Healthy & Kosher

 

Almond Spinach Croutons

 

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Let’s get crunchy!  When the idea for a link up of croutons came up, I was ready to think outside the square.  Maybe there is a way I can turn vegetables into croutons.  Whether you add croutons to soup or salad you get an added does of veggies and nutrients.

So I turned to spinach, if it works for Popeye it works for me!  I always have frozen spinach in my freezer and it is versatile enough that you can use it in so many recipes — from scrambled eggs or omelets for breakfast to improving a cheese quesadilla or pizza at dinner.


 

Making Dairy Healthy This Shavuot

 

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Holidays bring family and friends together to celebrate traditions while socializing, eating, and drinking. But with so many people struggling to maintain a healthy body weight, it is important to balance holiday meals with healthy nutrition. The essential thing to remember is that it is a “holi-DAY,” not a “holi-WEEK.” If you indulge a little bit more than you would on an average day, do NOT let it affect your whole week.

When I think of Shavuot, I think of gooey cheese blintzes, creamy cheesecake and other high-calorie dairy dishes. But it doesn’t have to be that way… Don’t get me wrong; dairy is not the devil! In fact, many dairy products are high in calcium, which is critical for good bone health. Still, high-fat dairy products contain excessive amounts of calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat that we are better off limiting. In fact, diets rich in high-fat dairy products are linked to chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.


 

Savory Crepes or Blintzes

 

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What’s the difference between crepes and blintzes?  I was wondering the other day while thinking about the traditional Shavuot recipe for cheese blintzes.

I never cared for cheese blintzes, the only blintzes I liked as a kid were potato blintzes.  Those frozen potato blintzes that used to spark riots at summer camp now seem like carb overload.   Plus, they’re kind of boring.  Yet, on my first trip to Paris, I couldn’t wait to get a taste of the classic French Crepe.  Amazing how changing the name makes all the difference!


 

Summer Rolls Recipe with Two Dipping Sauces

 

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I’ve always been enamored with the colorful flavors of Southeast Asia. The layers of sweet, salty and spicy inspire so many of the dishes that emerge from my kitchen. Over the past several years, it’s become possible to find kosher ingredients to recreate some of the best-loved foods from Thailand and Vietnam. I make a regular pilgrimage to the Asian food markets that dot the outer boroughs of New York City and I am constantly amazed at the low prices and variety of fresh produce that are available.

In the summer, when I’m looking beyond soups and stews to satisfy family and friends, I turn my gaze far eastward. In Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, they know how to beat the heat with bright salads, cool fruit drinks, and the Summer Roll.


 

Kosher Beef Ribs Recipes and Giveaway

 

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“I want my baby back…”

Now that I’ve got you humming or singing the ubiquitous television jingle for the popular non-kosher restaurant chain, I’m going to share with you my recent encounter with three kinds of ribs we can all enjoy. Now we can all be singing the same tune!


 

The Passover Cream Cheese Butterfly Effect

 

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You’ve all heard about the butterfly effect — the idea that one small event or change can have a large effect somewhere else.  In classic theory, a butterfly flapping its wings can create a hurricane or tsunami halfway around the world.  You don’t go into Passover expecting to lose weight.  It’s a holiday and we are surrounded by delicious foods and wine all week long.  Your best hope is damage control.  And to be honest, after all the work cooking, cleaning and koshering a little indulgence is well deserved and need not induce any (more) Jewish guilt.

However, it’s the little decisions we make along the way that will tip the scales, one way or another.  During Passover, I love matzo and cream cheese, especially the fluffy white stuff from Temp Tee.  It’s comfort food.  It’s not going on a cookbook cover, but it doesn’t have to go on my thighs either.


 

Good Things Come In Small Packages

 

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Spinach and artichoke taste great together and can be kept in the freezer for a quick vegetable side dish or fun appetizer you can prepare in minutes.  A few months ago, I developed an Inside Out Spinach and Artichoke Dip that my kids and brunch guests devoured.  This time, I was looking to create something pareve and miniature.  Isn’t everything better when it’s smaller? I’m not just saying that because I’m five feet tall!  From cocktail party appetizers to pre-game bites, each Spinach and Artichoke Mini Kugel has only 30 calories and is filled with lots of nutrients, without sacrificing flavor or taste. Spinach is on every list of superfoods for its high vitamin content.  Spinach is packed with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin K and tons of antioxidants.  Artichokes are high in vitamin C and are also rich in fiber and antioxidants.  This recipe is low in calories, but high in nutrients.  Does it get any better?

When we decided to do a mini food link up for January, I thought of party hors d’oeuvres.  Something that could be the star of a Shabbat kiddush, Super Bowl party or even the upcoming Purim holiday.  It’s a challenge to find healthy foods at these events, I’m usually stuck grazing at the vegetable platter, if there’s even one to be found .  The Spinach and Artichoke Mini Kugel is a healthy party food you and your guests will love.


 

To Tea or Not to Tea?

 

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Last year, for a short time, Tupperware sold different blends of tea.     They did have good Hashgacha, so I gave it a try.  Although, I was not a tea drinker, it was a nice beverage to add to my drinking choices.  Green tea has numerous benefits over the common black tea.     Normally, if my family sees me drinking a cup of tea, it’s because I have a sore throat and I am imminently ready to lose my voice—again!  I drink many cups of tea over a two day period of time with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a bit of Splenda, and it helps me stave off laryngitis.

