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A Unique Kosher for Passover Menu with @NicolesKitchen

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Shaved Brussel Sprout & Shallot Salad In Endive Boats 

nicolepassoverPreparation time: 15 minutes
Appetizer: Serves 4- 6 people
 Ingredients:
-5 cups shaved ra w brussel sprouts
-1 cup slivered almonds
– 2 endives sliced thinly & 3 endives used as endive cups
-1 red bell pepper chopped
-1/3 cup basil chiffonade
-1/3 cup mint chiffonade
-4 tbsp finely chopped shallots
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp onion powder
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Step 1: In a bowl combine, shaved brussels sprouts, slivered almonds, chopped red bell peppers, basil, mint, & shallots.
Step 2: In a separate bowl whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, garlic, and onion powder .
Step 3: Mix balsamic vinaigrette dressing into shaved brussels sprout salad & pour a tablespoon of brussel sprout salad into each endive leaf & enjoy!

Yellow Zucchini Bruschetta Pasta 

Preparation time: 10 minutesnicolepic
Cook time: 15 minutes
Main course: serves 4-6 people
Ingredients:
– 7 yellow zucchini’s
– 2 cloves chopped garlic
– 1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut in halves
– 1/3 cup chopped basil
– 1/3 cup grape seed oil
–  Juice of half a lemon
– 1/2 tsp sea salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Step 1: Use a vegetable spiralizer to make zoodles ( zucchini noodles) out of yellow zucchini
Step 2: In a large sauce sauce pan, heat oil, lemon juice, and chopped garlic on medium heat for 3 minutes. Then add cherry tomato halves and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Step 3: Add yellow zucchini noodles, salt, & pepper to sauce pan and cook down for another 5 minutes. Then add basil chiffonade and shredded mozzarella over zucchini noodles and let it simmer for an additional 5 minutes! Serve warm!

Baklava Stuffed Pears  nicole kforp

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 40 minutes
Dessert: Serves 4-6 people
Preheat oven at 400 degrees
Ingredients:
-4 ripe pears cut in halves ( 8 halves)
-1/3 cup brown sugar
– 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
-1/3 cup ground hazelnuts
-1/3 cup ground walnuts
-2/3 cup ground pistachios, divided
-3 tsp rosewater
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp cardamom
– grape-seed oil spray
Step 1: Take an 8 by 8 inch Pyrex and evenly spray with grape-seed oil
Step 2: Take pear halves, and use a melon ball scooper to take out 1 tablespoon of the middle of the pear, make sure not to scoop the entire middle out, just enough space to stuff the pear halves. Then lightly spray your pears to ensure it will not burn while baking.
Step 3: In a bowl combine, grapeseed oil, brown sugar, rose water, cinnamon, cardamom, ground walnuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios  … Mix all ingredients together it should look like a wet nutty paste.
Step 4: Scoop 1 tablespoon of your baklava nut paste into the middle of each pear halve
Step 5: Bake baklava stuffed pears for 40 minutes at 350 degrees!
Step 6: When ready to serve, sprinkle remaining ground pistachios on-top of the baklava stuffed pears & enjoy!nicole
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Nicole Leah Dayani is a​​ self-taught che​​f​ and ​​recent graduate of UCLA​ with her B.A in Sociology,​ currently working in real estate. Nicole has a deep passion for reinventing traditional Persian cuisine as a way of connecting to her Persian heritage​. She believes that ​both the kitchen and the dinner table are Mecca’s of the home, where stories, laughter and joy, emanate togetherness. The inspiration behind ​her passion for cooking and ​food creativity are ​her mother and her grandmother. From the ways they meticulously choose produce, to the way they gracefully place food on the table, benevolence is present with every bite. ​Her purpose here is to share ​her foodie creations with all of you, so please come along and join ​her​ journey @NicolesKitchen on Instagram

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High Collars, High Holidays 

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Never in a million years did I think I would be fond of the ‘high collar’, also known as the ‘turtle neck.’ I still cringe everytime I hear the name. I remember my mom making me wear them when it got cold outside… But hello, we live in Los Angeles. When does it get cold?

Dressing already modestly, by covering my knees, elbows (song playing in my head), the thought of covering my full neck is like dude, can I show any skin!? It almost felt like I was covering too much, as if I couldn’t breathe! It is as if someone is choking and restricting my head!

