Best Foods to Eat Before a Fast

What is it about fasting that makes us all so obsessed for days before the fast? I am not referring to the spiritual side (as that is worthy of the obsession) but the food aspect. Did you know that most healthy adults could survive many days and up to a month without eating? Regardless, days before the fast, I am reducing my caffeine intake and worrying about how I will manage. I have heard of all sorts of “fast survival” techniques, from caffeine suppositories, extra strength Excedrin without water (that’s my personal favorite), drinking coffee right before the fast to fool your system and give it caffeine for the morning, eating 2 tablespoons of honey before the fast, and crazy carbo loading. Everyone has their own strategy; tell us what yours is so we can share it with our readers.

GKC consulted with the experts (now who is an expert faster???) and here are our tips and recipes for a successful fast.

- Lots of Water. The discomfort from fasting is actually not from fasting but from lack of fluid. Super hydrate before the fast. Drink a great deal a day or two before as well and then really fill up with fluids before the pre-fast meal.

- Reduce caffeine intake. The headache associated with fasting is from caffeine withdrawal. One week prior to fasting start reducing your caffeine intake to about 1 cup a day or drink decaffeinated teas and coffees to fool your system. If this is too tough, seriously consider the caffeine suppositories or an aspirin before the fast to rid yourself of those headaches.

- Eat Normal Sized Meals. Overeating will not stave off the effects of hunger and may make you more uncomfortable. The excess fluids needed for your body to process large meals may also lead to dehydration which is counter productive. So while we eat numerous meals before the fast and a pre-fast meal, do not overeat.

- Eat carbs; yup, it’s true. Complex carbs like those in pasta, breads, rice, fruits and vegetables, are best for maintaining energy levels during the fast. The also help your body absorb water more efficiently so eating carbs will help you stay hydrated. Whole-grain products and fruits and vegetables with fiber are best because they digest slower and keep you feeling full longer.

So what are you making? One friend serves Pizza, and another serves salmon, rice, and whole-wheat pasta.

I’m making some of these…
Salmon Burrito
Angel Hair Pasta with Mixed Tomato Sauce
Watermelon Tomato Salad with Mozzarella Cheese and Lemon Dressing
Zaatar Salmon
Lots of fruit for dessert
Sorbet
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Emuna loves to break the fast with…
Classic White Bread
Minestrone Soup

Nine Days

When the nine days arrives, it seems to be the signal that summer is almost over (even if there are still many weeks until school starts!) and, even more importantly, it seems that Rosh HaShanah is right around the corner (stay tuned for our great High Holiday menus and restaurant recipes!) But I’m getting ahead of myself. Right now the goal is to participate in the mourning for the Temple in Jerusalem by not eating meat or drinking wine yet still preparing healthy and tantalizing meals for our families. At GKC, we empathize with that goal and want to share with you some of the recipes we are serving. We would love to invite you all over but the next best thing is making these dishes and drinks yourself.

Just because we can’t have wine doesn’t mean we can’t have other drinks. This Spicy Bloody Mary is one of my new favorites.

There’s nothing that says Nine Days about these Butterscotch Cookies but they’re so good, it doesn’t matter.

A little fish, a little salad, a cold soup…and the nine days will be over before you know it.

Pareve Milk


When it comes to alternative milks the options seem endless today – soy milk, rice milk, gluten-free options, nut milks and coconut milk. Readers often ask which to use and when. We asked GKC contributing nutritionists to weigh in on how they stack up nutritionally and we added our best GKC advice on what works well in cooking.


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In the Heat of the Summer: Cool Kosher Granitas

Everyone loves sno-cones, those paper cones of crushed ice with colored, (very) sugary syrup poured on top. No child’s party is complete today without a sno-cone machine! And I frequently see adults flocking to the counter and pretending their child needs two! That’s fine; they are so fun and refreshing on a hot summer’s day. But for those of you who wanted something slightly more sophisticated, the grown-up version – granitas – couldn’t be easier, not to mention better and fresher tasting (no offense to sno-cone purveyors intended). Try these recipes to impress your family and friends. Serve them for dessert on Shabbos lunch with some cookies or on their own  in the middle of a hot afternoon.

