5 Easy Weeknight Meals: Your 7 Day Family Jump Start!

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Tasha’s Tips and Tricks: Sneak Preview from the HFHY Book!

Tasha’s Tips and Tricks: Sneak Preview from the HFHY Book!

Alright, my friends, you asked for some of my healthy, vegan shortcuts and secrets. I won’t make you guys wait for the Healthy Family Healthy You book to come out in the beginning of 2014. I’ll give you some scintillating previews now…

Per your Face Book requests…you want to know about using applesauce when making streusel. Truly, there is no reason to use margarine or butter for a streusel topping. Applesauce will give you the same effect without the fat, empty calories and guilt.

I’ve used applesauce instead of oil in cake recipes for years. That is a known substitution. However, I started to use applesauce for streusel after coming upon a recipe in Secrets of Fat-free Kosher Cooking [Kindle Edition] by Deborah Bernstein. It was first published by Penguin in 1995(!) and is now only available online in Kindle format. I’m not sure when I came into possession of it, but I think it was at Powell’s in Portland around “the year” 2000. The Amazon reviews are seriously from 1998! But I’m telling you… it’s worth it to buy for $5 on Kindle. Unless someone wants to start a bidding contest over my paper copy? :)

The streusel in question in this cookbook is for a pineapple/apple/cranberry kugel. It’s one of those that can go either way – as a side dish or a dessert.

I actually incorporated the apple sauce trick into 1 sweet and 1 savory recipe {ATTENTION! BOOK RECIPE SNEAK PREVIEW!!!} in my upcoming Healthy Family, Healthy You book.

The savory: Help, I have to make dinner?!? Shepherd’s Pie – Don’t you just love that title? You’ll have to wait on that one for the book. And it IS the easiest recipe on the planet!

The Sweet: Peach crisp over a bed of blueberries and raspberries

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This recipe is an adaptation of Deb Perelman’s (The Smitten Kitchen) adaptation of Nigel Slater’s recipe from Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard. Slater’s uses almonds, sugar and butter. Perelman’s adds old fashioned oatmeal, cinnamon and sea salt.

Here is my version, using two of my secret ingredients (vanilla and unsweetened applesauce).

4 ripe peaches (8 servings)
1/3 cup pecan meal (buy or make your own)
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 large container blueberries

1 large container raspberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Halve peaches and remove pits. Spray baking dish or corning ware with non-stick cooking spray. Place them cut side up in your baking dish. Mix the pecan meal, sugar, and applesauce with a fork. Spoon the pecan mixture into the center of each peach, then press it flat. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until you can easily slice through the fruit and the top is crispy and brown. Serve warm or at room temperature over a bed of the blueberries and raspberries. Optional: serve with non-dairy whipped cream or coconut milk ice cream.


You’ll also find this trick in the Healthy Fruit Crisp recipe from my Jewish Food Experience story. (Having link trouble for some reason…so you might have to just go to and search Healthy Fruit Crisp or Natasha Rosenstock Nadel).

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A Healthy, Vegan Thanksgivu​kkah

A Healthy, Vegan Thanksgivu​kkah


Planning a healthy and vegan Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Xmas, Thanksgivukkah? You’re also invited to read this post if you do plan to eat turkey for Thanksgiving (or even ham for Xmas!). At my family’s table, I’ll be the only one not eating the turkey at Thanksgiving.  All of my energy is going to go into making sure that everything else on the table is healthy, delicious, and relatively guilt-free! Also, I guarantee, having skipped the turkey and it’s “snoozey” effects, I’ll be the only one with energy AFTER the meal! If you want energy too, keep reading for recipe ideas!

Just a word on this Thanksgivukkah deal: For the moment, just planning Thanksgiving food is enough. Maybe I’ll save my Chanukah efforts for the weekend/Shabbat after Thanksgiving. If I am up for new challenges I’ll buy a donut baking pan and make vegan pumpkin donuts. I would serve them for breakfast while the family is in for the holiday(s). On a side note, I don’t actually like jelly donuts (those are the traditional sufganiyot served on Chanukkah, especially in Israel). If I’m pumpkined out I’ll probably experiment with vanilla and orange donuts. Oooh that sounds good!

