Healthy & Kosher

 

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.


 

Get Healthy in 5 Easy Steps

 

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The Jewish holidays are almost over.  Did you get on that scale yet?  How did you do?  Even the best of us have trouble staying trim and healthy during a month long of large meals, little exercise and lots of sweets.  It’s okay, don’t beat yourself up too much, get ready to charge ahead to a healthy new year.

Step 1 –Exercise


 

Making the Best Out of Leftover Pumpernickel Bread

 

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A few months ago I brought my daughter to the supermarket and she walked around asking for everything in sight.  Sound familiar?  When we got to the bread aisle, I figured I would let her choose which loaf to buy this week and she chose this gorgeous fresh baked pumpernickel bread.  She loves pumpernickel bagels and she vigorously shook her head yes when I asked if she would eat it, so I figured why not.  Fast forward three days and I had more than a half of a loaf left and couldn’t get my daughter to eat a single slice of toast.

I really hate to waste, so I knew I had to get creative fast.  I often make croutons with leftover bread and figured that these would actually taste really good in a hot split pea soup and they were phenomenal.


 

How To Have a Healthy Break The Fast

 

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Counting down the hours until the fast is over? Planning what delectable foods you will display on your plate? Are images of gourmet meals, penne vodka, hamburgers and other random dishes splashing across your mind?

Well, despite what our minds are telling us what we want to eat in our starvation, here is a list of what foods we need to eat to refuel and replenish our nutrient stores.


 

Infused Honey Salmon Tartare – Link Up

 

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We all want a sweet new year. So we start the year off right with honey cake and apple pie.  We slather our chicken and brisket with a honey glaze and dip our apples and challah in the sticky stuff.  Did you know honey has many health benefits?  Read more about honey and health in The Buzz About Honey.  Honey is rich in calories and this time of year it’s easy to lose count of those extra calories.  One of the best ways to get the most out of your honey is to start with an infusion.

When I discovered the power of infused honey I knew the possibilities were endless. The flavors you can add to honey means you don’t need to use as much, just avoid the temptation to eating it by the spoonful.  Once infused, you can enjoy in a cup of tea or use infused honey in any recipe for unbelievable results.


 

How to Make Homemade Bread Better than a Bakery

 

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When I first read Hadassah’s story about bread baking with Alan, I was so sorry I missed it.   I was really intrigued by no knead bread.  I kept it in the back burner and it took a few months to finally try it out for myself.  I wanted to make an olive bread, my favorite kind, so I found a recipe similar to Alan’s but that left out the salt.  My plan was to make it for Shabbat, but as I am prone to skim through recipes without reading the whole thing (I know, rule number 1, read through the recipe) the 18 hour rise time passed me by and on Friday morning after I already put the ingredients in a bowl, I discovered this bread would not be ready for Shabbat.

No Knead Olive Bread

No Knead Olive Bread