This spring is a tough one for all of us. Some of us are stuck alone, some may be in tough home relationships, many have lost their jobs, some are working remotely as well as serving as a home schooling site, and all of us are living with uncertainty. Food quality plays a HUGE part in how we feel physically and mentally. If you’re sitting around eating chips out of the bag, try to shift the perspective (see below for ideas on mental health). How can you get inexpensive, easy meals on the table? How can you still do a holiday celebration remotely?
This year seems to be symbolic for so much of our spring celebrations. Passover is a holiday that as Jews, we just commemorated through a seder. In my family, we did it via zoom, and I took this as the first time I ever made a seder in our house! Passover commemorates the ancient time plagues were sent to the Egyptian people for keeping Jews as slaves. We celebrate freedom from oppression, as the Jews escaped and wandered in search of a better life. We celebrate that even though we have suffered, there will come a time where we are free from oppression, disease, and strife. We dip into salt water to remind us of shed tears, we eat horseradish to remind us of bitter times, we eat a bread (matzah) symbolizing affliction. I couldn’t think of something more appropriate for the time we are living in.
The holidays of Easter and Passover are both holidays traditionally heavy with eggs, meat, and sugar. We can turn the tide! We can attempt to lighten the body and mind. Since we are cooped up, this is a perfect time to pull stuff out of the pantry and put those beans you’ve stocked up on to use!
Ways to lighten up:
1) No one says you have to eat matzah at every meal: skip the matzah and use lettuce wraps, fresh salads, and eat more fresh veggies and fruits. Make this an opportunity to eat LESS processed foods, rather than more! Check out if you live in a place where CSA’s are delivering produce, or try Imperfect Foods which will deliver produce that would otherwise have been discarded (because it may have a blemish) to your door, or if you’re in the Buffalo area, try Produce Peddlers, who delivers locally grown produce to your door!
2) Skip the eggs-you can swap out 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed (also known as meal) plus 3 tbsp water in place of eggs for all baking recipes. This doesn’t work if you’re looking for a scrambled or omelet texture however. As an scrambled egg swap out make a tofu scramble, like this one.
3) The symbol of greens for both holidays represents rebirth, renewal, and the coming of spring. Greens also help to renew and revitalize the body. Eat as many greens as you can during this time to boost the immune system!!
4) Try things like quinoa and buckwheat for salads-both of these are SEEDS, not grains, and therefore K for P (Kosher for Passover)! I have a bunch of recipes on the site using these foods.
5) Chia seeds make a great dessert when combined with a dairy-free milk such as almond milk
6) When baking, you can substitute almond flour for many recipes that call for matzah meal. This way, you can add some whole foods that are rich in protein and whole food fats.
7) Skip the added oils and margerine-there’s no need for them! You can sauté in water or vegetable broth, as well as swap them out for nut butters in baking recipes. Oil is just fat calories, offering else. By using nut butters in their place, you’ll receive the health benefits of the plant-based protein and added fiber. By skipping the oil when you sauté, nothing will be missed, except unwanted fat and calories
8) You now probably have more canned beans that you’ve ever had, so eat some beans! We love beans and eat them every day in some way. They’re loaded with plant-based protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, and potassium!
Here are some go-to spring holiday menu ideas that use pantry staples
- Quinoa Quiche Bites
- Tuna-less chickpea salad
- Oil Free Red Pepper Hummus
- Massaged Kale Salad
- Moroccan Carrot Soup
- Cabbage Soup
- Moroccan Chickpea Stew
- Lentil Cassoulet
- Tzimmis, a sweet carrot/sweet potato stew
- Chocolate Ganache Torte
- Date and Nut Bites
Please treat yourselves with kindness. Refrain from comparing how YOU are dealing with COVID to others. We all deal differently. Enjoy your celebrations. Make new traditions. This too shall pass.
-All my love xoxoxo Jess
See the following links below to help with sanity
1) Never had a chance to cook along with me? Join me for an online live cooking class Saturday April 18! Click here to register!
2) Get outside and walk (safe distancing!!!! Stay away from friends and other family and keep the spread of the virus down!)
3) Start planting some seeds like lettuce, spinach, peas, or kale in some buckets, links to How to Garden
4) Read, color, do something nice for someone else (send a card to a friend or family member, have a zoom happy hour with friends you haven’t seen in forever). Decorate the windows with a positive message and some hearts.
5) Get active and meditate!
Insight Timer: ap for your phone on meditation
Headspace, offering free meditations for us NYers