Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blueberry Cobbler With Buckwheat Crust

I made a blueberry cobbler with a buckwheat crust tonight--- It was super yummy. i am always expermenting with new
ingredients. Buckwheat was super easy to use and according to Dr Andrew Weil, it is a nutritional powerhouse.

"Buckwheat provides vitamins B1 and B2, the minerals potassium, magnesium, phosphate and iron (buckwheat contains more iron than cereal grains), and it has nearly twice the amount of the amino acid lysine found in rice. Buckwheat bran (farinetta) contains rutin, a flavonoid known to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and maintain the strength and flexibility of capillaries. A recently discovered compound in buckwheat called fagopyritol seems to have potential to help manage type II diabetes." - Dr. Weil on buckwheat

Saturday, November 21, 2009

RIverbank Park Wellness Lecture, NYC.

Today with some of my star pupils at the Riverbank Park Gymnastics Program.
These girls were eager to learn some tips on staying healthy for the winter.

lecturing at WHF on staying healthy when temperatures drop

This has been a busy month of lectures, lunch and learns, and cooking classes. The big question that is on everybody’s mind from children- to parents- to seniors is, how can we protect ourselves from the s flu naturally?

Some of my best tips for STAYING HEALTHY this flu season are as follows:

Eat leafy greens every day. Kale, spinach, seaweed and algaes are excellent sources of vitamin D, the immunity-booster we usually get from sunshine in the summertime. Some other great sources we can supplement with in the winter include wild salmon, sardines, sweet potatoes, butter and Carlson’s cod liver oil.
Vitamin C. Kiwis, Goji berries, grapefruits, oranges are great sources of vitamin C, the antioxidant we’ve known for decades to be powerful in fighting colds and flu. It is also found in cabbage, bell peppers, tomatoes, cayenne pepper, turmeric and broccoli.
Snack on almonds and sunflower seeds. They not only supply vitamin E, an antioxidant that fights off free radicals and keeps skin soft and young looking, but also are a great source of essential fatty acids to keep body systems running smoothly.
Enjoy your garlic! Garlic was once worn as a garland to ward off disease. This superstition actually has scientific basis as eating garlic can provide a variety of health benefits, including a boost to the immune system that can help defend against nasty bugs.
Spike it with ginger. Ginger, long used as a folk remedy, can open nasal passages, soothe nausea and help the immune system work.
Increase your omega 3 intake. My favorite sources of omega 3's are nuts, fish, avocados , olive oil and fish oil.
Avoid sugar and processed foods. Sugar suppreses the immune system almost immediately, and a strong immune system is key to fighting off flues and other illness.
Get plenty of sleep. If your body is overly tired it will be harder for it to fight the flu and other viruses.
Decrease stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illnesses.
Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body.
Wash your hands and face. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other places. Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap for this. Antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good.
Complex carbohydrates. Finally, don‘t overlook the power of complex carbohydrates from whole grains, sweet potatoes to beans. Our bodies need complex carbs for energy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pumpkin Cranberry and Apple Crumble

Pumpkin has a nutritious dose of potassium and the cancer-fighting antioxidant beta-carotene. It also provides vitamins C, K, E and plenty of minerals, including magnesium and iron, as well as fiber.

Pumpkin Cranberry and Apple Crumble
1 pound pumpkin or butternut squash cubes

4 apples, peeled and chopped 2 apples

2 teaspoons butter (or cocunut oil)

1/4 cup agave nector or sugar. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 1/4 cup dried cranberries
For the crumble topping:
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour 
1/4 cup almond meal
1 cup rolled oats (
1/4 cup maple syrup or agave3-4 tablespoons butter (Put butter in the freezer when you start the recipe.)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Cut pumpkin or butternut squash into same-size cubes, about 1/2 inch square. (About 4 cups cut cubes.)
3. Melt 2 teaspoons butter in large non-stick frying pan and sauté squash over low heat while you cut up apples. As you peel and cut apples into small pieces, add it to frying pan, then add agave, cinnamon, apple pie spice and cranberries. Cook the mixture until pumpkin or squash is soft, about 10 minutes.
4. While the mixture cooks, combine flour, almond meal, oatmeal and agave in a plastic bowl. Remove butter from freezer and using the large side of a metal grater, grate pieces of butter until you have 3-4 tablespoons, as measured by the markings on the side of the butter Then use a pastry blender or fork to combine the mixture until the butter is well distributed and the mixture looks crumbly.
5. Pour cooked pumpkin/apple mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.

6. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top of apple/squash mixture in an even layer.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Grandmother's Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

Makes 4 servings

This soup works great for dinner, snack and thermos lunches! For a richer soup, feel free to add sweet potato to the mix. In my house, my kids love to add different shaped pastas to it. The final product will stay fresh for four days and can be kept in the freezer if needed.

2 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1 whole chicken
3-5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
4 cups spinach or kale leaves, or broccoli
4 carrots
4 stalks of celery
2 stalks turnips
A handful of fresh dill
2 low sodium chicken bouillon cubes
2 teaspoons of turmeric
Two ounces of fresh ginger, grated

1. Throw all ingredients into a pot of water.
2. Skim any fat off the top.
3. Bring to a boil and allow it to cook for a minimum of two hours.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hummus Wrap: Lunch Made Simple

There is something magical about the beginning of a new school year. As a kid, it was the feeling of excitement that anything was possible. Whether it was making new friends, leaning a new subject or sport, it was the excitement that in someway we would be changed. As a mother, I still feel this excitement. So at the beginning of every school year, I sit down with my children and set goals. And as a life long foodie where better to start than the kitchen.

Kids love to eat what they help prepare. So instead of bearing the burden of what to pack for your children’s lunches each day; only to find that half the food comes back uneaten, enlist their help. It’s a win, win situation! You will find they eat healthier, have less waste, and you, save time, aggravation and money.

While at first this might seem time consuming and inconvenient, with some proper planning and a couple of easy tricks it can be fun and easy. It also enables us to share some great quality time with our children. Stay tuned next week for some of my favorite shopping, preparation and getting your kids to eat healthy tips.

Makes 6-7 servings
1 to 2 garlic cloves
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Sea salt to taste

3-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste

4 tablespoons tahini or plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large flour tortilla or whole wheat wrap

1 cucumber
1 red pepper

1. Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and drop in the garlic cloves. Process until they are chopped and adhere to the sides of the bowl. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, and process until very smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.
2. Warm a large flour tortilla for about 10 over a burner, just until flexible.
3. Lay it on your work surface and cover with lettuce leaves, leaving a place desired amount of hummus (about 1/4 cup) on top of the lettuce on the bottom half of the tortilla. Top with the red pepper and cucumber.
4. Fold the bottom edge of the tortilla over the filling. Fold in the sides, then roll up, squeezing the tortilla so that the roll is compact. Place the roll on a piece of plastic wrap. Fold in the sides of the plastic over the ends of the wrap, and roll up tightly to secure. Refrigerate for at least five minutes and for as long as 24 hours.

Advance preparation: The hummus will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator. . The wrap can be made a day ahead.

Use the extra hummus for after school snacks. Have a fresh assortment of raw veggies and pita wedges.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Preparing for the funeral--- or life tribute

Going in and out between sadness and disbelief. My sister just informed me, that my grandmother , although still alive will be passing on friday. She is only hanging on by machines.
She will be buried next week in a cemetary in LA and my grandfather who passed 25 years ago will be flown from chicago to LA, so they can be buried together.

The last time I saw my grandmother it was her 95th birthday and she was filled with life. She was dancing as she always did whenever a tune she liked came on. I was not in LA this week to witness the changing of my lively grandmother into a vegetable. My mother told me not to come and to remember her how she was. I only got to say goodbye to her on the phone. My 5 year old daughter held my hand as I told Beauty i loved her. Sofia excitedly interrupted my phone conversation to tell Beauty how lucky she was because she was going to go live with the fairies.

Sofia my daughter is only a little bit older then I was, when I gave Beauty her name. One night when i was leaving beauty's house she said :good bye my little beauty" , and I thought that was her name ,so I continued to call her Beauty. The name stuck and became contagious. She was Beauty to all that knew her.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


How do we adopt to change, when life changes quicker then we are ready to change? How does one embrace letting go, and what does saying goodbye really mean.

