◊ A New Year


Dear mom,

Since my last letter about wanting to switch things up and your go-ahead to do so, I spent some time wracking my brain about what that can look like. What parts of my communication with you do I want to leave behind and what do I want more of?

More self-assuredness, less complaining. I’m doing X. Rather than I think I’m doing X, but it might be a bad idea and I have no idea if it will work out. More curiosity and less dismissiveness. Like, I should actually try your recipes! More gratitude, less worry. Even if I fail my Arabic midterm, I’ve learned a lot.

It’s a nice meditation for this time of year – the reflection period between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur that encourages us to think about these things.

Here’s my first take:

I feel excited about school projects. I’m happily participating in the cleanse. My house threw a big party this weekend and no one called the cops or threw up on the floor. How are you doing? It sounds like you’re having fun in Portland – visiting your favorite book stores, cafes and happy hours.

The cleanse has been great for me this year. It always pushes me to be more creative with food. Now that we’ve incorporated a $$ challenge – to spend no more than $4.10, the national average food stamp benefit on food for each of the ten days of the cleanse – there’s an extra push. I’m cooking and thinking more.

Last Monday after Rosh Hashana services, I made a beeline for the grocery store. I had fun in there at first – hunting for sales, picking the least-bruised/mushy produce from the 99 cent bin in the back of the store, grabbing just a teeny bit of arugula instead of a huge bagful. I miraculously kept the bill under $30. But by the end I was tired. Out of all the food I bought, I didn’t even have a snack to munch on during my walk home.

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It took a lot of time. I spent almost 45 minutes in the grocery store! It was fun … but what if I had a job? The 99 cent bin at Berkeley Bowl was swarming with customers at only 2pm. If I had a job and couldn’t get to the store til 5 or 6, I wonder if there’d still be good food.

I concentrated really hard in the checkout process. I selected yogurt I thought was on sale, but it rung up as $7.50 (!!). I asked about the sale, and the guy said that the sale was on the regular yogurt, not the organic. So I put it back.

Once I got back to the house with bags and bags of “imperfect” 99 cent produce, I had to prep it right away. I was on my feet for almost three hours dissecting brown spots out of apples, scrubbing dirty potatoes, carving into squash. It was therapeutic – I listened to my favorite podcast and enjoyed washing, chopping and putting things into tupperwear. But I can’t imagine doing the same job with hungry kids and a long list of other priorities tugging at my sleeves.

Five days later, I’m sick of eating sweet potatoes, the thought of brussel sprouts makes me nauseous and I can’t do more lentils. The homemade soy milk endeavor was not worth it.

I’m sending you cleanse-friendly recipes with their cost breakdowns. The hardest part of this whole thing is the math.

Can’t wait to hear more about your Portland adventures and to see you in a week.

xo,

Shaina

Ps. To learn more about the cleanse, check out our site – 10yamimclean. We’re doing a big fundraiser for global food justice via AJWS. AJWS will match all donations made before Oct 2!

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Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Serves 5 – 7

Cost per serving: $1.55

Gluten free, vegan, tree nut free, grain free, paleo friendly

Sauce:

  • 1 jar roasted red peppers $2.85
  • 3 cloves garlic (no kissing tonight!) $0.20
  • 1 tbs flax meal (leftover from summer subletter)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds $4.35
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
Noodles:
  • 4-5 long green zucchini, zoodled, peeled or vegettied *see below (free from garden)
  • 1 tsp olive oil $0.17
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped $0.20

Total cost: $7.77

Per serving: $1.55

Sauce:

Combine all ingredients in food processors and puree until smooth. Keep refrigerated.

Noodles:

With “vegetti” (my fav new kitchen tool), peeler or mandolin, shave zucchini into strips aka noodles – #zoodles.

Heat pan in olive oil and add chopped onions. Cook on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes til transluscent. Add zoodles and cook for 7 – 10 minutes til soft (but not mush!).

Top with creamy sauce and garnish with pumpkin seeds.

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Sweet and Salty Peanut Butter Jelly Bars

Makes 30-35 squares, about 15 servings

cost per serving: $0.61

Gluten free, vegan, tree nut free

I brought these to my Creative Non Fiction class and they went over well. I like bringing snacks to class/everywhere. I like to share. But it’s hard to budget snacks for the people when I’m struggling to budget snacks for myself. I figured that if I used basic ingredients (sorry friends, no almond-cocoa-date truffles this week), I could keep things relatively affordable. I feel very lucky that this is something I don’t have to worry about (too much) on the reg. What a gift!

