Kosher Jewhungry chicken wrap

 

Team, it’s that time of year again.  Yep, the High Holidays are upon us.  Now that the kid and I are living it up in LA while the hubby in is Florida, I honestly haven’t thought much about the High Holidays because, well, we don’t know that many people so I’m not doing a lot of meal planning like I normally am. Of course, I say that now but check in with me by the end of this week and chances are I would have invited half my work place to a meal during Rosh Hashanah and/or Sukkot, especially if I spend any significant time on Pinterest, which always gets my creativity flowing.

 

Kosher Jewhungry chicken wrap

 

Kosher Jewhungry chicken wrap

 

The thing is, with working full-time and parenting full-time, I don’t have a whole bunch of time to prep for Rosh Hashanah this year. On top of that, it’s still 95 degrees in Southern California, much like it was when I celebrated the High Holidays in Miami over the last 3 years.  So though I’m very happy for the rest of you East Coasters/Midwesterners and your love of all things “apple” and “pumpkin-spiced” for your Rosh Hashanah, us folks living in extremely hot weather tend to crave cooler menu items.  No crock pot for me and forget about the brisket, it’s too heavy when the thermostat is reaching 100!

So, OK, though I’m feeling a little crunch with time this year, what will get me through with planning (while keeping my anxiety down to a minimum) is remembering some tips I’ve developed over the years for having an organized, delicious and stress-free holiday, freeing me up to remember that, in fact, this holiday is more than just apples and honey.  It’s a celebration of the creation of the beginning of our Jewish community and I think it’s safe to say that now, more than ever, the Jewish community is in need of coming together.

Whit’s Tips for Minimal-Stress Holiday Planning:

1.  Don’t be afraid of letting the kosher markets do a little of the cooking—-see recipe below: Keep your eye on the main dish, the prize, and bring the side dishes in from the store. This will give you a little more time to perfect your brisket (shout out to my East Coast/Midwest readers).

2.  Organize a meal exchange:  Get together with a few of your friends and organize who takes care of what meal on what day. For example, you can be in charge of first night dinner, host 3 of your friends for that meal, and then they each take another meal for the rest of the holiday.  You’re in the clear for the holiday and only have to make one meal! Score!

3.  Stick with what you know:  Trying to make the perfect kosher version of Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon the week before a 3 day holiday isn’t the greatest idea.  It will up your anxiety while also potentially upping your High Holiday food budget.  Stick with what you know and maybe try experimenting for when you have the time.

4. Make a menu: I know it sounds tedious. I mean, we barely have time to make it into the shower before the holiday comes in, much less make a friggin’ menu but I’m telling you, if you make your menu about a week or so in advanced, you will be a lot less overwhelmed PLUS you will save a lot more cash when it comes to grocery shopping for the big holiday. Organize is key!

5. Leftover are your friends: Not every meal during a 3 day holiday has to be completely different.  Make extra rice for first night dinner and use that again for ‘build your own tacos’ for second day lunch (my best friend during these three day holidays is the ‘food bar’, i.e. build your own taco or burrito quinoa bowl.  All you have to do is chop your veggies in advanced and store in the fridge until ready.  And, if you get one of those delicious Winn Dixie rotisserie chickens, you don’t need to pre-cook your chicken.  Just chop and serve  cold with tortillas, rice, avocado, corn and other taco-worthy toppings).

 

Kosher Jewhungry chicken wrap

My need to have a meal be quick, easy, delicious and refreshing was the inspiration for this post.  It’s as easy as picking up an already made rotisserie chicken from your closest kosher market (back in my Miami days, this was Winn-Dixie. Sigh, I miss my Winn Dixie chickens.  Mmmmm, rotisserie).  The combination of juicy chicken, spicy curry and cooling coconut milk yogurt makes for a delicious (and easy) High Holiday meal  . . . or any meal, really.  Happy New Year, y’all!

This post is part of a Joy of Kosher paid High Holiday campaign with Winn-Dixie, all opinions are my own. Also, make sure you check out other ways Winn-Dixie can help make your holiday great at http://www.joyofkosher.com/winndixie.  Plus, you can download an ebook version Jamie Geller’s Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes

 

Curry Chicken Wraps w/Coconut Milk Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of rotisserie chicken breast and thighs
  • 1/2 cup of cooked basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of veganaise or regular mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tbsp of kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp of curry powder
  • 1 tbsp of tumeric
  • 1/2 tbsp of ground coriander
  • 1/4 tbsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup of loosely packed salad greens
  • 4 - 6 wraps (depending on how much for you put in each wrap)

