VirgineCuisine Healthy & Seasonal Cooking brought to you by a Registered Dietitian

Kabocha Squash Latkes with Lemon Ricotta

November 17, 2015 | Main Dishes, Veggie Side Dish | Permalink


I think I should start calling this blog 50 Shades of Squash.

Thank you to those who just smirked at my cheesy joke.

Anywho, next week is Thanksgiving and then apparently the week after is Hanukkah?! Insane to believe it is already that time of year. Shout out to the weather for aiding in my confusion on this one; I’m extremely grateful for the actually fall season we get to enjoy this year!  Once I realized that it was time for hanukkah my brain immediately went to latkes. SO much fun to play with. I thought of a ricotta-stuffed latke and that is how they started out, but I must admit, the latke were much more enjoyable when the two components were left separate. So I admitted defeat and adjusted. Next time, I am definitely going to add some apple compote in the mix
to make this perfect.


  • 2 1/2- 3 lbs. Kabocha Squash, peeled and grated
  • 3 shallots, caramelized
  • 1/2 cup diced pecans
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, chiffonade
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon (or more)
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • grapeseed oil, for frying
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • salt & lots of fresh ground black pepper


Mince 3 shallots and saute in 1 tablespoon oil. Keep sauteing until translucent, approximately 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper. Keep stirring until they begin to caramelize, another 5 minutes.

While that is happening, mix ricotta with lemon zest, add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Whip together and set aside back in the refrigerator.

Peel and grate squash. Not the most fun task, but it will be worth it in the end. Burn some calories before you fry?

In a bowl, mix together the squash, pecans, freshly chopped mint, caramelized shallots, and flaxseed meal. Season with salt and pepper, red pepper flakes and cinnamon. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary, then add in the 4 eggs and mix.

In a frying pan, place 2-3 tbsp. of grapeseed oil. When hot, lower flame to medium heat and place patties of squash mixture. Let sir for 2-3 minutes per side, until cooked. (Tip: I taste the first cooked batch and then adjust seasoning if necessary.)  Repeat until all latke are done! Serve with dollop of ricotta. Serves 8-10, enjoy!


Butternut Squash “Pappardelle” with Garlic Sauteed Peas and Mushrooms

October 27, 2015 | Main Dishes, Veggie Side Dish | Permalink


If you haven’t noticed by now, I’ve got myself a thing for squash. As soon as Fall rolls around, you should see my face light up at the first sign of Kabocha Squash at market…admittedly, I’m such an excited dork (*insert bashful face emoji here*). The sweet and starchy nuttiness it brings to the plate gets me. Every. Time.

In my current venture staying away from meats and (most) lean sources of protein, I have found myself relying too much on grains for fullness at mealtime. Waistline does not seem to be approving, so my Nutritionist self had to step in and think of some more creative ways to enjoy veggie-licious meals, sans grains (sometimes). Enter the veggie spiralizer, a go-to veggie transformative genius. Sadly though, my spiralizer wasn’t up to the task against the hefty squash, but alas! an old fashion peeler came in clutch to do the deed. I peeled the squash strip by strip and was pleased with the resulting “pappardelle” like ribbons that came about. Ta-da pasta-less pasta. I will admit though, after the gym tonight I reheated some of the leftovers for dinner and mixed it with a cup of whole grain pappardelle that I found in Whole Foods and it was (but of course) even better ( + super filling).  Either way, you’ve got yourself a hearty meal that will not disappoint.


  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled or spiralized
  • 10 oz petite frozen peas
  • 1 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp. ghee (clarified butter, can use earth balance, butter, or olive oil here instead)
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional


Remove outer skin from butternut squash. Cut in half lengthwise, remove seeds.  Using a peeler (or a more solid veggie spiralizer) peel strips of the squash flesh into long ribbons. Set aside.

