Parmesan Cream Zoodles

I am not especially crunchy. Maybe a little crispy around the edges, but certainly not crunchy. Vaccines. Formula. Gluten. These are things I have proudly taken advantage of. Essential oils and salt lamps…not so much. On the other hand I make my own baby food, I think kale is delicious, and we are planning to raise our own chickens soon. On a scale of marshmallow to granola, I’m about fried pickle percent crunchy on a good day.

I do, however, have plenty of friends who have their own versions of crunchiness, and I believe that when I host them I need to try and meet their preferences. Having religious observances that dictate certain food restrictions, I know the deep appreciation I feel when someone goes out of their way to make sure my dietary needs are met. It makes me feel cared for and honored, and I like knowing that perhaps I’ve made someone feel the same way when it comes to their concerns regarding food.

That is why I love finding delicious recipes that can meet various dietary needs. I love when I can serve a friend something that isn’t thrown together in a mediocre attempt to feed them within their barriers, but a dish that is enjoyable and tasty. Something that I would whip up for myself simply because it tasted good, regardless of whether or not I follow a particular diet.

While this dish isn’t for the vegans or dairy-free crowd, I did manage to throw together something the gluten free eaters would appreciate. As an added bonus I got to play with some kitchen toys (the spiralizer), which I love finding excuses to use.

Most importantly, however, I found a delicious meal.

Parmesan Cream Zoodles


5 zucchinis
1TBS butter
*3 cloves minced garlic
5TBS milk
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Cherry tomatoes (sliced)

  •  my general rule for cooking is to take the amount of garlic in a recipe, double it, and then pour Eeven more in. If you’re not as crazy about garlic as I am, the 3 cloves are a good start. If you love garlic, toss in what you like.


  1. Spiralize 5 zucchinis and set the bowl aside. Heat butter in a skillet, and saute garlic until well browned.
  2.  Once the garlic is cooked, add milk and cream cheese to the skillet. As the cream cheese melts, stir the mixture to create a creamed sauce.
  3. Fold in the zucchin noodles until it is well covered with the sauce.
  4. Add tomatoes, and stir in the Parmesan cheese until it is well melted, and the noodles are sufficiently cooked.

Passover Recipe Ideas: Chocolate Coconut Mousse and Brisket

Food plays such an intensely important role in our lives, and it isn’t just the fuel required to sustain us. Taste is an enjoyable phenomenon that can bring happiness into any moment. Unique ways of preparing food is a cultural foundation for all people. When friends and family come together they usually gather around food in some way, whether it’s a dinner party or chicken wings during a football game.

When we celebrate an event there is food. When a person mourns they are immediately provided with food from their loved ones. It is the most instinctive way we care for those we cherish, and preparing a meal for a guest is a simple way to honor them. Taking the time to choose dishes you know to be someone’s favorite, or putting in the effort to creatively and deliciously meet the dietary needs and/or restrictions of others can be an incredibly touching gesture.

I love everything about hosting. I love having friends that know our door is always open to their company. I love providing a feeling that my home is their home. I love feeding people. I love the sound of children giggling together in the playroom while the parents enjoy some adult time. I love providing a space to worship G-d through conversation and fellowship. After all, doesn’t the Bible say in Matthew 18:20 “For where there are two or three gathered in my name, there am I among them“? My closest friends know that in my mind someone’s home can be their own personal ministry, and most people who spend significant amounts of time in my house know that I enjoy welcoming company, and I especially love feeding people. I don’t let you walk out of my door hungry if I can help it.

This is perhaps one of the reasons why Passover and Sukkot are my two favorite holidays. Both are home based festivals that encourage an open door (or tent flap in the case of Sukkot) for guests. They are an exercise in extreme hospitality, and I feel completely in my element when I prepare for these awesome celebrations.

Naturally, the details I tend to focus most on when it comes to inviting people into my house is food. What would they like? Are there any allergies or other dietary restrictions? What foods pair well with one another? Is this enough or should I throw in another dish? (Side note: I always have enough food). With Passover specifically it can be even trickier. Some guests may have varying levels of observance regarding their regular religious food restrictions. On top of that we have holiday specific dietary needs (no leavened foods), and even within those restrictions there are various levels of observances to consider. So every year I stick with relatively the same menu that I’ve perfected over time.