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  • 2 cups puffed rice $1.5
  • 1/3 cup flax seeds((leftover from summer subletter)
  • 1/2 cup oat bran  $0.27
  • 1 cup oat meal $0.35
  • 3/4 cup unsweeteened coconut shreds $0.75
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins or other chopped fruit $1.15
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened peanut butter (leftover from summer subletter)
  • 2.5 cup pitted prunes $3.75
  • 1/2 cup flax meal (leftover from summer subletter)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk $0.75
  • 1tbs cinnamon powder
  • juice of one lemon (from tree)
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs coconut oil $0.20
  • dash of salt

(Added$0.40 for spices already in the house)

TOTAL cost: $9.12

cost per serving: $0.61

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Need to poop? Eat this.

Put peanut butter, prunes, dates, flax, cinnamon, lemon juice and vanilla into food processor. Blend until a sticky paste forms.

While the food processor is going at it, reserve 1/4 cup of coconut shreds and mix dry ingredients in your largest mixing bowl.

Heat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix coconut oil with salt remaining shredded coconut and line parchment paper with oil mixture.

With a large spatula, your hands or both, work dry ingredients into wet ones. You may need to add a bit of hot water to the fruit paste to loosen it up. Do this with caution.

Once combined, press mixture onto parchment paper so that it’s evenly distrubuted about 1 1/2 inch thick across the baking sheet. Place in oven for ten minutes, just to crisp the edges. Remove and allow to cool before scoring.

Cut bars into small squares and keep remaining crumbled in a ziplock for yogurt toppings. Keep bars in airtight container in the fridge.

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Cleanse 5776

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Ok. It’s finally time to start prepping for the fourth annual CLEANSE — a mind/body/spirit reflection during the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. I can’t believe how fast our New Year is creeping up on us. 

Arielle and I decided to add a new element for year 5776. Along with the regular food rules (listed below and here), we’re asking people to spend no more than the national average food stamp benefit – $4.10 daily – on food for the ten days of the cleanse. We expect that nourishing our bodies with a whole foods, vegan diet (reminder of rules below) will be nearly impossible on this budget. So, we’re be asking people to match the amount spent over the allotted budget in a charitable donation to the American Jewish World Service. We’ve built a donation page here.

Access to healthy food in America is a challenge that can be easy to ignore. It’s important to feed ourselves with nourishing foods, and we feel it’s  important to remember how difficult it can be for others to do the same .We hope that this cleanse will not only spark reflection on our own personal health, but also on how we can contribute to the health of others. I think that this challenge will inspire gratitude for the current abundance of resources in our lives. 

We know that this year will be more challenges than previous ones. Our blog, 10yamimclean, provides support and a forum for dialogue. On the blog, we’ll post recipes and resources that  related to food justice — we encourage you to do the same. Shoot us an email with a reflection, recipe or question, and we’ll through it up on the blog (and give you credit unless you specify otherwise). When you send recipes, please include a cost breakdown or rough estimate of cost. An example of what this looks like is below. 

Happy Cleansing!

 DSCF8300White Bean Kale Burgers

5-7 servings

$1.08 per serving

  • 2 cups white beans, dried ($1.30)
  • 4 cups kale, finely chopped (from garden)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped  (from garden)
  • 2 red onions ($0.55)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($0.25)
  • 2 eggs ($0.40)
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped ($2.00)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • dash of chipotle seasoning
  • fresh herbs on hand, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal ($0.30)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbs olive oil (0.17)

(+ roughly $1 for spices)

($1.30+$0.55+$0.25+$0.40+$2.00+$0.30+$0.17+$1 ) = $5.97.

I averaged this recipe for 5 1/2 servings… I eat a lot. It came down to $1.08 per serving. Not bad!

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Submerge beans in water and soak for 7 hours. Then, cook on high heat until tender. You can do this in bulk a few days before and use leftover beans for other recipes.
In large mixing bowl, combine kale and beans and mash until almost a paste. Add 2 tablespoons of the cornmeal and remaining ingredients except for olive oil. Refrigerate mix for at least 20 minute.
Preheat oven to 300 F.

