How A New Recipe Is Born


February 7th 2014

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Normally I would enter into my kitchen and if I don’t have anything specific in mind I’d open the refrigerator and look for the leftovers; then whatever I find I start making something out of it. Sometimes when I stuff vegetables or dough I use the remaining filling to spontaneously create a new dish. Normally in cases like this no one asks me for the recipes, so in general I don’t write them down.

Now I learned my lesson. I posted a picture of one of my food creations on Facebook and one of my fans asked for the recipe – what a catch. Well I have to be honest and say this was one of those recipes that I improvised without taking notes.

I am sharing it here with you because I can imagine that is has happened to some of you at least once – am I right? I invite you to share your stories in the comments below.

So what do I tell the woman who asked for the recipe? I’ve asked my daughter and she suggested to simply tell her the truth that I improvised it and I don’t have a clue how to replicate it. At first I thought to myself she’s absolutely right. Do I need to provide a recipe every time I’m asked for one? On the other hand that’s my challenge – and so I decided that I will replicate the recipe and will provide it.

It was my mother who taught me how to improvise in the kitchen. I remember when I was about  11 years old and I was making a layer cake. One of the layers required whipped cream. While it wasn’t my first time whipping cream, that day I overdid it and the cream turned into butter. Wow what a disaster! So my mother calmly came into the kitchen and recommended to replace the whipped cream with another cream. Surprisingly the cake turned out tasty and no one could taste the difference. This so called ‘disaster’ taught me a great lesson, which I always remember!

The recipe I have replicated here is a Ricotta, Strawberry and Chocolate Muffin, which I originally made with blueberries.


The Best Salad Tools


February 7th 2014

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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.


It all starts with the lettuce and no body likes it soggy.  Try this Zyliss Salad Spinner with a retractable easy pull cord and a stop button, your lettuce will get dry and crisped with little effort on your part.


The other thing we love about salad bars is the way they toss and chop it all together for us.  No worries, get your self this Salad Chop and Toss which easily chops fruits and veggies right in the bowl.  No need for a separate cutting board!


The other chopper option is one of these Mezzaluna, which chops herbs and veggies with a rocking motion.  Great for mincing herbs for dressing or other recipes, but it can also chop your salad right in the bowl just like at the salad bar.


Get a few of these Salad Dressing Makers and prepare a few dressings so you always have your favorites to choose from and can easily add variety.

Don’t forget the salad bowl.  A big stainless bowl is best especially if chopping and tossing in the bowl for a lot of people.

Enjoy your salads all year long, no more waiting in line!!







The Truth About Vermouth


February 6th 2014

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Vermouth is a type of fortified wine that is made by adding spirits to wine and infusing with a proprietary blend of botanicals. It has been used as a flavor enhancer in many cocktails for years, including classic cocktails like the Martini and the Manhattan.

Vermouth was popular starting in the 1800s and comes in dry and sweet varieties. Over the past several years there has been a resurgence of interest in old fashioned cocktails, many of which include vermouth. A variety of new aperitif and fortified wines (of which vermouth is both) have been introduced to the U.S. market.

While I wait for the kosher market to catch up with some artisanal and craft vermouth varieties that can bring your cocktail to the next level, I have been experimenting with the only kosher vermouth commercially available, by Kedem.

It turns out there is way more you can do with vermouth than just Martinis and Manhattans, neither of which I care for very much. Unlike most spirits, vermouth can’t sit on your shelf for months, once open it needs to be refrigerated and used within a month or less. However, if you start using vermouth to cook with in addition to your cocktails you will have no trouble using it up.

I have been using vermouth in place of wine in all my recipes from risotto, to sautéed green beans, to fondue, to chicken. The flavor works perfectly and the price is right too, at under $10/bottle I can have my drink and risotto too.

My current drink of choice is a riff on the Pisco Sour that I call Shaken Not Stirred using a raw egg white for texture and foam. The vermouth adds a very nice flavor and complexity to this refreshing drink, I prefer it with the dry vermouth, which I don’t find very dry, but if all they have is sweet, it will do.

If you want to get a little more interesting in vermouth choices you can always try to make your own.


