Food Files Cookbook + Giveaway!

Written by chanie on November 16th, 2017

I was recently lucky enough to receive a copy of the beautiful new cookbook, Food Files, benefiting Yeshiva of Flatbush. The book is a compilation of beautiful, healthy, seasonal and original recipes from home cooks in Flatbush, Brooklyn. As a food blogger, I’m honored to receive review copies of cookbooks all the time. Sometimes the books are nothing to write home about, and they end up in the growing “give away” pile in the basement. Other times, the books are so beautiful that they’re worthy of your coffee table, and this, my friends, is one of them.

I was pleasantly surprised at the simple yet sophisticated style of this book, the stunning photos and the original recipes. All too often cookbooks are filled with recipes and adaptations of recipes that we’ve all seen before, but Food Files is filled with truly original dishes that capture the inventive cook.

Some of the recipes that caught my eye include homemade burrata, cauflower tabbouleh with raw falafel balls (yes!!), porcini mushroom latkes with truffle infused chive cream, farro leek soup, date hazelnut and feta salad, lemon poppy seed pancakes, green chili mac ‘n cheese, spiked sweet potatoes (recipe below), Chilean sea bass kanafe, mushroom stuffed ribeyes, no bake chocolate hazelnut cheesecake, peanut butter honeycomb pie, and tartufo martinis.

With Thanksgiving just a week away, please enjoy sample recipes for Asian Glazed Turkey Breast and Spiked Sweet Potatoes from the book, below!

Food Files makes a great Chanukah gift and is available for purchase here, but I’m so excited to be giving away a copy of their cookbook as well!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

To enter the giveaway to win a copy of Food Files:

1. Leave a comment below letting me know your favorite cookbook.
2. For an extra entry, follow Busy In Brooklyn via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents (for international entries, prize can only be shipped in the U.S.). Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Thursday, November 23rd, 2017.

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Skirt Steak Tacos

Written by chanie on November 9th, 2017

Cookbook. Cookbook. Cookbook. That’s all I can think about these days. In the morning, afternoon and evening, even in my sleep. I was literally typing up recipes in my dream the other night…yes! It’s really happening!

Here are the stats as of 11/9/17, 10:41 AM:}

132/145 recipes tested
13/145 recipes to retest
11/145 recipes photographed
59/145 recipes written
0/145 headnotes written
0/3 intro chapters written

Would you look at those numbers? When I think about all the work I have ahead of me, I get so overwhelmed and stressed. But then I look back at the 132 crazy, amazing, unique, delicious and doable recipes that I’ve created for this book and I have to be proud. Yes, there is so, so much to do. But it will happen. And it will be glorious when it does.

Meanwhile, we’ve mostly been eating the recipes I’ve been testing (my 11 year old wanted to know why the dinners have become so weird in the house, with several courses, sometimes mismatched foods that don’t go together!), so I’ve been pretty quiet on social media these days. I did take the time to celebrate persimmon season with these awesome skirt steak tacos, and I’m so happy to share the recipe with you here!

Related Recipes:

refried bean tacos
Old Bay fish tacos
coconut crusted fish tacos with plantain tortillas
fish tacos with broccoli slaw

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Zucchini Basil Soup

Written by chanie on October 29th, 2017


I’ve dreamt about this day for a very very long time. In just a few short months, I’m officially going to add cookbook author to my resume! I can’t believe this is really happening, somebody pinch me! The truth is, this news isn’t exactly new. It’s been almost a year in the planning. But I’m finally able to spill the beans and share it with you all! My cookbook is being published by Artscroll Publications and is set for release in May 2018. It’s going to KNOCK YOUR FREAKIN SOCKS OFF!

