Monday, June 17, 2013

Recipe 14 of 100 Fresh Strawberry Cake

I discussed in my recent post on The Nosher my obsession with cooking with fresh berries over the summer.   So when I went strawberry picking and came home with more strawberries then I knew what to do with I knew I had to bake. The husband does not love strawberries (ok, we have concluded he actually is allergic, but he still loved the cake and ate it)– so there was more for me to enjoy.

My entire apartment smelt like a strawberry patch while this was baking. While we have mostly seen rain, and only little glimpses of summer, the smell of this cake gave me hope that true summer weather is just around the corner. Maybe if we all make our homes smell like summer other nature will get a hint.

Fresh Strawberry Cake - ready to be eaten! 
This  Fresh Strawberry Cake is incredibly light which I really appreciate in the summer. Not only that, but it is pareve. You can certainly make it ahead and it will keep for 2 days (but it will be hard not to take a bite)!

Fresh Strawberry Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart

½ teaspoon table salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
6 tablespoons unsalted margarine, at room temperature
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 10-inch pie pan or a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.

In a larger bowl, beat margarine and 1 cup sugar until fluffy with an electric mixer (about 2 minutes). Mix in egg, almond milk and vanilla until just until lightly mixed. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until smooth and there are no clumps.

Pour into prepared pie pan or springform pan. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer - Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 40 minutes to 50 minutes.

If you are having this with a dairy meal serve with whipped cream or some vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Killing Two Birds With One Stone: Recipe 13 of 100 AND #21 (guest blog)

Have you ever read The Nosher? If not -- you probably should. It is a great food blog about all things Jewish food, recipes, trends, and even give you Shabbat and holiday menus. (Yep, that is always the worst part.) The Nosher is written by Ben’s colleague from the Bronfman Foundation Shannon Sarna and other contributing Jewish food lovers. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of be a contributing blogger! While I love to cook and share my recipes, to be on a blog beside some great names in the Kosher food blogging world was really great!

So check out recipe 13 of 100 – my very own Pie Berry Crumble. It is really good, fairly easy to make and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream it cannot be beat! 

Do you write a blog? I still need to guest blog one another place to cross #21 off my list and would love to write something for you!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Transition #3 (AND THE LAST ONE FOR NOW)

I am sitting at the airport in Ottawa, far to early may I add, waiting to board my flight back to Boston. I didn’t get much sleep while I was here, but I think that is in anticipation for my first day of work tomorrow at Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters. I am very excited for tomorrow and also slightly nervous. 

When I worked for Ramah I feel like I never really had a first day of full time employment. It all rolled into each other from summer to the off-season work to full time work. When I started at the Museum of Science I had an end date – I knew once I was done school I would have to find full time employment opportunities.

Tomorrow is different. It is the first day of a job that I am excited for, that I hope to be in long term, and for an organization that does amazing – life changing work. 

I am not sure what to expect tomorrow, but I have already met many people there and was welcomed and embraced. From the board members to my new coworkers everyone not only seemed nice but they clearly loved what they do and the organization they get to call “home” everyday.

Can’t wait to tell you all the details. And of course, if you want to be a Big Brother or Sister please let me know. I know they could always use more volunteers to help create life-changing relationships. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Transition #2

Transition #2 of 3 in 10 days!

This transition comes with a slew of mixed emotions. Basically, it’s an emotional roller coaster.  I feel the utmost gratitude, joy and happiness mixed in with frustration and disappointment. 

This weekend B and I spent our last weekend at Camp Ramah in New England. This week he will finish his full time job with them. Even though I left my job there a year and a half ago, this weekend I officially said good-bye, or until we meet again. For the past 10 years I have summered in Palmer at Camp Ramah in New England and in my 7 years with B one of us has always been working at Camp. It is a place that brings out so much emotion in me – a place I owe an awful lot of thankfulness both professionally and personally.

B and I met at camp, many of my best friends are from camp, and much of my professional career has been with Camp Ramah. While this transition is ultimately incredibly positive as B is starting law school in the fall it was certainly came with a great deal of sadness and even confusion. I thought I was ready to leave to when we were at camp this weekend and yet when I was over come with sadness, I have to say I was surprised.

