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Fruit Salad with Basil Honey Lime Dressing

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

To me, Passover, or Pesach, is all about tradition. I’ve never actually hosted the holiday in my own home, but I imagine that when I do, I’ll be making the same foods that my mother always made.

I have fond memories of my mom’s Passover ratatouille, mock chopped liver, beet salad and cucumber salad all neatly arranged in mason jars on the door of the fridge. She always had big jars of simple syrup on the counter, which she used to sweeten everything from chicken to fish, meat and nuts. Towards the second days, when everyone had enough of the heavy meals, she always diced up a huge fruit salad in our giant glass Pyrex. And she doused it in simple syrup too.

The simple syrup didn’t bother me, especially as a kid, because the fruit tasted like candy. But the bananas – they just threw the whole thing off. There were never really rules to what went into the fruit salad – it was whatever was leftover around the house – but it almost always had melon, kiwi, sliced bananas, walnuts, and oranges.

There was always someone in the house who was walking around scratching their throat from one of the fruits – probably the kiwi, and I think it was usually my sister. But we still ate it – bananas, oranges and all – and we sipped up all those sweet drippings from the bottom of the bowl like they were liquid gold. Ah, Passover memories.

While everyone is busy preparing trays of Passover brownies, whipping up macaroons and fancy pavlovas – I’m here to say that it’s really just about the tradition. Fruit salad may be simple, but it’s what my Momma always made, and it’s what I plan to make when I host Passover in my home in the coming years.

For this recipe, I’ve done away with all the fruits that I picked out of my Mom’s fruit salad – the awful mushy bananas, pithy oranges, and throat-scratching kiwi’s. Instead, I used melons, mangos, plums and nectarines, and fancied it up with a basil honey lime dressing (a lot healthier and more flavorful than the simple syrup of my youth!). Feel free to adjust this salad to your liking – adding more lime juice for extra tartness, or more honey for extra sweetness. And you can also switch up the herbs with some fresh mint instead of basil, if you so desire. Don’t forget to top it off with some coconut whipped cream and chopped nuts to really take it over the top!

Wishing you and your loved ones a very fruitful and happy Passover!

Other Passover Desserts:

marzipan apple crisp
nutella banana ice cream
chocolate ganache tart with macaroon crust
raspberry sorbet

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Grain Free Granola

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

It’s been an emotional week for me. I opened up about a personal loss over on Instagram and the response was overwhelming. I truly felt a communal virtual hug that gave me so much comfort, and for that I thank you.

At a yartzeit gathering this week, one of the speakers mentioned an interesting thought. Why is it, he wondered, that so many communities do not read about the history of the holocaust on the saddest day of the year, the Fast of Tisha B’av? He reasoned that the atrocities of the holocaust were so unbearable, that the only way for the Jews to survive was to not look back – only forward. There was simply no other way. It was key to our survival.

If you think about it, he said, that’s why most holocaust survivors don’t and can’t talk about the past. That’s the only way they were able to put one foot in front of the other and continue living.

I’ve had this on my mind and it just so happened that this morning, a friend of mine posted a video of her grandfather giving testimony on a trip to the Death Camps. He goes into detail about the selection and how his life was spared, and the gruesome stories that he told left me choking on my tears. I can’t bear to listen to it, how could anyone actually have LIVED through it?

Not to make light of the very worst horror that the world has ever experienced, but many people go through their own personal holocaust. I know for myself that my family’s personal loss was the kind of stuff you only see on TV, not in real life. You never think it will happen to you. And I keep thinking back to the speech of this week – you can’t look back, you can only move forward.

It’s funny because my husband (who is a business coach) has been talking to me a lot about The Three Laws of Performance, a book that has literally changed his life. The popular self-improvement book gives you strategies to be able to create a new future that’s different from the past. In order to do that, we have to change our language, because the words and the meaning we attach to those words all have to do with our past – and it holds us back. Letting go of the past gives us the opportunity to create the future we really want.

We all use words that create our reality – we say things like “You always do such as such,” or “Because such and such happened to me, therefore I can’t …”. If we stop attaching meaning to everything we say (that is based on our past) then that allows us the possibility of a new future.

