Special Needs & Eating On Passover 

Special Needs & Eating On Passover 

Preparing for Passover for people with medical or special needs presents many unique challenges. 

Until fairly recently, Yaffa was on a feeding tube. At one point, her diet primarily consisted of puréed split pea, lentil and occasionally chicken soup. 

It was an challenge to teach her how to eat by mouth. I would make her soups, purée them, and then freeze them in ice cube trays and defrost as needed. If I would alter her diet, she would stop eating and regress.

So, up until fairly recently, Yaffa was permitted to eat Kitniot. 

In order to explain what that means, I am going to provide a bit of background on Passover customs.

The observance of Passover is not monolithic. Many customs and traditions are also a function of individual historical and cultural backgrounds.

All Jews refrain from eating leavened food, called “chametz,” over the holiday. Chametz, however, in its most literal meaning only refers to products containing wheat, oats, barley, rye or spelt. 

I am from a conventional Eastern European background. So conventional, in fact, I am almost radical. 

During Passover, we eat “gebrokts” — matzah mixed with water, but we do not eat  “Kitniot.” 

Kitniot is the the term used for rice, millet, corn and beans. They are not among the prohibited grains on Passover, but are generally only eaten by Jews of Sephardic and not Ashkenazic descent.

Examples of kitniot

Since we do not eat Kitniot, we used to have a separate set of Kitniot pots, pans and equipment for Yaffa. Everything had to be checked and made prior to the holiday. 

Fortunately, quinoa is now available on Passover and it is not considered Kitniot.

We are so grateful that Yaffa can eat more solid food. Now, we only need one set of Passover dishes in our house! 

The ability to eat food, chew and swallow are tremendous blessings. 

Yaffa’s art project for Passover


Passover Brownies 

During Passover, we do not eat leavened food. The bright side is, it is a great time to stock up on gluten free products for the rest of the year.

In my community there is actually a gluten free Gemach after Passover. People donate their gluten free Passover products to give to others who are basically eating Passover food all year round. It is our favorite time to stock up.

One of the culinary challenges of Passover is baking desserts without sacrificing taste and texture.

Growing up, Passover desserts consisted primarily of the ubiquitous Passover sponge cake, closely followed by chocolate or fruit compote. No matter how much effort went into the dessert, after Passover, no one would eat it.

Over the years, one of my culinary goals was to make Passover desserts that even after Passover, people would want to eat.

So far, my flourless chocolate cake is the familial favorite. That was one of the first recipes I posted.

This year, with all the changes taking place, I was even more time challenged. So, I did not have time to make a flourless chocolate cake.

Instead, I made these brownies. I think that this was even more well received. It has been virtually all eaten. I may even have to make more!


1 1/2 cups oil

3 cups sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

5 eggs

1 cup ground nuts (or matza meal, if gluten is not a problem and nuts are)

1 cup potato or tapioca starch (I like tapioca more)

1 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder


Officially, the recipe is: stir oil, sugar and vanilla together. Add eggs and blend well. Stir in matzah meal /ground nuts, potato/tapioca starch cocoa, baking powder and salt.

Since I am time challenged, I put all the ingredients in a bowl and mixed everything until blended with a hand held mixer.

Bake in 350*F oven in 13X9X2 pan for 60 minutes, or until done.

1 bowl baking at its best!

The final product. It’s all gone!

Virtually nothing is left!

The greatest compliment I received was, “this tastes as good as regular brownies.” High praise indeed!


Charoset Two Ways

Charoset Two Ways

Passover is a time of year steeped in traditions. During this time of year, many people have recipes that are passed down through the family and only served during the holiday. Memories of certain foods thus become embedded in the memories of the Passover celebration.

Charoset is one of the symbolic foods that we eat during the Passover Seder. 

Charoset made by my mother is a work of art. I used to love to eat the leftovers the next day. Assuming, of course that anything was left! 

