Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chocolate, Fruit, and Nut Bark [kosher for Passover]

This is a classic and easy kosher for Passover dessert
and I am going to make it much easier for you: no need for double boilers; leave the crushed up matzah and matzah farfel out if you want! (Or forget to add it if you're like me...woops!)

Chocolate Fruit and Nut Bark

So, you will need a baking pan and two sheets of wax paper as long as or a little longer than the baking pan.

1 bag of kosher for Passover semi sweet (parve!!) chocolate chips
1 bag of kosher for Passover dried fruit bits (raisins, etc...)
1 bag of walnuts or pecans or peanuts...whichever you prefer

To do:
Pour the bag of chocolate chips into a pot and put it on medium heat. Stir and keep stirring until it melts-DO NOT LET IT BURN!!
When the chips are partially melted, pour in the fruit bits and the nuts. Stir until everything is coated with chocolate.
Once everything is coated and chocolate chips are smooth, pour it onto the wax paper on your baking pan.  Press and smooth the second sheet of wax paper over the chocolate, fruit, and nuts until the mixture is evenly spread across the baking pan.

Refrigerate until solid and enjoy.

Why I love this recipe:
1) you can take it to ANY Passover seder because it's parve!!
2) you can actually make it ANY time of the year for a bittersweet bite of dessert
3) even i can't screw it up

Monday, March 25, 2013

Passover Matzah Lasagna

Passover is my least favorite holiday for a few reasons; some that don't even make sense.  Most of it stems from bread and pasta envy, some of it comes from other people not understanding why you have to eat differently for 8 days, and the rest comes from the fact that it's futile to make new meals each night, so you're stuck eating Seder leftovers for 8 days...IF you have Seder at your house.

I'm in a slightly different situation; my parents live in a different city than I do, so when the first two nights of Passover do not fall on a weekend, I have to rely on being "adopted" by my friends' families or on Jewish social groups to hold their own Seders.  Obviously in the first situation, leftovers go to family first..and it's not polite to ask for leftovers (but totally okay to take if they are offered to you-not okay to expect it though).   In the second scenario, it's a set number of people and the food is prepared to that number; I don't expect to be able to take anything away.  Alright, so now that I've made myself seem like a cheap Passover beggar, I will now share with you what I have made to ensure that I have enough Passover friendly dinners to last the entire holiday.

Usually, my family will at least send me some Passover friendly food-a box or two of Matzah, Tam Tams, Macaroons, and some desserts and other snacks, so my basics are covered.  This is really nice because Passover food is a little more expensive; it would not be worth it for me, living single, to go and buy everything in smaller amounts.  I'd rather take some of the bulk out of my parents' hands instead since they go through their food and don't have too much left over for next year.

Now really to the lasagna!
My mom and I went to a Passover cooking class at her synagogue where we learned to make Eggplant Matzah Lasagna.  I've found several variations of it online and added my own flavor to it as well.  I used a 9x13 pan and it made a huge lasagna; I am good to go for all of Passover.  Feel free to sub for vegetables that you like and make it your own.

Passover Matzah Lasagna

To use:
6 pieces of matzah: soaked to flimsy so you can pull them apart into strips easily without cracking
1 carton baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 eggplant, sliced
1 carton of fresh vegetables ready meal (i found this at Kroger next to the mushrooms-it was mushrooms, asparagus, and onions ready to be sauteed)
1/2 a bag of shredded carrots
2 zucchini, sliced
1 16 oz carton of fat free cottage cheese
2 16 oz cans diced tomatos (i used with chiles)
2 t Olive Oil
1T minced garlic
spices to taste

To do:
wash and prep vegetables
soak matzah and layer with damp paper towels to keep moist
Preheat oven to 350*
use food processer to chop shredded carrots, zucchini slices, and ready to make into a meal veggies , olive oil and minced garlic
(mine came out baby food consistency-you can definitely stop it before this point)-pour into a bowl
pour diced tomatos into a second bowl and add seasonings to taste
use food processor to chop up the cottage cheese curds so that it's more liquid (not TOO liquid, smaller curds)

Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray

layer your lasagna the way you like it layered-i did matzah, tomatos, eggplants/baby bellas, veggie mix, cottage cheese (i added soy crumbles in here...for protein and staying kosher), matzah, etc.