It’s no surprise that I’m avid cookbook collector, and something I see a lot in kosher cookbooks is the same traditional recipes made over and over again, with slight tweaks and changes. I can’t give away my cookbook theme quite yet, but let me just say, there’s going to be something for everyone. The cookbook will have fresh, new recipes that you haven’t seen before, and there’s going to be a mix of healthy recipes, indulgent recipes, everyday recipes, holiday recipes, quick and easy recipes, and slightly more gourmet recipes. The book will have some of your favorite recipes from the blog (about 20%), but mostly brand new recipes that you’ve never seen before (80%!). I’ve been testing and retesting recipes for months, and as I near the end of the testing stage, I’m going to move on to recipe writing and photography. I’m both nervous and excited for this huge undertaking, but mostly I’m anxious to share it all with you!

I’m going to do my best to keep things exciting here on the BIB blog, but if I don’t post as much as usual, just know that it’ll all be worth it in the end. I’ll keep you posted with more details as they become available!

Related Recipes:

spinach white bean minestrone with zoodles
roasted tomato soup
roasted butternut squash soup

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Tempeh Rice Bowl

Written by chanie on October 19th, 2017

It feels like FOREVER since I’ve blogged last and I have so much to tell you!!  If you’ve been following me on social media, you probably watched or heard about the LIVE I did with my husband a few days ago. I’m not sure why I didn’t do it sooner, but my inspiring husband has steadily lost 90 over the past few years and has been keeping it off and inspiring so many with his weight loss journey.

Most of us had a hard time NOT piling on the pounds over the holidays. With three consecutive days of feasting – twice, there was meal after meal of multiple courses, and even eating healthy, one would probably consume a lot more calories than on an average day. I wasn’t surprised, when after the Chag, I suddenly sold a bunch of copies of my Whole30 ebook. We all wanted to shed that holiday weight, so I decided to go live on Instagram with my husband, so he could share all the wisdom and experience he has amassed over the past few years.

In general, my husband is very much an “all or nothing” person. If he decides to take something on, he goes all the way. He reads every diet book, researches everything about the human body and learns what vitamins, minerals, grains etc. he can take to optimize his health and weight loss. Needless to say, with 15,000 viewers, the live went viral. I received literally thousands of messages and everywhere I went, everyone was talking about it! We decided that sharing his wisdom in written form would be the best idea, so he is currently working on an ebook that we will be selling in a couple of weeks. I’m so excited!

One of things that my family has committed to over the past few months is Meatless Mondays. I really think it’s important, after all the heavy Shabbat food, to lighten things up and give our bodies a break from all the animal protein after the weekend. As an adventurous cook who never experimented with vegan food before, I’ve really been loving the challenge of Meatless Mondays. My kids have also been so open to trying new things and these refried bean tacos have become one of their absolute favorite dinners!

The truth is, we’re a bean-loving family so vegetarian chili and bean tacos are easy for me, but one thing I’ve really never liked is tofu. No matter how it’s prepared, no matter the promises of a crispy result, I just can’t get past the mushy marshmallow-like texture of tofu. Tempeh, on the other hand, is made from pressed soybeans and it has a really firm texture. I tried it for the first time during the summer, and I found that if prepared properly, I really enjoyed it. My husband, too, has taken to it, and this is one of our favorite preparations. If I’m honest, my kids haven’t yet jumped on the tempeh train, but we’re working on it!

Regardless if you’re ready for tempeh or tofu, or whether or not you tuned in to watch the story of my husband’s weight loss journey, I hope this post inspires you to eat healthy post Chag!

Other vegetarian dinners:

vegetarian chili
refried bean tacos
stuffed sweet potatoes
falafel burgers
cajun quinoa burgers

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Orange Cardamom Malabi with Drunken Figs

Written by chanie on September 28th, 2017


If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know just how much I love to cook with the seasons. When fruits and vegetables are at their peak, they tend to taste much better and cost much less. It also helps with menu planning because you can scale down the ingredients that you want to incorporate into your menu.

Late summer/Early fall would have to be my favorite of all the seasons, mostly because of the figs. You still get to enjoy the late summer harvest of corn and tomatoes, but you also get to go apple picking with your family, and enjoy the early signs of pomegranates and pumpkins. I love incorporating all the warm autumn flavors of nutmeg and cloves into my food – it’s like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket, especially under the Sukkah, where you get to enjoy that evening chill without having to bundle up.

