Author Archives: Whitney Fisch

Whitney Fisch

About Whitney Fisch

Whitney Fisch received her Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan and is currently working as a middle school counselor. When not dealing with the trials and tribulations of roughly 200 middle schoolers at varying stages of puberty, she is cooking... a lot. She is a personal chef and blogs about all things food and life on her blog, http://jewhungry.wordpress.com/. You can follow Whitney's adventures in parenting and life on her blog as well as in other media outlets such as The Huffington Post, Kveller.com and The Times of Israel, all of which Whitney is a contributor for.

Roasted Potato & Leek Soup with Jalapeno Oil

I’m having a love/hate relationship with food lately. By “love,” I mean, you know, I want to eat yummy food all the time.  By “hate,” I mean I don’t have the energy for it any more. And this isn’t just a post-high holiday thing. This is all about trying to find the time and energy to feed a two year-old every. single. day.  And I only have one child – I don’t know how the moms with multiple kids balance everything!

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For those just joining me in this weird journey, I’m currently living a life of temporary single parenthood.  It’s important to note that this set up of mine is, in fact, temporary. I have the privilege of having a supportive and loving husband.  We call each other, he offers me emotional support and he comes to visit every so often (more on why I’m in this situation here). The parts of this temporary single parent status that I expected to stink (time has become my most sought after currency. I got up at 5:30am PST just to finish writing this post) but the part of this situation that I didn’t expect is the effect this has had on our meal times.

We used to have family dinners. We’d eat together, the three of us, at least 3 nights a week plus Shabbat. The husband and I committed to that when we had a child.  As a social worker and school counselor, I am well aware of the statistics that go along with shared family meals (35% less likely to engage in disordered eating, 24% more likely to eat healthier foods and 12% less likely to be overweight, Hammons & Fiese, 2011). Plus the fact that family mealtime offers uninterrupted time for us to spend time together.  Or so I’m told. I have a toddler.  Regardless, family mealtime combines my two favorite things: my family and food!

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But now that it’s just me and the kiddo, the aspects of managing our day-to-day life of work/school/family has driven me to want to collapse when she’s in bed at 8:00 pm.  And so, I’ve developed a habit of cooking just for her at around 5:30 and then settling in with a salad and TV for myself after she goes to bed. That salad, of course, consists of things like pre-washed kale, shredded carrots, shredded cheese (neither of which I shred myself, yikes.) Its not as sad as it sounds. OK, it’s a little bit as sad as it sounds. That being said, I realized things had drastically changed when I went from making Shabbat meals with multiple courses to one pot of veggie quinoa soup for the kid and myself and calling it a day. So after roughly the 12th night of the same salad, I decided I needed a change of pace. The kid and I needed to get back to family dinners and I needed to get creative with my meals again. A few tricks that are helping me reach my goal:

  1. Batch cooking – Each Sunday I make big batches of something, i.e. roasted vegetables, sauce, rice or quinoa, that I can use in various recipes for the remainder of the week
  2. Remix – Since I have to make my own lunch, I did myself a favor and bought into the kiddo’s kosher school lunch plan.  They always send home leftovers (and there is always leftovers), which I remix into something else for her dinner (read: stir fry!)
  3. The kid stays in the picture – Now that she’s a little over 2, she actually can help me cook, which has been very fun and exciting. She’s officially in charge of all seasoning and can sprinkle cheese on a homemade pizza like nobody’s business. Getting her involved has made cooking fun again and has even forced me to get creative with meal planning.
  4. Soup – The kid loves soup. I love soup. Soup is always a great way for us to get our vegetables in us. Therefore, I’ve started making a soup that we might both love but dressing it up for me. The perfect example of that is this roasted potato and leek soup recipe. I dress it down for her, though she does get a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. I dress it up for myself by sprinkling cheese on it AND drizzling the jalapeno oil. It’s a win/win!

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The kid and I are surviving and at times, we’re even thriving. She’s at that amazing age where she’s starting to have conversations so sitting down together isn’t just about me making sure she’s actually eating, like back in the days of her infancy. Rather, mealtime has become this magical time of actually getting to know the person she’s becoming and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to slow down and listen.

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Roasted Potato & Leek Soup with Jalapeno Oil

Posted on October 22, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Passover-Friendly Strawberry Almond Mini Muffins

Passover and I haven’t always been friends. There was a time when I thought about Passover approaching and my mind would be overrun by what I can’t eat. As a girl who has always loved carbs (I love you, pasta), the thought of saying “good-bye” to my beloved noodles and bread, even for eight days, caused me to have a little anxiety attack.

strawberry-2-stampBut as the food world has become increasingly creative to help accommodate the never-ending list of folks with food allergies, Passover has become less about what I can’t have and more about what I can have by flexing my creative foodie muscles.

strawberry-5-stampThe recipe below is a great example of this. I’ve made a version of these before for one of my clients who prefers gluten-free food options. I wanted to give my old recipe a new Spring season twist so I added the roasted strawberries, which are coming out in droves here in Miami. The result is a not-too-sweet but supremely delicious (and healthy) breakfast/snack treat. I hope you enjoy!

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Posted on April 8, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Cauliflower Tomato Bake with Basil and Parmesan

Hello Nosher readers! I’m so honored to have a recipe on this lovely site. I’ve been a long-time reader of MyJewishLearning.com so am extra honored to be featured.

Now, about this recipe. Lately, I’ve been on a mad “one-pot” meal frenzy.

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I’ve got several full time jobs, including one with health insurance benefits and one with hugs-and-kisses benefits, both of which take up a lot of time. When it comes to cooking for Shabbat (or any meal), I try to keep it simple. This little side dish would be perfect with some grilled lemon salmon or any baked fish, really. And, if bread crumbs are omitted or almond flour is substituted, it’s grain-free and gluten-free friendly, which also means Passover-friendly. I hope you enjoy!

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Cauliflower Tomato Bake with Basil and Parmesan

Posted on January 21, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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