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3 Food Label Secrets Your Mother Didn't Teach You

3 Food Label Secrets Your Mother Didn't Teach You

If you like to run into the grocery, grab your favorite items, head straight for the check-out, and dash out of the store, you may hate this post. But I can guarantee that if you slow down and read labels of the packaged food you buy, you’ll be surprised.

Right now those of you who are “natural foods” shoppers are rolling your eyes, with a “not me” feeling of superiority. Not so fast. My friend Betsy, whose experience sparked this post, is a careful, natural foods shopper. She is on a strict diet, watching what she buys and eats. In fact, I kid her mercilessly about her favorite meal – quinoa, drizzled with olive oil and lightly sprinkled with sea salt. Yet she too was fooled into buying something that had an ingredient that she doesn’t eat.

Food labels are full of information – and surprises. 

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Perfect Matzo Brei

Perfect Matzo Brei

Matzo Brei could be my favorite part of Passover. (Notice that the word is “brei” not brie – we’re not talking about French cheese.) Literally “brei” is Yiddish for fried, so the name translates to “fried matzo.”  It is a dish from the Eastern European Jewish tradition that is typically made for breakfast or brunch.  In my house, we consider matzo brei the Passover equivalent of pancakes or French toast; it takes a bit more time to make than you would spend on breakfast for an ordinary weekday morning, but is perfect for a weekend treat.

Basic matzo brei is incredible simple to make and requires only 5 ingredients: matzo, water, eggs, milk, butter or an equivalent (oil or margarine) for frying. 

How to make the perfect matzo brei? That’s simple too. 

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Matzo Granola

Matzo Granola

During Passover, Jews do not eat the grains from which matzo may be made: wheat, barley, oats, rye, and spelt, (collectively called “chametz”) except limited ways that involve making sure they don't rise, nor do we use yeast. In addition, some Jews do not eat rice, seeds or legumes. 

I’m quite fond of granola. So during Passover, when I have to give up my favorite granola for a week, I’m not happy. I can give up pasta, and I’m alright substituting matzo and Passover rolls for bread, but abstaining from my oat-based granola had been a sacrifice, at least up to now.

This year I decided to create a matzo granola that would go well with my morning yogurt during the 7-day observance of Passover. My daughter (visiting for the holiday) pronounced my new recipe a success. Coming into the house just after a batch came out of the oven, she asked what the lovely aroma was. When I answered that I had just made some matzo granola, she grabbed a spoonful to taste, then went back for more to eat as an afternoon snack. This recipe makes 2 pounds, which I’m betting won’t last through the week.

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