Instructions

  1. Cut the cooked chicken into cubes (or the closest you can get to 'cube').
  2. Combine the coconut milk yogurt, veganaise and spices into a bowl in a small bowl and mix well. Make sure you taste as you go and adjust seasoning to your preference.
  3. Place chicken and rice into a large bowl and top with the coconut milk yogurt mixture, cilantro and raisins. Mix well.
  4. Roll out the wraps, top with a handful of salad greens and top that with the chicken mixture. Roll up, cut in half and enjoy!
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jewhungry kosher hot pocket blog I am astonished at how quickly this whole thing is happening. The month of August has come and gone and so has my mom who was here the whole month to help take care of Siona while I was at work.  As I type this, my beloved husband is on a plane headed to us for a week of family love time. As much as I am thrilled that he is coming, I can’t help shake the thought that he’ll be leaving again in just 6 short days. I know that sounds pretty pessimistic and I don’t normally have that kind of outlook on life any more, but once we drop him off at the airport again it’ll truly just be me and the kiddo.

I swear some of them turned out looking like Midwestern States . . . and one Georgia.

I swear some of them turned out looking like Midwestern States . . . and one Georgia.

 

hot pocket 4Now please don’t get me wrong. I’m borderline obsessed with my kid so it’s not the thought of being alone with her that scares me (although I was singing a different tune when she was a wee baby. Being left alone with her scared the s*%# outta me. Ahh, how unprepared I was). No, it’s not being alone. It’s the exhaustion. It’s always been about the exhaustion. I’ve learned how to run errands with a two year-old (snacks and books, LOTS of snacks and books). I’ve learned the fine art of  dropping everything in the middle of the aisle and bailing when I feel that a toddler tantrum coming on. I’ve learned how to do laundry while simultaneously feeding her, vacuuming the apartment and responding to a work email. The thing I haven’t learned to do is fight the fear of exhaustion. I go to bed so dang early because I’m scared of being tired with nowhere to run and no one to step in. I know that seems silly but that’s my thing.  I’d like to stay up passed 9 pm one of these nights. I’d like to start crafting or reading again but I’m so physically and mentally drained that I just can’t do it.jewhungry kosher hot pocket blog     jewhungry kosher hot pocket blogThus, the homemade Hot Pocket. These are so easy and so NOT time consuming. I used to eat the s#%{ outta some Hot Pockets as a broke 20-something year old. It was absolutely normal for me to come home at 3 am from a night out at the club, turn on reruns of Sex and the City (ahhhhhh, 2002), and reach into the freezer for that delicious pocket of chemical cheesiness. The fact that you had to microwave it in a cardboard sleeve should have been a big red flag for me but I was living in DC on $25k/yr during the height of my Hot Pocketness so this was no time for pickiness. The thing is, I love any food in pocket form and as my beloved friend, Jessie, pictured in this post with my beloved kiddo, pointed out so do most cultures in this world. You got the samosa, the empanada, the krepalch, the pierogi, the dumpling, etc. Food in pocket form is just tasty and since the trashy eater inside of me yearns for a Hot Pocket but the smart, homemade cook inside of me knows that s{*# ain’t kosher or good for me I decided to make my own Hot Pocket. And the best news? Thanks to frozen puffed pastry dough, it takes about 10 minutes to make.

Epic pic - Between the creepy baby doll, Siona's neon band-aid and Jessie's boob. EPIC picture.

Epic pic – Between the creepy baby doll, Siona’s neon band-aid and Jessie’s boob. EPIC picture.

Homemade Black Bean + Cheddar Hot Pockets

Ingredients

  • 1 package of puff pastry dough
  • 1/2 cup of black beans
  • 1/4 cooked rice (I used basmati)
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup canned corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Defrost puff pastry dough according to directions on package
  3. While dough is defrosting, combine ingredients except for cheddar into a medium bowl and mix well.
  4. Once dough is defrosted, sprinkle a rolling pin and flat surface with flour and roll out dough until about 1/8 inch thickness (basically until dough nearly doubles in length and width).
  5. Using a pizza cutter, cut rectangles into dough. Rectangles should be about 2 inches across.
  6. Using a tablespoon, put about 2 tbsp worth of cheddar in center of rectangle. Top with about 1 tbsp worth of bean mixture (I REALLY like cheese).
  7. Crack the egg into a small bowl and mix with a bit of water. Using this egg wash, wet the edges of each rectangle, one at a time, and press edges together to form your pocket. For added flair, roll edges as if making an actual pie crust. The egg wash acts as a paste for the dough so if you're finding it's not sticking, feel free to keep dipping and sealing until your edges stick.
  8. Once you've made all your pockets, brush the top of each with the remaining egg wash.
  9. Place pockets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes.
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kosher jewhungry hot pocket .

