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Local residents advocate vegan diet, Vegan Challenge

When Valley resident Helen Jaffa had open-heart surgery for an aortic aneurysm nine years ago, she knew she needed to do something big to improve her health. After years of pestering from her vegan daughter, Jaffa made the decision to go completely vegan, becoming part of a trend that’s on the rise.

Wednesday 09/20/2017
A Yom Kippur break-the-fast buffet
Posted: September 20, 2017

The general rule of a break-the-fast meal seems to be simple, relatively light and requiring minimal day-of preparation.

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Wednesday 09/13/2017
Simple meals for the grill
Posted: September 13, 2017

As fall fast approaches, we continue to enjoy time outdoors, and simpler, grilled meals are the order of the day. My family recently enjoyed a meal that was cooked 100 percent on the grill — even dessert — which meant minimal cleanup and no hot, steamy kitchen.

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Say hello to these unique Rosh Hashanah drinks
Posted: September 13, 2017

Tradition dictates a glass of champagne on the secular New Year. But what can give you a nice buzz to celebrate the Jewish New Year?

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Wednesday 08/23/2017
Giving the humble Rosh Hashanah staple gefilte fish its due
Posted: August 23, 2017

The first course of the Rosh Hashanah holiday meal is often fish. Fish is symbolic of fruitfulness — “may we be fruitful and multiply like fish.” Fish is also a symbol of immortality, a good theme for the New Year.

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Creating a kosher kitchen just in time for High Holidays
Posted: August 23, 2017

In today’s world, keeping kosher and maintaining a kosher kitchen can be quite a challenge. That’s partly because our relationship with food has become increasingly complex through generations. We now have access to more sources of food than ever before, and more technology and tools to cook that food. Ingredients come from all over the world — a simple plate of lasagna might have meat from South America, tomatoes from California and spices from Southeast Asia. The diversity of options can be dizzying.

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Wednesday 08/16/2017
Four great ways to get connected and engaged with your community
Posted: August 16, 2017

Social interaction is part of being a happy, healthy human being. But all too often, we get caught up with family and work. We forget to go outside and get connected to our neighbors.

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Wednesday 07/26/2017
A surprising recipe for the nine days
Posted: July 26, 2017

As we near the end of the nine-day period leading up to Tisha B’Av, when it’s customary for Jews to refrain from eating meat, keeping dinners interesting, delicious and nutritious can be challenging.

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Wednesday 07/19/2017
Inspiration for healthy meals
Posted: July 19, 2017

Each week, North Scottsdale Organics delivers a different variety of certified organic fruits and vegetables, which offers an opportunity to try new recipes. Here is one example from its website, northscottsdaleorganics.com.

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Wednesday 07/19/2017
The J makes eating organic foods easier
Posted: July 19, 2017

Eating healthy often involves a strong dose of organic produce, and the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center (The J) is making it easier for the area Jewish community to access such food offerings.

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Wednesday 06/28/2017
Cool treats for a hot summer
Posted: June 28, 2017

As temperatures continue to rise, there is nothing like a cold treat to keep the heat at bay. As we approach the long Fourth of July weekend, I’d like to share a few recipes that are healthy and easy to make, while being deliciously cool!

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Wednesday 06/21/2017
Recipe: Scallion pancakes, a popular street food in Shanghai
Posted: June 21, 2017

These tasty pancakes are often cut into triangles and dipped into sauce. Allow yourself a bit of prep time as it takes some muscle to roll them.

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Adventures in Shanghai’s surprising Jewish cuisine
Posted: June 21, 2017

To find the Shanghai Jewish Center on a recent trip to China, I drove by a guarded gatehouse, past a series of windowless buildings to a large white villa with an elegant marble staircase and grand portico. Inside the brightly lit foyer, a Chinese woman escorted me through heavy wooden doors to what must have been the living room, but was now furnished with eight tables and a wine cabinet. Two businessmen — one in a kippah — chatted quietly over their dinner.

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Wednesday 06/07/2017
Found Food
Posted: June 07, 2017

A few years ago, my family rented a house in Jamaica, complete with a chef. One evening I saw him chopping parsley.

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Thursday 06/01/2017
Dropping Acid (From Your Diet)
Posted: June 01, 2017

We had a dinner guest who after confirming his arrival time advised us that he is on a low-acid/high-alkaline diet. This diet gained some popularity when Victoria Beckham tweeted about it a few years back. It has spread to help those suffering from reflux and associated stomach woes.

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Wednesday 05/17/2017
Shavuot treats for those on gluten-free diets
Posted: May 17, 2017

It is customary to eat dairy food on Shavuot, which is May 30 and June 1 this year, for a number of reasons. One reason is that Shavuot is linked to the Exodus from Egypt into the Promised Land, and it is written “From the misery of Egypt to a country flowing with milk and honey...” (Exodus 3:8-17).

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Wednesday 05/03/2017
Roasted foods ideal for Lag b’Omer meals
Posted: May 03, 2017

What holiday is not mentioned in the Torah or anywhere until the 13th century and has no particular foods associated with it? The answer is Lag b’Omer. The Torah commands us to begin on the second night of Passover and count the omer. Omer, which means sheaf, was a measure of grain from the new barley harvest cutting, brought to the Temple on the 16th of Nisan.

