Sunday, September 30, 2012

Parsnip Purée (With Carrots)

I have only tasted parsnip purée once before and I was surprised to find that it paired extremely well with my chicken and meat entrées and I actually enjoyed it. I didn't think I would choose to eat it alone and I CERTAINLY never imagined I'd whip some up in my own kitchen.
But alas, my holiday preparations have found me searching for new and simple side dishes that make a big bang. If all the professional chefs pair their dishes with parsnip purée, why then, so can I!
And so began my google search for a recipe. To my dismay, many call for heavy cream which I do not use because of its fat content as well as the fact that it is dairy (which does not mesh with meat meals for a kosher eater).
Many recipes included carrots, which I decided would be a good addition for someone who is not sure she will like plain parsnip.
The recipe I finally settled on was a Martha Stewart special, but I adapted it enough that I post it here as my own.
*In case you have never tried parsnip purée, it is not intended to be sweet. It is a more tame flavor that is sort of earthy and natural, a taste that may need to be developed. However, it is really delicious when eaten with classic cuts of meat or chicken, fish, and even sausage. It can truly enhance and decorate a plate. When I first tried it, it was presented under my entrée, and was swirled around the fish to add color, texture, and of course, taste.

Parsnip Carrot Purée
4 medium parsnips cut in 1/2 inch discs
5 small carrots cut in 1/4 inch discs (to ensure even cooking, cut carrots smaller than parsnip)
1 small onion
1-2 cloves minced garlic or 1 1/2 tsp minced jarred garlic
1 T. olive oil
1/2 cup chicken stock or low sodium broth
1/2 cup water
Salt and white pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in medium saucepan and sauté onion and garlic until soft and beginning to brown. Add parsnip and carrots and sauté 5 more minutes. Add stock and water to the pot and allow to simmer until vegetables are tender, or about 25 minutes. Purée (with a nifty hand blender) and add salt and pepper to taste.

Please share any and all parsnip experiences in the comments or via Twitter and/or Facebook. I'm curious to hear what you think, especially if you try it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Back to School Photos! Via Instagram's Instaframes

I finally had a chance to make a great photo collage to commemorate my kids' start of school this year.
I also got an amazing app to allow me to do just that seamlessly, and in minutes.
I used Instaframes, Instagram's framing and collage app. It allows you to use various backgrounds, colors, styles, and photo placement. I was able to add unlimited text boxes in many font styles and colors. I was not limited to "small," "medium," or "large" font, but could click and drag to resize any fonts.
I could use frames and boxes but I could edit the details those as well! Photos could be cropped to fit the boxes easily. And effects could be added to individual photos even if there were multiple pictures in the collage.
Here is my picture! I just might (GASP) print it out and frame them in my living room.

*This review is unsolicited. I seriously enjoyed using it and was happy with my result!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bandaid Boo Boo

Right before putting Kayla (5yo) to bed, I noticed she had a bandaid on her pinky. I asked her what happened, figuring it was her slight obsession with bandaids that made her cover a small cut on her cuticle. Her response however was slightly alarming. "Sarah slammed the door on it. On purpose."
I immediately told her to take the bandaid off because I wanted to see the bruise.
It was swollen, black and blue, with a large segment of skin ripped up and a substantial cut.
"Who gave you the bandaid?"
"My teacher."
"Did you go to the school nurse?"
"Did your teacher give you ice?"
"What about cream?"
I am really not an alarmist but my child needed ice as well as neosporin for this cut. She already had dirt under the skin. I really don't want this to get infected. Our friend and EMT advised us to go to the doctor if possible to cut off the extra skin so as to avoid infection.
I should have received a phone call about this!!!
The teacher will be hearing from me in the morning.
What do you think?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Diet Coke Party!

If you ask any of my friends, I win every contest, raffle, auction or prize out there. It's true. I have a pretty good track record. I see it as G-d's way of helping us our financially without giving me a direct raise or cash advance. I wasn't surprised when I entered and won a 30 second birthday party from Diet Coke as part of their brand promotion.
All I did was tweet a haiku to @dietcokeUS! Click here to read my haiku tweet! I got a message shortly thereafter to contact them with my email address. After working out many technicalities including okaying the party with my boss, Diet Coke came to the Chai Lifeline headquarters in New York City to celebrate.
Of course my husband Jeremy and my mother in law who both work nearby came and my coworkers joined in the party.
We did the dancing silly string thing and then I got an awesome Diet Coke t-shirt and a free 1 year supply of the brown liquid. That's right, I have coupons for a year's supply of Diet Coke. I know you are jealous!
Click here to see the awesome pictures of the party on my Facebook page.
I am now very loyal to the brand that gave me free drinks for a year!

