Monthly Archives: March 2016

Molasses Popcorn Balls 

I wanted to post this final recipe for molasses popcorn balls, while it is still fresh in my mind.

For Purim this year, in honor of this blog, I made them for the first time.

I liked the idea of molasses popcorn balls because they are relatively healthy, all natural and have no dyes, additives, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils.

The secret is to use a candy thermometer. It takes the guesswork out of when the candy as reached the correct temperature, especially if you are inexperienced, as I am.

Mollasses Popcorn Balls


1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup popcorn 


Place oil in pot on high, with 3 kernels of corn. When the 3 kernels pop, put in the rest of the popcorn, and cover leaving the lid slightly ajar so that the steam can be released. 

Once the popcorn begins to pop, lower the heat and shake the pot occasionally to prevent burning.

Place the popcorn in a large bowl.


Molasses Syrup 

2 cups sugar
1 cup molasses
2 tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. baking soda


Boil first 3 ingredients until the syrup reaches 290*F or cracks when tested in cold water. 

Remove from heat and add baking soda. Beat briskly and pour over popped corn.

When cool enough to touch, shape into balls, and cool on parchment paper.

Source: “People’s Home Library”

Here are the pictures:

 Stirring the syrup:

Adding the baking soda:

Final product:

At the end, the bowl looked like this:


Cleaning up was relatively easy. I soaked everything in water, and the candy easily dissolved. After that, no problem.

My husband said, “I am so proud of you, this is a creative, all natural  treat!”

I hope that other people enjoyed them too.


Lazy Hamantaschen – Not

This year, in honor of this food blog, I made hamentashen for the first time. This is a recipe that I found on line. The title naturally appealed to me. 

It reminds me of my sugar cookies and I liked the fact that I didn’t need to roll out the dough. Other than that, hamentashen are not for the time challenged and best shared as a fun group and not solo activity.

Lazy Hamantaschen – Not

1 cup oil

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

4 cups flour


Using food processor:

Mix eggs, sugar in a food processor until blended. Slowly add oil through the feed tube and then add the vanilla.

Add flour and pulse until just blended.

I use plastic wrap to shape dough into 3 logs. I then wrapped them in parchment paper and foil and froze them until ready I was ready to assemble and bake them.

Before assembling the hamentashen, thaw slightly and slice dough approximately 1/4 inches thick.

I flattened the dough, placed the filling in center of dough and then pinched it together to create a triangle.

Bake at 350°F until done, about 20 minutes.

Source: “The Jewish Holiday Do-book”

This is my own recipe that I made up as a filling for the hamentashen.

Raisin-Date- Apricot Filling for Hamantaschen

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)


Boil all ingredients in a pot until soft. Be careful not to add too much water.

Blend using an immersion blender until smooth. The mixture should be quite thick.

Mixture can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for several days, or frozen.

Here are the pictures: 

Preparing the dough:


Shaping the dough into logs:


Slicing the dough:

This is the filling:


Et voilà! The final outcome:


Outcome: my husband’s response to the cookies was pretty funny. 

He said, “they may not look good, but they taste great!” 

Raizel said: “they are hard, but they taste great!”

In particular, Jay loved the filling. Any leftovers can be used as jam. 

Jay also thought that the filling would make a great glaze for chicken.

I was very happy that the cookies held their shape. I guess that’s why the dough is so stiff. Plus, since it was homemade, the ingredients were all natural with no dyes, additives or preservatives. 

Hopefully, others will enjoy them too.

My Mishloah Manot

My Mishloah Manot:

I do not do anything fancy. This year, I bought special bags with a Purim theme. 

Inside I put:

Tea (because tea is very important.)

Chocolate kisses of various types

Homemade Hamentashen (recipe to follow)

Assorted sugar cookies (recipes previously posted)


Homemade Popcorn Balls (recipe to follow)

I sealed the bags with assorted ribbons.

Et voila!


Happy Purim 🎭


Tonight begins the holiday of Purim. This is a fun filled day of celebration.

I very much want to share some of my recipes related to our celebration of the holiday.  

But, for people who may be unfamiliar with Purim and interested in knowing some of the background, I thought I would take a few moments to explain the significance and some of the traditions connected to this wonderful and joyous holiday.