In the meantime, let’s plan for Thanksgiving/Thanksgivikkuh and whatever else you celebrate!

Because everyone has their own traditions, I didn’t try to provide you with a complete menu. However, here are some suggestions you may want to incorporate into your menu:

Mushroom Gravy recipe from Whole Foods

I have never actually made a vegan gravy, but I’d like to try this year.

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pumpkin Seeds from Whole Foods

I may try something new this year and make Brussels Sprouts Roasted on the Stalk. A beautiful picture in a Trader Joe’s holiday mag is tempting me. They have the recipe (but sadly, not the picture), online.

Next up, I just couldn’t wait to get to dessert! In a sneak preview, here is a pumpkin pie recipe of mine from my upcoming Healthy Family Healthy You book.

Pumpkin pie

Pretty darn Healthy, Vegan and Simple!!! Low fat, low sugar, high impact taste!

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[Full disclosure: The above picture is of my own pumpkins, grown in my back yard. However, I did not use them for the pumpkin pie recipe below because baby pumpkins just aren't ideal for that. For the ultimate baby pumpkin recipe, keep reading.]



2 teaspoons apple pie spice

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ cup sugar

1 package lite silken tofu (found in the refrigerated section)

1 16 oz. can pumpkin


Blend. Pour into a graham cracker crust or pie plate sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 40-45 min at 350 degrees, or until set. Allow to chill in the fridge for a few hours. Serve with non-dairy whip and/or coconut milk ice cream.

Now that we’ve dispensed with dessert, let’s discuss salad.

You can’t get more Thanksgivingish than this Succot Salad I wrote up for



Finally, I give you the suggestion I give myself when I get overwhelmed about what to cook.

“Remember, you can always just eat the food!” e.g. baked sweet potatoes, corn on or off the cob, etc…

Enjoy and I look forward to hearing all about your Thanksgivukkah menus!


Low down cheatin’ cholent – Easiest vegetarian cholent recipe ever

Low down cheatin’ cholent – Easiest vegetarian cholent recipe ever

I know this is going to be brilliant for some readers, confusing or irrelevant for others. I’m okay with that!

Enjoy if relevant!

I’ve been making the cholent (Sabbath stew for the uninitiated…) for my shul (congregation…) once a month. After a number of months, I’ve got a system down that is super quick and easy. Enough people have asked me for the recipe, that I thought I would just type it up and send it out! Share amongst yourselves!

For the gigantic slow cooker at shul, these are the amounts that I use. For your own normal slow cooker at home, you will obviously need a lot less of the ingredients. If you are an especially proficient cholent maker, you may just take some short cut tips from this.

Can you open cans and bags and pour ingredients in? Congratulations! You can make my short cut cholent! Prepare to be liberated from chopping, peeling, crying from onions…!

Place the following ingredients in the slow cooker:

1 bag frozen chopped onions OR 1 container fresh chopped onions (Shoppers Food Warehouse has fresh cut onions with a hechsher)

2 containers peeled and cut up sweet potatoes (Again, Shoppers Food Warehouse has this with a hechsher in the produce section)

2 steam bags of small golden potatoes. I buy the bags because they have uniformly small potatoes that are already cleaned. No peeling and no cutting necessary.

1 and 2/3 bags pearled barley or the larger box of pearled barley (Quaker)

1 large can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (preferably with basil and oregano)

1 bag baby cut carrots

1 large can kidney beans or 2 15 oz cans of 1 kidney and 1 white bean


A heavy hand with: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Chili Powder, Italian seasoning, Paprika

A touch of: All Spice and Cayenne Pepper

Add water. How much? Ah, that is always the eternal question when making cholent! Add water until all of the ingredients are covered.

Turn the slow cooker on low and come back the next day! Done!

Let me know how it goes.

Shabbat Shalom!