Sukkot is a great time to experiment with warm spices and seasonal produce and one of the ways I do that is to poach fruits in spiced wine. Poached pears are a classic, but I’ve also done cherries, cranberriesapricots, and of course, just plain old mulled wine, which is one of my favorite drinks of all time. Adding warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, along with orange zest and peppercorns, gives the wine a deep, rich flavor, not to mention that the smell is intoxicating.

Speaking of wines, I’ve never been much of a wine drinker, but recently, we’ve started getting more into it. It’s really fun to try new wines and note the characteristics of the different grapes and how they are aged. We’re even looking into getting a wine cooler, which are surprisingly more affordable than you might think. P.C. Richard & Son has a great selection here, and it looks like they are running a birthday sale so it’s a great time to take advantage.

I was reading up on why wine fridges are important over on The Kitchn, and it looks like storing my wine collection in my hot kitchen cabinet is a bad idea. So I’m thinking this seriously affordable free standing cooler might be a nice Sukkot gift for the hubby this year! And I wouldn’t complain at all if he decided to buy me something in turn from this collection of outdoor furniture to spruce up my Sukkah, especially this low-cost fire pit (can you imagine drinking mulled wine around that?!).

Now if you’re not familiar with this dessert, malabi is a Middle Eastern rosewater pudding that’s traditionally served with pomegranate syrup. The pudding is always finished with some chopped pistachios, and shredded coconut and it’s a decadent, yet light, dessert that’s the perfect finish to a holiday meal.


I’m a huge fan of malabi’s cousin, sachlav, which is basically the unset version of malabi – a pudding that you drink hot instead of cold. Malabi is great to make in advance, because it holds well in the refrigerator. The flavor of the orange and cardamom is so refreshing, and it can be served on it’s own, with some pomegranate seeds, pistachios and shredded coconut, or you can go all out and make the drunken figs for a gorgeous dish that’s worthy of your Sukkah.


I love figs in all shapes and sizes – every variety – raw, cooked or jammed. This beautiful crimson version is poached in red wine with warm spices, and the wine is then reduced into a luscious syrup. The drunken figs can be served over pound cake, ice cream or yogurt, along with a drizzle of the red wine syrup. Whether you choose to serve it with the malabi, or over another dessert, your guests will be wowed!

Wishing you and yours a Chag Sameach!

This post is sponsored by P.C. Richard & Son. All opinions are my own. 

Related Recipes:

sachlav rosewater pudding
mulled wine
halva and ricotta stuffed figs
cherries in red wine syrup

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Mini Pumpkin Pies for a Crowd

Written by chanie on September 17th, 2017

I’m really not much of a freezer person, but there is one recipe that I make every year for the holidays and it’s this one. These mini pumpkin pies are so festive and seasonal, and they’re great to have in the freezer as a pretty and delicious side dish. I always have them on hand for last minute company and they are so kid-friendly too.

What I love about this pie is that it’s very adaptable. If you are nut free, use oats in the streusel in place of nuts. You can make large or mini pies and swap in different types of milk or oils. You can make your own pie dough or pumpkin puree, if you’re so inclined, or go for the easy store-bought variety. In short, stock your freezer and you can thank me later!

Related Recipes:

cookie butter pumpkin pie
pumpkin banana souffle
pumpkin cake

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Salmon En Croute with Creamed Leeks

Written by chanie on September 13th, 2017

Salmon en croute is one of my favorite dishes to serve for the holidays. It plates up beautifully, it’s so festive and it’s a winning dish all around! I mean who doesn’t love anything wrapped in buttery, flaky dough, amiright?

I usually go with a simple mustard and brown sugar mixture over the salmon, but I decided to take things up a notch using some of the traditional symbolic foods of the holiday, like honey and leeks. I love that you can incorporate more of those foods into the plated dish as well, and I went with pomegranate seeds and chioggia beets, ‘cuz could you just look at them?

