Back to School Breakfast #2: Overnight Oats

unnamed-1.jpg

Okay, so I’ve done it. I’ve joined the hipsters and started to try out some overnight oat recipes. So far I’ve tried two, but now that school is back on, they make for a great mid-morning snack. In fact, they are so filling, that I usually only make it through half of it, and end up enjoying it for an afternoon snack as well…

I’ve tried two recipes so far…

Strawberry Cheesecake Overnight oats

(Makes 2 servings aka 2 jam jars worth)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Small single poriton of greek yogurt
  • 4 TBSP Cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Milk or almond milk
  • 2 TBSP Chia Seeds
  • 2-3 TBSP Maple Syrup
  • 1 Cup of Rolled Oats
  • 4-5 Strawberries diced

Directions:

Now this is where I feel that I was mislead. I thought, overnight oats get mixed in the cup/mason jar… NOOOO… or at least mine did not work out well that way…

In a bowl, mix the yogurt, cream cheese, almond milk, chia seeds, and maple syrup until well mixed. Add the Oats and strawberries and mix until everything is combined then spoon in to your mason jars… or tupperware if you are too scared to risk becoming a hipster. Leave in your fridge overnight and enjoy tomorrow! Will keep for 2-3 days… surprisingly, the strawberries keep their texture pretty well.

 

Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats

(Makes 2 servings aka 2 jam jars worth)- this one came from the side of my canister of rolled oats…

Ingredients:

  • 2 Heaping TBSP Peanut Butter ( I used a natural and sugar free one)
  • 1/2 a banana
  • 2 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1-2 TBSP Maple Syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1 Cup Rolled Oats

Directions:

Mash the banana with the peanut butter then add and mix the chia seeds, maple syrup and almond milk until well combined. Add the oats and dish into your mason jars. Refrigerate overnight… or up to 2-3 days… it could potentially last longer…

 

I liked both of these… I mean, obviously, that’s why I’m sharing them with you all…

The best part about bringing overnight oats to work… finding out that your co-worker did the same thing, then having a third co-worker ask if you bought them at the same place…

Advertisements

Back to School Breakfast #1: Eggs & Swiss Chard

unnamed.jpg

It’s back to school and I’m a mess, and this is before the kids have even started! All summer I’ve spent time prepping for the upcoming school year, but nothing can prepare you for waking up at 5:45 after spending the glorious weeks of summer sleeping in till 10…

To combat these super early mornings I need something good, fast, and filling. Locally we have a local farm cooperative that delivers fresh produce from a variety of local farms. This morning my produce arrived with some beautiful swiss chard, tomatoes, and local farm fresh eggs. I don’t have much experience with swiss chard, but I played around with this a bit over the summer and found the saute’d  tomato/chard combo worked great with a fried egg… so here goes 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Oil
  • 1 Bunch of swiss chard, cut at the stem
  • 1 Large Heirloom tomato or another tomato with a soft peel
  • Eggs
  • Salt to taste

Tools:

  • Knife & cutting board (you can use a paper plate in a pinch :))
  • Frypan or electric skillet
  • Fork/spatula

Directions:

Wash and check the chard, then remove the stems and chop the leaves until they are salad sized pieces. (I kept the stems, but I’m not sure what I’ll do with them just yet…). Heat your frypan or electric skillet with a couple tablespoons of oil and add the cut swiss chard and a pinch of salt, mix around to coat, then let the greens cook. If the pan starts to get a bit dry, try covering it with some foil. In the meantime chop your tomato. When the swiss chard looks a bit wilted and is starting to lose its bitter taste (about 5 minutes), add the tomatoes and continue to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Now that your pan is filled with lots of flavor, push the cooked greens and tomatoes to the side of your pan and crack and check an egg. If the pan is dry you could add another drop of oil, then fry the egg to your liking. Enjoy!

One time saving tip is to make a bigger batch of the greens and tomatoes, then set some aside for tomorrow’s breakfast before you add the egg for today … or you know, you could just eat it all now…whatevs

My new favorite Meatloaf

unnamed-21.jpg

Meatloaf is one of my favorite foods. This recipe is whole 30 approved (thank you baby sistah & brother in law!) and includes some tricks for when you have limited kosher tools 🙂 *Spoiler alert: ziplock bags!*

Disclaimer: I used two different ground meats because I had them and because as much as I like lamb, sometimes its a bit strong so I like to mix it with something lighter. You could easily make this with just ground turkey or ground beef. If you do make this with just ground beef, I might add more sweet potato… maybe, but that’s just me.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 3/4 lb ground meat (I used lamb, you could use ground beef)
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled & cut very small
  • 2 TBSP flax seed powder (or 1/2 cup oats)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (I used Paesanna’s Sicillian gravy)
  • 2 Dates cut small
  • 1 Shallot finely sliced
  • Pinch of salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 5-6 dates cut small (or 1/4 cup brown sugar)
  • 2 TBSP dijon mustard

Tools:

  • One good knife
  • One paper plate
  • clear cup for checking egg
  • 2 Ziplock bags
  • Aluminum pan
  • Optional: parchment paper

