Favorite New Cookbooks October 2018

I have not been into cooking recently — not sure what it is, but I just don’t feel like being in the kitchen and cooking. I have been tired from marathon training (and here I go with another marathon next month), the start and craze of school, and September life is just busy…..I guess I don’t even feel that into food these days — I just want to consume some calories and then be done. But that doesn’t stop me from buying new cookbooks. Here are my current three favorite new ones!

 

Cookbooks might be retro and outdated, but they are almost like coffee table books — just beautiful and easy to flip through.

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Brooklyn Crab

Back in the early 2010’s, we used to spend our weekends driving out to Red Hook (in Brooklyn) to grocery shop at Fairway, gaze at the Statue of Liberty, eat cookies at Baked, and pretend like we lived in the outer boroughs/suburbs. We were religious about this weekend ritual and tried to keep it up as long as we could. But then Fresh Direct (and a second child) came along, which made it impossible to drive 30 minutes just to grocery shop. This past weekend, we decided to go back. And now I can’t wait to go back and make it a monthly ritual — Red Hook is a special and unique neighborhood and I just love it so much. The highlight was our brunch at Brooklyn Crab. I want to have a big blow out party there. The food is delicious, the views are great, and it just screams FUN PARTY.

 

Looks like you are on the coast of Maine, but NOPE, in Brooklyn!

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Chai Cashew Butter

I have always been a Peanut Butter Princess, devouring spoonfuls of peanut butter by the gallons. Especially during marathon training, I crave the richness and fattiness of peanut butter, almond butter and any nut butter even more. So when I came across “Chai Cashew Butter” in the new Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow cookbook, I knew that it was something I was going to fall in love with. And sure enough, once I made it, I could not stop eating it. It is rich, full of protein and good fats, sweet and filling. The perfect snack before a run, or to keep me going on a given day. Creamy, smooth, and tasty. A must eat and a must make!

 

Final product. I could sell this on the street and people would line up for it — that good!

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Sweet Noodle Kugel

Today is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year (Shana Tova!) Since I have the tendency to be bad at holidays (across all of our religions), this year, I decided I want to be more festive, and threw together a last minute holiday dinner with friends (4 Jewish-Catholic/Christian families… go figure!). One of the main traditional Jewish dishes is Noodle Kugel, something that is very Jewish but not something I ever grew up eating. I was looking for recipes on the internet when I decided to contact one of my old-time friends who I met when we were on a Teen Tour of Israel together. And sure enough, Heidi-ho got in contact with her mother (who just happens to be a chef!) and immediately sent over her go-to Sweet Noodle Kugel. Although it has been decades since I last saw Patty Padawer (can we talk about the awesomeness of her name), I remember her delicious food fondly. Talk about helpful — she saved the day — thank you SO much, Patty!

 

Not just any kugel, special and easy sweet kugel.

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Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow

My favorite cookbook (Run Fast Eat Slow) now has a sequel and I couldn’t be happier! I am so excited to get back in to the kitchen and cook / bake / create some of the recipes from the new Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow.

 

So excited!! Shalene Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky and their second cookbook! Some of my all time favorite recipes are from their first cookbook, so I am super happy to find new favorites in this one, too.

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Butter Culture

As many of you know, I love butter. Not just ‘like’ butter, but LOVE butter. It is actually my go-to snack. I smother it on bread, croissants, rice cakes, anything… And because of this, I am a butter snob.  And here in Oregon, the land of hand batched, artisan everything, there is GREAT butter. Thanks to Butter Culture, I am now eating more butter than ever.

 

Butter Culture. Not only does it taste great, but the packaging is spot on.

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Banana Date Shake

I am always looking for something sweet that doesn’t have much sugar, so when I found this recipe in my new favorite cookbook, Healthyish, I made it right away. And since last Friday, I have made it officially seven times (#obsessed). It is super easy, delicious, vegan, and curbs my sugar craving without involving sugar! Win win win!

 

This is not the banana date smoothie. This is a vanilla milkshake — which is what it is supposed to be similar to. Kinda. Sorta. Similar. Maybe not. Ish. Still great.

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Chocolate Buttons

My favorite chocolate bar is the Cadbury Fruit and Nut Chocolate bar. It reminds me of childhood trips to Europe. So this past week, I was craving a fruit and nut chocolate bar, but didn’t know where to get one. So instead, I made little chocolate buttons with fruit and nuts in them. While you can’t go wrong with your fruit/nut choices, I used cranberries, raisins, almonds, and hazelnuts.