Blueberry Granita

Coffee Granita
Strawberry Granita

Or try our Watermelon Granita.

Restaurant Review & Recommendation: Pardes


We live in a time when most of us who live in larger Jewish communities have so many choices of where to dine. Cities are bursting with restaurants yet finding that unique eating experience is rare. Pardes, located in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York is quite an extraordinary dining experience. First, the style is casual yet chic; chilled out like the neighborhood. The menu changes each evening as the Chef, Moses Wendel, sees what is fresh and what those choices spur creatively. (We have been tracking him for about two years already as you may remember. GKC raved about Wendel stealing the show at the Royal Wine Kosher Food and Wine Show in NY 2 in 2010. Wendel went on to open the much acclaimed Basil and now has his own restaurant, Pardes) The food presentation is fabulous, with bright white plates of all different shapes and gorgeous food with vibrant color and stimulating texture . And finally, the general vibe is “enjoy the food” since it is served as it’s prepared, individually, not all at once, and with no rush to get you out. For a bunch of neurotic multi-tasking New Yorkers, this meant it was time to relax and just enjoy – which we did thanks to some delicious and unusual food and good wine.

We went with 4 other friends so we had a lot of food to try. Chef Wendel’s menu is unbelievable with dishes like “Grilled Treviso, beef heart, poached egg, red pepper” (the poached egg sat in the middle of the dish – btw, huge food trend in the treif world- incredible flavor and I never thought I would taste beef heart, super tender, melt in your mouth), “Duck with Root Beer, peanuts, celery, Ras el Hanou and Harissa”(Moroccan hot chili sauce), “Wild Tasmanian Sea Trout, red pepper sauce, corn crepe, pistachio leek fondue”, “Bluefish Bergamot (that’s a citrus fruit and when was the last time you saw bluefish on a menu?), and so much more. The trout was prepared perfectly with a seared crisp top and a soft, flavorful center. I had wanted double the amount of the pistachio leek fondue, which was hard to share with the others. Each dish is prepared individually and is spiced with intense flavors that balance and compliment the other flavors and yet never overwhelm the dish as a whole. The Beef Cheek Pizza, with 24-hour roasted tomatoes and fresh basil, was a particular favorite. Even my husband who does not enjoy spicy food found the flavor and intensity so perfect. Another highlight was the “roasted corn, grapefruit and fennel salad”. Sprinkled with arugula and sitting on a bed of corn pudding and mizuna (Japanese lettuce), and topped with corn bread croutons, I was sold on this restaurant at this course. Even the crispy fries are unusual, as they are served with this delicious onion parsley garnish, and amazing dips like garlic truffle mayo and smoky red wine ketchup (I really want to package and buy these for home use!)

Pardes was a food lover’s fun evening, as it was an evening to enjoy taste, presentation, and great company (people were sitting and eating all night). Get there to taste the summer’s freshest food and go often because Chef Wendel will surprise you each night with a an incredible creation you will certainly not find anywhere else. One of the best new great kosher restaurants around, for sure.

Finally, one last treat, with all this wonderful food, the bill was a very reasonable $380 for 6 people including wine and dessert.

Enjoy!

Pardes
497 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
718 797 3880
Monday thru Thursday, and Sunday 12 pm – 11 pm

Kosher July 4th Recipes: Celebrate the Red, White and Blue!


We have our flag up in front of our house and a great place secured to watch the fireworks. The meat has been prepped for the grill and friends and family invited. There is just something special about July 4th – there is gratitude and camaraderie in the air. And, as always, food. We’ve already shared with you some of our favorite barbecue recipes in recent columns so today we’re going to go for the red, white and blue! Enjoy these kosher July 4th recipes under the starry summer sky – wherever you are!

