I can't believe it's already April! Looking forward, it's an exciting month: not only is there the plethora of Spring fruit and vegetables to enjoy, but it's Easter, Passover, and Earth Day. Here are five items that will help you make the most of the next 30 days.
After the ceremonious reading of the Haggadah, invite your loved ones to join you for a hearty Seder dinner that is both traditional and modern. Start things off with a reinterpretation of the classic gefilte fish: pan-fried matzo-crusted trout. Serve with a crisp green salad. Next move on to rich bowls of piping hot matzo ball soup. Instead of offering the expected brisket, select another tough cut of meat — beef short ribs — and slow-cook in Kosher red wine. A tzimmes, a time-honored Passover stew made from sweet potatoes and dried fruit, is delicious on the side.
For these festive recipes, read more
Earlier this month, I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the opening of the world's first all-organic bar. So when I learned of Loft Liqueurs, the first USDA certified organic liqueur, I had to find out what all the hype was about.
Created by two best friends and San Francisco hospitality veterans to save people from "the bright neon color of your average apple martini," the limoncello-inspired spirits are at the forefront of sustainability and eco-consciousness. In addition to being made with all-natural ingredients, the kosher-certified liqueur is sweetened primarily with agave nectar. The company supports small farms and biodynamic agricultural practices when possible, and uses recycled cases, biodegradable inks, and bamboo-based paper.
I attended my first Seder on Saturday night, and I learned a ton! In households that honor Passover, one of the rules is to rid the home of chametz – anything with wheat, barley, rye, oats, or spelt – which technically includes pet foods with grains. Not only is it forbidden to eat chametz yourself, but you also shouldn't feed it to pets! If your furry friend eats a traditional dry diet, this may be a nice time to introduce raw food meals. KosherPets offers freeze-dried raw beef patties for dogs or cats with added vitamins and minerals and no artificial flavors or colors. These table-quality foods are much easier than cooking up the meat each day and can be served with water or broth – using a provided meal plan based on an animal's weight.
Wine plays an important part of the Passover dinner known as the Seder. According to the tradition of the Haggadah — the book you read throughout the meal — one is supposed to drink four glasses of wine, which should be kosher. Besides kosher wine, offer guests sparkling or still water. If you prefer to serve a signature cocktail — steer clear of alcohol made from grains — and use a plum brandy or potato vodka.
To check out my Kosher wine recommendations, read more
Mineral makeup just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Mode Cosmetics has just released its first-ever Natural Skin Mineral Powder foundation ($8). The texture is weightless in feel yet rich in pigment, so a little goes a long way. The result is a flawless, matte airbrushed effect. The formula contains cocoa, a powerful antioxidant, which happens to also makes it smell really good.
And hey, just in case you wanted something to talk about at an upcoming Passover Seder, why not mention that your makeup is certified kosher!
Additionally, it's noncomedogenic, fragrance free, oil free, and suited for even the most sensitive skin since it contains only three pure (and vegan) ingredients. Natural Skin Mineral Powder Foundation is available in 10 colors ranging from ivory to chocolate and can be found in supermarkets, pharmacies, and online.
To see swatches of all of the colors, read more
We don't drink much soda in our household, it's not that we're better than soda or anything, it's just that we don't really like it (although we have been known to keep a few bottles of root beer & ginger ale for when the mood strikes). My boyfriend especially hates on it, he really just doesn't enjoy it. Which is why it surprised me when we were at a little taqueria and he ordered a Coke. I asked him why and he said, "I like Mexican Coke sometimes. It tastes way better than American Coke." It was surprising to hear him say, but it's definitely true, you see, Mexican Coke is made with real sugar cane and American Coke is made with high-fructose corn syrup.
So how do you get real coke without importing it from Mexico? Well if you're lucky enough to find it, it seems that the Coca-Cola company makes Coke with real sugar for Passover (so it can be deemed kosher). You'll be able to identify these bottles by their brightly colored yellow tops, as well as the kosher symbol on the cap. And if you find them (they're only available in major metropolitan areas with large Jewish populations), you might want to stock up, they're only in stores for a few weeks.
Which leaves me wondering this, I know it costs more, but why can't we have real sugar coke all year round?
Note: Apparently there is also kosher Sprite and Pepsi as well, and all of this is most commonly found in 2-liter bottles, although there have been rumors of a highly-coveted canned variety.
I see these symbols on food labels a lot. If you're not Jewish yourself, or don't have Jewish friends, than you probably didn't know that the symbols mean that the food is kosher.
Contrary to popular misconception, rabbis or other religious officials do not "bless" food to make it kosher. Basically, specific dietary laws are written in the Torah (the Jewish teachings) and that determines what is kosher and what is not. Rabbis need to supervise to make sure these laws are strictly followed in order to be labeled kosher.
Many of the laws have to do with animals, which ones can be eaten, the way they are slaughtered, and the way they are prepared. In the Torah, it says something about "not boiling a kid in its mother's milk, the "kid" being a baby goat. So that's why people who are kosher don't eat milk and meat together.
The reason there are different symbols is to show where the food was supervised, and by which rabbi. For example, the Capital "K" with a circle around it was supervised in Brooklyn, NY by Rabbi Don Yoel Levy.
The symbol with the Capital "U" and the circle or "O" around it is the symbol of the Orthodox Union, a leader in kosher supervision.
The one with the Star of David is kind of a universal kosher symbol. Inside it are Hebrew letters that make up the word "kosher."
If you find a kosher symbol that says "parve," it means that the food contains no meat or dairy products.
Some food will say "kosher for Passover." Passover is actually coming up (April 2, 2007), so you might be seeing this symbol a lot.
Want to know what kosher for Passover means? Then read more