Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Inspirations

Every year my whole family looks forward to Thanksgiving - the one holiday where we get together to eat, relax and have fun! This year will be the best one yet - since we will be coming from all over the US to gather together for great food AND great company. This year I am doing it vegan-style for my family and am excited to share colorful and flavorful, healthy dishes that will leave everyone feeling satiated, happy and healthy.

In anticipation of this Thanksgiving, I have already created my menu for this year's awesomeness:

  1. Steamed Southern Style Cornbread Muffins
  2. Pecan Crusted Seitan Cutlets
  3. Seitan Herb Stuffing
  4. Herbed Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy
  5. Whipped Maple Sweet Potatoes
  6. Creamy Root Vegetable Gratin
  7. Garlicky Green Beans
  8. Cranberry Citrus Sauce
  9. Fresh Green Salad
  10. Warm Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream
  11. Old Fashioned Apple Crisp

I hope this menu of scrumptious goodies will inspire you to make some healthy, vegan dishes to add to your holiday table. Happy festivities!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kosherfest Coming This November

Attention all you kosher business owners... Get ready to connect with the international world of kosher, at Kosherfest!

Kosherfest is a 2 day kosher food event meant for people who work in the kosher food industry to check out new kosher products as well as learn more about the upcoming trends and find out about the latest and greatest developments in the kosher food world.

Some of the events I am particularly interested in checking out in the show schedule are a discussion on "Meeting the Special Needs of the Kosher Consumer." This events will address the diverse needs of kosher clients, in terms of diet and palate, since an increasing number of kosher consumers are seeking out specialty foods as gluten-free, organic, and low-fat.

I am excited to check out"The Authors Corner," where there will be book signings and opportunities to meet cookbook authors such as:
  • Jamie Geller: Quick & Kosher: Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing, Quick & Kosher: Meals in Minutes, Joy of Kosher Magazine
  • Levana Kirschenbaum: Levana's Table, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen 
  • Gil Marks: Olive Trees and Honey, Encyclopedia of Jewish Food 
  • Jeff Nathan: Jeff Nathan's Family Suppers, Adventures in Jewish Cooking
  • Leah Schapira: Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking: Ordinary Ingredients - Extraordinary Meals
  •  Paula Shoyer: The Kosher Baker

There will also be a Kosher Culinary Competition, "Iron Chef" style. Very exciting!

Kosherfest is November 13-14, 2012 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ.

For more info, check their website: http://www.kosherfest.com/

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Natural Autumn Decor Warms Up Your Home

I love Autumn in the northeast. The rich, vibrant, golden colors surrounding us when we are outdoors inspire us to get outside more, appreciate nature and breathe in fresh, crisp air. I find that the deep burgundies, burnt oranges, rich chocolate browns and dark forest greens of the season actually help to comfort and “warm us up” as the weather begins to turn cold and we find the need to break out our knitted sweaters and scarves.

One of my favorite things to do, besides cook and bake like crazy during this season, is decorate my home. I am pretty much OBSESSED when it comes to gourds and home decorating during this time of the year. I enjoy bringing a little bit of nature’s bounty into my home and appreciating all of the rich colors, textures and scents of the season.

When I think of Autumn I think of the smell of Old Fashioned Cinnamon Apple Crisp filling my home and pumpkin everything - pies, breads, muffins, puddings. I also love making hearty soups, stews and roasted vegetables. Pretty much anything warming, creamy and comforting helps me feel nice and toasty from the inside out in this cold weather.

I love to start gathering cute little gourds, different sized edible pumpkins and squashes, pine cones and pressed leaves to arrange as centerpieces for my festive holiday tables. These inexpensive natural decorations can really help to enliven a living space and bring natural beauty into your home.

I recently had a friend over for lunch and made a beautiful arrangement using many of these items. What a difference it made! The table was all dressed up and took our meal from mediocre to fabulous!

To make your own Autumnal inspired decorations, start with some simple gourds and pumpkins. I recently found some beautiful Tiger pumpkins at my local Trader Joe's. How stunning! Mix these with an assortment of mini pumpkins or even some white pumpkins like these:

White pumpkins like these are so stunning and simple, they even look good like this, in a simple arrangement on a plate or bowl.

You could also get more creative and arrange something more elaborate like this:

Here are some other fantastic arrangements that will brighten up your Autumn table for any holiday, family gathering or upcoming Thanksgiving meal:

Here is a more elegant look for a table setting:

Check out this link for Martha Stewart's Fall Centerpieces to dress up your table and home: Martha Stewart's Fall Centerpieces

Happy decorating!