Pareve Blueberry Cheesecake
Peach Raspberry Cobbler
Strawberry Tart
American Flag Cake
Red Velvet Cake

How to Melt Chocolate

How to melt chocolate (otherwise known as tempering chocolate) for perfect chocolate-dipped fruit, treats, and chocolate molds:

Chocolate is one of the most popular treats and certainly THE most popular desserts amongst GKC readers. One of the most common questions we get is about melting chocolate for chocolate dipping, molding and for pastry decorating. At home, it is not always easy to melt chocolate and set properly. Sometimes the chocolate burns, sometimes it seizes (comes in contact with even a drop or two of liquid), and sometimes it just doesn’t seem to harden as expected. In order for melted chocolate to harden (and shape) properly, it needs to be tempered. If you do not temper the chocolate, it will most likely heat to too high a temperature, which makes it impossible to use for dipping or molding. But now we have the GKC easy guide to tempering chocolate. No more buying chocolate covered pretzels or strawberries. You will now be a pro in your own kitchen.

First, I need to mention a few, NEVER DO’s in tempering chocolate.

Do NOT use chocolate chips. They have coating on them that protects their shape and actually prevents them from melting. So in order to get them to melt, you must use high temperature, which destroys the chance of a smooth, shiny, dipping chocolate. They are great in chocolate chip cookies and work fine in ganache but forget it for dipping chocolate.

Do NOT melt chocolate in the bottom of a pot. Use a double boiler. I have tried this without a double boiler (even with really good pots that conduct heat slowly and evenly); it does not work as well and most often fails.

It is not hard to temper chocolate but it requires a little patience. I taught my 11 year old daughter Sarah who has become an expert and now she makes ice cream bon bons and chocolate covered strawberries every Shabbos.

Here is the GKC step by step, no fail, how to:

1. Chop your chocolate. It is best to use at least 1 pound of chocolate, as it is easier to temper (and retain the temper) of larger amounts of chocolate. If this is more than you need, you can always save the extra for later use. Be sure that your chocolate is in block or bar form.

2. Melt 2/3 of your chocolate. Place it in the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water. Securely clip a chocolate or instant-read thermometer to the side of the boiler to monitor the chocolate’s temperature. When you get more experienced, you can avoid the thermometer.

3. Stir gently but steadily as the chocolate melts and heats up. Use a rubber spatula, not a wooden or metal spoon.

4. Bring the chocolate to 115 degrees (for dark chocolate) or 110 degrees (for milk or white chocolate). Do not allow the chocolate to exceed its recommended temperature. When it is at the right temperature, remove it from the heat, wipe the bottom of the bowl, and set it on a heatproof surface.

5. Add the remaining chunks of chocolate and stir gently to incorporate. The warm chocolate will melt the chopped chocolate, and the newly added chocolate will bring down the temperature of the warm chocolate.

Your chocolate should now be tempered! To make sure it has been done properly, do a spot test: spread a spoonful thinly over an area of waxed paper and allow it to cool. If the chocolate is shiny and smooth, it is properly tempered. If it is dull or streaky, it has not been tempered correctly. 
You can reheat it over the double boiler if you need a little extra melting time but do not allow it to get back over 89 degrees.

Kosher Elegance

If ever a name was perfectly suited to a cookbook, this is it. The book is a spectacular array of photographs of artfully arranged food. Oh yeah, and there are recipes too. But I think that somehow the recipes are beside the point. This is a book that you want to look at – over and over again. We have a few cake decorating cookbooks in our home. I am not being modest when I tell you that I will NEVER make any of the cakes featured in those books. I don’t have the creative skills, the time or the patience. But my kids and I just love to look at them. It’s art in food form. I feel the same way about Kosher Elegance. It is just such a pleasure to look at the pictures. And the truth is, I may actually try some of the recipes. But I guarantee that my Pistachio-Liver Paté will never look like the swirled mousse that Efrat Libfroind’s does. It takes a special talent to present food so artistically and Mrs. Libfroind clearly possesses that skill. It’s a beautiful book from start to finish. And maybe I could try the Crown Jewel Rice or the Lettuce, Sweet Potato and Apple Salad. Perhaps even the Bite-Sized Rolls with Chicken-Pine Nut Filling. Check out our Giveaway for your chance to win a copy of this special book.