Seeing this trend all over magazines and fashion blogs, I decided to give it another chance! Lo and behold… I fell in love. The choking high collar has NOW become my ultimate favorite thing. Just ask Judith, co-founder of our fashion line RaJu. I keep adding turtle necks to all our styles to the point where we’re almost tired of it. The high collar has a sense of class and elegance to it. It has personality, dimension and is more mysterious. Wearing this dress, with all of its details, print and ruffles, I felt like the high collar tied it all together. The high collar makes you of high end, it’s a luxury, a lifestyle. It forces you to carry yourself in a certain way by maintaining a straighter back and a better posture. Everything manifests differently because of this magical collar.

The high collars forces you to hold your head up high, like a princess. When I see someone wear it, it really adds a beautiful sense of royalty and confidence. As we come into the High Holidays (the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), a solemn time, a time for judgement and reflection, we must remember that we are all daughters and princesses of a king. Wear what you may, during these High Holidays… you know what I’ll be wearing!

Here’s some inspiration:

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Six Mindful Eating Tips for Your Body and Soul

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The average person spends at least one hour a day eating. So by the age of 30, you’ve spent the equivalent of two years just putting food in your mouth. How can we make this a more pleasurable, productive and meaningful experience?

Traditional Jewish thought has much to say about what we eat, how we eat, when we eat, and even why we eat, and much of it is also recommended by modern scientists.

 

  1. Eat Hungry.

 

When was the last time you pulled over at a gas station to fill up your tank that was already full? Probably never. However, when was the last time you ate something when you weren’t hungry?  

Checking your hunger gauge before popping in that random bite will allow you to keep your weight in check as well as build your self-control.

Going to your second event of the evening, already fed, and still have an urge to pop down some more food?  Like the modern day nutritionists, King Solomon advises against the unnecessary consumption of food, saying “The righteous eat to satisfy their souls” (Proverbs 13:25).

  1.  Sit Down.

Late to work? Running after the kids? Doing errands? No problem–it’s just not the best time to be chomping down your meal.  Although it may save time, it’s a bad idea. The Talmud uses harsh terminology against those who eat while standing. The Rambam, in his magnum opus Mishneh Torah, says that one should never stand or walk while eating.

Modern day scientific research also claims that this kind of eating is fattening and unhealthy. In fact, there is even a diet based on this understanding, called ‘The Sit-Down Diet’, which suggests that we consume fewer calories when we eat sitting down versus while standing up or walking. We are also more likely to digest food better when we sit down and chew our food properly.

  1.  Acknowledge

You’re hungry and sitting down to your meal, now recognize where the food comes from. Taking three seconds to acknowledge basic details of the culinary dish placed before you can set the tone for rest of the meal. Something as simple as verbally acknowledging the work of the cook, especially if it is a parent or spouse, can have a profound effect on your mood. Paying attention to all of the individual ingredients can make the experience even more tasty.

On a deeper level, every time any food is consumed, Jewish sources tell us one should recite a blessing of recognition prior to taking the first bite. A common misconception is that the blessing or bracha that is said before eating is a form of thanksgiving. This is not accurate; while the after-blessing of Birkat Hamazon clearly mentions the act of thanksgiving, the initial blessing makes no mention of thanks. It is a statement acknowledging that God is the Creator of the food (Blessed are you Hashem … Creator of ….).

  1.  Remove Distractions

Imagine our reaction to someone in a movie theater who is on their phone half of the time.  Would we have the same reaction to the ever-so-common sight of someone munching down an entire meal while consumed with an iPhone, TV or computer screen?  One cannot fully enjoy a meal while answering emails or scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed.

Unlike many other religions whose ordinances promote abstinence from physical pleasures, Judaism incorporates the pleasure of eating in every one of its holidays. However, we rob ourselves of this enjoyment every time we mindlessly eat.

Don’t care about enjoyment? Distracted eating causes your digestion to be less effective in breaking down your food, leading to less flavor and increasing the possibility of bloating, gas and constipation. Trying to lose weight? Research shows that the more you distract yourself during a meal, the more pounds you add. Doing simple acts of mindfulness, such as paying attention to the smell, taste, appearance and texture of the food, can keep the focus on your meal.

  1.  Chew, Swallow, Wait… Repeat.

Ever mindlessly wolf down a meal in one minute? Scarfing down an entire meal can leave you feeling disheartened, but it can also leave you with unwanted extra fat on your hips.

