Jewish Community

Special 9 Days Dinner Menu and Recipes!

Special Nine (9) Days Vegetarian, Vegan, Non-Dairy Dinner Menu and Recipes!

For my peeps who abstain from eating meat for the 9 days before Tisha B’Av (Jewish holiday commemorating the destruction of the ancient Temples), here’s an easy menu! You may want to save this for this coming Sunday evening. This would also make a beautiful Friday night meal for year-round vegetarians or vegans.

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9 Days Menu

Total cook time: 60 minutes

(make ice pops morning or day before)

Serves 6

Chicken Parmesan (no real chicken or parmesan, no fake processed “meat”!)

Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potato Fries

Revolutionary Healthy Asian Slaw

Pear Crumble (Sneak peak recipe from new free, mini e-book gift for subscribers. Subscribe now if you haven’t already!).

Healthy Ice Pops!


Chicken Parmesan (no real chicken or Parmesan, no fake processed “meat”!)

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2 blocks extra firm organic sprouted tofu [This will be the firmest option. If you can't find sprouted, press the tofu for 30 minutes before cutting it.]

Olive oil spray

1/2 cup whole grain panko bread crumbs (gluten free if needed)

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 Tb nutritional yeast

2 cups pasta sauce


Preheat oven to 400. Cut tofu into 1/4-1/2 inch thick “steaks” (see note above about pressing it). Place parchment paper on two cookie sheets (1 block of tofu per sheet) and spray with olive oil or other non-stick spray. Mix breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, salt and nutritional yeast together in a small bowl. Place the tofu 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets. Spray top with olive oil. Sprinkle approximately 1/2 teaspoon of the breadcrumb mix on the top of each “steak”. Place cookie sheets in oven until tops are browned, approximately 15-20 minutes.

[Prep sweet potatoes now].

After the tops are browned, take the trays out of the oven and flip the tofu steaks over. Sprinkle another 1/2 tsp of the breadcrumb mix on each piece of tofu. Place back in the oven another 15-20 minutes or until browned. You want the pieces to get a little hard. That’s when they take on the chicken consistency.

Remove from oven and top each piece with 1 Tb (or more!) pasta sauce.

Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potato Fries


2 large sweet potatoes (Increase # depending on the servings you need. Make up to 1/2-1 sweet potato per person.)

cinnamon sugar shaker

non-stick or olive oil spray


Preheat oven to 400. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spray with olive oil or other non-stick spray. To cut the sweet potatoes into fries you can use a ridged knife or you can simply use a regular knife if you don’t have any kind of a fry cutter. Peel the sweet potatoes. For each one, cut in half horizontally. Then, cut each half in half again and cut out four fries by cutting into the quarter vertically. You’ll get 16 fries per sweet potato.

Place potatoes on the cookie sheet. Spray with olive oil or other non-stick spray and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. That’s it! Place in the oven for 30 minutes. You can turn them over half way through if you desire. If you have two ovens or can put in multiple racks, you can roast more than two at a time.

You can make the slaw now, or you can make it the morning before so that the flavors have time to meld together more.

Revolutionary Healthy Asian Slaw 

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The most popular version of Asian slaw became a topic of conversation in a recent yoga class. Several people were raving about one specific recipe and handed me a copy. Some (not-Jewish) attendees served it at dinner parties and some (Jewish) attendees served it at Shabbat lunch. I admit that I love this dish when it is served to me at other people’s homes. However, seeing the actual ingredients, such as 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of oil, practically gave me a heart attack and diabetes on the spot! I promised to return with a healthier version. This is my creation.

Yields 8-10 servings


1 bag matchstick carrots (10 oz)

1 red pepper

1 bag Mann’s Rainbow salad with broccoli florets (12 oz)

1 bag Dole Asian slaw with kale and snow peas* (12 oz)

*If your store isn’t carrying this fancy thing that day, as mine wasn’t the day I went to take a picture of the recipe, just buy the regular coleslaw mix and add 1 cup kale leaves, torn into tiny pieces.

For the dressing:

2 Tablespoons maple syrup (up to ¼ cup, depending on how sweet or acidic you like your slaw)

¼ cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup low fat Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger dressing

2 handfuls each, slivered almonds and sunflower seeds (raw, unsalted)


Slice red pepper into matchsticks and mix with the rest of the salad ingredients.