Father’s Day is Coming

image: dreamstime.com


There is really no logical reason why grilling has become a man’s job. But hey, who are we to complain? And if men love barbecue tools as Father’s Day presents, all the better.

They are a gift for all of us. And the bbq accessories and recipes just keep growing and growing. Here at GKC, we are still purists and can’t quite bring ourselves to bake a cake on the grill but there remains a broad range of recipes to try and we’d like to share just some of them with you. The weather is perfect, the day long and lazy. Fire up the grill, make some margaritas and watch dad do his thing. Or if you prefer beer, try this:
Lemonade Beer Chiller

And these barbecue recipes:
Grilled Corn, Avocado and Cilantro Salad
Rum and Coke-Simmered Ribs
And how about this old favorite: Grilled Burgers with Lemon Margarine

Kosher & Easy Chocolate Fudge Recipes for a Kosher Shavuot

Do you ever gaze at those displays of rich fudge at farmer’s markets and wish all of it was kosher? Do you fantasize about the plain chocolate fudge or the marshmallow or even the peanut butter flavors? Have you ever wondered how to make fudge yourself, or if it’s even a possibility? Shavuot is the perfect time to turn that fantasy into reality by making the fudge of your dreams in the privacy of your own kitchen. New and unique Shavuot recipes are always fun to introduce into your repertoire, and fudge is yet another dairy delight that helps you get in the spirit of the holiday. And one of the best things about this chocolate fudge recipe – other than the taste – is that it’s super easy. So indulge and enjoy.

Chocolate Fudge

Shavuot Cheesecake Recipes

One of the songs my kids used to listen to when they were younger was about the Jewish holidays. I no longer recall most of the words (maybe I’ve blocked them from my mind after hearing them so many times!) but I do remember the singer cuing the children, “On Shavuot we love to eat…” and they would yell out “Cheesecake!!!!!!” (Yes, it was very loud). But they were correct and old or young, Shavuot cheesecake is our favorite treat and a memory we are creating for the holiday. My husband likes the plain classic cheesecake recipes (he also prefers vanilla ice cream!) whereas I prefer the more interesting variations. So here is a list of a few different cheesecake recipes, with something for everyone. And of course, we always welcome your contributions.

Amaretto Cheesecake
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake
Coconut Cheesecake

Lag B’Omer


On Lag B’Omer, we make bonfires to remind us of the light of the Torah and Zohar taught to us by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. It’s a day of outdoor celebration and outdoor feasting. So it seems like the perfect time of year to dust (or scrub) off the barbecue grill and fire up the coals (or in my case, the gas). Here are some great bbq recipes to get your summer started.

Bourbon Rib-Eyes
BBQ Sliced Steak Sliders
Balsamic Glazed Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
Spinach and Grilled Corn Salad

Persian Food from The Non-Persian Bride


This book showed up on my door step at the perfect moment. I was having a hard time motivating myself to get back in the kitchen. I felt all cooked out!! Pesach seemed to have exhausted my creative spirit. But PERSIAN FOOD from THE NON-PERSIAN BRIDE was just what I needed to restart my engine. I needed something completely different and Reyna Simnegar provided it. As her subtitle (AND OTHER KOSHER SEPHARDIC RECIPES YOU WILL LOVE!) suggests, the recipes were not solely Persian. I tried my hand at homemade Chummus, Babaganoush and Matbucha. They were all a big hit, especially the later two. I’m not in general a big fan of Babaganoush but somehow when I roasted the eggplant myself and it was freshly made, the taste was much more vibrant and flavorful. The Matbucha was superb with diced jalapeno adding a nice kick. I also tried the Moroccan-Style Beet Salad; a big favorite with me especially since I love anything with cumin and cilantro. I don’t really eat meatballs but the rest of the gang really enjoyed the Persian Mega Meatballs (I actually caught someone eating them directly out of the refrigerator!) I’ve always wanted to make Persian rice, with the crusty bottom, but I wasn’t feeling quite that ambitious so I skipped the book’s Persian Rice Tutorial and made instead the Oven-Baked Super-Easy Basmati Rice with Dried Cranberries and Saffron. Super-Easy were the magic words and they were accurate. But it wasn’t just easy, it was delicious also (and I was the one that could be caught sneaking bites as it sat on the counter cooling). I can’t wait to make the Matbucha again (maybe it will become a regular at our Shabbos table) and to try some of her other recipes. I’m especially appreciative that this new cookbook got me out of my slump. Try it; it may work for you too!!