Directions:

Using the knife and paper plate, start by finely chopping the sweet potato, shallots, and first two dates. In the first ziplock bag, combine the finely chopped sweet potato, shallots and dates with the two ground meats, flax seed powder, egg, 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and a dash of salt and pepper. Press out as much air as you can, then seal the bag up and squeeze, smush etc until you’ve got everything all nicely mixed up 🙂

Then line your aluminum tin with parchment paper and form two loaves from your meat mixture. Bake uncovered at 350*F for 45 minutes. In the meantime, take the second ziplock bag and add the remaining ingredients: 1/2 cup tomato sauce, finely cut dates and mustard. Close and mix in the same way you did the other bag. Try to get the date pieces as small and fully mixed in as possible so the flavor spreads more evenly. After the meatloaf has baked for 45 minutes, take it out and cut the corner of the ziplock bag with the sauce in it. Pipe the sauce on to both loaves and spread it so each is evenly covered, then put them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

I am going to try to figure out the timing for making this recipe double wrapped in the oven for those who don’t have a kosher oven at your disposal… stay tuned 🙂

*UPDATE* When making this recipe, double wrapped in aluminum foil in an oven, add an additional 20-30 minutes. You will see that there is a lot more liquid in the pan, but it’s just as tasty!

Here is the picture step by step 🙂

unnamed-16.jpg

Look how tiny I cut the sweet potato! The last time I made this recipe I was home and was able to use my food processor… I think all things considered, I did a good job getting this guy pretty tiny 🙂

unnamed-17.jpg

Everything is in the bag now, all that’s left is to close and smush it all together!

unnamed-18.jpg

Pretty little loaves ready for the oven!

unnamed-19.jpg

After the first baking! Notice how the shallots are on top? Yea… I forgot to include them in the meat mixture… it’s never too late!

unnamed-20.jpg

Using my mixing bag as a piping bag… yay for no dishes! Hooray for ziplock!

unnamed-21.jpg

It’s all done! If you noticed that the cut loaf looks shorter than just the one piece that’s missing… you might be right… and I just might have eaten some… what can I say, I could’t resist! 🙂

Basic Jar Salad & a Waterfall!

Today my sister and I went for a hike to a waterfall in the beautiful Connecticut town she lives in. For lunch we enjoyed super easy, really tasty garden mason jar salads!

unnamed-11.jpg

I tend to think that mason jars come in super handy- particularly when traveling. They are easy to clean, and are really sturdy. These are the quart size…This salad is pretty basic and you could really swap out the dressing or any of the veggies you like in your own favorite basic salad or whatever is in season. Since I’m at my sister’s, anything that I can get that is pre-made makes things much easier so the dressing is just a fresh bottle of store bought lemon garlic bottle my sister originally got for her whole 30 diet.

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite store bought dressing
  • Sturdy vegetables- here’s what I used:
    • Cherry Tomatoes
    • Cucumbers
    • Carrots
  • Romain Lettuce
  • Optional: For some extra protein you could add some feta cheese or tofu… or both 🙂

Directions:

In a clean jar pour some dressing- less than half an inch. Cut your vegetables and put them in the jar. Wash, check, and cut your lettuce and fill the jar. Then seal it up and keep it upright until you are ready to eat it. When you are ready for lunch, flip the jar and shake it up. Then you can either dump your salad onto a plate or, eat it like we did, right from the jar 🙂

unnamed-15.jpg

 

And we had a great view with our salads… Certainly made the hike worth it 🙂

unnamed-14.jpg

 

Great Snack ala Trader Joe’s!

The first thing my sister and I did was a quick trip to Trader Joe’s. I’ve spoken about how much kosher stuff they have at TJ’s before, but especially when traveling it’s nice to be able to go to one store and stock up.

We were hungry so as soon as we got to my sister’s apartment we enjoyed a great twist on the classic after school snack of Apples and Peanut butter…

I present you with: Apples, Almond Butter & Coconut!

unnamed-3.jpg

 

Ingredients:

  • Apples (we used Braeburn…)
  • Raw Almond Butter (ours had no salt)
  • Unsweetened Flake Coconut

Directions:

Cut your apple and if you do it like me… use your knife as a spoon. (Hey sometimes you’re hungry and finding the plastic silverware takes too long!). Sprinkle on some coconut and enjoy!

 

The oven is currently being kashered… stay tuned for tonight’s dinner of chicken with carrots and parsnips… I should mention that my sister is doing the Whole 30 diet this month…

Strawberry Shortcake in a Jar and a Visit to my Sister & Brother-in-Law!

For the next few days, I’ll be in CT visiting my sister and brother in law! Stay tuned for some tips, tricks, and recipes from my travels 🙂

Before coming to Connecticut I spoke with my sister to plan the food stuffs. She’s got a regular electric coil stove that is super easy to kasher (just clean well and burn out), and her oven can be kashered on the self-cleaning mode so I knew I’d have a lot of flexibility on cooking. I decided to bring one pan to do some dairy cooking, some frozen meat and chicken to make in her oven after I kasher it, and a parve knife that I can use whenever.

