5 Easy Weeknight Meals: Your 7 Day Family Jump Start!

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Thanksgiving (w/Kids) Made Easy!

Thanksgiving (w/Kids) Made Easy!

Easiest, Healthiest Thanksgiving Menu Ever!

Hello, my Healthy Mamas!

First, I want to let you guys (and gals – I’m from Chicago – you guys is gender inclusive!) know that the Healthy Family Healthy You book is wrapping up at lightning speed right now! In the next week, my beta readers will have received all but one chapter. I’m so excited to share this information with you and look forward to connecting further over our shared goals!

Second, here are some tips to use this menu:

1. Use the recipes that speak to you and not the ones that don’t.

2. Add in your own family favorites, healthy or not.

3. Have fun and don’t make it too much work for yourself!

Make your grocery list, decide when you’re going to go shopping and when you’re going to cook which dishes so you aren’t stressed out when your family shows up!

Let me know how it goes!

Entire menu serves 10-12, depending on how many of your guests are children.

1. Artichoke Tushies (aka bottoms)!


2 cans artichoke bottoms (5-7 each can), rinsed and drained

1/8 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

1 Tb nutritional yeast, ½ tsp Italian seasoning

Olive Oil Spray


Preheat oven to 400

Line baking pan with parchment paper and spray with olive oil. Place the artichoke bottoms in the pan. Spray the tops with the olive oil spray. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the artichoke bottoms. Give another quick olive oil spray on top of the whole dish.

Bake at 400 for 15-17 min or browned on top.

2. Multicolored Fun with Food!


1 bag, frozen multicolored cauliflower (found in the frozen section of most health food stores)

1 bag frozen multicolored carrots (found in the frozen section of most health food stores)


Boil each bag separately on stove top or steam in microwave until crisp tender. Find two pretty bowls and place each of the vegetables in its own bowl.  Pumpkin bowls? Make sure the bowls will reinforce how adorable and impressive your multicolored veggies are!  Even if you’re serving buffet style, place these on the table.

3. Sweet Potatoes


10-12 sweet potatoes

1 bag, small vanilla vegan marshmallows


Bake sweet potatoes (can do in micro or oven) and split in half. Place marshmallows on top of each half and bake at 350 until browned (about 20 minutes).

4.  Brussels Sprouts with fresh cranberries and orange zest


2.5 lbs  Brussels sprouts (I used (3) 12 oz steam bags – so already pretty trimmed and clean)

4 tablespoons coconut oil. melted

1 cup fresh cranberries

¼ cup maple syrup

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Zest of 1 Orange

Optional: Vegan Parmesan

Brussels sprouts


Preheat oven to 400 (for 20-25 minutes). Turn at 15 minutes.

Trim ends off (already washed) Brussels sprouts (or cut them from stalk) and remove any outer yellow leaves. Cut in half. Dry if still wet from washing. Toss Brussels sprouts with coconut oil and cranberries in a bowl and place in a baking pan with low sides. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until Brussels sprouts are browning and crisping. Add orange zest and bake for 5 more minutes. Toss with maple syrup and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm. Optional: Sprinkle some vegan parmesan (from a shaker – it’s not fake food I promise. Walnuts, hemp seeds and nutritional yeast. Available at health food stores) before serving.

5. Polenta with Mushrooms and Gravy


8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced

6 oz portabella mushrooms, sliced, then chopped

1 cup water

1/8 tsp salt

2 Tb organic cornstarch

1 roll Ancient Quinoa Polenta (preferably the one with red Quinoa mixed in, but plain is okay too), sliced.


Preheat oven to 350. (Or, see alternative stove top directions below).

Cook mushrooms in the 1 cup of water (use a small pot) about 10-15 minutes, on high heat, stirring occasionally until they are soft and much smaller,[See polenta directions below. You can take care of the polenta while you wait for the mushrooms to cook]. Take the mushrooms out of the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Turn the heat off and whisk cornstarch in with the liquid until it has dissolved. Add salt and cook on low heat until the mixture thickens significantly. Whisk almost constantly to prevent burning and lumps. Add the mushrooms back into the pot and stir.

Polenta: Cut into half inch rounds. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and then a cooling rack (if you don’t have one, simply flip the polenta rounds half way through so both sides crisp).  Lay the rounds on the cookie sheet and spray one side with olive oil. Flip and spray the other side. Cook at 350 until crisp on both sides.

Alternatively, you may pan fry the polenta in a touch of olive oil until crisp on both sides.

6. Baby apple pies (serves 12)


6 diced apples (peeled if your kids refuse to eat the apple skin or are too young to properly chew it)

Sprinkle of cinnamon or apple pie spice

1 Tablespoon of water

Optional: 1 teaspoon brown sugar

Optional: Non-dairy whipped cream or the cream off the top of a can of full fat coconut milk, refrigerated ahead of time.
2 packs of mini graham cracker crusts (come in packs of 6)


Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl and microwave uncovered for 4-5 minutes. (Or bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes).

Place apples into mini graham cracker crusts and put non-dairy whip on top.