Just call this Simanim Salmon En Croute ‘cuz it’s not only tasty, but so fitting in every way. And if you need a recap on the symoblic foods of the holiday, read this. I’ve also got a handy simanim recipe roundup from a couple of years back and then of course there are my other great simanim dishes like this couscous, this angel hair pasta, this beautiful appetizer and this holiday salad.

Growing up, Rosh Hashanah was a serious holiday and we always kept things intimate with just the family and a simple, traditional holiday meal. It’s that one time of the year to really focus on self introspection and prayer and I like to follow suite without complicating my menu. I don’t go all out with a bunch of different salads and desserts – I just keep my meal well-rounded with an appetizer (round challah with honey, fish and salad), entree (meat or chicken, tzimmes and roasted vegetables, beautifully plated) and a slice of honey cake with caramelized apples to finish the meal. Then I wrap things up and open my tehillim, because there is oh so much to pray for.

I find that there’s no need to overdo your menu when you learn to serve composed dishes that complement each other. Sometimes, when you make too much food, the beauty and flavor gets lost because there is just too much to go around. When I was in culinary school, my teacher gave the example of a woman wearing a simple pearl necklace versus someone who in dripping in lots of (too much) jewelry. Which one makes a better statement? Sometimes clean and simple is the better way to go.

Related Recipes:

smashed potatoes with leeks
simanim fritto misto
honey fig roasted salmon
honey mustard salmon

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Cranberry Apple Braised Chicken

Written by chanie on September 7th, 2017


And just like that, summer is over. I’m starting to smell that fresh, crisp fall air and the nights have that slight chill that wraps me like a warm sweater. If I’m honest, I don’t hate the winter at all, but I’ll sure miss the carefree spirit of summer and the smell of freshly cut grass.

I’m excited for the fall flavors that are making their way into the supermarkets. Pumpkins, persimmon and pomegranates are just a few of my favorite things and I can’t wait to see the seasonal produce on the shelves!

It’s a bit early for cranberry season, but you can easily use frozen cranberries in this recipe. The tartness of the berries are a great contrast to the sweetness of the apples and honey, and they make for the most luscious sauce that you’ll want to smother all over rice or noodles. Considering the popularity of my tart pomegranate roast, I think this chicken will be a winner as well!

Serve with a side of sweet tzimmes and braised leeks and you’ve got a simanim-filled entree worthy of your holiday table.

Related Recipes:

turkey meatballs with red wine cranberry marinara
cranberry sriracha green beans
honey roasted za’atar chicken with dried fruit
duchesse sweet potato apples

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Breakfast Cones

Written by chanie on August 22nd, 2017

I think it’s about time I share my secret to making it through the summer without giving in to my ice cream craving each time the ice cream truck comes around (that’s about 6 times a day here in the bungalow colony!). It’s also how I get my kids to stop asking for money every time they hear “Come and make a bracha, the kosher ice cream truck is here!”. (Who am I kidding? they still ask for money every time they hear it!).

My secret to ice cream without the guilt? BREAKFAST CONES. Yup. Ice cream cones for breakfast. And why do I not feel guilty about this stroke of genius might you ask? Because when I considered the fact that my kids would eat leben (pure sugar), frosted flakes (also pure sugar), pancakes (pure sugar when you count the amount of maple syrup they pour over it) or a chocolate protein bar (pure sugar + bits of protein) for breakfast, I figured a sugar cone filled with fruit and yogurt was just as bad, if not better, than all those options.


Putting all the breakfast things into a sugar cone is also a great way to bribe the kids to get ready for camp every morning. Hurry up and get dressed and I’ll feed you ice cream for breakfast! Does this make me the best mom ever? Or the smartest? I think both!

It all started with my fruity yogurt parfaits that I couldn’t get enough of this summer. The amazing seasonal berries and delicious fruit were so refreshing, especially when topped off with some plain yogurt, a bit of raw farm fresh honey and granola. It was the perfect breakfast, lunch, or light dinner, and I loaded up on it.

