Shannon Sarna is Editor of The Nosher. Born to an Italian mother who loved to bake, a Jewish father who loved to experiment, and a food chemist grandfather, loving and experimenting with diverse foods is simply in her blood. Her writing and recipes have been featured in Tablet Magazine, JTA News, New Jersey Monthly Magazine, The Jewish Week, Joy of Kosher Magazine, Vinepair, Modern Loss and Buzzfeed. She graduated from Smith College in Northampton, MA with a degree in Comparative Government and Spanish Language and Literature and lives in South Orange, NJ with her husband, daughters and rescue dogs. To see what Shannon is cooking and eating, follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
I don't believe in dieting or cutting out entire food groups like dairy, carbs, meat or (heaven forbid!) dessert, which is probably why I will always be curvy (and proud). But I do believe in eating…healthfully, eating real food and applying moderation. That means, when it's time to take some weight off (which it is right now), I prefer to cut back my portions, cut back a smidge on carbs and a smidge on dessert. I know there are lots of people who need black and white rules, but I… >> Read More
Oh man, weeknight dinners are the worst sometimes! Sure, I would eat noodles with butter and Parmesan every night if I could (and so would my kids), but I'm probably not going to win any parenting…(or health) awards for that. But I do love Trader Joe's. When I say love, I mean they know me by name. Ok, fine, they know my baby by name, and refer to me as “Billie's mom.” We are frequent shoppers and I like to keep a bunch of staples in my pantry and freezer… >> Read More
Sure, you can make brownies from scratch. And I do sometimes. But there is something about boxed brownies that is just so easy, satisfying and perfect. In fact, my grandfather who was a food chemist…used to say that boxed brownie mix was one of the few things science had perfected. Boxed brownies come in every variety these days including fudge-y, chewy, with frosting, non-dairy and even gluten-free. So, pick your poison and then have fun dressing them up with my suggestions below, or whatever you've got hanging around in… >> Read More
This past weekend we celebrated my youngest daughter's 1st birthday with, once again, a big bash. You see, I used to be an event planner and so I just like throwing parties. For each of my older’s…daughter’s birthdays (four so far) I admittedly went a bit overboard—think rainbow cupcakes and mermaid photo booths—but the parties turned out to be so much fun, and I wanted the same for my freshly-minted 1-year-old. Some people have been surprised that we opted to throw another big bash for our second child. People are always… >> Read More
If you’re anything like me, the last few weeks have been pretty difficult to say the least. Taking in the news, I have been frustrated, angry, sad, irate, befuddled, and a host of other emotions. I…feel largely helpless, even though I am trying to do small parts: tweeting, making calls to elected officials, sending postcards to elected officials, educating myself as much as I can, speaking up, and using my platforms to hopefully share real truths. But, at the end of the day, I still feel helpless and sad. In… >> Read More
Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t...or in this case, sometimes you want a meat meal, or sometimes your surly teenager has decided they no longer eat meat. But seriously, sometimes…you need or want a vegetarian option for dinner that’s easy and delicious. Grain and rice bowls are such a fun and satisfying way to have a quick and healthful dinner--choose your grain and top with the protein, veggies, and condiments you like. You can even front load your meal prep and bake a big… >> Read More
Schnitzel is a frequently requested dinner in my house. Ugh, but the frying and the mess is not my favorite thing to deal with, especially on busy weeknights.
Baking the schnitzel is much less…messy, cutting down the prep time to just about 35 minutes--a manageable task for naptime or even the craziest weeknights. Variation: For a gluten-free option, try pulsing 2-3 cups Rice Chex cereal and using instead of bread crumbs for coating. Our resident gluten-free expert warns the cereal needs a good deal of seasoning, so taste… >> Read More
I don’t know about you, but it’s been many years since I’ve had the chance to put on a sparkly top and go out drinking for New Year’s Eve. With young kids and no readily available babysitter,…our best New Year’s Eve in recent years was spent watching “Pitch Perfect” and polishing off a cheese platter and bottle of prosecco. Ah, parenthood. But it’s nice to dust off the heels and squeeze yourself into some skinny jeans every once in a while to ring in the new year like real people whose… >> Read More
I know lots of people who like to get a little zany or fancy with the food for their Hanukkah celebrations. But sometimes simple, tried and true treats are the ones that are the biggest crowd…pleasers for your guests, and the easiest to prepare for you, the host. Last year instead of standing for hours in my kitchen frying up donuts, we bought some. And for a simple sweet treat I made a pretty batch of chocolate covered strawberries doused in a festive dusting of Hanukkah sprinkles. (For more on… >> Read More
I love making latkes. But I loathe grating potatoes and cleaning the food processor and making a starchy mess in the kitchen. And I bet you do, too.
For those who want to fry up some latkes but…cut out a few steps, I have got such the hack for you: frozen hash brown potatoes. That’s right. Step 1: Buy frozen, pre-shredded hashbrown potatoes in the freezer section. You can likely find them near the french fries and tater tots, a particularly beloved section of the supermarket for my family. Step 2: Mix… >> Read More
My mom always cooked homemade meals growing up, although they weren’t gourmet or even always healthful: tortellini alfredo, taco night, fried ravioli, and one of my favorites, Mexican lasagna.
Of…course this “lasagna” is a far cry from its Italian counterpart or more authentic, complex Mexican cooking. It is, all the same, pretty delicious. And most importantly for busy moms: EASY. Over the years I have played with the recipe I remember from my childhood to make it kosher-friendly without ground beef, but still hearty,… >> Read More
Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday to get your kids excited about—there’s gratitude for food, family, and our freedom in America. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of…preparing a big meal or stressing about spending time with your crazy wonderful family, but it’s also important to take moments to see the bigger picture. I am lecturing myself now really. Taking some time to focus on a fun task that maybe also involves chocolate or the word “pie” can be a great decompression… >> Read More
Parents are always trying to get their kids to eat more veggies. (Also, some parents—ahem, me—are trying themselves to consume more veggies).
