My very first blogpost!

I am so excited to be launching OrnaBakes with my very first post—and to think that you have found it and are reading this right now is simply awesome! I am not a professional baker or chef; just a “foodie” with a passion (some might say obsession) for cooking and baking. I strive to cook fresh and healthy foods for my family—having grown up heavy and managing to slim down, mostly thanks to Weight Watchers. And an amazing husband who loves and adores me and has given me a safe place to heal and grow. So… this blog will not just be recipes of baked goods laden with fat and sugar, but many of the healthy recipes and meal ideas that I shared with my members in my journey as a Weight Watchers Leader and Ambassador, and a Private Coach. Honestly, I am starting to think I’m completely crazy for taking on a baking blog, but I think you have more regrets for not following a dream, than for working yourself too hard doing it. Unfortunately there are bound to be some casualties along the way—i.e. dear husband and adorable toddler. Last night I could see that Sam (the husband) was wondering if this was a wise choice, as I poked and prodded (“styled”) his food and photographed it while he sadly and hungrily watched it get cold. I have to get better at that! Can’t let the QC (quality control) in my kitchen suffer. There is just so much to learn and master in the beginning; iPhoto, Food Photography, WordPress, etc. The baking is the easy part! What’s really cool is that Aja (the toddler) loves to bake with me, so I will share this journey with her as much as I possibly can and hope to inspire her along the way. I’m wondering how people keep the balance between working and indulging a passion, and being a good wife and mom. Any ideas? I’ll let you know as I go… The reason I am able to do a blog is because I have a wonderful, tech-genius husband, Sam, who has indulged me and helped me to bring this dream to life. What better a way to show him that he has actually rubbed off on me! The other reason is our talented web-guy for Sam & Company, Sean Kelly, who helped me design this gorgeous site. Lucky, lucky girl! If you’re a baker, or foodie, please try my recipes and let me know how you do. I will always value your comments and feedback. And send me your favorite recipes! Special Promotion… The first five peeps to try...

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Kid-Friendly Broccoli Slaw

I developed this recipe many years ago when I joined Weight Watchers, and had to figure out how to stretch twenty “points” a day. The long strands of the broccoli slaw gave me the same satisfaction as pasta (ok—a bit of a stretch) and was zero points! I would add some shredded roast chicken and in no time had a satisfying and delicious meal. Weight Watchers…   Orna with the Duchess of York Weight Watchers Convention, 2004   I joined Weight Watchers in 2001, and after losing 35 pounds on the program (Points & Core Plan), I became a leader and Ambassador for Weight Watchers, and then a Private Coach. Click here for Orna’s Weight Loss Journey (with before and after pics) >> Kid Friendly… My toddler, Aja, LOVES my broccoli slaw; she’s been devouring it since she first started solids. Just cut it up with a kitchen scissors into more manageable pieces for the little ones, so the strands don’t get stuck in their throats. It does get a little messy… but it’s well worth it! Sautéed Broccoli Slaw         Notes:     Broccoli cole slaw is shredded carrots and broccoli stems—instead of the usual shredded cabbage found in cole slaw. Some brands of broccoli slaw (eg. Trader Joes) are a bit tough and stringy, so you might have to simmer for longer, and make sure to cut it into smaller pieces for kids. Tip: I always keep powdered chicken broth in my pantry. It adds flavor to many dishes, and it’s convenient when you only need a small amount. It is also a great Weight Loss Tool: Around 5pm in winter when I feel hungry—or “peckish”, as we would say in South Africa—I fill up on a cup of chicken broth. I used to use Telma Chicken Cubes, but hated having to bash the poor cube with a fork to get it to dissolve properly. Then my sister-in-law, Robyn, introduced me to the powder and I never went back! I do still use Telma Vegetable Cubes because they thicken and add depth of flavor to vegetable dishes—you should try it. Or just to sip on; the carrots and bits at the bottom are strangely satisfying, and the vegetable broth is thicker and more filling than chicken broth. Click here for Orna’s Curried Veggies Recipe >> Cool Tools Masterclad Pro Series Saute 12″ Non-Stick Pan with lid. Favorite sauté pan EVER! I discovered them at Costco on a special promotion, but you can find them online. You Might Also Like Mini Cauliflower Pizza Bites—OMG they’re that good >> Guilt Free “Slap Chips” (aka Fat Free Potato Chips)...

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The Ultimate Ginger Cookie
Oct06

