Funfetti Cream Tart Number Cake

I’ve always held on to this self-limiting belief that I’m “not a baker”. I backed it up by telling myself that baking is a science and I’m more of a creative.
I hate following the rules and I always think outside the box.

For 8 long years – yes 8! – I’ve been blogging here on BUSY IN BROOKLYN and sharing my love of food, family and tradition (+ some crafts!). I’ve always pushed myself to try new techniques, explore unique ingredients and cook up cultural dishes that I’d never tried before. But one thing always got the better of me – DOUGH. Because “I’m not a baker.”

I always fell back on frozen pizza dough, puff pastry, and store-bought Artisan bread because I was afraid of anything that involved yeast. There was a short stint with sourdough, but I gave that up when more of my loaves flopped than succeeded.

In the school of Hassidic thought, the number 8 resembles that which is above nature, and to celebrate Busy In Brooklyn’s 8th Blogoversary, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and bake up something that’s been both intriguing me and intimating me at the same time – the beautiful layered cream tart!

To stick with my blog anniversary theme of FUNFETTI, I designed this tiered sprinkle cookie cake in the number 8, and decorated it with colors inspired by my cookbook, Millennial Kosher! After 8 years of honing my skills in the kitchen, I am officially done with labels. I can be anything I want to be!

With close to a decade in the food industry, I have learned a lot of things.

How to develop and write a recipe.
How to compose, style and photograph food.
How to teach people about food in a fun way.
How to cook with color!
How to compose a dish.
How to plan a menu.
How to multiply a recipe for a large crowd.
How to network with people.
How to write a cookbook!!
and the list goes on…..

I’ve learned a lot of things, and I’ve acquired a lot of skills, but above all, I’ve come to realize that nothing stands in the way of good, old fashioned HARD WORK. Looking back at 8 years here on BUSY IN BROOKLYN, I can’t believe that what I thought would be just a passing hobby, has turned into the most fulfilling career. That the young mom who was cooking traditional Ashkenazi food became a recipe developer with a broad palate. And that the clueless lady with a camera, became a food photographer with a pretty impressive portfolio and a cookbook to show for it. HOW DID THIS ALL HAPPEN??!!

OK I’m a officially drenching my keyboard at this point, feeling so overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. I don’t know where I would be if all of YOU AMAZING PEOPLE weren’t actually reading this and cooking up my recipes, and buying my book, and supporting me, and showing me so much love and appreciation and respect. How can I ever thank you?!

I always say that cooking is about so much more than satiating ourselves and others – it’s about expressing yourself and showing love to the people who mean the most to you. I don’t know how to thank you – so I will continue to do what I do best – cook – AND BAKE – for you all, because I am so grateful for this platform and it means so much to me.

Thank you for joining me for these 8 wonderful years of cooking, crafting and coping here in Brooklyn. Looking forward to many more to come!

Related Posts:

7th Blogoversary} Funfetti Rice Krispie Bites
6th Blogoversary} Funfetti Raspberry Palmiers
5th Blogoversary} Funfetti Pecan Turtles
4th Blogoversary} Funfetti Cake
2nd Blogoversary} BBQ Brisket
1st Blogoversary} Mulled Wine

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Mushroom Cauli Soup

So it’s been nearly 3 weeks since I started keto and I have to admit – I’m bored. How much cheese/eggs/steak/broccoli, cauliflower/cabbage and nuts can you eat? I’m all about variety in my diet and I get bored so easily!


One thing I promised myself when I started this diet was that I was not going to spend my day in the kitchen preparing special foods for myself. I was going to adapt my regular family recipes and make them work for me, and so far it’s been working. When I wanted to make this soup, I just substituted the bread crumbs with almond flour and removed some of the soup for myself before adding the orzo. I added some cauliflower rice to my portion and it was such a nice change from my typical steak and roasted veggie dinner!

Coming up with soups that aren’t tomato or bean based is a little difficult (tomatoes are not encouraged on keto because they are high in sugar). In general I’m a big fan of legumes in soup, and I love grains like barley and farro too, so it’s a challenge. I decided I wanted to do a keto-approved riff on mushroom barley soup, since everyone in the house loves it, but I knew I couldn’t use barley. I decided to use cauliflower to give the soup some creaminess and body, and it was a huge hit. I didn’t tell my cauliflower-hating kid that it had her least favorite veggie in there and she thought it was delicious (until she watched my Instagram story and was suddenly nauseous – ha!)

So alas, this Mushroom Cauli Soup – a play on Mushroom Barley Soup – so long as you say CAULI with the same enunciation as BARLEY :)


Related Recipes:

zucchini basil soup
spinach white bean minestrone with zoodles
cream of leek soup

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Tunisian-Style Tuna Nicoise Salad

Early followers of my blog will remember my South Beach Diet days, and if you’ve been following for the last few years, my Whole30 phase. Yes, I’ve been dieting my entire life, I can write a book on it (oh wait, I did!).

Since I had my last baby, over two years ago, it’s been about food freedom for me – and for a few reasons. Firstly, I decided I didn’t want to live my life on a diet anymore, and I wanted to be able to enjoy food and be OK with it. I did put on some weight, which is what will happen if you’re in my industry and you just let yourself go – but I accepted it and decided that I would learn to love my body at any size.