Place remaining cornmeal on a plate. Coat hands in olive oil and form  5-8 patties about 1/2 inch thick.  Dredge both sides of the burgers in cornmeal. Transfer to non-stick or parchment covered baking sheet and bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

I (Shaina) just did my first cost-breakdown of a recipe. Ow, my brain!

It took a lot of time. It was boring. And tedious. I kept losing count.

Some people do this every day – every meal – every visit to the grocery store, pantry and kitchen shelve.

In asking you to calculate the cost of your food as you share recipes, we don’t want you to be overwhelmed or for you to be intimidated by the thought of this task. Rather, we want to encourage you to think about cost before consuming. It’s ok to post estimates. You can guess prices when you aren’t sure and round numbers as you wish. But also think.

Here’s a great resource on how to calculate recipe costs: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/07/how-to-calculate-recipe-costs/

Cleanse Rules:
For the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we will undertake an intensive reflection of the mind/body/spirit connection. We will only consume:
 

Vegan foods – no products derived from animals (no meat, eggs, dairy, honey, etc.)

Gluten-free foods – nothing made with wheat

Unprocessed foods – nothing packaged with more than three ingredients

Unsweetened foods – no added sugar, honey, agave, etc.

Alcohol-free beverages 

An exception to the above rules above is the inclusion of organic eggs and yogurt that is organic, plain, stabilizer- and additive-free. This is a personal choice.

◊ Switching it up

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Dear mom,

It sure is nice to have someone believe in me.

Dear Internet,

This must be weird for you.

Mom, our exchange has become too predictable. In the three (!!) years we’ve been writing, our letters have become a looping pattern…

Me: I’m stressed and everything is chaos and what is my life?!

You: Oy vey, I’m so worried about you! I’m worried, I’m worried, I’m worried, but you should NOT worry! You’re fine… you’re great! And yoga helps.

Me: Ummm thanks, you’re a weirdo and I’m still confused about my life. Ps. I have principles.

You: Wow, sounds like you’re doing great (I’MSOWORRIED). Maybe you should lay down in shivasana. Dad and I miss you. We love sitting around the house.

And on and on and on and on.

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I’m bored. Should we make an effort to switch it up? Or is this what our communication looks like? Do I come across to you as a stressy 20-something deep in crisis, in need of bimonthly pep talks from my mother?

This was my first week back at school. It feels good to be back and I am calm (what). My move back to Berkeley went smoothly (what). Being confused about my schedule does not count as a crisis.

first day of school

first day of school

Yeah, I’m switching it up.

It’s almost Rosh Hashana and after four of our annual whole foods diet “cleanses” (reflection on the mind/body/spirit connection) during the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, Arielle and I feel bored.  This year, along with the food rules, we’re asking participants to spend no more than the national average food stamp benefit – $4.10 daily – on food for the ten days of the cleanse. I expect that nourishing my body with a whole foods, vegan diet will be nearly impossible on this budget. So, we’re be asking people to match the amount spent over the allotted budget in a charitable donation to a food justice org. I’ll lay out the details in another post.

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It was really nice to sit around the house with you and dad before school started. The mega-eating (new term) marathon, prepping vegetables from the farm and hanging out were all treats. I weirdly miss home!

Anyway. Thanks for the pep talks, horrible pictures and congenital neuroses. Thanks for indulging the crazy in me. And believing in me always.

xo,

Shaina

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Different from my usual recipes with 1 million + ingredients, this one is simple, simple, SIMPLE.

Also, I’ve been roasting beets for years with the same method – wrap them in foil and sticking them in the oven with whatever else is in there. For this recipe, I steamed them in the oven with water and vinegar. I’m hooked.

Thyme Marinated Beets with Crushed Hazelnuts 

Serves 5-8 as appetizer

  • 3 – 4 different colored beets (I used chiogga and yellow)
  • ½ cup Sherry or red wine vinegar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1  shallot, chopped
  • 5-8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • good black pepper
  • good sea salt

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Preheat oven to 425°. Combine whole, unpeeled beets, ¼ cup vinegar, salt and ¼ cup water in a pan or dish Cover with foil and steam 45 minutes. When cool, remove skins with fingers (they should slide off). Slice beets thinly with knife or mandolin.

Toss beets with shallot, thyme, remaining ¼ cup vinegar, and olive oil . Season with salt and good pepper and let sit for at least two hours. Before serving, garnish with hazelnuts and extra thyme sprigs.

