Saturday, June 20, 2015



A Fat Dad Father’s Day

Photo
Dawn Lerman at age 10 with her father at a birthday celebration.Credit
Fat Dad
FAT DAD
Dawn Lerman writes about growing up with a fat dad.
My dad was never a morning person. No matter how many alarm clocks he would set, nothing could ever wake him. My mom often had to squirt him with cold water and I would have to tickle him under the chin so he could get to work on time. When he was little his mother, my Bubbe Mary, used to leave for work early. One morning while my dad was sleeping, there was a grease fire in a neighbor’s apartment, and my father slept through the sirens, the screaming and the firefighters breaking down the front door of his building.
My dad said that when he slept, his best ideas came to him — including some of the award-winning slogans for the campaigns he created. But as much as he enjoyed sleeping, he loved eating and being pampered. Every Father’s Day my sister and I would make decorative cards, clean the house, make him a scrumptious breakfast in bed, and straighten his wall of shirts that were stacked in every corner of our brownstone — representing each new weight.
Figuring out what to prepare depended on the diet du jour and the number on the big chalkboard above the scale in our bathroom that showed his current weight. My dad weighed himself every morning, every night and after each meal, carefully displaying every victory and every setback in white chalk. He usually weighed around 350 pounds but would often fluctuate a hundred pounds on either end. We usually knew how our day would be if the numbers were going up or down. If the numbers were going down, it might be a cheat day, in which case a sweet treat was in order. If the numbers were going up, it was time for a different diet, so a day of reprieve to eat whatever he craved was mandatory to reboot his metabolism.
Since Father’s Day is always on a Sunday, there was a lot more freedom in my menu selection. I always enjoyed making something new. I had made sweet cheese blintzes, a Jewish crepe, from scratch several times with my maternal grandmother, Beauty, when we lived in Chicago, but never by myself. When I called Beauty for guidance, she said that since I was almost 10, which was her age when she started making the blintzes for her family and the boarders who lived in her home, she knew I could do it. But my grandmother always thought I could do everything perfectly, which was not always the case — especially when it came to singing and dancing, which were my sister’s fortes.
The trick to not being overwhelmed was to make the blintzes in two parts. In the evening, I could make the crepes for the shell and fill them so they would have time to set overnight and be ready for frying in the morning. Beauty said the smell of the blintzes frying in butter could arouse even the deepest of sleepers. With my grandmother’s encouragement, I began gathering the cheese for the filling, and the sour cream, powdered sugar and strawberries for the topping.
According to Beauty, the secret to making the perfect blintzes was to get the crepe paper-thin. “It is all in all the wrist,” she would say. I remember, when I was little, watching her effortlessly tilt the hot pan as she poured in the batter of flour, egg and milk. She would carefully swirl the batter to coat the bottom of the cast-iron skillet evenly. After about 30 seconds, she would run a knife around the edge of the crepe to prevent it from sticking. I had seen my grandmother prepare the blintzes so many times that I was confident that I could replicate them. Ever since I was big enough to reach the counter with a step stool, I had helped mix, fill and roll.
I decided to wait till my parents went out to begin the process, for a couple of reasons. One, my mother was usually annoyed when I took on elaborate cooking projects; the kitchen was too small, she said, and her papers, spread over the counters, would get ruined. Usually, her only clue that I had used the kitchen was that her papers were put back much more neatly than before she left. And two, I wanted my dad to be totally surprised. Blintzes were one of his favorite dishes from his childhood — something saved for very special occasions.
With my mother out of the house, I carefully made the crepes just as my grandmother had showed me, filling them with sweetened cheese and a touch of lemon. When I began frying them the next morning, the buttery aroma that filled the air did not wake my dad, but my mother and sister flew into the kitchen. Even my mother, who was not usually excited about food, begged for a bite.
My mother and sister helped me arrange the wooden tray to take to my dad in bed. It took only moments for him to arise as we presented him with the tray of blintzes and a cup of Taster’s Choice instant coffee — his favorite coffee since he created the advertising campaign that introduced the brand in the United States and made it the No. 1 coffee.
As we all nibbled on the blintzes, I realized Father’s Day was not only about spoiling my dad but also about coming together as a family — using the recipes that had conjured fond memories from my parents’ past and creating new ones together.
Video
PLAY VIDEO|1:19
 

