Holidays

Aviva's Blog

All I want for Hanukkah is a Wooden Shelf under my Bathroom Sink

I'm in my mid-40s, and I've gotten to the stage of life where if I really want something material, I buy it for myself. (Andrew is a decent fashion consultant when I’m trying things on at home, but picking something I’d love from the dizzying selection at a store?  Not so much.) But, in reality, there aren’t many things I want. I get the majority of my clothes and jewelry (usually funky, chunky silver and bronze) handed down from my mom and sister. If I need a new purse, as I did a few months ago, I buy myself one (I got a great bargain on a suede bag in a consignment store). If I’m craving a pedicure, I schedule a date with a friend or my sister Sheba and treat myself to one. So when it comes to the holidays, I don’t have many wants or needs. It feels clichéd to say that I want my kids to make me something with their own hands or write me a poem, but that’s really...

Does Holiday Eating Have Your Stomach Begging for Mercy? How to Improve Your Energy and Digestion Fast!

Guest Column by Mari J Hahn, Holistic Health Coach and author of Gut Guide 101:Three Weeks to Better Digestion and Increased Energy The month of December always gets a little crazy when it comes to food – it’s easy to get carried away with party food and too many cookies, not to mention indulgent holiday meals, eggnog and cocktails. Before long, you may be suffering with heartburn, low energy and the dreaded weight gain, which can take a lot of the fun out of the holidays. Taking a few minutes each day to take care of your digestion will keep your immune system strong, improve your energy, and help you have a healthy December. Your digestive tract will function much better with plenty of fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of water every day and less of the depleting stuff like processed foods and sugar. High stress levels also negatively impact the digestive system, so whatever you do to manage your stress such as exercise, yoga, a daily walk or journaling,...

Holiday Gift Ideas for Food Lovers, Gift Ideas for Busy Parents, Gift Ideas for Kids Who Love to Cook, Plus Edible Holiday Gifts

If you’ve been part of The Scramble for a while (thank you!) you may remember that I’m not a huge shopper or consumer.  Because a) I feel I have everything I could want or need, b) our house is small so we don’t have a lot of room to put new things, c) Since I’m a crazy environmentalist, I don’t put a huge focus on giving or receiving traditional holiday gifts. I usually focus on giving consumable gifts or gifts of experiences for my friends and family, and those are the things I prefer to receive, too. That being said, The Scramble team put our heads together and created a list of some of our favorite gifts for busy parents, food lovers and cooks in your life.  I would love you to add your ideas to our list by leaving a comment at the end of the post—then we can update the list to include your ideas of gifts for food lovers, gifts for busy parents, gifts for kids who love to cook and edible holiday gifts. Holiday Gifts for Busy Parents • You’ll never...

Holiday Treats: Chocolate Bark with Pomegranate Seeds, Coconut and Ginger

This chocolate bark with pomegranate seeds gets a tiny kick from the ginger and a pop of texture from the juicy pomegranate seeds.  This is so easy to make, just like our Dark Chocolate Bark with nuts, marshmallows, and dried cranberries.  This chocolate bark makes a great holiday gift or colorful holiday dessert. Thanks to my fellow Her Corner member Alison Cardy for introducing me to the idea of pomegranate chocolate bark! Chocolate Coconut Ginger Pomegranate Bark 18 servings 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, or 12 oz. of any dark chocolate 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (use reduced fat if you can find it) 1 tsp. ground ginger seeds from 1 pomegranate (1 cup arils/seeds) (here's how to seed a pomegranate in 3 minutes using a wooden spoon) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler (if using the microwave, heat it in 30 second increments).  Stir it until smooth, then stir in the coconut and...

Competing Thanksgiving Traditions: How Do You Make it Work?

Thanksgiving. It’s a timeless American tradition and one many of us look forward to for weeks, even months.  But be honest, could any meal encompass higher expectations and more pressure?  For sure, the rewards are great. We gather with our families and/or friends. We enjoy Thanksgiving traditions and delicious feast together that is a celebration of fall’s bounty.  Perhaps we watch football on the couch or digest while we hit the sales and get a jump on our holiday shopping. But when families merge, whose traditions do we follow? Whose beloved recipes do we use? Which side of the family do we celebrate with? How do we accommodate everyone’s dietary preferences? Will the turkey be overcooked again this year? And who has to sit in traffic to get to whose house? We celebrate Thanksgiving with Andrew’s family each year, while we enjoy Passover (a traditional Jewish feast) with my family in California each spring. To escape some of the pressures I mentioned above,...

