Jazzed Dried Fruit

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Two reasons for this post title:

1) Some people throughout my life have called me Jazz as a nickname

2) The real reason is that “dried pears and plums in white chocolate, crushed pistachios, and granola” was simply way too long.

The feedback I got from the dried peaches in dark chocolate and slivered almonds was terrific, so I wanted to expand on that concept. Dried fruit dipped in various melted chocolates and toppings is a very fast and delicious dessert. It’s perfect for the summer since no oven is involved. This is very helpful if you live in an apartment. Who wants to add to sweltering heat in an apartment, right? These treats freeze and set quickly and can remain in the fridge for up to two weeks. Just layer them in between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container. I had one of the peaches every night for desert; I must have something sweet at the end of dinner. This is truly a guilt free treat. See how easy it is to do something delicious for yourself?

You’ll need:

Dried pears, dried plums, or two other kinds of your favorite dried fruit

A cup of your favorite granola

A cup and a half of shelled pistachios coarsely crushed

A bag of white chocolate chips melted in the microwave (around a minute, stir until smooth).

Directions:

Set up each component like a conveyer belt, so you can dip quickly and efficiently. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with nonstick spray, then pressing a piece of wax paper down flatly to cover the surface. Dip each pear in the white chocolate then the crushed nuts and place on the baking sheet. Do the same with the plums but using the granola this time. Freeze until it sets then keep in the fridge the way I mentioned above. Along with the peach recipe you now have a lovely assortment that really looks so pretty and professional. No real cooking required! This is a great recipe for kids who are interested in getting into the kitchen. Almost no steps but major results.

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Tropical Caprese Salad 🍉

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Since I’m not a cheese fan, I’m not the one who ever would order the caprese salad. However, I have always appreciated the beautiful simplicity of seeing a few perfect ingredients stacked and served. If the two or three ingredients are of the highest, freshest quality, then it’s culinary proof that less is more. A classic caprese consists of sliced tomatoes, sliced fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves. I wanted to infuse some other flavors, colors, and textures while preserving the feel of this layered classic. Watermelon in a summer salad is always a good move. Bright, crisp, pretty, and refreshing. I loved the idea of building on the theme by using sliced watermelon radishes. Cute right? Using mesclun lettuce tied in the hints of deep pink. Sliced fresh mozzarella that I bought pre sliced at my local gourmet market (I wasn’t wrestling with cheese), and fresh whole basil and mint leaves plucked from my garden. I added the mint for another hit of summer freshness. I made this salad composed on top of the greens to honor each of the components since they’re all so gorgeous, as well as to respect the essence of a caprese. I often serve salads on a curved platter instead of a bowl so I can layer it beautifully like this. Honestly this took five minutes and was delicious and so visually appealing. Just drizzle with your favorite quality balsamic. Since balsamic bleeds, you can always have your guests take and then have a vinegar dispenser on hand so they can do as much or as little drizzling as preferred.

Ingredients:

Four cups of mesclun greens

Two to three cups of cubes of fresh watermelon (save time and mess by buying precut only if it’s super fresh)

Presliced watermelon radishes (my produce store does this for me but if yours doesn’t then buy four and peel and slice)

At least a dozen slices of fresh mozzarella cheese

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Around 20 each fresh whole basil and mint leaves

Place the greens on the bottom and distribute evenly across the platter. Make rows of alternating watermelon, cheese, and radishes. I stuck whole basil leaves in between each slice of mozzarella, and whole mint leaves in between each slice of radish. That beautiful orchid came with my lettuce and was the perfect accessory for a tropical feel; use a well placed summery flower if you can find one as a pretty focal point. Serve then drizzle with good quality balsamic vinegar. Tip; keep all ingredients cold in fridge until it’s time to platter and serve. This salad needs to be cool and crisp; we are going for beachy/poolside vibes .


White Nectarine Kale Salad

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De. Lish. I swear these were all ingredients I had in the house. Red onions are a staple, my daughter loves kale, my son loves white peaches and nectarines, and I love raspberries. I have a nice selection of vinegars in my pantry too. This salad is really fabulous; bursting with sweet, summer flavor. I wait all year for stone fruits, especially the white ones. My mother in law, god bless her, once found me white peaches in January when I had a crazy pregnancy craving with my eldest. This salad is so visually appealing with its array of bright colors. The raspberries give a great burst of tartness in addition to that great pop of pink. Each element here has a job to do and they all work together cooperatively and beautifully. The Blaga crew was psyched that this was today’s lunch. Super healthy, light, and full of fiber and nutrients, this salad is a winner.

