Monday, February 18, 2013

Fun Food! :) (And healthy, too! :) )

Cross posted in Foodiscovery

This is great if you've eaten a sandwich and aren't quite satisfied but want a little something that's really healthy instead of a second sandwich: Top a slice of whole wheat bread with strips of red and/or yellow pepper. I used both and alternated the colors. Very delicious! :) I thank God that I've got plenty of yummy, healthy food to eat! :) (And chocolate chip cookies, too. Not exactly healthy but very yummy.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Whoa, what happened?!

There have been no new posts in over a year, and one of my old posts is still the most recent post. Well, I keep forgetting to crosspost my posts from Foodiscovery, so if anyone out there is still reading this blog you can check out all the new original posts from there. Thanks!

Monday, June 06, 2011

My ever-increasing dietary restrictions. Or, why is it so hard to find kosher organic food?

Cross posted in Foodiscovery

Finally, after almost two months, here's the promised story of my transition to buying organic. I have this post that I saw posted on this Facebook Page to thank for motivating me to finally write this. It's going to be long so I'm going to divide it into sections. Here goes:

My first shopping trip upon going organic

I was already going to Whole Foods for most of my grocery shopping, so I continued there. I thankfully live within walking distance of the Whole Foods at Roosevelt Square. The only difference was I had to look for that "USDA Organic" symbol, besides looking for a kosher symbol. Basically, I'd apparently made my food life twice as complicated....Or so I thought. See, several items I'd been getting for their other health benefits, such as Rena's juice-sweetened puffs, my favorite vegetable broth, and these yummy tortilla chips were already organic. Other items, such as milk, eggs, and salsa, were easily found in organic versions.


My main struggle that trip was finding crackers that would be acceptable to my husband but also healthy and organic. He had been used to eating a specific variety of Triscuits but unfortunately they are not organic. To complicate matters, there were for some reason two sections with crackers, which I didn't know at first. In the first, small section I found exactly one brand that was kosher and organic....but otherwise not up to my dietary standards. I thought, these can't possibly be the only crackers in the store! I asked an employee where I could find crackers, and she directed me to another aisl. Phew! Here I had some trouble as well. I found so many organic crackers but they weren't kosher. Finally I found one called Mary's Gone Crackers that was labeled both organic and kosher. Fun name, but were they healthy? Yes, whole grains and no sugar. I brought them home to hubby....Yum! :) 

P.S. The next day I found other crackers called Two Moms in the Raw that Rena and I liked better.


Organic versions of my usual fruits and vegetables are readily available at Whole Foods. However, I decided to join an organic CSA that would deliver to my door, just for convenience. Full Circle Farm packs up a box for us every week with organic produce from their own farm and partner farms and delivers it to our apartment at some point on Thursday nights or early Friday morning. I love it because I don't have to think about my weekly fruits and vegetables if I don't want to, but if I want to change anything there's a window of opportunity. I could also tell them never to give me something if I don't want it. Customer service is great, always responding to your questions and comments. They'll even give you a credit if you're not completely satisfied with all your received produce, if you ask. They even called a couple weeks to make sure I got my box, since the deliverymen couldn't be buzzed in. All this for $46 a week, for a family order. I always end up buying other fruit because hubby and Rena eat TONS of fruit (and I barely get any!). Also there are a lot of greens, which sometimes spoil before I get to use them all. This is good, though, because I'm encouraged to get used to using more greens.

Also I love that it comes so close to Shabbat so I get fresh produce for Shabbat! :)


I wanted to make a meat dish for Friday night Shabbat dinner right after my organic transition, but I couldn't find any locally. Help! I resorted to making a vegetarian meatloaf in the hopes that hubby wouldn't even realize it was fake. Funny thing was, I realized as I went to serve it that it happened to be April Fool's Day, so even if he figured it out, it would just be an April Fool! Well, he didn't, and not only that but it came out awesome and he said it was deli-quality meatloaf! :) Unfortunately when I made it next time it didn't come out so good -- I think I just got lucky the first time because tofu isn't usually the best thing in the world -- so after that I just got regular kosher ground meat. As for chicken, for the following Shabbat I went online to search for kosher organic meat, as QFC only rarely has Empire Organic chicken. I tried ordering but they wouldn't even process my order for a single chicken because shipping costs would have been exorbitant! I'd promised hubby chicken for Shabbat so I had to run to QFC and get a regular kosher chicken. Hubby also likes when I get the precooked kosher chickens but unfortunately those aren't organic either. I once tried making General Tzo's Tofu in the hopes that hubby wouldn't realize it was tofu not chicken, but he could totally tell the difference because it didn't come out good. My only hope of avoiding non-organic meat of any kind is to make it to QFC right when they've just gotten a shipment of Empire organic chicken. They get so little so rarely that it's snapped up immediately. They supposedly get it every two weeks on Mondays, but last time I was told it was coming on Tuesday and then it was late. I've basically given up on that. In short, I'm resigned to eating non-organic meat, at least while living here in Seattle. If it were just me I might go vegetarian, but I can't do that with my hubby who goes nuts after just a few days without meat.


