MAZON Jewhungery ramen alfredo jewhungry kosher blog

Foodies fighting hunger. What’s this all about? Well, a couple weeks ago I gave a little presentation/talk to a few classes at the high school I work at about blogging. During these conversations, I had mentioned a frustration I have for food/lifestyle bloggers who advocate for healthy and/or organic living but never advocate for equal access to the resources needed to live a health/organic life (much less acknowledge the privilege it takes to live a life full of beautiful acai smoothie bowls and fresh pressed juices). And so, upon reflection, I realized I needed to walk the walk and not just talk the talk; dust off my advocacy skills, if you will. Thus, an idea was born. What if a bunch of foodies got together to acknowledge our privilege, attempt to create a recipe with only $5 in our pocket, and spread some information on hunger/poverty issues in the US while also providing ways for you, the reader, to do a little advocacy work yourself? And what if we partnered with an incredible organization like MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, which is a national nonprofit organization working to end hunger in the United States and Israel for all faiths and backgrounds in order to make sure we get all the facts and figures right? I’m hoping good things. That’s what I’m happening will happen.

Therefore, after a few nudging emails (from me) to almost every food blogger I’ve ever spoken with and/or wished I have spoken with, a mighty little band of foodie advocates was born. This band of Foodies Fighting Hunger includes the following bloggers (by blog name):

The Kosher Spoon

Foodie Crush

will frolic for food

Dessert for Two

Cooking in Heels

Let’s Eat Cake

Cake Over Steak

Hola Jalapeno

What Jew Wanna Eat

Kosher Like Me

Girl Versus Dough

Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker

The Bonjon Gourmet

A Nutritionist Eats

I am very much hoping this will be the first in a series of posts featuring an even wider-range of bloggers advocating for equal access to food and for putting an end to hunger and poverty. I am also appreciate the bloggers who jumped on board right away, even if they had never heard of me, because of their commitment to fight and advocate. I am also especially grateful to MAZON, especially Emily Dingmann, who not only the Communications Director at MAZON but is also the blogger behind A Nutritionist Eats.

MAZON Jewhungery ramen alfredo jewhungry kosher blog

A few things of note:

  1. I do not live in a food desert. Within a 2 mile radius of where I live in Encino, CA, there is a Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Ralph’s Grocery, a large kosher grocer called, Encino Glatt Mart, and countless other mini markets. For this post, I chose to shop at Ralph’s as it is the most prevalent grocery store in Souther Los Angeles.
  2. I have a kosher home, therefore, my ingredient list ran a bit more expensive then the non-kosher versions of the same ingredients. For my family and countless families across the US, keeping kosher is not a ‘choice’ but a religious commandment/obligation.

Hunger is as prevalent as it is pernicious. It is not restricted only to third world countries or homeless people, but has increasingly become the province of families in highly industrialized nations, including the United States and Israel. The best adjective to accurately describe the amount of food available in the United States is abundant. Hunger affects 1 out of every 7 American men, women and children and persists in this country not because of a lack of food, but because we lack the political will to end the problem by ensuring that vulnerable people have equal access to nutritious food. In California, the State my family now calls home, there are 1,776,465 households who are considered food insecure, a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food (definition grabbed from the US Gov website). In addition, nationally-speaking, there are over 15 million children who struggle with hunger and 22% living in poverty. One of the BIGGEST myths I want to make sure is noted in this post is the myth that government programs enable ‘lazy’ people to live ‘well’ on society’s dime. This is wholly inaccurate and gets my blood boiling. What a privileged way of thinking. Most folks who I hear these types of sentiments from have usually never experienced a day of food insecurity in their lives. But here’s the truth,

“As the nation’s economic recovery continues, government programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps) provide a vital lifeline that helps people receive the sustenance they need to get back on their feet. 40% of households receiving SNAP benefits include at least one working person. The average benefit provided by SNAP equates to roughly $1.40 per person per meal – hardly an extravagant amount, and certainly not enough to do anything beyond simply get by.”  ~ www.mazon.org 

MAZON Jewhungery ramen alfredo jewhungry kosher blog

More Hunger Facts:
  • Hunger myths: there is a stark contrast between the widely held myths and realities about hunger and these myths/realities can shed some light on WHY there is hunger in America if you’d like to touch on that.
  • This is Hunger stories: a unique view into the reality of who in America struggles with hunger and why
  • Infographics: about hunger (general hunger, seniors, children, rural, SNAP, etc.)
  • Interactive map: individual data on how many food insecure households are in your state
 
Advocacy Opportunities:
Underwood Family Farms - a pit stop during our Passover vacation.