Ingredients:

Four cups chopped kale

Two firm yet ripe nectarines thinly sliced

Half a red onion thinly sliced

A pint of raspberries

Vinaigrette:

1/3 cup each olive oil and fresh lemon juice, two tbsp citrus champagne vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, a squirt of honey.

Whisk all dressing ingredients together well. Pour half the dressing on the salad. Toss gently so as not to crush the raspberries. Drizzle remainder of the dressing on top as desired.

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Chocolate, Nutty Dried 🍑

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Here’s the deal with dried peaches; they reek of ass. It’s undeniable. I like eating them and they’re my favorite dried fruit. That’s saying a lot since Jews and dried fruit have a special relationship. Funny anecdote: several years ago a bunch of close friends and I traveled to Israel for the bar mitzvah of the son of one of our crew members. On the last night in Jerusalem we were all planning on tearing shit up. Clubs, hookah bars, and drinking. Falafel munchies at 2 am. Feel me? We were all excited to be middle aged and free for a night on the town in a foreign country. Fast forward two hours after departing from the lobby and there we were, buying dried fruit and nuts from a kiosk 20 feet from the hotel. Then we went home, the end. Talk about a wild night! It was pathetic and hilarious. I was the only female in the gang, so for me personally it was a waste of a strategically placed belly chain. Oh well, we tried. It was one of those “this is 40” moments.

Funny dried anecdote number two: I was eating one last week in the pantry and my son started gagging and was like, “Jesus, Mom!!!”. See? Ass (I’m aware this tush talk might deter you from making this recipe). However, these little treats are easy to make and are a guilt free indulgence. There’s richness to them which means you won’t overdo it. One should really do the trick.

Ingredients:

Dried peaches, the natural kind with no added sugar

A bag of bittersweet chocolate chips melted in a double boiler

And crushed toasted slivered almonds (optional).

Directions:

Simply dip each peach in some melted chocolate, press into the nuts, and lay face up on a sheet or plate covered in parchment paper. Freeze until the chocolate sets then store in fridge until ready to eat. Check out these pervy emojis 🥜. Sorry, I can’t help it; I still think it’s funny looking up private parts in the dictionary.

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Yellow Pepper Soup

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Love, love, love this one. I developed it just for y’all last week. The blog is good for me in that it demands I keep my creative juices flowing and active. I made a fabulous red pepper soup in the winter, so I wanted to try one with its yellow cousin for summer. This soup can be served at any temperature, perfect as a cold shooter or appetizer on a hot day. It has a solid kick because of the jalapeño that was sautéed with the onion and garlic in the initial aromatic stage. I myself do not like spicy foods but I did like this, meaning you feel the jalapeño but it’s not really spicy. To lessen that just use half the jalapeño instead of the whole. As always when working with jalapeños, make sure you carefully scrape away the fiery seeds. And ALWAYS wash your hands we’ll immediately after handling them. God help you if you mindlessly rub your eye.

Ingredients:

Eight yellow peppers sliced

A jalapeño (whole or half) carefully seeded and diced

A Spanish or large yellow onion diced

3 cloves fresh minced garlic

6 cups vegetable stock or broth

1 tsp each smoked paprika and Zatar

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 1/2 tsp salt and a scant 1/2 tsp pepper

One or two stalks of fresh rosemary tied tightly in a mesh bouquet garnish bag or cheesecloth

Directions:

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a medium size soup pot. Sauté onions and jalapeño until the onions turn really fragrant and translucent. Deglaze as needed with a couple tablespoons of vegetable broth as the pot dries out. Add the minced garlic and sauté a couple more minutes. I add the garlic at the end since it gets brown so quickly. As the garlic gets fragrant add the smoked paprika and Zatar. Add the white wine vinegar. Mix and let the aromatics all blend a couple minutes. Then add the sliced yellow peppers and veg broth. Add the salt and pepper. I didn’t use the full half tsp of pepper. I’m always wary of over peppering; you can always add the extra dash later. Stir all well. Place the rosemary bundle in the pot so it’s nestled amongst the other components. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once the soup is at an active simmer, lower the flame to medium low. I like to usually keep lids on while the soup is cooking. Let the soup simmer 45 minutes, stirring every so often. When the peppers are really soft turn off the flame. Let it sit and calm down for about a half hour, if you have time, then remove the rosemary bundle and blend until smooth. Enjoy hot, room temp, or cold. Souper.

