I LOVE the Fall. To me Fall is pumpkin, squash and warm soups . So when we had some people over for dinner last night and  I was starring at this beautiful butternut squash, I knew I had to find a place for it in my fall inspired dinner menu. I couldn’t decide if it belonged in a side dish mixed together with couscous or in a spinach salad. But the more I thought about it, the salad was the obvious winner, mostly because I was tired of the same old green salad I always make, but also because the combination with the spinach just made sense. The mixture seamed to be a hit and I really loved it!

“Fall Style” Spinach Salad (not a true recipe)

Baby Spinach (washed)

Cubed butternut squash, roasted (heat oven to 425, toss squash with olive oil, salt and pepper, roast for 25 minutes)

Pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

Balsamic Vinaigrette (whisk equal amount olive oil and balsamic vinegar, add salt and pepper to taste)

Combine all ingredients and serve.


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Pumpkin Gnocchi












Ever since the weather began to turn all I want to do is cook with pumpkin.  To me pumpkin and pumpkin flavors are the epitome of fall; I mean besides the leaves changing and the chill in the air. So since I exhausted all the dessert pumpkin options, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, pumpkin shortbread bars and pumpkin cake, I have moved on to savory pumpkin treats. I saw a picture of this delicious gnocchi on tastespotting and since I almost had all the ingredients in the house I decided to make it. I unfortunately had no sage laying around and no good alternative to sage either, so my sauce was only made of brown butter….still delicious just less colorful. Original recipes is from foodess.com, the only change I made was to omit the sage (which I do not recommend doing) and I added a pinch of cinnamon.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (if canned, be sure to choose 100% pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (approximately), plus more for hands and work surface
  • 3 tbsp butter

1. Set a large pot of water to boil. In a medium sized bowl, combine pumpkin, egg, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add the flour in 1/2 cup at a time, stirring to combine between each addition. Continue adding flour until the dough is firm enough to handle, but still somewhat sticky.

2. With floured hands, pinch off about a quarter of the dough. Roll on a floured work surface to make a 1-inch thick rope. Cut rope rope into 1-inch pieces. Repeat with remaining dough.

3. Drop gnocchi into boiling water and cook until they rise to the surface, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan, until butter browns. Remove from heat.

4. Add gnocchi to brown butter and toss.

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Panini Press Mini Cake













I know it may look deceiving, but this cake has only a 3 1/2 inch diameter. It was cooked in ramekins on a panini press for 17 minutes. I know, I didn’t believe it myself, which is why I had to try this recipe. I used a different frosting recipe, one that I had already made in my fridge, but I am sure her buttercream would be delicious as well.


Yellow Cake:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk


  1. Preheat the panini grill to 350°F.* Make sure the grill sits flat on your work surface, not tilted.
  2. Spray two 6-ounce ramekins (3 1/2-inch diameter) with baking spray.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and sugar together until they are combined. Stir in the vanilla and melted butter. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt until the batter is combined and smooth. Stir in the milk. Divide the batter equally between the two ramekins, ideally filling each about halfway.
  4. Set the ramekins on the panini grill and close the lid so that the upper grates make contact with the upper edges of the ramekins. Bake the cakes until they are set and spring back when touched in the center, about 17 to 19 minutes. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes in the ramekins, then invert them onto a rack to cool completely.
  5. Once cool, level cakes with a knife and frost with your frosting of choice.

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Corn Pudding










I was searching for inspiration for a menu for my client next week and I came across a corn pudding recipe in one of my favorite Ina Garten cook books. This is for sure something my client would not let me cook for her children, but I thought I could test the recipe for Thanksgiving.  I obviously had to alter the recipe slightly…less butter mostly. I also cut this recipe in half since I wasn’t cooking it necessarily for anyone but myself. I figured I only needed something that served 4 and not 8. But if you want the original recipe, here it is.


  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 ½ cups fresh yellow corn kernels cut off the cob (about 3 ears)
  • ½  cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • ½  cup milk
  • ½  cup half-and-half
  • ¼  cup yellow cornmeal
  • ½  cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces grated extra-sharp white cheddar, plus extra to sprinkle on top


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease the inside of a 4-5-cup baking dish.

