Recipe Inspiration from Yotam Ottolenghi and an Ottolenghi-Themed Dinner Party {Podcast #259}

Are you the kind of home cook who makes meals on the fly, or do you look for inspiration from cookbooks, food bloggers, and celebrity chefs. On this week’s Cooking with the Moms radio podcast, Liz reveals her favorite chef and cookbook author, Yotam Ottolenghi. With four cookbooks under his apron strings—Plenty, Plenty More, Ottolenghi, and Jerusalem—and restaurants in London, she can’t get enough of his flavor-filled recipes.

Cookbooks by Yotam Ottolenghi via

Liz is obsessed with Ottolenghi whose cookbooks and recipes feature Middle Eastern flavors with a western twist.

 LISTEN TO COOKING WITH THE MOMS HERE! And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our show on iTunes.

Cauliflower Cake by #Ottolenghi via

His Cauliflower Cake from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi is to die for …

Honey-roasted rainbow carrots via #ottolenghi

And the honey roasted rainbow carrots Liz adapted from the same book are equally scrumptious. Ottolenghi takes vegetables from so-so to sensational.

Cookbooks by Yotam Ottolenghi via

Liz’s friend Suzanne is even more infatuated with Ottolenghi (is that possible?), and she joins us on the show this week to dish about her favorite recipes as well as the Gourmet Group dinner party she and Liz hosted featuring Ottolenghi recipes like Salmon Steaks in Chraimeh Sauce and Couscous with Dried Apricots and Butternut Squash.

Yotam Ottolenghi Dinner Party - how to host via

For the dinner party, Liz and Suzanne looked through Ottolenghi’s four cookbooks and chose seasonal recipes to assign to themselves and their friends.

Ottolenghi-Inspired Dinner Party Menu:

Butternut Squash & Tahini Spread
Figs with Basil, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Vinaigrette from Plenty
Couscous with Dried Apricots and Butternut Squash from Ottolenghi
Salmon Steaks in Chraimeh Sauce from Jerusalem
Beef and Lamb Meatballs Baked in Tahini from Ottolenghi
Toffee Brownies from Ottolenghi (that’s Nairi and Suzanne at Liz’s house baking the brownies)

Liz hosted the dinner and there were a total of five couples, Everyone showed up with a dish and then shared their experience with the recipe. Favorite recipes from the night were the salmon, couscous, fig salad, and brownies.

Be sure to listen to this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast for more delicious details on Ottolenghi’s recipes.

Corny Bean Bell Pepper Boats are Fun for Kids to Eat

Red, orange, green, and yellow bell peppers remind us of colorful Christmas tree ornaments, so use that to your advantage this holiday season to introduce your family to nutrient-packed peppers.

Colorful bell peppers via

Rich in vitamins C and A, peppers are versatile, crunchy, and filled with big flavors. You can slice them and serve with our Rainbow Veggie Dip, saute and add to pasta dishes, soups, and tacos and wraps …

Corny Bean Bell Pepper Boats via #bean #vegetarian

… or use them as the foundation for these fun-to-eat Corny Bean Bell Pepper Boats.

Our stuffed pepper recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free, and if you leave out the cheese, it’s also vegan.

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Potato Kale Latkes + KALE, GLORIOUS KALE Cookbook Giveaway {Podcast #258}

These Potato Kale Latkes will hit the spot at Hanukkah, or any time of the year, and they’re more nutritious than traditional latkes thanks to the addition of chopped kale.  (Recipe below.)

Potato Kale Latkes from Kale, Glorious Kale

When cooking instructor and author, Catherine Walthers, sent us a copy of KALE, GLORIOUS KALE for review, we proceeded to add a sticky note to just about every recipe in this gorgeous cookbook. We love kale for its versatility, flavor, and nutrition, and now we have 90 new recipes to make for our families … all featuring KALE.

Yes, dear readers: This book is a dietitian’s dream come true!

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Honey-Roasted Rainbow Carrots + Why I’m Obsessed with Yotam Ottolenghi

These colorful, flavorful, gluten-free Honey-Roasted Rainbow Carrots turn plain ol’ baby carrots from so-so to sensational. Your kids will eat them happily! 

Honey-Roasted Rainbow Carrots via

If your family is bored with raw carrots and dip or steamed carrots with a drizzle of melted butter, shake things up by tossing baby carrots—use the new rainbow variety if you can find them—with honey, extra virgin olive oil, coriander, cumin, and kosher salt and then pop ’em in the oven to roast.

I dished all about this recipe on our Cooking with the Moms radio podcast.

 LISTEN TO COOKING WITH THE MOMS HERE! And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to our show on iTunes.

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A Make-Your-Own Kale Salad Bar + Why Kids Will Love Digging In!

Getting kids to try new foods—even kale—is easy if you (a) involve them in the preparation process and (b) give them lots of choice.

Kids eating kale salad via

I work with a program in Lexington, MA called Kids Cooking Green, and last month during this preschool class, the kids made a kale salad, which they happily ate.

Kids making kale salad by massaging in olive oil via

The trick to our kale salad success?: The kids got to (a) get messy by massaging olive oil into the kale leaves (this makes the fibrous leaves more tender) and (b) choose from a number of toppings including hard-cooked eggs, goat cheese, and sliced veggies. And yes, the kids scrubbed their hands first, and yes, evoo smells great 😉

Make Your Own Kale Salad Bar via

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Tabbouleh with the Works + a Recap of the Whole Grains: Breaking Barriers Conference {Podcast #256}

This simple tabbouleh side dish is made with bulgur wheat, parsley, chickpeas, dried cranberries, and juicy tomatoes, and it’s bursting with fresh flavors and filling fiber.