Comfort Food With No Compromises


February 6th 2014

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Create the ultimate comfort foods to satisfy all palates using Tofutti’s variety of dairy-free products.

kosher chicken parm

Kosher Chicken Parmesan

Using a mixture of non dairy ricotta and cream cheese as well as Tofutti Mozarella slices you can create a kosher chicken Parmesan.  Crispy and ooey gooey goodness!!

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Try these sweet potatoes that are twice baked.  Mix up the filing with Tofutti cream cheese and sour cream as well as lots of fun spices and put it back inside the hearty skins.

Alaskan Salmon Salad

Alaskan Salmon Salad

Try a new take on a cold fish appetizer, make this creamy Alaskan salmon salad, spread on bread, serve with lettuce, you will love this new way to get your omega-3′s.

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

Last, but certainly not least, try this ultimate cream filled recipe with absolutely no real cream or butter.  You will be amazed how delicious it can be.

Now that you have tried all the recipes, get some tips.  Founder and mastermind behind the whole Tofutti line is David Mintz.  Here he shares 3 decades worth of Tofutti secrets:

Swap the Mayo

For heart-healthy, cholesterol free, decadent salad dressing swap mayo for Tofutti Better than Sour Cream in tuna, salmon, egg and pasta salad.

Optional add ins: diced pickles, celery, red onions, bell peppers, pickled relish, shredded carrots.

Add spices like curry powder, mustard powder, or paprika, for a flavor boost.

For the creamiest pareve coleslaw toss shredded cabbage with Tofutti Better than Sour Cream.

Optional add ins: chopped roasted or candied nuts, colorful julienned veggies.

For juicy, super succulent white meat spread a generous layer of Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese between the chicken breast and skin. Optional add ins: chopped sun-dried tomatoes, crushed garlic, torn parsley leaves.

In Baked Goods

For that fresh baked, just-out of-the-oven taste add Tofutti Better than Sour Cream to muffin batter for moist muffins that will taste freshly baked for days.
Also try with: hamantashen, cake and cornbread.

Learn more about Tofutti and get more recipes here.

As seen in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller – Late Winter 2014 – Subscribe Now.


5 Mushroom Recipes


February 5th 2014

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Filling, meat-heavy meals are the foundation for most meals during the winter months.  For those looking for a break from meat, mushrooms can provide the same level of heartiness without the weighed-down feeling that meat can cause.  Below are 5 quick and delicious mushroom recipes to incorporate into your weekday meals.


Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

1.  Risotto with Wild Mushrooms This risotto is a great weekday entrée.  It only takes 30 minutes to cook and requires minimum active cooking time, because the pressure cooker will do all of the work for you!  To serve as a formal weekday meal, pair the risotto with Cranberry Walnut Salmon on a Bed of Spinach.

Creamy Mushroom Soup


2.  Creamy Mushroom Soup. Make it a meal by serving generous portions of soup along with rice and roasted vegetables.  Or pair it with Corn and Rice Kugel and Roasted Sweet Vegetables in Spicy Cinnamon Cider.

Polenta with Wild Mushrooms


3.  Polenta with Mushrooms Serve as a main dish or a side simply by increasing or decreasing the serving size of polenta.  I love the idea of large fried polenta patties with a heaping serving of wild mushrooms and a side of Broccoli Rabe with Raisins and Pine Nuts followed by Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cake.

Zucchini Pasta with Mushrooms and Oven Dried Tomatoes


4.  Zucchini Pasta with Mushrooms and Oven Dried Tomatoes A fun play on a classic pasta + sauce meal, substitute traditional pasta with zucchini.  Because this pasta does not cause carb-induced anxiety, try some Fresh Cranberry Streusel Bars for dessert or Bourbon Mousse and Gingersnap Cookies!

Layered Mushroom Kugel


5.  Layered Mushroom Kugel This kugel is gluten-free and tastes best using different types of mushrooms.  It can be made parve or dairy and serves as an excellent side to any weekday or shabbos dinner.