This is big week for me, in terms of letting go, and learning how to use my pain for motivation rather then retreat.

One of my friends said to me this morning, how necessary the mourning process is. Whether it is loss of a relationship, a loved one, (or for my son, the loss of one lego piece that will totally impact his whole project.) Every loss is valid.

If we don’t take the time to cherish what we are letting go of, honor what we loved, and remember how it has helped us, we will not allow ourselves to truly be alive in the present. And the present is just that, a present.

Many people are asking me why this blog is called growing up with fat dad, when I have not even addressed weight and food yet (It will come)

I grew up with a dad who was fat. He was fat because he did not know how to nourish himself and because he did not know how to nourish himself, he surely could not nourish anyone else.

We never had food in my house, because my dad might eat it, so we lived on diet soda and frozen meals. I was always hungry. My dad was consumed with himself and his fluctuating weight. My mother was young and not a homebody or a nurturer. I was always hungry. Hungry for food, hungry for nice clean clothes, hungry for someone to notice when I ran away from home and hid in the closet for hours, just hungry… Hungry for someone to care for me because I was a child and I needed to be cared for. But On Friday nights I was never hungry.

On Friday nights my grandfather would pick me up for the weekend and when we would get to my grandparent’s home, there was always homemade vegetable soup, raisin challah bread, a warm bubble bath, and a fluffy clean hand washed beautiful lavender smelling nightgown. It was at my grandmother’s home, where I learned what true nourishment is. It is where my tears were dried.

The smells of fresh cooked food, kind loving words, a freshly drawn bath and a beautiful lavender smelling nightgown would battle any feelings of deprivation. My grandmother taught me how good it feels to be cared for, and how to feel compassion, for the ones who cant love us back.

As a mom I struggle with trying to physically provide my children with all the luxuries I would like to give them, and protect them from ever feeling pain, but at the end of the day, all I can do is let them know how much they are loved, dry their tears, and fill their plates with the best organic foods. As a mom I don’t ever want my children’s stomachs to grumble.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

More about Beauty—my Grandmother

I have never written a blog before, or vented my feelings publicly. I am not sure if I am bogging to share my story, share my sadness, or to connect with other like-minded people.
My grandmother is in the hospital dying, and I feel a great sense of loss and sadness. With that said, if I let myself fall into that despair I would definitely not be a honoring her life, or helping her to find the peace that she deserves to pass.
At 95, my grandmother Beauty was never old, never sick and never anything short of being dressed to walk the “red carpet”. Beauty avoided being around people who complained about their aches, their pains, and their woes. She tried to surround herself with children, and people much younger then herself, who had a zest for life.
She loved Vera the violinist, Phyllis her bossy daughter who kept her on the move 24-7, Glen, her zen like son, who would let her eat anything she wanted, April her other grand daughter who could sing better then Barbara Streisand, Genie her gorgeous and talented sister, who she believed could do anything, her great grandchildren, Dylan Sofia and Sean, and mostly she loved me, and would so hate to see me sad.
In writing this, I am trying to honor her life, and keep myself focused. Her dream was for me to be on the Oprah show and share my plays and stories. And while this Blog is not the Oprah show and her hospital bed is not the studio audience, perhaps it is a place for me to write about what matters most.
I will end this blog with this quote: “It is not the number of breaths we take but the number of moments that take our breath away.”

Beauty 94 years young -2008


You will be the light in my heart that is always there.
You will be the voice that whispers, someone cares.
You will be the spirit that carries me through the fright.
And the encouragements that will help me, turn dark to light.
You are in my kitchen when I cook, and the inspiration for my book.
I hope you hear me talking to you each day, as your voice has helped me to lead the way.
When I was little, you called me your little beauty; and in turn I named you,
You touched every one you ever met. Your spirit and fancy hats no one will ever forgot.
You danced and smiled till the end, I hope papa is waiting for you when you descend.
You called me your hero but you were mine. You are the light inside that makes me shine.
I love you
Dawn—(your little beauty)