Category Archives: Garden State Living

Hip New Jersey spotlights the businesses and communities that are making the Garden State fabulous!

christmas cookie

Quick Christmas Cookie Recipes

Scrambling to find the perfect Christmas dessert recipes for your holiday gathering?  #HipNJ to the rescue!

Here are three tried and true concoctions that are deliciously easy to bake (or not bake!)

Loaded M&M Oreo Cookie Holiday Bars 

Recipe by: Averie Cooks

christmas cookie

These cookie bars taste better than what you are probably imagining!  #HeavenOnEarth

YIELD: 9 to 12 squares

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOK TIME: about 20 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes


1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
18 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup M&M’s


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 8-by-8-inch with cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.

3. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.

4. Add the flour and stir until just combined.

5. Stir in the Oreos and M&M’s.

6. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.

7. Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes, or until done based on add-ins used. Top should be set and edges slightly firm.

8. Allow bars to cool in pan before cutting and serving.

Classic Cinnamon Rugelach Cookies Made Easy!

Recipe by: Community Table

christmas cookie

Channel your inner Jewish grandma to make these mouthwatering treats!

YIELD: 64 Cookies

PREP TIME: 2 1/2 Hours

COOK TIME: 20-30 Minutes

TOTAL TIME: Three Hours


8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
½ cup unsalted butter
1 ⅓ cups unbleached all purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
powdered sugar, (optional for decoration)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Have parchment paper ready on two cookie sheets

3. For the filling, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside. When you are ready to fill the dough (not before), melt the butter in a small bowl.

1. In a large mixing bowl mix the softened cream cheese with the butter at low to medium speed with an electric mixer until combined and creamy. This should take about 2 minutes or so. Add the sugar and salt, mix for another minute. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

2. Gradually add the flour until a very soft dough forms. This will take about 2 minutes.

3. Place in fridge for 2 hours.

4. Take the dough out of the fridge and divide into 4 balls.

5. On a very lightly floured surface roll each ball into 4 circles, about ⅛ inch thick and about 8-9 inches in diameter.

6. For each circle, dip a pastry brush with the melted butter and lightly brush over the circles. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the melted butter.

7. Using a pizza cutter or knife cut each circle into 16 pie pieces.

8. Roll up each piece starting from the wide end. You can turn the ends in if you want them to be more crescent shaped.

9. Repeat above step with every circle. You will have extra cinnamon sugar mixture that has fallen out of the rolled cookies. You can take that and sprinkle over each cookie if you’d like.

10. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Place on cooling racks for a few minutes and then remove the parchment paper from the cookie sheet and lay that on the cooling rack.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Saltine Toffee

Recipe by: Pinch of Yum


There’s a reason why our Canadian friends call this “crack”…it’s uber- addicting! There are many incarnations of this no-bake recipe, but this is the one we used.

YIELD: Serves 10

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOK TIME: about 20 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 1 1/2 Hours


1 cup brown sugar
1 cup salted butter
1 sleeve Saltine crackers
¾ cup peanut butter
1½ -2 cups chocolate chips
Christmas sprinkles


1. Cover a 9×13 baking dish with foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray or grease with oil. Arrange the saltines in one layer in the pan, leaving a little bit of room between each cracker, and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Melt the butter and brown sugar in a small nonstick saucepan. Bring to a boil and let boil without stirring for three minutes. Pour the hot mixture over the crackers and bake for 5 minutes.

3. Drop the peanut butter onto the hot cracker and toffee mixture; bake for another 1 minute to melt. Spread the peanut butter. Sprinkle with chocolate chips; bake for another 1 minute to melt. Spread the chocolate evenly and top with sprinkles.

4.Freeze or chill for 1 hour or until set. Break into small pieces for serving.

HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley

HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley’s Healthy Giving Day

Paramus Park Mall goers were treated to free health screenings, complimentary beauty treatments and yoga with social media powerhouses and fitness gurus, Two Fit Moms on Saturday, 11/7 as part of Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley’s “Healthy Giving Day.” The day-long event encouraged attendees to stay on track with their health and well-being and also gave them a chance to get moving through Zumba and yoga presentations – all for a great cause: to benefit Table to Table, a community based food rescue program that serves millions of hungry residents in Northern New Jersey.

Event attendees delighted in beauty treatments via a braid bar by Lilly’s Blow Dry and Makeup Lounge and funky nail art applications from Jamberry Nails. There were blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol screenings and also a chance to win a $500 Thanksgiving Dinner compliments of Inserra Shop Rite Supermarkets.

But perhaps the most exciting part of the event was an appearance and yoga demo by Two Fit Moms, who encouraged attendees that it’s never too late to realize their fitness and wellness goals. People of all ages rolled out a mat and participated in a beginner-level yoga sequence. In fact, the 15-minute flow led by Two Fit Moms founders, Laura Kasperzak and Masumi Goldman, definitely attracted some new yoga recruits! (For those who could not make the event but are interested in starting your own yoga journey, you can practice with Two Fit Moms via their downloadable classes available now on iTunes, or you can purchase their beginner-level DVD in select Kohl’s stores nationwide.)

Overall, Healthy Giving Day was a wonderful event that encouraged attendees to take better care of themselves.

“Healthy Giving Day is all about community, health and wellness,” commented Emily Holliman, CEO of HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley. “We were thrilled to be able to offer preventive care and wellness services to the Bergen County community, and were also excited to support Table to Table – we were able to donate one thousand dollars to the organization.”

For more information, please visit


#Hip Healthy Thanksgiving Alternatives!

Move over stuffing – and make room for these healthy alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving sides!  From dishes focused on greens, grains and beans, the turkey doesn’t have to be the spotlight of the table with these veg-centric sides. Here’s our list, compliments from some #HipNJ’s hippest chefs and restaurants!


Maya – from Chef/Owner Richard Sandoval
Three Bean Salad – cannellini, garbanzo & red beans, roasted tomato & poblano peppers, peanuts, lemon thyme requeson


Tanner Smiths – From the kitchen
Brussels Sprout Hash- Fried egg, dill, crème fraiche

Fonda – from Chef/Owner Roberto Santibañez
Espinaca con Hongos – sautéed spinach and mixed mushrooms
Tlacoyo con Hongos – black bean masa “boat,” spring pea spread, sautéed mushrooms, salsa verde, salsa chipotle, queso fresco, crema

Pilsener Haus & Biergarten – from Chef Martin Schaub
Viennese Brussels Sprouts – pan-fried Brussels sprouts, sweet & spicy chili peppers, smoked paprika

Babbalucci – from Chef/Owner Andrew LoPresto
Broccoli Rabe Glazed Baby Carrots Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan


Anthony David’s – from Chef/Owner Anthony Pino
Grilled Asparagus – sunny egg, prosciutto, pecorino, black truffles
Kale Salad – duck egg, garlic crumbs, pancetta, lemon vinaigrette
Candied Yams – biscotti and dried cranberries


Pulse Café – from Chef/Owner Dana Cohen
Freekeh Grain Salad – steamed freekeh and brown rice, chick peas, dried cranberries, roasted sunflower seeds, baby spinach, apple cider honey vinaigrette