Category: Shavuous

Salmon En Croute with Creamed Leeks

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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Unicorn Cheesecake Mousse

CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP. That’s my motto this holiday season! When the internet went gaga over Starbuck’s unicorn frappuccino recently, I knew I had to get in on the unicorn fun – and here. it. is. Feast your eyes on this strawberry cheesecake mousse with a swirl of sour icing – so much yassssss!

To be honest, I haven’t actually tried the unicorn frap, but I watched as my fellow foodies and blogger friends scrambled to get to their nearest Starbucks for a taste. Most of them found the drink underwhelming – but the general consensus was that the elements of sweet and sour were a cool combo for a shake. And I couldn’t agree more!

Figuring out what to use for the sour element in these was the biggest challenge. At first, I wanted to keep things natural, so I tried fresh blueberries and sour cream – too watery and not sour enough. Plus the blueberries were purple and not blue. Then I headed to Target for some freeze dried blueberries, but that worked out purple too. I finally decided to nix the healthy aspect, since this is an indulgent cheesecake mousse after all (and a little blue food coloring won’t kill anyone either) and went the route of white chocolate (a la the original Starbucks version, which was a white chocolate mocha sauce). But that was a mess. G-d was that a mess.

So, many tries later, I finally hit the nail on the head using my friend Shushy’s suggestion  (check her out @cookinginheelss!) of a thick icing made with powdered sugar. It was the perfect consistency for my sour swirl – made using citric acid, aka sour salt, that gives the icing that special pucker.

I’m super proud of these cuties and I think you will be too if you choose to serve them for dessert this Shavuos holiday! Just hush hush on the secret sour sauce and let your guests be surprised when they take their first bite. Serve with a side of fresh berries for a light and healthy(er than cheesecake) dessert!

Related Recipes:

rosewater cheesecake mousse parfaits
easy no-bake cheesecake
Torah cannoli

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Lasagna Roll-Up Blintzes

I don’t know about you, but the only thing that keeps me from making blintzes on Shavuot is the crepe-making. The rest of the process is fairly easy, and I don’t even mind the light frying. But those crepes, man they are hard to nail down.

My mom so hates the crepe-making process that she’s been ordering her crepes ready-made from a caterer for years. Instead, she puts her attention on delicious homemade fillings – creamy potato with deeply caramelized onions and sweet cheese with an apricot sauce for dipping. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!


I’m all for finding the easier way around dishes and this lasagna roll-up blintz hack is no exception! I love me some savory lasagna roll-ups, filled with spinach-flecked creamy ricotta and oozing with cheesy mozzarella, so why not go sweet, amIright? Dredging the sweet-filled pasta sheets in Corn Flake crumbs and frying them really takes it over the top, and I’m one happy crepe-free Momma.

What I really love about these decadent Shavuot treats is that they truly resemble blintzes, and if you want to stay away from the fryer, just go ahead and serve them up without the breading. You can add some chopped nuts for texture, and of course the requisite sour cream and strawberry sauce. Cuz blintzes without sour cream are a sad, sad thing.

Those of you that have been following my diet journey over on Instagram know that I’ve been staying away from delicious carby treats like these for the past couple of weeks, so I had to send them straight out of the house as soon as I was done making them. I don’t have the willpower to say no to a piping hot plate of sweet, crunchy, cheesy pasta rolls, do you? If your answer is yes, please tell me your secret ‘cuz I’m gonna need it come the cheesecake holiday.

We’re pretty low key when it comes to dairy in my house – I only serve it once a week, and it’s usually pizza, mac ‘n cheese or baked ziti. But Shavuot? Shavuot is the time for cheesy French onion soup, 4-cheese lasagna, a cheese board of your dreams, and of course plenty of cheesecake and blintzes. And lets not forget the dairy ice cream either. G-d help me survive this decadent holiday!

I’m thinking I’ll have to have some healthy options at the table too. Like these cheesy stuffed mini peppers, this three-cheese rollatini rose pie, the most amazing kid-friendly broccoli poppers, plus these cutesy roasted eggplant parmesan starters.

Now if we’re talking the decadent part of the meal, obv we have these insane roll-ups, which will be an amazing side to my caramelized peach and gouda quesadillas and 3-cheese broccoli pull-apart buns for the kids.  I’m thinking goat cheese ice cream for dessert, and definitely my Torah cannoli, ‘cuz that’s what the holiday is all about – stuffing our face with cheese and the giving of the Torah.