If you’re like me, you’re  probably rolling your eyes at what I’m writing, but the truth is, it makes a lot of sense. For most of us, it’s our pasts and the stories we tell ourselves based on our pasts that really hold us back from living our future.

Let me just say though that I am the last person to preach these ideas – psychology was never quiet my thing. And honestly when my husband got into self improvement and all that stuff – I just looked the other way. “You do you and I’ll do me” was my philosophy but it wasn’t a very healthy (or mature) one. I mean we can all learn methods we can use to improve ourselves – our outlooks, our responses, our behaviors. As a mom, how can I expect to tell my children to control their anger or “use their indoor voice” if I’m not doing that myself.

This week, and in fact the last couple of months (since I’ve been open to learning the Three Laws of Performance) have been really eye opening for me. I’m working on putting the past in the past and focusing on creating the future that I once thought I could only dream of. And with Passover just a short few weeks away, I always learned that the holiday wasn’t just about eating matza, but about passing over our own exiles and experiencing a personal redemption. I hope you (and I) will be lucky enough to do so this year!

I, for one, am passing over the heavy Passover food of yesteryear and moving onto some healthier and lighter options, like this fantastic grain-free granola. The recipe bakes up in clusters, just the way I like it, and you’d never believe it’s made from just nuts and coconut. Give it a try!

Related Recipes

marzipan crumble (gluten free)
chewy date granola bars
banana nut Greek yogurt bowl
yogurt parfaits with homemade granola

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Paleo Chocolate Muffins

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

I keep waiting for life to get a bit less hectic. When baby #5 came five weeks early this summer, life turned upside down. We thought we had everything all worked out. We were spending July in upstate New York and planned to return for the second month of the summer, so I’d be near the hospital for my late-August due date. Instead, we drove for two+ hours in the wee of night while I labored in the front seat hoping that my water wouldn’t break! Alas, we made it to the hospital with more than enough time, because my labor lasted 24 hours. You just never know.

My husband packed up all our stuff from the country (we all know how that went), and I started looking for an extra hand to help with the kids while I nursed my preemie around the clock. Slowly but surely, things began to fall into place. The kids transitioned to their new summer arrangements, I found an awesome girl to help out, and I rested up at my Mom’s house. But then camp ended. And school was two weeks away. And we had all the holidays coming, so I needed to buy holiday clothes, uniforms, school supplies and all that New Year stuff that is just. so. hectic. Once that all died down, I started to plan for my son’s Upshernish, a ritual hair-cutting ceremony observed when a Jewish boy turns three, and thus formally begins his Torah education. I spent weeks prepping and planning, made my very first fondant cake and other desserts which I froze in advance. I lined up a caterer, entertainment, got us all in coordinating outfits and booked the photographer. Alas, the big day arrived (which we celebrated this week), and thankfully it all worked out beautifully. We chopped off my son’s beautiful blond curls, sharing and celebrating with friends and family.

Now that the upshernish is behind us, I woke up this morning thinking, OK, now let me just take a breather. But then I opened my calendar and saw all the trillions of things I had lined up (many of which I had pushed off because I was too busy planning the party) …and I realized…life is not going to get any less hectic. This is it. I’ve got five kids. I’ve got recipes to test. Demos to work on. Articles to write. Shopping and homework and Dr.’s appointments and PTA and laundry and diapers to change and babies to feed…..and…….and……yes. I’ve got so much. I’ve got so much.

So instead of fighting my hectic schedule, I’ve decided to embrace it. And instead of wishing for a break, I’m going to find little tidbits of calm amid the chaos. Small moments to savor a hot cup of coffee, and to realize that breastfeeding is not a chore, but a time to bond with my adorable baby and dinner with friends is not just another thing to do on my calendar, but a time to take a break and actually enjoy the moment!

Today is hectic. And tomorrow will be too. But I am forever thankful for it. Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve been trying to clean up my diet the past couple of weeks (so I could fit into my dress for the upshernish!) and whenever I’m looking to debloat, I try and go Paleo (or Whole30!). The natural, unprocessed food really helps me get back to a healthy way of life and just makes me feel better. These amazing grain-free chocolate muffins have literally saved me on mornings when I am desperate for a little something to eat with my date-sweetened, coconut-milk coffee. They’re so rich and fudgy that my kids actually think of them as a special treat, instead of a healthy one!