*This dish is even better the next day – – beets can be marinated 2 days ahead of time.

◊ Cleanse 5775

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Dear mom,

I am writing out of turn to share my cleanse experience and recipes while they’re fresh … I know you won’t have a chance to write before you get back from Portland next week.

Many of our readers know about the annual Cleanse, where a group of us adhere to special dietary restrictions during the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur to deepen mind/body/spirit connection.

I broke my Yom Kippur fast and cleanse last night on bagels and chocolate chip cookies. I have been noshing refined sugary gluten all morning and I miss the cleanse.

The diet itself isn’t so remarkable to me. I basically eat according cleanse rules always. But the cleanse was particularly meaningful this year because of all of the people who contributed their thoughts and recipes. It’s fun to share this experience and to be part of a group aiming toward introspection and healing. Three friends (two of whom live on separate continents) wrote personal letters to me re their cleanses. I was moved by their thoughts and realized how grateful I am A.) for the internet B.) for the friendships that remain across far distance and C.) for having an idea that was taken seriously (it’s been awhile).

The cleanse Shabbat that we were able to prepare together during your visit was also special. It was nice to introduce you to my life and friends here!

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I added a ten-minute daily meditation to my cleanse this year. I did it but couldn’t really do it. I followed the rules of the meditation app I downloaded, but couldn’t quiet my mind from thoughts of almond butter, school assignments and dinner party planning. I don’t get the point of a blank mind for a whole ten minutes every day. Meditation did not change my life – it just annoyed me.

I am thinking about doing a cleanse each month for a week around Rosh Chodesh (the start of new moon cycles and Jewish months). It’s a nice way to start new periods of time – to re-set my body and mind.

I know your cleanse was a little different this year since you were traveling, but I’m still looking forward to hearing about it. Below are my star recipes from Cleanse 5775.

xo,

Shaina

 

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Roasted tahini-miso tzimmes over creamy Kamut berries

Serves: 7-10

Prep time: 50 minutes

Roasted tahini-miso tzimmes:

  • 3 tbs miso
  • 3 tbs tahini
  • 2 tbs honey (optional)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • zest and juice of 2 navel oranges
  • 1/3 c sesame seeds
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 4 c acorn squash, chopped into 2 in pieces
  • 2 c butternut squash, chopped into 2 in pieces
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced in half and quartered
  • 2 c fresh figs, sliced in half
  • 1 red onion, sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine miso, tahini, olive oil, orange juice, sesame seeds and spices into a thick paste. Then, toss with squash, carrots, onions and figs. Lay flat on a baking sheet and bake for 25 – 40 minutes until golden brown on the edges. Stick a fork in the squash to make sure it’s all the way cooked through. Squash should be tender on the inside and golden on the outside.

 

Creamy Kamut Berries

  • 5 c prepared Kamut Berries
  • 1/3 c golden raisins
  • 1/3 c toasted pistachios
  • 1/3 c toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tbs tahini
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh basil (reserve some for garnish)

 

Toss all ingredients together – the tahini will make the Kamut berries nutty and creamy!

Serve the tzimmes over warm Kamut and garnish with chopped basil.

 

 

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Pink Bean Dip
  • 3 c white beans
  • 3 roasted beets, peeled
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/ 2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 c very toasted walnut pieces
  • drizzle of olive oil for garnish
Put all ingredients except for walnut pieces into food processor and pulse for a minute. Add walnut pieces and pulse for another 1/2 minute. All ingredients should be incorporated into a rough, chunky puree – some nuts pieces should remain. Add salt and pepper as needed and drizzle with olive oil before serving. Can be served with apple slices, celery sticks, carrots, etc.

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◊ Filling space

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Dear mom,

I don’t want you to feel responsible for me feeling responsible for your worry. I’m not blaming you for it either. I’m just telling you how I feel. Isn’t that what you want? Such mixed messages! …  And more mother-induced trauma.

Just kidding. I’m over it. Glad that you and your chaise finally found homes.