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Bruschetta Two Ways

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Bruschetta has always been one of the easiest ways to initially greet guests. “Ew, bruschetta” said no one ever. We all know the typical way it’s served, with diced tomatoes etc. I wanted to bring a fresh version of this tried and true appetizer to my most recent gathering. I leafed through one of my Martha Stewart cookbooks to get some inspiration. Often I just make recipes up as I go along but sometimes I need to call on the true queens of cooking to get the juices flowing. I love Martha’s “Meatless” cookbook; that’s where I drew inspiration from here. It’s a great book that’s essential for vegetarians. Bruschetta is great because you can use a variety of breads to toast for your base. There are so many toppings to choose from too. The hearty mushrooms and tangy olives were a great duo, and they looked lovely served alongside one another. I love giving options, that’s the nurturer in me. After all, isn’t feeding people one of the most nurturing acts one can do?

Lemon Olive Bruschetta:

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A loaf of French bread or the bread of your choice sliced into small rounds. Brush one side of the bread rounds with olive oil and toast or bake until slightly crisp. Set aside.

You’ll also need one cup chopped pitted good quality olives. I used a multicolored mix which was so pretty.

One peeled, seeded, and chopped lemon.

One tbsp finely chopped red onion.

one cup of coarsely chopped marinated artichoke hearts.

1/4 tsp sugar.

3 tbsp good olive oil.

Two to three tbsp chopped fresh mint.

Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and mix all and spoon on toasts. Martha used celery and parsley in place of the artichokes and mint, FYI. You have room here to vary. I thought the artichokes would go nicely with the tang factor, and that the mint would liven it all up. It worked beautifully.

Mushroom Garlic Bruschetta:

Same bread instructions. If you have another kind of bread it’s nice to use two different kinds to suit the two different toppings. Or, you can cut a regular loaf of bread into squares and toast those too.

You’ll need:

1 1/2 pounds chopped fresh mushrooms, any kind or kinds. I used a mix of porcini, chanterelle, and oyster.

Two cloves minced fresh garlic.

Two tbsp of fresh thyme.

1/4 cup Dry white wine on hand to deglaze as you’re sautéing.

Sauté all ingredients until mushrooms start to turn golden and release their juices. Deglaze with wine by the tbsp as needed. Season with salt and fresh pepper and top toasts with mixture. Garnish with some additional fresh thyme leaves. Alternate toasts on the same serving platter for a nice presentation. Have cocktail napkins on hand!


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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

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I’m in love with each word in this title. Nothing not to like. I whipped these up for a recent weekend when my girls had friends over. I cleaned up the white flour by swapping it for almond and coconut flours. Admittedly I was pressed for time so I kept the brown sugar that I was used to adding, but please let me know if you have a good substitution for that. These little treats did get a bit crumbly so handle gingerly. They were delicious toasted with butter for breakfast.

Ingredients:

1 cup almond flour

1/3 cup coconut flour

1 cup almond milk or the milk of your choice

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup rolled oats

2/3 cup granulated or packed brown sugar

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 large egg lightly beaten

1tsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips (I used Lily’s, much less sugar).

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400. Grease and flour the bottoms only of a muffin tin. Sift together the dry ingredients except the sugar then add oats. Combine milk, sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients but gently mix only until combined. Over mixing muffins makes them dense.

Gently fold in chocolate chips. You can substitute raisins, craisins, or a combo. Spoon batter into the muffin cups 2/3 rds full. Bake about 20 minutes until tops are golden brown and a toothpick tester comes out clean. Cool significantly then gently remove. I used two spoons to lift them out. The alternate flours made them more delicate than had I used regular all purpose flour, but the sub was obviously so worth it.

