Indian Sweet Potato Latkes

Happy Chanukah!!!!

I can’t believe it’s Chanukah. So excited to celebrate this special time with all of you.

Here’s a little something different for your Chanukah table. It’s the first night, so you may not be all potato-latked out…yet.

But if you do get your fill, or you just want to be daring and try something new, then this recipe is for you.

These latkes originally appeared in a newsletter I wrote a few years ago called “Latkes From Around the World.” Of all the different ethnic latke combos, these babies stole the show!  The natural sweetness of the sweet potato pairs up with the savory oil, curry, cumin and tumeric. The combination of the tastes is just magic!

Enjoy! If you make the latkes, please leave me a comment and let me know how they turned out!!!

Wishing you and your families a Chanukah filled with light, joy and miracles!

 

Indian Sweet Potato Latkes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. curry
  • 1/2 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for frying

Instructions

  • Shred sweet potatoes and onions in a food processor or grate by hand. Put in a large bowl.
  • Mix in all the other ingredients.
  • Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to a frying pan. Heat until oil is very hot. Drop large tablespoons of batter into the pan. Flatten until thin. When bottoms are golden brown, flip and brown the other side. Remove pancakes onto a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all the batter has been used. Serve immediately.
  • For an nice extra, serve with applesauce or plain Greek yogurt (a healthier alternative to sour cream that tastes just as good!).
http://healthybitezkosher.com/indian-sweet-potato-latkes/

Sweet Potato Muffins

We love desserts, right?  But we don’t love all the sugar, fat and refined ingredients, do we?  Add Shabbos meals every week, yom tovim and the occasional simcha here and there, you can almost FEEL the waistline expanding. Not to mention the sugar highs and crashes of ourselves and kids.

Enter: sweet potatoes! Yes, sweet potatoes for desserts, you read right. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • Sweet potatoes are a treasure trove of health benefits, from anti-inflammatory properties, to having high levels of Vitamins A and C, among many others (see link below)
  • They are a low-glycemic food. High glycemic foods consisting of refined sugars and flours, make your blood sugar spike and then crash. This not only causes fatigue, but food cravings as well. Low-glycemic foods help stabilize the blood sugar by causing only a gradual rise and fall
  • Best of all, sweet potatoes are naturally very sweet. So, you can cut down on the added sugar in your recipe!

(For more information on the health benefits of sweet potatoes, read this great article:  http://health.facty.com/food/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-sweet-potatoes/ )

Lately, I have been making muffins and bars from sweet potatoes. It’s a nice change from the standard chocolate chip oat bars/cookies I usually make for my kids snacks. I googled “Sweet Potato Muffins” and saw this recipe for Sweet Potato Oatmeal Muffins at www.geniuskitchen.com (for the original recipe, click here: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/sweet-potato-oatmeal-muffins-152519 ).  I made my own adaptations and came up with this healthier alternative. My family really loves these muffins. I brought them to a ladies shal seudas last Shabbos and a couple people asked for the recipe. So here it is, ladies! Enjoy!

P.S. These muffins contain a secret ingredient! You won’t believe it! White beans! Yes, white beans. Beans add lots of fiber and protein, which further balances out the effect of sugar on the bloodstream. If you puree them they have no taste or smell, Extra, undetectable  nutrition for your family! What can beat that???

Sweet Potato Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

25 minutes

40 minutes

Yield: 12 regular muffins or 24 mini muffins

Sweet Potato Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup soy milk (you can use another milk replacement if you like)
  • 1/2 cup white beans, very well pureed
  • 1/4 cup olive or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar* or 1/4 cup stevia baking blend
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • *White or brown sugar can be used instead of coconut palm sugar if you wish. The measurements are the same
  • Topping (Optional):
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup regular or 24-cup mini muffin tin and set aside.
  • Put sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Make sure they are well mashed. Add soy milk, beans and oil. Mix thoroughly.
  • In a separate bowl, place flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt. Sift very well with a fork. Fold in the oats. Blend into the sweet potato mixture.
  • Spoon batter carefully into each muffin cup, filling almost to the tops.
  • In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the muffins.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
http://healthybitezkosher.com/sweet-potato-muffins/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy to Make Flours

Hi everybody!  Here’s the first installment in the “Healthier Ingredients” series. So excited to be sharing this good info with you. People ask me all the time about gluten-free recipes. I am still somewhat in the development stage of really feeling comfortable with my GF cooking. One thing I have been doing for quite a while, though, is making my own flours. True, some are easier to make than others, but, for the most part, homemade flours are pretty simple. Plus, it is decidedly less expensive than buying flour in the store. A win-win! So let’s get started……

Making Flour in the Food Processor

You will be grinding the ingredients in one way or another. In general, the larger or harder bulk ingredients should be ground–or at least started off–in a food processor using the “s” blade. These include: oats and any other large, hard nuts (i.e almonds and walnuts). I don’t advise you to try grinding your own chickpea flour, as chickpeas are REALLY hard and can eventually break the blade. Here’s what you do:

Put the ingredients in the food processor. Grind until a fine meal is made.