Next up was planning what to eat on my amtrak train ride. Something about traveling always makes me go WAAAYYY overboard on food. Somehow I always think I’ll end up starving so I bring TONS. This time I brought… 3 water bottles, some spelt crackers, a package of seaweed, a strawberry shortcake in a jar, some leftover sautee’d zucchini, and a basic greek mason jar salad. Honestly, I probably could have fed an army… but hey, I didn’t starve!

The best thing I brought, naturally was the Strawberry Shortcake in a Jar…This one happens to be gluten free, but you could substitute the biscuit recipe for a regular flour one 🙂

unnamed-10.jpg

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of Oat flour
  • 4 TBSP Butter/Margarine (I used Earth Balance) room temperature
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1 TBSP Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Milk/Milk substitute
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • Whipped cream (the frozen whipped cream you made for your peaches and cream will work perfectly)
  • Strawberries (you could also try blueberries for an interesting twist)

Directions:

Mix the oat flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, chia seeds and sugar in a bowl. Then with a fork, mash the butter/margarine in to the flour mixture and fold in the milk/milk substitute and vanilla in until all the ingredients are just combined. Line a muffin tin and spoon the mixture until each cup is about 3/4 full. Bake the oat biscuits at 425*F for about 10-15 minutes until the biscuits are slightly golden on top.

When the biscuits have cooled take them out of the muffin wrapper and put in a cup or a cup sized mason jar. These biscuits tend to crumble because of the oat flour, but the flavor and texture with the other ingredients works well, but the cup is really helpful :). Cut some fresh strawberries and put them on top then scoop some whipped cream on top. If you are using frozen whipped cream, just give it a few minutes before you enjoy your treat. The nice thing about using a mason jar it makes these great travel food! Enjoy!

Going Home? Here’s what you need to know…

635926444221469047-1832658135_going-home.jpg

When you are a baal/baalas teshuva, going home *especially at the beginning* can feel overwhelming. You love your family, of course, but if your family doesn’t keep kosher, or don’t keep to your new standards, things can be a bit tense. That’s where these questions come in. With a little bit of planning, your visit home can be an enjoyable time to reconnect with those you love.

This set of questions is intended for you to use as a guide– really more of a conversation starter with your LOR (Local Orthodox Rabbi) or a mashpia/advisor. Having good people to ask questions will make things MUCH easier 🙂

1)What is the cooking situation in your families kitchen? What kind of stovetop do you have? What kind of oven? Are there ways to kasher these? How can you deal with non-kosher sinks and counter tops?

  • Many stove-tops can be kashered with some pretty easy steps, ovens that are self-cleaning are able to be kashered too. Is your family open to you kashering parts of their kitchen for the short term? If not, investing in an electric skillet could be a cheap way to make things easier. Talk with your LOR/Advisor about your options

2) Are there any issues with non-frum or possibly non-Jewish family helping you cook?

  • There are some pertinent halachos regarding turning on flames/ovens, there also may be things to be careful of such as not placing your cookware/dishes in the non-kosher sink. This question in particular is a great one to talk with an advisor about. Maybe even a friend who has been frum for a while and has some more experience- especially when it comes to finding the words to thank family for their help, while still staying true to halacha.

3)How long will you be home for?

  • For shorter trips home, sometimes its easier to bring mostly prepared foods/easy to prepare foods. For longer trips home it might be worth investing in some more cookware to be able to prepare more foods.

4)What kinds of kosher food will you be able to buy when you get home?

  • Is there a kosher grocery? If you keep cholov yisroel/pas yisroel/bishul yisroel do they have the products you would need? Are there any kosher restaurants near you? Do they have acceptable hechsherim?

5)What kinds of foods do you want to be able to have while you are home?

  • Based on what you know about your local groceries, what should you plan to bring with you from the frum community you are in? I often stock up cheeses, meats and wine. The good thing is, these freeze or keep well so I can keep my parent’s freezer well stocked and ready for future trips home. Especially for beginning trips home, it’s probably a good idea to write out a general menu for yourself- that way you will have an idea of what foods you will need to bring with, and what you can pick up once you are already there.

6)What kinds of ‘issues’ do you anticipate having with your family?

  • Does your family make a big deal about eating together? Do they care if you eat off paper plates for every meal (mine did… boy was that a surprise!) Are there any kosher treats your family might love? (I am all about bringing home the best that kosher has to offer… my family has always been pretty in to food, so bringing home some great bakery treats, fancy ice creams, those new caramels, that great new sauce… yeah, I try my best to impress them so they won’t care as much about all my new rules), Do they like to share? Should you bring extra food so you won’t feel like you are running out when your big sister is always staring longingly at your plate instead of her own?

7)What about shabbos?

  • Will you stay home? Is there a frum community or chabad house you can go to ?

 

Okay well, that should give you a good start. I know it can feel overwhelming, just remember that your family loves you, and sometimes a deep breath can go a long way. Also know, even if things don’t go the way you hope, they can and will get better and more enjoyable over time! Wishing you much hatzlacha and shalom bayis!