Category Archives: Uncategorized

Conscious Cooking With Gratitude

img_3488

 

Conscious Cooking With Gratitude

There was something different about the chocolate chip dot cookies this past week.

My husband does not have much of a sweet tooth. And, in general, the girls are more enamored with candy, and ice cream than homemade treats.

But, this time, my husband ate 5 cookies! More than once he remarked how wonderful they were. Raizel is still gushing, several days later: “these cookies are soooooo good!”

It has made me think: What was different this time? Was there a special secret ingredient?

The answer that I came to was: “Yes. There was a secret ingredient.”

They were baked while making lots of blessings and focusing on everything that we have to be grateful for. The cookies became infused with our positive intentions, which then elevated them from the mundane to the sublime.

Here is what happened:

On Sunday, before we started baking, I asked my girls: “what is the first thing that we need to do before we start?” Both girls answered: “wash your hands!”

Then, after we washed our hands, I asked: “what is the second thing that we need to do?

I got a few blank stares, and so I answered: “make a blessing!”

Although I did not want to sound pedantic, we then had an impromptu lesson on “why do we need to make blessings?”

The girls and I discussed how making a blessing reminds us to be grateful to God. We are allowed to eat, but, when we make a blessing, we are saying “thank you” to Hashem (God) for giving us such delicious food, that makes us happy and keeps our bodies strong.

Then, I told the girls, “We should just list all the things that we have to be grateful for to Hashem.”

 

So, as we were making the cookies, we had what I call a “radical gratitude session.” We shared every single thing that we had to be grateful for: eyes that see, glasses to help us see, the ability to read, a computer to find our recipes, legs that walk, a mouth that talks, ears that hear, mouths that can chew……

The whole time that we were baking the cookies, we were sharing on all the numerous things that we had to be grateful for.

The outcome were the delicious cookies.

Another time, while I was cooking for Shabbat, I kept repeating the phase, “this is in the honor of the holiness of Shabbat.” (L’kavod shabbas kodesh)

That night, as we were enjoying our Shabbat meal, I asked my husband, “how did you like the food?”

My husband, not knowing my intentions while cooking that morning replied, “Everything tastes like the holiness of Shabbat.”


I couldn’t help smiling when he said that. How could he have known what I was saying the whole time I was cooking?

So, our thoughts are very powerful, even to the point that they transform our food from ordinary into other worldly.

May we all be blessed to focus on everything we have to be grateful for and transform everything we do to bring more blessings and good into the world.

Chocolate Chip Dot Cookies & Prayer Before Taking Medicine

Chocolate Chip Dot Cookies

 

I have been very quiet lately because unfortunately, Raizel has been very sick.  I am trying to visualize the positive and praying for her to receive a complete and speedy recovery.

However, I am happy to say that today was the first day in a very long time that Raizel was actually feeling somewhat like her old self.

To celebrate, I agreed to make “Chocolate Chip Dot Cookies.” This is something that Raizel has wanted me to make for the longest time.

Since I am time challenged, I usually, prefer to make Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares. But, Raizel REALLY wanted to make “dot cookies,” so I agreed.

In exchange, Raizel agreed to let me take lots of pictures and post this recipe because, “I know that blogging makes you happy.” A sure sign that she is feeling better!

Chocolate Chip Dot Cookies 

Ingredients:

1 cup oil

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar

2-3 eggs (depends on if you like your cookies chewy or crisp)

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups flour (spelt or wheat)

12 oz. chocolate chips

Optional: 1 cup nuts

Instructions:

By hand or with a mixer: Mix sugars, oil, and vanilla a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until blended. . Stir in flour, baking soda and salt.  Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.

With only 2 eggs, the dough will be quite stiff. We made a second batch with 3 eggs, and the dough was much easier to manage. The stiffer dough made crispier cookies. The softer dough made chewier cookies.

Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake in a 375°F preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown.

When slightly cool, remove from cookie sheet and place on wire rack.

Food processor directions

Cream together the sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla.  Add the flour, salt and baking soda and gently pulse until just blended. Mix in by hand the nuts and chocolate chips.

Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake in a 375°F preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown.

When slightly cool, remove from cookie sheet and place on wire rack.

Tips: Initially, I made this recipe using only 2 eggs. I found the dough very stiff, and it was difficult to incorporate all of the chocolate chips. Since I had so many chocolate chips left in the bowl, Raizel, Yaffa and I made a second batch with 3 eggs. The dough was much softer and easier to manage.

I have discovered that chocolate chip cookies are a very forgiving recipe.

My husband and Raizel both declared that “these cookies are killer!” My husband actually ate 3, which is very unusual for him and a true vote of confidence.

However, Jay liked the batch with 2 eggs, which was crispier, and Raizel liked the one with 3 eggs that was chewier. So, either way, they were a hit.

