Broccoli Parmesan Poppers (Gluten Free!)

Written by chanie on May 20th, 2015

We’re gonna keep things short and sweet today since I know you’re all so busy prepping for Shavuot! I’m gonna let the photos do the talking.


I think you’re getting the picture (pun intended). I took some good old broccoli trees and made ’em kid friendly! And they’re even gluten free. Because I love you. (And because I’m on South Beach).


Do yourself a favor and bookmark this flaxseed crumb recipe because if you’re gluten free, you’re going to want to put it on everything. Especially homemade chicken nuggets. Trust me.


Did I mention they are baked too? You’re welcome.


I love how much goodness is packed into these little balls. Broccoli, flaxseeds, almond meal, and I even made a Greek yogurt ranch dip. Betchya never knew that healthy food could taste/look this good!


And you know what else? these little magic balls are easily adaptable too! If you want a more cheesy bite, add some shredded cheddar. Or your favorite cheese. And you can easily swap in some panko or breadcrumbs if you don’t have gluten free ingredients on hand like I do. Told you they were magic balls.


You’ve got the recipe, now get into the kitchen and make them already! Happy dipping!


This post was sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese. Follow them on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, or via their Blog

Related Recipes:

3-cheese broccoli pull-apart buns
sweet sand savory cheese balls
zucchini parmesan chips
gluten free pesto zucchini fries

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Rosewater Cheesecake Mousse Parfaits

Written by chanie on May 18th, 2015

I like rosewater, can you tell? Honestly, I hadn’t even heard of the stuff before I married into a Sephardic family. And I didn’t like it at first either.

Rosewater has a very distinct, perfumy taste and you either love it or hate it. I like how it compliments certain dishes, when used in the right proportions – never too much, just a splash for subtle floral notes.

I especially like to incorporate rosewater into my Shavuot recipes since the holiday is also called “The Feast of the Roses”. On Shavuot, Jews commemorate the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. It is told that Mount Sinai was covered in roses at the time the Torah was received, so many communities have a custom to decorate their homes and synagogues (as well as Torah scrolls) with roses. In some Sephardic synagogues, it is customary to sprinkle rose water on the congregants. I’ll pass on that one, but rosewater-scented mousse? yes please.

When it comes to light and airy cheesecake mousse, there are so many possibilities and if rosewater is not your thing, you’ve got plenty of options! Think vanilla, or lemon, almond or coffee, anything tastes good with cream cheese and whip cream! And the filling? You can go to town on that too! Angel food cake, brownie crumbs, blueberry sauce or lemon curd are all great ideas to use in a cheesecake parfait.

Since I’m not much of a baker, and cheesecake is so difficult to perfect (just ask Molly), I take the easy no-bake route and go for the mousse. It’s Shavuot after all, so we get to whip out (pun intended) the heavy cream and really go at it!

If you follow my blog, you probably know that I love to cook seasonally, so when Shavuot rolls around, I always try to incorporate something rhubarb or strawberry into my menu. You can go with fresh or frozen here, but since I always keep my freezer stocked for smoothies and popsicles, I went with that. The sweet and tangy ruby-colored sauce, with notes of honey and pomegranate, is a perfect match to the rosewater-scented cheesecake. I finish it with some cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (mixed with some melted butter, of course) and a shaving of white chocolate. Does it get any better than that?!

Now that I’ve got my dessert down pat, I’ve got to think up some menu’s for our 3-day food fest! I’ll definitely be making my gluten free broccoli parmesan poppers (recipe to be posted on Wednesday), as well as my famous roasted eggplant parmesan. I’m thinking of making my roasted tomato soup with muenster breadsticks and maybe my zucchini parmesan chips. Goat cheese ice cream is always a huge hit and this linguini lasagna is a huge time saver.

Of course there will be some meat meals too, and these Moroccan fish balls are definitely making an appearance as an appetizer. What’s cooking in your kitchen for the holidays? I’d love to hear your menu’s (maybe it will give me some ideas!), so leave a comment and share them with me below!