Click here to purchase.

Mother’s Day – Special Treats for a Special Lady

Whether it’s a Hallmark creation or not, all mothers like to be pampered. And while the recipes that the kids churn out are bound to be delicious, she might be in the mood for something a little more elegant and sophisticated later in the day (when she returns from the spa!) Here are a few treats that a more enterprising husband (and some older children) can whip up:

Fudge Tartlets
Chili Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Rich Pound Cake
Chocolate Bread Pudding with Warm Caramel and Chocolate Sauces

The Kids Make Mother’s Day Brunch

It seems like a cliché, the children making mom breakfast for Mother’s Day. But it doesn’t seem to matter because (most) mothers appreciate the effort and (most) children want to give it a try. If you suspect that your family has a secret brunch in mind, you might want to give them a nudge in the direction of this website so that they can try these simple, elegant recipes. Nudge dad also. Depending on the age of your kids, some of these recipes require his help. And, just in case he doesn’t realize it on his own, we’d like to add our own message to dad and the kids: Mom will really appreciate it if you don’t forget to clean up the kitchen after you make breakfast!!

Ice Blended Coffee Malted
Mother’s Day Goat Cheese and Spinach Omelette
Baked French Toast
Ambrosia
Chocolate Pistachio Bread

Purim is Here

Purim is here…what are you making? What are you sending? And what are you drinking? Share your favorite Purim recipe for the Favorite Purim recipe contest for a chance to win a cookbook

It’s funny though that just as soon as we bring in and send out all this candy, we cannot wait to use it up and get it out to get ready for Passover. So In addition to all these great Purim ideas, GKC has got the answers to what to do with leftover candy in 2011. Last year we suggested:
Candy Bar Blondies
Tootsie Roll Cheesecake
Hershey Bar Banana Treat
Potato Chip Baked Chicken

This year we’ve added a few more suggestions Leftover Candy Cupcakes and Leftover Candy Chocolate Bark. (Remember the local schools love wrapped, marked candy donations to use as treats for the kids – check with your local school. In New York, JEP (the Jewish Enrichment Program) collects the wrapped, marked candy at many of the schools in the tri-state area to use for their kiruv programs. If you do not have a collection at your school you can mail it to them at JEP 110 Rockaway Turnpike, Lawrence, NY 11559.)

Homemade Purim Gifts

Homemade Purim gifts are not only made by adults but also with kids. GKC loves cooking with kids so we tested these ideas on our own children. They each got rave reviews and looked super elegant and sophisticated when wrapped in clear cello bags and tied with big ribbons (my kids like to do that part too). We think your friends will never believe that these gourmet mishloach manot gifts were made by your kids. Try them all.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Crunchy Nutty Caramel Popcorn
Easy Chocolate Marshmallow Fudge

More Homemade Mishloach Manot Ideas

As promised, more homemade mishloach manot ideas. Tell us what you have come up with. As you know we love to post reader-submitted recipes and our readers love to try them. What is your favorite homemade gift item? Submit it here.