In a separate bowl, mix the ingredients for the dressing. Pour over the salad and mix well. Add the slivered almonds and sunflower seeds and gently mix the salad again.

Pear Crumble (Sneak peak recipe from new free, mini e-book gift for subscribers. Subscribe now if you haven’t already!).

[or sub 4 peaches and 2 cups blueberries]

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4 pears

½ cup cup old-fashioned oats

¼ cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350. Spray 8 x 8 ceramic baking dish with non-stick spray. Peel and dice pears, and place into baking dish. Add remaining ingredients and mix gently.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 40-60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.

Serves 4-6 [Great afternoon snack for kids the next day if you want to throw in a few more pears or you don’t finish it all]



Allow me to introduce you to this fabulous Ice Pop cookbook. “Cook” book? For ice pops? Yup! Cookie Dough, Creamsicle, Butter Pecan… Great ideas like using a touch of spinach for green color. No spinach taste and no food coloring. Genius! Why buy popsicles with corn syrup, guar gum, food coloring and preservatives? Instead, you could go through the entire summer making all of these ice pops with your kids. Guaranteed activity every day! Then when they ask for a popsicle for breakfast, you might even say yes without guilt!

So, where do you get this substitute? Right here, Right now. This is just one of the great offerings from Leanne Vogel, over at Healthy Pursuit.

If you’re looking for a holistic approach to your love affair with summertime frozen treats, you need these 45 recipes (in the new, Purely Pops

Cookbook, created by Leanne from Healthful Pursuit).


If you don’t know Leanne, she is a holistic nutritionist with a solid track record of creating empowering recipes that show just how simple it is to fall in love with life, food allergies, weight loss goals and all.


Purely Pops Cookbook is a collection of 45 no-bake recipes for irresistible vegan and gluten-free & ice pops. It’s your guide to making ice pops with natural sweeteners, real flavors and whole food goodness. No dairy, eggs, nuts, wheat, gluten, grains, bananas, sesame or soy.

Beat the heat with a freezer full of homemade frozen treats that will encourage you + yours to enjoy a happy, healthy summer.

(I know you’re going to love it!)


p.s. I’ve made a lot of great friends and contacts in the food blogger world. Some of these bloggers are nutritionists and some are moms like me who have done their research. Instead of buying their products for myself and keeping it a secret from you, I’m going to start sharing some of them with you. When I give you a link to the product, it may be an affiliate link. That means that I make a little money if you purchase the product I’ve endorsed. I’m confident that we have established a relationship based on trust and that you would never doubt my intentions or think I’m saying or doing something to make money. I want you to know that your welfare is always what comes first. Your welfare is my motivation. If you ever have any questions about this new development, please talk to me any time.

The Mexican Menu + New Recipes

T minus 1 day until Shavuot started, my Mexican feast totally planned and shopped for…then I realized that I’d invited someone to lunch who happens to be from Mexico. By then I couldn’t make a whole new menu. Besides, I love Mexican food and I wanted to eat it! My guest was quite gracious in insisting that I did just fine but he did inform me that in Mexico tacos are actually made with soft tortillas. The closest thing they have to what we consider a taco is a tostada. The good news is that I was just trying to make a delicious menu and not a completely authentic one!

Here is the complete menu, for your copying pleasure, along with the recipes, resources and shortcuts that I used. The point is healthy and delicious, not to kill yourself in the kitchen.


  • Gazpacho (Super fresh and tasted homemade, but purchased from Goldberg’s Bagels in Potomac)


  • Roasted Corn, Pineapple and Black Bean Salad (Click for link to recipe)
  • Jicama Mango salad. I got the idea from a Kimberly Snyder recipe from The Beauty Detox Foods that called for papaya, basil and dill. See my recipe at the bottom of this post.