And don’t forget to check out the Shavuot category for more great recipes and ideas! 


Related Recipes:

goat cheese ice cream
classic cheesecake
strawberry rhubarb soup
sachlav rosewater pudding

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Moroccan Fish Balls

Written by chanie on May 12th, 2015

If there is one store I wish every Jewish community around the world would have, it would be Benz’s Gourmet. The local gourmet kosher shop is celebrating it’s 12th anniversary and we’re feasting on a special gefilte fish recipe in their honor!

Benz’s carries everything from artisan cholov yisroel cheese (imported from France!), smoked fish, caviar, beer, as well as specialty baking and gluten free products. They boast a huge olive bar and a whopping 27 varieties of herring. Whether I’m looking for a gourmet kosher product (like truffle oil), or I’m in the mood for fresh fish, I head on over to Benz’s. Thankfully, it’s just a few blocks away!

What I love about the store is that they are constantly on the lookout for new kosher products. If there is ever an item that I can’t find locally, I ask Benz’s to order it for me, and they do! Recently, I needed rosewater for an upcoming Shavuot recipe, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I gave them a call and it was in the store just a few days later. Now that’s what I call good service!

Besides for Benz’s gourmet selection, they also carry traditional gefilte fish, a family recipe that they’ve been perfecting for over 30 years. I’m always looking to change up traditional gefilte (‘cuz reinventing traditional food is what I do best!) and Benz’s gefilte fish offers me the perfect canvas to build my hybrid recipe.

I don’t know about you, but the more I cook, the more I appreciate savory food. And the more I experiment, the more I realize that you don’t need to use a lot of sweetener in your cooking. My mom doesn’t agree, and neither does my Bubby. They’re ashkenazi food is loaded with sugar, the more the merrier.

If you ask me, sugar is just a fill-in for the absence of flavor. If you build layers of flavor and spice, there’s no need to load sugar into savory food. Look at gefilte fish – most Jewish Bubby’s cook it up in stock made of onions, carrots and celery (the good stuff!), they season to taste with salt and pepper and then they go ahead and pour a boatload of sugar into the pot. I grew up on that stuff, so I know. And don’t get me wrong, it even tastes good. So does candy.

I don’t want to carry on the sugar torch, so I’m trying to condition my kids to like savory foods. I don’t overload my salad’s with sugar, and I make spicy roasted chickpeas as a snack instead of cake. That’s not to say that my kids don’t get to pick their favorite sugary cereal as a Shabbat treat. Believe me, they have their fill of sugar. But I try. And all Bubby’s everywhere are questioning my better judgement!

Sephardic Bubby’s have been serving chraime for years. it’s a popular Moroccan dish of fish cooked in a spicy tomato sauce, and it’s usually made with white fish or salmon. I decided to shake things up by using prepared gefilte fish, ‘cuz that’s the way I roll (pun intended). I incorporated all the traditional elements of Moroccan fish here – including colored peppers, lots of garlic, parsley, lemon, and of course, harissa – a hot pepper paste that’s often used in North African cuisine. I’ve made variations of this recipe for a fish loaf as well as fried patties, but I love how these fish balls can stretch a roll of gefilte fish into so many portions. The fish balls become nice and fluffy, almost the texture of a matza balls, but with lots of spice from cumin, turmeric and fresh garlic.

As good as it is, I’m not sure my fusion cooking would win my husband’s Sephardic family over (although it did win him over, he asked for triples!). Sephardim are not fond of gefilte fish (understatement). On the flip side, try asking my Ashkenazi Bubby to eat spicy gefilte fish, I can just hear her already. Spicy gefilte fish? With harissa? What’s thatCould you pass the sugar please?! So here I am, mixing up the cultures with another one of my hybrid recipes, and I hope ya’ll will enjoy it, Ashkenazim and Sephardim alike.


This post is sponsored by Benz’s Fish. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or at BenzsFish.com. And don’t forget to visit Benz’s Gourmet at 332 Albany Ave in Brooklyn. 