I humbly submit that my area of expertise is in preparing kosher food, not on the finer points of Judaism. So, I am going to use my own words to explain Purim and then try to include references at the end of this post for anyone who might be interested in learning more about this Jewish holiday.

Briefly, the story of Purim occurred in Persia over 2000 years ago. Haman, the king of Persia’s top advisor tried to kill all the Jews.  

Through a complex series of events that were seemingly unrelated, the Jews were saved by the heroism of Mordechai and Esther. Queen Esther was able to reverse the evil decree, Haman was hanged on the gallows that he had created to kills the Jews and Mordechai became the Prime Minster of Persia in his stead.

The holiday is called Purim because that is the Persian word for “lottery.” Haman drew “lots” to determine the day, the 14th of Adar, that this heinous act would take place.

This holiday has 4 key rituals:

1. We hear the Megillah (Story or Scroll) of Esther 2 times, once at night and once the next day

2. Contribute to charity (Matanot LaEvyonim)

3. Give gifts of food (called Mishloach Manot ) to friends.

4. We eat a festive meal,

The day before the holiday (today) is a fast day, called the fast of Esther.

Children on this holiday dress up in costumes. This is an allusion to God’s hidden hand in the Purim miracle. Yaffa is planning on dressing up as a princess. This is the crown that she made:


Raizel’s costume is yet to be determined. She would like to be a grandma, but I wrapped a box and bought bows for her to be a present.🎁 

There is also a custom of making loud noises to blot out the name of Haman whenever his name is read during the Megillah reading. This is called a grogger.

Here is a picture of one that Yaffa made:

Needless to say, there are lots of opportunities for fun and pranks.

The overarching theme of this holiday is that what appears to be “bad” is really for our ultimate good and that challenges are really opportunities for growth and transformation.


This is one of those holidays that is a wonderful creative outlet. Some people give very artistic and even elaborate Mishloach Manot (Food to Friends.) 

Traditional foods include hamentashen cookies, which is a filled triangle shaped cookie. Kreplach, which is meat wrapped in dough are also eaten. The significance of kreplach is that our fate is hidden.

I usually do not make elaborate mishloach manot. Once I have my costumes and mishloach manot assembled, I will post them on the blog.

Thank you for reading.

Happy Purim!






Semi Off Topic: International Women’s Day & Tea

Today was International Women’s Day.

This quote was in the lobby of where I work. One of my patients stopped me in the hall to specifically point it out. He expressed how  meaningful it was for him, in light of our discussions during our weekly group.

I am also a tea lover and I was an unofficial women’s studies minor in university.

So, in honor of International Women’s Day, I thought I would post this quote.



Brazilian Black Beans

Brazilian Black Beans

This is something that my husband has been requesting for a while. I think I finally perfected it!


1 lbs. black beans

2 onions, chopped 

2-3 of garlic, crushed

3-4 bay leaves

Water: 3:1 ratio of water to beans if using pressure cooker; or to cover

1 can crushed or diced tomatoes 

1 tablespoon salt, to taste

Red hot pepper flakes to taste

Optional: pepper

Optional: meat


Sauté onions with spices and beans, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes with the juice and water.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Add crushed garlic and adjust seasoning. 

In pressure cooker: 24 minutes to pressure and then released the pressure quickly by running cold water over the lid when done.

Add crushed garlic and adjust seasoning when cooked.

Crockpot. Cook on low until done. Less water is required.

Add crushed garlic and adjust seasoning when cooked.

Here are the pictures:

I served the beans with rice and taco shells. 

Everyone loved it. 

My husband happily said, “I think you finally nailed it!”

Both girls ate second helpings!


One Small Step For Yaffa

Yaffa’s art project

This may be slightly off topic, but, I must share my excitement. 

Yaffa used to be on a feeding tube. Weaning her off was a slow and difficult process.

Last night, for the first time, Yaffa ate a cheese stick!

I realize that to some, this does not seem exceptional or noteworthy. But, for Yaffa, it is extraordinary.

Up until tonight, we had never seen her do this!

I was so excited to see her do this I had to take a picture. 

It brought tears to my eyes.


Sometimes, it’s the little things in life that are major accomplishments and quiet miracles.

Go Yaffa!