Cooking sophisticated food with the kids!

Cooking sophisticated food with the kids!

We’ve been cooking up a storm over here, as always! I am always trying other bloggers’ recipes but I don’t always remember to tell or show you. See below for a super delicious salad from My son especially loved mixing it. First, he gladly ate the greens covered in roasted garlic dressing (so healthy!!!). Then he decided he would only eat the carrots – as in all of them. So much so that I had to roast more! He was afraid of the beets, which was fine. What was I thinking giving a 2 year old boy something that will stain purple everywhere?! I’m hoping he ingested a couple of the pumpkin seeds with his carrots. Regardless, he got some great antioxidants and immune boosters tonight!

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Garlic Dressing and Toasted Pepitas

by Elizabeth Stark of

Guest post on

Salad by Brooklyn Supper

This salad was completely delicious, but took a bit of elbow grease to make. It was totally worth it. Warm, filling comfort food that is really a meal in itself.


Revolutionary Menu Planning and KOAB Live!

I love Kosher on a Budget, especially her adorable tag line: Living fruitfully without multiplying your budget.

I was already planning to share a recent blog post of hers with you, when I found out she was coming to speak in my community. The talk, “10 Commandments of Saving Money,” was full of useful information, good friends and lime Perrier! What more could you ask for?

For me, the aha moment actually came AFTER her talk, when others were lining up to ask her more questions. Someone was asking about the difficulty of saving money on organic products, including produce. What Mara, from KOAB, said was this: If you implement the strategies we discussed tonight to save money on your shelf stable and home products, you could open up $150 a month to devote to the higher-cost foods you’d like to purchase. Sounds good to me! Then I can buy the organic, non-GMO corn chips and tortillas, etc… that I know are usually more expensive.

I learned about 12 week sale cycles, coupon matching, and tons of smart phone apps. If she is speaking in your area, go! If you aren’t subscribed to her blog, start now! There are plenty of non-Kosher, non-Jewish people who subscribe to her blog too. It’s just efficient if you do keep kosher because she won’t bother telling you when Oscar Meyer hot dogs are on sale.

The recent blog post of hers that I wanted to discuss with you, my readers – and my family! – is about meal planning. Mara and her family recently moved to a different state and she’d found that meal planning  (a real time, sanity and money saver!) had gone out the window. So she decided that for the next month, Sunday – Thursday, they will have a set meal each night. Then…the same pattern/meals will repeat each week, for four weeks. Kids like routine and it’s easier and more efficient to buy groceries this way.

I have definitely thought about this. There are a couple of reasons I haven’t implemented it until now:

1. What if we can’t agree on five meals? If my kids had their choice of set meals, they would be mac and cheese, hot dogs, pizza, etc… I only want to serve one of those types of meals per week because even that amount of unhealthy food is so stressful for me.

2. It’s party of my job – part of my blog, my book (which will have TONS of recipes), etc… to experiment with new recipes from others and create my own on an ongoing basis. How could I even pick only 5 and then leave myself only two days (Shabbat, really) to experiment?

However, one of the upcoming programs/services I want to offer to my readers is to help them make their own family cookbook. That will take a lot of mystery and conflict out of the nightly meal and put all of your go-to recipes in one place. For me, right now that one place (for my own recipes, anyway), is the draft of my recipe chapter on my computer. I can’t wait to have that in book form for my own use – and yours!

I want the process of developing this cookbook to be an adventure. Let’s take the fight out of it with our kids and set things up so that it is an experiment, a journey to enjoy, where they get to give their opinions and votes. They are more likely to taste something if we want to know exactly why they do or don’t like it.

At the end of the day, I think Mara’s idea is brilliant. The five meals could change each month. There could be an experimental week in between. There are lots of possibilities. I like being intentional around food and this is definitely intentional and empowering, for everyone in the family.

So, what would my five meals be? I have more than five ideas of course! Here are some (feel free to request specific recipes…most are in the upcoming HFHY book):

1. Spaghetti made from beans (adzuki, black bean, soybean, mung bean), with homemade, raw tomato sauce.

2.  Kris Carr’s “Save the tuna” salad sandwiches with a side of sauteed Portobella mushrooms.

3. Cheeseless veggie pizza.

4. Homemade veggie burgers (or Dr. Praeger’s Kale burgers) with homemade sweet potato fries.

5. Spanish rice and fajitas.

6. My becoming famous vegan lasagna.

7. Tofu chicken parmesan with roasted green beans.

8. Tofu scramble or frittata with sprouted Ezekiel toast.

9. Mama soup.

10. Easy Chinese dinner.

I think I’m going to try this! Of course I have my own favorites and easy standby’s. The kids change their minds about what they like every day. The experts say that consistency helps them develop tastes for what you want them to… I have to admit that it’s always one big experiment around here and that causes me a lot more work. If I could really determine what my kids would eat without a fight – that I approve of – I’d be willing to be limited on what I make five days a week.

Do you have set meals already? If not, are you going to try? What are they?


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