Holidays

 

It’s Time For Cauliflower To Take Center...

 

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Vegetables have long been the trusty side kick to steak, chicken and fish.  A sort of companion to the main meal, in the best meals, it can highlight the best of the main, but in many instances it is really nothing, but a forgotten afterthought.  Recently with the farm to table popularity and more interest in vegetarian and vegan foods, vegetables are finally playing a starring role on our plates.

Not just for vegetarians.  In many restaurants around the country, vegetables are assuming the part of the hero with or without meat.  Just because you are highlighting the vegetable doesn’t mean you can’t include a little meat flavoring to enhance it unless you are a vegetarian.  I love getting inspired around the web and I feel like every few months there is a new vegetable taking center stage.  Last month I shared a recipe for Shawarma Carrots which I happened to just serve again with beluga lentils and my kids couldn’t get enough (especially the one that hates carrots and loves meat and spice), I was amazed.


 

15 Italian Recipes for Shavuot

 

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Dairy meals are traditionally served on Shavuot because of the connection between the life sustaining properties of the Torah and milk.  Blintzes and cheesecakes are often served along with the favorite, special occasion dairy dishes.  When it comes to choosing certain cuisines, often we are faced with following the dairy or meat versions of the recipes.  This can be a particularly difficult challenge when it comes to Italian cuisine, because dairy is such a central component.  Here are 15 Italian dairy recipes to try this Shavuot.

 


 

Ricotta Recipes For Shavuot Link Up

 

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We only eat meat about once or twice a week in my house.  I am not sure when it happened, but over the years we just gravitated to a more vegetarian lifestyle.  We all like a good steak and we enjoy burgers and hot dogs and stews and roasts, we are true omnivores, we just limit our meat.  I think that keeping kosher actually pushes many of us in one direction or the other.  If we are eating pasta we tend to go dairy so we can have our Parmesan cheese, while non kosher keepers don’t think that way.  Plus I have a small kitchen and only one sink, so I prefer to just stay on the dairy side of things most of the time.

Now that it is time to start planning for Shavuot it should be easy for me, but I like to find new things, different foods, something elevated that I don’t cook all year.  That is how I ended up with these two dishes perfect for the holiday, both using ricotta cheese.


 

15 Vegetarian Recipes for Memorial Day

 

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The newest issue of Joy of Kosher Magazine is out and it’s full of amazing vegetarian recipes.  Memorial Day is coming up, and taking a cue from this month’s issue, I was inspired to find some of our best vegetarian, yet barbecue appropriate recipes perfect for this national day of remembrance.  You’ll notice that every recipe carries the barbecue theme by roasting or grilling some aspect of the dish, providing those classic summer flavors with no need to serve meat.

 


 

Homemade Graham Crackers Make The Best S’...

 

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It is finally warming up a bit, with warm days and cool nights, it is the perfect season to be outside and enjoy a nice bonfire.  Luckily, it is also going to be Lag Baomer next Sunday when bonfires are abundant.  Learn more about the history of Lag Baomer and ways to celebrate.  I know I like to celebrate with S’mores.  Nothing quite says Summer like toasted marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched between sweet and crunchy graham crackers.  The only way to improve upon this camping staple is to make your own graham crackers.

Graham crackers have always been considered a more healthy type of cookie mostly because they are generally lower in sugar than most other cookies.  Originally they were made with graham flour which is a white flour that had bran and germ added back to it for flavor.  The original version had little or no sugar and was more like a cracker, but at some point sugar or honey was added.  Nowadays, most graham crackers are mostly made from white flour with some graham flour used, but if you make your own you will see that using 100% whole wheat flour actually improves the end result.


 

15 Israeli Inspired Recipes for Lag B’Omer

 

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Lag Ba’Omer is a festive day in the midst of the mourning period known as Sefirat Ha’Omer.  Traditionally people make bonfires and children play with mock bows and arrows to celebrate the life and teachings of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.  It seems that there are not necessarily a group of foods that people identify specifically with Lag Ba’Omer, although in Israel that seems to be changing.  This holiday is celebrated with vigor around the country, but none more so than in Meron, the resting place of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.  Many celebrate the holiday with kebabs and traditional foods, and many Americans have brought the tradition of s’mores to the holy land.  Below are 15 Israeli Inspired recipes for your Lag Ba’Omer celebration.

 


 

The Mother of Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

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My Mother was the Queen of chocolate chip cookies. When I was younger, if there was a shalom zachor, a Kiddush or sheva brachot, my mother was asked to make her famous chocolate chip cookies.

Yet, as I mentioned in the past, growing up, our house was the healthy house. There was no junk food in our home. No soda or sugar cereal. No cakes, pies or candy. Amusingly, the one thing my mother did allow us, was her homemade chocolate chip cookies. She was famous for those confections.


