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.
Just the other day I was having lunch in LA with a super accomplished friend — a writer, editor, and acclaimed author. She’s insightful, witty, and incredibly generous. She’s also a devoted mom…who has been an incredibly compassionate friend to me over the years. But as we sat at a cute café on Sunset Boulevard eating avocado toast, she surprised me with a confession. "Shannon," she said. "I seriously can’t cook. But I really want to learn how to make some easy dishes for my family." I… >> Read More
Two weeks ago, I got a call from my local butcher. “Hi, Shannon? Yeah, it’s Harold,” he said. “Did your neighbor Stephanie have her baby yet? I know she’s due soon and wanted to see if they…need anything.” “Oh yeah,” he added, almost as an afterthought, “we have some great short ribs this week— do you want some?” I hung up the phone after sharing, no, she hadn’t yet had the baby, and, yes — of course I want some short ribs. I suddenly realized: I basically live in a shtetl.… >> Read More
I don’t know what has been going on with my kids lately, but I feel like my house is constantly littered with half-eaten cheese sticks. And cheese sticks are, like, not cheap. Do you know what a…package of organic cheese sticks cost these days? It’s about $5. And yet my kids — and even my babysitter — consider cheese sticks a core food group. There are some weeks where I spend upwards of $20 just on these overpriced, individually packaged mini-tubes of mozzarella. My kids enjoy cheese sticks as part of… >> Read More
Right after Thanksgiving, my husband made a major announcement: He was going on the Whole 30 Diet. Needless to say, this did not go over well.
For those of you that don’t know me, hi. My name is…Shannon and I am a food writer, cookbook author, and avid baker. In short, I’m a serious carb lover. So a new, restrictive diet did not at all sound like the cookie, latke, and hot chocolate-laden December I had been planning. Don’t get me wrong: I am 100 percent committed to real food and healthy… >> Read More
This whimsical babka recipe is a cross between funfetti birthday cake, coffee cake, and a traditional sweet babka. It is decadent, delicious, and my daughter’s favorite.
Yields 3…loaves Ingredients For the dough: 1 tablespoon dry active yeast ⅓ cup + ½ teaspoon sugar ½ cup lukewarm water 4 ½ cups unbleached all- purpose flour 2 teaspoons vanilla ½ cup whole or 2% milk (or almond milk) ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter (or margarine), melted 2 eggs For the filling: 12 ounces cream cheese,… >> Read More
In February 2016, I gave birth to my second daughter, a tiny, beautiful screaming gift from God and my uterus.
And this month I am giving birth to another wonderful new addition to the universe:…my first book, "Modern Jewish Baker: Challah, Babka, Bagels and More." I have received amazing support and praise from my family and friends as this project comes to a head—and right now, everyone in my life is waiting in eager anticipation to celebrate the arrival of the newest Sarna. But the past year has been… >> Read More
It’s so hot, at least where I live in the Northeast. And to make it worse, we don’t have central AC, so turning on the oven or stove for long periods of time requires serious planning, like the…ability to shower immediately after. I don’t know about you, but while my kids are great eaters, I can’t get them to eat salad for dinner. So on those sweltering days when it’s too dang hot to patchke around in a hot kitchen for too long, these 9 dinner ideas are satisfying, kid-friendly and won’t… >> Read More
Recently, I wrote about how I have started letting my 5-year-old help plan our weekly dinners. During one of the weeks of this experiment, she and I came across this recipe from Giada DeLaurentis for…pizza pot pie. We decided to turn this delish-sounding recipe into a vegetarian version, replacing chicken with lentils, and canned tomato sauce for homemade. Because, busy mom life. This recipe was so fun, healthful and delicious! I was so excited to serve the pizza dough topped ramekin to my daughter. She dug her fork into… >> Read More
My older daughter is growing up, as those pesky kids tend to do, and over the last six months or so (she just turned 5), she has gotten more particular about her food. Not picky, because she remains…a good eater--but she has strong opinions about what she wants to eat. Which is super fun. Some parents insist on making one dish for dinner and never deviating; other parents make two or three versions of dinner to satisfy everyone (like mine had to do with my very picky brother). Neither of those options… >> Read More
When Mother's Day rolls around everyone winds themselves up in a frenzy of gifts and cards and planning: What are we doing for Mother's Day? Lets go to brunch! Let's host brunch! How many annoying…family members are coming? What kinds of gifts should we buy for everyone? And you know what I really want? A day by myself at the spa, and to let everyone else go cook brunch and chase after the kids sans mom. But, knowing that isn't entirely realistic, this year I am proposing a compromise: a… >> Read More
We are a lucky family to live in 2017 sans major food allergies. Okay, I am allergic to cashews and pistachios, but hey, those are like the most expensive nuts anyways.
But there are so many…families who have truly trying allergies and food sensitives to navigate: gluten, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and/or dairy. We want to make dinner, and especially Shabbat dinner, just a smidge easier for you folks dealing with this. So this round-up is for you. Don't forget to post your favorite recipes too! CHALLAH The Ultimate… >> Read More
My older daughter is almost five, and for the first time, I am making her keep kosher-for-Passover. Yes, that's right in years past the husband and I kept KFP but I let my kid eat her usual diet of…fruits, veggies, bagels and noodles. This decision always made my husband a little uncomfortable, but I felt: why would I make a 2 year old follow rules for a holiday she doesn't understand? It has no meaning for her. But now she is older, more aware and has taken great pleasure in learning about Passover… >> Read More
It's almost here, folks: Passover. And it can be one of the most difficult times of the year if you are a picky eater, have kids who are picky eaters, have a bad stomach or just don't like…matzah. My daughter (thankfully) loves matzah, especially since she and her classmates make their own at school. So making matzah pizza or slathering matzah with cream cheese and jelly is quite appealing for her. For other kids with the opposite feeling about the bread of affliction, well, I am truly sorry for what lies ahead.… >> Read More
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