 

A new and improved version of the Cadbury Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bar.

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Royce’ Chocolate

In the past month, we have been gifted Royce’ Chocolate by two different couples. I had never heard about it before and now I am a fan. Made in Japan, this chocolate is unique, beautiful, and delicious. Definitely different than a normal chocolate bar — more special and rich, making it a great hostess gift.

 

This one is one of their specialties: Ghana bitter.

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Sotte le Stelle

Last weekend, we went on a family adventure to Queens to visit the Queens Museum. As we decided we wanted to have dinner on the way back, I researched hip but kid-friendly restaurants for an early dinner. We landed on Sotte le Stelle, which had rave reviews on Eater as the #3 hot spot in Queens.  And… pizza.  The new restaurant was DELICIOUS.

 

The restaurant only has 30 seats and is super small and cute. All of the waiters and staff are Italian, and super nice and friendly.

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Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles

Thanks to Instagram, I saw a recipe for a peanut butter pretzel truffle from Minimalist Baker and knew I had to make it. The recipe is simple, easy, and a huge win.

 

How good does this look?

How good does this look?

 

Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup pitted medjool  dates, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes then drained

* 1/2 cup salted natural peanut butter

* 3/4 cup raw almonds

* 1/2 cup mini pretzels

* 1.25 cup chocolate chips

* 1 tsp coconut oil

 

Directions:

 

Before and after dipped. I DIP YOU DIP WE DIP

Before and after dipped. I DIP YOU DIP WE DIP

 

* Place almonds in the food processor and process until you reach the consistency of a meal.

 

* Then add in pretzels and  soaked dates in the food processor and process until small bits remain and/or it forms into a ball.

 

* Next, add the peanut butter and mix until well combined. You don”t have to do this in a food processor, and can really just mix it in with a spoon.

 

* Once you have a dough that’s easy to form into balls, scoop out 1 Tablespoon amounts and roll/carefully form into balls. Set on parchment paper and place in freezer to chill.

 

*  In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and add the coconut oil (which helps thin out the chocolate).

 

* Remove truffles from freezer and, one at a time, dip them into the melted chocolate. Transfer back onto parchment paper and place in to the freezer.

 

* Store them in the freezer until you eat them (or else they will melt — they will still be delicious, but they will melt).

 

They will not last long, mainly because you will eat them because they are so good.

They will not last long, mainly because you will want to eat them right away.

 

Happy weekend! Spring here we are, thank goodness!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Paris Food 2017

Although the US has great healthy options (salads, smoothies, greens, etc…), Paris ultimately has my favorite food, which we enjoyed last week at the Paris Marathon. We had great luck with the restaurants we chose and couldn’t have been happier (well, our stomachs are a little bigger, but C’EST LA VIE!).

 

Sunday Brunch: Our favorite, Cafe Charlot. Not many restaurants are open on Sundays (and Mondays), but this is a classic French bistro where all the cool kids go to brunch for seven hours. We ate and drank for hours on end. The food is delicious, the sun was shining, life was (is) good.

 

This burger was the best thing I have ever eaten. And this was AFTER my huge caesar salad with smoked salmon. The waiter looked at my crazy when I ordered two main courses, but hey, you only run a marathon every so often, so when in Rome......

This burger was the best thing I have ever eaten. And this was AFTER my huge caesar salad with smoked salmon. The waiter looked at me crazy when I ordered two main courses, but hey, you only run a marathon every so often.

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Vegan Green Dressing

My new favorite green salad dressing — better than green goddess as it has no dairy or mayo. A must try! Super easy and delicious. A great way to start the new year — fresh and green.

 

Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

* 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

* 1 cup fresh parsley leaves

* 1/4 cup olive oil

* 1 tablespoon white vinegar

* 1 teaspoon salt

* juice of 1/4 a lemon

 

Directions:

 

Green leaves!!!

Green leaves!!!

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Healthy Molasses Cookies

I love chocolate cookies, but even more, I love ginger cookies. So when I stumbled upon ginger-molasses-healthy cookies on goop, I knew I had to make them. Shockingly, I followed every single ingredient and step, but they miserably failed (turned into liquid and melted all together). So, the next day, I altered the recipe, and now they are perfection. Sweet, chewy, not not overly sugar-y, spicy, and peppery. NOTE: You must refrigerate the cookies for at least 12 hours, so you have to think ahead in terms of timing.

