Sunday, March 28, 2010

How to Have a Painless Passover Part 1

OK, so here we go:  First , I started this day with a run.  I did another easy 8K, which amazes me as I was struggling to finish 5K for like 3 years.  But last week, I was re-reading some stuff by Vegan Ironman Triathlete Brendan Brazier and I decided to incorporate some of his suggestions.  I'll write more about that later, but bascially it invloves a pre-workout shake conrtaining:

1/2 banana
1/4 cup coconut milk (or 1 T coconut oil)
2 Dates
1/2 tsp Kelp
1 tsp Green Tea Leaves

And then a recovery shake containing:
1/2 banana
1 orange
1 T flax-pumpkin seed mix
1/3 cup tofu
1 T bee pollen
1/4 cup raspberries
dash Kelp

Those aren't Brendan's actual recipes, just my adaptation of them based on local ingredient availability.  Clearly I am running MUCH better and it might have something to do with this new nutritional lay-out.  I'll explain more about the specific ingredients and why in a later post.

OK, on to PESACH! 

I realize that I am posting this information too late to actually help anyone THIS year.  Sorry!  But here it will be for next year I guess.

Step One:  Do NOT wake the dog!  Clearly she is exhausted and needs to rest:

In my next life... 

she's so annoyed with me for bugging her

Step Two:  Enlist Help
That's the vac attachment, not a weapon despite how he's holding it.  Charming.

Step Three:  Take Super Duper Divine Care of Yourself  (see above)

I just want to say that in the past, I would have let the stress of hosting a holiday meal, totally throw me off my fitness and nutrition plan.  I would have put my own needs way down on the bottom of the list and if I got to everything on the list, I'd tend to myself.  Of course I never got down that far through the list. 

When I began my weight loss journey 8 years ago, that was the FIRST thing to change and I believe it made all the difference.  Now minding my own Temple (exercise, proper nutrition, stress reduction and rest) comes WAY before any other task.  Because if I'm not in tip-top shape, I won't be any good to anyone, now will I?

Step Four:  Get as much done ahead of time as possible.

I'm sure my sister is reading that and cracking up.  Let's just say I had to live and learn this one as well and Big C bailed me out of a seriously under-prepared Thanksgiving dinner a few years back.  Two weeks ago I made my seder menu.  One week ago I started the shopping and cleaning.  Today, one day before, I have almost the entire meal prepared and it's only 4:30pm!  Yay!

Step Five:  Start with the desserts.

We all know that we do great in the first part of the day and lose willpower as the day progresses.  So, make the desserts in the morning when you are strong and have no desire to taste anything!

Amy W's Matzoh Toffee
3-4 whole matzos
1 cup butter or margarine (I use Coconut Oil for Parve Meals to avoid the trans-fats in margarine!)
1 cup dark brown sugar
12 oz chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional.  I do some with and some without)

Preheat oven to 160C.  Grease 2-3 disposable foil pans.  Lay matzo in pans, breaking where necessary to completely fill pan.  In a large saucepan, melt butter with sugar over med heat.  Bring to a boil and boil, stirring constantly for 5 mins.  Watch carefully that it doesn’t boil over.  Pour this over the matzos evenly and place in oven.  Bake 8-10 mins.  Turn off the oven.  Sprinkle chips all over matzos and return to the oven for 8 more mins.  Remove from oven and spread chocolate in an even layer over matzos.  Sprinkle with nuts.  Place in fridge to cool.  When completely cool, break into bark-shaped pieces.  Store in fridge in ziploc bags.  Put them WAAAY in the back, out of your sight.  Trust me on that.

Passover Almond Cake with Strawberry Sauce

1 2/3 cups (8.5 oz) whole unblanched almonds (I used 2 cups dried almond pulp leftover from almond milk making)
¼ cup matzo cake meal or matzo meal
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp almond extract
Dash salt

Preheat oven to 170C. Grease a 9” pan.  Grind almonds, matzo meal and ¼ cup sugar in FP until fine. Set aside.  Whip egg whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks. Gradually beat in ¼ cup sugar and beat until stiff and shiny. Set aside.  Beat egg yolks with ½ cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in lemon rind and extract.  In 3 batches alternately fold whites and almond mixture into yolk mixture.  Pour into pan and bake for 35 mins.  Cool on rack.  Serve slices topped with strawberry sauce.

2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
3 dates, soaked
Few drops of lemon juice

Puree berries and dates in FP until very smooth. Add lemon. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Light N' Fluffy Potato Vegetable Kugel
1/2 cup olive oil
6 large potatoes, peeled and quatered (soak in cold water until ready to use so they won't turn brown)
2 onions
2 carrots
2 zucchini
3 handfuls fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup matzo meal
5 eggs, beaten lightly
Preheat oven to 200C.  Put oil in rectangular pan and set aside.  Chop onions and carrots in food processor until ground.  Put in a large bowl and set aside.  Process potatoes, zucchini and parsley in FP until ground and green flecks throughout.  Mix into onion mixture.  Squeeze out as much water as you can.  Add dry ingredients and mix.  Add eggs and mix.  Place pan with oil in oven until it begins to sizzle.  Carefully take it out of the oven and pour the oil into the veg mixture.  Mix completely.  This makes the kugel fluffy!  Pour everything back into the oiled pan and bake for 1 hour uncovered.
Moroccan Mushroom Salad
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 kg mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley

Heat oil in skillet and saute onions 7 minutes.  Add mushrooms and remaining ingredients (except parsley).  Saute, stirring often, until mushrooms are soft, coated with spices and liquid in pan has evaporated.  Serve topped with fresh parsley.

And for the non-vegetarian guests, I made:
Chicken Soup with Matzoh Balls
Roast Chicken with Root Veggies
Broiled Salmon (marinated in lemon, garlic, ginger and a bit of brown sugar)

Tomorrow I boil the hard-boiled eggs, make the charoset, set the table, make the green salad, and hopefully RELAX!

until then...


  1. All your goodies look superb! (Esp that toffee, of course);) Hope you and yours have a great Passover!

  2. Emily,
    I am cracking up but only because your writing is so funny. And I know that you're super organized! I wish we could be with you all for this delicious dinner. Enjoy! xoxo

  3. Aw, you're easily amused. I'll never forget the look on your face when you arrived the day before Thanksgiving to find that I hadn't even been to the grocery store yet. Wish you could be with us as well. Love to all!

    Ricki, it's always flattering when you stop by. Don't be fooled, the toffee's not really that good, wink, wink.