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Title EggplantSo I’m having an affair. I am 100%  falling in love with the State of California. Seriously, Cali, where have you been all my life!? Ok, well, I actually know the answer to that previous question but whatever. I guess the more appropriate question would be, where have I been this whole time?! I mean, I figured I’d like California in general and kind of like Los Angeles but I never thought I’d like it this much.  I mean, this morning I was at the farmer’s market in my neighborhood and tonight I’m going to Drag Queen bingo. I mean, what’s not to love in a city that offers a mommy that kind of diverse Sunday Funday?!

Choppin'

Choppin’

But in all seriousness, being away from my husband has been extremely hard and draining, but this city (along with my daughter and my mom) has kept me company and I’m so grateful.  This week at work has been full of orientation meetings, CPR training, more meetings, ice cream and then even more meetings. My ‘mommy guilt’ has only increased with every work day that passes by. Even with my mom here, I still feel incredibly guilty every time I leave the house.  I know this feeling is completely useless but it’s still very real for me.  Tonight’s night out with my dear friend, Jessie, is a huge personal triumph.  I’ve tried several times to attend a workout class with her during the week, after work, but once I’m home the idea of leaving the kiddo again just tears at my heart-strings. I’m hoping that once she’s at school and she has a more engaged daily schedule, I won’t feel so guilty if I leave for an hour or so in the evening in order to take care of myself.  I am such a frikkin’ hypocrite right now because I am the first one to advocate for self-care and here I am completely ignoring my own advocacy pitch. I’ll get there.  I’ll get there eventually, right? So far, my nights have looked a lot like me putting the kid to bed by 8pm and then climbing into bed with a mug of Trader Joe’s vanilla soy ice cream (covered with sprinkles, obvs.) and watching reruns of Parks and Rec, which, by the way, is my new favorite show (sorry Nashville). I’m not sure where I was around  5 years ago when everyone was on board with this show but whatever.  I’m here now and I’m completely obsessed with Ron Swanson, Leslie Knope and the whole lot.  So yes, I guess this means I’m now 3-timing my husband with the State of California, the City of Los Angeles and a hilarious NBC mockumentary.  That doesn’t make me ‘loose’, right?

This Week's Highlights: Ice Cream at Carmela's, Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies for New Co-Workers; Siona's First Love; Chickpeas in Spices

This Week’s Highlights: Ice Cream at Carmela’s, Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies for New Co-Workers; Siona’s First Love; Chickpeas in Spices

So the recipe below is for my go-to Shabbat lunch and/or picnic favorite meal. It’s been revealed recently that some of my favorite people don’t like eggplant because of the texture, but I’ve decided to keep them in my life, despite the CRAZINESS of not liking eggplant. I L-O-V-E  love eggplant.  It’s my favorite vegetable of all time. This recipe is easy, delicious and doesn’t need to be assembled until the day of Shabbat so it’s great for the last minute Shabbat meal scramble (y’all know what I’m talking about). Enjoy and have a wonderful week. Jewhungry eggplant kosher rollups

Herbed Cream Cheese + Roasted Eggplant Roll Ups.

Ingredients

  • 4 - 5 medium whole wheat tortilla or wraps
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced to 1/2 inch thickness
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt (for getting out excess moisture from eggplant)
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro OR chives (OR BOTH!)
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tbsp table salt

Instructions

  1. Place sliced eggplant on paper towels so that they do not overlap. Salt each eggplant and let soak in salt for at least 30 minutes in order to draw out excess moisture.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. After 30 minutes, place eggplant on baking sheets and brush each eggplant with olive oil.
  4. Place eggplant in oven for 20 - 30 minutes.
  5. While eggplant is roasting, prep all over the other ingredients for your wrap.
  6. Place cream cheese in a bowl. Add in cilantro, garlic powder, ground pepper and additional table salt. Mix until well combined.
  7. Once eggplant is finished roasting, stack your eggplant and slice for easier bites.
  8. For wrap assembly: Spread herb cream cream mixture onto a wrap. Lay diced avocado on top of cream cheese and mash for an easier rollup (try to keep all toppings off from the direct sides of the wrap. This way they won't burst out when you actually roll everything up). Place eggplant on top of the avocado and any left over herbs that didn't make it into the cream cheese.
  9. For rolling: Tightly tuck in one end of the wrap and roll, tightening along the way. Slice the finished wrap into 2 inch rolls.
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