For Ashkenazi Jews (from Eastern Europe) charoset is traditionally made with apples, nuts, wine and cinnamon. Its color and texture are meant to recall the mortar that the Jews used during slavery to bond the bricks with each other. 

During the Seder, the charoset is eaten with the bitter herbs as a type of sandwich with matzah.

Apparently, it is now possible to buy charoset in a jar. However, I cannot imagine anything in a jar tasting as good as homemade. 

The date orange charoset was inspired from the comments by Dr. Jonathan in my  roasted chicken and hamentashen filling recipe. 

During our discussion, it occurred to me that the hamentashen filling, with extra nuts added would make a great charoset.

So, thank you Jonathan! 

Jonathan also has a wonderful blog on healthy lifestyles and nutrition. 

Please check out his blog:

 All About Healthy Choices


This year, I made our traditional charoset with apples, wine, cinnamon and roasted pecans. In addition, I also made charoset with dates, a whole orange, almonds, wine and cinnamon. 

All the measurements are flexible, as it depends on individual preferences

Traditional Charoset


2 apples, peeled and quartered

Optional: to make Feingold diet friendly, use pears instead.

¼ cup red wine (sweet is preferred)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup toasted pecans

Optional: sugar (I did not add any)


Place apples and nuts in food processor. Pulse together until slightly chopped. Add cinnamon and wine and blend together until desired texture.

Date and Orange Charoset


1 cup pitted dates

1 orange: quartered, including the peel

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup toasted almonds

¼ cup red wine (sweet is preferred)


Place dates and nuts in food processor. Pulse together until slightly chopped. Add cinnamon and wine and blend together until desired texture.

This is my only picture:

Date Orange Charoset


There is none left of the traditional charoset with apples and pecans left to photograph.

Overall, they were both a success!




100-Year-Old Directions for Washing Dishes

Here are some hundred-year-old directions for how to wash dishes: It is not difficult to wash dishes although many people make it a very disagreeable process. The necessary apparatus include a plentiful supply of hot water, a good soap, ammonia or borax to soften the water, a gritty soap or powder. Have a pan for […]


Washing dishes

Sherry posted this great piece on how to wash dishes. I thought it was a wonderful explanation of something that many of us consider to be a routine and mundane task. Frankly, I think that it is brilliant!

I am reblogging Sherry’s post now because over Passover, we do not use our dishwasher.

We also have the pleasure of enjoying many festive meals with family and friends.

I have not yet begun to cook!

Consequently, this is the one time of the year when I must wash everything by hand and I have lots of cooking and therefore lots of dishes to do.

It has taken me a while to figure out a good routine for doing dishes.

I consider washing dishes to be both an art and a science.

In general, I wash dishes with soap and borax acid. I soak the cutlery in soapy water so that they are easier to clean, before I wash them. 

In addition, I also try to conserve water. So, I use one bucket to wash the dishes and another bucket to rinse them with. Then, I dry them on a dish rack, or place them on a towel.

When I really have greasy dishes, I have been known to use ammonia instead of borax. Ammonia is good for cutting grease. 

I believe the borax and ammonia extend the soap’s ability to clean and dissolve grease. But, I do not however, use borax and ammonia at the same time.

Washing dishes in order — not me

I do not wash the dishes in any particular order.  I wash the easiest, fastest and most critical items first. Then, I work my way through the mound of items from there. 

My Passover plates from my mother

This usually translates to mean, first the plates are washed (because they are the fastest) then the glasses and then the cutlery. After that I wash the pots. I dislike washing the plastic containers so I prefer to leave them until the end. 

Really dirty pots, I soak over night and wash in the morning. If they are really, really dirty, I add dishwasher soap, bring the water to a boil and then let it soak until cooled and scrub and scrub and scrub. Sometimes I use borax or baking soda to scrub the pot better.

Washing dishes on Shabbat and holidays 

I am writing what I do to wash dishes on Shabbat and Yom Tov (holidays). At the risk of repeating myself, I humbly submit that my expertise is in cooking. Please be aware that I am not an authority on the finer points of Judaism. If you have any questions, please consult your local rabbi.