The Ultimate Ginger Cookie

I’ve made many-a-ginger-cookie, and finally discovered this version from Ina Garten, which really is the “ultimate” ginger cookie! A little crispy on the outside, but then perfectly chewy in the middle. And wonderful, distinct gingery flavor! I doubled the recipe, because I think you’ll find that one batch simply isn’t enough. By the time you’ve tried one—or two, or three—just to make sure they are perfect… and then had your “tasters” try one… you get the picture… And… they are even better the next day. Another reason to love this recipe—I am a huge fan of anything that can be made ahead. You might be surprised that I listed these as kid-friendly, but these are Aja, my toddler’s favorite cookies that I bake. Biscuits…? When I visited my brother, Gary, at his house or furniture factory in Johannesburg (Jo’burg), there was always a big tin of delicious, crunchy, homemade “ginger biscuits” that looked like giant ginger flying saucers! What? You must be thinking… Well, in South Africa, a “biscuit” is actually what’s known as a cookie here in the U.S., and a “cookie” is what’s known as a cupcake here. I know, pretty confusing. It took me a long time to learn the new lingo! I tried to recreate the experience, but I think sometimes when you convert recipes from “the old country” they just aren’t the same.   I LOVE grating my own nutmeg—it makes me feel very fancy! My microplane grater is one of my favorite tools. I happen to love the taste and smell of nutmeg, and it is definitely much fresher and more flavorful if you grind it yourself. And there’s something so cute about those little nutmegs—look like acorns.           Cool Tools: Microplane Grater, Parchment Paper, Salter Scale       The Ultimate Ginger Cookie 2013-08-05 10:42:32 Yields 44 Write a review Save Recipe Print Prep Time 30 min Cook Time 15 min Total Time 45 min Prep Time 30 min Cook Time 15 min Total Time 45 min 133 calories 25 g 8 g 3 g 2 g 0 g 36 g 94 g 13 g 0 g 3 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 36g Yields 44 Amount Per Serving Calories 133 Calories from Fat 27 % Daily Value * Total Fat 3g 5% Saturated Fat 0g 2% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 1g Monounsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 8mg 3% Sodium 94mg 4% Total Carbohydrates 25g 8% Dietary Fiber 1g 4% Sugars 13g Protein 2g Vitamin A0%Vitamin C0% Calcium3%Iron8% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on...

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Crunchies — Traditional South African Oatmeal Cookie Bars
Oct02

Crunchies — Traditional South African Oatmeal Cookie Bars

This is my most searched/shared/requested recipe (It has been pinned SIX THOUSAND times!!!) There is NOTHING better than a Crunchie and a cup of tea in the morning!   Kids of all ages will love to help you make them! (Note: mini rolling pin and blankie) And they’ll love to find one in their lunchbox! Fill an Oxo Cookie Jar with fresh Crunchies for a hostess gift.   Crunchies were my favorite “biscuit”—the South African term for cookies. They are to South Africa what Chocolate Chip Cookies are to America. Imagine: Mini-homemade-granola-bar meets chewy-oatmeal-raisin-cookie… but better! There’s something soooooo satisfying about biting into these sweet, a-little-crunchy-and-a-little-chewy, toasted-oat-and-coconut squares of goodness! So now you’re wondering, where the heck’s the recipe??? Well… ummm… I’m working on an even better, healthier version, so stay tuned! If you don’t wanna miss the new recipe, make sure to sign up for my newsletters (and/or follow OrnaBakes on FB, Instagram and YouTube!) NEW RECIPE AND YOUTUBE CLIP COMING SOON! (Click here for an update >>) xoxo  ...

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Cinnamon Bulkas (Traditional Yeast Buns)
Sep26

Cinnamon Bulkas (Traditional Yeast Buns)

These soft, buttery buns, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, are just sweet enough, but not too rich—so you can enjoy them anytime! I like that these don’t look like the Cinnabon type cinnamon bun—the more common way to make them—and I love the satisfaction of peeling each layer apart. (Mmm… makes me salivate just thinking about it!) They’re heavenly warmed up for breakfast! Growing up in South Africa, it was our family tradition to break the fast on Yom Kippur with a warm Cinnamon Bulka (a/k/a Boolke). Waiting in anticipation to bite into Auntie Phyllie’s delicious, fresh-baked Bulkas made the fast all-the-more torturous! When I moved to Los Angeles, my friend’s mom, Rita—who took in all the stragglers for the holidays—gave me a taste of home with her mouth-watering Cinnamon Bulkas, passed down from Bobba Skuy, who grew up in little shtetl called Varklan, near Riga, Latvia. Nothing gives you more satisfaction than sitting down with a warm Bulka that you made from scratch! That’s why I went the extra mile to make these easy enough for anyone to enjoy making them. Watch the YouTube clip and see how simple it is. The highlight was making “bilkas” with Aja! It seems that no matter what you do to this dough they are still edible! (Well, to an almost-four-year-old, anyway!) I baked hers off in the toaster oven and she was in heaven! What you will need. Melted butter mixture. Yeast before proofing. Beautiful bubbled up yeast! Kneading the dough (Love this pic!). Smooth ball of dough. Set aside in a warm place to rise. Dough doubled in size. Dough has doubled in size when indentation remains after tips of fingers are pressed lightly and quickly into dough. Work with half the dough; refrigerate the rest. Divide each half into sixteen pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. With the craggy side up, flatten into a round. Keep rounds covered. Butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and slit from the centre to the edge. Form a triangle. Combine on one baking sheet, about an inch apart. Cover loosely and allow to rise for 20 – 30 minutes. Brush with butter and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. Bake until golden brown. Transfer immediately to cooling rack. Sit down and enjoy a warm bulka and cup of tea/coffee/milk! Cool Tools Parchment Sheets Bench Scraper Silicon Pastry Brush Instant Read Thermometer Cuisinart 5 1/2 Quart Stand Mixer Resources The New Food Processor Bible by Norene Gilletz The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum  Cinnamon Bulkas (Traditional Yeast Buns) 2013-08-03 18:26:23 Yields 32 Special Cinnamon Buns that kids and grown-ups will love to make and eat! Write a review...

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