I’m pretty stoked to be hosting my mom for the first time this year – she’s usually the one who hosts, so I better get my menu planned. Stay tuned, I’ll share it with you soon. In the meantime, have a look at the Index for some inspiration!

Lets get rollin’!

Related Recipes:

spinach lasagna roll-ups
how to build a crepe bar
parmesan lasagna chips with pizza hummus
quick and easy lasagna

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Portobello Tuna Melts


Bedtime. Every mom knows hows loaded that word can be. Especially when I’ve got five kids under ten to tuck in at night. Why won’t kids just go to bed? Aren’t they tired?

It was 10:00 last night and the house was quiet. I sat on the couch and took a deep breath. Finally, some peace. I could put my feet up and relax. So I did what any mommy blogger would do…I went live on Instagram. 2 minutes in, and only 30 minutes after finally falling asleep, my baby wakes up. Because I’m a mom. And that’s just how life works. So I struggle though this “show” of sorts, taking 1 minute commercial breaks to calm my kid and get her latched without showing 6000 people more than they came for. That’s mommy blogger life right there.

Did I mention my husband was away since Friday and I’ve been holding down the fort through the longest Shabbos on planet earth all on my own? Yes. Life with kids and a CEO husband is hard. So when said husband encouraged me to go on a health and wellness retreat last week, I frantically packed my bags before he could change his mind and ran out the door (OK that’s not true, I argued with him about the what, when, where for each kid and the logistics of leaving a 9 month old who’s nursing around the clock and a 9 year old who’s out of school for weeks because her teachers are on a strike that seems like it will never end. And then I sorted and arranged three days worth of clothes for each kid, prepared a menu for the week, filled the house with all the essentials, restocked prescriptions for everyone who needed and bought enough bottles and pacifiers and sippy cups to last us for months. Then I broke down and cried about leaving my kids. And then I picked myself up and walked out the door).

I went live last night to discuss this wellness retreat because I got so many messages while I was away asking me about it. But Instagram Live is just that – live – and there is so much going on, so many comments and questions happening while my baby is kvetching and I just don’t know if I got the whole picture across. So I decided to write about it. That’s the good thing about having a blog.

The health and wellness retreat was put together by Beth Warren, a local Brooklyn nutritionist and author of “Living a Real Life with Real Food” with a focus on eating healthy, exercise and practicing self-care. Just what I needed. There were about 15 of us in total and we carpooled to our destination in Lenox, MA, also known as The Berkshires. We arrived at Brook Farm Inn, a Victorian home in a historic town with lush trees and quaint shops. We carried our luggage to our rooms (no elevator in this vintage Inn!) and gathered for lunch of a make-your-own-salad bar. Then we went off for a tour of Ventfort Hall – a historic mansion that was built by Sarah Morgan, daughter of J.P. Morgan, the famous banker. Next up was a circuit training workout at Lenox Fit, a snack of crudites with homemade hummus, and finally, a much-needed 15-minute massage back at the inn. Still in our exercise gear, we stretched and centered ourselves with a yoga class and then showered for dinner in pajamas (my fave!). Dinner was a light and healthy baked salmon with black rice, green beans and vegetable soup. We finished off the day with a talk on self-care and a quick demo on stuffed dates for an after-dinner snack. Lights out!

The next day, we woke up early, donned our exercise gear and headed to Kripalu, a yoga school and center for health, just a few minutes away from the Inn. The place was huge, with 4 floors and lush grounds in a beautiful mountain setting. Kripalu is a serious yoga retreat with ongoing classes, hiking trails, a spa and more. With our daily passes, we were free to explore the programs of our choice (I chose a deep-tissue massage ‘cuz G-d knows I’m no yogi!) and then meet up mid-day for lunch and a hike. Salads of black bean burgers were prepped for us , so we lunched on the patio with breathtaking views and then geared up for a hike around the property. After we headed back, we had a bit more time at Kripalu, but I went to explore Tanglewood, a popular Berkshires attraction, with some of the ladies. Tanglewood is a summer hot-spot with music festivals and shopping, so we walked around the mostly-empty town, exploring some of the fun shops around. After making a few purchases (we’re ladies after all!), we headed back to the Inn for a post-hike yoga class and dinner of chicken breast, roasted vegetables and sweet potato fries. Beth gave us an inspiring nutrition talk during dinner and we finished off the long day with a healthy baking class and an essential oil workshop. Lights out!