Bring a small pot of water to boil. While that is happening…

Heat a saute pan. Place 1 tablespoon ghee with minced shallot, stir 3 minutes until softened. Add in 4 cloves of minced garlic ( I really like garlicky peas, if this is too much garlic for you, feel free to only use one or two cloves here).  Stir for another minute. Next add in the bag/box of frozen peas. I like the petite frozen peas simply because they are adorable. Pea as you see fit. Season with salt and pepper. After 2 minutes, add in the sliced shiitake mushrooms and stir for another 3-5 minutes until everything is cooked. Add in 2 tbsp. fresh thyme and some red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.

Place squash ribbons in boiling water. Let boil for 60-90 seconds. Remove and strain squash.

Now let’s assemble. Mix squash “pappardelle” with 1 tablespoon ghee. Top with garlicky peas and mushrooms. Sprinkle a little more red pepper flakes and optional sprinkle of Parmesan to finish. Serves 3-4. Enjoy!


Mediterranean Roasted Cauliflower

October 15, 2015 | Veggie Side Dish | Permalink

image1 (1)In this more plant-focused lifestyle of mine, I have to keep the nutritionist in me in check and make sure I am still getting ample amounts of protein. Challenge accepted and I am having a blast in the meanwhile. At an Italian specialty market while in the Bronx last week- (ps who knew there was a second Little Italy in NYC?)- I picked up some chickpea flour. Believe it or not, chickpea flour is packed with protein and fiber and is delicious as a substitution for flour in some recipes. It does add a mediterannean kick, which brought me to this yummy, healthy and oil-free veggie side dish.


  • 1 head Cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1/3 cup Chickpea Flour
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 tbsp. Za’atar
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Hot Paprika
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped curly parsley
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375.

In a bowl mix 1/3 cup chickpea flour with spice mixture: Za’atar, Paprika, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Hot Paprika, Salt and Pepper. Add water slowly until a paste forms, then add about 2 more tbsp. of water to thin out the mixture. If it is still not slightly runny, add some more water. Toss in the cauliflower and coat with flour mixture.

On a parchment lined baking tray, place cauliflower and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Before serving broil. Remove from oven, garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy! Serves 4.

Honey Kabocha Squash Fall Veggie Bowl

October 15, 2015 | Main Dishes | Permalink


You meet a cute new man at a party, innocently talk about your similar interests, recommend things to each other and bam! Next thing you know- you’re a vegan? Not quite, but something along those lines. Due to conversation with said cute man at party, last week I made the terrible “mistake” of watching a documentary on Netflix entitled “Cowspiracy.” A mistake only in that it made me hyper aware and ashamed about some of the foods that regularly made an appearance on my plate.  The documentary was super informative and even though, as a well educated nutritionist/foodie, I thought I had known all about America’s terribly skewed food system, there was so much more to the story that I was missing. I am NOT a vegan now, it was only in jest, this recipe isn’t even vegan (ricotta cheese, mmm) but I have most certainly made an effort towards relying on/incorporating more plant-based foods having only consumed meat/poultry once since watching the documentary a week ago. In this effort, I am admittedly still alive, not undernourished and actually feeling great with no complaints. I actually feel better, shhh!

In this recipe, I took Chef Jean Georges’ famous ABC Kitchen Squash Toast Recipe and transformed it into a complete, nutritious, flavorful, textured and protein packed meal to sustain my long day of being awake enough to chat with patient after patient.


For the Kabocha Squash Mash (Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Recipe featured in the NY Times):

  • 2-3 lbs honey kabocha squash, cut into 1/4″ thick pieces
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup

For the Steamed Garlic Kale: 

  • 1 bunch kale, rough chopped and de-stemmed
  • 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Maitake Mushrooms: 

  • 8 oz. Maitake Mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Finishing Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils ( I cheated and used the pre-cooked ones from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp. Fig Balsamic Vinegar (I get mine from the Filling Station in Chelsea Market)
  • Salt, Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes, to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine the squash, 2 tbsp. olive oil, chile flakes and 2 teaspoons of salt in a bowl and toss well. Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cook, stirring every few minutes, until tender and slightly colored, about 25 minutes or a little longer. Remove from the oven.

Meanwhile, heat another 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat, add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are well softened and darkening, at least 15 minutes. Reserve 1/3 caramelized onions on the side for garnish. Add the vinegar and syrup, stir and reduce until syrupy and broken down, at least 5-10 minutes or so; the mixture should be jammy.