Melt the butter in a very large saute pan and saute the corn and onion over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. Cool slightly.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, and half-and-half in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal and then the ricotta. Add the sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked corn mixture and grated cheddar, and then pour into the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with more grated cheddar.

Place the dish in a larger pan and fill the pan 1/2 way up the sides of the dish with hot tap water. Bake the pudding for 40 to 45 minutes until the top begins to brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

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Zucchini Pecan Muffins










I am enjoying my day off today, by baking some healthy treats to send to some family members who are under the weather. While I would normally send cookies and other sweet treats I feel it is very important for these people to get some healthy nutrients in their food. And since I don’t live near the people these are going too, I can’t exactly cook them a healthy meal, so this is the next best thing I can do. I made two different types of muffins, Zucchini Pecan and Oatmeal Cranberry, using inspiration from a blog I came across this morning, Enlightened Cooking.

Zucchini Pecan Muffins (recipe from Enlightened Cooking)

Makes 12 muffins

Preheat oven to 375°F
12-cup muffin tin

1-1/3 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup natural bran
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup low-fat (1%) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped pecans, Plus 12 pecan halves

1. In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, bran, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and cloves.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, oil, milk and vanilla until well blended and slightly frothy . Stir in zucchini.
3. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Gently fold in pecans.
4. Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Place a pecan half on each muffin.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool.

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I took some time the other night to make dinner for me and my husband. With both our schedules being as busy as they are, we rarely get a chance to sit down for dinner together.  It was actually a gorgeous night outside so we even sat on our balcony and enjoyed a home cooked meal. My husband loves tomato and mozzarella salads, so this recipe is for him, a little play on a caprese salad.

I don’t have an actual recipe for this since you can just make it by throwing in as much or as little of the following ingredients.

“Caprese” Whole Wheat Pasta

Whole Wheat Pasta, cooked (I used Fettuccini)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Tomato, chopped

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes

Basil Chopped

Salt and Pepper


Combine everything is a bowl and enjoy!

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Brunch for a Crowd









When family is in town it is always very important that we all get together.  And obviously for any Jewish family, it MUST revolve around food. Well instead of trying to make brunch reservations for 9 people on a Sunday at 11:00am in the city of Chicago that is just infiltrated with the summer tourists and hundreds of thousands of concert goers for Lollapolooza, I offered to cook.  Above are just a few of the pictures of my spread of food, but these were the two recipes I was most proud of. Here is the whole menu:

Bagels, Lox, Cream Cheese

Noodle Kugel

Eggs Cups (Egg White with Veggies, Eggs with turkey sausage and cheese)

Granola, Yogurt, Berries

Coffee Cake

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Fruit Platter

Egg Cups (Veggies with Eggs Whites)

1 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

1 small red bell pepper, diced

1 small zuchinni, diced

2 large handfuls fresh spinach

14 egg whites

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

Salt and Pepper

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray. Heat pan over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, and pepper, cook stirring until soft and the onions are translucent. Add the zuchinni and continue to cook until soft. Add spinach and stir all until spinach is wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place egg white, ricotta, salt and pepper into blender until frothy, just about 30 seconds.  Place cooked veggies into the bottom of the muffin tin and then pour egg white mixture to fill the remainder of the space. Place in oven and bake until firm about 35 minutes. Let cool and enjoy at room temperature.

Almond, Cherry and Dark Chocolate Granola

The base of this recipe is from Power Foods, from the editors of whole living magazine.

3 cups of old fashioned oats

1/2 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 large egg whites

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine oats, almonds, sunflower seeds and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together egg whites and salt until frothy. Add agave and oil, whisk to combine. Stir into oat mixture until combined. Spread mixture in an even layer on baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, remove from oven and stir. Return to oven for 10 more minutes. Stir again. Turn oven off and leave pan inside for 10 minutes. Remove and cool completely. Transfer to a bowl and stir in cherries and chocolate.





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