Monthly Archives: October 2009

What Can You Make With a 5 lb. Bag of Idaho Potatoes? Potato Kugel

idaho potatoEvery week on Thursday my husband and have a very special kind of date night, we cook together. This is the only night of the week that we have a chance to actually have a conversation about us.  This is perfect for our schedule because on Thursday night we prepare all of our food for Shabbas. Why don’t we just cook on Shabbas or order a pizza?  The reason why we don’t cook on Shabbos is because G-d created the world in six days and on the seventh day he rested. In Exodus 20:11, after Fourth Commandment is first instituted, G-d explains, “because for six days, the L-rd made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and on the seventh day, he rested; therefore, the L-rd blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.” That is why we make all of our food in advance and in order to prevent the last minute rush on Friday afternoon, this is our Thursday night activity.

Tonight we are going to try out a recipe I found at tastebook.com for Bobby’s Famous Potato Kugel. I think the people from Idaho Potato would really like this recipe because it requires a 5 lb. bag of Idaho Potatoes (see complete recipe below). Even if you don’t keep Shabbos, this is a great food item to make a lot of and save  the rest in the freezer, it goes great with everything. I love to mix my food all together, especially brisket and potato kugel.  Do you have a potato kugel recipe that requires more potatoes?

(source  tastebook.com)

Bobby’s Famous Potato Kugel

This recipe is for a full 5 lb. bag of Idaho Potatoes (good for about 15 minutes on a Friday afternoon) 5 Lb. bag of Idaho Potatoes  5 Eggs Oil (about ⅛ of a cup) Salt Garlic Powder Onion Powder Black Pepper Flour (a dash) ¼ Cup Hot water Peel Potatoes and let sit in water (enough to cover the top of the potatoes) in the fridge over night. You will need one large hand grater. Preheat the oven to 3 Heat the oil in the oven, and while the oil is heating up, start grating the potatoes. Once the potatoes are finished, test the oil if it’s hot enough (a drop of potato or water to see if it sizzles). If it’s hot, pour all the oil into the grated potatoes. Next, add the flour and Hot water, and mix. Then add the Salt, Garlic powder, Onion powder, and Pepper to taste. (If you want, instead of onion powder, you can grate a medium sized whole onion instead). Be cautious of how much salt you put in, or mommy will say: “Someone’s in love!!!!” Once, this is done, crack 5 eggs, and mix in, and mix until completely mixed in (about a minute of good mixing) Pour the mixture into the heated up bowl, and place in the oven for about 1.5-2 hours (until the top is browned)

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Shopping At TJ Maxx With The Kids

tjmaxxI was approached by a PR firm to see if I was interested in how many kid friendly and back to school items I could find at TJMaxx and Marshall’s. The good news is that I was given $25.00 to spend in both stores.  The good news is I love shopping at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, the bad news is that it is hard for me to just spend $25.00. I have never spent less than $100 at either store and I didn’t know what to expect. Not so easy a task with three kids in tow (four, two, and one). I had to plan for eve” shoesry possible situation, so I brought some juice boxes to tide them over so I could quickly search for their “back to school” sneakers since it was something that they really needed (you know how these kids grow out of a new pair of shoes in five seconds). 

We decided to go to the TJ Maxx on New Hyde Park Road near Lake Success and easily accessible from either the LIE or Union Turnpike. As soon as we arrived my kids were already clashing over who would push the stroller with their baby brother in. I knew instantly that this shopping trip would be a very fast one. Then, my four year old daughter said that she “had to make”.  Having been in this prediciment  before at this same store, I knew we had to go through the houseware section to get to the restrooms. I love this section and I always find unique bowels and picture frames.  I also found a turquoise body pillow that was soft and fluffy for $12.99. You should have seen my kids testing out these pillows (yes, they laid down on them right in the middle of the isle) and that is what they wanted.  I’d show you the picture but I had to return it because it was not good for my very allergic husband.

