Healthy & Kosher


Wasabi Flavored Recipes


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It’s hard to believe that ten years ago most of us had never even heard of wasabi.  Maybe we even piled it on our sushi before we knew what it was (guilty as charged). Now the hot green stuff, typically sold in powder or paste is a sushi staple.  Wasabi has come a long way from a sushi condiment, and it’s unique flavor can now be found in many foods, like soy nuts, potato chips and rice cakes.

Wasabi is Japanese horseradish.   It is actually very difficult to get fresh wasabi here in the United States.  Gold’s, already well known for their prepared horseradish, has brought the convenience and flavor of wasabi in a sauce that we can use to top our sushi and flavor tons of other dishes.  It does have some mayo mixed in, but a little goes a long way and you get the added benefit of including more horseradish in your diet, which if you have been paying attention is extremely healthy (click here for my article on the health benefits of horseradish).


Vegan Corn Chowder and Cold Soup Link Up


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As a general rule, chowders are laden with heavy cream and butter.  An 8oz serving of your average corn chowder packs 13 grams of fat (6 of which are saturated).  It also typically takes an hour to cook.  So if you ever needed a reason to avoid putting corn chowder on your menu, I just gave you two.  But I recently made a healthy and raw vegan corn chowder that tastes great!  While this recipe doesn’t require any cooking and is really good cold, which is how I am able to include it in this link up, it can also be gently warmed in the microwave or stove top.  With the heat of summer approaching and a need for easy, plan-ahead Saturday lunch and third meal options, I’m going cold.

I discovered this soup when I was reviewing a fabulous cookbook, Raw & Simple.  I loved how easy it was to make, how tasty it was and how it was filling enough for dinner.  I have added this recipe into our regular rotation and we have been enjoying it at least once a month.  It goes well with Mexican food and you can always add a bean and cheese quesadilla or soft taco when you need a little something more.


Build a Healthy Salad


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Salads are a great way to get in your daily dose of veggies. If you’re aiming for a light and healthy meal, you may think choosing a salad is a no-brainer. Although this CAN be the case, if made incorrectly, salads can contain more calories and fat than wanted. Whether you prefer making your own chopped salad, or going to the local deli and having them assemble it for you, it IS possible to make a super-nutritious salad that’s even waist-friendly. Here’s how to do it:

Start with a hearty foundation.


Health Benefits of Horseradish


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Horseradish is a spicy root vegetable with a surprising story.   While it is a common condiment for gefilte fish, you might be surprised to discover that it does more than just clear our sinuses.  Horseradish has been used for decades to treat a variety of ailments including flu symptoms, respiratory problems and urinary tract infections.  However, it has recently been discovered that horseradish can help the body get rid of cancer causing chemicals.

The horseradish plant is a member of the Brassicacae family, a group of plants including cabbage and broccoli.  All of the aforementioned edible plants are low in calories, high in fiber and high in glucosinolates, an anti-cancer ingredient.  While broccoli is well known for its cancer prevention properties, horseradish has ten times more glucosinolates.  Studies show that horseradish is one of the few medicinal vegetables where processing may actually improve the cancer fighting benefits.  So now you have another great reason to reach for the Gold’s horseradish in your refrigerator .


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.