Tabbouleh with the Works made with bulgur wheat, parsley, and tomatoes #WholeGrain

When you hear the words, “whole grains,” what foods come to mind? Whole wheat bread? Whole wheat pasta? Brown rice?

Tabbouleh with the Works made with bulgur wheat, parsley, and tomatoes #WholeGrain

Nutritious whole grains do, in fact, include wheat, but there are many, many more options out there to choose from including:

Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, Millet, Oats, Quinoa, Rice, Rye, Sorghum, Teff, Triticale, and Wild Rice.

As for “wheat,” the varieties you’ll find at the market include: Spelt, Emmer, Farro, Einkorn, Kamut, and the star of this blog post: Bulgur.

Tabbouleh with the Works made with bulgur wheat, parsley, and tomatoes #WholeGrain

 Tabbouleh is usually made with bulgur, but you can sub out the bulgur for other grains like barley, rice, or quinoa.

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Healthy Vegetable Side Dishes for Thanksgiving: A Recipe Roundup

If you asked a group of registered dietitians (especially dietitians who also write food blogs) what they’re making for Thanksgiving dinner, chances are, they’d all say …

The vegetable side dish.

Thats’s what we’d say!

Healthy Thanksgiving side dishes from registered dietitians #RDN

Dietitians love vegetables—that’s pretty obvious!—and Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to show off the freshest produce of the season. We asked Blog Brûlée alumni to share their favorite holiday side dishes, and here’s what we got … and we also tossed in one of our own Meal Makeover Mom veggie creations.

Read on for over a dozen healthy vegetable (and one fruit) side dishes that are light, nutritious, and won’t leave you feeling like a stuffed bird.

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How to Make Cauliflower Steak + Cauliflower Steaks with White Beans

Have you ever wondered how restaurant chefs take cauliflower and turn it into “steaks?” It’s easy, and in this post I’ll show you how!

I’ll also serve up a protein-rich, vegetarian recipe for Cauliflower Steaks with White Beans that you and your kids will LOVE. 

How to Make Cauliflower Steak #vegetarian

It may seem complicated, but with a cutting board, a sharp knife, and a little bit of patience, you can easily transform a head of cauliflower into hearty slices or “steaks.”

How to Make Cauliflower Steak #vegetarian

As a mom and a dietitian obsessed with getting my family to eat lots of veggies, I’m always on the lookout for fun new ways to serve them up.

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How to Make a Halloween Vegetable Skeleton + a Recipe for Rainbow Vegetable Dip

For a healthy classroom or party treat, create a Halloween skeleton made with crunchy vegetables, and serve it with our Rainbow Vegetable Dip.

And then watch the kids eat lots and lots of vegetables! 

Make-Your-Own Halloween Vegetable Skeleton Classroom Activity

Why serve Halloween candy in the classroom or at a pre trick-or-treat party when the kids can munch and crunch their way through a make-your-own vegetable skeleton instead.

Our skeleton started out as a boy, but then he became a she with all that spinach and bell pepper hair!

Make-Your-Own Halloween Vegetable Skeleton Classroom Activity

This week, I taught a nutrition class to a group of preschoolers through a program in Lexington, MA called Kids Cooking Green. Since Halloween is just a few days away and I knew the kids were super excited about dressing up (and eating candy), I searched Pinterest for some fun and healthy Halloween ideas and came up with this make-your-own vegetable skeleton activity.

For your DIY vegetable skeleton, here’s what you’ll need:

1. A small glass bowl filled with your favorite dip. (Read on for our Greek- yogurt-based Rainbow Vegetable Dip recipe.)

2. Sliced olives for the eyes and baby spinach or kale leaves for the hair.

3. Sliced cucumbers or zucchini for the spine and sliced bell peppers for the ribs.

4. Carrot and celery sticks for the arms and legs; also, edamame and sliced bell peppers.

5. Sliced mushrooms for the pelvis.

6. Halved grape or cherry tomatoes for the feet.

7. Cooked bowtie pasta for the bowtie!

8. Patience, good humor, and a fun attitude! 😉

Make-Your-Own Halloween Vegetable Skeleton Classroom Activity

“Hmmm. Let me think about this. What should I eat next? A cucumber or a carrot?”

Rainbow Vegetable Dip

Makes 6 Servings

This dip will serve more than six kids if you’re serving it to preschoolers. For this activity I had nine kids in the class, and we had plenty to go around. Traditional dips are often made with sour cream and salty seasoning packets, and they have double the calories of this better-for-you dip, which is filled with natural flavors from fresh herbs.

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (plus more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons honey mustard
  • Fresh, chopped and sliced vegetables of your choice

1. Place the yogurt, mayonnaise, dill, and honey mustard in a medium-size bowl and stir well to combine.

2. Let everyone at the table help themselves to the dip and a variety of colorful veggies.

Nutrition Information per Serving (about 3 tablespoons): 50 calories, 3g fat (0.5g saturated), 95mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 3g protein

Print Recipe

Felt board with vegetable cut outs

To start off the activity, I sat around with the kids and we talked about the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Then I asked them, “if you had to dress up as a fruit or vegetable for Halloween, what would you be?” The kids then placed their “costume” on the felt board.

Of course, my answer was, “an avocado!!”

What would you be?

Make-Your-Own Halloween Vegetable Skeleton Classroom Activity

Hanging out with my Skeleton Crew…

Make-Your-Own Halloween Vegetable Skeleton Classroom Activity

Scary skeleton faces.

Happy Halloween!!!

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