Underwood Family Farms

When deciding on the ingredients for this post, I decided on the cheap because, well, I only had $5 to spend and I wanted to stretch every dollar. I also had to get kosher ingredients as we keep a kosher home. I had originally wanted to include a fresh veggie in the dish but after the cost of the dairy products, I was out of money. But herbs were cheap and still green so herbs it was. I also wanted to included sauteed garlic in butter or olive oil but again, I did not have enough money for this so the only seasonings used were table salt and pepper. The following is the breakdown of the ingredients to my recipe (both kosher and non-kosher cost).

Kosher:         Non-Kosher:

                                                         Ramen      $.99              $.39

                                                           Milk        $1.79             Same

                                            Cream Cheese     $1.99             Same

                                                            Dill        $.25               Same

Parsley      $.25               Same

So my kosher total was $.5.27 and my non-kosher total is just under $5, coming in at $4.67. The two items I have yet to calculate are salt and pepper, which would set me back  even more but I picked up some free salt and pepper packets at the deli counter so, BINGO! Luckily, this recipe included ingredients that weren’t vastly different when it came to cost but that is mainly because I didn’t include any real cheese or meat products, which, of course, make every recipe much more expensive regardless of whether or not the dish is kosher or not.

The family, picking veggies for fun.

The family, picking veggies for fun.

Foodies Fighting Hunger: Ramen Alfredo with Fresh Herbs

Ingredients

  • 1 package of instant ramen
  • 1/2 cup of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup of 2% milk or full fat
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper
  • fresh dill, finely chopped
  • fresh parsley, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Cook ramen as directed on the back of the package but do make sure you DO NOT OVER COOK. It will get too soggy. Once done, drain and run a little cold water of the noodles while they are in the collander so that they will stop cooking.
  2. Place cream cheese in the pot that the ramen was cooking in and turn on heat to low. Add the ramen to the pot with the cream cheese. Add the milk and stir. The mixture should be thick-ish. If you'd rather it a little thinner, just add a bit more milk.
  3. Add salt and pepper. Stir to combine and taste. Adjust seasoning to your liking. Top with fresh herbs. Serve hot.
http://jewhungrytheblog.com/2016/05/01/foodies-fighting-hunger-ramen-alfredo-fresh-herbs/

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Chocolate Almond FLour donuts jewhungry kosher blog

 

I am an extremely scheduled person. I need my routine and schedule to feel ‘contained’. I need it to feel safe. I’d like to be all, ‘I go wherever the wind takes me’, but with a full time job, 2 kids, a husband and a hobby or two, my structure and routine is what gets me through the day. When I studied adolescent development and learned more about attachment theory and how structure and boundary-setting is not only beneficial for child development but also for caregiver attachment, I didn’t quite understand just how much it is needed until I had kids of my own. Heck, I didn’t realize how much I needed it as an adult until I had two little people and myself to care for. I recently started yet another side gig (this one in the home decor side of life — you can find my yarn art and boho mobiles HERE and see more pictures below) and when talking to a friend about it she asked me how I find the time. I reflected on that question a lot for some reason and realized it wasn’t so much that I was ‘finding’ the time as ‘creating’ the time via my daily routine. By the time I get home, it’s ‘go’ time. My husband and I are switching off between bathing children, doing laundry, cooking dinner, cleaning dinner, playing with children and then getting children ready for bed. Every afternoon/evening is a sprint but it’s worth it because by 8pm, the kids are in bed and that’s when I get my ‘me’ time. That’s how I find the time. I create it in order to take care of myself so that, in the end, I can take care of them.