Cheese Blintz

Cheese Blintz

How to make a cheese blintz.
 By Andrew Scrivani on Publish DateJune 14, 2013.
Beauty’s Cheese Blintzes
My grandmother used to call these little packages of love. Thin dough around sweetened cheese, topped with fresh fruit. Perfect for brunch or anytime you want to make loved ones feel special.
For the crepe batter:
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
Butter for frying
For the cheese filling:
12 ounces farmer’s cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
Toppings:
Powdered sugar
Strawberries, sliced thin
Dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt
Preparation:
Prepare batter. In a large bowl combine eggs, milk, salt and vanilla and blend well. Gradually add flour. Beat well until there are no lumps in the batter.
Note: The blintzes have a better texture if the batter rests for half an hour at room temperature. You can also let the filling chill for half an hour in the refrigerator. If the batter gets too thick while it is sitting, you can thin it with a little bit of cold water.
Make the filling. Combine all of the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix together until smooth.
To make the crepes:
1. Grease a 6- or 7-inch skillet until it is hot but not smoking.
2. Put a ladleful of batter into the skillet. Tilt pan to swirl the batter so it covers the bottom of the skillet.
3. Fry on one side until bubbles form and the top is set. The bottom should be golden brown. Carefully loosen edges of the crepe and slip it out of the skillet onto a plate.
4. Repeat the above procedure until all the batter is used. Grease skillet each time before pouring batter.
5. After all the crepes are made, begin filling them. The brown side should be facing up. Place 3 tablespoons of filling on one edge.
6. Roll once to cover filling. Fold the sides into the center and continue rolling until completely closed.
7. After all the blintzes are assembled, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet and place each crepe, seam side down, in the skillet and fry 2 minutes on each side, turning once.
8. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt, and garnish with fresh strawberries and a touch of powdered sugar.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fat Dad: Baking for Love-- The World's Best Brownie


 