Potato Chip Chocolate Toffee
Sweet, Savory and a Little Spicy Chutney
Mixed Nut Brittle
Orange Ricotta Pound Cake
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pretzel Pops
Mini Cinnamon Buns
Infused Vodkas

Chocolate Truffles

You don’t have to celebrate Valentine’s Day to notice that chocolate is in the air!! (Well, flowers too but this is a cooking site!) I was debating whether to try my hand at some molten chocolate cakes or go for the more direct experience – Godiva, anyone (for chalav yisrael options, try Le Chocolatier. My favorite chocolates are usually the truffles (well, truth be told, I like the caramel and nut options also…) so I decided to save the trip to the store and try to make my own. It was a little messy but the results were worth it.

I made Mocha Truffles, Peanut Butter Truffles and Chocolate Truffles. After dipping in chocolate, truffles can be left alone or rolled in crushed nuts, coconut, sprinkles, cocoa, powdered sugar…

New Kosher Restaurant Guide on GKC!!


How many times have you been travelling and desperately needed a complete list of kosher restaurants in the area? Or even just wondered whether any new kosher restaurants have opened up in your hometown? Most big cities will have some information available online for their kosher communities, but the hassle of having to look up a location’s individual list of kosher restaurants can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially since even if you manage to find that, you still won’t know whether you can trust the certification, or even if it’s any good.

Have no fear – Gourmet Kosher Cooking is proud to introduce our new user-friendly comprehensive Kosher Restaurant Guide!

Here are some of the helpful and unique features you’ll find in our guide:
o Search by state and city (USA and some countries like Canada and France – more international locations coming soon!)
o Certification/hashgacha information WITH contacts and phone numbers
o Meat vs. dairy status
o Short description of type of food
o Location and phone number
o Hours of operation
o Website
o Online menu where available
o User comments for reviews

Whether you’re looking for a kosher restaurant in NYC, New Jersey kosher restaurants, kosher restaurants in LA, Chicago, Boston, even far-off states like Nebraska and Kentucky – you’ll find a place to eat using our guide. And of course, if you find a great spot that’s not yet on the guide, let us know about it so we can continue to expand and include every option.

You’ll find the Kosher Restaurant Guide on the right-hand side of your Gourmet Kosher Cooking screen. You can start searching right away by selecting a state from the drop-down menu, or click the link to the main page of the guide. Don’t forget to leave your comments and reviews if you’ve tried one of the kosher restaurants on the list – we’re all curious to know what you think.

Mandelbroit or Biscotti

Whatever you call them, they taste great and I am addicted. I make my “famous” Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Mandelbroit for almost any occasion – mishloach manos, bake sales, thank yous, because it’s Tuesday…But I also like to experiment with new and different kinds. And I have to confess that I am pretty much insatiable. Some of my recent favorites and the ones now filling my freezer include:

Ginger Mandelbroit
Snickerdoodle Biscotti (I’m just varying the name!)
Chocolate Biscotti
Apricot-Almond Mandelbroit

And I really wish Pat’s restaurant in Los Angeles would share their recipe. They’re the perfect dessert – not too sweet (so obviously not too many calories) and lots of crunch and flavor. If anyone can wheedle it out of them…

Kosher Food and Wine Experience

Great news! The Kosher Food and Wine Experience is back! Remember, last year I wrote about it? I could not stop raving about the fantastic food, great chefs, amazing wines, and all the GKC friends that we had fun with. This year I hope you will join us for the fun. The Kosher Food and Wine Experience is back and we can’t wait to attend on February 22nd, Pier 60 in Chelsea Piers in NYC. This year the show brings all the new and old wines we love to tell you about, like the TerradiSetta, Chianti Classico from the new winery in Tuscany, the highly touted Covenant C, and the Flechas de los Andes, Gran Malbec. Literally hundreds of labels will be served and tasted and experts are everywhere for new and old wine lovers to ask questions, give comments, or just be seen with.