From a recipe testing perspective, because I was working on my cookbook, I didn’t want my palate to be off, which is what will happen if you’re on a diet that restricts sugars or carbs. After a few rounds of Whole30, everything tasted cloyingly sweet to me and if you’re developing recipes for a cookbook, that can be a problem. I remember testing this recipe during my Whole30 (tasting it and spitting it out!) and when I made it several months later for a Shavuot cooking class, I found that it really needed more sweetener (recipe has been adjusted!). If you’re testing recipes for a living, you need to appeal to the average palette, so a diet can really throw things off. That’s another reason I decided to let myself go and not be restrictive.

I started following a lot of body-positive Instagram accounts and really tried to work on being comfortable in my larger size, but if I’m being honest, I just didn’t feel like myself. I was self conscious, uncomfortable behind the camera, and going shopping left me feeling totally depressed. Physically, I felt tired, lacked energy and just wasn’t motivated to make a change.

This year, on my 38th birthday, I looked in the mirror and decided it was time to make a change. Either accept and love myself at any size, or change that size to one that would make me more comfortable in my skin. I was done with the yo yo eating, and I just wanted to gain back control. For me personally, I don’t do well with intuitive eating or mindfulness, I need a strict regimen otherwise I don’t keep to it. So the day after Chanukah, I took the diet plunge and went keto. No excuses, no back and forth on which diet to choose, just jumping right in without thinking, and it’s the best thing I could have done. I shared it on Instagram so that I would hold myself accountable, and I’ve been going strong for two weeks (although it already feels like months!). It’s amazing how long a day can feel when you’re watching everything you put in your mouth!!

It scary to put yourself out there today. Someone recently told me that we live in the “offended” generation and it’s so true. It’s like we’re all tiptoeing around each other because we might say the wrong thing. Well to all the diet-shamers out there who aren’t OK with people going on a diet, here’s what I believe and I’m sticking to it: I reserve the right to feel comfortable in my own skin, and it’s no one elses right to tell me if I should lose weight, or if I should accept my body the way it is. It is MY body and it is MY right to make that choice. Yes, I’ve gone keto – because I want to feel healthy again and be healthy again and I want to be able to like what I see in the mirror, and there’s no shame in that.  This, to me, is true food freedom. The freedom to make your own choices about the foods you eat, and weighing those choices in a conscious way.

I’m so excited to share this delicious recipe that I came up with last week for my keto-approved lunch. I went a little overboard with the tomatoes, but I’ll get there!

Related Recipes:

harissa roasted chicken
harissa whipped feta with za’atar eggplant chips
cauliflower nachos with harissa cheddar sauce
Greek salad with feta croutons

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Lemony Orzo Soup with Meatballs

Hello, hello my fellow winter bunnies. It’s officially cold out, even the snow has made an appearance this week. I find winter pretty depressing tbh, and if it was up to me, I’d stay indoors snuggling under my covers until Spring!

The only thing that really gets me through winter is my down coat, fingerless gloves (so I can answer my DM’S!), some uplifting music, and hearty soups. That last one is mandatory.

I’ve never been that much of a soup person because it’s just ANOTHER thing to make for dinner, but I’ve found that my kids really love a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter night, and if you play your culinary cards right – it doesn’t have to be that extra thing at dinner, it can actually BE dinner.

To turn your soup into a one pot meal, follow these basic guidelines:

1. include a protein: chicken, shredded beef, meatballs, smoked turkey, tofu
3. include grains: pasta (orzo, couscous, ramen), farro, barley, quinoa, rice
2. include vegetables: endless options!

If you’re feeling  like you need a little somethin somethin on the side, make a salad or serve with fresh baguettes or pita for dipping!

Hoping this hearty soup keeps you warm all winter long!

Other hearty winter soups:

crockpot mushroom barley stoup
spinach matzo ball minestrone soup
smoky split pea soup with thyme dumplings
cream of chicken soup in bread bowls

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Pizza En Croute

Happy Chanukah!!!!! The holiday of donuts, latkes, fried food, gelt and cheeeeeeesssseeee is here! Does it get any better?

Of course we don’t count calories on Chanukah, because we celebrate the miracle of the oil where a small jug miraculously lasted for 8 whole days and the story of Yehudit who bravely lured a Greek general with wine & cheese and them chopped off his head in his drunken slumber. I mean how can we not honor our history and tradition by filling up on goodies??! You don’t have to ask me twice!

Of course Chanukah is also special to me because I was born on the fifth night, and 16 years ago, I got married on my birthday. I made that choice because I knew that the day held so much blessing and power, and I held onto the belief that it would carry me through my married life with lots of good vibes and the power to illuminate.


I never imagined that life would take me on this unexpected journey. That I would one day become a food writer, and that I would be blessed to carve out this humble space for myself on the web, and on your bookshelf. I feel especially grateful this Chanukah for all the miraculous blessings of the past year. For more success than I could have ever imagined. My heart is so full and I don’t even know how to thank you. So I’ll just keep cooking and sharing what I love, because that’s the only way I know how.

So I made pizza en croute. Because pizza has my heart. And I’m sure it has yours too. I used Makabi’s mini balls because it’s Chanukah after all, and because they’re the perfect size to take the place of brie – as a riff on the classic “brie en croute”.

I top ’em off with whatever I have en hand, and that’s really the best part about these – they’re so easily adaptable. Top the cheese with marinara, ketchup, pesto or olive tapenade and you’ve got yourself a party appetizer that will fly off the table!

Wishing you a CHEESY holiday!!

This post was sponsored by Makabi Cheese, all opinions are my own!

Related Recipes:

dried fruit brie bites
parmesan lasagna chips with pizza hummus
broccoli Parmesan poppers
zucchini parmesan chips
3-cheese pull apart buns

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