Mustard Greens Recipes


February 5th 2014

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Mustard greens are part of the healthy “dark leafy green” vegetable family.  They are similar in texture to kale and collard greens, but with a bit more body.  And, like the name implies, mustard greens have a tangy, peppery bite reminiscent of mustard.   Mustard greens are wildly nutritious: low in calories, a good source of fiber and high in Vitamins K, A and C.  Additionally, mustard greens store very well in the refrigerator for at least one week.   I love them as a main course any time of day when they are sauteed with garlic and topped with a poached egg.  Try my recipe for Sauteed Garlic Mustard Greens with Sweet Potato and Poached Egg.

shaved mustard greens

Shaved Mustard Green Salad

Many dark leafy greens are also excellent when eaten raw; and mustard greens are no exception.  Mustard greens have a thick center rib running down each leaf.  This should be removed for the best possible texture.  For this recipe, Shaved Mustard Green Salad, we use a food processor to thinly and evenly shave the mustard green leaves.  If a food processor is unavailable, the same effect can be achieved by hand with the help of a sharp knife.  We also add toasted hazelnuts for added crunch.  Toasting nuts bring out flavorful and fragrant oils, and crushing the hazelnuts before toasting increases the surface area — which translates to even more nuttiness.  The salad is dressed with a simple, roasted garlic vinaigrette.  Roasting garlic reduces its spicy bite.  However, if you love the taste of raw garlic (I know I do!) this recipe works perfectly with minced, raw garlic added to the vinaigrette.

I hope you like my recipe for mustard greens, give them a chance.


Best Recipes for Shabbat Lunch


February 4th 2014

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The Shabbos lunch menu must feature make-ahead dishes that can withstand the oven-to-fridge-to-hot-plate-to-table cycle with leftovers returning right back to that revolving refrigerator door. Follows are a few of my secrets to Shabbos lunch success.

First thing’s first, the first course. I sometimes serve a bang it out starter akin to the last supper. You’d think that I think that we’re never gonna eat again. But I feel the first course is the most Shabbos lunch friendly and when done right allows to you to satiate the hungry humans around your table and simplify the main – which by all accounts is certainly the trickier of the two.

The Fish Course

Some elegant and creative nontraditional ways to feast on fish.

Tuna Tartar with Honey Sesame Wonton Crisps

Smoked Salmon Salad

Salmon Pasta Salad with Dill

Gefilte Fish Cakes with Horseradish Sauce

Signature Dish

Everyone should have one.  (Not really a rule, but it’s cool if you do).  A side of salmon surrounded by seared lemons and tomato salad served on a nice big beautiful platter is my Shabbos lunch signature dish.

Honey Baked Salmon

Honey Baked Salmon on a Cedar Plank

Serve Persimmon Salsa alongside my Honey Baked Salmon or go for a pretty multicolored heirloom or grape tomato salad dressed simply in olive oil, lemon juice and S + P.

Sweet, Savory, Satisfying Salads and Slaws

You can decide to serve these salads and slaws as part of your super-sized starter course or sprinkled in with your main. Either way salads are a safe staple for Shabbos lunch.


Salad Stuffed Grilled Portobellos

Potato Salad with Arugula and Tomato

California Roll Salad

Curried Cauliflower Salad


I am the cabbage queen always looking for fun and fancy ways to savor slaw.

Coleslaw with Crispy Tofu

Crunchy Cabbage Salad

Tropical Slaw


It’s All About the Crock Pot Baby

My new obsession…. Somewhat Sephardic Chulent on page 214 of my NEW book JOY of KOSHER Fast, Fresh Family Recipes, order it here at this link. (And I really do mean go get it now! You will thank me, love me, and hug me!).

Of course there is always my Hubby’s famous Family Heirloom Chulent. It was so cool when my his recipe was published in the New York Times.

Beer Braised Brisket

Or try something new in that slow cooker – Beer Braised Brisket. I sometimes go half beer and half beef broth.

Room Temp is Your Friend

There are plenty of dishes that need not be served steaming. Chicken breast cutlets at room temp are far better than dried out, rubbery, warm chicken.  Green beans also work both hot and cold and at every temp in between.  Additionally protein spiked salads and some starchy sides don’t require hot plate space.  Serve the following dishes in their Shabbos day finest form, at room temperature.

Chicken Recipes

Chicken and Veggie Skewers

Teriyaki Chicken

Oven Baked Chicken Fingers with a Duo of Dipping Sauces

Peach BBQ Sauce Chicken

Main Salads

Spicy Thai Beef Salad

Mandarin Spinach Salad

Asian Chicken Salad

Pesto Pasta with Chicken

Chilled Chicken Noodle Salad

Starchy Sides

Thai Pesto Noodles

Spiced Brown Rice with Peas

Pineapple Fried Rice

Green Bean Sides

Green Bean and Three Onion Saute

French String Beans with Slivered Almonds

Cider Glazed Vegetables


Noodle kugles can be made ahead and re-heat really nicely. And now you’ll actually have room for them on your hot plate.

