My Mother’s Zesty Meringues

I went to my parents house for the last days of Passover. When I entered I immediately was hit with the aroma of delicious foods…with a hint of sweetness.  The sweetness was coming from my mother’s famous meringues, which were just coming out of the oven. What impeccable timing!

Here is the recipe, which happens to be super easy and quick:

Ingredients

4 egg whites

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1-2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp ground walnuts

zest from 1/2 lemon

zest from 1/2 orange

Instructions:

Step 1: Preheat Oven to 300 F

Step 2: Coat a large bowl with lemon juice – the acid content helps with whipping up the egg whites.

Step 3: Place egg whites, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon and orange zest in large bowl and beat until soft peaks form.

Step 4: Gradually beat in sugar, until stiff and glossy peaks form.

Step 5: Fold in ground walnuts, but careful not to over mix!

Step 6: Using a spoon, dollop meringues in 2-inch mounds onto an un-greased parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Step 7: Optional: to garnish place 1 toasted walnut in each meringue before baking.

Step 8: Bake 25-30 minutes and then let cool on rack.

xoxo ending passover with mom’s meringues.

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Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

I was watching Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network (completely addicted) and she was making this gorgeous looking apple and cheese golden crusted pie.  I wanted a bite so badly so I decided to make my own healthy version of the brilliant apple + cheddar combo.  I think I would be much skinnier if I did not watch this channel…or Giada. How does she stay so skinny by the way?!

Ingredients:

– 1 Acorn Squash

– 1 Granny Smith Apple cored and thinly sliced ( I did not peel but I recommend peeling)

– 1/2 cup coarsely grated cheddar cheese

– 1 tbsp sesame seeds

– 1 tbsp coconut oil

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– 1 tsp agave nectar

– 1 oz dried cranberries

– pinch of cinnamon

– pinch of nutmeg

– salt & pepper

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 425.  Cut acorn squash in half and use a fork to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Coat the inside of each half with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Place on a baking pan – cut side down – and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Now lets get to working on making the filling deliciousness!

Step 2: Heat the sesame seeds on a dry pan over medium heat – shake the pan intermittently. Once seeds start to darken remove from heat and set aside.

Step 3: Melt the coconut oil over a low flame in your pan.  Coconut oil has many health benefits including improving your digestive system, immune system, blood sugar control and much more. So get excited to infuse your dish with this super power ingredient!

Step 4: Increase flame to medium heat and toss in apples, dried cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, and agave nectar. Mix until apples are nice and soft (Approx. 8 minutes).

Step 5: Your acorn squash should be finishing up just about now.  Remove from oven and place on plate.  Scoop apple filling into center of each half of squash.  Add the cheddar cheese, which will melt just from the heat of the squash and apples!  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Now take your fork and dig in!

Xoxo getting our fall on

Run, Skip, Run, Bound – Repeat.

And so the triathlon training begins.

I am definitely feeling the pain of having taken the winter off from working out.

Tonight we met up with coach Mike of Asphalt Green Tri Club and the butt- kicking began almost immediately – a brisk run from the Engineers Gate at 90th & 5th down to the Boathouse at 72nd St. where we met up with Coach Neil for the real workout..

Tonight’s training run, which took place on “Cat Hill” – a stretch of the Central Park loop on the east side – had us alternating between running, skipping, (running again!) and bounding up the hill – twice each! – while we focused on getting our heels off the ground on the way down. And to top it off, we had to run as fast as we could up and down the hill after the 2 sets of R-S-R-B … you know, just for good measure.

Why hill train?

Training on hills is good for improving leg muscle strength, strengthening hip flexors and Achilles tendons, quickening your stride, and keeping your heart in check. It is important to combine strength training with regular running, as doing so will reduce the risk of running- related injuries.

Tips:

-Watch your posture – keep your body upright and try not to lean forward

-Run lightly – make sure your feet are not pounding the ground

By the end of the workout I think I burned off all the matzah I had consumed and really felt the burn in my calves and thighs – oh, hello forgotten muscles!