Related Recipes:

gefilte fish patties in tomato sauce
breaded gefilte fish patties
gefilte fish, three ways

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Garbanzo Shakshuka with Labneh & Za’atar

Written by chanie on May 7th, 2015

I might be a blogger, but the truth is, I don’t read many blogs. Sure I frequent them, and I drool over the mouthwatering dishes, but actually read them? Not really. Between work and family, there’s not that much time to get acquainted with the lives of fellow food bloggers. It’s a shame, really, but there’s only so much time in the day!


Confession #2: I don’t really cook things from other blogs either. Sure I pin the recipes, bookmark them, screenshot them, and even email some to myself. But I never quite get around to making them. Yeh.


There’s one exception though and that is the JewHungry blog. Not only do I read Whitney’s posts, I actually make some of her food. Like this, and these, and of course this! Whitney is a girl after my own heart. She loves sriracha and anything Middle Eastern, and her recipes are no fuss. She’s also a mom, a social worker/school counselor and a southern girl with lots to say! I love to read her articles on motherhood (and anything, really!) for The Huffington Post. Whitney’s writing is as good as her food, but today, I’m filling in! I’m happy to do a guest post for Whit, and since she’s pregnant, I wanted to make one of her favorites – shakshuka!

Now unlike Whitney, I’m a total cheat. Instead of slaving over a sauce, I make my own quick and easy version, and I’ll show you how. Head on over to Jewhungry for the deets!

Related Recipes:

spaghetti squash shakshuka
baked portobello shakshuka
quick and easy shakshuka

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Bunless Fajita Dogs

Written by chanie on April 30th, 2015

What a week it’s been! I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous food photography class by Andrew Scrivani, food photographer extraordinaire and regular contributor to The New York Times. The class was hosted at the B&H Photo Event Space, which offers lots of free seminars and inspirational lectures. It was my first time going, and I’m definitely going to keep my eye out for more great workshops!

I took a lot out of the class, and I’m sharing it with you here, mostly in my pictures. Andrew spoke about many different aspects of food photography, but what really got me was how he said that our food photos should tell a story. They should evoke emotion in the reader, drawing them into the photo and the scene. I’m only fairly new to “decent” food photography, I’m slowly learning and growing with each blog post, but I really tried to incorporate that into these photos. Let me know what you think!

Now aside from the amazing food photography class, I also took part in a really fun fundraising event for the Ha’or Beacon school. I had never heard of Ha’or Beacon before, but just working with the thoughtful and caring staff on the Culinary for a Cause fundraiser, gave me a small glimpse into the type of people running the special needs school. Aside for a Chinese Auction, the entertainment for the evening was a roundup of cooking demonstrations by yours truly and a few other famous kosher foodies, including OvertimeCook, The Aussie Gourmet, Dini Delivers, Joy of Kosher Magazine Editor, Shifra Klein, and Victoria Dweck, cookbook author and editor of Ami Magazine.

Each of us was assigned a different course to demonstrate including Hors D’oeuvres, Appetizer, Entree, Side Dishes and Dessert. I made the hors d’oeuvres of mini Asian turkey sliders on a cauliflower bun with quick pickled cucumbers and spicy mayo. I really wanted to show people how easy it to make cauliflower-everything (rice, couscous, pizza crust and buns) so I decided on that dish. Needless to say, it was super fun and great to meet so many of my fans!

Now the one thing I didn’t do at the event, was eat. Yes, I tried my turkey sliders but Victoria’s braised short ribs were off limits, not to mention Dini’s quinoa-corn cakes and Miriam’s chocolate crepes. I’m going strong on The South Beach Diet, and I won’t cheat for ‘nothin!


In fact, I’ve really upped my ante by joining a fitness regimen at The Space Brooklyn. They are hosting a 60 day challenge, where they are encouraging participants to get healthy via the mind and body by doing 30 workouts in 60 days. Their amazing lineup of classes helps me mix it up, so that I’m not bored or dreading my workouts. So far I’ve done a yoga class, a circus arts class, a barre burn class, and pilates is on the schedule for tomorrow.

