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Spaghetti Squash Shakshuka

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Instagram, you probably know that I’ve been doing the Whole30 diet. Ever since I had baby #4 back in October, shedding the pregnancy pounds has not been easy. My go-to weightloss plan has always been The South Beach Diet, but it just wasn’t working for me this time around. I guess as we get older, our bodies change and what may have worked for us in our twenties, just doesn’t cut it during the big 3-0.

I had been seeing the Whole30 plastered all over Instagram and I was curious to see if it would work for me. My friend Melinda of Kitchen-Tested was raving about the diet, and after pushing it off for some time, I finally took the plunge! I chronicled my Whole30 diet via social media, sharing my meals for everyone to see. It held me accountable and made me feel like I had to stick to the program, or else I had a lot of people to answer to!

One of my biggest rules of dieting is to eat well. If I munch on salad greens every day, I feel deprived, miserable and hungry! On the other hand, when I take the time out to prepare a satisfying meal, I feel full and I don’t end up with cravings. Three meals a day becomes more than enough and I don’t feel the need to snack in between.


And so, each day, I challenged myself to come up with exciting recipes and dishes. Omelettes certainly became boring over time, so I turned to one of my favorite dishes – shakshuka. I prepared jalapeno shakshuka, marinara shakshuka and even meat shakshuka! But I really hit the jackpot with this incredible spaghetti squash shakshuka. The strands of spaghetti squash coated in runny egg yolk is so spectacular, you feel like you’re eating something so indulgent – and you are!

Dishes like these carried me through the Whole30 without a single mistep. I originally went on the diet to lose weight, but I never imagined the amazing after-effects that 30 days without sugar, dairy, carbs, legumes or alcohol would bring. Yes, I lost 8 lbs, but even better than that was that my sugar-cravings all but disappeared and I never feel the need to snack anymore. I eat when I’m hungry – and I eat well, but that is all! I feel so in control of my eating habits, and I don’t crave that added drizzle of honey or the teaspoon of sugar that I once did. In fact, just a few days after I completed my Whole30, I spent Shavuot with friends where I was surrounded by dairy delicacies and delicious dishes of all kinds. When I tried to eat a salad that had a sweet salad dressing, I was so overwhelmed by it’s cloying nature that I literally could not swallow it. There is no question that the Whole30 changed my taste towards food and my attitude as well. I much prefer savory to sweet now, in fact I plan to continue following the Whole30 diet until I lose another 20 lbs. After that, I will transition to a Paleo diet (the Whole30 is based on it, it just has more restrictions).

One of the other great outcomes of the Whole30 diet, is something I could have never imagined. When I began posting photos of all of the delicious meals I was preparing, the requests for recipes poured in. At first, I shared the recipes under the photos, but after a few days I realized, why don’t I just compile a 30-day meal plan? And so, without much ado, my Paleo ebook was born! Writing a cookbook has seemed so far away for the longest time – and a real, physical, turn-the-page kind of cookbook might be. But this ebook has allowed me to share over 100 recipes without nearly as much work as a hardcover book would be. I am still working on the last bit of edits and recipe testing, but the ebook should be available within the next 2 weeks! Stay tuned for more details in my upcoming posts and look out for the #Paleoebook hashtag via social media. I think I smell a giveaway.

 

Related Recipes:

baked portobello shakshuka
quick and easy marinara shakshuka

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Roasted Veggie Quinoa Salad

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The best salads happen at the salad bar. It was Chanukah, and my sister in law and I made a run for Bagels & Greens to sample some of their amazing donuts. They had incredible flavors like Rosemary crunch, sweet basil, Oreo crunch, strawberry cheese cake, dulce de leche and even passion fruit. They were selling out fast so we made our way, babies in tow, and sat down for brunch.

To deguiltify our donut binge, we decided to start with a salad. We packed in some roasted veggies, beets, and quinoa with a drizzle of honey mustard dressing. I was used to eating quinoa salads where the quinoa was the main attraction, but I loved how the healthy grains coated my greens and stuck to the veggies. I decided to bring the idea home and roast up some veggies for a healthy lunch that’s packed with color and flavor.

I start by roasting up some veggies – there are so many to choose from! Keep it simple with zucchini and onions or add in some eggplant, peppers or mushrooms. A hint of oregano and balsamic add amazing flavor – and your house will smell incredible too.

I love topping my greens off with a poached or soft boiled egg. The creamy yolk coats the greens in a rich sauce that’s better than any salad dressing. Although, if you do want dressing (what’s a salad without a good dressing, right?), I’ve got plenty of options for you too!

1 year ago: nut omelette
2 years ago: Bubby’s challah kugel
3 years ago: perfect pareve french toast

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Green Goddess Salad Dressing

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014


I have a confession to make. The hamantaschen got the better of me. If you’ve been following my dieting journey on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve seen all my healthy foodie posts and you’re probably wondering where I’m holding. Well, I completed Phase 1 of South Beach, lost 5 lbs, went on to Phase 2 and fell off the wagon.