That’s it! You have your flour! Easy, no?  Here are a few points to ponder:

  • Oat flour: a little harder to get to a fine consistency than nuts. I have tried using the food processor and the coffee grinder. The pieces just don’t grind after a certain point. So if you want really powdery oat flour, you might want to think of buying it. If a bit of a bulkier consistency is ok with you, then this flour will do you just fine!  Remember to use Gluten Free oats if you specifically want gluten free flour. Otherwise, any oats will do. I like the quick 1-minute oats because they are a little smaller to begin with and take less time.
  • Nut flours: You can make wonderful nut flours in the food processor. When you grind almonds, the natural oils are released. If you keep grinding, you will eventually get nut butter!  You won’t get to that point because you have to get much farther in the process and it becomes obvious when the flour starts to change over. However, at a certain point in the grinding process, the meal starts getting a little oilier than you want for flour. You will see that the meal looks stickier. My advice in order to avoid this is to stop grinding when the consistency becomes fine. It only takes about 2 minutes to get to that point. It may be trial and error for you in the beginning, but you will quickly get the hang of it. Promise!

Making Flour in the Coffee Grinder

Some materials are too small to put in the food processor. These include seeds, like sunflower seeds, and smaller grains, like quinoa and rice. You can easily make those flours by using a coffee grinder. True, the process is a little more tedious because you have to make the flour in batches if you want a large amount. However, it’s really worth it in the end. Plus, the coffee grinder makes into a beautiful, very fine flour. In fact, sometimes if my nut flours are not cooperating and I am finding chunks in the mix, I just give it a whirl in the coffee grinder and viola! That takes care of that!

So here’s what you do:

Put the bulk ingredients in the grinder up to the maximum point. Grind until the ingredients become a fine powder. You may need to lift the top open and check that there are not any stray seeds or grains and that every thing has ground up. Sometimes it takes a few pulses, but eventually everything gets wonderfully powdery.

Some helpful hints:

  • Quinoa flour: when making quinoa flour, be SURE to rinse the quinoa very well first. Quinoa is coated with saponins, which tastes very bitter. Just stick the quinoa in a strainer and rinse thoroughly. Be sure you let the quinoa dry before you want to make flour or it won’t grind. Once the quinoa dries, you can proceed as described above.
  • Rice flour: if you want to make rice flour, the rice does not need to be cooked first. Just grind the grains raw. Rice has a harder texture than than quinoa and seeds. It will take more checking and grinding, but you will come out with a lovely, fine flour if you are patient.

One more thing: storage. It’s important to store your flours in a cold place. Nuts can turn rancid if you don’t use them right away. I usually store my homemade flours in the freezer. I use either a plastic freezer bag (labled!) or container. The flours won’t freeze; they will retain their powdery form. Storing them in the freezer works beautifully and they keep for months.

Well there you have it! Homemade, less expensive, easy, beautiful flour!  If you try it at home, please leave a comment and let me know how it goes!!! If you make other kinds of flours, share that with us, too!

 

Cold Busters: Red Peppers and Vitamin C

 

Everyone knows that Vitamin C fights colds, right? Did you know that red peppers contain almost 300% of your daily Vitamin C intake???  The research suggests that it is best to eat the peppers raw to fully benefit from its goodness.

This salad is wonderfully simple. It uses only a few seasonings in order to really highlight the flavor of the peppers. Additionally, I have found that adding lemon further enhances the peppers’ sweetness. Yum!

Sweet Pepper Salad
Ingredients:
2 red peppers
1 yellow pepper
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop vegetables and put into a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

For an extra-healthy, cold fighting punch, add raw garlic–another big immunity builder (see post)!

If you try the salad, please let me know how it turns out! Here’s to your good health!!

Cold Busters: Build Immunity With Garlic

 

It’s that time of year again, folks. The weather is getting colder, we are spending more time inside, and are exposed to more people and more germs. Which means more colds. Well, you do not have to succumb if you start building your immune system now–eating the right foods, getting enough sleep and exercise….you know, the usual things. In this ongoing series, I will give you some ideas on how to build your immunity BEFORE you get the cold and, if you already have one, how to get RID of it. Lots of helpful hints and great recipes, too! Let’s get started!