I’m charlie horse in muscles that I didn’t know existed, but I feel so strong and healthy! I’m looking forward to attending some of the other nutrition-based classes that they are featuring during the #30in60 campaign (one of which will include me and my spiralizer!)

So, back to the food, ‘cuz that’s what it always boils down to, right?! Today I’m sharing a favorite dish and a favorite trick. First, how on earth will I get through BBQ season on South Beach?! Well, I”ll tell you…BUNLESS HOT DOGS are the thing! Turning your hot,dog into its own bun is a diet lifesaver! You’ll be amazed at how a simple slit in your hot dog will open up when it’s heated and the filling possibilities are endless!


Fajita spiced peppers and onions are my absolute fave, and I’m sharing my own homemade spice mix below! With no carbs or MSG, it’s great on chicken or beef, perfect in tacos, and definitely over hot dogs. Finish with some sauerkraut (fermented foods are top of the food chain these days) and salsa, and you’ve got yourself a carbless meal that’s filling AND delicious!



Bunless hot dogs are best made with a nice hefty dog, so Abeles & Heymann’s knockwurst are my go-to. I love that they use natural nitrates found in celery and cherry, so there’s nothing artificial about them. In fact, ever since I went down to the factory for a tour, I don’t feel guilty about eating hot dogs at all. They start with real pieces of meat, not the fatty trimmings that I always imagined, to produce an extremely flavorful dog that is unmatched in the kosher industry. Quality and flavor? I”ll take two, please.

What’s your favorite way to top off your hot dog? Share it with me in the comments below!

This post is sponsored by Abeles & Heymann. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

Other Hot Dog Recipes:

hot dog eggrolls
spiralized spud dogs
kid friendly dirty rice
fire roasted tomato rice stoup

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Miso Glazed Tilapia

Written by chanie on April 22nd, 2015

I hate my scale. It tells me how to feel about my body regardless of how I look in the mirror. I hate my scale. But like a magnetic force of nature, it draws me to it each morning and it dictates my day. I hate my scale. Today I weigh more, so I will feel bad about myself and I will hate how I look. Today I’ve lost a lb. so I will feel good about myself and like how I look. I hate my scale.

I want to break free of my morning ritual and throw the damned machine out the window! A number should not dictate how I feel about myself.

Rant over. (feel free to chime in).

Speaking of weighing myself, I”ve dropped a couple of digits on that godforsaken machine due to the South Beach Diet. After a Pesach filled with nonstop meals, I hopped straight onto the diet as soon as I got back from Aspen, and I’ve been sailing through due to delicious dishes such as this. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of tilapia (bottom-feeder fish that are farm-raised) so I rarely buy it, but I know that many people eat it regularly. If you don’t like tilapia, flounder makes a great substitute, so just use that instead.

Related Recipes: miso glazed eggplant

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Passover in Aspen

Written by chanie on April 16th, 2015


If you follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed where I ended up for Passover…Aspen, Colorado. I’m still pinching myself as I unpack my suitcases.

It was a week before Pesach, my upstairs was cleaned, and I was stressed. I’ve never made Pesach in my life. The kids were off of school, I had to shop for everything, and I had to tackle the kitchen and playroom. Dear G-d. I was kvetching to my mom, who was headed for Aspen as one of the guest speakers on the Prime Experience Program. Lets just say, a couple of hours later, she had pulled some strings and my family and I were headed to ski country! We booked our tickets faster than you can say “I have no idea how to ski!” and the rest is history!


I can never thank my mom enough for the unbelievable experience of Pesach in Aspen. We had the most amazing time relaxing, making new friends, taking in the most beautiful scenery and enjoying delicious Kosher for Passover food. The elaborate smorgasbords of salads, fruits, crudities, cheese, charcuterie and pastries spanned breakfast, lunch and dinner for a full 10 days. It’s no wonder I’ve hopped on the South Beach Diet train the minute I got back! I’ve never eaten so much in my life!