Yup, I’m human. My healthy hamantaschen could only take me so far! I caved on Purim and had some of my mom’s mouthwatering corned beef, potato knishes and a couple of other goodies for dessert (they shall remain unnamed). So, here I am, 1 month till Passover renewing my commitment to my diet.


One of the things that makes dieting easier for me, is having a sugar-free salad dressing that can double as a dip for cut up veggies. Having a container of the stuff in my fridge, makes preparing a salad less of a chore, and I’m less likely to cave into my cravings.

 

Related Recipes:

apple celery veggie dip (low sugar)
balsamic dressing (very low sugar, can leave it out)
poppy seed dressing (sweetened with honey)
apple & honey vinaigrette (sweetened with honey)
lemon garlic dressing (no sugar)
sriracha caeser dressing (no sugar)

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Pear Ginger & Oat Smoothie

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

I’m always so inspired when I see people posting pics of their green detox smoothies and drinks. It makes me want to go out and buy a juicer. Today, my sister in law took me to an amazing smoothie bar on the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk. They make a mixture called Thank God Juice which includes a combination of spinach, kale, collard greens, parsley, celery, fennel and romaine. You can add Thank G-d juice to any other juice flavors, or drink it straight-up. I’m the type that needs to hide the greens in my smoothies so I added apple, beet and carrot juice.

Since I don’t yet have a juicer, blended smoothies are all I can make – but they can be just as healthy and delicious! I love adding oats to my smoothies – they turn a fruity drink into an all out breakfast. Ginger adds great flavor and brightness, not to mention various health benefits.

What are some of your favorite juice or smoothie combinations? Share it with me in the comments below!

Other Smoothie Drinks:

pumpkin pie smoothie
tropical fruit smoothie
persimmon yogurt smoothie
banana, dates, milk & honey smoothie

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Za’atar Roasted Chickpeas

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Ahh, za’atar, a delicious spice blend of sumac, thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and salt – there’s nothing quite like it!

When my grilled corn with za’atar garlic butter was recently featured in a lineup of za’atar recipes on The Huffington Post, I knew I had to reach for the Middle Eastern spice once again.

People are always asking me for healthy snack recipes that they can make on a whim. And I always suggest my go-to diet snack – roasted chickpeas. I give lots of savory & sweet ideas in this old post, but it’s buried deep into my blog, and it doesn’t get much attention. So here we are again with this new za’atar variation – my favorite flavor of all!

Other Za’atar Recipes:

honey roasted za’atar chicken with dried fruit
grilled corn with za’atar garlic butter
malawach cheese pastries with dipping sauce

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Cauliflower Nachos with Harissa Cheddar Sauce

Monday, January 20th, 2014

I’m not even going to pretend to know anything about football. Sports is not exactly one of my hobbies. I do know, however, that Superbowl parties require party food – and that, my dear friends, is most certainly one of my hobbies. When it comes to finger food, I’m the party queen – and I’ve got lots of yummy ideas up my blogger sleeve!

We’ll start with my spicy roasted edamame or my roasted chickpeas, they’re perfect for nibbling and won’t pile on the pounds. My smoked paprika popcorn cauliflower is another favorite and if you must have your wings, my spicy ginger chicken wings are a sure crowd pleaser!

If you’re craving dip, try my chestnut hummus with baked pita chips, crispy baby artichokes with balsamic aioli, salami chips with dijon dipping sauce or good old pretzels with my raspberry honey mustard pretzel dip,

Now if you’re looking for something a little bit more, well, cheesy, have I got some ideas for you! It’s a good thing I teamed up with Natural & Kosher Cheese, purveyors of artisanal kosher cheese products, because I sure love my dairy!  Here are some hearty game day recipes that’ll keep you going throughout the show!

} Natural & Kosher shredded cheddar adds cheesy goodness to my chili pie in jars,
} Natural & Kosher shredded mozzarella turns my malawach cheese pastries with zaatar, into a pizza-lovers dream.
} Natural & Kosher’s camembert or brie work wonders in my puff pastry brie bites with dried fruit & jam.
} Natural & Kosher’s aged parmesan can’t be missed in my zucchini parmesan chips,
} Natural & Kosher’s goat cheese makes the perfect garnish to my spinach & cheddar pesto crostini.

Of course, if you’re looking for something cheesy that’s still good for you – you’ve come to the right place. Yes, I know I might sound like a walking oxymoron but that’s just what I do. In my kitchen, healthy & nachos are not a contradiction as creamy cheddar sauce drips down a healthy dose of roasted veggies.

