  After spending a long day in the heat it’s important to give your body the nutrient it needs and soup is a convenient and tasty way to accomplish this goal.  Enter the summer gazpacho, such as the No Cook Tomato Soup with Cucumbers and Vegan Corn Chowder; all the flavor and nutrients you want minus the time spent by the stove.


In the summer there always seems to be a new fruit or vegetable popping up at the farmers market throughout the summer.  Incorporate both into salads that are satisfying enough to serve as a meal.  For example, there’s the Nectarine Tomato Salad, Simple Salad with Tehina and Yogurt Dressing, and the Alaskan Salmon Salad.



If you have access to high quality fish try serving it raw.  A rice cooker makes sushi is an hassle-free recipe that is easily customizable for all family members or guests.  Two other great options are the Ceviche with Pickled Beets or the Tuna Tartare with Avocado. There may not be fish in this recipe, yet the Summer Rolls would go great with both the ceviche and the tuna tartare.  If you’re not a fan of raw fish, enjoy a revitalized take on a classic with the Chunky Tuna Sandwiches.



Use fruit to help you stay hydrated this summer in a number of delightful ways.  The Fruit Skewers with Yogurt Dip are a fun way to serve fruit salad and are a great way to get the kids excited to enjoy a healthy snack.  Enjoy some guilt-free sweets by using greek yogurt to make Frozen Strawberry Yogurt or Mango Yogurt Parfaits.



blueberry lemon tarts

Raw fruit makes for a great summer dessert, but you can still enjoy pies and tarts without turning on the oven.  The No-Cook Key-Lime Pie and and Mini Blueberry Lemon Tarts take only minutes to prepare.  Chocolate lovers should try the Bittersweet Chocolate Agave Shots, which are great for a quiet dinner or are fancy enough to serve to guests.


Check out more No Cook recipes here!