Chef Jack and the Tasteful Selections™ Campaign

chefjack

It’s so fascinating how people deal with life-altering news.  Some  adopt a “woe is me attitude” and allow their whole world to crumble, resigning to the belief that there’s nothing they can “do about it.”  Others decide to take make the most out of their life, following the mantra “when life gives you lemons, use them to make lemonade.”

With this in mind, I am so honored to share with you the personal story of Chef Jack and to highlight the Tasteful Selections™ Campaign to help find a cure for Leukemia and to help encourage kids to eat healthy.

Many of you might already know Chef Jack’s story since it has been featured on multiple talk shows: The Tonight Show, The Bonnie Hunt Show, The Queen Latifa Show, Rachael Ray Show, as well as the Food Network’s mini-series Rachael vs. Guy: Kid’s Cook Off.

Check out this video:

Chef Jack is inspirational to say the least. He’s a 13 year old chef who began cooking to benefit research at the age of 6, during recovery from Leukemia.  He was first diagnosed at 2-years old, and has relapsed twice since, but continues his passion of “cooking for the cause.”    In this campaign, he will develop several recipes with Tasteful Selections specialty potatoes, and share his cooking instructions through videos.  Tasteful Selections™ will also feature these recipes on their website and promote his cause on social media.  Jack’s goal, in addition to raising money and awareness, is to encourage kids to eat healthy.

If that’s not impressive enough, Jack has also authored an award-winning cookbook, “Twist it Up” which features 60 of his favorite original recipes.  A portion of the cookbook’s proceeds are donated to Jack’s permanent endowment at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, Cali and the Beckstrand Foundation where Jack is the pediatric spokesperson.

Tasteful Selections™ brand of potatoes is not only convenient because they are thin-skinned and pre-washed (no scrubbing!)  but also because of their “bite-sized” pieces which are very easy to handle and cook super fast.

potatoes

Last week I made a delicious Crash Potatoes recipe with these baby potatoes and they were delicious. They’re also an ideal selection for some homemade Mashed Potatoes as well.

Please click here to check out more information on Chef Jack and the Tasteful Selections™ Campaign.  You can easily help make a difference!

Disclaimer While I was NOT compensated for writing this post, I did receive a ” Twist it Up” Cookbook (to try out the recipes with my own kids).  Additionally, a $100 donation was made in my name to Jack’s permanent endowment at the Miller Children’s Hospital.  All opinions expressed are, as always, my own.

 

 

Passover: Brownies

Ahem.  Take one look at these brownies and you tell me….do they look kosher for Passover to you?

How can you tell they don’t contain any flour or baking powder?

Well, you can’t tell…

Absolutely NOTHING in these brownies is sacrificed.  Not looks.  Not even taste.

That’s right my friends.  Another simple, easy, Passover dessert that plays nice with your taste buds. [Read more...]

Haroseth with Pear, Pecans and Figs

Haroseth is a chopped nut and fruit mixture served during the Passover seder.  It’s usually eaten between two pieces of matzoh, to represent the mortar used by Jews in building palaces and pyramids of Egypt during their slavery.

I simply cannot figure out why I eat this amazingly flavorful fruit dish only two days out of the entire year.  It should NOT only be designated for this holiday.  This year was my first attempt at making a haroseth recipe.  Like many other dishes I’ve tackled, once in the kitchen and confronted with the ingredients and the directions, I couldn’t believe how easy it is to make.  Seriously, all that’s required is slicing and dicing and mixing of fruits and nuts and you’re done.

Haroseth ingredient palette

My friend came over this morning to help “make” a haroseth recipe she had torn from the paper.  I have found that sharing responsibility in the kitchen with friends is very meaningful to me, especially when the recipe carries such a religious significance.  As we mixed and chopped and toasted, we told stories from our past childhood seders: which songs were sang, what food was served.

While methodically chopping and squeezing and dicing (oh, and we were sampling all along the way), we began concocting other variations and uses for haroseth–from a relish for meat, to ice cream and cereal toppings, to sides for waffles and pancake breakfasts. There is no way we’re going to let this vibrant, flavorful fruit dish’s culinary life get stuck between two pieces of dry matzoh.

When we were finished, we both were so satisfied.  I felt accomplished.  This will be my very second seder where I haven’t dashed to the nearest market to pick up a box of macaroons or candy fruit slices to bring to the host house.

No way.  This Passover, the items I contribute are homemade.

And we all know that homemade= made with love.

Enjoy!

 

Passover: Tzimmes

Classic Rosh Hashanah tzimmes on a festive table

Today I’m sharing a family Passover recipe from the archives of Susan Weikers Balaban.  Susan, like me, is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and grew up in a loving family.  Her mother, who just celebrated her 100th birthday,  enjoyed entertaining at home (like mine!). No doubt some of Susan’s cooking skills and creative table ideas came from holiday gatherings and parties at home. From her mother’s influence, entertaining family and friends has become her passion. Susan now authors a blog called The Creative Table where she shares her ideas for creative table designs.

Susan has spent her life volunteering on behalf of the State of Israel and causes dear to her heart with a loving family at the forefront of her life.  Apparently I’ve just learned that I was her inspiration to embark on her blogging journey!  Most importantly, she was fortunate to have been dear lifelong friends with my beloved mother Judy…..

Susan is revealing her family’s Tzimmes recipe for the holiday. For those unaware, Tzimmes is a sweet stew that is typically made from [Read more...]

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