Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Dec18

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

This time of year—when we’re surrounded by tempting treats—this low fat, comforting soup will feel slightly indulgent and satisfy your sweet tooth, without taking you down! And it’s easy enough to make during the week, but special enough to serve for guests.   I was inspired to make this by the 2-pound container of butternut squash chunks (preservative free) at Costco.   You can, of course, just peel, core and cut up a large butternut squash to yield about the same amount. Nothing ever compares to the freshest ingredients that you peel and chop yourself, but sometimes using convenience items is the difference between getting a homemade dinner on the table, or just not attempting anything… so I’ll always opt for using precut veggies to help out when you need it! A touch of curry powder adds an interesting flavor, without overpowering the delicious squash or making it spicy. Trader Joe’s Curry Powder works perfectly in this recipe, but any mild curry powder will do.   “Sweat” the onions first, over low heat, to soften them and release the moisture—without browning them.   Garnish with Low Fat Greek Yogurt to balance the sweetness and add extra protein. If you’re doing Weight Watchers Simple Start or Simply Filling, Fat Free Greek Yogurt will keep this a Weight Watchers Power Food. Yummm!! Butternut Squash and Apple Soup 2013-12-18 14:32:41 Serves 6 4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus per serving. WW Power Food. Write a review Save Recipe Print 159 calories 28 g 0 g 5 g 4 g 1 g 351 g 59 g 10 g 0 g 5 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 351g Servings 6 Amount Per Serving Calories 159 Calories from Fat 47 % Daily Value * Total Fat 5g 8% Saturated Fat 1g 4% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 1g Monounsaturated Fat 4g Cholesterol 0mg 0% Sodium 59mg 2% Total Carbohydrates 28g 9% Dietary Fiber 5g 19% Sugars 10g Protein 4g Vitamin A322%Vitamin C60% Calcium9%Iron8% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Does this look wrong? Ingredients 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, high quality 1 large yellow onion, chopped 1 teaspoon mild curry powder 2 pounds butternut squash chunks (1 large) 2 small golden delicious apples, or other sweet apples 14.5 oz can (2 cups) low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth) kosher salt freshly ground black pepper water Instructions Add olive oil, onions, curry powder, and two large pinches of salt to a large dutch oven or stockpot and cook uncovered, over low heat, for 10 - 15 minutes, until...

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Round Challah for a Sweet New Year
Aug29

Round Challah for a Sweet New Year

Round Challah is a traditional sweet bread, served on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, to symbolize the cycle of life and a sweet new year. A few years ago, I was blown away by my cousin Carla’s homemade honey and raisin challah at our holiday celebration. Orna and Sam with Cousin Carla September, 2011 You probably already know that I have a thing for bread. I also have a major thing for challah. And topped with cinnamon sugar?! You’ve got to be kidding me! But how could I possibly make this incredible loaf myself?  Carla agreed to come over the next day and show me how it was done—removing the fear factor, and sparking my love for baking any kind of bread. Well, truthfully, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with yeast, which is why I’ve included step-by-step details, so that even if you’ve never used yeast before, you can do this! And most importantly, enjoy the process. The instructions below are for kneading in a stand mixer, or you can just do it the old fashioned way, with some elbow grease. On her next visit from Vancouver, Carla surprised me with my very own copy of The New Food Processor Bible, by Norene Gilletz, where she found this wonderful recipe. Highly Recommend! Both of these kind, generous bakers have inspired and encouraged me, and I hope to do the same for you! A special thank you goes out to Norene and friends in Norene’s Kitchen on Facebook for answering all my questions! Carla’s always getting on my back to be more “relaxed” and just enjoy cooking—but I’m sure that if I have all these questions and issues, someone out there does too, so here’s hoping that I’m making the process a little easier and less daunting. There’s no sweeter way to bring in the New Year than breaking fresh, homemade Challah with your family. Chag Sameach from our family to yours. xoxo      What you will need  Bubbled up yeast Make a well in the flour   Add the oil, eggs, water, salt, honey, and yeast mixture   Mix with the paddle attachment until combined and smooth   Knead with the dough hook for about 8 minutes; the dough should be soft and slightly sticky   Place in a large, oiled bowl, turning once to grease the top Cover and place in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 1 – 2 1/2 hours until doubled in size (or refrigerate overnight) Dough has doubled in size when you lightly poke two fingers into it and the indent doesn’t come right back out Roll into a long...

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Sweet and Sour Braised Red Cabbage
Mar26

Sweet and Sour Braised Red Cabbage

This is a wonderful accompaniment to brisket or chicken, and can be made ahead for the holidays. I can still smell and taste all the delicious dishes my stepmother, Pam, would make every Friday, when my older brothers and sister would all come home for shabbat dinner. Happy times. I see now that many of the recipes she made were from Cooking with Myrna Rosen, known as “The Cooking Bible” in South Africa. Does anyone remember this book? When I moved to Los Angeles and Pam gave me this wonderful cookbook, I found the recipes very intimidating. Very little detail, no pictures—and no one to show me! I wish that I had been as interested in cooking when I was growing up as I am now. That’s one of the reasons I always try to involve my toddler in what I’m making. It warmed my heart when she asked me for a toy vegetable peeler; I couldn’t find one anywhere, so I promised her she could peel the carrots next time. I figure at 3 1/2, she’s ready! I’ve included all the details that I wished I would have had when I first made this—hopefully any newbies out there will find this helpful. Enjoy! How to coarsely shred cabbage Slice cabbage in half; cut out core. Slice into 1/2-inch slices length-wise and then slice those in half.   Click here for an easier way to peel and core apples >> Cool Tools Mario Batali 6-Quart Dutch Oven Tongs Sweet and Sour Braised Red Cabbage 2013-08-06 17:14:24 Serves 8 Write a review Save Recipe Print Prep Time 20 min Cook Time 1 hr 15 min Total Time 1 hr 35 min Prep Time 20 min Cook Time 1 hr 15 min Total Time 1 hr 35 min 166 calories 35 g 0 g 4 g 3 g 0 g 258 g 339 g 25 g 0 g 3 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 258g Servings 8 Amount Per Serving Calories 166 Calories from Fat 34 % Daily Value * Total Fat 4g 6% Saturated Fat 0g 2% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 1g Monounsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 0mg 0% Sodium 339mg 14% Total Carbohydrates 35g 12% Dietary Fiber 5g 21% Sugars 25g Protein 3g Vitamin A33%Vitamin C148% Calcium9%Iron9% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Does this look wrong? Ingredients 1 large red cabbage, 2 to 2 1/2 pounds, roughly shredded (see notes) 2 large sour green apples (recommended: Granny Smith) 6 cloves 1 lemon 1/2 cup light brown sugar (not packed) 1...