Luckily, there was a lot to take in around the city, so we explored the beautiful views on foot. Hiking the Rio Grande Trail, visiting Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, and going 11,212 feet up on Aspen Mountain. And no, I did NOT go skiing. I’ve got four kids and I’d rather not hit a tree head on while I speed down a mountain uncontrollably (ok, I’m a chicken, I admit it!).


This was my first time on a Passover program, and I totally get the hype. You get to send your kids to daycamp, chill by the pool (I’ve never sat by a pool with evergreens and snow in view!), and enjoy lavish meals that someone else prepared. What can be wrong with that?! Well, to be honest, I have to say, that while the program was the vacation of my dreams, it wasn’t the beautiful family-oriented Passover of my youth. It was fun, relaxing and delicious but it lacked soul. Even with all the hard work and prep, there is so much beauty in a homemade Passover, and I look forward to giving it to my kids one day.


That’s not to say that if I have the opportunity to head to an exotic island for the holiday, I won’t take it up. Are you hearing me KMR, Kosherica, Prime, VIP Ram??? I won’t say no if you invite me!!


I love to travel, and if I ever have the opportunity to visit a place I’ve never been to, I jump on it. When I walked around Aspen, I couldn’t get enough of the gorgeous view, and everywhere I went, I just kept drinking it all in. I can’t believe that I’ve lived in the U.S.A. my entire life and I never knew that such a beautiful place existed just a couple of hours (planeride) away. Forget Europe and The Islands, we’ve got a goldmine right here in this country! It really made me realize that I’ve got to start exploring more of the States. Maybe even drive cross country in a mobile home (I’m pushing it now, aren’t I?).


Now that I’ve learned to take semi-professional pictures, I love to put together a family photoshoot with the beautiful surroundings. I took the most incredible photos of my kids with the most breathtaking scenery that I will treasure for a lifetime. I mean, how can you beat this?


I thought I’d seen it all until we hiked the Rio Grande Trail. O.M.G. Can I go back now?!


Photos along The John Denver Sanctuary, with poetry inscribed in the rocks….


And the drive along the Colorado River to Denver, wow! The red mountains, the beautiful land at every turn, it was beyond!


I’m so very thankful to have enjoyed Passover in Aspen. I have a newfound appreciation for this country and I can’t wait to explore more of it (hey hubby, are you listening?!)!


Have you ever been to a Passover program? How did you like it? Share with me in the comments below!

And don’t you worry, BIB is back next week with lots of new healthy and exciting recipes!

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Chocolate Ganache Tart with Macaroon Crust

Written by chanie on April 1st, 2015

I don’t know about you, but chocolate is about the only way I make it through this holiday. Growing up, my family was pretty strict with our Passover customs so we didn’t eat many processed foods. There was some dairy and OJ for the kids, a stash of lady fingers, and chocolate. Lots and lots of Shmerling chocolate.

We didn’t have it that bad. I had friends who couldn’t use oil, just shmaltz (yes, I know it’s delicious, but not when you’re trying to dress a salad!), who swore off dairy and processed food, and who couldn’t eat chocolate. Even Paleo people (who swear off dairy and processed foods, and who load up on shmaltz) eat chocolate. Me? We ate lots of eggs, chicken and potatoes, and any veggies that could be peeled, like eggplants, cucumbers and beets. We used only kosher salt for seasoning (no spices!) and liquid sugar for sweetening (no homemade Pesach cookies!). Still, my mom made the most delicious Pesach food, and we survived 8-days of gluten free eating. Largely in part due to chocolate.

Nowadays, I don’t think 8 days of gluten free eating is that difficult. Maybe it’s because I’m used to eating Paleo and zoodles are one of my favorite foods. I definitely miss the spices though, and the natural sweeteners like maple syrup. But back to the chocolate. It’s what got me through Passover when I was a kid, and it’s what gets me through it now. And now that California Gourmet has come out with kosher for Passover chocolate chips, my Passover’s are complete. I’ve got homemade nutella, nutella banana ice cream, and now THIS.


