Tag Archives: Food

What’s Your Kosher?

8 Nov
Truth

Truth

*This post originally appeared in The Times of Israel on Oct. 31, 2013

So there I was, in 2008, newly kosher and eating a meal with my vegan friend and trying to get her to understand my confusion regarding her question.  You’re a vegan.  To me, that seems difficult and requires quite a bit of discipline and creativity.  But from her lens, however, veganism was a no-brainer; something that came naturally to her.  At that point in my kosher-keeping journey, I was still craving the occasional cheeseburger so it wasn’t as natural to me as it is now.  We went back and forth on the differences and similarities of keeping both of these diets.  Eventually, the conversation naturally flowed to the challenges of starting a new diet; expense, limitations, family judgement, trying to get creative with cooking, etc., when it hit me.  Vegan is her kosher.

Kosher used to be exotic.  Having a specialized diet that required shopping at specialty grocery stores, declining dinner invitations to certain restaurants or other people’s homes due to dietary issues and budgeting to afford diet-specific items was considered strange and even too much work to consider.  But in 2013, everybody’s got their kosher.  With the rise of diets including, but not limited to, gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, paleo, strictly organic and/or only eating unpastruerized dairy products, etc., kosher just isn’t that strange anymore and I gotta say, I am a little relieved.  Heck, at this point, kosher is old news. So you can’t cook meat and milk together?  Big deal. Try going sugar-free, gluten-free and paleo.

Continuing reading at The Times of Israel

Pancakes and Problems: Things get spiced . . . vanilla chai-spiced.

16 Oct

Hello!  It has been AGES since my last post and if you follow this blog, you might be wondering to yourself, “Ummmm, Whit, didn’t you like, make a big deal about unveiling a new and improved, self-hosted blog?”  Yes! I sure did.  Here’s the long of the short of it:  I hired a designer via Etsy.  The designer was less than awesome.  I got my buddy, Yosef from This American Bite on the case but he’s super swamped and I’m anxious to get back to blogging, especially with Thanksgivukkah just around the corner so I made an executive decision to take a step back and hold off until after the holiday season.  Here’s hoping . . .

In the meantime, I’m back to posting and it feels so right.  Since I last posted to this blog, a lot of fun things have happened.  I was asked to become a permanent blogger for the Times of Israel (posts can be found here and here).  I also had another post over at Kveller.com (find it here), was interviewed by the Huffington Post for an article on meditation (that can be found here) and I’ve been asked to do my very first cooking demo for a synagogue here in North Miami Beach (details to follow).  I’ve also been swamped at work, took the family and went to LA for 3 days and hosted our very first Simchat Torah Wing Ding (9 lbs. of wings, 4 different kinds of flavors, and lots of hungry friends.  It’s how we Southern Jews celebrate the completion of reading the Torah).  Life has been lovely and chaotic, to say the least.

In all the time since I last posted, I’ve also been doing a lot of reading and of course, a lot of thinking.  Before I stepped off-line for a bit, I wrote a post that sparked a lot of debate/comments/criticism/assumptions.  I had been having a lot of mixed feelings and confusion over my voice as a writer as well as my place on the blogosphere.  The post (found here) was supposed to be about just that–reflections on where I fit in as a blogger as well as a space to vent some frustrations about what can happen when folks make assumptions on the choices other people make or rather, the assumption that other people even HAVE a choice.  Of course, the irony is that it was completely misread as a judgement piece on other people’s choices as well as a knock to mothers who stay at home.  It was celebrated by mama’s who work out of the home and ripped apart by mama’s who work in the home. I was accused of being ‘intense’ (as if that’s a bad thing?).  I was accused of judging people’s choices (an act of which is against everything I believe to be whole and true, both as a social worker and a human being, though I do not claim to be void of the fault of judgement from time to time).  It was rough y’all.