Sweet Kugel with Dried Fruit

Salt and Pepper Kugel with Roasted Garlic

Salt and Pepper Kugel

Spinach Noodle Kugel

Sandwich Bar

Serve savory “sandwiches” as bites.

turkey sandwich

Cut this Turkey Sandwich with Pickled Red Onions in half and cut each half in half again for the tea sandwich version of this classic.

Deli Roll Pinwheels with Chopped Salad

Love this re-make of the deli roll.

Tropical Chicken Burrito

I say serve this Tropical Chicken Burrito for Shabbos just cause it’s unexpected and fun. Put some Mexican spices in your chulent and plate with shredded lettuce and diced tomato salad topped with corn and avocado.

Have the bestest most delicious, most happy, most ful(l)filling Shabbos! Oh, and don’t forgot to share and share alike. Let us know in the comments below what you serve for Shabbos day.


Speedy Coq au Vin


February 3rd 2014

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Learn to make my fast and delicious version fo this classic chicken recipe. To print the recipe, go to Speedy Coq a Vin.


Personal Heirloom Cookbook Giveaway


February 2nd 2014

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Food, we know, has magical properties. So, too, do the stories behind their recipes. They resurrect those who are gone. They let you travel through time. They become mythology.

As a personal historian, I interview people and write their life stories into heirloom books. Usually it is the children or grandchildren who commission me, seeking to preserve their family legacy. Some of my subjects are world-famous. Some are ordinary folk. No matter, the wisdom and intimacy I encounter are astounding. I hear stories of great work, love affairs, lifetimes that seem to have passed in a blink. Especially, as people chronicle their lives, I am struck by the centrality of food and recipes – and the tales behind them. Too often, even when we manage to scribble down the recipes, we leave the stories behind.

Caramel Pear Lattice Pie

Caramel Pear Lattice Pie

There is the pie recipe – handed down from a mother-in-law who when she shared her recipe, always left out one key ingredient so it could never be replicated in its full glory. Except this one time.

Sweet Kugel with Dried Fruit

There is the kugel – that was perfected over the years by a community, first with this auntie’s change, then with that friend’s addition. In the end, the recipe belongs to no one in particular. It was the collective Stone Soup.

sweet package brisket

Sweet Cabbage Brisket

Then there is the brisket that his father taught his mother to make with an alarming amount of onions. It was long ago when his parents were still married. And though he was too young to have any memory of that flicker in time when they were one whole family together, the recipe itself somehow lets it exist again for just a moment.

What are your beloved recipes with stories behind them?

One of my own favorite recipes is my father’s lasagna, chunky with zucchini and roasted garlic. He learned it from his mother who used to make all kinds of pasta because the neighborhood where they lived in Cleveland was full of Italians. It was a time when homes spilled into each other. Great-Grandma lived on the second floor of the house, and someone named Uncle Porky – who may or may not have actually been an uncle – lived on the third floor. People were always stopping by unexpectedly, sometimes sleeping over, so she made food in spectacular quantities, great pots of spaghetti and sheet pans of this lasagna. I never met Grandma myself, but this lasagna is always the way I imagine her generosity.

WIN – now’s your chance to share your story and enter for a chance to win a personal heirloom cookbook. 

In the comments below share with us your recipe with a paragraph explaining the family story behind it, and you could win a complementary personal history project for you or your favorite Bubbe chronicling the recipes of your family and their stories in a keepsake book.


Contest will run through February 17th at 11:59 PM EST.  Open to anyone over the age 0f 18.  Winner will be selected for the best story.  Winner will be announced on this blog post and emailed through the email they comment with and have 24 hours to respond to claim their prize.

Thank you all for sharing these amazing stories.


Magazine Sneak Peek


February 2nd 2014

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Surprise!! We have tons of fun stuff in store with you in our latest issue.  Purim recipes that go beyond the usual and free Purim gift tags for Mishloach Manot.  Don’t miss our vegan guide, our interview with Mayim Biyalik, money saving tips and learn all about the pressure cooker.  Check out our sneak peek and find more in the articles and guides below to keep you warm this Winter and prepared for Purim.