We spent this past weekend at family camp. Many of the families who joined us for the weekend have been there since B worked on family camp 3 years ago, many are parents I have spent many hours speaking with, and the staff are all young adults I (we) have watched grow up – everyone provided words of support and encouragement to B and I as we said goodbye to camp and hello to the next steps.

One family told us they can’t imagine Palmer with out us, to them we are the camp mom and dad. Another parent let me know that it was because of me that they sent their first kid to camp and they are about to send their 3 child. All of these words pulled on my heartstring and made saying good-bye a little bit harder.  The heaviness I felt during havdallah was so hard. As we welcomed the new week as a community with song and love,  I wondered if and when I would ever have this incredible spiritual experience again.

With all this in mind- I can’t imagine spending another summer at camp. Each summer I left my home and when I came back I had to rebuild my community.  It is very hard to be adults who leave each summer. I often felt like when I returned to Boston (or wherever I was living) I had to start over again as though we had just moved.  I am excited for the continuity of being in Boston through the summer and the new adventures that it will bring.

I love camp – I think it is the most significant and important decision any parent can make for their child. Jewish camp provides the foundation for a strong future Jewish commitment; there is no equivalent experience.  I hope that the mixed emotions I feel towards camp today will fizzle and what will remain will be the most positive memories and pictures of the happiness, joy, and love it brought into my life.

For now I say so long. I know we will meet again. Maybe when B and I have kids of our own, maybe sooner. For now I am taking a much-needed time out! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Transition #1

Tomorrow begins the first of many transitions that the husband and I are going to have over the next couple of weeks.  Tomorrow is my last day at the Museum of Science. It is an incredibly bitter sweet transition for me. 

Just hanging with the Myth Busters! 
When I started at the Museum of Science I was looking for part time work doing event planning while working to complete my Master’s degree. This job was perfect for that! The flexibility it provided was amazing and everyone was always helpful when it came to shifting my hours in order to get school work done, make group meetings, or just needing a self-imposed time out.  

Being an event planner was something I wanted to do for so long and while it was part of my previous job at Ramah my time at the Museum really allowed me to explore that profession more as well as expand my horizon working outside the Jewish nonprofit world.  I have learned a lot here and I know I will take all of these lessons into my new position. 

Additionally, I have made some amazing friends here who I am sad I will not see every day.  The group of “the young and restless” are some of the most hardworking and inspirational people I have ever worked with. Their dedication to the Museum is invaluable and I know that as we all grow in our own professional careers we will make positive changes and impact the non-profit (and for profit) world for the better.  The future is bright!

So while I am sad about leaving, this my new position at Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston is an amazing opportunity for me.  Professionally it will allow me to take on greater leadership opportunities.  Personally going back into the Jewish non-profit world just feels right. 

Transition 1… up next the Husband leaves his job (yep we both leave our jobs within the same week!)

Monday, May 20, 2013

#6 Finish my Masters Degree

Well I did it. I finished my Masters degree in Communications Management at Simmons College. It was quite the experience. I am not sure I ever thought I would finish high school let alone get an undergraduate degree. For me, getting a Masters degree was something I never would have imagined for myself – I am not sure it was ever even a path I would have thought possible.

I struggled in school my entire life. I guess I had a hard time prioritizing it and I never

believed that I could be successful in an academic environment. Throughout my academic career I believed that my learning disabilities would hinder my ability to be successful and felt that I would find other ways to create a successful professional career. I have always believed that hands on experiences are more valuable then being in a classroom learning theory. While I still strongly believe that experiences are the best teaching tool, supplementing my experiences with a Master’s degree will allow with to think critically and strategically in a way I was not able to do before.

To all the teachers who believed in me along the way – thank you for trusting that I had it in me. To all the teachers who said I couldn’t do it – well I did it and I did it despite your inability to believe in me and I took your discouraging words and turned them into my own positive reality.

But mostly, I have to thank my husband. Without his encouraging words, his late night ice cream runs, and his ability to manage me even when I was overly stressed out I would have never finished my undergraduate degree let alone my Masters!

It was a long two years but I made great friends along the way, I laughed, I cried, I drank some wine and learned a lot in the process!