As we were on our way out of the store, my kids spotted the food section. I thought I had it easy because what food would TJ Maxx have that was kosher certified by a symbol (kosher authority) that I knew and trusted? I was pleasantly surprised when I found a couple of cookies (I initially noticed them because of their style of packaging) that I bought for the kids to snack on and as well as a flavored bottle of water drink that my daughter just had to have. The Late July Organic Mini Milk Chocolate Bite Size Sandwich Cookies (kosher OUD) late july organic mini milk chocolatewere very good and chocolaty. Not only is the packaging very colorful, but it features endangered animals and Late July is donating 10% of the profits to the Jane Goodall Institute. The original price was $4 and TJ Maxx had them for $2.99 for a 5 oz box. This is more than I would want to spend on cookies which I don’t even buy anymore because it is easier to just make your own (my husband has an awesome oatmeal cookie recipe). Since %10 of profits donated to the Jane Goodall Institute, it was worth it to me. I could only find one package of these USDA certified organic cookies but they can be found at Whole Foods or latejuly.com. Not to worry, a few inches away I spotted a box of Market Squares Vanilla Circus Cookies. These cookies are all natural and do not contain Trans Fats. A 2 oz package sells for $2 and TJ Maxx sold them for $1.29. Again, these are kosher certified by the cRcD (Chicago Rabbinical Council Dairy). I was originally drawn to this box because of the cover with two lions roaring at each other. No wonder, the owner of the company and his partner have a background in advertising, design and photography. They produce each and every design themselves. These cookies are also very tasty. In fact, Market Square was founded in 1982 by James L. Lockhart and his son David. James L. Lockhart is also a well known wildlife artist and his work can be seen online at Walden Press Museum Editions. market sqaure vanilla animal crackers

I love shopping at TJ Maxx and even though I didn’t find the shoes that I wanted for my kids (this TJ Maxx did not have shoes for kids) we found some yummy organic kosher snacks that had never heard about before. I still have a $20.00 credit because I returned the pillow and I am going to use if for when the Halloween costumes arrive and shop ahead for Purim costumes (Jewish holiday commemorating how G-d performs hidden miracles and we are hidden behind costumes). This holiday is especially fun for kids because they wear costumes to synagogue and school. I will be

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Big-name groceries cutting into mom-and-pop’s kosher turf – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Big-name groceries cutting into mom-and-pop’s kosher turf – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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Sukkot Break Is Here, Do You Know What To Do With Your Kids?

At first, I looked at the calendar with eight days home with three kids, four and under as I downed my third cup of coffee. With a very limited entertainment budget to spare, I needed a way to keep my kids happy. I posted my concerns on facebook and the ideas came rolling in from friends also in the same predicament. Things started to look much better and our first activity of the week was a great success and it cost me only $14.                                                                                                                

When my friend suggested that we go to the Queens Zoo, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be smelly and overcrowded? Would my kids be able to walk the entire route or would the get kvetchy and fight for the stroller? Everything worked out perfectly, and I have my very professional and mother of five to thank for this. When my two year old almost climbed over the fence to hug the goats, she was there. When my one year old put his bottle back in his mouth after it had dropped on the ground, she was there.

In order to keep this visit to the zoo affordable, bring your own food and drinks. She brought a bagel with cream cheese and red pepper, water bottles, animal cookies, and cucumbers. Those cookies really saved the day when my two year old would not part from the barnyard. I brought juice boxes, whole wheat crackers, and cheese. No matter what I bring, my kids always end up eating what the other kids have in their bags. A special thanks to the moms that have this in mind when they pack their food. Speaking of food, all of the kids loved feeding the sheep, llamas, and goats. You can buy a hand full of grain for fifty cents, just make sure you have quarters because the machine is not sophisticated enough to take nickels and dimes. If you don’t have any change whatsoever, the animals will eat leaves as well. There are some other fun activities to enjoy while at the zoo. Our kids ran round a bit at the Migration Playground. It was a bit too advanced for my one year old because it is high up and there are open areas where he could fall. He knows I get scared when he tries to go down that way, he already has a sense of humor. It was hard to pull the kids away from the playground, this is where the juice boxes and cookies also came in handy.