When I wanted something a bit more ice-creamy, I’d just stick a yogurt in the freezer for an hour or two, until it got kinda frozen, and load it up with fresh fruit. Once, when I ran out of granola, I crushed up some leftover sugar cones (cuz they are my absolute fave!) and put them on top. And voila! The fruit yogurt cone was born.

When you consider the fact that a single sugar cone has just 50 calories and 3g of sugar, it’s a lot healthier choice than a cup of orange juice (110 calories, 22g sugar per cup) or store bought granola (260 calories, 11g sugar per half cup). And lets not even get started on some of the cereals we are feeding our kids! So, when you do the math…. a sugar cone filled with yogurt, some fresh fruit and a spoonful of cereal is definitely a reasonable breakfast that is great for kids. And you can make it as healthful as you like – go with plain yogurt and nuts and seeds for a healthier version, or fruity yogurt with cereal for a more indulgent one.

Related Recipes:

ice cream sundae cookies
corn flake crunch ice cream
ice cream clowns

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Funfetti Rose Cake Smash!

Written by chanie on August 17th, 2017

I can’t believe it’s been a year since my baby girl was born, it went by so fast, how do we stop the clock?! It’s baby #5 for us, so it hasn’t been the easiest transition, but I was surprised and excited to still have those “first baby” feelings, even though I’ve been through this stage so many times. Maybe it’s because she came after two boys, but I couldn’t wait to put all the headbands and frilly things on her, and I still relish dressing her up each and every morning.

I’ve been dreaming about her cake smash for months, pinning for inspiration and changing my mind a million times about the style and theme of the shoot. I knew I wanted to do it all on my own, especially the cake – even though I dread making layered cakes ‘cuz I suck at it! Most of the cake smash shoots I found had a clear color scheme and were done indoors, but I wanted something unique and whimsical, so I went outdoors.

It’s funny how the cake really brought the whimsy I was looking for – because it kinda happened by mistake. I mean, I basically screwed up the whole first layer of marzipan, and I needed to cover it up with something, so I decided to make a skirt. I had originally wanted to do a smooth layer of marzipan and spread the roses around the cake, but I’m so in love with this accidental design because it’s everything I never knew I even wanted!

I knew I wanted funfetti inside, ‘cuz baby cake just needs sprinkles, so I went with my easy no-fail, no-mixture recipe, ‘cuz that how I do cake. Or should I say, how I don’t do cake? Layered cakes literally give me nightmares – and for good reason. I won’t even try to explain the mess of me trimming the layers down, but let me just say – THANK GOD FOR MARZIPAN. And thank you Molly Yeh for teaching me that you can use the most delicious paste instead of bland fondant to decorate cake. It’s basically like working with playdough, and it can do miracles to destroyed crumbly layers. Especially when those crumbly layers are doomed to be smashed by little hands.

Let me just say that I know these photos make it look easy, but here’s the thing – photographers can’t photograph their own kids. It’s just too stressful. Thank G-d I brought my 11 year old with me to the shoot  – her help was indispensible, especially when she jumped up and down, making funny faces so my daughter would stop crying and actually smile. There were a lot more tears than smiles at that shoot (and I’m not talking about the baby…just kidding…I didn’t actually CRY!).


I don’t know who invented cake smashes, or how long they’ve been around, but I don’t remember it being a thing with my older kids. I love that I have these beautiful momentos of my daughter’s first birthday, and that I had an excuse to play around with marzipan. I’d never go back to boring fondant again, and I look forward to getting over my fear of layered cakes and making some more intentional designs!


If you’ve got a baby birthday coming up, I hope my cake smash inspired you to think outside the box and create your own!


Cake Smash Deets:

Wreath: Amazon
Outfit: Etsy
Shoes: Century21
Carpet: Homegoods
Stool: Homegoods
Balloons: Family Dollar
Lanterns: Michael’s
Cake Banner: Homemade (craft paper, bakery twine and skewers)
Location: Liberty Municipal Park

3 layer rainbow cookie cake

blogoversary funfetti cake
it’s a girl!

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