Basic Rules For Washing on Shabbat & Yom Tov

One is not allowed to wash dirty dishes or cutlery, on the Sabbath or Yom Tov unless you will need them then again on the same day.

So, right after using any dishes, — before any food particles become dry, I rinse the dishes off using cold water. I also rinse out any pots that were used, and if they are really dirty, add water and then liquid soap to the pot to soak them.

On Shabbat, I often wash the dishes used Friday night that I will need for lunch the following day. I take hot water from the urn, pour it into a cup and then pour it into a bowl. After that, I add liquid soap and borax to the hot water.

On Shabbat and Yom Tov, we only use a plastic pot scrubber to wash dishes. So, I dip the scrubber dip into the warm soapy water and wash each dish, adding more soap to the sponge as needed. Then, I rinse the dishes with cold water.

On Yom Tov, one is permitted to wash dishes that will be needed for the same day. So, using the plastic pot scrubber, I wash the dishes, etc. in a bucket filled with soapy water and borax, and then rinse them.

What can I say? I take washing dishes very seriously!

Thank you Sherry for your excellent post on washing dishes 100 years ago!

Happy Passover to all!

Homemade Pizza – Make the Crust in Your Bread Maker

This is a wonderful way to make pizza dough at home using a bread machine!

Although Passover is starting this week, I wanted to reblog this since I just posted making pizza at home.

The dough that I used for that recipe was store bought. Now I have a real pizza dough recipe to use!

Thank you Kel!

Inside Kel's Kitchen

Pizza is my kryptonite! Once I start eating it I have a hard time stopping, so I don’t have it very often. Because of the depravation, I had been craving the stuff. I figured if I make my own pizza, I can control what goes into it, so it must be a little healthier, right?!? I don’t now how healthy it was, but it sure was good! I made my crust dough in my bread maker, which made that portion easy peasy and it turns out a great crust!

From the pictures you’ll notice we made two different types of pizzas. I made one for my husband and me and my daughter made one for her and her friend. The crust dough recipe below makes enough for two crusts in a single bread maker batch. My obsession with ranch salad dressing mix continues! I decided to add a tablespoon to…

View original post 377 more words

Soft Baked Pretzels – Use Your Bread Maker to Do All the Work!!! — Inside Kel’s Kitchen

I got a great response to my earlier post on making pizza crust dough in the bread maker. In talking to one of my food blog friends, the topic of pretzels came up. I shared that I also have a recipe for making pretzel dough in the bread maker. Those bread makers are a work […]

via Soft Baked Pretzels – Use Your Bread Maker to Do All the Work!!! — Inside Kel’s Kitchen

I am trying to learn how to reblog posts like I like, and I am afraid that I hit the send button too quickly.

I realize that Passover is starting on Friday night, so naturally, I will not be making this any time soon.

But, I love my bread machine and together with Kel’s pizza dough, after Passover I am looking to make both these wonderful recipes soon.

Please check out Kel’s Kitchen. I love her blog!

Roasted Chicken With Dried Fruit And Balsamic Vinegar 

Roasted Chicken With Dried Fruit And Balsamic Vinegar 

I still have leftover hamentashen filling. So this is a different version of the recipe I posted last week. This time, I thought that I would make roasted chicken and use the hamentashen filling as a glaze, with balsamic vinegar.

My husband felt that the vinegar made it too sour. So, it was his suggestion to spice it up with the red pepper flakes. It really made a difference!


1 chicken, cut up

Mom’s Chicken Spice Rub

1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper, garlic, onion, paprika, ginger, mustard powder

Raisin-Date- Apricot Filling for Hamentashen

2 cups pitted dates (approximately)

1 box (15 oz.) sultana raisins

1 cup dried apricots (approximately)

1 lemon zested and juiced

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup water (approximately)

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional, but I thought it made it taste better)

I also added more cinnamon, garlic powder, pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste. 