Home. Some people seem to slide in easily. They appear comfortable in their space no matter what surrounds them. I am not one of those people. I’ve re-made home enough to know that I must put deliberate effort into feeling oriented and grounded. The process is always slow and harrowing.IMG_6234

I try to expedite it by walking around aimlessly (usually in the direction of a grocery store) to learn the grounds. I mark new territory with familiar scents  – I burn candles, incense, cookies. I fill new space with things that mark my permanence – glass containers of grains and spices, tubs of tea, jars of oils and lotions, bottles of nail polish.  Also rituals. Tea in the morning; Shabbat dinner; roasting vegetables Sunday afternoon; long runs on the weekend.

One of my favorite time and space-marking rituals is our annual Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur Cleanse. It helps me understand the passage of time, connect with my body and reflect. This year’s cleanse seems particularly important.

As is, the cleanse dietary rituals are easy for me. I want an additional mind-body challenge.

Rebecca inspired me to consider meditation as a daily practice. I do not have patience for stillness. Thus, I will be incorporating 10 minutes of daily meditation in my 10 day cleanse. I’m already annoyed by the time commitment, but I need to be forced to take a pause. For the past year, I have been moving at lightening speed, and I need processing time in order to feel oriented.

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In the spirit of the cleanse, below are two cleanse appropriate, Rosh Hashana inspired recipes. You will be here in three days to see my home firsthand! I’m really looking forward to shlepping you to Berkeley Bowl and making Rosh Hashana meals together.

Xo,

Shaina

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For most people, the high holidays smell like warm chunks of meet and heavy kugels. My High Holiday food memories are decorated with colorful salads. Our post-service lunches always contain a large variety of salads – big bowls of kale with avocado, pomegranate studded tabouleh, etc – for starving guests to nosh when they first arrive from after never-ending morning services. My new salad idea is just sweet enough to be Rosh Hashana appropriate: chopped apples, arugula and celery in a creamy honey- tahini dressing.

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Chopped Apples, Arugula and Celery with Creamy Honey-Tahini Dressing

Serves: 5 – 10 depending on portion size

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Dressing:

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic gloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbs honey (nix it for the cleanse)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vingegar
  • 1/3 cup crude tahini
  • plenty of fresh black pepper

Salad:

  • 4 celery stalks, sliced thinly
  • 3 – 4 good, sweet, crunchy apples, sliced thinly
  • 3 cups arugula, chopped
  • 2 medium stalks of spring onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts

First, make the dressing. Make sure your garlic is crushed well and herbs are finely chopped. Add all ingredients to a jar or bowl. Stir well, until all ingredients are combined and smooth. Add black pepper as desired. Let sit for at least one hour before use.

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No more than one hour before serving, chop celery, apples, arugula and spring onions. Toast and crush walnuts and allow to cool. Pile all ingredients in a bowl, add 1/3 c dressing and toss until apples, arugula and celery pieces are coated. Serve immediately.

 

Green Goddess Tahini Dressing

Serves: many, many salads

Prep time: 15 minutes

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This dressing livens up any salad. It’s grain mixed into grain bowls, slathered over roasted veggies or tossed into simple lettuce salads.

  • 1 bunch fresh chives
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh tarragon
  • 1 bunch fresh scallions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs tahini
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbs lemon zest
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

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Simply place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth liquid consistency is formed. Add salt and pepper too taste. If too pungent, add additional yogurt.

In the salad pictured, I topped a salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, celery, roasted beets and chopped arugula with swirls of Green Goddess dressing, tahini, a drizzle of olive oil and fresh ground black pepper.

◊ Thanks dad

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Dear dad,

Next time I question who I am, I won’t drive out to the farm to find my name. Instead I’ll look for a perfect tomato, slather it with mayo and layer it with egg in two pieces of white bread. I’m sure the egg and tomato sandwich will root me plenty. It is the food of my childhood… a summer treat that you made when mom’s work kept her late, the garden turned out beautiful home-growns or you entertained my friends and me with your attempts at the one-handed egg flip.

The other day, I had a friend over for the first time who was surprised when I said that my parents were out of town: “Your parents? I always assumed you lived with just your mom. I always hear Shaina’s mom this and Shaina’s mom that… but I’ve never hear much about your dad.”

Last week I received a check in the mail for “Shaina Schuster” and in high school I had to correct my friends: my dad isn’t Schuster… his last name is Shealy.