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Wednesday 04/26/2017
Chick-In offers tasty kosher meat meals for Jewish students at ASU
Posted: April 26, 2017

Jewish students at Arizona State University finally have a kosher meat restaurant on the Tempe campus they can enjoy.

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Wednesday 04/19/2017
Experimenting with tahini’s versatility
Posted: April 19, 2017

Tahini is a remarkably versatile ingredient. Its rich, nutty flavor adds unique character to everything from cookies to roasted veggies, raw veggie salads and simmer sauces. It’s not uncommon to find meatballs or fish fillets simmered in tahini when dining in Israel.

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Monday 04/10/2017
Chopped salad recipe pays tribute to New York store
Posted: April 10, 2017

Beets are a hot food trend, and many experts are singing their praises. This nutritional powerhouse is now available from Gefen, pre-peeled, vacuum-packed and ready to sweeten your Passover table or any occasion.

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Quiche for a Passover breakfast
Posted: April 10, 2017

Breakfast can be hard during Passover – no oatmeal, no toast and certainly no pancakes. (No, the boxed kind do not count.) I like making eggs or matzah brei or even shakshuka. But I am always looking for something a little different to serve as a satisfying breakfast or portable lunch.

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Wednesday 03/22/2017
‘Aussie Gourmet’ releases new Passover cookbook
Posted: March 22, 2017

Author Naomi Nachman, known as “The Aussie Gourmet,” shares some of her favorite Passover recipes that make delicious meals all year round in her debut cookbook “Perfect for Pesach: Passover Recipes You’ll Want to Make All Year, released this month by Artscroll ($30, hardcover).

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Lighten up Passover menus by adding more fish and veggies
Posted: March 22, 2017

I love serving light foods that are naturally kosher for Passover. With so much matzah, vegetable and fish dishes are often a welcome addition in my home.

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Tuesday 03/21/2017
Chef Michael Solomonov goes 'In Search of Israeli Cuisine' in new film
Posted: March 21, 2017

“I thought it was just going to be about falafel and hummus."

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Wednesday 03/08/2017
613 Grill offers Mediterranean dining
Posted: March 08, 2017

The owners of the recently opened 613 Grill in North Central Phoenix invited a friend to come sample the food two weeks before the restaurant’s official grand opening, scheduled for mid-February. The invitation, intended as a gustatory “trial run” for one person, snowballed when the guest told others about the new glatt kosher restaurant. The result was a surprise “invasion.” Almost immediately, the place was packed, said Angelika Borochov.

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Wednesday 03/01/2017
Beth Tefillah presents Passover kosher food fest
Posted: March 01, 2017

Congregation Beth Tefillah will present a Passover Kosher Food Fest 1-4 p.m. Sunday, March 19, at Allstate Appliances Showroom, 15250 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale.

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Wednesday 02/22/2017
Levi Catering expands
Posted: February 22, 2017

Rabbis and community leaders gathered at the newly opened Levi Catering on Feb. 7 to hang mezuzot, cut the ribbon and, of course, eat.

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The story behind Purim’s hamantaschen
Posted: February 22, 2017

The most important aspect of most Purim pastries is their shape. Most Ashkenazic Jews only know of hamantaschen, the triangular pastries filled with prunes or other fruit fillings. This word is taken from the German words mohn (meaning poppy seeds) and taschen (referring to pockets). Some say the pockets refer to Haman who stuffed his pockets with bribe money.

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Wednesday 02/08/2017
Slow cooking: The Jewish connection
Posted: February 08, 2017

If you’ve ever walked into a house where a slow cooker is infusing the air with tantalizing aromas, you understand why the Crock-Pot has been a staple in American homes for more than 40 years.

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Wednesday 02/01/2017
Vegan Birthright trip takes flight in August
Posted: February 01, 2017

For the first time in its nearly two-decade long history of sending young Jewish adults to Israel for a free 10-day immersive cultural experience, Birthright Israel: Mayanot will be offering a trip specializing in the vegan diet and lifestyle.

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Wednesday 01/25/2017
Kitchen cheats and short cuts
Posted: January 25, 2017

My family traveled to Vermont over the December break and, upon arrival, I succumbed to the flu.

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Wednesday 01/18/2017
New cafe opens on JCC campus
Posted: January 18, 2017

If you’ve been to the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus recently, you’ve probably noticed some big changes, including the addition of Milk + Honey, a new kosher restaurant that has replaced Levi Catering.

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Wednesday 11/23/2016
EVJCC hires chef for Challah Factory
Posted: November 23, 2016

The East Valley Jewish Community Center has hired a chef to make challah, pizza and other baked goods at its new Challah Factory.

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Wednesday 10/19/2016
Spiritual doors of prayer open when making challah
Posted: October 19, 2016

My 10-year old daughter was helping me get ready for the upcoming holiday and offered to clean up the toy room. Later that evening she remarked to me that after cleaning it all up, the room was messy again from all the kids playing with the toys. She bemoaned the fact that she even cleaned up in the first place. I laughed, and explained to her that the same thing always happens to me, too. For example, I make delicious challah and food for Shabbos each week, and then it’s eaten all up – gone! – and I have to start all over. She smiled.

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