If you’re interested in learning more about the Paleo diet or reading about my 30-Day Meal Plan, visit this page!

hazelnut chocolate chip almond butter cookies
chocolate ganache tart with macaroon tart

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Roasted Smashed Potatoes with Leeks

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Food blogging has taken me to some truly amazing places (front cover of The Wall Street journal, anyone?), but none as priceless as some of the friendships I’ve made through the process. Melinda of Kitchen-Tested has become my “lets-pig-out-at-this-restaurant” buddy, my recipe idea sounding board, my support coach (“You can do this Chanie!”) but most of all, my friend (awwwww….can I grab you a tissue Mel?). So, aside from being an amazing chef (her desserts are so impressive, she should open a bakery), Melinda is totally fearless in the kitchen. She comes up with the craziest stuff you’ve ever seen [like bagel, lox and cream cheese hamantaschen! pecan pie bacon (kosher bacon) and falafel mozzarella sticks!] but she also knows how to keep it simple with down-home-delicious-recipes [like puff pastry potato roses, classic red velvet cake and Texas-style dry rub brisket). I’m honored to have Melinda guest post for me today, and I hope you enjoy her Rosh-Hashanah inspired recipe! Welcome Mel!

Today is a great day because I get to write a recipe for Busy in Brooklyn! Hi, I’m Melinda Strauss and my blog is Kitchen-Tested.com. Ever heard of me??? Basically, you all want to be me today! Chanie is one of the coolest people I know and her masterful recipes blow me away EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Chanie loves tahini, cookie butter, marzipan and long walks on the beach. But really, Chanie loves her family and that’s why I’m here on her blog. She recently gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl and all I can say is “Mazal Tov…now move to Long Island!!!” Oh, did I say that out loud? Seriously, my dream is for Chanie to become Busy in The Five Towns so she can live closer to me and I can babysit while she takes naps and maybe goes out for those long walks on the beach.

So about this recipe…sure, you can eat mashed potatoes or you can eat roasted potatoes but why not get a bit of both in every bite? I love this recipe because it’s a one-pan-wonder packed with crazy amounts of flavor. The potatoes are steamed in the oven then smashed, drizzled with tons of olive oil and garlic and roasted with leeks. I love how the leeks get super crunchy in the oven and act as added texture for the potatoes, which are soft in the center and crispy around the edges. The fun thing about this recipe is that you can add any of your favorite spices to the potatoes and you can even throw some fresh whole garlic in the pan. Go nuts and make these roasted smashed potatoes your own!

Related Recipes:

honey mustard roasted potatoes
cream of leek soup with crispy leeks

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Spicy Roasted Carrot Fries

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

It’s been such a pleasure having some of my favorite peeps guest post on my blog the past few weeks! I think the part I appreciate the most is how they all put so much thought into making something that was so ME. Amy made shakshuka which is one of my favorite foods. Sina made Paleo cookies ‘cuz I’m a Paleo enthusiast who could eat cookies at every meal. Melissa made a deconstructed bakba (that went crazy viral!) ‘cuz I’m all about putting my fun twist on traditional foods. And Miriam whipped out her spiralizer because as many of you know, it’s my favorite kitchen gadget!

I’m sure most of you already know Miriam, the famous blogger from one of the most popular blogs out there – Overtime Cook. If you live in a far off country without internet, and you haven’t yet made it to her blog [in which case, why would you be reading this? But lets not get technical here ;)], you’ve probably seen her amazing cookbook, Something Sweet. Whenever I’m looking for a dessert on the weekend, or a treat for my guests, that’s the cookbook I go to – hands down. And whatever I make is always a winner! Besides being an awesome baker, Miriam likes to create simple healthy dishes and I’m so grateful that she’s sharing one of them with you today!

Welcome Miriam!

Hey Busy in Brooklyn readers! I’m so excited to be guest posting here while Chanie enjoys some special time with her gorgeous new baby! My name is Miriam Pascal, and you might know me from my blog, Overtime Cook, or from my cookbook, Something Sweet. And although my cookbook is all about desserts, I love to make simple and easy real food recipes as well, which brings me to these curly carrot fries.