For the matzah, just divide it into strips and layer the pan; for the next matzah layer, lay them the opposite direction (like plaid).

Bake for 40 minutes at 350* and tada, done! tons of lasagna, a different meal, and definitely enough for 8 days or a couple days for more than one person.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Run Fatty Run"

Hurtful, right? Now put yourself, running with your dog after an intense Body Pump session at the gym.  A car stops at a red light with the window down and these words come hurling out in your direction.

I am by NO means the fittest person in the gym clothes probably aren't as flattering as they should be, and yes, I could stand to lose a few pounds and tone up here and there...hence why I am running! I'll admit, there are days where I need some extra encouragement and motivation, but this cruel manner of "encouragement" was definitely not what I was looking for today.

It's already difficult enough to feel good about yourself consistently when you don't fit society's norm of what is attractive and acceptable, but when it's actually thrown in your face in such a distasteful manner, you really see what the effects of the media are on the average person.

Let me tell you what's behind this "fatty" exterior that I have:
I have been pretty active ALL of my life-gymnastics, ballet, jazz, tap, soccer, tennis, volleyball, dance team...I run 5K's, I work out at least 4 days a week, I walk my dog twice every day.  I like food, i like eating healthy...but i like food...I don't get much sleep on my own accord. So obviously, I cancel my own efforts out.  At least I'm making the effort. I'm not in denial about my body status, but I'm at least working on it and trying to take care of it as much as I can.

No one deserves to be screamed at for how they look; it's disgusting that anyone thinks that it's totally okay and acceptable to ridicule someone...especially someone who is in the process of getting rid of their fatty status...about their weight.

Regardless of ALL of that, there's another reality that society cannot seem to embrace.  SOME WOMEN HAVE CURVES...there is not one body type that women should conform to; what's more important is being confident and taking care of yourself. It's hard to teach and perpetuate these things when so many things work against you.  Women are awful to women; we are all competitive and we ALL pick out things about each other that we don't like, or something that we have/are better at.  That is a fact and if any females deny this, you seriously are the fakest of the fake bitches.  Men are awful to women too...they encourage this behavior and have crazy expectations about what we should look like. Don't even try to deny this, men-you have done this at one point in time or another.  This is nothing to be ashamed of, this is human nature.  What I don't understand is why we can't work on seeing past these things.  We can't build each other up because we are always busy tearing each other down.

Here are what I consider some of my "fat" pictures...real pictures from last December in Cabo... This is "run fatty run"

Judge all you want; I may never be a skinny minnie, but I am a work in progress.  I think that Mindy Kaling said it best on last night's episode of The Mindy Project "I am not overweight; I fluctuate between chubby and curvey"

and with that, I am completely done with giving a fuck about what other people think about my body.

Can you dig it SUCKA

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Haman is a bad man; Hamantaschen are delicious

Purim is one of my favorite Jewish holidays.  When else are you pretty much commanded to get wasted? Before you start judging us Jews, let me link you to the story of Purim so that you can understand exactly what we are celebrating and why we are getting drunk, being merry, and celebrating our asses off.

When I was younger, my mom would let my sister and I make Hamantaschen for Purim.  They are basically triangular shaped sugar cookies with delicious fillings.  Hayley and I would stand on chairs over the counter with cups at the ready.  We would roll out our sugar cookie dough and cut out circles with our cups.  Then we got to put a dollop of filling in the middle.  Mom had to fold them because i don't think that we had the capacity to understand how a circle could turn into a triangle at that time.