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Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

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 I’m not a dairy lover so I’ve never been the Mac n’ cheese  gal in the room. However, I do have a daughter who just loves it. My boys like it too but only the gross neon orange kind from a box. It may as well say, “manufactured in Chernobyl”. So while my little guys would never touch a fresh version that’s made with a vegetable, my second daughter loved this variation. It might even be more of a cauliflower gratin, but either way it’s delicious. I really dug it too. I looked up a bunch of cauliflower Mac n cheese dishes online and almost all contained ingredients totally counterproductive to cooking healthy. Flour, butter, massive quantities of cheese. Frankly none of them seemed healthy or clean. I came up with this one and it was a big hit while keeping the load light.

Ingredients:

Two large heads cauliflower cut into small florets

1 1/2 cups shredded cheese of your choice

A small bunch of fresh oregano

1/4 pulverized original GG crackers to use as breadcrumbs.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400. Spread the florets in a pan and sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Bake until fork tender, about 40 minutes. When ready, mix with half the cheese and half the breadcrumbs. Put in a greased 9X13 baking dish.  Put remaining cheese on top, add the fresh oregano leaves, then remaining GG crumbs. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes until the cheese melts. If using a metal pan you can broil for a quick minute to crisp up the top. Don’t broil in a glass pan!  Can serve in individual ramekins or bake as such too. This is a sophisticated, zero guilt take on a classic favorite. Enjoy!

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Baked Veggie Omelette

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This is a fabulous breakfast or brunch dish. It’s fast and easy to assemble, it feeds a crowd, and you can use any vegetables you have on hand. I used sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, onions, parsley and cilantro. Really any combination of fresh herbs, cheese, and veggies work. I find cracking eggs to be so satisfying 🥚so this was a fun little sensory exercise pour moi. This dish cuts very neatly into squares and looked beautiful on the plate next to the salad and fish I prepared. It’s a light and lovely accompaniment to any meal, or as the featured protein.

Ingredients:

A dozen eggs

1 cup shredded cheese of your choice

1 white onion diced

A diced green pepper

A diced red pepper

1 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes not packed in oil

3/4 cup skim milk

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1/3 cup each loosely packed chopped flat leaf parsley and cilantro (or dill).

Feel free to use sautéed mushrooms, asparagus, chopped plum tomatoes, or steamed chopped broccoli.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 pan with non stick spray. Sauté all your chopped vegetables, the onion first. Always deal with your aromatics first, they set the stage flavor wise. Mix the vegetables in a large bowl. Add a dozen beaten whole eggs and all the other ingredients. Pour in the pan. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes until the eggs are set. Cool slightly, slice, and serve🥚🥦🥑

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Fish and Slaw

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 This dish is much prettier than how I lazily titled this post (not sure why I crapped out here on creativity). It’s a fantastic lunch or dinner for warm weather. Crisp, colorful slaw is gorgeous on the eyes, fresh in the mouth, and is the perfect accompaniment to a cleanly sautéed or grilled piece of fish. I used Dorado here but I leave that to you. I love making salads that are bright, beautiful, and light. I never make creamy or thick dressings because I don’t eat them. The idea of mayo on a salad makes me 🤢. Most of the Lady Blaga dressings are similar vinaigrette’s since that’s how I cook and eat. I’d never drown a salad, it’s just not appealing to me. This was a delight to put together, fun to plate, and even better to eat.

For the salad:

A bag of shredded purple cabbage

Half a bag of shredded carrots

Two handfuls of white bean sprouts

A handful of golden raisins

A couple of handfuls of dried soybeans for crunch and texture- Relax, I wore gloves.

Half a cup of packed, chopped flat leaf parsley and a third of a cup of julienned fresh mint leaves. Mint in a salad is always a winner. 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

For the dressing; a third of a cup each extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice, three tbsp apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk well and gently toss over the dressing. Set aside or plate, then cook the fish. I bought two dorado fillets, skin on. I seasoned the non skin side with salt and peeper. I heated a large skillet with a couple tbsp of olive oil and let it heat very well. I placed the fish skin side down, let it cook 3 to 4 minutes until the skin was crisped, flipped it carefully, then cooked the other side over lower heat until golden brown. Serve a piece of fish alongside the slaw for a lovely, healthy, complete meal. You can totally make this into fish tacos using soft tortillas and guacamole.