chocolate almond flour donuts kosher passover jewhungry blog

 

chocolate almond flour donuts kosher passover jewhungry blog

Speaking of time, I am finally on spring break and am loving every second of it. I also finally went camping with the kids for the first time. I had been kind of dreading camping with kids for a long time. I used to have this giant fear of being tired. It so consumed me, this fear of being tired, that it actually prevented me from doing things like camping with my husband and Siona. But a person learns a lot about themselves after a year of solo-parenting while pregnant, including that one can survive and function on very little sleep and massive amounts of coffee. So, with that in mind, I told husband I was ready to give camping with kids a try . . . so long as he packed all the coffee in the world. Next thing you know, we’re packing up the car and headed for Anzo Borrego, CA. It’s not every day your husband plans a camping trip for you in the desert during a heat wave. Hot doesn’t even begin to describe what this was. Sadly, because it was as hot as it was, our camping trip was cut short by a night and we ended up only staying one night. BUT, we truly made the most of it and the girls were friggin’ champs. We also saw a real live roadrunner and heard coyotes howling at the moon so . . . worth it (pics from the trip are below).

chocolate almond flour donuts kosher passover jewhungry blog

 

chocolate almond flour donuts kosher passover jewhungry blog

 

Anyway, I wanted to bring you a chocolatey treat before you finish your Passover meal-planning. I also wanted to send a friendly reminder that egg creams are completely kosher for Passover and should absolutely be enjoyed. I had my first egg cream when I visited my now in-laws in 2009 and it is now a family tradition to enjoy one (or several) each Passover. It’s honestly a simple thing and, truth be told, I would not really enjoy someone adding seltzer to my chocolate milk but for some reason, during Passover, it’s so frikkin’ delicious. I hope you enjoy! Happy Passover!

P.S. This recipe is dedicated to my friend, David Wolkin, who is part Jewish Hipster superhero extraordinaire and part grouchy ol’ Jewish zaidy who just wants to be left alone with his egg creams and his white fish. This is for you, buddy. Also, your wife is AWESOME. Seriously, how’d you score that one!?

chocolate almond flour donuts kosher passover jewhungry blog

Saying ‘good night moon’ in the Anzo Borrego desert.

 

chocolate almond flour donuts kosher passover jewhungry blog

My squishy face, Ed.

 

chocolate almond flour donuts kosher passover jewhungry blog

Sunrise in the desert

 

The last of the blooming cacti for the season.

The last of the blooming cacti for the season.

 

One of my wall-hangings - found on my Etsy shop.

One of my wall-hangings – found on my Etsy shop, LadyPops Shops

 

A customizable mobile - found on my Etsy site.

A customizable mobile – found on my Etsy site.

 

Chocolate Almond Flour Donuts with Egg Creams

Ingredients

  • FOR DONUTS:
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • 3 tablespoons vegatable oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • FOR EGG CREAMS
  • Whole Milk
  • Seltzer
  • Chocolate Syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Separate eggs and combine yolks with remaining wet ingredients.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined.
  5. Beat egg whites with a hand held mixer until almost stiff, about 5 minutes
  6. Fold egg whites into batter until just combined.
  7. Pour batter into donut pan.
  8. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to cooling rack.
  9. FOR EGG CREAMS:
  10. Pour the 1/2 cup whole milk into a very cold 12-ounce glass.
  11. Slowly pour in the seltzer, then gently add the syrup.
  12. Using a long spoon, stir well and serve.
http://jewhungrytheblog.com/2016/04/20/chocolate-almond-flour-donuts-egg-creams/

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quinoa sushi kosher jewhungry blog

Passover was different for me as a kid than it is for me as an adult. With the best of intentions and tradition at heart, my mom set out to make sure we celebrated and observed Passover as best she could. There was no looking for chametz and certainly no mysterious final search complete with feathers and a candle (Do me a favor and try to explain that tradition to someone who isn’t Jewish. “Oh, we go around the house with a feather, a candle and a paper bag looking for pieces of bread that we’ve intentionally laid to be found. It’s totally normal.”  Trust me. We don’t. seem. normal).