Fat Dad: Baking for Lov

Photo
Dawn Lerman in pigtails, before her makeover.Credit
Fat Dad
FAT DAD
Dawn Lerman writes about growing up with a fat dad.
My grandmother Beauty always told me that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach, and by the look of pure delight on my dad’s face when he ate a piece of warm, homemade chocolate cake, or bit into a just-baked crispy cookie, I grew to believe this was true. I had no doubt that when the time came, and I liked a boy, that a batch of my gooey, rich, chocolatey brownies would cast him under a magic spell, and we would live happily ever.
But when Hank Thomas walked into Miss Seawall’s ninth grade algebra class on a rainy, September day and smiled at me with his amazing grin, long brown hair, big green eyes and Jimi Hendrix T-shirt, I was completely unprepared for the avalanche of emotions that invaded every fiber of my being. Shivers, a pounding heart, and heat overcame me when he asked if I knew the value of 1,000 to the 25th power. The only answer I could think of, as I fumbled over my words, was “love me, love me,” but I managed to blurt out “1E+75.” I wanted to come across as smart and aloof, but every time he looked at me, I started stuttering and sweating as my face turned bright red. No one had ever looked at me like that: as if he knew me, as if he knew how lost I was and how badly I needed to be loved.
Hank, who was a year older than me, was very popular and accomplished. Unlike other boys who were popular for their looks or athletic skills, Hank was smart and talented. He played piano and guitar, and composed the most beautiful classical and rock concertos that left both teachers and students in awe.
Unlike Hank, I had not quite come into my own yet. I was shy, had raggedy messy hair that I tied back into braids, and my clothes were far from stylish. My mother and sister had been on the road touring for the past year with the Broadway show “Annie.” My sister had been cast as a principal orphan, and I stayed home with my dad to attend high school. My dad was always busy with work and martini dinners that lasted late into the night. I spent most of my evenings at home alone baking and making care packages for my sister instead of coercing my parents to buy me the latest selection of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans — the rich colored bluejeans with the swan stitched on the back pocket that you had to lie on your bed to zip up. It was the icon of cool for the popular and pretty girls. I was neither, but Hank picked me to be his math partner anyway.
With every equation we solved, my love for Hank became more desperate. After several months of exchanging smiles, I decided to make Hank a batch of my chocolate brownies for Valentine’s Day — the brownies that my dad said were like his own personal nirvana. My dad named them “closet” brownies, because when I was a little girl and used to make them for the family, he said that as soon as he smelled them coming out of the oven, he could imagine dashing away with them into the closet and devouring the whole batch.
After debating for hours if I should make the brownies with walnuts or chips, or fill the centers with peanut butter or caramel, I got to work. I had made brownies hundreds of times before, but this time felt different. With each ingredient I carefully stirred into the bowl, my heart began beating harder. I felt like I was going to burst from excitement. Surely, after Hank tasted these, he would love me as much as I loved him. I was not just making him brownies. I was showing him who I was, and what mattered to me. After the brownies cooled, I sprinkled them with a touch of powdered sugar and wrapped them with foil and red tissue paper. The next day I placed them in Hank’s locker, with a note saying, “Call me.”
Photo
Dawn Lerman at a high school party.Credit
After seven excruciating days with no call, some smiles and the usual small talk in math class, I conjured up the nerve to ask Hank if he liked my brownies.
“The brownies were from you?” he asked. “They were delicious.”
Then Hank invited me to a party at his house the following weekend. Without hesitation, I responded that I would love to come. I pleaded with my friend Sarah to accompany me.
As the day grew closer, I made my grandmother Beauty’s homemade fudge — the chocolate fudge she made for Papa the night before he proposed to her. Stirring the milk, butter and sugar together eased my nerves. I had never been to a high school party before, and I didn’t know what to expect. Sarah advised me to ditch the braids as she styled my hair, used a violet eyeliner and lent me her favorite V-neck sweater and a pair of her best Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.
When we walked in the door, fudge in hand, Hank was nowhere to be found. Thinking I had made a mistake for coming and getting ready to leave, I felt a hand on my back. It was Hank’s. He hugged me and told me he was glad I finally arrived. When Hank put his arm around me, nothing else existed. With a little help from Cupid or the magic of Beauty’s recipes, I found love.

Photo
CreditAndrew Scrivani for The New York Times
Fat Dad’s ‘Closet’ Brownies
These brownies are more like fudge than cake and contain a fraction of the flour found in traditional brownie recipes. My father called them “closet” brownies, because when he smelled them coming out of the oven he could imagine hiding in the closet to eat the whole batch. I baked them in the ninth grade for a boy that I had a crush on, and they were more effective than Cupid’s arrow at winning his heart.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Fresh berries or powdered sugar for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.
3. In a double boiler, melt chocolate. Then add butter, melt and stir to blend. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla and mix well.
4. Add flour. Mix well until very smooth. Add chopped walnuts if desired. Pour batter into greased baking pan.
5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until set and barely firm in the middle. Allow to cool on a rack before removing from pan. Optional: garnish with powdered sugar, or berries, or both.
Yield: 16 brownies

Dawn Lerman is a New York-based health and nutrition consultant and founder of Magnificent Mommies, which provides school lectures, cooking classes and workshops. Her series on growing up with a fat father appears occasionally on Well.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Snowballs That Won’t Give You The Chills!



This high protein treat is actually a super star snack. It is loaded with protein, omega three fatty acids and antioxidants. Looks like candy but filled with filled with brain boosting nutrition. Perfect for a cold weather snack.