On our way out, we treated the kids to a ride on the carousel. Originally installed here for the 1964 World’s Fair, this turn-of-the-last-century wood merry-go-round with 64 “jumping” horses (some with flying manes and tails), seven standing horses, a lion and two stand-alone chariots had my kids in awe. This ride is a piece of Jewish history, who would have known? The beautiful wood carvings were created by Lithuanian-born Jewish carver Marcus Charles Illions. He not only created carvings for carousel figures during the early the late 1800s and early 1900s, but he also was known to have created four sets of Ark lions for Brooklyn synagogues. As I found out more information about the history of the carousel, more Jewish names came up; Solomon Stein, Harry Goldstein, and Charles Carmel. These Russian Jewish immigrants used their skills from carving Torah Arks and channeled them into a trade that would provide food for their families in America. To see more images from the exhibition or to purchase a copy of the exhibition catalog, Gilded Lions And Jeweled Horses: The Synagogue to the Carousel, is also available at the American Folk Art Museum. Or call 212-265-1040 or www.folkartmuseum.org. sflamm@folkartmuseaum.org

 

 

 

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“America’s Most Wanted Recipes” Get Kosher

America's Most Wanted RecipesA couple of weeks ago, I sent my husband to a foodie event in Manhattan promoting “America’s Most Wanted Recipes,” a new book just put out by Simon and Schuster. The part that had me most interested in this event was that they had requested that people make a kosher version of the over 200 secret recipes from 57 of America’s most popular food chains. As a kosher mom blogger and advocate for kosher food, I just had to be there. Unfortunately, my babysitting budget had been depleted so that I could attend the OU Advanced Kashrut Seminar for Women, a week long seminar that discussed what kosher is and what kosher is not. I learned so much and met some incredible people (I was even quoted in both The Jewish Press and OU.org). So, I sent my husband and main chef in our home, to the event. I advised him to schmooze with the people from the media and get the scoop.

 My husband had fun at the event and even came home with an assignment for us. We were asked to cook one of the recipes and convert it to a kosher one. When I saw one of my favorite appetizers from Houston’s (I used to eat there before I started keeping kosher), I couldn’t wait to get started. I remember eating at Houston’s in Chicago with my friends and sharing Houston’s Spinach and Artichoke Dip. Now, I could make a kosher version of this appetizer in my own home and eat as much as I wanted (that is a really scary thought). Another recipe I wanted to kosherize was the Olive Garden’s Salad Dressing. I remember the days of all you can eat salad at Olive Garden topped off with a tangy, basil balanced salad dressing. I also saw this as an opportunity for my husband and me to get creative with date night as well as good content to post on my blogs, which would also be posted on Epicurious.com.

We agreed to take a shot at a kosher version of Chili’s Southwestern Egg Rolls. Right off the bat we saw something we needed to change with the recipe. The recipe had a combination of chicken and Monterey Jack Cheese. Not kosher! Milk and meat (meat and dairy) are never mixed together. So, we decided to make the dish dairy. We both felt that the cheese was a key component to the success of the recipe. My husband and I both love large amounts of melted cheese on eggs, potatoes, Challah, pizza, and bagels and there is no shortage of cheese in our house (thanks to Costco and their affordable and delicious Natural & Organic Kosher Cheese). Yes, I do get very excited when discussing cheese! We substituted the boneless, skinless chicken breast with Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik’n Strips, also kosher pareve. In order to get the grilled like sensation, we threw the pieces into a pan with a little canola oil for a few minutes. Yum. We also made our own avocado-ranch salad dressing with Hellman’s mayonnaise, avocado, and oil. All of the other ingredients were okay to use in our kosher version of the recipe. The final result, delicious and a new addition to our Shabbos and Yom Tov meals.

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