Anyway! The Hamantaschen that I made this year came out delicious, yet awkward looking,  but here is a batch that my synagogue sent me (because sending delicious food gifts (Shalach Manot) is also a fun and yummy Purim tradition)

To buy:
Sugar Cookie Mix (okay, i know it's a short cut, deal!) I used 1, but you may want to buy 2 for a bigger batch
Eggs (for the sugar cookie dough)
Butter (for the dough)
Filling! (the most delicious and fun part of a hamantaschen) I used Hershey Kisses, Poppy seed pie filling, and raspberry pie can use any pie filling, and probably any candy bits (I'm definitely going to try some fun fillings next year)
a glass (For circle cutting)
rolling pin
flour (to keep dough from sticking to rolling pin and counter top/cutting board)

To do:
Prepare sugar cookie dough per package
Prehead oven to 350*
Flour your preparation surface and roll dough out so that it is a little less than a quarter inch thick (DO NOT ROLL IT TOO THIN OR YOUR HAMANTASCHEN WILL BE UGLY AND MISSHAPEN LIKE MINE!!)
Cut circles out of the dough and place circles on a greased cookie sheet
Place just a dollop of each filling or one hershey kiss on each dough circle
Fold the circle in so that it makes a triangle but do not cover all of the filling.  Check out Tina Wasserman for a video explanation of this.
Bake for 7-9 minutes
Let cool and enjoy!

Oh today we'll merry merry be and have some hamantaschen!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Apple Heaven Smoothie

Another delicious smoothie to give you yummy nutrients and keep us from snacking in the middle of the day on evil work candy!  I never think of using apples in smoothies, but this was so delicious! I was also super excited because I got to use my really cool apple corer/slicer!

Source: via Ashley on Pinterest

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mexicali Stuffed Pita Pockets

Usually if I'm going to have a "cold" meal for dinner, it will be a gigantic healthy salad.  "Cold" meals are generally lunch in my mind, but these pita pockets struck me as a great post gym dinner.  Because it's all vegetables on a whole wheat pita pocket (or in my case, a sprouted wheat Ezekiel tortilla), it is full of good fiber and lean protein.  The inside is really easy to make and could also be mixed with lettuce for a salad if you want to lower the carbs.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Oatmeal Smoothie

Lately, I have decided to make a concerted effort to stop snacking on crap at work.  We've all been there-candy bowl at the admin's desk, candy in the cubicle across from you, the vending machine, gum...Tums in your drawer (oh wait, I may be the only person desperate enough to consider Tums a suitable issues).

We all know that none of this is truly going to be satisfying or nutritional.  Committing most of these snacking sins is just a gateway to a day full of snacking on anything and everything, but it is so hard to have self control.  Gum works sometimes, but it doesn't give you any fullness or satisfaction; you're still hungry, just with a better taste in your mouth.

Enter the smoothie.

I usually make mine the night before and bring it to work the next day.  I drink it around 10:30 or 11; when I usually start getting hungry for lunch.

This smoothie is full of fiber, fruit, and honey.  Sweet, satiating, and very healthy for you.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sesame, Honey, Tempeh, and Quinoa Bowl

Most of the vegetarian meals that I make include tofu.  I've pinned tons of vegetarian recipes that have tempeh but I had not gotten around to them until now.  I really like using the tempeh because it has more of a meaty taste and texture compared to tofu.  It kind of reminded me of eating a sesame and honey chicken nugget.  As the recipe says, you can use other grains instead of Quinoa, which I forgot to buy; I used cous cous which tasted great!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Chicken Stir Fry: Repurpose Soup Chicken

I know I that I wrote a huge post about stir fry before, so I won't repeat everything that I said in there, but I just wanted to remind you that if you have some frozen (or fresh) vegetables, some soy sauce, and some rice, you can cut up some of your leftover soup chicken and stir fry it all together.

The chicken is already cooked, so the whole dish will take about 10-15 minutes to make.

Here are some great stir fry ideas.  You can buy prepackaged frozen stir fry vegetables so you don't have to spend a fortune on fresh vegetables.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Chicken Salad: Repurposing Soup Chicken

My grandfather likes to say "You've got to separate the chicken shit from the chicken salad".  In this case, the chicken shit being bones.  Making chicken salad out of soup chicken is one of the easiest things to do, and will leave you with a great base for tomorrow's lunch (sandwich, salad, or cracker topper!)

All you need to do is:
remove the bones and shred up some of your left over chicken pieces.  If you think that your shreds are still too big, take a knife and chop them up in to smaller pieces.
Mix with a tablespoon (or less) of mayonnaise.
You can add sliced grapes, celery, or more spices to make your chicken salad even better.

Super easy, pretty healthy, and delicious protein! Enjoy!