Sour Cream Coffee Cake

When I am with family, especially for a food centered gathering like Thanksgiving, I always try to bring a few foods that I can share with everyone else. This cake is one of my FAVORITES. Also… just so you know, Coffee cake is a cake eaten with coffee, NOT necessarily a cake made with coffee…

Ingredients:

  • 8 TBSP butter (or earth balance)- room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8th tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP butter (or earth balance)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  • Cream the butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon until well combined.
  • Pour half the cake batter in a baking pan then sprinkle with half the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  • Spoon the remaining cake batter on top of the cinnamon sugar layer then finish it off by sprinkling more of the cinnamon sugar layer on top.
  • Bake at 350*F for 35-40 minutes until cooked through.

This one is on my to do list for tomorrow night so I’ll post the picture then 🙂

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Back to School Breakfast #2: Overnight Oats

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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…

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 🙂

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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!

Apple Kale Salad

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This creamy, sweety, tangy, and filling salad is one of my favorites. Once you’ve made the dressing, it’s easy to assemble and makes a great lunch, appetizer, snack… whatever! The recipe is adapted from one I found at: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1013732-kale-salad-with-apples-and-cheddar

Since I was short on kosher sensitive ingredients like parmesan I had to make some changes, and while I have not tasted this salad as the NY Times intended, I do think mine is pretty tasty! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Lemons
  • 3 Cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1-2 TBSP Blanched almonds
  • Dash of Nutritional Yeast (the great cheese substitute)
  • Pinch of salt to taste
  • Splash of Water if needed
  • Baby Kale
  • Apple
  • Shredded Cheese ( I prefer munster, but cheddar, or chef’s blend will work well)

Tools:

  • Blender/food processor/nutri-bullet

Directions:

For the dressing, Squeeze the two lemons in to the food processor along with he garlic and oil. Process until smooth. Add 1-2 TBSP of the blanched almonds, nutritional yeast, and salt then process again. The mixture should become a creamy white color and be slightly thicker, but still thin enough to pour over a salad. If it is too thick, and looks more like mayo thin it with a splash of water. This dressing will keep in a sealed container the fridge for about a week (if you don’t eat it all before then)! I highly recommend investing in some mason jars as they are durable, easy to clean and cheap. They are also super in style with all the hipsters right now and you know you always wanted to be a hipster, right?

When you are ready to enjoy your salad, slice up some apple with some baby kale (Trader Joe’s sells a bagged baby kale that is pretty great), sprinkle with a handful of shredded cheese on top then drizzle with the dressing!*

*Sometimes my dressing turns out more white, while other times its more oily/yellow. Either is fine and tastes great,  it generally depends on the type of food processor I am using. Either way, the dressing does tend to separate a bit so be sure to shake well before using 🙂

Peaches & Cream

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Peaches are the major highlight of my summer. But travel is also a big component of my summer so when ingredients are fresh, but I’m leaving town, I’ve got to figure out what can be eaten, what can travel, and what can freeze… and how to do all that in a way that leaves me with good food …

So here’s what I’ve learned about cream. Have you ever frozen cream? Freezing milk works for the most part, but cream… not so much. When you freeze cream, you might find it looks clumpy when you de-frost it. After extensive google research, I’ve read that it’s still edible, but you will notice a difference in texture, and that difference kind of takes the fun out of cream…after all, who wants clumps in their cream?

However, if you make something with your cream, you can freeze the product and and it works perfectly. This is obvious when it comes to making ice-cream, but you might be surprised to hear that making a basic whipped cream will work too!

Basic Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

  • Heavy Cream
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla

Tools Needed:

  • Electric mixer or you can try an immersion blender as long as you are careful not to over whip and turn your cream in to butter… although butter will keep well too 🙂

Directions:

In a large bowl, begin whipping the cream and sugar. I generally will add about 1/4 cup sugar for 2 cups of cream, but if you like it sweeter you can add more. Be careful when whipping the cream. You want peaks to form (meaning when you lift the mixer the cream will hold it’s shape a bit) but if you over whip, it will become butter.  Toward the end add a tsp of vanilla.

This cream will taste wonderful fresh, but if you are in a hurry to leave town, or don’t want to end up eating two cups worth of fresh whipped cream all on your own, then you can keep your whipped cream in the freezer. When you want to eat it, scoop it on to you favorite fruits, cakes, pies etc. and let it sit out for a few minutes to defrost. You should find that your whipped cream will quickly return to it’s light and fluffy texture in no time. Enjoy!

Apple Slices with Fresh Marscapone and Rose Sugar

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About 9 years ago I stumbled in to a fancy cheese shop in DC and was offered a sample- fresh marscapone cheese with Rose petal sugar on an apple slice. This thing was so good that I became a frequent marscapone cheese purchaser and also bought a good amount of the Rose sugar too.