Garlic 
Garlic is a great immunity booster. It contains allicin, a chemical compound which is found to help the body fight bacteria and viruses.  Allicin is released when garlic is finely chopped or crushed. In order to derive the most benefit from garlic’s medicinal properties, it is best to eat it raw. Of course, many of us cringe at the thought of garlic’s pungent taste, not to mention odor. Here are some ideas to lessen the pain!

  • Add some crushed garlic to butter or margarine.
  • Add minced garlic to salad dressings. I often put some chopped garlic in my vinaigrette dressing
    and it adds a nice spicy punch.  Truthfully, you could probably add minced or chopped garlic to just about any salad dressing and it would enhance its flavor.
  • Make an olive oil bread dip and add finely chopped garlic.
    To make: combine 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil with 1/4 tsp. each: salt, paprika, garlic and onion powder. Add the garlic and stir.
  •  If you just can’t stomach the taste of raw garlic, try this: add the garlic right after you have cooked your dish. For example, if you are making the chicken soup above, put in the garlic at the end as it is finished cooking. This will cut down on the sharpness of the garlic without destroying the properties of the allicin.

If you are brave and eat the garlic raw, try chewing on some mint, parsley or fennel seeds (which are shown to help fight congestion, anyway) as breath fresheners.

Pumpkin Beef Soup

Hello, hello everyone!  We are back! If you followed me before, then you know I took an extended break from blogging. Well, here we are, with a new website, new look, new beginning! I am so excited to be with you again. Thanks for being patient and thanks for you continued support, even when I wasn’t blogging.

For those of you new to my blog, just a word about my blogging style. I hate really wordy blog posts that tell you someone’s whole life story or events of the past week. Frankly, I just want to get to the darn recipe!  With that in mind, when I write text before sharing the actual recipe, please know that it usually consists of helpful hints and tricks, nutritional info about the ingredients, special procedures to use when making the recipe, and so on…I promise I will try to not BORE  you with unnecessary details. I know you are busy and I respect your time!

To kick things off, I want to share an amazing recipe with you. I sort of made this up on the fly. I had a sugar pie pumpkin (smaller than the average pumpkin and sweeter!) and some sort of meat–I don’t remember if it was a London Broil or Chuck roast. In any case, I thought it might be really interesting to combine the 2 to make a soup. And–viola!–out came Pumpkin Beef Soup.

There are a few tricks here. First, a very rich beef stock; I put a lot of meat in the water. Second, using the smaller, sugar pie pumpkin as opposed to the standard larger size. The smaller pumpkins are sweeter and that goes very well with a savory beef stock. Third, slow cooking. The longer this soup cooks, and the lower the flame, the richer the soup tastes.

If you don’t have pumpkin, you can easily make this soup with a sweet squash. I made it the other day with butternut squash and carrots and it tasted great! You might even try sweet potatoes. Yum!

Feel free to choose your cut of beef. I actually like using neck bones for a few reasons. The bones add a rich savoriness to the broth that beef without bones just doesn’t have. The meat also comes off very easily, so you don’t have to spend as much time cutting it up. Finally, the bones, themselves, add an extra zap of healthiness. Have you seen all the articles and advertisements out there for bone broth?  They are finding the longer you cook the bones, the more collagen is released. Collagen helps build the skin and nails, strengthens the joints, and is very good for osteoperosis. I have a friend with osteoperosis and she is a big advocate of bone broth. The neck bones do have less meat, so you probably have to use more of them, though. This just means more flavor and more collagen!

Now, here’s the last hint before I give you the recipe: you BAKE the pumpkin BEFORE you cut into it. This is a little trick I learned from my mom and it saves a lot of effort and potential for injury. It may sound weird, but I have done this with not only pumpkin but other hard squashes and it really works!  Promise!

Ohhh, this soup is good. My family really loves it. It got the stamp of approval from one of my sons who is a VERY picky eater, so if he likes it, it must be good!  If you try the recipe, please post a comment and let me know how it turned out!

Pumpkin Beef Soup

2 meaty neck bones

1 sugar pie pumpkin

1 medium onion

2-3 cloves garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

To start: Place whole, uncut pumpkin on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until soft. This will make the pumpkin quite easy to cut and then de-seed. Do NOT cut the pumpkin before baking, as this can lead to injury.

Put the neck bones in a crock pot. Chop onions and garlic, then add them in. Fill crock pot with water until 2/3 full and turn on high heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cut pumpkin in half and remove the seeds (save them for later—see pumpkin seed recipe below!) and stringy parts. Remove the skin—it should peel right off. Cut pulp roughly and add to the broth. Cook on high for about 3 hours or until meat is tender.

Once done, let the soup cool a bit. Remove the neck bones and separate the meat from the bones. Set aside. Using an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can just put the liquid in a blender or food processor and that will do the trick. Return meat to the crock pot and turn heat down. Keep warm until ready to eat.