Another one 30 before 30 done! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

#17 Write a Business Plan for my Future Event Planning Company

Well folks, I am back. I have so many updates to share I am not sure where to begin. 
I thought I would start with my labor of love! I completed #17 on my list and wrote a business plan for my future Event Management and Design Company. It was my FINAL grad school project (yes this means there is a post coming your way about #6 FINISH my Master’s program)

The companies name is LC Events (The L for my first name and the C for my middle name that shall not be named). Writing the business plan was a really eye opening experience. It made me think not only about my long term goals, but how long the company would need to be a “side business” before becoming a viable full time option with the ability to provide a salary I could live off of. With B starting law school in September, I quickly realized I would still need full time work and this would have to be on the side until further notice. HOWEVER I do feel like I have a great plan to put in action whenever the timing is right.

My final business plan...don't I look tired
…oh and on that note, I accepted full time work at Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston. While I hope one day to be able to manage my own event planning company right now I want to work full time in an organization that has amazing mentors, serves a cause I am connected to and fosters an environment of creativity and innovation. I found it all! I am sad to leave my amazing group of friends at the Museum of Science but know that I will keep in touch with many of them. I am excited for this next adventure and know it holds a lot of opportunities for me. 

This weekend I am having a “retreat” weekend with two of my best lady friends. B is coming to cheer me on at graduation on Friday and he will be joined by Robyn and Tammy (who is coming all the way from Montreal). Finishing my master’s program is a huge relief and once I am an official graduate I will write all about it since it is #6 on my list. 

I promise to be better about the blogging. I have a lot to cross off the list and time is ticking! 

Friday, March 29, 2013

My apologies

I surely need to apologize for the lack of posting. I have been incredibly busy trying to finish my semester (complete my Masters), figuring out what’s next, cooking and of course we had Passover.
The good news is that by finishing school I will also finish #17 write a business plan for my future company. I decided to do my final project on writing this business and communication plan for my future company LC Events

While right now is not the time for me to start my own business, going through this process will certainly help me when the time is right. If you are planning an event and are looking for some help, please think of LC Events, I am always looking for new/additional experiences and love helping people’s vision become a reality.  In the mean time I am exploring what is next for me for work and just trying to finish school up on a high note. (Oh and then you can all call me master :/)

I have told myself I am not allowed to blog until my final project is done – which should be the next three weeks. When that that happens I have pictures to share, recipes to drool over, and I can’t wait to tell you about the ballet. 

In the meantime, we did some family pictures over the holidays. Look at my awesome family! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Recipe 12 of 100

It seems that there has been less working out and being active lately and a lot more eating! Last weekend was (finding) Nemo – the storm of 2013 here in Boston. The city shut down which left B, the puppy and I in the house. We played outside, went sledding, shoveled, shoveled more and cooked and baked… a lot. While inches of snow fell on the ground here in Boston, inches of food creped onto my waist line.

Between all the sweet and savory things cooked in this house B and I were more then fine.  While I loved the sweets made, B’s favorite were the Roasted Garlic and Zucchini Fritters. I had made a recipe for zucchini fritters a few weeks ago and while they were a big hit, I was missing some extra flavor in the wonderful fried goodness. So I adapted the smitten kitchen recipe to add a punch of flavor and a hint of spice.

These are so easy and yummy. I brought them to a friends birthday party and I think within 5 minutes the plate was done. I recommend doubling the recipe if you are more then 4 people.

Before you do anything take a head of garlic and roast it Directions here 

Once that comes out of the over you are ready to make—

Roasted Garlic and Zucchini Fritters
2 large zucchini
4 Roasted Garlic cloves thinly sliced
1 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, plus extra to taste
3 scallions, split lengthwise and sliced thin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Olive or Grape seed oil, for frying

Spicy Roasted Garlic Yogurt sauce
1 cup full-fat yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 roasted garlic cloves mashed
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinches of salt

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a plate with paper towel to put the fritters on when you are done frying them – it will help absorb some of the oil used in frying.

Cut the Zucchini into 3 and using a shredding blade of a food processor. If you do not have a food processor – no worries grate them in the large holes of a box grater (watch your fingers)

In a large bowl, toss zucchini 1 teaspoon salt and set aside for 10 minutes. I put it in a colander over a bowl or in the sink. After 10 minutes push all the water out with a wooden spoon. The first time I did this I was SHOCKED at how much water came out. The more water that comes out the better, it will help keep the fritters nice and crispy on the outside.