Now here is the downer:
The party was back in August and I waited patiently to post this because I was expecting to have a personal video of the party posted on YouTube. After I waited more than a month even though they told me it would be up in a week, Diet Coke compiled ONE video of ALL the parties... and I have a very, very short cameo. The original videos were each 1-2 minutes with the full back story and the 30 second party. You can Google "diet coke birthday" to see some of the main video results. I am very disappointed that they did not hold to their side of the deal here.
But, without further adieu, here is my feature film! Find me at :45 and 1:18.
I really had a blast and I hope you enjoyed this post almost as much as I enjoyed the party. Feel free to come by for a tweet-up and a round of Diet Cokes on the house!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My First Giveaway! Easy Breezy Brisket: A Simple, 5 Minute Recipe for Rosh Hashanah

Welcome to the first ever Jewish Holiday Blog Party, hosted by Jessie of Taste and Miriam of Overtime Cook, and sponsored by Kitchen Aid! As you may know, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year is coming up, and Jewish bloggers from all over the world are celebrating with all kinds of twists on traditional Rosh Hashanah foods.

To kick off the celebration, Levana Kirschenbaum is giving away a copy of her fabulous new book, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen, to three lucky winners. I am happy to present this opportunity to win while also sharing one of my all-time favorite recipes. Giveaway entry details below.

Before I post this recipe, you need a little personal background:
I love meat. I am that girl. Give me steak/brisket/roast beef or give me death. Okay, not quite that intense, but you get the point! I am always looking for flavorful recipes for my meats. Often, I just rub olive oil, salt and pepper on them and broil or grill. For Shabbos, holidays and special occasions, I like to add a little more flavor without adding prep time.

I got this amazing brisket recipe from one of my oldest and dearest friends, Ilana. I have no idea where she got it but I make it all the time. The meat comes out amazing: succulent, tender, soft, and flavorful. It takes under five minutes to prepare the brisket, which is great for busy, working moms like me who need to serve a large crowd. Even my kids like it!

Easy Breezy Brisket:

1 top of the rib or 2nd cut brisket (1st cut brisket is too chewy)
1/3 cup chili sauce
1/3 cup onion soup mix
Black pepper
1/3 cup water

Instructions: Position beef in a pan with a snug fit; beef may be folded under itself. The tighter the better. Coat each side of the beef with chili sauce and sprinkle with onion soup mix.
Sprinkle top with pepper and paprika.
Add water to the bottom of the pan. Bake at 325° tightly covered for two hours. Flip after one hour.

If you ask your grandmother, because all grandmothers know much more about meat cuts and carving techniques, this brisket is best cut cold (though I violate this rule all the time) and of course, always cut against the grain. I like to serve the gravy with rice or potato kugel.

I do hope you try this recipe this Rosh Hashanah. And may you have a happy, healthy, and sweet new year!

Giveaway entry details:Now that you have one entree determined, leave a comment on this post with the name of your favorite Rosh Hashanah entree or dish. Limit one entry per reader per blog so click over to the other participating blogs below for your chance at additional entries! I know that I will be checking out each of the recipes from participating bloggers!

Giveaway ends 5 am eastern time on September 11, 2012.

Prize is sponsored by Levana and available to readers from all blogs participating in the Rosh Hashanah Blog Party. Prize can only be shipped within the US. 

Stop by and check out some of these amazing Rosh Hashanah themed recipes on the following blogs: 

Challah and Bread:
Marlene of The Jewish Hostess made Apple Challah
Amanda of The Challah Blog made Pomegranate Challah
Shelly of The Kosher Home made Apple, Honey and Pomegranate Challah!

Sides, Salads and Starters:
Sarah of Food, Words, Photos made Tzimmes (Rosh Hashanah Carrots)
Tali of More Quiche, Please made Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash
Roberta and Lois of Kosher Eye made Simanim Salad
Chanie of Busy In Brooklyn made Pomegranate Coleslaw
Rivki of Life in the Married Lane made Super Salad
Hannah of Cooking Manager made Beets Marinated with Ginger and Garlic
Sina of The Kosher Spoon made Pomegranate, Almond and Raisin Couscous
Shulie of Food Wanderings made Rosh Hashanah Salad
Hindy of Confident Cook-Hesitant Baker made Warm Roasted Beets with Farro
Sarah of Kosher Street made Sweet Potato Apple Tzimmes

Main Dishes:
Jessie of Taste made Smoked Salmon
Samantha of The Little Ferraro Kitchen made Chicken with Dates
Michele of Kosher Treif Cooking made Coconut Chicken Strips with two dipping sauces
Melinda of Kitchen Tested made Key Lime Glazed Duck
Stephanie and Jessica of The Kosher Foodies made Chicken Braised in Pomegranate
Liz of The Lemon Bowl made Beef Brisket

Desserts and Drinks:
Miriam of Overtime Cook made Mini Apples and Honey Tarts
Laura of Pragmatic Attic made Fresh Ginger Honey Cake
Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen made Honey Caramel Apple Galette
Danielle of Hugs and Cookies xoxo made The World's Best Rugelach
Amy of What Jew Wanna Eat made an Apple and Honey Cocktail
Nick of The Baking Process made Apple and Date Honey Squares
Lisa of The Monday Morning Cooking Club made Honey Chiffon Cake and Traditional Honey Cake
Leah of Cook Kosher made Pomegranate Ice Cream
Nossi of The Kosher Gastronome made Non-dairy Key Lime Cheesecake Bar with Key Lime Caramel

This is the first of hopefully many exciting Holiday Blog Parties, so if you would like to join in the fun, please email

Come again!