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In the Spotlight

 
By Guest Columnist Diane Schnier

dsfrozenpops3

In addition to enjoying all the luscious fruits available in abundance this time of year, why not prepare a few simple and refreshing treats that the kids - or anyone for that matter - will love? Taking just a few minutes to make these treats yourself allows you and your family to “indulge” while avoiding various unnatural and unhealthy additives found in most store bought varieties. I use a Vitamix, but a Blendtec or a similar power blender to make these treats will work well with these recipes.

ICE POPS:
If purchasing ice pops from the grocery store, you're very likely to end up with an item that's mostly water and sweetened with high fructose corn syrup – a definite no-no for those who value their health.  Why go that route, when it takes only minutes to make your own natural pops at home? It can be as simple as pouring fresh fruit juice into ice pop molds, or using various whole fruits blended with yogurt. Of course, no one will complain about a handful of high quality chocolate chips thrown into the mix!  If you'd like to use a sweetener, try adding a bit of honey, pure maple syrup, or stevia. Experiment with various real food combinations that appeal to you and enjoy!

The Dark Sweet Cherry Chocolate Chip and the Pineapple Coconut are delicious and for more flavors and suggestions, see my Ice Pops! posting.

bananaicecream2-001ICE CREAM:
You might not believe me when I say you can make an utterly creamy, sweet and delicious ice cream using nothing but bananas and a little milk or juice. What’s even better is the fact that it can be done, literally, in one, measly minute.  As long as you’ve got chopped, frozen banana chunks on hand, there’s nothing to it if you have a Vitamix, Blendtec, or another powerful blender brand. And of course, it’s easy to elaborate, making any flavor ice cream you desire by adding fruits, nuts, chocolate, whatever you’d like! This can also be made using a food processor. My favorite 1-Minute Ice Cream recipe.

SMOOTHIES:
Warm spring and summer mornings are a great time to enjoy a refreshing fruit smoothie. By keeping just a few staple ingredients on hand, you can make a delicious, nutrient–packed drink in a flash. Simply combine milk or juice with various seasonal fruits. Once again, there are many optional add–ins when you’re in the mood to change things up. Try a dollop of natural nut–butter or a tablespoon of hemp seeds for extra protein. Smoothies are even a great place for an egg (a-la Rocky) if you’re trying to sneak extra nutrition into a picky eater.  Make note that raw eggs should only be consumed if they came from naturally raised, healthy chickens. Get to know your local farmers and make it real! One of our favorites is the Coconut Milk Smoothie. Another favorite -  very simple, delicious and out of the ordinary – Cinnamon Pear Smoothie

Additional Info that might be helpful:
Non–Dairy Milk Options:  Coconut milk, Hemp milk, Almond milk, and of course any natural juice will work in these recipes as well.

My favorite Ice Pop Molds:

  1. Orka by Mastrad Popsicle Molds
  2. Tovolo Green Groovy Ice Pop Molds
  3. Tovolo Blue Rocket Pops
  4. Tovolo Star Ice Pop Molds

About the Author

diane-schnierDiane Schnier grew up in Long Island, NY.  In 1991, she received her undergraduate degree at the University of Buffalo, a Bachelor of Science in Communication, and in 2009  was awarded a Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition with highest honors by Clayton College of Natural Health. Her interest in wellness and nutrition grew when she become a mother, and expanded when her  second child was diagnosed with Autism. She delved further into nutrition research, and was able to help her daughter progress tremendously by implementing a gluten and casein free diet. Diane is a self-taught musician on piano and drums, as well as a singer/songwriter who enjoys creating music as a means to share and feel connected with the world. She has independently released three solo albums, as well as one made with her band, Before Cowboys. Visit Diane on her website, RealFoodTastesGood.com.