Lazy Sundays

Lazy Sundays

I’ve been reflecting on this piece off and on since I posted it all those months ago.  I take full responsibility for my part in it’s misinterpretation and have been questioning how it was written ever since–was I inarticulate? Could I have been more clear in defining ‘privilege’ as I see it? Should I have even used that word?  And while I was trying to find clarity in the piece by owning it and moving forward, I read two blog posts from two separate bloggers that I felt brought me right back to square one.  The first was from fellow Kveller.com writer, Tamara Reese entitled, “Tell a Friend: You’re a Good Mama” (found here) and “You’re a stay-at-home mom? What do you DO all day?” by Matt Walsh (found here).  The first post was a gorgeous and emotional story about the author’s observations of new parents and how she looked at the mother, who was apologizing to folks in a restaurant for the fact that her newborn was crying, and told her “You’re a good mom”.  Tamara goes on to tell the story of how someone did that for her once and it was all she could do to not break down when she heard it; not realizing she needed to hear it so badly.   Matt Walsh on the other hand, wrote a post proclaiming his love and admiration for his wife, who works in the home as a stay-at-home-mom.  His tone was harsh (that’s OK, it’s his blog. He gets to do that) in that he supports the hell outta his wife and in making the statement that as an employee,we are all just a number.  I don’t disagree with him.  It’s harsh, but I completely agree.  I feel that daily.  But that’s beside the point.  Both of these bloggers mentioned ‘mommy wars’.  Both of these bloggers felt the need to uplift mamas.  They put themselves out there to speak on behalf of an entire population of people who, on the day-to-day basis, feel completely vulnerable and I thought to myself, well, why? Not, ‘Why do women feel vulnerable’.  I get that.  I completely get that.  But why are there ‘mommy wars’ (man, that term makes me want to vomit)?  Why do so many of us bloggers feel the need to go on a rant (me included and yes, I get the irony of this post)? Why do so many of us bloggers feel the need to support or to criticize in the name of mommyhood?  And then I wondered if it was all a vicious cycle. By blogging about parenting and our own experiences with it, in an effort to connect to like-minded parents, do we run the risk of alienating other parents who feel like they don’t fit in line to exactly what it is you’re blogging about.  Meaning, if I blog as a mom who has a full-time job outside of the home as well, is it assumed that I don’t support moms who work full-time inside the home?  Am I aligning myself I didn’t even know it?

I HIGHLY doubt that when my mom was raising two kids in the 80s and 90s she gave two poops about what style of parenting she ascribed to or whether or not she would be ridiculed if she bottle-fed or if co-slept with her baby or not.  Her network of moms were not online but in her community or within her family and when she had a question about something baby-related, she didn’t type it into ‘Google’ and have a million and one confusing and potentially alienating ‘answers’ or blogs pop up touting the benefits of this sleep method or this parenting style.  She was just trying to do the best she could and survive. Dude, that’s what we’re all trying to do, right?

They take self-portraits

They take self-portraits

I worry that, as a blogger, I might be part of the problem.  I might be putting something out there that’s causing the escalation of vulnerability do to the assumption that I know what the hell I’m doing.  I blog about my family and the trials and tribulations I go through as a parent who works outside the home because it’s an outlet but I realize that I have not been clear, and I mean CRYSTAL clear, about one thing—I am not an expert at parenting nor do I claim to be.  I studied early childhood development in social work school but I promise you this, the only thing I’m remotely close to being an expert in when it comes to parenting is parenting my own child and I’m fairly certain that I’m only about 70% expert on that.  I worry that all us bloggers, well, we might be exacerbating an already vulnerable situation—parenting.  I post pictures of my child on Instagram and those pictures are generally of her smiling and being happy.  I don’t post pictures of her when she’s awake at 2AM with a fever or when she’s having a meltdown for some reason because well, a) I don’t have that kind of time and b) I don’t want to post pictures of her in that state.  And yet, I do worry that by only posting us in the golden sunlight of Miami or hipster-ed out in our local coffee shop, I might be exacerbating that thing that might be sparking all these rants or  ‘mommy wars’—- that I’ve got it right and you should be me or that you should at least strive to be as seemingly cool, calm and collected as I am as a parent.