Mom is definitely the louder voice in our family, but please let’s not confuse her volume with her side’s influence on my nature. It might not be so apparent, but your “country roots” contribution to who I am extends a few notches beyond the egg and tomato sandwich.  Our family talks a lot about Bubbe’s kitchen and her recipes, but your mother coveted her time in the kitchen too … And let’s face it, my kitchen habits inch more towards your mom’s than Bubbe’s (who kept the ends of her curtains tied in plastic bags – curtain condoms – so they wouldn’t get dirty). Sorry, mom… I do not lament my lack of Schuster-obsessiveness.

I’m with Tom Robbins on his last-meal wishes: the egg and tomato sandwich is a perfect food.  Thanks for sharing and for sparing our readers from your second favorite sandwich – I cringe – banana and mayo on white bread.

xo,
Shaina

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I created the following recipes with The Cleanse in mind. I’m cleansing in celebration of Esrei Yamim, the ten days in between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. I’ve experimented with raw, paleo and vegan diets, but The Cleanse feels like the healthiest eating style for my body.

If you’re interested in the cleanse, visit our cleanse recipe page to get inspired and leave a comment if you want to learn more… I’m always excited for new cleanse buddies!
Mom, it’s so much easier to cleanse when I’m at home with your three freezers and three fridges stocked to their brims with nuts, dried fruits, weird flours, restaurant-sized tubs of spinach… there’s no lack of cleanse-friendly foods!

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Big Kale Salad

Tahini Dressing:

  • 4 tbs tahini paste
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp honey (optional)
  • 1/4 cup warm water if needed
  • salt and black pepper to taste

IMG_9248Kale:

  • 1 big bunch of kale, destemmed, torn into pieces
  • 1 tsp course sea salt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • dash of chipotle chili seasoning, to taste

Accoutrements:

  • 
4 medium carrots, shredded or finely chopped
  • 2 peaches or nectarines, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium golden or red beet, cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 avocado, cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup toasted sunflower, pumpkin seeds, almond slices, and/or walnuts

Make the dressing by pureeing tahini, lemon, garlic, honey, etc with an immersion blender or food processor until smooth.
Pile kale into a big bowl. Massage lemon juice, salt, paprika and chipotle chili seasoning into kale leaves. It sounds silly, but the massage is crucial… you have to exercise the leaves until they are tender. Gently rub the leaves with your hands for 2 – 5 minutes. This can be done the night before, hours before or minutes before serving.

Just before serving, combine the kale with half of the dressing and remaining ingredients. Use your hands to gently toss ingredients together. Drizzle the salad with remaining dressing if desired.

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Miso-Sesame Soba Noodles with Pan-Fried Tofu

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  • 1 package (12 oz) dried soba noodles (I like to use 100% buckwheat, but they can be hard to find and expensive. More common is a buckwheat + spelt or wheat combination.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5 shallots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons grated, peeled ginger
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cane sugar (optional)
  • 3 tbs miso paste
  • 2 tbs brown rice vinegar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • IMG_90971/2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1 package (12 oz) extra-firm tofu, sliced
  • 1/3 cup black sesame seeds
  • 2 heads of baby bok choy, chunked and steamed (or blanched)
  • 2 heads broccolini (baby broccoli), chopped into bite size pieces and steamed (or blanched)
  • 

1 bunch of chives or scallions, minced

Cook the soba noodles in well salted water, drain, rinse under cold water. Set aside.

For the dressing, combine shallot, salt, sugar, ginger and garlic in morter and pestle. Crush until ingredients are well-mashed. Heat olive oil in pan and add shallot, salt, ginger and garlic. When browned and fragrant, remove from heat and whisk with toasted sesame oil, miso, vinegar, onion and lemon zest. Stir vigorously until all ingredients are incorporated.  Set aside.

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Drain the tofu and pat it dry. Cut into matchstick shapes and season with a pinch of salt,  1/2 tbs olive oil, 1/2 tbs sesame oil, and black sesame seeds.  Cook in a large pan on medium heat until tofu is golden brown on both sides. This may take 10 – 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss the soba noodles with the veggies and dressing. Top with tofu and garnish with chives or scallions.

◊ A Left Turn Or Something

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Dear mom,

You got your wish: I’ll be home for Rosh Hashana.

My plans took a swift left turn last week… another plane ticket, another commitment; it’s real… I’m moving to Jerusalem. A year of hummus and salty cheese is reason enough.  I’m nervous and I’m laughing about it.