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The Barbecue Guru

steven-raichlenIf you were stranded on a desert island and needed to come up with just one person to help you with barbecuing and grilling, we think that there is no question as to who that would be…Grillmaster Steven Raichlen.  In conjunction with our weekly Cookbook of the Week feature, we are spotlighting Steven Raichlen, award–-winning author, journalist, cooking teacher, and TV host. He is the best–selling author of 28 cookbooks including The Barbecue Bible, (4 million copies in print). He hosts the informative and entertaining TV shows Primal Grill and Barbecue University, and is considered the “go to” expert on grilling. And then there are his TV guest appearances on many national TV shows, including the Today Show, Good Morning American, CNN, Oprah, The View and more. Raichlen also created the Best of Barbecue line of grilling accessories.

Raichlen’s passion for “live fire cooking” began with his book The Barbecue Bible (Workman, 1998), which is a study of global grilling, chronicling his “4-year, 200,000-mile odyssey around the world”. In 2000, Workman published How to Grill, a step-by-step guide to live fire cooking, with more than 1000 color photographs, How to Grill won an IACP Award (International Association of Cookbook Professionals) and has more than 1.5 million copies in print. BBQ USA is Raichlen’s 780 page, 650 photograph, 425 recipe ode to regional American barbecue. His newest cookbook, Best Ribs Ever (Workman, 2012), celebrates ribs, with many tips and recipes that kosher eaters can enjoy. In all, Raichlen has won five James Beard Awards and three IACP awards, and his books have been translated into 12 languages, including French, Russian, and Japanese. Wow – Raichlen is certainly sizzling!

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Whirl!   Stir!  Chop!  Cook!  Grind!  Puree!  Heat!  Drink!  Eat!

Blendtec_StainlessSteel
Tom Dickson, the creator of Blendtec, is our new culinary YouTube gadget guru. And legend has it that even before his "Will It Blend"? series went viral on YouTube (and yes readers you must watch it!), Tom Dickson, an engineer and inventor, was blending 2x2s with his blenders to determine their capabilities. His mission: to invent the world's most powerful blender. In our opinion, "mission accomplished"! Although we hesitate to use our Blendtec on non-edibles, you'll have to watch his videos to see this, we certainly are fearless when it comes to anything edible. The machine is powerful.

The Blendtec Designer 725, has been called "the world's smartest residential blender and the first operated entirely by touchscreen". The Designer 725 advances Blendtec's "blender with a brain" abilities with industry‐first features that offer unprecedented control over the blending process.
And what about Tom Dickson? His engineering mind is still inventing and the company continues enhancing, expanding and innovating. Some have called the world of Blendtec, and its engineering team a "torture chamber" due to the blender's super power. We think that it is an amazing kitchen tool.
Features include:

    • Patented five‐sided Wildside+blending jar that makes smoothies in as little as 14 seconds
    • Patented blunt safety blade that is 80% thicker and 10 times stronger than competitors to avoid breaking or cut fingers
    • 1725 watt motor – the most powerful in residential blending – that reduces blending time and increases safety by handling hard foods like ice and frozen fruit without risk of blade breakage
    • Engineered and assembled in the USA at the company's Orem, Utah facility.
    • 8-year warranty
    • Clean up – Hot water and soap with the blender on. More good news- Blendtec states that it is okay to put their jar in the dishwasher. YAY!
    • Fits under most cabinets

 


We tested two different jars:
The Blendtec Twister Jar

    • Makes thick purees and small volume dishes with "twister lid and tines", the food can be directed into the blades while blending. Designed for ultra-thick recipes

 

    • Twister Lid features tines that rotate and push ingredients off the side

 

    • Easy-to-read jar markings up to 16 ounces

 

    • Made from impact-resistant, BPA-free polyester

 

  • Compatible with all Blendtec consumer blenders

The Twister jar is ideal for foods like bread & cookie crumbs, nut butters, hummus, baby food, dips, and dressings. To use the jar, simply add ingredients and twist the lid counter-clockwise while the blend cycle is running. This twisting motion forces the ingredients from the sides of the jar into the blade, allowing you to achieve a smooth blend. Also included- is the special Blendtec spatula-engineered specifically for the Twister to get nearly every morsel out of your jar.