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Rose’ Fruit Salad

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Easiest. Summer. Dessert. Ever. This was a last minute addition to our most recent food shoot. I was frantically trying to prep all my recipes, and the fire department had just showed up since apparently I forgot how to make toast. I like to be as efficient as possible during these shoots. Squeezing in as many recipes as possible is clearly ideal.

The night before I had bought some summer stone fruit for my son. He loves peaches, apricots, and plums. I love them too and it’s joyful each time they reappear at the market. I knew I had a bottle of Rose’ chilling in the fridge and voila; what’s faster and fresher than having some gorgeous fruit soak in some wine? This is the perfect light dessert for anyone who needs to end each meal on a sweet note, like this girl right here. Most fruits should work but the combo I threw together was perfect.

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I used a large white peach sliced, two apricots sliced, blackberries, blueberries, and two blood oranges cleaned and separated into segments.

I gently tossed them with 3 tbsp of Rose’, covered the bowl in plastic wrap, and chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes. I’d say do this for Max an hour so the fruit doesn’t get soggy. Add an extra tbsp of the wine if you want it stronger, but I liked how the 3 tbsp were there yet subtle; the fruit is so delicious on its own. Divide gently into little white bowls and garnish each with one perfect whole mint leaf.  People, summer is finally here.

Healthy carrot cake

INGREDIENTS

  • Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups packed super fine blanched almond flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)

  • ½ cup coconut flour (do not pack)

  • ½ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Wet ingredients

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup

  • 1/3 cup drippy tahini

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup melted and cooled coconut oil

  • 3 cups shredded carrots (medium grate)

  • Optional mix-ins:

  • ½ cup raisins

  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

  • For the frosting:

  • ½ cup salted butter, at room temperature (or sub vegan buttery stick)

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (or sub dairy free cream cheese)

  • 3 cups powdered sugar

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk (any milk will work)

  • For the topping:

  • Extra pecans and shredded coconut

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of three 6-inch round cake pans or two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper rounds. Spray parchment paper and sides of pan with nonstick cooking spray. YOU SHOULD USE PARCHMENT PAPER or the cake is likely to stick. Please do not forget.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk the almond flour, coconut flour, unsweetened shredded coconut, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pure maple syrup, tahini, almond milk, vanilla extract until smooth. Slowly whisk in the melted and cooled coconut oil until it’s well incorporated, the stir in the carrots. Note: It is important that your eggs are at room temperature otherwise the coconut oil with coagulate. The coconut oil should be melted but not HOT, but rather closer to room temp.

  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined. Stir in raisins and nuts, if using.

  5. Divide batter evenly between pans and spread out with a spatula to smooth the tops. Bake for 22-32 minutes in the two 8-inch pans and 30-40 minutes for three 6-inch pans.

  6. Cakes are done when a tester comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting or removing from the pans. The cake should be room temperature when you frost it. This is very important. Cakes can be made a day ahead if you’d like.

  7. Make your frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the softened butter and cream cheese and whip on high until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk and beat for 2-3 minutes more.

  8. Now it’s time to frost the cake: place about 1 tablespoon down onto onto the cake stand and spread out. Invert cake onto the cake stand, add about ½ heaping cup frosting between each layer, repeat with each cake, then frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Decorate cake with pecans and shredded coconut on top. Once you are done frosting, place the cake to the fridge. Cake will stay good for 5-7 days in the fridge, and should be covered to ensure freshness. Serves 16.

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CHICKPEA SALAD WITH PESTO

Ingredients

  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and well rinsed

  • 1 cup finely diced bell peppers, assorted colors

  • 1/2 cup thin sliced Persian cucumber (these are the small ones,) do not peel

  • 1/2 cup small mozzarella pearls

  • 1/2 cup halved or quartered cherry tomatoes, assorted colors

  • 1/3 cup quartered small radishes

  • 1/3 cup diced black olives

  • 1/4 cup finely minced red onion

  • fresh cracked black pepper

  • pesto dressing (this will make more than you need, use the rest on pasta!)

  • 2 large handfuls fresh basil leaves and part of the stems

  • 1 small garlic clove, smashed and peel removed

  • juice of 1/2 lemon

  • a good grating of fresh Parmesan (as much or as little as you like)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, give or take

  • salt to taste

  • garnish

  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (toast in a little olive oil in a skillet for several minutes, stirring constantly until they turn nutty brown.)