The food this year is just fantastic! We are GKC so we just love the new restaurant additions to this event. I personally can’t wait to see what chef Moshe Wendel serves (formerly of Basil and now the chef at the new restaurant Pardes). Shhh! We hope to get a sneak peak at the menus and share them with you next week. GKC foodies like to know what to look forward to. Other exciting additions include GKC favorites Shalom Bombay, Le Marais, Prime Grill, and Solo. Pacing and a big, happy appetite seem to be the best strategy for this event.

Sound fun? It is! So come with us! The Kosher Food and Wine Experience appreciates our enthusiasm and has extended a coupon for $20 off each ticket for GKC readers. Use code GKC20 at checkout on www.kfwe2011.com

But don’t wait; this coupon is only good until January 31, 2011.

We would love to personally greet you there so let us know if you are coming!!!!

Tu B’Shvat

Tu B’Shvat is coming tomorrow. Here are some extra recipes to add to your repertoire and contribute to the festive and grateful spirit of the day. This year in particular, it is a mitzvah to plant a tree to replace forests that were destroyed. The first recipe is courtesy Dana Slatkin, professionally-trained chef, cookbook author and friend.

Warm Brie-Stuffed Dates
Fig and Walnut Biscotti

Tu B’shvat

This Thursday is Tu B’shvat, the Rosh Hashanah of the trees. It is customary to praise the land of Israel – “a land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey” (Deuteronomy 8) and to partake of its bounty. There is nothing like fresh figs or pomegranates or grapes. And then there are all those platters of dried fruit…Many home cooks struggle with trying to think of new and interesting fruity recipes for the holiday. Here are some Tu B’shvat recipes with fruit to help you enjoy the holiday and participate fully in praising the land.

Maple Date Bars
Dried Fruit and Nut Cookies
Lemon Garlic Olives
Moroccan Chickpeas
Cucumber Pomegranate Salad

Soups


The Secret to Surviving the Winter: Healthy and Filling Soups

It’s winter time. It’s either cold or snowing or raining or all of the above!! We asked our healthy and nutrition writer, Simone Stromer, MD, CHC [AADP]
www.nutritionthroughlife.com to give us some tips for healthy winter eating. Read on.

During winter, chances are that you are craving more comfort foods, generally those packed with excess fat and calories. Soups are now the most important meal to add to your diet because they are the ultimate food to warm your body and fill you up with all the nutrients that you need while being relatively low in calories and processed ingredients. In Japan, where there are low rates of obesity, miso soup with nutritious seaweed and soy beans is commonly a daily part of the diet, and is even prepared for breakfast. Soups are also the ultimate meal-in-a-bowl; a large bowl paired with a piece of crusty whole grain or sour dough bread can keep you going for hours.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your winter soups:

Soup is an excellent way to pack in a few of those high-nutrient/high-fiber food groups– whole grains (like rice and barley), vegetables (any kind), and beans (like chickpeas, red kidney beans and lentils). Adding these to your soups will turn a simple vegetable soup into a balanced meal.

Ultra-low calorie soups (like plain tomato soup, low-fat minestrone soup without pasta, or non-dairy carrot-ginger soup) can be used as snack foods—you can eat the soup slowly and the large amount of liquid will fill you up, preventing you from reaching for the piece of bread, bag of nuts, or potato chips that you may have wanted.

It is preferable that soups are made from vegetable, chicken, or beef broths and kept clear, with the exception of adding tomato paste or stewed tomatoes for extra flavor. If you buy store-bought soup stock or broth, try to avoid those with MSG and more than 100 mg of sodium per serving.

If you want to add a touch of creaminess to your soup, avoid high-fat creamers like heavy cream or half and half and artificial creamers and instead try low-fat sour cream, low-fat milk or soy milk in small quantities. Add the low-fat options to your soup at the end of cooking to avoid boiling them.

For a dairy meal, try adding a sprinkle of shredded low-fat cheese or parmesan to the top of your vegetable soup.

Soup is not only healthy, but it is delicious as well. My family loves the minestrone with homemade white bread or with pasta and some grated mozzarella. Try a bunch and let your family discover their favorite.

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