Back in the day, my mom would make cauliflower or…broccoli or both and smother it in some super awesome Velveeta sauce. I know, you want to be grossed out right now, but you know that fake cheese sauce is pretty delicious. But these days, we try to use more wholesome, healthful ingredients and stay away from processed snacks and cheeses. But that’s no reason… >> Read More
Last night I made roasted turkey breast, faro, and brussel sprouts for dinner. I like to keep things healthy and balanced for my family day-to-day.
And then other times I like to wrap Oreo cookies…in cookie dough and then bake it inside a sweet pull-apart challah. You know, life is about balance. This recipe is not for the weak or the dieting. It’s disgustingly deliciously decadent. You will love it. Your kids will love it. That judgy mom down the street will hate it but secretly covet it. And… >> Read More
One of the kitchen memories I cherish most with my mother is baking banana bread with her. My mother loved to bake and banana bread was practically a weekly staple. For my parents who didn’t like…to waste food, it was the perfect way to use up those last brownish, slightly mushy bananas of the week into something new and delicious. I often still make the same recipe I made with my mother from “Beard on Bread,” although I have branched out by trying several variations over the years, including a… >> Read More
Don’t you love when you whip up a recipe that looks really impressive, but was actually a total cinch to make? This is one of those recipes.
This ooey, gooey, sweet and savory pull-apart bread…goes great with a glass of wine and close friends. But it also serves as a fun, crowd-pleasing appetizer for Rosh Hashanah gatherings (if you’re serving a dairy meal). If brie isn’t your thing, swap it out for cheddar. And if you want to make this dish really, really Jewy, you can use a round… >> Read More
For those who love baking your bubbe’s special honey or apple cake, Rosh Hashanah is such a lovely time to reconnect with sacred recipes. For those of you whose family dessert recipes leave…something to be desired (um, like me), it’s a time to seek out other sweet treats that may start new family traditions. If an apple pie, a coffee cake, and an ooey gooey monkey bread had a love child, it would be this dessert. This recipe is so stupidly easy, I feel bad even pretending… >> Read More
Ok, so you cut out peanut butter from your school lunches. And then you cut out other nuts from lunches. And now you need to send in gluten-free, low sugar, nut free, allergy sensitive baked goods…for birthdays. Good grief! We know that every kid has their own sort of eating thing–allergies, sensitivities, preferences. And so packing school lunch can get….complicated. We wanted to try and make that a little easier with a few ideas for every restrictive diet we could think of. Don’t forget to tell us what works for… >> Read More
Can you hear the angels singing softly in the distance? It’s the sound of your kids heading back to school any day now. I know I am excited.
But coming back down to earth for a second, there is…the reality of back to school and the daily rigors. Like packing lunch. We know coming up with creative, kid-approved ideas for lunch can be hard. But one way to ease some of the stress is by having the right gear to make lunch packing a bit easier. We all know that lunch these days… >> Read More
Rainbow bagels are all the rage, have you heard? So are crazy cream cheese flavors and just about anything that is everything bagel-inspired. There’s even a recipe on The Nosher this week for…rainbow bagels with strawberry funfetti cream cheese. But I am not sure bagel chips have yet to get their proper due. They are crunchy, they are dip-able, and they are a great way to turn leftover bagels or those frozen bagels in the back of your freezer into a fun activity and snack for your… >> Read More
I used to work full time and had a nanny take care of my daughter every day. I currently work part-time, editing Kveller’s partner food site, The Nosher, and I rely on part-time babysitters and…family help while working mainly from home. I have plenty of dear friends (whom I respect immensely) whose sole job is taking care of their families. One day I will likely go back to work full-time once again. (Or I will win the lottery and learn to play cello and raise goats, but that’s just… >> Read More
Busy parents (read: all of us) are always looking for ways to streamline the 7,000 things we need to accomplish daily. If you haven’t yet added sheet pan dinners to your tool belt, now is your…chance. I was pretty skeptical about the whole “one pan” dinner craze, until I tried it myself with my za’atar chicken, cauliflower, and chickpeas recipe. And then I was sold! Dinner was all done, veggies and all, and I didn’t have any dishes to do. Here’s that recipe and 10 more sheet-pan ideas to try… >> Read More
A few weeks ago, a dear friend texted me, “I’ve been wondering. How do you and your husband deal with the election, ya know, since he’s a Republican?”
I laughed out loud at her text, but…there is a serious undertone to it. We are, in fact, a “mixed marriage.” I hail from what some might call a “raging liberal democratic (Jewish) family.” Yup, my parents were hippies and their kids have not strayed too far, at least from their politics. And if you would have told me 15 years ago… >> Read More
Before kids and the ‘burbs and a minivan, my husband and I did some great traveling. And one December on the way to Israel, we stopped in Istanbul for a few days. We ate familiar dishes like…baklava and the Turkish version of bourekas (borek) and then we also ate some less familiar items like kokoreç (you don’t really want to know what’s in this), simit (almost a Turkish bagel-pretzel, covered in sesame seeds) and sahlab (a creamy, spiced hot drink). Many of these items were sold right on the street. Perhaps… >> Read More
I am always encouraging parents to get in the kitchen with their kids. Well, this time I am encouraging you parents to let your kids take over the kitchen to make an easy, no-bake, delicious…Israeli-inspired treat. All you will need is a few bowls, a wooden spoon, and maybe a little supervision. Let your kids do the work—you sit back and enjoy the treats with a nice cup of coffee. These treats can be made dairy-free (use margarine and almond milk), nut-free, and even vegan. They are little bites… >> Read More