  • lemon wedges

Instructions

  1. Put the drained, rinsed, and dried chickpeas in a large salad bowl along with the rest of the salad ingredients.

  2. To make the pesto dressing, process the basil, garlic, and lemon briefly until it breaks down into a thick paste. Add the cheese and enough olive oil to make a loose pourable consistency. Add salt to taste, and more cheese, and/or lemon if you like.

  3. Toss the salad with just enough pesto to thoroughly coat everything. Serve topped with the toasted pine nuts, a good grinding of fresh cracked pepper, and accompanied by a couple of lemon wedges.

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Ruth Gans Mayer Dairy Apple Crumble

Ingredients:

2 lbs. granny smith apples, cored, peeled, and sliced

1/4 cup apple cider

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 cup butter

Pinch of salt

Directions:

Heat oven to 350. In a 2 qt casserole, combine apples and cider.

Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl.

Cut butter until crumbly. Spread sugar topping over apples and butter pieces on top.

Bake for 40-45 min.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

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Whole Matzoh Matzoh Balls

This recipe is perfect for Passover, but is special because of who it comes from. I have a very meaningful cookbook called the Holocaust Survivor Cookbook. It’s recipes compiled by living survivors or their relatives. This book is rich in Eastern European history and contains stories both heartbreaking and hopeful. To think of the millions of Jewish cooks and homes that were mercilessly destroyed by the Nazis makes me weep. But it’s books like these that keep the flames burning. It’s a direct connection to the love these Jewish mamas poured into feeding their families. Before giving us the recipes, the book tells us much about the survivors who made them. Wonderful tales, memories, and anecdotes, as well as photos from before and after the War, grace the pages of this most important compilation.

This particular recipe is from Ruth Gans Mayer and was submitted by her daughter. Ruth was a prisoner of the concentration camps for five years. Her mother took her place in the gas chambers. She lost her parents, siblings, a husband, and a child. I can’t even believe we live in a world where this happened. I have heard about gas chambers my entire life due to my own grandparents being survivors. I get chills every time. Those words are simply sickening. Ruth was from Germany and was a pharmacist there. She settled in Ohio after the War. She was a single mother to her only child, which was very rare in the 40’s. Her daughter generously shares her recipes in this precious book. Ruth still lives on. Each of us who cooks her food keeps her alive in our own small way. If you make these delicious, traditional matzoh balls, please think of Ruth, all she endured, and her will to persevere.

Ingredients:

6 pieces matzo broken in half

6 tablespoons unsalted parve margarine

1 medium onion, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

4 large eggs

8 tablespoons matzo meal

Directions:

Place matzo in a large bowl and cover with water. Heat the margarine in frying pan and cook onion until clear. Add salt and pepper. Drain matzo and press matzo against strainer to squeeze out all the water you can. Add drained matzo to pan (it will break in pieces). Cook about 5 minutes to heat through. Transfer to bowl and let cook for 15 minutes. Stir in eggs and a few tablespoons of matzo meal. Add more matzo meal as necessary to form mixture into balls. They should be thick enough to hold their shapes but not clumpy. Refrigerate for one hour. Drop the balls into 5-6 quarts salted boiling water. They will sink to the bottom and then rise while they cook. Turn down simmer, cover and let them cook for about 20-25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove and place them in hot chicken soup.

Makes about 15-16 balls.


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Best No Carb French Toast

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What a treat it is to have guilt free French toast after decades of avoiding it. At most, I’d pick at some here and there, only to regret it later. Which sounds crazy and vain because it kind of is. But as a woman who has been watching her weight for awhile like most gals I know, it’s just part of the deal to think like that. A treat is really fine every so often, but it too often comes attached to feelings of guilt and self loathing after. Nothing terrible, just that general feeling where you cancel out any enjoyment you may have gotten from indulging in the first place. This whole thing is such a bummer, am I right?? Which is why this recipe is so exciting. I can eat delicious French toast while fully enjoying it due to zero guilt. I make it using this no carb, high fiber bread from Thin Slim Foods. I found this whole trolling on Instagram. Each slice has 45 calories, which is nothing, 7 grams of carbs and 7 grams of fiber. The fiber cancels out the carbs, netting zero. One slice also has 7 grams of protein and 0 sugar. SUCH. A. WIN.