Subscribe Today!

Learn to make this new kind of hamatashen made from challah dough:

Subscribe Today!


The Best Slow Cookers


January 31st 2014

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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.

Starting with this gorgeous looking model above by Bella.  If this is going to be sitting out on your counter every week, it should look pretty, don’t you think.  Bella offers this basic model as well as a programmable version all come in a choice of 9 different colors!!  Got to love this look.

This Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker is pretty classic, it has the typical knob to turn from low to high, but it also has a keep warm setting and most importantly a locking lid, no overflowing spills and easy to bring to someone else’s house.  Oh and the lid and pot are dishwasher safe!!

This programmable Cuisinart slow cooker does it all. It actually allows you to brown the meat in the pot and then add the rest of the ingredients and turn to slow cook, a pretty great feature for much less clean up.  You can also saute and steam all with this one pot.  The programmable settings allow you to set a timer to cook at the temperature you want for the time you want.  Pretty cool features.

This slow cooker comes with a built in thermometer that goes through the glass lid into the meat.  Now you can cook your chicken or roast to the perfect temperature without having to touch it during cooking.  This model also has a special powder interrupter protection that keeps it on if the power goes out so you don’t end up with spoiled meat.

wonderbag slow cookerFinally, check out this new kind of Portable Slow Cooker, called the Wonderbag. Cook in your favorite pot on the stove, bring to a boil and then cover with the wonderbag to allow your food to continue to cook for up to 12 hours. No heat source necessary.  Perfect for pot lucks or when you need all your stove space and for saving electricity or gas.  Plus it is for a good cause.  Every wonderbag purchased in the US will mean that one is donated to a family in need in a developing country.  Got to love this genius product.


Of course there are tons of models out there to choose from and all in different sizes.  Our slow cookers take a beating and they are not so expensive to replace.  Choose the features that are most important to you and get a new slow cooker.





DIY – Make Your Own Flavored Seaweed Snacks


January 31st 2014

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We make sushi at least twice a month in my house and it’s always a big hit.  In addition to the fish, rice and veggies, my kids can’t get enough of the Nori seaweed.  They ask for whole pieces just to snack on while we’re rolling.  I used to think they were crazy, until I started to see toasted seaweed snacks at every market. My kids were onto something.  The only difference between our kitchen table snacks and the latest supermarket fad is that the new products added assorted flavors.

I haven’t been able to find any toasted seaweed snacks with kosher certification so I decided to make my own.  It is really easy and fun to make your own flavored seaweed.  The kids can make it themselves, because I can’t seem to make them fast enough!

The best part? Seaweed is really, really good for you! According to Mao Shing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., PhD from the Dr. Oz show, “Seaweed and marine algae have more concentrated nutrition than vegetables grown on land and they have long been considered to possess powers to prolong life, prevent disease, and impart beauty and health.”

Nori is filled with essential minerals, vitamins and protein and is extremely low in calories. According to my package of Nori, each piece only has 10 calories, but it has 1 g of protein, 6% Vitamin A, 4% vitamin C, 2% calcium and 2 % iron.  Talk about nutrient dense!  All types of seaweed have nutritional benefits, but Nori is the easiest to find kosher and easiest to eat, especially now that I learned to make these flavorful snacks.

Basically all you have to do is brush the Nori sheets with your favorite flavors and bake them at 250 for 15 minutes.  They are best with a little oil, sesame or olive oil work particularly well and then sprinkle some sea salt or other seasoning, my son came up with a really fun recipe that didn’t even use oil!  We brushed on some of the juice from the pickled ginger jar and it was a huge hit!

I want to share the basic recipe with a few of our ideas for flavors, but go ahead and invent your own and share your favorite ideas in the comments.  Here is my recipe for Flavored Seaweed Snacks.


Shabbat In India


January 30th 2014

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When you travel to India, you know you’re gonna be in for an adventure — which is exactly why you go.

“Expect the unexpected”, you’re told. Nothing highlights this idea more than the three Shabbosim I spent in India.