When I was wracking my brains, trying to think of a good recipe to share here on Chanie’s blog, I immediately thought of a recipe using a spiralizer. I think we all know how much Chanie likes to use one – right?! Well one of the great benefits of a spiralizer, aside from the ability to make zoodles and other spaghetti shaped veggies, is the ability to make super-fun curly shapes out of potatoes or veggies.

Did you grow up on those frozen curly fries? I know I did. These Curly Carrot Fries are a perfect way to enjoy that nostalgic memory without all the extra calories. They’re baked, not fried, plus they’re made out of carrot instead of potatoes. Oh, and did I mention the blend of savory and sweet flavors thanks to the spice mix?

I should warn you that you might want to double this recipe….or else the whole tray might get noshed on before you even get to the table!

Pssst… I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but Rosh Hashanah is closer than you want to think, so put these carrots on your menu!

Related Recipes:

gluten free zucchini fries
butternut squash fries
veal marsala with turnip noodles
cheesy zoodle marinara

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Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

I’m super excited to introduce Sina Mizrahi from The Kosher Spoon today! I’ve been a huge fan of Sina’s since she started her blog (give THESE MUFFINS a try, they’re a family favorite!) because I love that her recipes are healthy, Middle Eastern inspired, and her photography is just. so. beautiful. Sina’s not pretentious about blogging [lets face it, we all know how bloggers can be ;)], she just quietly flies under the radar, doing her thing. She blogs when she has time for it, but I’m always there following her amazing talent – stalking her blog, following her Instagram feed for her Erev Shabbat posts, and reading her columns in Binah Magazine.

When I asked Sina to guest post on my blog, she was more than happy to, even with a move and a baby of her own. I can’t thank her enough! And of course she made my favorite food of all time – COOKIES – and of course they involve almond butter because they’re great for nursing moms – and of course they are healthy and Paleo – because, like I said, this girls is AWESOME. And of course the photography is so simply stunning because THIS GIRL HAS TALENT. Welcome Sina!

I am certain a chocolate chip cookie must be every pregnant lady’s close companion. I know that when I’m expecting I can never turn one down; the craving is strong and the willpower low. Thankfully constant exhaustion keeps my habit at bay, being that baking turns into an afterthought not worth pursuing. I’d rather skip dirty dishes even when the sweet tooth beckons. And in all honesty only a homemade cookie has true merit. But then the sweeter, intoxicating smell of a newborn comes and I crave healthy foods again. With my own baby still being under one, I remember being elated when my friend Rina gushed over these Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. First, she’s a real foodie who can chatter on about pressure cookers and coconut oil, and second they don’t need a mixer and can be made in one bowl (the small bowl for the egg is minimal, k?)

These cookies turned out to be everything I needed come baby. Healthy, pleasantly sweet, and easy. I threw in some ground hazelnuts for a deeper flavor. You might be tempted to envision a Nutella-ish taste because chocolate plus hazelnuts, but they are not at all. The hazelnuts add a depth and nuttiness to the cookie that balances the sugar and chocolate. It’s not something I’d skip. If I were in Brooklyn, this is what I’d bring Chanie, the perfect treat for her and Rosie.

 

Thanks Chanie for having me on your blog! Follow along the kosher spoon as I’m off on a new adventure I’ll tell you all about soon.

 

Related Recipes:

cowboy cookie dough bites
sesame cookies
oatmeal cookies
chocolate olive oil crinkle cookies

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Strawberry Basil Popsicles

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Even though my Shavuot spent in Upstate New York was kinda chilly, there are signs of summer at every turn. The fresh smell of grass in the air, the sun peaking out through the clouds, and the mosquitoes coming out of hiding (scratch, scratch). As a foodie though, I look for the signs of summer at the market. The fresh berries, in-season sweet-as-sugar melon and the beautiful fragrant leaves of basil that blossom to their fullest potential. Ahh, the sweet, sweet smell of summer!

In this quick and easy recipe, the best of summer comes together in a healthy, Paleo creamsicle that is as sweet as it is refreshing. It’s my go-to all summer long!

A bucket of popsicles makes an amazing hostess gift for summer parties! Gift one at your next cookout!

Related Recipes:

orange creamsicle pops
cherry yogurt popsicles
strawberry limonana

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Please NOTE: This post contains affiliate links which means that a small percentage of every purchase made through the links above goes to help support the BIB blog!

