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Gourmet Kosher for Passover Nutritious Dishes



Hi everyone!

Thank you for taking the time to read my passover recipes. I hope they provide you with some healthy inspiration for this holiday. My goal was to develop dishes that are easy to make, delicious and of course, nutritious. I hope you have a happy and healthy holiday. Chag sameach!


Quinoa Cakes with Sautéed Mushrooms

Prep time: 15 minutes       Cook time: 40 minutes

Serves: 10

  • 1 box quinoa (about 4 cups uncooked), rinsed
  • 8 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons salt, divided
  • Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • 4 cups cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme leaves
  1. In a large saucepan, sauté the onion on medium heat for 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the dry quinoa and let it toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the vegetable stock and 2 teaspoons of salt to the dry quinoa and bring to boil uncovered. Once boiling, cover the saucepan and simmer the quinoa until thoroughly cooked, about 15 minutes. You want the quinoa to even be overcooked a little, so it can form nice patties. Let it cool to touch.
  3. While the quinoa cooks, begin sautéing the chopped mushrooms. Let them brown well by using a large enough pan. As the glorious Julia Child once said, “Don’t crowd the mushrooms!” Add the remaining teaspoon of salt and the thyme. Stir well.
  4. Using a large spoon, scoop out the quinoa and form into latke-shaped patties with your hands. Gently brown them in a non-stick pan on medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. Once cooked, place the warm mushroom on top each cake and serve warm.


Wine-Braised Turkey Roastwine turkey

Prep time: 20 minutes       Cook time: 4 hours

Serves: 10

  • 4-lb turkey roast, secured with kitchen twine
  • 3 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 bottle of Kosher for Passover red wine of your choosing
  1. Preheat the oven to 3000 F. In a large skillet, sauté the onions, carrots and celery to increase the flavor a bit. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes. Add the garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Sauté another 2 minutes.
  2. Place the sautéed vegetables in a large roasting pan with a lid (a Dutch oven will also work here). Place the roast on top and add the thyme, rosemary and wine.  Be sure to add extra water, if the wine does not cover the roast.
  3. Roast the turkey low and slow for about 4 hours with the cover on. Remove the turkey carefully and let rest for 20 minutes. You can reduce the wine and vegetables to make a sauce by placing the roasting pan on the stove and boiling the mixture until it concentrates. Slice the turkey, drizzle with the sauce and enjoy!


Almond-Pistachio Torte with Chocolate Ganachedessert

Prep time: 15 minutes       Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves: 10

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • Vegetable oil spray for pan
  • 7 large eggs, separated
  • 2.5 cups almond flour (or 3 cups sliced almonds, ground)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon matzo meal
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange liqueur (Barentura has a kosher line)
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Kosher for Passover powdered sugar, for decoration
  • Whole Pistachios, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 3500 F. Spray a 9-inch square pan with vegetable oil. Using a hand mixer, whisk egg whites until stiff but not dry, and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar, and whisk to blend. Add ground almonds, matzo meal and cardamom. Add extracts, liqueur and oil.
  3. In shifts, fold in the egg whites. Make sure not to squish all the air you just created with them! Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
  5. While it bakes, prepare the chocolate ganache by melting the chips in a double boiler or in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir often and keep warm.
  6. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar, drizzle on the chocolate with the flick of your wrist and decorate with pistachio jewels. Enjoy!



Lauren Maddahi is a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist practicing in Los Angeles, CA. She received her Masters of Science in Nutrition Education from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014. She received a certificate in Culinary Arts from the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts in 2010. During her dietetic internship, also completed through Columbia, she realized how varied her passions are in the world of health and wellness. Lauren’s interests range from maternal and child wellness, preventative nutrition, and eating disorders to culinary nutrition and weight management. Lauren takes inspiration from her own past of battling with weight and body image to empathize with her clients and motivate children and adults alike to have a positive relationship with eating nourishing foods. She is currently working at UCLA within the Center for Obesity and Metaolic Health (COMET) counselling patients before and after gastric bypass by focusing on mindful eating. You can connect with her on social media via Twitter (@maddahiRD), Instagram (@nutritionalacarte) or Facebook ( For inquiries, please contact

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



Yom Kippur, one of the most sacred Jewish Holidays of the year, is upon us. As much as we dread the idea of not eating for 25 full hours, it can be an inspiring time to engage in deep spiritual practice.  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 lovers 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 eating  up plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that are naturally full of water. 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 have a meaningful fast!  May we all be inSKRIBED and sealed in the Book of Life!

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High Collars, High Holidays 



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



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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december, 2019

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