Main Dish

  • Taco “meat” made with walnuts. I used the recipe from Kimberly Snyder’sThe Beauty Detox Foods” book. I don’t have permission to reprint her exact recipe. However, if you grind raw walnuts in the food processor (to the consistency of ground meat) and add taco seasoning (make your own or buy a pre-made spice mix without additives or too much salt), you’ll get a pretty similar result. My guests loved it and they are not people who normally skip red meat! It’s actually kind of creepy how similar it tastes and feels to ground beef (minus the gross parts anyway).
  • Taco fixings: Garden of Eatin’ organic blue corn taco shells with Wholly Guacamole taco bean dip and guacamole, Wholly Salsa regular mild salsa and roasted tomato medium salsa. Tofutti and regular sour cream (If I’d had more time I could have made a healthier alternative to the processed store-bought non-dairy sour cream. Alas, I did not.) Shredded lettuce (purchased already shredded!).


  • Freshly cut watermelon (When desperate, feel free to buy overpriced already cut watermelon. Better yet, ask a guest to bring it already cut up).
  • Non-dairy cheesecake. I used an organic graham cracker crust. Because it only made enough filling to fill it half way, I took the top of the crust and used it to dust the top of the cheesecake and served it with fresh blueberries, raspberries and non-dairy whip. Here is the filling recipe by Paul Jarvis that I found on Kris Carr’s website: Blend 2 cups raw cashews (soaked, rinsed and drained), juice of 1.5 lemons, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Pour into crust and freeze for at least 1 hour. Was that easy or what?

Jicama Mango Salad Recipe

(Image courtesy of

Serves 6-8


1 medium jicama

1 avocado

1 mango

3 small kirby cucumbers

1 organic lime, juice and zest


Peel and dice jicama, avocado, mango and cucumber. Add zest and juice of 1 lime and mix.

Easy, right? Let me know how it turns out!

Healthy Spanish Rice & Fajitas for the Family!

Healthy Spanish Rice Recipe & Fajitas for the Family!

I don’t know about you, but I love meals where everyone can choose what they want to add to their own dish. Last week I saw a recipe for “Anything Goes Fajitas” on and decided that was the feast I was going to make for my peeps that evening. We ended up with so many leftovers I didn’t need to cook the next two nights. The recipe was supposed to feed a big crowd and I didn’t have one. However, I did have a happy me when I didn’t have to cook for the next couple nights!

There are several parts to this recipe, so it isn’t a five minute prep. However, like most things, you can simplify or make it bigger/fancier and more of an effort. There are also several steps that can be done ahead of time. It’s really a great recipe when you are having a lot of people and only want to make one dish. I mean, one dish with 5 parts…. Still, it’s all mental. This still feels easier than coming up with ideas for and cooking multiple dishes.

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The parts of the feast included:

1. The Marinade (Majorly simplified if you buy fajita spice mix in the store, which, of course, I did not).

2. The Protein (The recipe calls for chicken, beef and tofu. I made the beef for my hubby because I’m just occasionally awesome like that. I made the tofu of course and he also loved that.)

3. The Fajita Vegetables (Onions, peppers, etc….I happened to already have roasted red onion so I didn’t take time to saute yellow onion as the recipe suggested. I also roasted the peppers instead of sauteing which cut down on active cooking time. I’d just bought sliced portabella caps and roasted those too).

4. For Serving (Little-prep necessary items like tortillas, Tofutti sour cream, lettuce, cucumbers, guacamole, tomatoes and salsa). I also “mandolined” sweet potatoes and roasted those to serve on the side.

5. For me, the piece de resistance, was my accidental invention: Healthy Spanish Rice!

I made a microwave steam bag of brown rice. (Yes, of course it is healthier to use your rice cooker instead of microwaving in plastic, but I used what I had and it was so easy!). Then I made and mixed in my own recipe for homemade vegan nacho cheese sauce. A little diced red pepper and tomatoes and there you have it: creamy and healthy Spanish rice). I love Spanish rice, but have never been able to make it myself, so this was thrilling.


Healthy Spanish Rice


Approximately 3 cups cooked brown rice (the amount depends on how large your crowd is)

1 Red pepper, diced

1 pint Grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

Optional: 1 can black beans

Cheese Sauce Ingredients

1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked in water for at least an hour

1 roasted red pepper (can be from a jar!)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup almond milk

Cheese Sauce Directions

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend. Done! The recipe makes approximately 2 cups.

Rice directions
Mix cheese sauce into rice and vegetables, a quarter cup at a time, until desired creaminess is achieved.
Optional: Add black beans (and maybe even corn?) to make a main dish. Add salad and you’re done!


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