Yield 8-10






Ingredients:

1 cup of almond butter
2 Tablespoons of honey
1/2 cup of coco powder
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1 teaspoon of Sea Salt
¼ teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup coconut flakes

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except coconut in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Form into balls. Refrigerate for ten minutes. When chilled, roll in the coconut flakes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Power of Super Foods—Fall Pumpkin Treats



The Power of Pumpkin

Pumpkins- Are not only fun to carve into scary shapes but they are nutritional powerhouses. The flesh of the pumpkin is loaded with many anti-oxidants--vitamin A, C and E. And the seeds are loaded with the important immune boosting mineral zinc. So if you are looking to fight the flu naturally this season try adding pumpkin seeds, pumpkin muffins and all kinds of pumkin purees into your fall diet.

Pumpkin Chip Muffins



Ingredients:
3/4 cups pumpkin puree
8 ounces dates, finely chopped
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 tablespoons maple syrup, grade B
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cups finely ground walnuts
1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon ground flax seeds


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a high-speed blender combine, pumpkin puree, dates, vanilla, coconut oil and maple syrup until creamy. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the oats, ground walnuts, coconut, cinnamon, flax seeds, salt and baking powder until well combined. Stir in the pumpkin mixture, then fold in the chocolate chips.
Spoon dough into balls and flatten with a back of a fork. Bake for 15 minutes or until they are brown. Let cool before serving

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Super Minerals For Super Health





Minerals are essential for a variety of bodily functions including strong bones, teeth, blood, skin, hair, nerve function and metabolic processes that turn the food we eat into energy. But due to depleted soils, fast foods and picky eaters, many kids and moms are not getting the minerals they need, which means the vitamins they are eating are not being absorbed because minerals are the carrier of nutrients to our cells. 

If our cells are fed the right nutrients our immune systems are supercharged and our bodies function at its optimal capacity.


Some minerals to include in your diet every day are:


 Iron-- You need iron to carry oxygen throughout your body. Without it, you may end up feeling tired and even have trouble thinking straight.  Some of the best sources are oysters, beef, chicken, raisins, spinach and fortified cereals, chickpeas and  prunes

 Potassium-- Potassium helps regulate blood pressure by offsetting the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that a diet high in sodium and low in potassium doubles a person's risk of death from heart disease. Some of the best sources are bananas, baked potatoes, raisins, tomatoes and artichokes, avocados, cantaloupe.

Calcium: Calcium is needed to build strong bones and teeth, but it also helps regulate your heart beat and helps prevent PMS Like potassium, calcium helps regulate blood pressure . Some of the best sources are organic milk, yogurt, cottage cheese spinach, beans, broccoli and dark leafy greens

 Magnesium: One of the most underrated minerals, magnesium is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in your body. Magnesium provides energy, helps keep your cells healthy and strong and enables your cells to communicate with one another and enhance optimal functioning. Magnesium also helps regulate blood pressure, keeps your bones strong and prevents insulin resistance and migraine headaches.
Some of the best sources are bran cereal, brown rice, almonds, Swiss chard and molasses.

 Zinc: Zinc is critical for keeping your immune system strong. It fights infection, making you less likely to catch a cold or the flu. It also helps wounds heal and  helps women have healthier pregnancies. Some of the best sources are oysters, crab, beef and pork and almond butter, oatmeal, wheat germ and eggs.

If you  feel you are not getting enough minerals through the food you are eating or you are low energy or your kids are having trouble focusing in school, consider adding a mineral supplement. My favorite one is Hu minerals. It carries over 79 major & trace  minerals, every mineral the body requires in one supplement. And they have it in different forms.  Www.humineral.com. Since I have turned so many clients onto it they have given me a special prom code. Call 888-765-0087 and ask for moms minerals special.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Who says nutritious can't be delicious? Healthiest back to school cookies



Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Makes 18 medium cookies


Are you looking for an easy lunch box treat or healthy after school snack? These protein packed cookies are flourless and guilt free. Yes nutritious can be delicious!


Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup natural peanut butter (make sure there is no oil) or sun butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
I teaspoon flax seeds
1-teaspoon baking powder
½ cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
3. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. With wet hands, form into 1 ½ inch balls. The mixture will be a little sticky. Then press cookies onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
5.Bake for about 10 minutes or until brown.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Impress Your Guests this Labor Day with a Healthy Festive Cake


 Butterfly Cake by Sofia 























Ingredients:

1¾ cups spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1-teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup melted coconut oil
½ milk of choice
¾ coconut sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray pan with cooking spray or grease with coconut oil.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and set aside.
Mix melted coconut oil, milk, coconut sugar, and vanilla. Stir in mashed bananas and mix well.
Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients. Mix well
Fill pan. Do not overfill as the cake will rise

Monday, June 9, 2014

Why head to the ice cream truck when you can make this delicious treat at home


Vegan Chocolate Chip Peppermint Ice Cream 

4-6 servings 

 Ingredients: 
1 3⁄4 cups organic cashews or cashew pieces
 ½ milk of choice/ coconut, almond, rice, soy
1 cup of ice cubes
1/2 cup maple syrup or a couple drops of stevia
2 teaspoons alcohol-free peppermint flavor
 4 teaspoons coco powder
1/4-teaspoon spirulina powder
Chocolate chips for garnish

Directions: 
Combine the cashews, water, sweetener, peppermint flavor, spirulina and coco powder in a high-speed blender. Blend on high for at least 1 minute. Scoop out, garnish with chips and serve immediately.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Super Foods For Super Strong Bones



Children need proper nutrients to grow. The junky diet of chicken nuggets, pizza and french fries doesn’t cut it. Since kids' bodies are constantly changing and their bones are still developing, they need the right fuel to make their bones grow and move properly. Making sure your kids eat a few bone-boosting super foods everyday is an easy way to ensure your child's bone health.

These best foods include... 
Giving your kids beans, especially pinto, black, white and kidney beans, is extremely beneficial to the growth and health of their bones. Beans will give them an extra boost of magnesium and calcium.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that enables the absorption of calcium in the body. There are not too many foods that contain high amounts of vitamin D but some varieties of fish do. Eating salmon, tuna, and mackerel provides vitamin D that the body will store for future use.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt contain very high amounts of it. Consuming enough calcium is crucial as most of it is in the bones. Eating dairy products which are so rich in calcium promote bone growth and by giving your kids dairy products consistently will keep their bones strong for life. I love organic, and raw dairy products. Many people have allergies, but there are plenty of great alternatives.

Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and swiss chard are packed with bone-building nutrients like Vitamin K and Magnesium. Vitamin K helps to form bone protein and cuts down on calcium loss. Green cocktail are great for your overall health.

Calcium and vitamin D do play a major role in the strength of our bones, but so does magnesium. Magnesium is also stored in our bone and is necessary for the storage of calcium. All seeds are great sources for Magnesium, especially pumpkin and chia seeds.


Soy is a legume that is also very rich in calcium. Soy products like soymilk, miso, tofu, edamame and tempeh are good sources and are easy to prepare or buy in the store. Eating soy foods are good for creating more bone density; denser bones equal stronger bones.

Water is great for the functioning of any part of the body including the bones. Tap water in particular contains fluoride, which is a necessary component of your bones and adds density making them stronger. I am still researching this as there is mixed research on fluoride. I do by my toothpaste with out fluoride.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A taste of nostalgia -- Matzah Brie-



Matzah Brei



Matzah Brei is one of my childhood favorites. I used to love the smell of the frying butter from my grandmothers kitchen. I have tweaked her classic recipe a tad by using whole -wheat matzah instead of plain and adding a little bit of flax seeds to the eggs mixture. I also fried it in coconut oil and topped it with homemade applesauce. The result is a soft sweet nostalgic treat



Ingredients
6 sheets of matzoh
4 eggs
¼ Boiling water
Salt and white pepper
Teaspoon of flax seeds
Homemade chunky Applesauce for garnish 
Coconut oil for frying

Directions

In a large bowl, break matzah into pieces. Sprinkle with a little boiling water to soften

While matzah is softening, beat eggs and mix in flax seeds. Pour over softened matzah,  Mix well.

Pour mixture into hot, oiled frying pan and cook over medium heat, stirring until matzah brei is dry but not crisp.  Turn whole mixture at one time. Remove form pan. Slice and top with applesauce