“Wake up in the morning feelin’ like P-Diddy…” What does P Diddy feel like in the morning? This morning I woke up feeling like my head exploded. I’m not really sure why but I couldn’t put my engagement ring on because my fingers were too swollen…YUCK! Anyway, I promise today’s post will NOT be a nasty one.
This past weekend we celebrated Craig’s 26th birthday (I feel old). Our friends came over and we ate a ton of baked goods. The upside to all the cooking? I FINALLY got to use half of the stuff we registered for! I can *officially* say I may have too many measuring cups. It IS entirely possible to have too many.
The past few weeks have been rough for us. School. Work. New jobs (his, not mine). School. Papers. School. (School takes up A LOT of our time). The upside? Wednesday is considered a vacation day. Every year, g-d sets aside a day or two for a holiday called Shavuot. There’s biblical significance for this holiday but if you ask my aunt, the holiday is really intended as a day to enjoy dairy (unless you’re lactos intolerant). The holiday is FILLED with yummy foods including cheese cake, cheese blintzes, farmer’s salad with cottage cheese, watermelon with bulgarian cheese… OK, there’s a lot of cheese going on.
The purpose of Shavuot is not to derail my diet (although it may happen in the process) but instead to celebrates the harvest season in Israel. It’s also the anniversary of the giving of the Ten Commandments to the Israelites at Mount Sinai.Whew! But seriously, folks, let’s be honest – it’s a darn good excuse to eat the most phenomenal dairy foods you’ve ever had. No one does this holiday like the Israelis. Specifically, my aunt’s family.
Here are a few recipes enjoyed by my family. You don’t need to be Jewish to try them – I promise.
Syrian Cucumber-Mint Soup & Zucchini Soufflé
- 3 small cucumbers
- 3 (8-ounce) containers plain lowfat yogurt
- 4 ounces fat-free soft white cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
- salt to taste
- 3 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped, or 11/2 tablespoons dried
Garnish: a few extra mint leaves.
Peel cucumbers, cut into tiny pieces and set aside. In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, combine the yogurt, cheese, salt, garlic, pepper and mint. Add the prepared cucumbers. Mix and correct seasoning. Garnish with more mint.
Nutrition Facts: Serving size (cup) 1 (oz) 6 (g) 180 Calories 60 Protein (g) 6.3 Carbs (g) 3.3 Fat (g) 0.3 Sat. Fat (g) 0 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Sodium (mg) 278 Calcium (mg) 170 Fiber (g) 1 Exchanges: Lean protein/milk 1 Free vegetable 1/2
This is a great side dish and almost “free.”
Yield: 9 servings
- 1 small onion, peeled
- 6 large zucchini, peeled
- 2 whole eggs plus 3 egg whites, beaten
- 2 tablespoons soy or regular flour
- 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 1 (8-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with baking paper. Chop onion with knife attachment in food processor until very fine. Switch to the grating disc and grate the zucchinis. Squeeze well in a colander to drain all excess water. Transfer to a mixing bowl. By hand, mix in the beaten eggs, flour and mayonnaise. Combine. Add the mushrooms and dill. Season with paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spray the top with non-stick spray. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until top begins to turn golden. Lower heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 40-60 minutes, until firm.
Variation: Substitute frozen broccoli or cauliflower for the zucchini. First defrost and squeeze out excess water. These vegetables can then be chopped with the onion. Transfer to a mixing bowl and continue as above. With this variation, the mushroom and the dill are optional.