Wednesday morning we wrapped up with another yoga class and a breakfast parfait bar filled with oatmeal, chia seed pudding, yogurt, fruit and toppings. We packed up some leftovers for lunch and we were off. Two jam-packed days behind us, and lots of fuel to get back to the daily grind of mommyhood.

I, for one, needed that fuel. I spent the early morning hours whispering into the phone as my son back home was having an asthma attack. I was helpless and worried and felt so. far. away. I had my mom go to the house to take care of the kids while my husband rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. It was every mother’s worst nightmare, being away during such an emergency, but my husband reassured me over and over that everything was ok, and skyped me from the hospital so I could see for myself. My three-year-old spent the next two days in the pediatric ICU and I was so thankful that I had taken that break so I could be there for him, my family, and myself, fully and healthy.

Going away was hard (I had to pump every four hours on the road!) but it’s something I didn’t even know I needed. Taking a break from the daily grind allows you to regroup, center yourself and feed your soul. It reminded me that being a mom doesn’t just mean taking care of others, it means taking care of myself – and that neglecting that need doesn’t make me a martyr, it makes me resentful and unhappy. I needed that wake-up call because every day is a nonstop marathon of giving and feeding and caring for others and it’s hard. G-d is it hard. And every night as I go to bed, I pray that tomorrow will be easier – but it’s not. Because being a mom is a full time job that will never end. Going away inspired me to learn to take time for myself – to nourish my body with healthy food and exercise and nourish my soul with a good book and a relaxing massage. I’m making an effort to do something for me, and it’s ok.

The retreat really gave me the kickstart I needed to start eating healthy again. It’s been a while. I’ve put on a whopping 20 lbs. since I had my baby, 9 months ago (I always put on weight when I nurse!) and it’s finally time to lose it the healthy way – with diet and exercise. I whipped up these delicious low-carb portobello tuna melts last week, and I’m super excited to share the recipe with you! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be about deprivation, especially when you get creative and think outside the box.

This one is for all the Mom’s out there. I salute you.


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

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spicy tuna melt twice baked potatoes
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Nish Nosh Salmon

If you’re familiar with Nish Nosh salad, you’re probably doing the happy dance right now. Nish Noshim are these buttery sour cream and onion crackers that are made in Israel and the dish gets it’s name because it’s smothered in these addictive crackers. The salad is as popular for it’s crackers as it is for it’s dressing, which includes soy sauce, mustard and garlic for a rich savory flavor. The dressing is so delicious in it’s own right that it’s been packaged and sold in stories under the name Nish Nosh dressing.

Of course Nish Nosh salad has made an appearance on my Shabbat table, and it always gets finished to the last drop. The salad itself includes romaine lettuce, red cabbage and grape tomatoes, along with the crackers and salad dressing. Being the blogger that I am, I decided to turn the dish into an entree using salmon! I even roasted the cabbage and tomatoes for a full baking sheet dinner that is light, simple and pretty healthy if you don’t eat the whole bag of crackers while you’re prepping ;)

Roasted cabbage has become a healthy staple for me thanks to my friend Mel who makes it regularly. I love that you can dress it up with different spices (most recently I used Montreal Steak Seasoning) and it’s super quick and easy. The cabbage takes on a great texture, and if you cook it long enough, it starts to brown and caramelize. My only caveat: don’t use the prepackaged shredded cabbage. You’ll definitely want to use a fresh head and slice it yourself (no need to use a machine for this, just your trusty old kitchen knife).

We’re not that big into fish in my house since my kids don’t like it, but I’m definitely trying to work it in to the weekly rotation. Baked salmon is really the easiest way to go, and throwing it on a sheet pan with all the other ingredients make it a super quick dinner. You can serve this with some quinoa if you want to bulk up the dish, or treat yourself to a healthy and delicious lunch. Of course it works great for Shabbat too!

If you want to serve it up buffet style for a party, here’s a great idea: Roast the cabbage and tomatoes on their own sheet tray. Cut the salmon into cubes and coat them fully in the mayo and crumbs. Bake the salmon until opaque (about 10 minutes, depending on the size of your cubes) and roast the cabbage and tomatoes until they start to caramelize. Spread the cabbage out onto a platter and top with the salmon cubes. Then stand back and enjoy the compliments!

Related Recipes:

sweet chili salmon with wasabi crust
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