According to my Internet research, wild-caught is really the best way to go, even better than organic fish. So I called Whole Foods again to find out what wild-caught fish they had and found a recipe accordingly. I've also gotten wild-caught canned tuna and salmon.


I had a big problem with cheese, as there didn't seem to be any available locally that was both kosher and organic. Initially I tried making my own but I could only make a soft cheese which is simple and doesn't need rennet, a thermometer, etc. I made Paneer cheese. Hubby and I liked it for a bit but then he got tired of it. I spent more long hours on the internet, and it turned out that a couple brands, including Tillamook Cheddar that's found at Whole Foods, were actually organic and kosher thought they didn't advertise that on their packaging or website. Though it's a bit annoying that I can only get cheddar but no mozzarella, parmesan, or others, I can't complain too much because I do get to have cheese. There's also kosher organic cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc. I love the brand Nancy's because it tastes good and it's cultured. Also Nancy's sells giant containers of yogurt which is wonderful because my husband is currently on a fruit-and-yogurt kick. (Please not, not all Nancy's products are organic so you have to make sure the package says organic when you buy.)


I had been using Truvia, but it's not organic. Also I'd heard that it can actually make you gain weight because your body is tricked into producing unneeded insulin which is stored as fat. So I experimented with various sweeteners. I'll go into more detail in a separate post, but for now suffice it to say that there's no lack of natural sweeteners, such as honey and maple syrup, in organic versions. 


I bought kosher organic grape juice that I'd finally found at Whole Foods awhile before that. However, my husband requested wine. I could not find a wine that was both kosher and organic so I resigned myself to getting Israeli wine. If it wasn't organic, at least I could support Israel with my wine purchase instead of Kedem.

Whole Foods actually had kosher organic matzah and matzah meal that were also whole wheat, amazingly enough, so that was that.

Hubby requested a couple of things -- horseradish and marshmallows -- that simply did not exist in kosher and organic versions. I complied like a good wife.

Other food wasn't a problem; I just had to make sure everything was up to the strict standards for Passover, i.e. nothing with leavened bread.

Gotta draw the line somewhere

At this point, I still accept food that someone gives me, is provided free at an even, etc. even if it's not organic. I'll eat Noah's Bagels still, for example, if someone else pays. I admit that free food is a weakness of mine, but it's also important to me to not look a gift horse in the mouth. As it is, my husband has local relatives who don't keep kosher, and it's hard enough for them to give us food that's ok, without making them also give us only organic food. I'll also use up non-organic food I had from before my transition, and I'll also use something non-organic that I bought accidentally. It's still food, an it's important to me not to waste.


While organic food has become important to me, and indeed most of the food I eat nowadays is organic, sometimes something else that's important to me trumps my desire to eat organic. I don't want to beat myself up over not eating 100% organic. As much as I can do is good. I don't have to throw in the towel when I encounter a snag.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oh, no! How can I make the cookies now?!

Cross posted in Foodiscovery (Sorry, I wrote this awhile ago but forgot to post it here.)

These apple-walnut cookies were a big hit for all three of us the first time I made them. I used all organic ingredients, whole wheat flour, and maple sugar instead of regular cane sugar. (I learned recently that Truvia can actually make you gain weight because your body is tricked into thinking you've eaten sugar. It produces insulin which is then stored as fat because it's not used. I learned this from a Facebook friend who's a holistic health coach. The accuracy of that information is a moot point because it's not organic anyway, but if anyone is interested I can request a source.) Also instead of following the directions I just tossed all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mixed them all together. I knew from past experience that you can get certain recipes to come out just as well by taking that shortcut.