Combine squash and onions in a bowl and smash with a fork until combined. Taste for seasoning.

Combine mushrooms with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until crispy, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside.

On the stove, place kale and garlic into a steam basket and steam for 3-5 minutes until wilted. Remove from steam basket and season with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Let sit.

Now, it is almost time to dig in, I promise! In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup lentils, 1/2 cup squash mixture, 1 cup steamed kale, 1/4 roasted mushrooms, 2 tbsp. fresh ricotta, and a dollop of caramelized onions. Drizzle fig balsamic over everything and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Serves 4+. Enjoy!

Spelt Pasta with Baby Kale Pesto, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Garlic Sauteed Chicken

February 24, 2015 | Main Dishes | Permalink


Last night I found myself too tired for class after a long week (and yes I know it was only Tuesday), so I skipped it and made myself a nice comforting, yet still healthy meal to soothe the soul. That’s what counts right? I’m usually not a huge fan of pesto, but lately I find myself craving it for some reason. With no basil on hand though, I had to get a little creative and used some baby kale leaves and spinach instead- I figured they were green too. Because of keeping kosher I find myself too often relying on beans/cheese/eggs for protein so I’m always looking for ways to sneak chicken and lean animal protein foods in to my meals when I am more in control, so kale pesto chicken was born. And then set to die quickly in a mere matter of minutes in mine and my brother’s stomachs.  Edmond (“little” brother) told me that it was the best meal he’s had in 3 months. Woop there it is! Don’t tell mom.  The dish was amazing I must say, one I will surely be repeating sometime in the near future.


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup basil flavored olive oil, plus more as needed (OR use 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves)
  • 5 oz package organic baby kale
  • 1 large handful baby spinach
  • 4 oz pine nuts, toasted
  • 6 walnut halves
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • splash lemon juice


  • 3 cups pasta, dry
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • 8 Castelvetrano olives, de-pitted and chopped, for garnish




In a food processor or blender combine 1/4 cup olive oil ( I used basil flavored oil since I did not have any fresh basil on hand) with 3 gloves garlic and process until a paste forms. Next add in the pine nuts and kale leaves, chop. Add in more olive oil here as necessary. You want it still to have a thick consistency though- so don’t pour too much olive oil. (Plus at 120 calories a tablespoon you want to be mindful of how much you’re using).  I threw in some walnuts just for fun to add another level of flavor. Season with some salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Add in a splash of lemon juice. (max 1 tbsp.) Because the kale flavor is slightly bitter and its a heavier green leaf- I decided to add in a handful of fresh baby spinach here to lighten it up a bit and cut some bitterness away.

Bring a pot of water to boil.

While the water is boiling, cut up the chicken into small pieces/strips. Heat up a large sauté pan. When the sauté pan is hot add in a tablespoon of olive oil. Here I got a little fancy with myself and used the oil that my castelvetrano olives were packed in for some exaggerated olive flavor. When the oil is hot (30 sec-1 min) add in the 3 minced cloves of garlic and sauté for 30 quick seconds. Add in the chicken and stir until cooked through (5-6 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.

Throw in the pasta to the boiling water and let cook for 7-8 minutes for al dente pasta. I used spelt pasta that I found at the Italian specialty store in Chelsea market- but I’m pretty sure its also available at Whole Foods, if not there is always Amazon !

Toss the chicken with the pesto sauce and leave to heat over a low flame. When the pasta is done, throw it into the mixture. I also added 1/4 cup of vegetable stock since I added it on hand to make sure the pesto was nice and distributed- if you’d like you can also use some seasoned pasta water as well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Garnish with chopped olives and serve. Serves 4. Enjoy!


Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with Pomegranate Arils and an Orange-Za’atar Vinaigrette

July 8, 2014 | Salads | Permalink


This passed winter, this was one of my go- to salads. It is so simple and quick to throw together, yet really throws a flavor punch. Shredding brussel sprouts is much less intimidating then one might think, plus lately they are often found pre-shredded in supermarkets for even more added convenience. This past Friday night my mother let me know that she was making turkey and sweet potatoes as part of the meal, once I heard that we were flashing back to Thanksgiving on July 4th, I decided to roll with the punches and make the perfect accompaniment- this shredded brussel sprout salad brightened by pomegranate seeds (also known as arils if you want to hold your pinky up and be in the fancy club with me).


  • 1 lb. brussel sprouts, rinsed and pat dry
  • ½ red onion, cut into thin strips
  • arils of ½ pomegranate (approximately ½ cup)

For the dressing;

  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (appx. juice of ½ lemon)
  • ½ lemon, zested
  • 2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. za’atar
  • 2 shakes each; cayenne pepper, paprika
  • salt & pepper, to taste


Using a mandoline, food processor or knife, thinly slice the brussel sprouts. (Oftentimes now, you can fine pre-shredded and packaged brussel sprouts- go for it!)  Thinly slice the red onion.

Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl, season to taste with salt & pepper. Whisk all ingredients together to blend. (Extra dressing can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl; shaved brussel sprouts, slivered red onion, pomegranate arils and dressing.  Let the brussels marinate for a short while (20-30 minutes) in the refrigerator before serving. Serves 4. Enjoy!

The Juicing Experiment: a Personal Experience

July 7, 2014 | Musings | Permalink

photoProfessionally, especially to my patients with diabetes I have yet to recommend that any patient hops on the juice trend train that’s currently choo-chooing around the nation. It is the lack of fiber that can cause drops in blood pressure and changes in digestion that can be dangerous for certain people.However, if you have a clean bill of health I do not see much reason against a short juice cleanse. There were a couple of reasons for my giving in and attempting this super trendy juicing trend. The first was to actually speak from a personal perspective when patients came in asking a few questions about it- the truth is I wrote off cleansing probably too quickly because of the lack of fiber in juice and decided to challenge my own opinion and give it a go. The second reason was that I wanted to test the theory of “giving my GI tract a rest.” Part of this theory is attributed to the way we Americans have come to eat 3 large meals a day and the extra food consumption not only adds calories, but also stress and inflammation to our bodies. It was time to give my GI a well needed vacation- especially as summer has started and the demand for drinking and eating has increased as we are more out and about in the food obsessed culture we live in. I have recorded my experience below and noticed a few food habits of my own, of my friends, and of New Yorkers in general. I want to clarify I did NOT do this cleanse as a means of weight loss, nor would I recommend any one else expect real, lasting weight loss results. Yes you do shed a couple of pounds from a ton of water weight constantly being in the restroom, but that is sure to come back when real food is introduced. Also, I do not think that all the toxins release from your body from this simple three day cleanse. Yes you feel cleaner and leaner but do not be fooled this is not a complete toxin removing experiment.

Day #1: 

9:30—  I woke up and drank warm water with lemon as per my usual routine. Monday being a day off of work, I am a little more at leisure so I figured it would be a great day to give it a go for the first time.

10:00— Time for juice #1-here we go folks…it was surprisingly delicious I have to admit. Perhaps, I would even go as far as to say it was a little too sweet towards the end but in a good “treat-like” kind of way.

11:00— Here comes that time on Monday morning for our awesomely intense group personal trainer- where I kept up like I normally would (had food in my system from the day before so felt it would be safe to beast it out) and shed an entire layer of water. Nothing like that feeling.

12:30 juice #2— Probably my favorite treat of the cleanse…I drank my almond milk post-workout recovery drink with some protein and fat, while watching my friends chow down on yummy salads, womb wraps and soup. Now I won’t lie I would have loved to join them but it was really too soon for me to care. I committed to a 3 day cleanse, pre-paid for all the juices and “it is  only 3 days” kept playing over in my mind. Temptation #1 avoided.

2:15 juice #3—After a stressful ordeal at Fedex trying to locate my package, I became hungry and ready for another juice- second  green juice of the day- cucumber, celery, spinach, parsley, lemon, apple, ginger—it’s so clear that an apple is involved for it is super duper sweet, but hey- this really is not as bad as I thought it would be.