Matzo ball soup. Salad. Roasted vegetables. Curried fruit. A potato dish. Matzo kugel. Salmon. And a delicious brisket.

This year I finally figured out that a chocolate coconut mousse was the perfect dessert to go along with our Seder meal. It requires only a couple of ingredients, is very easy to whip up, and most importantly it is light, fluffy, and delicious. It will definitely appear on future Seder menus.

So, if you’re looking for a dessert that will feed people with any number of dietary restrictions, this mousse is perfect. If you’re planning a special dinner and want to share something nice and tasty with your guests, this brisket is great choice!

Chocolate Coconut Mousse


2 13.5 oz cans coconut milk
2 tbsp powdered sugar
5 tbsp coco powder


  1. Scoop the cream at the top of the coconut milk into a bowl, and discard the rest of the liquid. Add sugar and beat together using a hand mixer until creamy and thick.
  2. Fold in the coco and continue beating. The mixture will begin to have a more fluffy texture.
  3. Place in the refrigerator to chill in order to give it a little more form, otherwise it can be served immediately



*NOTE: I have three necessary rules about cooking a brisket. First: You cook the meat with the fat on it. This is crucial for maintaining flavor. Second: Baste every 30 minutes. It will give you that nice fall apart texture. Third: You should cook the brisket a day ahead, and serve reheated. This gives it time to soak in the juices and takes in as much flavor as possible.


1 4lb beef brisket
6 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (needles taken off of the stem and chopped)
1/4 cup olive oil
Black pepper
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
3 celery stalked, cut into chunks
4 red onions, chopped
1 bottle of dry red wine (or about 2 cups)
1 16oz can of whole tomatoes (hand crushed)
a handful of fresh parsley
3 bay leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Stir together garlic, salt, and rosemary. Combine with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Season both sides of the brisket with a decent amount of salt and pepper. Place the brisket into a dutch oven or pan over medium-high heat and sear both sides until browned.
  3. Transfer to a roasting pan (or keep it in a dutch oven if there is room). Arrange vegetables around the pan, and pour the garlic rosemary mixture over the entire brisket. Pour in the wine and tomatoes, and add the parsley and bay leaves.
  4. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, or the cover of the roasting pan. Bake for 4 hours, basting every 30 minutes.
  5. Store the brisket in the refrigerator over night (keeping it in the pan with the juices). Reheat in a warm oven before serving (I started on 350 until it heated through, and then left it at 170 for a couple of hours before we were ready to serve).

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had been wanting to try these cookies for weeks. August came to an end, September was in full swing, and I couldn’t find the time to make them. Being a few days past my due date, I was getting rather restless and eventually decided that it was now or never for these cookies.

Well, the day I had planned to make them started with a doctor’s visit to my OB for a non-stress test. Apparently I was having contractions without even realizing it. After speaking to the practice’s midwife, I was under the impression that baby would be coming soon, but not soon enough (in my opinion of what “soon enough” meant). I was sure we would end up going in for our scheduled induction the next day. I sent my husband to work, assuring him that I would keep count of the contractions and let him know when he needed to come home. If he needed to.

My day was spent sitting around the house playing Minecraft, and timing my contractions. I was still determined to make these cookies later that night. About 4PM I started to time contractions at 10 minutes apart, and while they still weren’t strong enough to make me consider the fact that I was in labor, I did feel them a little more than I had before.

After my husband came home, there was a lot of waiting around. Eventually I wanted to go to the grocery store, much to my husbands amusement, to buy a sugar pumpkin. Didn’t I say I wanted to make cookies?  So we went to the grocery store while I continued to count contractions, and we bought a sugar pumpkin.

I baked the pumpkin, scooped the pulp out, pureed it, and then worked on the cookies…all while counting contractions every 6-7 minutes.

My husband was betting on a 3AM hospital run. I rolled my eyes because I was convinced it was false labor.

The cookies were made, and they were delicious. At midnight I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep, and we started getting ready to go. Our baby boy was coming.