Recovery Food:

Coaches orders were to have a glass of chocolate milk within 30 minutes of your workout.  We went with coconut water and a broccoli pattie with an egg (shh don’t tell Coach Neil). The point is, your muscles need the protein for recovery.

Find a hill and get your run on … and if you can’t get to a hill, just simply increase the incline on the treadmill.

Good luck!

This is what I looked like by the end

xoxo loving/hating hills

(pictures for tonight taken with my iPhone)

Passover Friendly Pesto Spaghetti

I find that on Passover I eat a ridiculous amount of carbs – from matzah pizza to chocolate lollipops – and I end up feeling really weighed down. This year I will try to make an effort to eat healthier and hopefully not feel the need to detox after the holiday.

I heart spaghetti squash all year round but it is especially perfect for Passover.  It is a great no carb, low calorie, and gluten free food with which you can easily substitute your pasta.

I also like to be creative with my pesto. Basil and pine nuts are not requirements, but  when making a pesto, you can just as easily pick and choose based on what ingredients you have in your house. All you need is a green fresh herb + a nut + garlic + olive oil. Classic pesto has parmesean but it is not necessary.

Ingredients for Cilantro Spinach Pesto:

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 tbsp toasted almonds (toast on un-greased pan over medium heat, and stir until golden brown)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp cilantro
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest
  •  pinch of salt and black pepper

Instructions:

Combine all pesto ingredients in food processor except for the olive oil. Finely chop and then stream in olive oil.

Tip:  Double the recipe and place in cube tray, then store in the freezer for future use!

pesto-cilantro spinach

Ingredients for Pesto Spaghetti Squash:

  • 1 spaghetti squash

  • spinach cilantro pesto from above
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Pierce squash with a knife in several places. Cook for 50 minutes – until squash is easily pierce-able with a knife.

I prefer to cut my squash after it is cooked – I find it much easier!

3. Let cool for 15 minutes.  Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Use a fork to scoop out seeds and discard. Then, using your fork, pull strands of squash away from peel and place in bowl.

4. Heat an olive oil coated skillet. Add spaghetti squash strands, pesto, salt and pepper and toss thoroughly to heat and combine.

Serve immediately. Feel free to garnish with toasted almonds, and if you want to go dairy, sprinkle some parmesan cheese!

xoxo getting creative with passover and pesto

We Are Not Bunny Rabbits: Running Tips

As you may have guessed by looking at the pics on our blog- one of our favorite non-food hobbies is running.

running

We like to go out and run together but the truth is we end up doing our own thing- Matt runs at a faster pace, and when I run with him my competitive side tries to keep up causing me to tire out sooner.

I started running in 2011 by joining NYRR and participating in the races.  I love the energy of a race- even it is only a 5k. Also time seems to fly when you are in a race rather than running on a treadmill. I started at literally 0 and with practice and dedication built myself up to doing the 2012 NYC Half Marathon.   I would love to do a marathon but I have hip injuries and don’t think it is a good idea to put the stress on my bad hips.  So instead I am doing a triathlon ahhh (hence the title of our blog Tri-ing).  We will eventually blog more about why we are doing the triathlon this year.

I went to the Tri-mania event in NYC where I picked up a couple of tips on how to improve my running.

Thought I would share

1. Focus on your cadence- this is how often your feet touch the ground.

slow cadence= longer time in the air and harder land on the ground= not nice to your joints!

faster cadence= lest time in the air and softer land = happier joints

Goal: 90 steps/minute (180 steps/minute if counting both feet)

2. Do not over stride- this means landing each step with the heel out in front of you. Instead your foot should land directly underneath you.

3.  Set the treadmill incline to 1 percent- this more closely mimics running outdoors.

4. Strengthen your butt!

5. Take out your ear phones and listen to your run- your feet should not be pounding the ground.

6. We are not bunny rabbits- we should not bounce up and down with our hair flailing in the air- fast cadence and no over stride is key.

7. Change out those sneaks every 6 mths.

8. Strengthen your core- plank it!

9. Video your run and play it back slowly so you can see how you run and pinpoint areas where improvement is needed.

10. Breathe- sounds simple but I actually forget to do this sometimes.  In through the nose and out through the mouth.

11. *** Have Fun****

xoxo not a bunny rabbit

Dare to Go Hazel-nuts: Homemade Hazelnut Milk!