Taking your body off of autopilot mode while feasting has great spiritual benefits as well.  In describing ways of going against animalistic eating habits, the great nineteenth-century Iraqi sage Rabbi Yosef Hayim, in his famous book, Ben Ish Hai, gives a recommendation that is sure to slow your scarf. He writes that one should not reach for the next bite until the previous bite has been completely swallowed.  

Speaking from experience, this one tip is much easier said than done. However, once mastered, this habit is sure to leaving you feeling in control and elevated, especially if you take it to the next level and put down your utensil between bites.

  1.  Appreciate.

Now that you’re satiated and your spirit is recharged, it’s time for some thanksgiving (without the turkey). Saying thanks is much harder when you have somewhere else you want to go. Maybe that’s why the only biblically ordained blessing is the Grace After Meals and not the blessing before the meal (Deuteronomy 8:10).

Being appreciative is a core Jewish value. In fact, Jews are called Yehudim from the word L’hodot, or to thank. Messages of appreciation are found in the stories of our forefathers and foremothers. Gratitude permeates the entire Jewish experience, from the first words that are uttered by our lips when we wake up in the morning, “Modeh Ani”, to the thrice-daily communal prayer service throughout the day.

Surprisingly, recently discovered side benefits of gratitude include improved health, increased self-esteem and even better sleep. Taking the extra minutes to appreciate our privileged satiated stomachs should now seem more meaningful and hopefully a little easier.

Although not practical for every meal, striving towards these goals should help us lead more meaningful, in-control and healthy lives.  For what it is worth, I will personally vouch for it!

 

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How To Thrive On Yom Kippur: Practical Tips For An Easier Fast

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Yom Kippur, one of the most sacred Jewish Holidays of the year, is upon us. Here are ways you can prepare yourself for the 25 hour fast. These pointers will help keep your stomach from grumblin’ and your breath from stankin’.

1) Cut down on the caffeine For all you coffee/tea addicts out there, your morning cup of caffeine is a must. In fact, some of you are quick to develop headaches/migraines if you don’t have that cup. What to do:  Days preceding the fast, try to minimize your caffeine intake as much as possible. Try some herbal tisanes, perhaps. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. There is nothing better you can do for yourself than to drink. Stay away from alcohol; poppin’ bottles will only make you more prone to dehydration, causing unpleasantness during the fast.

2) Did I mention HYDRATION? The difficulty we experience during the fast is not usually linked to lack of food; rather, it is the lack of fluids. Best choices: You can never go wrong with the good ol’ H20. Experts suggest drinking EIGHT 8 oz cups of water per day. Try to reach that goal or even surpass it by drinking more the day of. Eat your way to hydration by stocking up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the most hydrating foods include:  Cucumber, iceberg lettuce, celery, grapes, tomatoes, watermelon, green peppers, and spinach, to name a few. A handful of these ingredients mixed together sounds like a delicious salad, no?

3) What to eat the day of?  On the day of the fast try eating balanced meals. For the meal before the fast, eat a proper meal that includes protein, carbohydrates, and plenty of vegetables.  Eating more carbohydrates will help make you feel fuller longer (you can never go wrong with potatoes, pasta, and bread). Try to avoid salty and spicy foods as much as possible. The over-consumption of salt causes thirst because the body requires more water to absorb the extra salt. Knowing that we won’t be able to eat for 25 hours drives us to eat as much as possible before the fast begins. However, do yourself a favor and try not to eat a heavy 5 course meal fit for a Prince. The more you eat, the more water is needed from the body to digest it.


Now, you are fully equipped to a be an angel for the day.
 May we all be inSKRIBED and sealed in the Book of Life!

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february, 2018

25feb5:00 PM10:46 PMWestern Region Purim Carnival and Monte Carlo Night5:00 PM - 10:46 PM Event Organized By: American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem

25feb7:00 PM10:15 PMA Story of Triumph7:00 PM - 10:15 PM Event Organized By: Jewish Community Center - Chabad of Downtown LA

26feb7:30 PM10:00 PMDATE NIGHT! Part 2: Preparing for the Turbulent Teenage YearsSpeaker: Rabbi Shlomo Goldberg7:30 PM - 10:00 PM Event Organized By: Bayit.LA

27feb6:30 PM8:30 PMADL's Asian Jewish Initiative - Faces of America6:30 PM - 8:30 PM Event Organized By: ADL's Asian Jewish Initiative

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