Nutella Crepes with Sweet Plantain Tortillas

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

In continuation from yesterday’s post for savory plantain tortillas, I bring you some sweet ones! You can read the previous post on more about what plantains are, and to see more step by step pics of the tortilla making process!

These sweet tortilla crepes are made with plantains, and the addition of coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. They’re great for breakfast or dessert, and best of all, they’re egg-free!

If you’re eating these over Passover, chances are, you’ve had eggs for breakfast, or you plan to have it for lunch or dinner. So having an egg-free meal option is a must-have! Of course you can make these a tad healthier by filling with nut butter and fresh fruit, but homemade nutella is nut butter too. It’s just chocolate hazelnut nut butter ;)

If you’re not into the tortilla crepe idea, use your own potato starch + egg variation, but you must try my homemade nutella and other fillings, especially the maple candied pecans. Happy Passover!


Related Recipes:

sweet nut omelette
nutella banana ice cream
chocolate ganache tart with macaroon crust
fish tacos with savory plantain tortillas

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Fish Tacos with Savory Plantain Tortillas

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Last year was my first time venturing into the world of plantains. It’s definitely a lesser known fruit, so I’m here to tell you more about it!

Plantains are a tropical fruit, and are best known for their use in tostones – a twice fried chip. You’ll find them on the menu in many Latin restaurants, like 26 Sushi & Tapas, in Miami, Florida. I love them topped with ceviche and avocado!

A plantain looks like a banana, but it’s slightly larger with angular sides. It’s taste and texture are determined by it’s stage of ripeness – firm and starchy when it’s green, and softer and sweeter when it’s yellow to black. Plantains cannot be eaten raw, but they make great (baked or fried!) chips when firm, delicious mash when ripe and great egg-free tortillas at any stage. Plantains are a resistant starch, which means that they pass through the digestive system sort of like soluble fiber and don’t spike blood sugar, making them popular among Paleo enthusiasts.

My interest in plantain tortillas was purely a Passover thing, since most kosher for Passover crepes are made using potato starch and eggs. I’m not a big fan of potato starch, and since my son is allergic to eggs, I was looking for an egg-free alternative.

I created two versions of the tortilla – a savory one, made with avocado oil, lime juice and a bit of chili powder, and a sweet one, made with coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla (recipe coming tomorrow!). Plantains don’t have much flavor on their own, so adding these ingredients was essential. I was pleasantly surprised that the tortillas were soft and pliable and really make a great substitute for Passover crepes and wraps. It’s great to have a recipe that doesn’t call for potato starch and eggs for a change, am I right?!

Now for the fillings! I’m a big fan of fish tacos so I definitely went that route with coconut crusted fish fillets which you can bake or fry (if you’re not a fan of coconut, I would recommend frying). Mango salsa is the perfect accompaniment to this tropical dish and curried mayo, one of my favorite condiments, rounds it out. This makes a great lunch or light dinner after all the heavy meat and potato dishes that we’re used to!

Looking for other potato alternatives for Pesach? Check out this article that I put together for OU kosher. It’s got lots of amazing recipes, suggestions and ideas for replacing the spud. You can thank me later!


Related Recipes:

plantain nachos
fish tacos with broccoli slaw
tropical guacamole
nutella crepes with sweet plantain tortillas

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Pepper Crusted Tuna Sashimi
with Pineapple Guacamole & Herbed Crema

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

I used to hate raw fish. It make me all squeamish. Raw meat too. I mean why would you want to eat raw food, possibly swimming with parasites, if you could eat it cooked, am I right? I was fine with a runny egg or two. Or three. But not the real proteins. Put a fancy plate of beef tartare with a raw egg in the center in front of me and I was out the door.

But then sometime about a year or two ago, I decided I was done being afraid of food and I wanted to try everything. I’m still not a fan of beef tartare but I’ve come to love raw sushi. It’s so much fun to be able to order off the entire sushi menu now, and not just the cooked rolls! You’ll be surprised just how easy it is to prepare pepper-crusted tuna sashimi at home. Just make sure you get the freshest, best quality tuna out there for this dish.

Related Recipes:

pan seared tuna steak
persimmon guacamole
jalapeno crema

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