So anyway, hubby asked me to make them again a few days later. I began going down the list of ingredients, measuring amounts, and tossing them in the bowl....Oh no! I needed an egg but I was totally out of eggs! I couldn't just run out and buy eggs half a block away here in Seattle, not like we could in New York. But I promised hubby I'd have them ready when he got up! What could I do?! I racked my brain, and suddenly I remembered reading that you can make a natural, vegan egg substitute with flaxseed and water. Yes, I had flaxseed on hand because I'd decided to put flaxseed, among other additions, in these bagels. (I'm officially insane, btw: I made these for the first time right before Passover when I was uber-busy and would have to cease eating unleavened bread shortly. Don't worry; they were all gone before Passover.) I hopped online and, sure enough, I found this simple recipe. Indeed it had an egglike consistency when I moved it around and even felt eggy to the touch! I tossed it in with the other ingredients, finished making the recipe with no other glitches, and hoped for the best. The verdict? Good but not as good as the first batch. I might have baked them a tad longer than the first batch, so the extra substitution might not have been the problem. The taste was the same, in my opinion.

FYI, the cookies were not actually vegan because they still contained butter. ;)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I didn't go grocery shopping yesterday because I was low on time...

Cross posted in Foodiscovery

...due to yesterday's sudden recurrence of my obsession with organic food. What did I do for dinner? The only animal protein I had available was a can of sardines -- which I didn't dare use because hubby says he doesn't like sardines -- milk, cheddar and mozzarella cheese (already used lots of cheese for breakfast and hubby's lunch), and a single egg. I did have plenty of plant protein in the form of blackeye peas (which I didn't want to use because I prefer overnight soaking), soymilk (not much left), walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and some lentils. Help!

Google to the rescue! I think I searched for "recipe lentils nuts" and came up with this useful page. I decided to tweak the following recipe from that page, even though I was a little confused because some of the words were replaced with this weird "s&bp" or "s&gp" thing. I'll write next to each ingredient and step how I tweaked it. The original recipe will be bolded.

Lentil and Nut Cakes--or loaf

fresh white bread, 2 slices, crumbed (more volume than dried) ->I used instead a container full of crumbs of Delicious Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread that were in the fridge just waiting to be used in a recipe that called for bread crumbs.
1 C lentils (for this I prefer brown) ->I just used whatever I had left, which may or have not been a full cup.
2¼ C of slightly reduced veg stock OR water ->I used water to boil the lentils. I always use water if a recipe says stock or water because when I use stock, I use this expensive vegetable broth that's basically the only thing I can find that's both kosher and not full of icky stuff like sugar and lots of salt. I looked up how to make my own stock but I don't have a strainer as of yet.
1 med yellow onion, chopped ->I found about 3/4 of a large white onion in the fridge and sauteed that. I added a tomato and sauteed further for extra veg and extra flavor.
1 can black olives, coarsely chopped ->I was going to use instead a can of green olives that I thought I'd gotten, but they were nowhere to be found! So I just used what was left of a can of capers instead.
2 sprigs rosemary (around 8 inches each), minced ->I took a random number of leaves off of our rosemary from our brand-new garden! :) I forgot to mince them. I used some whole in sauteing the lentils, the onion and tomato, and threw some more into the final concoction for extra flavor.
nut of choice, at volume of choice, only partially toasted (a couple minutes at 300°) ->I used some walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds. I didn't bother to toast them at all, as I knew they would be baked with the final dish and I didn't want them to get burnt.
salt ->I sprinkled a little in the sauteing onion and tomato.
ground black peppercorns ->I have only ground pepper but I couldn't find it until well after dinner was made. Good thing, because it came out delicious without the pepper!
ground green peppercorns ->I didn't have any of those.
white wine ->I didn't have that either but I figured the vinegar from the capers would be a good substitute. (I'm no expert, but I guess that was ok.)
butter ->I was low on butter, but I did have some Earth Balance Buttery Spread (I usually use butter but I have that on hand to use with meat) so I used that instead. I only put some into the final concoction.
ev olive oil ->I use canola oil, as it's considered to be a healthy oil and it's cheaper than olive oil.
1 lg egg, whisked ->I didn't bother to whisk the egg; I just tossed it into the mixture.
Melinda’s Extra Hot Habanero Sauce or store or home hot sauce of choice ->I used instead some 365 Everyday Value Mild Salsa that I had on hand.
cooking spray ->I never use cooking spray anymore -- it's expensive and I don't think it's natural -- and I didn't even grease the pan at all because there was already a lot of oil and buttery spread in it.

In a saucepan, saute lentils over high heat in oil with s&bp until some brown and the aroma increases. Turn heat to low, add stock or water, s&bp. Simmer uncovered (not a low boil, so 1 bubble roughly 5-10 seconds) around 1¼ hr. S&BP again around ½ hour into it. Finish with a little butter, s&bp.
->I sauteed the lentils with rosemary, added water, and let it boil before turning it down to a simmer. I think I let it simmer for approximately the time stated.