For this recipe I use:

Two slices Thin Slim Foods bread

One egg beaten and mixed with a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (your favorite milk will do)

Two tablespoons of Lily’s chocolate chips (optional)

Some mixed berries (I usually use raspberries and blackberries)

Choc Zero maple syrup. The syrup totally tastes like regular syrup.   

Directions:

Heat a frying pan with nonstick spray. I’ll add a couple of teaspoons of melted light coconut butter to add a slight buttery taste. Mix the egg and milk together well in a bowl. Soak both sides of each bread slice well in the mixture. Fry each side several minutes until golden brown. Sometimes I’ll sprinkle some cinnamon on the upside of the slice that’s browning. Plate the French toast, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. They’ll get nice and melty. Drizzle syrup on top. I love to fork most of the bites with a berry. I don’t think I need to explain why this is so delicious! Healthy, guilt free breakfast has never looked or tasted better. It’s seriously about time; if I made one more egg white omelet I was going to lose my mind .

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Cous Cous Fig Tart

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The words “cous cous” and “desert” are most certainly not an obvious pairing. I came across this idea in a macrobiotic cookbook that I don’t recall buying. I love looking through cookbooks to get inspired for new recipes. I add, tweak, and make it my own. It’s easier to do that with cooking. Baking, however, requires stricter adherence to measurements since it’s more of a science. In my recent quest to come up with healthier desert alternatives, I was intrigued by making a tart crust out of whole wheat cous cous. This recipe has zero flour or refined sugar. It’s truly a guilt free indulgence. It’s satisfying and filling since the crust is legit, but it’s clean. Cooking the cous cous in apple juice gives it a wonderful sweetness. I love the look of halved fresh figs. Any sliced fruit can top this though. I think the cookbook used peaches. I added more ingredients to my version but kept it vegan. It was a crap shoot but came out delicious. I probably shouldn’t say “crap” when writing up a recipe... 

You’ll need:

3 cups good quality apple juice.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat cous cous ( the tiny kind, not the pearled pasta kind).

1/4 cup melted coconut oil.

2 tbsp ground flax meal. Flax meal has many health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and increasing fiber intake. It was a no brainer to add some here.

1/2 a cup of good jam, such as apricot, peach, plum, or raspberry. I used apricot. I liked the color contrast with the purple figs.

A container of fresh figs, sliced in half lengthwise.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a ten inch springform pan with removable bottom well with non stick spray. Set aside.

Prepare the cous cous with the apple juice instead of water according to package directions. After it’s done, Mix with the flax meal and coconut oil to make the crust. 

Meanwhile, mix the jam with 1/4 cup of water in a small pot. Bring to a boil and let simmer on low for several minutes until the jam thins out. Let cool. Pat the cous cous down into the spring from pan firmly to form the crust. Spread half the cooled jam onto the top leaving an inch border.

Arrange the figs artfully (or not) on top. Pour the rest of the jam on top to set the figs. Press whichever sliced fruit you’re using gently into the crust before the second jam pouring. Bake until the Tart is set and a tester comes out clean. about 45 minutes. Every oven is different. I’d start checking after 35 minutes. Cool completely before slicing.

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Polenta and Marsala Mushrooms 🍄

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This dish was perfect for me. I haven’t eaten meat or chicken in about a year and a half, and one of my fave chicken dishes evah was Chicken Marsala. I love the rich earthiness of the mushrooms, the Marsala wine, and the savory onions and garlic all simmered together. Fresh thyme is always a must for me when working with these flavors. It’s pops the grounded feeling of the other components. Literally, mushrooms are so of the earth, so an above ground fresh herb works nicely here. These mushrooms would top any protein beautifully, even eggs, but I stayed vegan here by using polenta. Polenta cooks so quickly, is hearty, natural, and has that lovely yellow color. It’s visually appealing mush. This was the perfect lunch to serve to the crew at our last photo shoot. It makes a great main or appetizer.