 

End result: spicy perfection. I am giving myself a high five because the second time around, they were absolutely perfect.

End result: spicy perfection. I am giving myself a high five because the second time around, they were absolutely perfect.

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Mint Malt Balls

One of the best desserts / gifts / party favors I have in my little “rolodex of presents” is the Mint Malt Balls first introduced to me by event planner extraordinaire, David Monn. He put them in our hotel goodie bags for our wedding (10 years ago) and since then I have been a big fan. Yet, one can only hoard so much candy, so I eventually forgot about them. Fast forward to David Monn’s Book Party, and there they were. Green malt balls in little containers on every table throughout the entire New York Public Library. BINGO, sold, addicted all over again.

 

Pretty green, perfect sphere, DELICIOUSNESS

Pretty green, perfect sphere, DELICIOUSNESS

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Healthy-ish Desserts

I love dessert. Almost as much as I love my family. But I don’t like to eat too much sugar because I get jittery, emotional, and always have a sugar crash. So, when I don’t have time to bake my own health(ier) dessert, than I go to my local stores to purchase healthy-ish desserts. Here they are:

 

Yes, they are packaged food and store bought. But I like to think that they are healthier than a snickers bar, and made with higher quality ingredients in a more thoughtful process. But yes, you are so right, it is always HEALTHIER and better to make your own food at home, where you know exactly what is going into the food. But, YOLO (you only live once), so sometimes it is nice to just grab and go.

Yes, they are packaged food and store bought. But I like to think that they are healthier than a snickers bar, and made with higher quality ingredients in a more thoughtful process. But yes, you are so right, it is always HEALTHIER and better to make your own food at home, where you know exactly what is going into the food. But, YOLO (you only live once), so sometimes it is nice to just grab and go.

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Cookbooks – Summer 2016

Everything about my biffle‘s house is blog worthy. It is like walking into a perfectly curated store that carries only the best of the best. Literally, every nook and cranny could be photographed and written about as her taste and style is impeccable (I will take one of each, please). She is also a phenomenal cook who meal plans for her family with healthy, simple, and varied recipes. Here are her top cookbooks of Summer 2016. And perhaps if we have the same cookbooks, then we have the same dinners?

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 12.36.39 AM

cookbooks

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Homemade Raspberry Chia Jam

Last week, we ventured to a nearby farm to harvest raspberries and cherries. Not only was it a family fun activity, but we also brought home pounds and pounds of fresh fruit. We made (although the term “we” actually doesn’t include “me”) cherry cobbler and cherry pie. I made raspberry chia jam with no refined sugar. Take a look!

 

My raspberry picker.

My raspberry picker.

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Savory Zucchini Pancakes

Happy New Years! Happy 2016! I am currently in the process of coming up with my New Year’s Resolutions, and will post those on Monday.  In between my deep thoughts; mad rush packing up west coast for east coast (sob!); savoring the last minutes, hugs, and kisses with my brother, his family, and my parents; and waking up at 3 am to catch a 5:15 am cross country flight (no joke), I have had little time to thoughtfully compose the resolutions. So stay tuned! Until then, here is a recipe for some zucchini savory pancakes — nutritious and delicious.

 

Ingredients:

 

Ingredients

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How To: Meal Planning

My dear friend from childhood Katy is not only a good runner, but also a phenomenal teacher, mother, wife, and on-top-of-it-resident-chef.  Moreover, she is my 100% inspiration in terms of meal planning and cooking for her family. She is so impressive that I don’t know where to start — on top of being a full time teacher and mother of two she manages to cook 6 nights a week for her family by meal planning and organizing the menus two weeks at a time! As someone who needs guidance and help, I was fortunate to be able to sit down with her and ask a bzillion (sorry there are so many — worth reading through, PROMISE) about how she is able to meal plan.  It saves her time, indecision, and money.

 

Pinterest at its finest !

Pinterest at its finest !

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The Forest Feast Peanut Butter Coconut Balls

yum

 

One of the things I love most about spending my summers in Oregon with my parents is my mother’s cooking *AND* her collection of cookbooks. She literally could open up a cookbook library.  This past week, I came across a cookbook, The Forest Feast, given last year to my mother by my bestie. This cookbook is not only beautiful, but the vegetarian recipes are healthy, easy, and simple.   Here is my first find: peanut butter – coconut – no bake balls!  SO DELICIOUS!

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