Sweat the onion in oil, s& bp. Add ¾ C white wine, s&bp&gp and a little butter. Cook around 5 minutes. Finish with s&gp.
->I heated the oil in a skillet, added onion, sauteed for bit, then decided to chop up a tomato and add it. I sauteed it for a bit longer, then added a little salt and rosemary.

Crumb bread in food processor. Pulse nuts a few times if you wish.

Whisk egg with s&bp. Add butter (about 1 inch of a quarter pound stick). Add hot sauce to taste. Combine everything. Stir. S&GP to taste. Check seasonings ->I don't currently have a food processor but my bread was basically already in crumbs. I just left my nuts and seeds whole. I began mixing everything together, without whisking the egg, and with the buttery spread instead of butter and salsa instead of hot sauce. I added more fresh rosemary to the whole mixture. I tasted it. It tasted slightly strange because of the raw egg (not recommended if you're concerned about salmonella from raw eggs) but otherwise good.

Spray and fill the ramekins (I have 1 C ones). Put into a 350° oven around 20 minutes.
->It was still kind of soft after that amount of time, but it tasted delicious!

Tons of variations/omissions/additions possible. But I think green peppercorns are pretty important. They make things so round and supple.
->I'm so glad I made it anyway, even without the green peppercorns!

This post was written in response to a comment on Facebook.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

chulent for 2?

anyone have a recipe for chulent for 2?

Monday, November 01, 2010

More Apple Adventures

cross posted on Foodiscovery

I step inside the front entrance, unlock the next door with my key dangling from my neck, and enter the dim, narrow hallway. I gingerly make my way to to the machine that will prove I'm here at work today and clock in....

...I leave my stuff in my office, as usual. It's another typical Sunday at my job working with people with developmental disabilities. While I serve breakfast, some consumers ask, as usual: "Are you doing computers today?" I answer, "Probably."

Or is it a typical Sunday? The supervisor in charge today announces, "We're going apple-picking today!" My face lights up at this opportunity to take my people outside and pick some fresh fruit right off the trees!...

...As we walk and pick through the pick-your-own apple "store" at Wilkens Farm, concentrating on finding the best apples, the usual arguing, fighting, and teasing amongst the consumers at my program gradually fall away and we just enjoy the experience. I raise my arms with our picking pole, successfully knocking an apple into the basket; and another staff teases me by asking me to get an apple that's too high up for me to reach. I'm having such a wonderful time that the supervisor photographs me holding the picking pole up to a treetop!

How incredible it is to say the blessing "Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the tree," then bite into a beautiful, juicy apple bursting with sweetness half a second after taking it off, with my own hand, the tree on which it grew!...

...I surprise my husband with a bagful of apples. I say to him, "Good thing I didn't buy apples already!" I use one large apple to make my promised apple honey pie (with fat-free plain yogurt), a recipe that I found one year right before Rosh Hashana to use instead of the traditional apple slices dipped in honey....

...My husband eats a few apples over the next couple of days; I use the rest to make applesauce that I use to make another baby cake (see previous post). Pancakes (made with whole wheat flour and with Truvia instead of sugar) are next, with the leftover applesauce used instead of margarine in the recipe, instead of canola oil for frying, and served on top. Yum!...

...We buy more apples. Good, because my husband has requested granola for breakfast (which I make with Truvia instead of sugar and instead of brown sugar; and without vanilla or cooking spray and just a small amount of almonds since those can get expensive), and I always serve it with fruit! I will layer two bowls -- one for me and one for my husband -- with one serving of granola, an apple cut in small chunks, and -- oops, we forgot raisins -- a banana instead of raisins. I pour fat-free milk into both bowls. My husband has also eaten his granola with watermelon and raisins, and also with pineapple and raisins; but granola with an apple and banana is my favorite so far!

What else could I make with apples or applesauce? Please leave comments with your suggestions!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Heads Up Everybody!!!

I've been offered an advance copy of Susie Fishbein's new addition to the Kosher by Design cookbook series, entitled Kosher by Design Teens and 20-Somethings to review for my readers.

On top of that, I'll be running a contest and one lucky winner will receive their own copy of the book absolutely free.

Everybody else will receive a coupon code for 10% off the price of the cookbook and free shipping. All readers will also have the exciting opportunity to download a PDF version of the Kosher By Design recipe index – a guide to more than 900 recipes in the Kosher By Design series.

So get ready! A give-away is on its way (some time next week). Tell your friends and stop by Guess Who's Coming To Dinner soon.