Hot Chocolate Lessons 

Last night and this morning, Raizel decided that she wanted to make hot chocolate. 

For many people this sounds like a relatively straightforward activity. 

For Raizel, however, it became an opportunity to rise above some of her challenges. 

The first time Raizel made the hot chocolate all by herself. I think she confused teaspoons for tablespoons so she did not use enough sugar or cocoa. The final product “tasted terrible!” 

The second time, she misread the instructions and microwaved the cocoa and sugar in a paper cup without any milk. The cup burnt.

The third time was a charm. It tasted great and Raizel was very happy!

She would only let me take a picture while she was holding it!


Here is the recipe from the Hershey’s Cocoa box:


2 tablespoons cocoa 

2 tablespoons sugar

A dash of salt

1 cup of milk

Optional: 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract when cooked 


Mix all ingredients together and microwave on high for 2 minutes.

Blend together and drink while warm.

Something so simple was a wonderful opportunity for growth! We had a bonding experience. 

I guess sometimes it’s  the little things in life that matter.


Raizel made the chain stitches for the heart.


Killer Chicken Salad

This week, Raizel loved the fresh food that I made for Shabbat, that she ate it fresh out of the oven!

Fortunately, I had some leftover grilled chicken and pasta. So I made this salad to serve to our guests.

This is my husband’s name for this salad. Of course, he makes a joke about the name: kill-la rather than killer. 

When I suggested that perhaps we should change the name to something less provocative, he disagreed. 

So, Killer Chicken Salad it is.

This is a great way to use up leftover chicken!


Chicken, cut into bite sized pieces 

Pasta, (For Passover I use cooked potatoes)

Celery, sliced

Onion, minced

Pepper, chopped 


1/3 cups vinegar or lemon juice (I used lemon juice here)

2/3 cup oil, I used olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed 

1 teaspoon dried mustard

1/2 teaspoon each of salt, basil, oregano

1/4 teaspoon pepper 

This time I think I just added my herb spice mix, but the basic recipe is as above.

Add chicken and vegetables into bowl. Pour over dressing. Toss together and serve.

Simple, and yummy!



Eggplant Spead Variations 

Last week I posted a recipe for Eggplant Caviar.

My husband, however, does not like to eat raw onions. He feels that raw onions have a bitter aftertaste.

So, this week I made eggplant spread with roasted peppers and onions instead.

Roasting the vegetables gives the dish a milder flavor than using raw vegetables. To compensate, I added some garlic powder. It gave it a bit more pizzazz.

Here is the picture:

The dish is actually from my grandmother, who was very close to my Aunt Esther.

We enjoyed many meals using those dishes!

Lemon Cumin Beet Salad 

This is another salad that I made for our potluck lunch 2 weeks ago.

Raizel is still in love with cumin, so I thought I would experiment with this.


Beets, cooked and sliced

Onion, sliced thinly. 

Alternative: scallions, fresh mint or cilantro 


1/2 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons oil

2 teaspoons paprika 

2 teaspoons cumin

Salt and pepper to taste. I think I added 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper 


Place beets and onions in bowl. 

Whisk together lemon juice, oil, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper and pour over vegetables. Garnish as desired with fresh herbs.

Everyone loved it and there was barely any leftover.  A good sign.


Bon appetite!

Off Topic: Raizel’s Words Of Wisdom Today 

This is an off topic post that I feel I just have to share!

Today, I did my usual morning routine: wake up the girls; give them breakfast; make their lunches and then put them on the bus to school.

Raizel is at the stage where she is thinking about her yearbook and what she wants to write for it. So, this morning she asked: “what do you think of this: don’t wait for the perfect moment. Take the moment and make it perfect?”  I liked it so much that I wrote it down.

Then, we walked to the bus stop. The leaves are changing colour around us and the fall foliage is fantastic!  So, as we were waiting for the bus, Raizel took this picture with my phone.

I felt like I needed to capture the moment, so I combined the two.

Living a life that matters is forged through our meaningful emotional connections with our loved ones. It is not, “those were the days my friends,” but rather “these are the days my friends.”

Waking the girls up, giving them breakfast, making their lunches, putting them on the bus and even washing the dishes are the stuff that really matter in life.


Chickpea Smoothie

This morning I made a variation of my breakfast smoothie using chickpeas instead if nut butter.

I know it sounds unusual, but it really works!




I place everything in a container and using an immersion blender, purée until smooth. 
Et voila– breakfast on the go.

Here are the pictures:


Drink using a thick straw.

Eggplant Caviar 

This past Shabbat, we had a potluck lunch with the women I learn with every week during the summer. We all made various dishes and it was a really wonderful meal. I will miss learning over the winter with everyone!

I made salads and side dishes.  Among my contributions was this recipe for Eggplant Caviar.  I think that another name for this is Romanian Eggplant.  My Aunt Esther (A”H) used to make this all the time.  Her family was from Romania, and I think this may be common from that region.


2 eggplants, whole

1/4 cup minced onion

1/4 cup minced peppers (optional)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 lemon juiced (about 1/4 cup)

Salt and pepper to taste


Roast the eggplants whole in a 425*F oven until soft. Slice some holes in the eggplant to release steam, otherwise it might explode in the oven. (This has happened to me and cleaning the oven is not pleasant.)

When the eggplants are cooked, cool and let drain.  Scoop out the inside of the eggplant. Add the onions, peppers, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and blend together.

I don’t make this often, and I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder.

By Sunday, there was hardly any left!  This was all that was left to take a picture of:

Everyone loved it!