My deliberation over the decision was all-consuming as usual. But I learned something important: that my gut is a more informative organ than my brain. It’s smarter than the projections cast by rationale – it told me that right now I need nourishment and connection and new territory. Even though I worry about long-term stability (straight roads put me to sleep, so I seek twists and turns that sometimes just become rocky bumps what is wrong with me?!), I’m okay with stepping onto a wayward path right now. I don’t care about the weirdness.

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I’ll be home through the holidays and am excited for the Esrei Yamim Cleanse. I hope that more people join this year since we now have a whole Cleanse category in our recipe index. Can we make our Rosh Hashana menu as cleanse-friendly as possible? I’ve been practicing with the vitamix (since our reunion we’ve been inseparable – it’s pathetic) and last week, I made beautiful purees that will be perfect for Rosh Hashana appetizers and Esrei Yamim snacks. No offense – I think my beets are prettier than yours.

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I don’t have much time left to trash the house and destroy the liquor cabinet before you come home from your vacation and we hit the kitchen hard. I’m ashamed that I didn’t do more bad things while you were out of town, but I accept defeat: my parents are better at drinking alcohol than me and my friends are too good/sparse. But I still have a few hours left…

Safe travels home!

xo,

Shaina

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Razzle-dazzle Savory Beet Puree

IMG_8926This puree is creamy, earthy, deep and freaking rad. My favorite breakfast lately is a rice cake with beet puree, yogurt, avocado and salt and pepper.

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It’s also great with apples, sandwiches and vinegary salad dressings… it will be a fabulous accompaniment to honey during the rounds of Rosh Hashana apples n’ honey. And it’s so pretty!

  • 1 cup raw walnuts (or half cup walnuts, half cup cashews)
  • 2 medium beets
  • sea salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Wrap unpeeled, whole beets in foil and roast for 40 – 50 minutes. Allow to cool and peel (the peel should slip right off). Blend with remaining ingredients in food processor until a thick, psychedelic paste is formed. So simple!

Zesty Spinach Puree

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Perfect as a cracker dip or over roasted veggies.

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or cashews
  • 16 oz fresh, washed spinach
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt
  • pepper

Add all ingredients to food process and puree until desired consistency.

Perfect Cinnamon Vanilla ‘Cleanse’ Pudding

I’ve been experimenting with a cleanse-friendly pudding recipe for almost two years now – I’ve tried it with avocado, chia, flax, cashews, almonds, dates, apples…. the variations are countless. I finally got it down to the perfect result. And the recipe requires just a few basic ingredients. I have two versions to share with you: vanilla and chocolate.

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  • 1 Cup Walnuts
  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 8 de-stemmed dried figs
  • dash of cinnamon
  • tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup warm water

Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse until blended. Add more warm water if needed. Consistency should be like creamy peanut butter.

Delicious warm or cold, this “pudding” is so healthy that you can eat it for breakfast… it’s just like a bowl of oatmeal with dried fruits and nuts! It’s also satisfying as a dessert. Try it with fresh berries or peaches and a dollop of greek yogurt for a filling sweet treat.

Perfect Chocolate ‘Cleanse’ Pudding

  • 1 Cup Walnuts
  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 8 destemmed dried figs
  • dash of cinnamon
  • tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbs good cocoa powder

Layer onto a rice cake with peanut or almond butter for a healthier take on the Reese’s Cup! Or stir into greek yogurt and berries for a special treat.

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Black Sesame Amaranth Crackers

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  • 3/4 Cup raw amaranth
  • 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup black sesame seeds
  • sea salt to taste1 tsp
  • olive oil

Preheat oven to 170 degrees.

Cook amaranth (bring one part amaranth to two parts water to boil and then reduce to simmer… it takes about 20 minutes). It should be a sticky, gooey consistency… like thick oatmeal. Mix cooked amaranth with remaining ingredients. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and spread amaranth mixture into thin layers, using the back of a spatula to even it out (I covered the back of my spatula with olive oil so it wouldn’t stick to the amaranth mixture).

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Place in oven (convection bake setting is preferable) at 170 degrees for 35 – 60 minutes, depending on how thin your layer is. Remove from oven when browned as crisp. Allow to cool and gently break into cracker-size pieces. They should easily lift from the parchment paper.

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These crackers are super healthy – vegan, gluten free, etc – and great for dipping into purees or crumbling over salad or yogurt bowls.

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