The WildSide+ Jar for larger blends
The WildSide+ jar maximizes blending performance.
The blunt safety blade is 80% thicker and ten times stronger than other blades
Patented fifth side allows for bigger, faster blends
The WildSide+ is ideal for larger blends, high-volume recipes
It is recommended for soup, bread dough, smoothies, dips and batters

Our new Blendtec is on our counter at the ready. We have had it since April, and below are some examples of what we have blended so far. We have kept our Blendtec jars parve, however we are tempted to order another jar for our dairy creations.

For more about this powerful kitchen tool, visit Blendtec.com
To order: Blendtec Designer 725 with WildSide Jar
To watch the "Will It Blend" videos- (A Must!) click here: Will it Blend?

Some of the foods that we have made in our Blendtec (and we are just beginning) are:
Lemon Hummus – Once you make your own hummus, it is hard to go back to pre-made
Strawberry-Banana Smoothies, Parve milk shakes and ice cream
Almond butter, Almond milk, Peanut butter
Matzo Meal (We made this for Passover. Used whole matzos)
Oat flour (Blended regular dry oatmeal and added it to our chocolate chip cookies)
Chimichurri sauce, Pesto, Guacamole
Corn Soup, Borscht, Vegetarian Minestrone Soup, Gazpacho
Apple sauce, Aioli, Mayonnaise, Mango salsa, Cranberry orange relish
Brownies, Chocolate Mousse
Lemonade- with whole lemons
Powdered sugar from granulated sugar

We're sharing three recipes that we've whipped up in our Blendtec - click to view the recipes:
Borscht in the Blendtec
Chocolate Mousse in the Blendtec
Lemonade or Limeade in the Blendtec

Do share YOUR favorite Blendtec and blender recipes with us. If you would like any of the above listed recipes, just let us know.

 Watch the Blendtec make lemonade. Will it Blend whole lemons?:

Blendtec_lemon_vid_image_e

 

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Meatless Meal for the Nine Days
or Any Day

Meatless menu pic 300w

Each year, in the midst of the “lazy, hazy” days of summer, Jews worldwide remember and pause some daily activities for a three week period. The final nine days of this three week period, which are the first nine days of the month of Av, are observed with even more intensive remembrances. During this period, Jews mourn both the loss of the Holy Temples in Jerusalem and exile from our holy land.

During this final nine day period most observant Jews do not participate in recreational summer activities such as swimming, concerts, weddings etc. Additionally, many refrain from eating meat and drinking wine except on Shabbos.

Tisha_BAv_sm

KosherEye presents 36 delicious meatless dishes to enjoy during the nine days or any day year round:

•  Baked French Toast with Praline Topping Topping
•  Beet and Fresh Pear Salad
•  Betty's Beet Borscht
•  Broiled Red Snapper w/Lemon–Asparagus
•  Burrito-less Rice and Cheese
•  California Avocado Mille Feuille Salad
•  Carrot Dill Soup
•  Cheese Blintz Casserole
•  Chickpea Fritters
•  Chobani Spinach Quiche
•  "Crabmeat" Quiche
•  Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
•  Creamy Chilled Cucumber Dill Soup
•  Easy Eggplant Parmesan Casserole
•  Egg Frittata with Potatoes and Peppers
•  Eggplant and Potato Casserole
•  Herb Roasted Salmon
•  Herbed Tilapia in Lemon Butter Sauce
•  Huevo Rancheros
•  Ice Cream Cone Torte
•  Leah Adler's Pistachio Pasta
•  Linguini with Mushrooms
•  No–Boil Lasagna
•  Quinoa Tabouli Salad
•  Rigatoni Pasta Pie
•  Salmon Corn Cakes
•  Salmon with French's Fried Onions
•  Slow Cooker Cajun Gumbo with Rice
•  Spinach Pie
•  Strawberry Mango Salad
•  Sushi Salad
•  Tomato Cheese Casserole
•  Tuna Casserole
•  Tuna Quiche
•  Vegetable Frittata
•  Vegetarian Chili