So obviously these cookies are very near and dear to my heart. They are the infamous cookies I baked while in labor. And I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

1 sugar pumpkin
3 tbs mayonnaise
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp all spice
1 tsp milk
1 tbs vanilla
1 bag of chocolate chips


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make pumpkin puree by opening up the pumpkin and scooping out the insides (discard seeds and stringy stuff). Cut the pumpkin into pieces, and place on cookie sheet inside part facing down. Bake for about 45 minutes. Scoop pulp away from skin and toss in a blender to puree.

2) In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of pumpkin puree, mayonnaise, vegetable oil, and sugar.

3) In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, all spice, and milk. Pour into pumpkin mix. Stir until well blended. Add vanilla and chocolate chips.

4) Bake at 350 degrees F. for 11 minutes

Zucchini Cupcakes

I love fall. It is my favorite season for a number of reasons. The smells are delightful, and the tastes are even better. As soon as we enter into the final days of August, I begin searching for recipes that help satisfy my autumn taste buds.  Pumpkin spice only goes so far.

This year my first attempt at capturing fall through my work in the kitchen was a complete success. I took on “zucchini cupcakes”, which were absolutely delicious and tasted very much like this wonderful season.

3 eggs
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup veggie oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 zucchini, shredded (I don’t have an exact amount for you, but I would guess 1 cup would be a nice try)

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl beat: eggs, sugar, veggie oil, orange juice, and almond extract.
In a separate bowl combine: flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cloves.
Mix the contents of the bowls together. Add zucchini

Fill paper lined muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes (I baked at 21, and they were great).

While cakes are baking, combine brown sugar, butter, and milk in a sauce pan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring. It should get a little thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool until it’s lukewarm, then stir in powdered sugar until it’s the consistency of frosting.

Nutella Stuffed Sea Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been searching and searching for a good cookie recipe. A simple chocolate chip cookie is always a good choice to help satisfy a sugar craving, but it’s also nice to have a charmer on hand for when you’re really trying to impress people.

Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies. Everyone loves nutella. Throw in some sea salt to mix with the sweetness, and you have yourself something interesting and praise worthy. The two times I’ve baked these cookies I had people gushing over how good they are, and I am most certainly in love with them myself!


2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbl plain greek yogurt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 jar Nutella (refrigerated until chilled)
Coarse sea salt

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, it will begin to foam. Eventually the bottom of the butter will begin to turn brown. Once it starts turning brown, immediately pour it into a large bowl.

Add sugars to the butter mix, and beat together. Beat in egg, yolk, vanilla, and greek yogurt. On a low setting, begin to beat in the dry ingredients that you set aside. Once everything is mixed, fold in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes. When finished, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll the dough into small balls (if I were to guess, I would say a little over a tablespoon’s worth, though it’s easier to just use your judgment). Flatten the balls, and spoon a bit of Nutella into the center (maybe about a teaspoon). Fold the dough over the Nutella, roll into a ball again, and flatten the top of the ball slightly. Line the cookies along a cookie sheet.

Bake for ten minutes. When you take them out of the oven, leave them on the cookie sheet to cool (leaving them on the cookie sheet will help cook the middle just a little bit more, leaving them cooked but still gooey in the middle). Sprinkle a little sea salt over the top, and then place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Curry Pineapple Chicken

Our family loves curry. By the standards of most people we probably use way too much in our cooking, but our general rule of thumb is that you drown everything in curry.

This recipe was a huge hit, particularly with my most critical and honest taste tester (my husband). Of course I dumped in  significantly more curry than this recipe calls for, but I would say the 3 tablespoons is a good starting point for those who are more cautious with the spice.

It’s fairly easy to make, which makes it a great midweek dinner. Definitely something that will appear at our table again, and again, and again.

3 tablespoons curry powder
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (8-9 oz) can crushed pineapple (undrained)
3 chicken breasts (cut up and cooked)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Cooked basmati rice

1) Throw butter and curry in a large skillet, and stir for about 2 minutes. Add onions and cook until onions are soft.
2) Blend in flour and ginger, then add chicken broth and pineapple. Bring to a boil and simmer (uncovered) for about 5 minutes.
3) Add chicken, and simmer covered for about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon.
4) Serve over rice