Healthy Halloween Recipes: Witches’ Fingers and Terror-ific Tomato Soup

While this might seem rather gruesome, you can serve this with a free conscience as no witches were harmed in the making of this recipe.  In fact, it's completely vegetarian -- and a hearty healthy Halloween dinner to serve before trick-or-treating.  This smooth and creamy soup, from Six O'Clock Scramble editor Kathryn Spindel, tastes like a fresher version of the classic Campbell’s tomato soup I loved as a child.  Serve this or other healthy Halloween recipes with Witch Finger breadsticks (see recipe below).

Creamy Tomato Soup with Basil

Prep + Cook Time: 25 minutes

2 Tbsp. butter 1/4 yellow or white onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup) 2 Tbsp. flour 4 cups low fat milk 1 bay leaf 2 tsp. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt (optional) 1/2 tsp. baking soda 28 oz. crushed tomatoes, with their liquid 1 - 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped In a stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onions and stir occasionally until the onions are softened but not browned, about 3...

Healthy Halloween Recipes: Spider Black Bean Dip

Black beans, fresh tomatoes, and vegetables (spiders optional) make this a healthy yet deliciously fun dip for a Halloween party or as a meal before heading out to Trick or Treat.  Serve with cheese cut like pumpkins, our homemade tortilla chips, and your favorite veggies -- fresh sweet peppers, blanched green beans, jicama, celery sticks, carrots for a healthy Halloween recipe.  This might become your favorite Halloween recipe.

Black Bean Dip Prep (10 minutes) Makes about 2 cups of dip, 8 servings, 1/4 cup each 15 oz. canned black beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp. orange juice 1/2 lime, juice only, about 2 Tbsp. 1/4 tsp. garlic powder (or use 1 clove fresh garlic, minced) 1/4 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. chili powder 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

In a food processor or blender, puree all the ingredients. If too thick, and 1/8 – 1/4 cup water.  For spicer flavor add 1 chipotle pepper or 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper....

Light Desserts: Mini Phyllo Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

One of my favorite things to do with our 15 year old daughter, Celia, is to develop new dessert recipes.  Usually we come up with the concept together and then she creates the recipe, and the whole family enjoys tasting and rating them.

I’ve wanted to create light desserts to go in Mini Fillo Shells (we used Athens brand) and we thought a healthy little cheesecake bite would be delightful. These are fun to make and eat—I like to pop the whole thing in my mouth to enjoy the combination of crunchy, creamy and tart all in one bite.

The timing for this recipe coincides with the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (June 3rd). This holiday celebrates the harvest and commemorates God giving the Torah to the Jews on Mount Sinai, and also marks the 7 week period from Passover.  According to the lore, the Jews had to study the Torah and learn the new rules and laws surrounding what they could eat and how it must be prepared (called Kashrut).  While they were learning how to prepare their...

What Moms Really Want for Mothers Day | Special Mothers Day Ideas

We moms (and dads) love our children intensely. From the moment we bring our warm, soft, intoxicatingly good-smelling little bundles into our home, we put aside our own needs to dedicate ourselves to loving, protecting, and nurturing them. We give up our free time to help with homework, read bedtime stories and go to (often endless) school meetings. We race out of work early or arrive late, to be there for doctor’s appointments or soccer games. We sacrifice sleep to comfort a sick daughter or cuddle a scared son.  Sometimes we go haggard with worry or crazed with frustration. But be honest: Does anybody really want breakfast in bed? Personally, I used to find it hazardous, not indulgent, to balance coffee and orange juice, pancakes, and maybe even a flower on a tray perched on my lap, while lovingly assaulted by the sticky little hands and faces that delivered it with Mother’s Day kisses. After a year or two, I confessed to...

Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes

(Moms--Please share this with your family and try not to peek!) Mother’s Day Brunch Menu Crustless Asparagus Quiche Whole Grain Baguette Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits I love the combination of asparagus and dill, but hadn’t thought of combining them in a quiche until recently. Fortunately, the results were fantastic! Serve the quiche with a whole grain baguette and fruit and yogurt parfaits. Don’t forget to add a few fresh cut flowers to the tray or table! 2 tsp. butter 1 bunch asparagus, diced, to yield 2 cups chopped asparagus 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped, or more to taste 6 eggs 1/2 cup nonfat evaporated milk (or use Greek yogurt or 2% or whole milk) 2 tsp. Dijon mustard (use wheat/gluten-free if needed) 1/4 tsp. salt 1 cup shredded Gruyere or sharp Cheddar cheese Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat, and add...