4:45 juice #4— Yet another green juice, this time with kale, spinach and ginger. This juice was a little more grainy and heavy than the other greens but still more than tolerable. At this point I was really actually liking these juices. A semi headache popped in- probably from caffeine withdrawal, nothing I couldn’t handle though. It was expected- I love myself some coffee.

530— Whoops!  Giving my pup a cucumber treat I almost had a small piece myself out of habit. Listen a cucumber would not have made such a difference, but the point of writing about his is that this juicing cleanse is making me realize how much I pick mindlessly, making me more aware of my own “bad” food habits. Here we have lesson #1 for myself- be conscious of eating just to eat- grab a glass of water or tea instead. It’s probably thirst anyways, as sometimes our body mistakes hunger for thirst.

630— Embark on the ferry back to NYC, back to real life. No beer or cup of wine this time, just straight up chilling and enjoying the view on the deck of the ferry without the habitual cold brew.

7:00— Bring on juice #5- Lemon, cayenne, and maple syrup in water.  Personally, I prefer things extra spicy and less on the sweet side, so I will be adding an extra dash of cayenne to my next drink to counter the sweetness, but it was a refreshing and yummy treat on the back of the boat nonetheless.

8:40— Already starting to get hungry again but not quite ready for yet another juice.  I’ve actually stayed full for quite some time and I still have 2 juices left for the day- I’m pooped. After I finish unpacking, I reject some dinner plans at my favorite sushi spot (oh man! All for the cause) and chill on my bed to do some work on my laptop. I’m also too tired to set out and go chill in my friends apartment on the couch just a mere 6 blocks away- I am ready to call it a night! Usually I’m a night owl… so I’m hoping to feel more energized tomorrow. To be fair I also, have to attribute some tiredness to the earlier commute and the workout we did this morning. Banded sprints were involved.

photo 1930— Still doing computer stuff on my bed and about to delve into the Netflix vortex,when actual hunger sets in! I then go and grab juice #6 (I did it, I did it.)- beet, carrot and apple juice that tastes mostly like yummy beets. I do admit I can’t finish the juice and only get about 2/3 the way through.  Day #1 complete.

Day #2

7:45 am— wake up to find out my first patient of the day cancelled.  Hello to another hour of sleep!

8:45 — One snooze- and got up.  I go to make my usual lemon water- whoops out of lemon, so I just have a glass of water get ready for work and have my first green juice of the day while waiting for an extremely delayed 6 train. Decided to switch up the order of my juices today to keep it interesting starting first with juice #2 at 9:30 Oooooo! Getting crazy up in here.

photo 210:00 — Of course, there is breakfast in work for the first time since I’ve been working here and in the kitchen which is right across from my office, sponsored by some bagel shop with tons of coffee, and any type of bagel and cream cheese I could  probably want. I admit, usually I probably would have picked on a quarter bagel or had a half if I hadn’t had breakfast.

No chewing for me- run past the bagels to the fridge and stick to my juice.

11:30— Juice #2- No chewing for me- run past the bagels to the fridge and stick to my juice. In between patients I have my second juice of the day- lemon, cayenne, and maple syrup aka juice # 4- spicy enough this time with the extra pinch of cayenne. Overall, I am feeling fine, but definitely start to feel hungry every 2 hours. A little fog enters my mind though at this point. Eeek not too great when my job is to listen closely and interact with patients.

1:30— Started to drink my green juice- Juice #3- during my next break and finished two -thirds before I started to feel full.  Instead of lunch break, I then headed to my treat of the cleanse which was non-food centered of course; a chiropractic alignment/ back tension release/ acupuncture that left me feeling unbelievably loose and relaxed. This is my second session and happened to be on my cleanse- turns out it was great support during my 3 chew-free GI resting days. Left with a huge smile and swing in my step.

3:15— Finish the other 3rd of lunch- kale, apple, and spinach on my walk up back home, weaving in and out of stores doing some errands.