But anyway, I digress. My point is we didn’t grow up with a lot of observance but we definitely grew up with a lot of tradition. For example, as a young kiddo, my beloved grandpa would say, in a clear, booming voice, “LO! This is the bread of affliction!” He was so loud that I’m positive our Christian fundamentalist neighbors heard us (and loved it!). But, as we got older and our grandparents couldn’t travel, that job fell to my brother. The Seder meal food was always the same. Every year, every attendant received  an elegant dish full of the saltiest water and one hardboiled egg, which at no other time in life seems good but during an incredibly long Seder seems akin to eating a bagel and lox. It’s that good (and Seder is that long).

quinoa sushi kosher jewhungry blog

 

quinoa sushi kosher jewhungry blog

 

My beloved brother and my girls

My beloved brother and my girls

But now that I’m an adult and living a bit more of an observant life and my oldest is finally old enough to actually have memories and like, keep them and stuff, I’ve been thinking a lot about what Passover memories she’ll take with her as an adult. Maybe it’ll be that time last Passover when we drove from Asheville, NC to Atlanta to visit family and had to stop at a local mountain gas station so that I could make us a Kosher for Passover meal of egg salad and matzah (the locals thought we were craaaaaaaaaay). Or maybe it’ll be this year as she sits through her first Seder (or at least some of her first Seder). Who knows? Whatever those memories are though, I hope they bring her happiness as mine do for me.

My little loves. What memories will they take with them?

My little loves. What memories will they take with them?

quinoa sushi kosher jewhungry blog

So, the recipe! One glorious thing that the health food world has given us is quinoa and though the Rabbis TRIED to take it away from us by deeming only certain kinds of quinoa Kosher for Passover, I have clung to it like white on Sephardic rice. The recipe for this post can be eaten with or without the matzah crunch. I just LOVE sushi with tempura crunch so thought, why not matzah!? Fry it up in some butter and let those bad boys sing! Also, Kosher for Passover nori DOES exist so before you write me telling me it doesn’t, know that I’ve done my research.

Quinoa Sushi with Matzah Crunch

Ingredients

  • 2 parboiled asparagus stems
  • Handful of cilantro
  • ¼ avocado, sliced into strips
  • 1cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 matzah broken up into tiny bits (I suggest putting it into a sandwich bag and then breaking it up).
  • 2 kosher for Passover Nori sushi sheet (Natural Earth sells them KFP)

Instructions

  1. FOR QUINOA - Place quinoa into a saucepan, add 2 cups of vegetable stock and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time, or until tender. Place cooked quinoa in a bowl and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, separate out 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa into a bowl. Add the honey and mix to combine.
  2. FOR OMELETTE - Heat a tsp of oil in a small pan over medium heat. Whisk together the eggs and cold water. Pour egg mixture into the pan and cook for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add garlic and salt to the omelette and cover pan with a lid. Cook for another 2 minutes or until the eggs are set. Remove from pan and cut into 1/2 strips. Clean out pan.
  3. TO MAKE MATZAH CRUNCH - Using your clean omlette pan, add the tbsp of butter to pan and place it over medium heat. Once melted, add the broken bits of matzah to the pan. Stir continuously until golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool.
  4. TO MAKE SUSHI - Place a nori sheet on a bench (or a bamboo sushi mat, if using). Spread quarter of the quinoa mix on half of the nori sheet, working from the edge closest to you and right to the sides. Layer avocado, omelette, asparagus and cilantro across the middle of the quinoa and lighting the edge closest to you, begin to tightly wrap the rolls all the way to the end. Run a wet finger over the edges of the nori paper to seal the roll. Trim ends with a sharp knife, then cut into 1/2 rounds and top with matzah crunch. Serve with the ever so delicious kosher for passover soy sauce.
http://jewhungrytheblog.com/2016/04/11/quinoa-sushi-matzah-crunch/

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