Week One: Cholent in a Tent in Dharamsala

After a 14 hour plane ride immediately followed by a 12 hour bus ride into the night, my friend and I finally arrived in Dharmsala, home of the Dalai Lama, located in the north of India. (No, he did not invite us in for Kiddush, but that would be a good story.) My friend and I, along with about 50 other jews — mostly Israeli citizens recouping from their time in the army — davened Kabalat Shabbat together in a makeshift house/tent followed by a Kiddush and an Israeli/Indian dinner.

Everyone enjoyed the curried cholent!

Week 2 : Muslim Shabbat on a Houseboat in Kashmir

“I’m Jewish. Is that gonna be a problem?” I asked when my new Kashmiri friend suggested we spend the weekend on his brother’s houseboat on Dal Lake in Kashmir.

“‘No ma’am!” he responded. “My sister in law is Jewish!”

My friend, and I, along with two other Jewish travelers, (including an Israeli soldier,) spent a relaxing Shabbat with our Muslim hosts. They even baked us Challah!  I’m still waiting for my Nobel Peace Prize.

Week 3: Chabad in Pushkar, Rajasthan, with Bamba Snacks. 

My friend and I arrived in Pushkar, a small village in the Rajasthan region of India. Because of all of the Israeli travelers, many of the Indian store owners can speak Hebrew. Among the typical hustle and bustle you find thousands of colorful saris, cows walking down the street, camels, vendors selling their wares and more. You also see many cafés featuring falafel and shakshuka on their menus and Hebrew writing all over. The popular Indian name, Shimesh, is changed to “Shemesh” to accommodate the Israelis as well.

We spent a lively shabbat with the Chabad rabbi and his 13 children and about 150 fellow travelers. The Rabbi would ask questions during the meal offering Israeli Bamba snacks to reward the right answers.

Every one of those experiences were unique and special in their own right. Traveling always has it’s challenges but if you can live to tell the story- it’s worth it!
Now you can travel to India in your home with a few of my favorite Indian recipes:
Have you been to India? Do you like Indian food? let me know in the comments below.


Why Are There Two Months of Adar and What is Purim...


January 30th 2014

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The Hebrew calendar allows us to track the Jewish year. Without that, we would not be able to celebrate the Jewish holidays at their correct time.

Unlike the other calendars in existence today, the Jewish calendar goes according to the moon. Once a month at Rosh Chodesh as the new moon appears, we restart counting the days in the month. The decision when to begin the new month used to be based upon the testimony of witnesses verifying they had seen the new moon in the sky. The Beis Din would light fires on mountains informing the people of the new moon. After a while the Sadducees began to light fake fires on mountains to confuse people and stop the information flowing from city to city. That is when they created a fixed calendar that we still use today.

An inherent challenge appears when following a lunar calendar, that the months fall out of sync with the solar cycle. Since there is roughly an eleven day difference between the eleven lunar months and the solar year, the lunar months will travel through the year and appear at different seasons every year. The Torah tells us to observe Pesach in “chodesh ha’aviv” the springtime, which is the season the Jewish people left Egypt. In order to keep Pesach in that season, every two to three years an extra month is added to the calendar, adar. By doing this, the months align themselves perfectly into the correct seasons, and thereby all the Jewish holidays too.

The only question left to answer is which month to put Purim in, the first adar or the second one? Well since we know Purim must fall thirty days before Pesach, it is celebrated during the second adar month. During the first adar we have whats called Purim Katan, (little Purim), and that falls on the same date Purim would have fallen on had it not been a leap year. We do not celebrate Purim Katan like we celebrate Purim proper, however the Shulchan Aruch recommends a feeling of festivity on that day and quotes Proverbs (15:15): “One who is of good heart is festive always”.

Tonight, the 30th of January begins Rosh Chodesh Adar 1 so you have 15 days to prepare for Purim Katan and extra time to prepare for the full Purim celebration on March 16th, check here for 40 kinds of hamantashen, tons of Mishloach Manot ideas, and lots of Purim Seudah Menus.


10 Healthy(ier) Snow Day Treats


January 29th 2014

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Being a New Englander I should not have been so surprised to see snow this winter, but it hasn’t been quite so cold and snowy around here for a few years.  When I was at home in Cambridge, MA for the first snow storm of the season I saw the local news covering the blizzard non-stop during the news broadcast.  That was when I realized that we are in for a long, cold winter which calls for warm, hearty meals and treats. For those of us who don’t spend our snow days shoveling snow or sledding (I wish!) for hours on end, here are 10 healthy(ier) snow day meals and treats.