5:30— Drank juice #4- beet, carrot, and apple during halftime of the USA soccer game- no beer for me. Wow there sure is a lot of drinking to avoid in the summer. Feeling alive, not as lively as usual but alive enough.

photo 37:15—Juice #5— It’s yet again time for another green juice, this time without any apple- definitely my favorite green juice, I’m sad I didn’t have a chance to have this one yesterday! While sitting and chatting with my friends at Bryant park, I got my energy mostly back but with a few brain lapses in conversation where it was on 30 second delay in answering questions. No big deal, they love me anyways.

I then actually had enough energy for some some Bryant park games, where I showed off my hula hoop skills and then headed to sit outside with my friends as they ate a yummy looking and smelling meal at Bryant Park Grill. I had a treat- sparkling water with lime. Yummm. For serious.

9:15— Still out and about walking down to chill by my friends apartment downtown- but oh no! I didn’t bring my last juice with me. This sucks, I’m getting hungry. Thankfully, I made some calls to all of the close juice bars thanks to yelp and find that juice generation is open till 10pm- woohoo!

9:45ish— Jucie #6 I chose a hemp milk for some protein and because it was half the calories of the almond milk (which I tried the day before and was my favorite) and it was mehh but drinkable. I couldn’t reason drinking 490 calories! I’d rather eat my dense calories in the form of almond butter or nuts. Chewing is underrated I miss it. I only finished 2/3 of the drink and was satisfied for the day.

Day #3

9:09— out of bed. Water w lemon on the way to a 9:30, hour and a half yoga flow and restore class with my friend. Could not think of ingesting another green juice at this point in the morning.

11:15— Ready for my favorite green juice without apple, I really prefer the juice sans apple and started my day drinking my greens watching my friend head to magnolia for a delicious large iced coffee (totally salivated at the site of it) and mini banana pudding. The manager ironically oogled my green juice as I oogled the sweets behind the glass. Didn’t reach over like Obama would have though, I contained myself. Suck on that Mr. President.

1:30ish—Green juice #2 as I blew my hair and got ready for work- drinking meals sure is a time saver let me tell you!

3:30—Before my next patient consultation it’s lemon, cayenne, and maple syrup time! Yummy mid afternoon “treat”.” Added my own cayenne to the juice again this morning. Boo yeah.

5:30— In between patients again and now I’m starting to feel foggy- reach in my cooler and tear out what feels like my millionth green juice. Kale, apple and spinach down the hatch.

7:30 I’m finally home but I made a colossal mistake. I left my treat drink at work in my cooler in the fridge, along with teh last green juice of the day! I was definitely not as astute as usual while on this cleanse, but this could have happened any other day. I was not so ready to drink another juice, but hunger forced me to do so. I took a few sips of the beet juice. Nope- can’t do it. Did not make it past the few sips. I just want to head to bed at this point so I can wake up and chew half an avocado with some salt and red pepper flakes (been craving this for some reason).

9:30— Still awake, turned down the opportunity for another night of drinking and treated myself to a green juice, drank about half, gave up and headed to bed. I came. I saw. I conquered.

Overall, I am looking back on a surprisingly pleasant experience and will definitely do a juice cleanse again- next time maybe for 4 days and definitely with my own juice concoctions or my own juices chosen to cater to my taste palette; It did seem to get repetitive at points with the same juices over and over. Thus, I would need to switch it up more in order to last 4 days and so I plan on doing so. My body reacted normally without any crazy hunger pangs and besides for some fogginess due to drops in blood pressure (secondary to a lack of fiber), I felt healthy overall. It was easy for me to accomplish the cleanse because going into it, I knew it was only 3 days and I had committed to the cause. I am now more compassionate about the cause and would recommend juicing for people to reset their minds to head into a healthier lifestyle and also to reset your taste preferences. I found that juicing helped to reset my taste buds, as I came out craving crunchy lettuce, sashimi and avocado (strange, huh?). Post-cleanse I find myself eating slower and consuming slightly smaller portions before I am full.  The day after the cleanse I was super motivated to eat clean and now a few days later, I have not even reached for a coffee yet. I don’t expect that to last, but I do expect to keep to a diet of completely natural foods (meaning no bread or pasta- yes, gluten) for a few weeks. I feel great, clean and energized! I would say if you are a healthy person okayed by your doctor- go for it! If I can do it, so can you.