Ingredients:

Four cups of vegetable stock (one box)

One cup quick cooking polenta

1 tbsp truffle oi

Two tbsp extra virgin olive oil

One tbsp packed fresh thyme leaves (just slide the leaves down off the stems)

Half a cup Marsala wine

12 to 16 oz of mixed exotic mushrooms such as Cremini/oyster/shiitake

One medium onion halved then sliced very thin

Three garlic cloves sliced very thin length wise

Prepare polenta according to package directions using the vegetable stock. In a large sauté pan, heat the oils. Add the onions and sauté until fragrant and translucent. Deglaze with additional tablespoons of extra Marsala wine or vegetable stock as needed. Don’t let the pan dry out. Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt to taste (I’d say a tsp),stir, then add the half cup of Marsala. Sauté until all is blended together really well and most of the wine has evaporated. Add the thyme and let it do its thing for several minutes on a low flame. Divide the polenta into bowls and top with the mushroom mixture. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme if you care .

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Shake It Off 🍫🥜🍌

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Good morning! I started making this protein breakfast shake for my daughter every night, for her to take to school in the morning. She grabs it and goes. It’s a snap to make and doesn’t liquify and get gross overnight. I make it in the NutriBullet, but I’m sure a regular blender will work too.

You’ll need:

A ripe banana

A cup of unsweetened chocolate almond milk

A scoop of chocolate protein powder. The powder is a fraction of the fat and calories of regular peanut butter with the same yummy peanut butter taste. I also add a generous squirt of NuNatural sugar free chocolate syrup.

PB fit powder

Blend well. If making for two just increase the almond milk to a cup and a half. The milk and protein powder can also easily be swapped for vanilla flavor. Protein, potassium, all natural sugar, the benefits of almond milk (or the milk of your choice),all blended together for a creamy chocolate peanut butter banana shake. Talk about a delicious, healthy, super fast way to start your day🏼. No doubt you’ll have to shake stuff off over the next 24 hours, that’s just life. But proper nutrition fortifies us so we can greet life healthy and stronger.

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GG Crust Quiche 🌶🥕

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 Kids, I think we have another GG Jesscipe on our hands! How nice is it to eat a guilt free piece of quiche in its entirety?? Not having to scrape the filling out or eliminate the crust entirely. It’s about time. While on this new kick I’m on to develop clean, healthy, low carb, low sugar recipes that feel somewhat like the real thing, I played around with what GG crumbs can do. Granted this was my first shot here, but this crust came out well. My first goal was to make sure the crust stayed together and didn’t give out under the filling. Crumble/collapse free. To my delight, this recipe held up and sliced perfectly into even squares. These are GG crackers; don’t expect them to taste like a flaky, buttery pie crust. I’m not reinventing the wheel, just repurposing it. Play around with your favorite quiche filling, or experiment with making this crust into individual mini quiches. Maybe add finely chopped fresh herbs to the mixture if you’d like (I’d go with parsley or sage). This recipe yields a lot of crust. I used a large 9x13. It was about three quarters of an inch thick. How much you use is up to you, but I wanted you to have the options of making two smaller quiches for variety, or minis. You’ll need; a 9x13 glass baking dish sprayed with non stick spray.

Two packs original GG crackers

Half a cup almond flour

3 egg whites

Half a cup of avocado oil

Half a cup of water

Large onion

2 boxes of frozen chopped spinach

2 boxes of frozen chopped broccoli

Two tbsp ground flax meal

One tbsp country Dijon mustard

2 tsp garlic powder

A quarter cup of finely chopped parsley

1 and a half tsp salt

Half a tsp pepper

A bag and a half of shredded cheese of your choice

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Pulse crackers to coarse crumbs in a food processor. Add other ingredients, adding more oil or water as needed to moisten. Add by the tbsp. Mix until combined. Press crust firmly into bottom and sides of the pan.

Filling: a large white onion, diced and sautéed until fragrant and translucent, two boxes of frozen chopped spinach defrosted and well drained, two boxes of frozen chopped broccoli defrosted. One tbsp country Dijon mustard, 2 tsp garlic powder, a quarter cup of finely chopped parsley, 1 and a half tsp salt, half a tsp pepper, a bag and a half of shredded cheese of your choice, and  two eggs. Mix all ingredients well, pour on crust, and bake about 45 minutes until the cheese starts to turn golden brown. Mini quiches would use less cooking time, check every couple of minutes after 25 minutes.