Breakfast.  After checking the local news for delays and closings, treat yourself to a few more hours shut-eye under those warm winter duvets.  When you’re ready for breakfast, enjoy these normally-reserved-for-the-weekend breakfasts.


Simple Spelt Pancakes

1.  Pancakes.  Specifically Spelt Pancakes.  I’ve found that using spelt, instead of white flour, does not drastically change the taste of the pancakes, if anything, they taste heartier.  You can also subsitute with white spelt flour or make Whole Wheat Pancakes.  Since these pancakes are healthier than their white flour counterparts, why not indulge with a fillings bar!  After you make the batter, transfer it onto a hot griddle or pan to cook then drop in a few of you favorite pancake stuffings such as chocolate chips or blueberries.



Smoked Salmon Benedict

2.  Smoked Salmon Benedict.  My brother is a huge fan of eggs benedict, but personally I have trouble eating such a heavy meal in the morning…except for this recipe.  The brightness of the salmon plays well with the poached egg and rich benedict dressing.  While english muffins are light in calories, it can be difficult to find kosher english muffins outside of New York.  I would recommend a multi-grain bread as a good substitute.


Lunch.  I have soup + sandwiches on the mind!

Grilled Herbed Veggie Sandwich

3.  Grilled Herbed Veggie Sandwich.  The beautiful colors of the vegetables and the fragrant aroma from this sandwich makes it one of my favorites.  This sandwich plays well with the Mushroom Barley Soup and Winter Vegetable Soup.  You can also add grilled chicken to make this sandwich or if you’re in the mood for a more meat centered meal try the Curry Turkey Burger.


Make your own Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches

4.  Make Your Own Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches.  Keeping with the soup and sandwich theme, frying or baking eggplant allows for more portion control and maximizes sandwich stacking freedom. Serve with the Vegetarian Lentil Soup or  Three Bean Minestrone Soup.  If you prefer traditional eggplant parmesan, try the Eggplant Parmesan Lite.


Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

5.  Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese + Dream of Tomato Soup.  Who can resist grilled cheese with tomato soup?!  You can substitute the guyere with mozzerella cheese, if you prefer.  Also, control calories by limiting the amount of cheese in each sandwich and/or cutting the sandwiches in fourths effectively making them mini-pesto grilled cheeses.  To serve the tomato soup with this grilled cheese either omit the chicken consomme from the recipe or substitute it with the pareve consomme of your choosing.


Treats.  If you’ve been outside shoveling or just want a sweet snow day treat, try these perfectly-snow-day-appropriate desserts.

Chocolate Swirl Bread

6.  Chocolate Swirl Bread.  Pair it with a warm cup of Triple Hot Chocolate, Soy Cinnamon Hot Cocoa, or Hot Spiced Apple Cider.


Banana Chocolate Oatmeal Muffin Top Cookies

7.  Banana Chocolate Oatmeal Muffin Top Cookies.  The only thing these cookies are missing is peanut butter (my waistline is thankful), but that won’t stop me from spooning a small teaspoon of PB onto these cookies  or serving them with Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate.  Alternatively you could combine your cookie and hot chocolate craving into one recipe with these Spicy Hot Chocolate Brownie Cookies.

Yael's Chocolate S'manwiches

8.  Yael’s Chocolate S’manwiches.  I may have fallen (a bit) off the waistline-friendly derech with all of these delicious desserts, but these chocolate s’manwiches are worth it and will satisfy your sweet tooth in one, or two, servings.


Dinner.  When the snow beckons the last thing you want to do is cut your snow day short in order to cook dinner.  This is the perfect opportunity for slow-cooked dinners, just place the ingredients in a crockpot and forget about them until supper time.


Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Root Vegetables

9.  Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Root Vegetables.  The combined heartiness of the beef and root vegetables is beyond compare.  Also consider trying the Moroccan Beef and Sweet Potato Stew or Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew.


Chicken Thighs with Eggplant and Olives over Pasta

10.  Chicken Thighs with Eggplant and Olives over Pasta.  This recipe is both hearty and healthy.  The eggplant and olives pair well with the chicken, while the pasta soaks up the delicious juices produced by the chicken, eggplant and olives after 6 hours in the slow cooker.

Stay warm!