Sweet Potato Bean Burger

April 20, 2014 | Main Dishes, Salads, Veggie Side Dish | Permalink

photoPassover, we meet again. 8 days remembering our exile from Egypt that quite ironically enough, traps all us bible-bound Jews to our kitchen because of strict dietary restrictions. 8 days of food with matzah leading the way, bringing jews to pray day in and day out for an mini exile of our own to happen in the privacy of our bathrooms. My vow this year? Avoid matzah as much as possible and rely on more natural fiber-full sources of carbohydrates at meal time. The result? These yummy and satisfying veggie burgers that I will now be making all year round. Passover WIN. Even better? Putting them into My Fitness Pal I discovered the burgers are only 100 calories per patty without factoring in oil, using a teaspoon of oil per patty would make them just 140 calories with protein and fiber in every patty for a filling and satisfying patty that can be put on top of a yummy veggie filled chopped salad- or a greek salad for a complete meal. Yumm!


  • 1 1/2 cups black beans
  • 1 cup chick peas
  • 1 medium baked sweet potato
  • 3/4 cup red quinoa
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper, to taste


For this recipe, and because of the strict requirements of keeping a kosher Passover in my home, I reconstituted dried beans- sooo good! Haven’t taken out the time in a while to do this and I finally remember how worth it it is to keep fresh beans on hand vs. using convenient canned beans. — Soak beans overnight in water, covering 2″ above bean level in the bowl–strain beans in the morning and place in a pot, covering again with an extra 2 inches of water above bean level. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for approximately 1 hour- 1 hour and a half until fork tender.

In a large bowl, roughly mash the black beans and chick peas, to do this I used the back of a drinking glass. Next add in sweet potato and mash that in as well. Then, mix in quinoa, chopped cilantro, diced red onion, mix well. Season with cumin, red pepper flakes (or cayenne pepper + chili powder), salt and pepper- taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Lastly, mix in the egg to bind the mixture together. (For a stiffer patty- you can add in 2 tablespoons of brown rice flour- but I don’t mind a little bean textured crumbliness in my burgers- I actually prefer it that way.) Place the mixture in the refrigerator for at least an hour for a better formed patty.

photo 1To cook patties; heat up a skillet then add 2 tsp. olive oil or olive oil spray (for less calories- but will also be less crunch on outside). Form 1/2 cup batter into a patty and place onto skillet 3 at a time, or whatever fits on your pan, leaving to cook for 4-5 minutes over a medium heat. When you put them down on the pan you can make them super neat and round by using the spatula to fix the shape by pressing around the egdges. Flip and cook on the other side (add more oil or spray if necessary- spray will most probably be necessary) and cook for another 4 minutes until done. Repeat this process until all 8 patties are done, serve and enjoy! Serves 2

Mixed Seed & Coconut Trail Mix

April 4, 2014 | Snacks | Permalink


Want a free piece of nutrition advice that I give to all my patients as a crucial part of being satisfied when dieting?  Make sure to pair protein and fiber with every meal and snack! Sometimes in an on-the-go New York city lifestyle this can be a tough task to take on. Enter the old reliable food group-nuts which contain both protein and fiber- which make for a great well balanced snack when consumed in moderation (10-12 per snack).  Unfortunately for this foodie, about a year and a half ago I developed an allergy to nuts! Although I still am a nut, I can no longer consume my own kind. What to do when my easy go-to nutritious snack was taken away from me? One up the universe and make something even better- durrrr! My friend Raquel and I toyed with this sweet, savory and wholesome recipe in her kitchen using seeds as the base ingredients, and with calories, protein and fiber in mind- I have here a recipe for the most tantalizing yet healthy seed mix for only 200 calories per serving with 7g protein and 3g fiber ta-boot! I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do…this is good stuff.