 

Why Mom Wants Vitamin K2 for Mother’s Day

 

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I know this sounds weird, vitamins as a Mother’s Day present, I must be crazy.  Last year, I happened to read an article about a recent study that showed Vitamin K2 had a measurable impact on bone health.  A few days later my mother in law was telling me that she was worried about going off Fosamax, a popular drug used to increase bone mass in those who are at risk for osteoporosis.  There are many known side effects related to Foxamax and my mother in law was weighing the benefits with the potential risks.  I suggested Vitamin K2 based on the article that I had read and when she told her doctor he said it was worth a shot.

Now, a year later, her bone density has actually improved, most likely due to the Vitamin K2 and she couldn’t stop thanking me.  I realized that I had actually given her the perfect Mother’s Day gift.


 

I Am An Israeli Woman

 

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In honor of this Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s 66th Independence Day, Haaretz, put out a list of 66 Israeli Women You Should Know.

It’s my biggest surprise and honor to be counted among them. Thanks to all of you because if you weren’t here I wouldn’t be there. And with immeasurable gratitude to G-d that our family has been able to realize our dream of living in Israel.


 

Celebrate Israel with Traditional Israeli Food

 

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There are many ways to celebrate Israel here in the US on Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s independence day.  Most of the time it involves eating our favorite Israeli foods.  In Israel families pack large picnics and go out to BBQ and there is no reason we can’t do the same here.  Israeli food like Hummus and Zaatar has become increasingly popular among all people in the US over the past couple of years and it has become such a part of most of our homes that I rarely sit at a Shabbat table without being served hummus and often matbucha.  My favorite part is starting the meal with lots of little salads and spreads with some fresh pita.  Then you can grill up some chicken or kabobs or fry some falafel and your meal is complete.  Here is the menu I am thinking about this year, feel free to make your own spreads or take a little help from the store.

israeli style hummus

Israeli Style Hummus


 

4 Mother’s Day Brunch Menus

 

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This year the adage April Showers Bring May Flowers has proven to be quite true, and as May approaches so does Mother’s Day.  Brunch is a very special way to remind the special women in our lives that care.  Preparing brunch is a major task in and of itself, add to that the many delicious recipes out there, choosing your menu can at times be overwhelming.  Below are 4 menus to try this Mother’s Day.

 


 

A Trio of Passover Picnic Menus

 

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The interim days of Passover, chol ha’moed, are a great time to take trips and enjoy time with family and friends.  This year Shabbat falls in the midst of the interim days, still leaving three days to take chol ha’moed trips.  It may be hard to find kosher for Passover food while traveling, so consider packing a picnic basket inspired by the recipes below.

 


 

15 Passover Recipes With Honey

 

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Honey is my secret ingredient during Passover. It can be used in a variety of recipes – from entrees, to sides, to dessert – it is just so versatile. It provides balance to any dish complementing and enhancing a variety of foods and flavors, On Passover, we have to contend with a number of limitations and restrictions to our familiar recipes, but honey is easy to find and even easier to cook with. I love to cook with honey because it has a velvety texture and mouth feel that is completely unique. Honey is also a natural humectant which helps to lock in moisture and adds a rich golden color to both sweet and savory dishes.

Honey is all natural and the label should only list one ingredient – honey. Honey that is 100% pure is kosher all year long. On Passover, it is recommended to find honey with a reliable kosher for Passover certification to guarantee that it is actually 100% pure honey with no other ingredients or sweeteners. I also recommend that you buy honey in bulk, so you can enjoy so many fabulous and versatile recipes year-round. A miracle of nature, honey doesn’t spoil and can be stored indefinitely, so stock up!


 

Passover Cocktails

 

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If you haven’t noticed I have been really getting into cocktails lately, to the point that I am not ashamed to admit I have one practically every night.  You see the key to everything is moderation and if you stick to just 1 a night you can take the edge off and possibly decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.  Plus I like my drinks with citrus, typically a whole lime or half a lemon goes into my drink and with it a little shot of vitamin C.  Now that I have rationalized my drinking for you I want to share an amazing infographic I found for Passover cocktails.

These cocktails were developed in honor of the four glasses of wine we drink during the Passover seder, Naomi Levy, assistant bar manager at Eastern Standard, created four original (and tasty!) cocktails inspired by different parts of the seder.  This fabulous guide shows you how to make regular simple syrup as well as special for Passover Manischewitz Concord Grape Syrup.  Now I know what to do with the bottle after I make charoset.  Just take note of the brands, they list which ones are kosher for Passover, amazing that we can get Gin, Tequila, and really good Vodka, but most of the brands listed in the actual recipes are not acceptable for Passover.


 

Watch Me On The Today Show

 

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Making Light and Fluffy Matzo Balls and Garlic and Honey Brisket for Passover with Kathie Lee and Hoda on the TODAY Show. If you missed it, watch the clip here:

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