I did not measure the balsamic vinegar. Together with the water, I added enough to get the right consistency and taste.

This was an experiment. So, measurements are not exact.


Boil all ingredients in a pot until soft. For the hamentashen, the filling needs to be slightly thick, so it is important not to add too much water. 

As a glaze for chicken, I added more liquid. This time I also added balsamic vinegar and additional spices.

Place chicken in large pan. Season chicken with Mom’s Spice Rub, and then add the hamentashen filling on top. 

If possible, let marinate prior to cooking.

Preheat oven to 425*F.

Roast in oven for 1.5 hours, or until cooked, turning over for last 30 minutes.

I think that this could be made in a crockpot and pressure cooker, but the texture would be different.

In both cases, the chicken would need to be browned or skinned prior to cooking. For a liquid, I recommend at least 1/2 cup water or broth. 

Cook on low until done or 7 minutes to pressure, quick release method.

Here are the pictures:


chicken spiced with Mom’s chicken spice rub


spiced chicken and dried friut, balsalmic vinegar & additional spices

The final product:


chicken with dried fruit and balsamic vinegar


It smelled great. 

I will find out tonight how everyone else liked it.


Count Down To Passover — Pizza

This is a very hectic time of year. 

We are preparing for Passover. 

This means that everything in the house, in particular in the kitchen and eating areas are cleaned and checked for leavened products, which are called “chametz.”

It is a lot of work. Fortunately, Raizel is home from school this week. She has been an amazing helper! I don’t know what we would have done without her!

In this state of in between, everything in the kitchen is more scattered than usual. My husband and Raizel have begun to clear out some of the cabinets for our Passover products. Hence, it might be difficult for me to do too much posting for the next week or so.

As I was clearing out my freezer, I found some frozen pizza dough that I wanted to use. 

However, making pizza at home is a bit complicated for me.

As observant Jews, we follow the Jewish dietary laws of keeping kosher.

For those who may not be familiar, in a kosher kitchen, milk and meat dishes are cooked and prepared separately. There is also a third food category, parve, which means neither meat nor dairy.


This means that we have separate meat and milk cooking utensils, and we do not cook milk and meat in the oven at the same time, nor eat meat and milk together at the same time.

I thought it might be helpful to include these 2 pictures that I found on line about how to keep kosher:

This picture gives you an idea of the ins and outs of having a kosher kitchen.

Some readers of this blog may have observed that I do not post recipes with dairy products. I rarely cook with dairy. I really only have about 2 dairy pots and only the barest of essential utensils for dairy food.

In order to not cook milk and meat in the same oven together, many people have 2 ovens. It is possible to manage with only one oven, but it takes a bit more planning. 

I am fortunate to have 2 separate ovens: one is for meat and the other is parve. But, I do not have an oven for dairy.

So, any dairy that we eat is usually cooked in the microwave. 

All of this is to explain why making this pizza was an accomplishment for me. Creating this pizza took a little bit of unconventional ingenuity.

I am very excited that I was able to come up with a way to make it!


1 lbs. pizza dough

Olive oil

Salt Spice Blend. Most of my spices have been put away for Passover 

Tomato sauce

Grated cheese



Roll dough onto pan to desired thickness. Add olive oil and sprinkle spices on top.

Bake in 450* oven until lightly browned.

Next step:

Add tomato sauce over prepared pizza dough and then add grated cheese. Microwave for 2 minutes.

Here are the pictures:


Pizza dough ready to shape


Pizza dough rolled out and on baking sheet

Olive oil and spices on top

Olive oil and spices on top

Cooked pizza dough. Love the color!

Cooked pizza dough. Love the color!

Cooked pizza dough with sauce and cheese.

Cooked pizza dough with sauce and cheese.

Voila! The final product!

Voila! The final product!


Voila! Nice fresh hot pizza!

The girls loved it, with the cheese and without the cheese. It is a good thing that I took pictures, because there is nothing left!