  •  3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  •  3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  •  1 tbsp. sesame seeds
  •  1/3 cup currants
  •  1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  •  1/2  tbsp. coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter)
  •  1 tbsp. maple syrup
  •  1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  •  1/8 tsp. turmeric
  •  1/8 tsp. cumin
  •  1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  •  salt, to taste


Heat up a frying pan, add in the half tbsp. of coconut oil with all the seeds and combine to
toast. After 3 minutes, add in the coconut and currants and begin to season the mixture
with cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric and some salt. Finish off with maple
syrup, mix for another minute and remove from heat, set aside. Serves 8, enjoy!

Lemon-Poppy & Fig, Dark Chocolate Coconut, & PB &J Hamentashen

March 5, 2014 | Desserts | Permalink

photo (1)It’s about that time of the year where the inner Jew inside me shines. A rabbi-mandated excuse to dress up, get drunk and eat yummy hat-shaped cookies- what’s not to love? It has become a tradition that every year I look forward to making new and exciting flavors of the traditional hamentashen. This year, I brainstormed with a bunch of my friends and came up with a whole new lot. The Lemon-Poppy/Fig Hamentashen was inspired by my friend Raquel as she watched me purchase some fresh vanilla beans in Chelsea Market this past weekend. The Dark Chocolate Coconut was inspired by the new addition to my hood- La Duree on West Broadway and their yummy @$$ macaroons that never seem to disappoint. I have yet to venture to try and make macarons, so until then I have my macaron inspired hamentashen to hold me over. Last but not least, last Friday night I was chilling with my friends on the couch after dinner and we thought adding peanut butter to the classic jelly hamentashen would be a fun play on PB & J- and guess what? We were spot on! Simple tweak on an old classic took it to a whole new level- thanks David & Elana.

Lemon-Poppy & Fig Jam 


  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 jars fig jam


Beat the eggs, add in oil, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice; beat well. In a separate bowl sift together the flour salt and baking powder. Gradually add this flour mixture to the egg mixture. Add in the zest of 1 lemon and the 1/4 cup poppy seeds. Knead well. Place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350.

Divide the mixture into 3 balls. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each out and cut into 3″ circles.

Now…for the fun part. Simply spoon one teaspoon of fig jam in the center of the 3″ circle; form the triangular hat by lifting and securely pinching 3 sides. Bake at 350 for approximately 15 minutes, until golden brown. Enjoy!

Chocolate Coconut with a Dark Chocolate Ganache


  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp. frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 12 oz. dark chocolate chips
  • pinch of salt


Beat the eggs, add in coconut oil, coconut sugar, vanilla and orange juice concentrate; beat well. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Gradually add this flour mixture to the egg mixture. Add in the shredded coconut. Knead well. Place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare the ganache; Bring a cup of unsweetened coconut milk to a boil with one teaspoon of vanilla. Remove from the heat and add in the 12 oz bag of dark chocolate chips and a dash or two of salt. Mix well until all the chocolate melts in to the boiled coconut. When completely smooth, stir in some toasted coconut flakes and let the mixture sit for a few minutes to thicken.

Divide the chocolate mixture into 3 balls. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each out and cut into 3″ circles.

Now…for the fun part. Spoon one teaspoon of the dark chocolate ganache in the center of the 3″ circle; form the triangular hat by lifting and securely pinching 3 sides. After the tray is complete and full, top hamentashen with some coconut chips. Bake at 350 for approximately 15 minutes, until golden brown. Enjoy!

PB & J


  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 jar raspberry jam (I used an apricot-raspberry blend)


Beat the eggs, add in oil, sugar, vanilla and orange juice concentrate; beat well. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Gradually add this flour mixture to the egg mixture. Knead well. Place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350.

Divide the mixture into 3 balls. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each out and cut into 3″ circles.

Now…for the fun part. Spoon one half teaspoon of  peanut butter in the center of the 3″ circles, then repeat this step with a half teaspoon of jam on top; form the triangular hat by lifting and securely pinching 3 sides. Sprinkle the tray of complete hamentashen with crushed raw peanuts and sprinkle some sea salt. Bake at 350 for approximately 15 minutes, until golden brown. Enjoy!