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Mario Batali’s Brutti Ma Buoni Cookies
Mar15

Mario Batali’s Brutti Ma Buoni Cookies

I first saw these Italian Meringue Cookies (translation: Ugly But Good) in a Weight Watchers Magazine, many years ago.   I finally made Mario Batali’s version from Foodnetwork.com—my go-to recipe resource—and they were simply divine. And the best part is they make a fantastic Passover Dessert and are low points to boot! (Weight Watchers PointsPlus value coming soon.) I’m not usually a fan of meringues, but these light, crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside, nutty puffs are delicious. I think the name is misleading because they are actually quite cute! The perfect sweet treat following a heavy holiday meal. In my humble opinion, most Passover Desserts are not worthy; not of the time to make them nor the calories to eat them! Since no flour or leavening agents are permitted, many recipes substitute Matzo Meal for flour. The best options are recipes that naturally don’t contain flour—like Flourless Cheesecake. And these cookies! Enjoy! Let me know how you like them. Freeze well. How to Whip Egg Whites Adapted from Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America Make sure there are no traces of fat in the whites themselves or on the equipment. (no yolk) Egg whites should be at room temperature when whipped, but are easier to separate while still cold. (Let rest 10 – 15 minutes after separating.) Begin whipping at a slow to moderate speed, until the whites loosen and become foamy. Add sugar gradually with mixer on moderate speed, then cinnamon, salt and vanilla, and increase speed to high. As more air is beaten into the whites, the texture becomes very smooth and the foam thickens enough to mound slightly. When you see the whisk start to leave track marks in the egg whites you are at the “soft peak” stage; the foam is still very glossy and moist, and when you pull the whisk out of the bowl and turn it upright, the whites slump over to one side in rounded peaks. As you continue to whip egg whites, they reach the “medium peak” stage. You will see distinct tracks left by the whisk or beater as you whip. The peaks formed when the whisk is lifted retain their shape longer, but are still glossy and smooth. This is the ideal stage for foams to be folded into batters. Maria Batali’s recipe calls for butter and sugar for greasing the cookie sheet, but I find it easier to just use parchment paper instead; and this makes the cookies non-dairy or pareve. I forgot what a huge quantity of cookies this recipe makes, and had to run out to pick up my toddler from preschool right in the...

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Cinnamon Sugar Figure-Eight Cookies
Mar12

Cinnamon Sugar Figure-Eight Cookies

Your kids will love to make—and eat—these simple but delicious cookies! My toddler, Aja, has been nagging me all day to let her make her favorite Cinnamon Roll Cookies all by herself. A little too advanced for a three year old!  Click here for Orna’s Cinnamon Roll Cookies recipe >> I remembered these Cinnamon Twists, fondly referred to by Sam (hubby) as Mrs. Sniderman Cookies—after the sweet family friend, Audrey, in his home town of Calgary, Canada, who thoughtfully sent a care package of his favorites with his parents, when they visited LA. Brilliant! Kid-friendly, and no need to soften the butter or buy ingredients. Aja had a blast mixing, rolling and shaping the cookies “all by herself.” This was a great exercise for me in completely giving up control.     Now that Nana and Zaida live nearby, Aja can take over from Mrs. Sniderman making daddy’s favs! (As if he wasn’t already smitten.) I forgot that she likes to eat cinnamon sugar by the spoonful. That apparently still wasn’t enough sugar for her, because she still insisted on icing the cookie with the only (chocolate) frosting I had in the pantry. (Note: This is not recommended by me!) As I was posting this recipe, I was happy to discover that it originated from Norene Gilletz—well-renowned Canadian cookbook author, of whom I’m a huge fan. She has been very supportive of my blog, and is always quick to answer my cooking and baking questions on Norene’s Kitchen—her fabulous Facebook group. Click here to see Norene’s Kitchen on Facebook—a place for foodies, bakers and cooks >> Cool Tools Small Cookie Scoop, Parchment Sheets Cinnamon Sugar Figure-Eight Cookies 2013-08-06 15:26:50 Yields 48 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 100 calories 10 g 12 g 6 g 1 g 1 g 21 g 8 g 4 g 0 g 6 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 21g Yields 48 Amount Per Serving Calories 100 Calories from Fat 54 % Daily Value * Total Fat 6g 9% Saturated Fat 1g 3% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 2g Monounsaturated Fat 4g Cholesterol 12mg 4% Sodium 8mg 0% Total Carbohydrates 10g 3% Dietary Fiber 0g 1% Sugars 4g Protein 1g Vitamin A0%Vitamin C0% Calcium1%Iron1% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Does this look wrong? Ingredients 3 large or extra-large eggs 1 cup granulated sugar or brown sugar, lightly packed 1/2 - 3/4 cup...

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