Return zucchini shreds to bowl and add a teaspoon of salt. Stir in Roasted Garlic, scallions, egg and some freshly ground black pepper. In a tiny dish, stir together flour, Cayenne pepper and baking powder, then stir the mixture into the zucchini batter.

In a large heavy skillet heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop small bunches of the zucchini mixture onto the skillet -lightly push them flatter with the back of your spatula. Cook the fritters over moderately high heat until the edges underneath are golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful that the heat is not to high, you want a medium heat so that you get golden edges but you also want the middle to cook. After you have flipped them and the have cooked on both sides put the cooked fritter onto the paper towels. 

Keep cooking the fritters – make sure the pan remains well oiled. You will have to add oil between batches. Make sure before you put the batter in the pan the oil is always hot.

Before serving put the fritters on a lined baking sheet in the oven at 300 degrees for at least 12 minutes.
For the yogurt sauce, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, zest, cayenne, roasted garlic, salt and adjust the flavors to your taste.

You can make these fritters ahead of time and either keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days or you can put them in a well-sealed package in the fritters for months. When ready to eat them bake at 350 for 15 minutes Flip mid way!

Monday, February 4, 2013

# 22 Learn to Surf!

I just got back from one of the coolest vacations I have ever been on - Rincon, Puerto Rico.  Not only did I somewhat learn to surf, get appropriately beaten up by the Ocean, and drink some awesome drinks, I also met some great people, saw amazing views and learned that we – American Civilization have it all wrong.

So surfing--  #22 on the list. One of the hardest sports I have ever tried. It’s not about getting up on the wave, honestly, that’s the easy part. Swimming out and passing the break, now that’s the hard stuff. I got pulled around by the Ocean, a very powerful force of nature may I add. But I conquered it and I even got to ride a bunch of waves. The thrill of standing on the board and riding the wave is just so awesome. It was a liberating feeling to see the ocean almost come around you.  Even when you are sitting and waiting for a wave to come being in the middle of the Ocean and feeling the sun on your skin, the waves between your toes, it’s pretty damn perfect.  Ok, I didn’t want to come back. I wanted to become a surf bum, change the pace of my life and stop sitting behind a desk. ( I mean surf bum with the highest regard and utmost respect. I say it out of jealousy.) But low and behold, I am sadly back to reality, sitting behind a desk and working on excel spreadsheets. I learned a few things though on this trip:

  1. The Ocean is not a scary place you just have to take it head on – literally and figuratively.
  2.  We here in America (or Canada) have it all wrong. We should not be working 9 – 5 days, we should see the sun, have fun everyday, and put our phones away.  
  3. You can live anywhere you want and find a way to do what you love to do.
  4. We talk about what we will do when we retire, have more money but why wait? We have every reason not to. 

That is a lot to take in and for the most part highly unrealistic, but at least they are thoughts I should keep in the back of my mind. In the mean time I will look for cheap flights that get me back to Rincon and out on a surf board sometime soon.

If you want a fun getaway and you have any desire to learn to Surf go to Rincon and check out the Rincon Surf School. While I may be biased, Travis and Lucas are great to work with and they will help you find things to do in and around the area to help make your trip is everything you were hoping for and more. Our teacher, Omar, was so patient, fun, and calm. He helped ensure that we learned a lot and pushed ourselves while remaining safe.  I am telling you it was just such an awesome trip and you should do yourself a favor and hop on a plane to Aguadilla, go to Rincon - surf, chill, and have the best time. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Recipe 11 of 100

Gnocchi in tomato broth – a Smitten Kitchen hit.  I love Gnocchi! I have always been intimidated to make it on my own. How could I make something that tastes so good. But let me tell you, there is nothing to be intimated about. Making gnocchi is not only so easy, but you can’t really screw it up! So go for it.

The Smitten Kitchen recipe for Gnocchi in tomato broth is awesome.  The lightness of the soup balances the richness of the gnocchi so well.  Honestly it was the Italian version of matza Ball soup. A wonderful broth bursting with flavor matched with the creamy rich gnocchi. What could be better? So go to Smitten Kitchen and embrace making your own gnocchi.  Its well worth it!