And thus, back to the original point and post.  Folks knee-jerk reacted to that first post.  Folks assumed because I write through one lens that I must be attacking or at least ridiculing the other.  I can’t promise I don’t have a little bit more sympathy for working moms because I can relate more and I don’t fault anyone for assuming that because it’s true and that’s OK. I think we all have junk.  I think we all have guilt; such nasty, nasty guilt, and it makes us vulnerable and it makes us feel like we have to defend our choices.  I also think we are all just trying to do what’s best for the ones we love and are trying to survive.

Sometimes we do a little better than survive :)

Sometimes we do a little better than survive 🙂

Whole Wheat Chai-Spiced Vanilla Pancakes

The players

The players

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey (you can also use regular ol’ sugar)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp (and a bit) of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • ½  Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground all spice
Hello lovers

Hello lovers

How:

Whisk together flour, honey, baking powder, salt  and spices in a small bowl.   Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together almond milk, oil, vanilla and egg.  Add flour mixture to liquid mixture and stir just to moisten.  It’s OK if there are a few lumps.  Scoop out pancake batter using an ice scream scoop and pour out onto griddle or large frying pan.  Cook pancakes on a griddle over medium heat.  Pancakes are ready to flip once they start to bubble on top.  Serve hot with big slap of butter.

Don't be afraid to sprinkle that glorious stack of pancakes with a dash of cinnamon.

Don’t be afraid to sprinkle that glorious stack of pancakes with a dash of cinnamon.

I’m Dating a Holiday.

11 Sep

How can it be that it’s only Wednesday? Working at a school and having a schedule that is consistently packed makes the days fly by but for some reason, this week is dragging on. I guess I should celebrate this fact as I am very very very nervous about Yom Kippur this year. Am I allowed to admit that? Eh, who cares. I just admitted it. Yes, I’m extremely nervous about it this year. You see, I did not fast last year. Last year’s chagim (holiday), which occurred roughly 2 months after giving birth, were kind of like that ‘chagim that never were’ for me. I was so sleep deprived and so wrapped up in my own depressive, post-partum state that the chagim seemed to just fly by. When Yom Kippur came, my husband went to synagogue and I stayed home with our smooshy baby. And, truth time, I strapped that baby to me and watched TV and made myself a tofu dog with cheese and mustard on a whole wheat bun. In fact, I made two of them. I’m not proud of this. I’m really and truly not proud of it. I look back at where I was emotionally and mentally just one year ago and my stomach starts to do flips. Rosh Hashanah used to be my favorite holiday of all time but when I realized that Rosh Hashanah and truly, all of the chagim, would look and feel different in this new role as ‘parent’, I kinda let it over take me and I just let the whole thing fly by last year. I gave myself excuses like, “I’m too tired”, or “I have nothing left to give this year”. You know, the things we say to ourselves when we’re feeling guilty about something and what we really mean to say is, “I don’t want to.”

So this year, I need to rekindle the flame; to get to know the chagim through my new lens/identity. It’s kind of like when therapists recommend ‘dating’ a partner again if you feel like your marriage is struggling or a romantic spark needs to be rekindled. I’m going to start dating the chagim because we need some rekindling and well, I’m nervous. What if the holidays and I don’t mesh like we used to? And how does one rekindle the spark with a holiday? It’s not like I can take Yom Kippur out for a romantic dinner cause, well, it’s Yom Kippur and that’d just be wrong. So instead of the traditional ‘wining and dining’ I’m doing a lot of reading, a lot of reflection and a lot of forgiving myself for watching Bravo and eating a tofu dogs on Yom Kippur.

She's stealing my brunch!

She’s stealing my brunch!