And by this I mean the most decadent, indulgent, GUILT-FREE chocolate ganache tart with a macaroon crust. The recipe is so good that it’s actually PRINTED ON THE BACK OF THE BAG. That’s right, my first back of the bag recipe!! It’s hard to believe that such few ingredients could turn out such a delicious treat, but I tested this recipe on a few people who swear off coconut and they were licking. their. fingers. If there was ever a vegan, gluten free, nut free, raw, Paleo recipe that you should try – it’s this. Trust me. Your Passover’s will never be the same again.

Thanks to California Gourmet for allowing me to share this back-of-the-bag recipe!

This post is sponsored by California Gourmet Chocolate Chips. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.   View the list of stores that carry the brand here).

Related KFP Recipes:

raw date and almond hamantaschen
gingerbread date truffles

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Passover Nachos with Homemade Plantain Chips

Written by chanie on March 30th, 2015

Ever since I jumped on the Paleo train, plantains have become a regular part of my diet. I frequently buy Trader Joes roasted plantain chips to eat with guacamole or even tuna salad. I eat them on taco night while my kids enjoy crunchy corn tacos, and I top ’em with nut butter for a delicious treat.


It took me a while to start making my own plantain chips, but once I did, I never turned back. Once you get past the peeling part (which is really ridiculously easy), there’s not much to it.

I prefer to use a mandoline for slicing my plantains because it ensures that all my chips are equal in size so that they cook evenly. Sadly, I don’t have a dairy one (yet!), so I just used a sharp knife. If you’re careful about keeping your chips even, they’ll all bake up nice and crisp at the time same time, and if they don’t, you can just remove the ones that are ready and let the thicker ones finish in the oven.

It’s really that easy! You can bake them savory or sweet – but chili powder and kosher salt are my fave. Of course some gooey melted cheddar doesn’t hurt either.

Can you believe these crunchy cheese smothered chips are kosher for Passover?! Forget the greasy potato chips, and the boring old Passover brownies, THIS is a snack that will make you forget you’ve gone gluten free for 8 days. Yes, it’s as good as it looks, and you know you want it. Now.

Forget Passover, these nachos are great for year-round guilt-free nacho-eating. When you’re eating low-fat oven-baked chips that are made out of a fruit and topped with vegetables, can you even call them nachos? You’re basically just doing your best to get your fill of fruits and veggies, right? RIGHT?

Welcome to my world of deguiltifying comfort food. It’s what I do best.

Now that I’ve got you covered with homemade nutella, nutella banana ice cream, pure-bliss Passover nachos and endless other out-of-the-box kosher for Passover recipes, you can say goodbye to the chicken and potatoes you’ve been making for ages and try some fun dishes instead. Although, if you like the “same old” , I’ve got you covered with that too.

Related Recipes: cauliflower nachos with harissa cheddar sauce

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Nutella Banana Ice Cream

Written by chanie on March 26th, 2015

Now that I’ve made my homemade nutella, I’ve got to find uses for it, right? As if eating it off a spoon isn’t good enough for me…

The truth is, I am in love with banana ice cream, and I really wanted to share it with you in time for Passover! I made it for the holidays last year, and I’ve been making variations ever since.

There’s not too much to banana ice cream, and that’s precisely why I love it so much. You can say goodbye to the dozen-egg-homemade-passover-ice-cream and say hello to this no-machine, easy, healthy and no-guilt variety that’s tastes just like soft serve.

All you have to do is just slice up some ripe bananas and freeze them until a solid, just a couple of hours. Then, you pulse the bananas in the food processor until they’re very finely chopped. Keep going until the bananas are creamy and add in your flavors of choice! I love adding nut butters – like my homemade nutella – for Passover. During the year, my favorite combo is banana, peanut butter, cinnamon and maple syrup. It’s so so good.

I mean would you just look at that creamy consistency? Don’t you just want to grab a spoon and dive right in?

The best part about banana soft serve is the possibilities. Blend with strawberries, top with coconut whipped cream, stir in some chopped macaroons, or add in your favorite candied nuts!


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