Well about a year later I started keeping kosher and sadly said goodbye for now to my light, delicious, and flavorful snack. While marscapone cheese is often found kosher, I have yet to find it cholov yisroel and there is no substitute for it’s creamy lightness. And for years, that’s been all there is to it.

Well just before pesach I went to Israel and found dried whole rose tea in the shuk. The smell alone reminded me so much of my former favorite snack that I bought it and became determined to find a way to re-create it.

Well today it finally happened. I made my own fresh marscapone cheese… With slightly too much lemon, but all in all, it’s pretty darn good… I then blended those roses with some sugar, sliced myself and apple and here I am, in foodie cloud 9.

And here is the recipe so you can join me 🙂
Ingredients:
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 3/8 Cup Sugar
  • 1/8 Cup Dried Food-Grade Rose buds/rose petals- purchase here https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/rose-buds-whole/profile
  • Apple

Special Tools:

  • Sauce pot
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Cheesecloth with colander
  • Blender/food processor

Directions:

Start out by making the marscapone cheese. Put 2 cups of heavy cream in the pot and heat until just before boiling then add the lemon juice and stir constantly for about 5 minutes. If you have a candy thermometer it should be around 190, but if you don’t have one, just keep it just before the boiling point. After 5 minutes it should have thickened slightly (mine was just barely noticeable). Let it cool to room-temperature then pour into the colander lined with cheesecloth and put it in the fridge to cool and strain for about 8 hours. When I made it, the mixture thickened to the perfect consistency in the fridge, but barely any whey (liquid) drained out. Transfer the finished marscapone to an airtight container and use within the week.

Mix the dried food-grade rose buds/petals with the sugar in a blender. When you are ready for an other-worldly treat, thinly slice an apple and plate it with a heaping spoon of marscapone and some rose sugar. Enjoy!

 

 

 

The Fake-Out Box Mac & Cheese You’ve been missing…times 3!

So if you are like me, box mac and cheese was pretty much the best thing ever. I actually distinctly remember the first time I had kraft macaroni & cheese at a friends house- I promptly went home and insisted my parents make this incredible culinary treat…

Well, when I became frum I traded my blue box blues for some super fun “Wacky Mac,” but when I started keeping Cholov Yisroel I was out of luck, until I discovered…

Fake Mac & Cheese #1: Pretty Much Made From Scratch

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Ingredients:

  • Preferred pasta of your choice
  • Cheese Product Singles (Natural & Kosher is my fav)
  • Shredded cheese of your choice (Again, Natural & Kosher, also-I go for the Mexican blend or the Chef’s)

Directions:

Cook and drain the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, open 2 slices of cheese product singles and let them get to room temperature. (Yeah, it’s pretty fake, but it’s also pretty creamy so… yeah). Put 1/2 a serving of the hot, cooked pasta in your bowl and put the first layer of cheese product on top. Add the rest of the serving of pasta on top and layer the second slice of cheese product. Hopefully you acted fast, so the hot pasta melted the  cheese product and you’ve got some cheesy, gooey goodness. Now to seal the deal, add a handful of your favorite shredded cheese and mix it in. The creaminess of the sliced cheese balanced with the real shredded cheese adds a great texture and saltiness…

Basically, this stuff is pretty good. It’s no blue box, (truthfully, its more like real mac & cheese and when you want blue box, you just don’t really want real mac & cheese, you want the processed goodness that is easy mac) but it’ll do the trick, and for a while, it was all I had. Then about a year ago I came across something pretty special…

 

Fake Mac & Cheese #2: Daiya!

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Daiya is a parve, vegan ‘cheese’ brand and they cater to the food sensitive so if you are gluten free, then this is definitely for you. This box of instant mac & cheese is more similar to the velveeta version that came with a pouch of creamy cheese product. The gluten free pasta in this product is actually pretty good.  One nice thing about this is all you need to do is cook the pasta, no need to add any milk/butter etc. The thing is, velveeta was never really my thing, so while this is pretty good, it’s not the mac & cheese I crave. That brings us to…

 

Fake Mac & Cheese #3: Earth Balance! (Finally!)

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THIS IS IT! This is the mac & cheese I’ve dreamed of for the last 7+ years. It’s just like Kraft mac & cheese, it’s got a powdered ‘cheese’ pack, the pasta is the same size/shape as Kraft, and if you buy the white cheddar version it’s even in A BLUE BOX!!! As you can see, this food find has made me pretty happy. I’m not sure why fake out mac & cheese this good took so long to be made kosher & parve (it’s not like kraft’s version has anything real in it), but now that it’s here, I’m overjoyed, and you will be too 🙂 All you need to enjoy this delicacy is some sort of milk or non-dairy milk and some butter, or earth balance. Depending how you make it, this could even be parve!

I’d like to dedicate this post to my dear friend Shay Shay who I love for many reasons, but right now, mostly just because she is the one who told me about the Earth Balance Mac & Cheese of my dreams.