Gluten-free mac n' cheese for my nephew.  Delicious.  Just don't overfeed it to your baby. #oops

Gluten-free mac n’ cheese for my nephew. Delicious. Just don’t overfeed it to your baby. #oops

Rosh Hashanah prep

Rosh Hashanah prep

We got our hair did.

New year. New do.

Therefore, I begin anew this year. I’m allowing myself to wipe the slate clean. I seek permission from no one but myself and I gave myself the ‘go ahead’ to move on from the tofu dog incident of 5773.

Rosh Hashanah was once again spent in Asheville, North Carolina with my mom as well as my brother and his glorious family. I did the majority of the cooking, which was very new. Usually, it’s mom’s house, mom’s food. But I think she was happy to let someone else take over for once in a while. There was a lot of beer drinking, a bit of sleeping and a lot of giggling, which helps when you need to rekindle an old flame. Oh, I have to give a big shout out of love to Bubbe Carol, my first official “fan”. I met Carol during Rosh Hashanah services when she leaned over to me and said, “it’s too bad it’s a holiday otherwise I would ask for your autograph.”. It was a very sweet moment for me and I want to publicly thank her for her support.

Anyway, the kiddo and I landed in Asheville a few days prior to everyone else so we had some time to explore the city and talk computer-talk with my mom, who is a wiz on the computer.

Therefore, the really nerdy, exciting news is that in about a week or so, this blog will look brand spanking new! As a result, I’ve got to go offline for a bit so we can transfer all of the content from this blog to it’s new home. But before we say ‘good-bye’ to http://www.jewhungry.wordpress.com forever, I wanted to give you, the reader, a GIANT shout-out for all your support, your patience, your feedback and, of course, your reading! I hope you please do comeback and keep reading. Thank you!

She eventually got up the nerve to actually pet him.

She eventually got up the nerve to actually pet him.

We visited our wedding Venue 3 years after the wedding -- with our plus 1.

We visited our wedding Venue 3 years after the wedding — with our plus 1.

Chocolate chip skillet cookie with pecan prailine ice cream and candied ginger from Wicked Weed Brewery.

Chocolate chip skillet cookie with pecan prailine ice cream and candied ginger from Wicked Weed Brewery.

Wise advice from the Well-Bred Bakery in Weaverville, NC where we stopped for cookies and coffee before heading home.

Wise advice from the Well-Bred Bakery in Weaverville, NC where we stopped for cookies and coffee before heading home.

The drive from Weaverville back to Asheville.  Hello trees!

The drive from Weaverville back to Asheville. Hello trees!

Win a Whole Organic, Kosher Chicken – a KOL Foods Giveaway!

11 Apr
Special Delivery

Special Delivery

It wasn’t long ago that the majority of the food that I ate consisted of some kind of direction that involved, “add water, 1 TBSP of butter and stir”. Yep, if it was freeze-dried or loaded with preservatives, I was on it. It’s not like I didn’t always love food, I just was incredibly intimidated by cooking. I also never loved the idea of the cleaning up after the cooking. That part just seemed like a giant time suckage. Ugh. I was also single for the majority of my 20s and definitely had the whole, my-oven-is-used-for-storage-not-cooking thing down. It’s hard to cook for just one person. You end up throwing away leftovers and no one’s there to give you feedback so it was ready made meals and tofu hotdogs aplenty in my kitchen during those non-cooking years. One of my classic ‘dishes’ during this time in my life was the ‘just add frozen vegetables to Pasta-roni’ pasta. Again, and I know I’ve said this before, I have no idea how I’m not 500 pounds.

Fresh Turkey

Fresh Turkey

Things changed for me when I moved to Israel in 2008, lived close to the shuk and started seriously dating someone who was not only willing to eat my culinary experiments but also very patient with me as well. It’s no coincidence that during this same time in my life I decided to eat healthier. When you have so much fresh produce available to you why on Earth would you eat instant anything? I started reading about the benefits of whole grains, what the big fuss is over sugar and most importantly, what the big fuss is about organic.