Tea as a beverage can be traced to China about 5,000 years ago; it was later brought to the West by Turkish traders.  Traditionally, tea was consumed by Buddhist monks to stay awake during long meditation sessions. Green tea does contain some caffeine, but it is much less than what a cup of coffee contains: there is about 15 mg of caffeine in an 8-oz. cup of green tea as opposed to around 100 mg in an 8-oz. cup of coffee.
A Buddhist story about the origins of tea recounts how the Buddha, unable to stay awake during mediation, tore off his eyelids and threw them to the ground out of frustration. Where the eyelids fell, tea plants sprouted and helped him and his monks stay awake during meditation.


 

Scallion Oil for a Tofu and Celery Salad

 

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I once had this amazing tofu and celery salad with a green oily dressing at a Chinese restaurant. It was one of the most unique salads I had ever tasted and I would eat it every day if I could. The tofu was firm, I think they call it pressed and the celery, which I only recently came to love (read about that here), was crunchy and tasty. The secret was in the sauce.

I was told that it was just scallion oil, whatever that meant and so it began, a mission to recreate this salad.  To be honest I didn’t even try for a while thinking it way beyond possible.  I spent some time online thinking I would find a similar recipe and after coming up empty felt pretty hopeless.  Then when we decided to do this special kosher Chinese food recipe link up I got inspired to try again.  I found a few versions online, but none sounded exactly right, most seemed to cook the celery and tofu and I am pretty certain it should not be cooked.  Anyways, I can’t say that I am a complete success, but I did create a pretty darn good salad that I am excited to make again and I know you will all enjoy.


 

The Day After Chanukah

 

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Yes, we indulged. It was Chanukah, we had to. Tradition is super important, right? Of course.

And while we enjoyed, we said, “When Chanukah is over…” But—shouldn’t every day be delicious?


 

Oil Adventures ***Giveaway***

 

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Canola, olive, grapeseed, sunflower, peanut and even sesame are all relatively common oils these days.  And with just those six oils you can create a myriad of recipes each with a unique flavor.  I highly recommend you keep a few different oil varieties around — the reason goes beyond flavor.

Studies have shown that a balanced intake of omega 3 and 6 along with a high level of omega 9 fatty acids significantly reduce the risk of dying from a cardiovascular-related disease.


 

8 Nights of Dairy Delights Starts with Savory...

 

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Happy Chanukah everyone!!  It is here one of our favorite times of years to celebrate with chanukah parties, fried foods and lots of dairy.  Starting tonight along with the first night of Chaukah we are sharing 8 Days of Dairy Delights.  Two years ago we did Latkes, last year we did Crispy Treats and now we thought let’s go with Dairy Delights.  After all it is a custom to eat dairy on Chanukah and I do love dairy.

When I was thinking of what I should contribute I wanted to be a little more creative.  I thought first about my Inside Out Stuffed Spinach and Artichoke Dip, perfect for a party, but it didn’t feel like it related to Chanukah enough.  Then I kept seeing those donut pans and I thought what about using those pans to make a savory baked donut.  It could be healthy at least better than fried and it would be fun for Chanukah.  I have to say I love fake out foods.  When my husband came home and I asked him to taste these donuts, his first excited reaction was, “isn’t that dessert?”. When I laughed and said no, he took a bite and once he got over the confusion, he loved them.


 

Cornbread Stuffing Recipes

 

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I love to make stuffing.  I don’t make it very often.  Usually I save it for Rosh Hashanah and Thanksgiving and an occasional other time when I just have a lot of extra bread lying around.  My favorite way to make stuffing is to cut up a huge loaf of bread and let it get stale.  Then mix it with a ton of wild mushrooms and the results are just amazing.  After many requests to make the stuffing, I had to try something new.  A few years ago when I first found a soy chorizo, I new it would pair perfectly with cornbread and I created this Soyrizo Cornbread Stuffing.  Then just last week I had made a double batch of cornbread and a whole batch was left, so what could I do but make stuffing.  I didn’t have any soyrizo, but I did have some smoked sausage and some butternut squash just lying around and so this recipe was born.

Cornbread stuffing is a Southern favorite and a real nice change from white bread stuffing with the added bonus of whole grains especially if you make my Cornbread Recipe.  It can be difficult to find store bought parve cornbread, so do what I did.  Make a double batch for a fun Mexican meal the week before and set aside one batch just to make this cornbread stuffing.  You won’t regret it.  Feel free to use any sausage, veggie or meat, but a little smoky flavor goes a long way.  You can also add dried cranberries or chestnuts or anything your heart desires.  That is best thing about stuffing, you can stuff anything in them and they will still be delicious.  The real secret is the bread.


 

A Healthy Breakfast To Start Your Day

 

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This week we’re going to share some of our best breakfast ideas.  Before we get started, let’s find out why breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Breakfast revs up your metabolism so that you can burn the maximum number of calories to fuel your daily activities.  In America, breakfast is typically the smallest meal of the day and some find it difficult to enjoy much more than coffee.   Research has shown that eating in the morning is essential for optimal performance and overall health.  Kids and adults who eat breakfast tend to do better at school and work and maintain healthier body weight and cholesterol levels as well.


 

Lentil Salad with Acorn Squash Chips

 

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For this month’s kosher recipe linkup, we are getting back to our roots.  Root vegetables include everything from carrots and parsnips to potatoes and beets and so much more.  Fall and winter are when they are at their prime and as the season changes, root vegetables tend to be a very comforting food, especially when roasted when all their natural sweetness comes bursting out.

I really love the ease and simplicity of roasted root vegetables and enjoy these any time of year.  Cut them up, toss with a dash of olive oil and salt and pepper, maybe throw in some fresh chopped rosemary or sage and roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.  You can’t get much easier than that.  But for our kosher recipe link up, I wanted to do something a little more interesting.