For the most part I do not purchase milk.  I use soy, coconut, or almond milk instead of cow’s milk.  In general I have been trying to limit the amount of dairy in my life. I think we were not designed to drink and digest the milk of other animals.  AND I have watched way too many documentaries- Hungry for Change, Reboot with Joe, Forks Over Knives, Vegucated…

Since moving to the upper east side, one of my many health-oriented discoveries was the Green Bean Cafe, conveniently located only a few blocks from my apartment. http://www.beangonegreen.com/index.html  They serve vegan and organic food in this adorable, warm, and friendly cafe.  One of my favorite things that I have picked up from the shop is freshly made almond milk- they make it daily! I was inspired and feeling adventurous and decided to make my own homemade hazelnut milk. If they can do it- why can’t I?!

Although it takes some advanced planning it is super simple and doesn’t require any fancy kitchen supplies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 2 dates
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Agave Nectar
  • Water for soaking
  • 3 cups water for blending
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil- melted (it is solid at room temp)

Kitchen Gadgets:

  • Blender
  • Fine Mesh Strainer/ or cheesecloth

Soak the hazelnuts overnight for 12-24 hours.  Soak the dates overnight in a separate bowl of water

Drain the hazelnuts until the water is clear and discard the soaked water.

Save the date water!

                  Toss the hazelnuts into your blender with 3 cups of water.  Blend on high speed until nuts are completely pulverized.

Strain the milk with a mesh strainer or cheese cloth- this makes it nice and smooth. Place the pulp aside.

tip: Use a spoon to press down on the pulp to help release the milk

Pour strained milk back into the blender. Remove the pit from the dates (I used medjool dates) and add dates to blender. Pour in about 1/4 cup of date water. Add cinnamon and agave nectar.

Slowly Poor in coconut oil at a steady stream while blender is whirling.

Blend until completely smooth. Let it sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  Serve on ice. You can also keep it in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for a few days. Makes approx 3 cups.

Go out for a run and then drink up.

Nutritious, creamy, raw, vegan, and delicious! 




Ahh what about all the pulp?

I used it to make hazelnut flax seed crackers in our dehydrator.  It can also be used in cookies and cakes.

This is my first time ever using our dehydrator so I will post dehydrating recipes when I feel more confident in this department.

Here are some pics:

And the final Result:

Wasn’t exactly going for the cardboard look but the taste is good and practice makes perfect.

xoxo nutty for hazelnut

Squash It

Roasted Butternut Squash with Red Onion, Sage, and Goat Cheese

I have been in love with the flavors of butternut squash and sage melded together for years now. In my opinion this is one of the best fruit + herb combinations!

I would recommend that you buy fresh sage for this recipe. I promise you won’t regret it. Once you pop it in the oven with the squash the fresh aroma of the sage will get your appetite going.  Not to mention sage also has mucho health benefits- it is known to be an antiflammatory and antiseptic.

Ingredients:

– 1 butternut squash- pealed and diced

– 1/2 large red onion

– sage

– salt/pepper/spicy paprika

–  olive oil

– Goat cheese

Start by preheating the oven to 425.

Heat your pan (i love my cast iron) over a medium flame.  Add a little olive oil and then toss in 1/2 large sliced red onion. Saute until it softens and becomes slightly translucent.

On a roasting pan toss butternut squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, and spicy paprika (that’s the hungarian in me). In my house paprika is just as important as salt, pepper, and toilet paper.  I do advice that you buy the hungarian brand of paprika- the flavor is much more potent.  Wash and dry several leaves of sage and mix in. Add in the sautéed onions.

I have to admit- I cheat and buy the already pealed and pre-cut squash.  Please do not judge.

Roast for about 40 minutes-untill tender and lightly browned, tossing halfway through.

Transfer to a serving bowl and top with goat cheese crumbles.

And I am the worst wife ever because I gobbled it up before my husband got home and left the dirty dishes in the sink.  One day I will be better.

Eat, Enjoy, and Squash It.