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Smeg-gray_300w
Counter Candy

As we walked the aisles of the 2015 International Housewares' Show (which we consider the ultimate Disneyworld for cooks), we stopped to admire a unique exhibit, a feast for our eyes, where all of the displays were filled with beautiful retro designed appliances. We saw toasters, blenders and electric kettles in luscious colors; styled to look just like we were in our Bubbie's kitchen. But, trust us, these are not our Bubbie's appliances. The colors and design attracted us, but now the functionality has made us fans. The gorgeous stand mixer that we received from SMEG shines in our newly designed kitchen. It is silver, and fits beautifully on our counter. But yes, of course, we knew that we would love the look. But, how about the ease of use?

We decided to make our new mixer dairy friendly. As in many kosher homes, often times we show precedence to our meat side and give the dairy side the leftovers. In fact, some of our dairy utensils and appliances were dollar store and discount store purchases.

Our Smeg stand mixer shines front and center on our counter for use in our dairy baking and cooking. We tested it with some of our favorite recipes. We used it to make cheese cake (our copycat kosher Cheesecake Factory cheesecake with a touch of lemon in the whipped cream topping) and tested it when we made our new recipe for Sock it to Me Cake with a classic vanilla buttercream frosting- made with real butter.

Yumm. Not only was mixing a pleasure, but the rotating blades work their way around the perimeter of the stainless bowl and did not leave even a smidgen of unmixed batter. Needless to say, our dairy side is mixer-happy now!

We are sharing some of the dairy recipes we mixed, whipped, creamed, beat and kneaded in the past few weeks with the help of the Smeg stand mixer:
Cheesecake Factory Copycat Kosher Cheesecake
Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Banana Bread
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Aliza's Easy Pizza Crust
Dairy Noodle Kugel for a Crowd
Swedish Pancakes
Nellie & Joe's Key Lime Pie
Whole Wheat Honey Bread

Aunt Sue's Famous Pound Cake

About the Smeg stand mixer
•   Die-cast aluminum body with enamel finish.
•   Dishwasher safe 5 Qt stainless bowl w/ergonomic handle
•   10 variable speeds with smooth, soft -start function
•   Safety lock when the head is tilted up
•   Anti‐slip feet for stability when mixing
•   Overload motor protection
•   Accessories included: Stainless steel wire whisk, aluminum flat beater, aluminum dough hook, plastic bowl cover
•   Available stand mixer colors: Red, Black, Silver, Pastel blue, Cream
•   Capacity: 99 ounces cake batter; 46 ounces dough; 32 ounces whipping cream
•   Optional accessories (available for purchase): pasta roller and cutter set, meat grinder, additional stainless bowl

About Smeg:
smeg-50s-retro-stand-mixer_300wItalian-based SMEG is known for their '50s retro-look appliances- designed in collaboration with top architects. This stand mixer combines mid-century style with contemporary functionality. Smeg was founded in 1948 by Vittorio Bertazzoni, Sr. from Guastalla, a town in Northern Italy, and now one of the country's leading home appliance manufacturers. The mixer was won the 2015 iF design seal of excellence award selected from 5,000 entries representing 53 countries.

Visit SmegUSA for more Smeg Stand Mixer information.
To order a Smeg Stand Mixer, click here: SMEG Retro 50s Stand Mixer


SMEG and the Stars:
Smeg_branson-300w
Celebrity entrepreneur Richard Branson has selected the Smeg Mini Fab5 Refrigerator as the minibar star in each room of his Virgin Hotel Chicago.

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