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!

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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…

National S’mores Day

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Happy Belated National S’mores day! Apparently it was yesterday, August 10th 2016! Well in honor of National S’mores Day, what would be better than having great, gooey, sweet, chocolaty kosher s’mores…

One of the lesser known kosher problem products is marshmallows. Most marshmallows are made with geletin, specifically pork gelatin and are not kosher. There are kosher marshmallows out there, but many leave what to be desired… Enter, Trader Joes!

I’m not sure when these came in to my local TJ’s but I’m certainly happy they did. They look like they are falling apart in the bag, and they are a bit delicate and very sticky, but they are soft and gooey and when toasted over an open flame, they help make really great s’mores!

Pair these marshmellows with your favorite graham cracker (I love the cinnamon ones) and use the Enjoy Life Brand mini chocolate chips to finish off the treat!

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.

 

One Stop Shabbos from Trader Joe’s

Spending Shabbos at home can have it’s challenges, especially if things are still new for you and or your family. But with this easy menu- all from Trader Joe’s, you can impress your family with great and super easy dishes for shabbos that everyone can enjoy. 🙂

Trader Joe’s Kosher Wine

If your state laws allow grocery stores to sell wine, then TJ’s has a great kosher wine selection! You can select your favorite for Shabbos Kiddush! Click here to learn more about their selection.

Trader Joe’s Challah

Every TJ’s is a little different, so be sure to check that your local Trader Joe’s sells a challah with a kosher certification you are comfortable with, however many locations do sell Challahs that are certified by the CRC and are Pas Yisroel.

Trader Joe’s First Course Sides

There are lots of great parve dips & pickled veggies from Trader Joe’s that will go great with your challah!

Easy Shabbos Fish

For an easy fish course buy some smoked salmon or lox! Have it plain or enjoy with the dips… or you can kick it up a notch… stay tuned for other lox recipes for Shabbos 🙂

Easy Basic Salad

If you are like me, I just need a good fresh salad on shabbos. Here is an easy one to make in a pinch. Buy your favorite salad vegetables- romaine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, avocado, cucumber etc… and prepare in a bowl. Then mix together 3 parts olive oil and 2 parts fresh lemon juice with a dash of salt & pepper to taste and pour over salad before serving. Enjoy!

Trader Joe’s Kosher Meats

Again, every TJ’s stocks their stores a little differently based on need. However, many do sell kosher meats that you can use to make a basic cholent or soup. Another easy trick for Shabbos is to start a big meat or chicken soup in your crock pot early in the morning on Friday so that everything is fully cooked by Friday night. Then you can separate some of the soup out for friday night before Shabbos. With the remaining soup add some rice or barley and some beans and a bit more liquid. Keep it on the crock pot for your Shabbos day cholent!

Trader Joe’s Dessert

With these two desserts, you really can’t go wrong! And the Babka is Pas Yisroel too!

 

So get ready to relax & enjoy some great food this coming Shabbos!

 

Wine & Cheese Foodie Food Find!

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Growing up, good food was valued in my family. Everyone loves to show off their latest food finds and recipes, but I think my family takes it to another level. Now that I keep kosher, big family gatherings feel different. While my family has been incredibly accepting of the choices I have made, I do feel left out when they can all enjoy some amazing food that I can’t. That’s why I always try to add my own dishes and food finds to our family gatherings. That way I have something to eat, and my family and I have one more thing to gather around together. Becoming frum can make people feel isolated from those they care the most about, finding easy ways to reconnect and share common values can help you hold on tightly to the ones you love.

While I love to cook, when we have these big family gatherings I get busy just planning my own food let alone finding things to bring to share with my family. That was why I was so excited to see this cheese set sold by Natural & Kosher. I found it at my local kosher grocery store, and while I can pick out my own fancy cheese to share with family, the nice thing about this cheese set, is that it provides wine recommendations. It was great because in one store I was able to get the cheese set and pick out at least one wine for each cheese based on the label recommendations. When I met up with my family, I sliced and plated the cheese with some tart green apple slices. We opened the wine and had lots of fun trying to decide which wines went best with which of the three cheeses ( I kept it a surprise). It was a really fun afternoon & a great time with family!

 

 

Top 5 Kosher Desserts in your Grocery

I am always super excited and surprised when I find great kosher food finds in my local grocery stores… Going home can be stressful, dessert does a nice job of mediating that stress… not to mention going for any amount of time without dessert makes me sad so here goes my top 5 totally findable desserts. They also happen to be gluten free so there is no issue with Pas Yisroel for those who are particular 🙂

  1. Glutino Gluten Free WafersGlutino-Gluten-Free-Wafers-Chocolate-Covered-678523010402-650x650.jpgThese things are pretty much the greatest chocolate fix… ever and thanks to the frequency of gluten free diets, they are pretty much in every grocery store I’ve been in lately. Even better- they are Cholov Yisrael!
  2. Hail Merry Miracle Tartshailmerrytartxl.jpg
    These are certified by the Star K and while they taste like cheesecake, they are parve- made with cashews! I’ve found these all over the states (including Maui!) usually in health food stores. You can check their website to find a store near you. You can also order online 🙂 https://www.hailmerry.com/
  3. Liz Lovely Ginger Snapdragons & Chocolate Moose Dragonsliz lovely cookie.jpg
    This is a recent find and a new favorite. These cookies are a dream. Delicious, parve, gluten free, and certified by the Chof K! They sold them at my local organic market. Here is their website for more info http://lizlovely.com/
  4. Enjoy Life Snickerdoodles
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    Enjoy life brand is really great and allergy friendly in general. These cookies are soft and really good- the kind that you wouldn’t guess are gluten free and are certified by the CRC! Best part is you can find them in most regular grocery stores! Woot woot!
  5. Hail Merry Macaroons3.5_macs_6flavors_set.jpg
    These are not your standard passover macaroons. These are flavor filled, parve and certified by the Star K… In my family we give foodie food find gifts for channukah and this one was a big hit! My favorites are strawberry and the chocolate chip cookie flavors… salted caramel is pretty fantastic too! *Heads up, they are not kosher for passover