Now listen, I am a school counselor. The hubby is a PhD student. We do not have an expendable income, however, in our house there are some nonnegotiables. At this point, I almost primarily cook with coconut oil. I only buy non-GMO, organic cheese. We never have sodas and if we’re eating anything with sugar or bake anything requiring sugar, we generally use maple syrup or pure sugar. I also almost always purchase organic meats. Thankfully, several years ago, a dear friend of mine and fellow foodie, Annie (heck, she’s been my cooking inspiration for years! I wonder if she knows that? hmmm . . .), purchased a KOL Foods turkey for Thanksgiving. With this one purchase she opened my eyes to a whole world of conscious kosher. If you haven’t heard of KOL Foods before, then sit back, relax and let me drop some knowledge on ya.

Founded in 2008 by Devora Kimelman-Block, KOL Foods is the only kosher meat company that exclusively sources 100% grass-fed meat in the United States. Before this time, if you were kosher and wanted to eat sustainable, ethically-raised meat you basically had to become vegetarian. KOL Foods allowed the kosher consumer with conscience a way to bridge their beliefs with their wallet—but purchasing from KOL Foods you’re not only supporting a more ethical kosher, you’re also supporting local, small business. Today, KOL Foods offers glatt-kosher, organic-raised, grass-fed beef, lamb and no-nitrate deli; pastured chicken, turkey and duck; wild caught Alaskan salmon and other specialty goods. They ship frozen via FedEx nationwide or via buying clubs in select cities.

We Love Lime in Miami

We Love Lime in Miami

Coconut Oil is My New Life Source

Coconut Oil is My New Life Source

As a self-taught cook who now has a client with a requirement for Paleo-diet menu items, a diet that only allows for grass-fed meat, I was excited when KOL Foods reached out for a potential partnership. I believe in their product and in their mission and I wanted a chance to delve into some of their products. And delve I did! I was sent some delicious turkey legs that my hubby wanted to simply roast up and eat Medieval like but I wanted to get a bit more creative and play the flavors that are coming in season in Miami. I also didn’t want to work with the same ol’ expected turkey flavors—-sage, marjoram, thyme, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE all those flavors but again, I wanted to experiment.  The following is my experiment and it.was.delicious! The flavors of the salsa are strong but mix well with the natural light flavors of the turkey and I’m ALWAYS a suckers for turkey drippings mixed with honey marinade.

After the Marinating Time

After the Marinating Time

Once you tempt yourself with the following recipe, make sure to click on “A Rafflecopter Giveaway”, high-lighted below, to be entered to win a KOL Foods 3 lb. roaster chicken! You can enter every day for the next 2 weeks via multiple avenues (such as liking Jewhungry on Facebook or Tweeting about the giveaway–all done through the rafflecopter link) but make sure you click on the link to be entered and connected.  And don’t forget to share this post with friends so they can get in on the action too! Enjoy and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also enter via our Facebook page. Click here.

The Colors of Miami

The Colors of Miami

Turkey Ready for the Taking

Turkey Ready for the Taking

Roast Organic Turkey Legs with Mango Salsa

For Marinade:

3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon of Honey
Juice of half a lime
Sea Salt
Pepper
Dash of Cayenne

For Salsa:

1/2 Mango, diced
1 Small Purple Onion, diced
1 Jalapeno, diced
1 Bunch of Cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 of lime (add more if you need)
Dash of Sea Salt
Dash of Garlic Powder

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl.  Place turkey legs in a roasting dish. Using a basting brush, slather marinade on turkey legs, cover dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  At this point, the coconut oil in the marinade with harden a bit but this is typical.  Once the turkey legs have marinated for at least 30 minutes, uncover and place in the oven.  Make sure you baste constantly.  In my mind, you can not over baste.  Turkey legs will take about an hour to cook, maybe more, depending on how often you baste.

While turkey is cooking, combine salsa ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Once turkey is complete, top turkey with salsa.

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