My Middle Eastern take on Mexican nachos will please even the purist of nacho fans. The harissa and cheddar make a perfect pair, creating a harmonious symphony of flavor, when drizzled over roasted cauliflower chips, marinated artichoke hearts, olives & roasted peppers. Note to yourselves: you may want to double the recipe!

I’m a huge fan of the cabbage family. And I don’t mean those sweet little dolls that we used to get for birthday gifts. I mean all those crunchy veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage and savoy, among others. But it’s cauliflower and broccoli that really make me want to melt…some cheese. There’s just something about sharp creamy cheddar over the tender veggies that makes them so delectable! So, without further ado, I give you my harissa cheddar cheese sauce ! Drizzle it over nachos, use it for fondue or mix it into mac ‘n cheese – you can thank me later!


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

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Butternut Squash Fries

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

I think you’ll agree that the very best recipes are the ones that you just came up with on the spot. They’re usually not recipes at all. Just a little of this and a little of that. Am I right?

These addictive healthy baked butternut squash fries are a great example. I whipped them up in no time, and they were gone in minutes! They’re the perfect side for a healthy burger or light dinner of grilled chicken.

What are some of your favorite last minute “no-recipe” dishes? Share them with me in the comments below!

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Summer Tomato Feta Salad

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Believe it or not, I’m not the biggest tomato person. I’ll happily leave them out of my burger, and I never put them in my tuna sandwiches. My husband, on the other hand, is tomato-obsessed. Ask him what he would take to a desert island, and I know without a doubt, that it would be a boat-load of tomatoes. So when it comes to salad-making, you can imagine that we are not always in agreement.

Summer, though, is the exception. There’s just something about summer tomatoes that is so deliciously sweet. Instead of arguing about adding tomatoes to the salad, we end up making tomato-only salads. Using an assortment of tomatoes like red and yellow tomatoes on the vine, or colorful heirloom tomatoes, makes for a beautiful presentation. With summer tomatoes being so juicy and delicious, you really don’t need much to make them sing. A simple drizzle of good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar is enough to dress them up. Feta adds protein, color, and saltiness, to balance out the tomatoes sweet flavor.

Needless to say, my husband is in LOVE with this salad. I hope you will be too.

1 year ago: picture perfect teacher’s gift
2 years ago: Asian bigger bowl soup

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Pasta-Free Spinach Manicotti

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

This one is for all the low-carbers out there. The people with diabetes and those on restricted diets who drool over the cheese-filled pasta delicacies plastered all over their newsfeeds. You don’t have to feel deprived anymore. I’ve taken the cheesy manicotti experience and revamped it into a lighter, healthier version that is so good, you won’t even realize there’s no pasta in it!

To tell you the honest truth, I’m not the biggest pasta person. I mean, I enjoy a good plate of pasta, I do. But I’m just not one of those people who dreams about a giant bowl of penne ala vodka (duck confit ravioli, maybe). So when I’m watching my carbs, I care more about my bread-less sandwiches than my pasta-free baked ziti. And you know why? Because I always find a way around it. I’ll make spaghetti squash baked ziti, cauliflower mac ‘n cheese, cheesy stuffed mini peppers, or roasted eggplant parmesan with feta. And now, this. Oh. Em. Gee. Best reinvention to date. Seriously.

With Shavuot just a week away, think about reinventing your standard indulgent menu of french onion soup, lasagna and cheese blintzes for lighter, healthier versions of your favorite dairy dishes. You won’t be left feeling bloated and heavy, but you’ll still enjoy all the delicacies that the holiday of Shavuot offers. Lighten things up with my refreshing, palate-cleansing strawberry rhubarb soup and save your calories for a decadent dessert, coming up later this week!

1 year ago: carrot muffins
2 years ago: meat lasagna

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Tropical Fruit Smoothie

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Technically it’s only been about a week and a half since my last post, but somehow it feels like an eternity. Thankfully, the weather has FINALLY turned around here in Brooklyn, and the sun is starting to peak through the clouds. With the warm weather making it’s entrance, it’s time to lighten up our menu’s and keep things simple and healthy before summer comes around. Smoothie’s are a great start!

Most of the time, I tend to skip breakfast altogether as I don’t have much of an appetite in the morning. With smoothies being ice cold and refreshing, I’m able to get in some nutrients without feeling like I’m filling up too much. This tropical fruit smoothie is one of my favorite blends. It’s just so refreshing!

Some of my other favorite smoothie combinations include:

banana+dates+almond milk + honey
persismmon + yogurt + cinnamon/nutmeg + honey
peaches+oatmeal+vanilla+milk+agave
avocado+raspberries+pomegranate juice
kale+kiwi+banana+orange juice

What are some of your favorites? Share them with me in the comments below!


1 year ago: pepper steak with plum sauce
2 years ago: sesame linguini with marinated chicken breast

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