I even think that they could easily be baked at 350*F and still come good.

Here are the pictures. Both girls wanted to have their pictures taken making the cookies.

First try, only using 2 eggs

blending in the flour, with a more stiff dough.


Trying to blend in all the chocolate chips.


This is the dough with 3 eggs. Much soother!


Baking in the oven.


Voila! The final outcome.

Slightly off topic, but, I wanted to share the pictures that I made of the prayer to say prior to taking medication. Unfortunately, we have been saying this prayer very often lately.

 

This is a second version of the one above:

 

This picture is a personal prayer that I wrote to reinforce my desire for any medication to be effective and helpful.

This is my personal prayer.

Enjoy the cookies and may everyone in need be blessed with a speedy and complete recovery!

Semi-Off Topic: Shared Joy – Happy Mother’s Day, Lag B’Omer & The Egg

Shared Joy: Happy Mother’s Day, Lag B’Omer & The Egg

Recently, in addition to being time challenged, I have been life challenged.

I am always dispensing advice and providing comfort to people in distress who are suffering.

Unlike many of my patients, who have mood disorders, I am not an emotionally volatile person. If I am in a bad mood, then chances are, there is a specific reason. But, I also practice rigorous self-care. All of the tools and techniques that I provide to my patients, I practice myself. Coping and maintaining a positive attitude is a daily mental discipline.

I am grateful for the disciplines that I practice. This past year has been particularly stressful, and these past few months have been even more so.

One unfortunate side effect is that I have been unable to blog recently. I find blogging creative and fun. It is so nice to finally have this opportunity to connect and share with everyone again. I have missed it!

 

There are too many wonderful celebrations today for me not to post. Today is Mother’s Day, as well as the holiday, Lag B’Omer.

Lag B’Omer is a festive day, which celebrates the passing of the great sage and mystic, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar. It also commemorates the end of a semi-mourning period. During the weeks between Passover (which just passed) and Shavuot (which will be occurring in about 2 weeks) there was a plague that occurred in which many of the students of Rabbi Akiva (teacher of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai) passed away. The reason for the plague was because “the students did not act respectfully towards each other.”

On Lag B’Omer, the deaths ceased, and the period of mourning ended.

 

LOL! On Lag BaOmer, we also light bonfires.

The theme of this holiday is about loving and respecting people — even if you do not agree with them. It highlights the destructiveness of having one’s ego invested in being right, at the expense of the relationship or preserving the dignity and honor of another person.

Since the mourning practices are suspended, Lag B’Omer also happens to be a very popular day to get married.  Unbelievably, today would have been my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary.

Today is Mother’s Day too. As I have shared in the past, my mother has always been very ambivalent about Mother’s Day.

This year, my mother called to thank us for the flowers we sent her. My mother yet again confirmed her ambivalence for what she calls a “Hallmark Holiday.” My mother said, “Everyday should be Mother’s Day. We should treat our loved ones nicely all of the time.”

I thought her comments dovetailed nicely with the theme of Lag B’Omer.

 

Yaffa is a happy camper. The words mean “like 1 person with 1 heart.” Meaning, we are all united and share each other’s joys and sorrows.

 

In keeping with her iconoclastic ideas, my mother has also informed me that she no longer wants to receive flowers for Mother’s Day. Instead, she is requesting that the money spent on flowers should be donated to a charity of our choice. What a nice idea!  I just had to share it with everyone!

Yaffa ate a hard-boiled egg for the first time!

However, the coup de grace for today is that Yaffa ate a hard-boiled egg for the first time. It took a lot of cajoling and effort, but she did it!  We are so proud!

So, happy Mother’s Day to everyone, Happy Lag B’Omer, and congratulations Yaffa!

It is good to be back.

Off Topic: Snow In The City

Today was a snow day. We all stayed home and had a bonding experience.

My friend Mindy’s husband took this video of the streets of New York “aka the city” today. His commentary is hilarious. I just had to share it!

I have never tried to post a video before, so I hope it works!

Spring is around the corner!

I am trying to think warm thoughts and visualize the positive.

Enjoy!

DIY Spice Blends — The Frugal Hausfrau

 

sharing-is-caring

I usually feel compelled to write one original post a week. However, the joy of blogging is that we all can benefit from each other too. Why reinvent the wheel?

I love to make my own DIY spice blends. Somehow, I feel like they taste better and that the food tastes better too.

So, I just had to share this wonderful post on making your own spice blends by The Frugal Hausfrau. I love it!

Please check out this wonderful blog The Frugal Hausfrau.com!

I am a fan.

<a href=”http://frugalhausfrau.com/2014/11/11/poultry-seasoning-make-your-own/”>http://frugalhausfrau.com/2014/11/11/poultry-seasoning-make-your-own/</a&gt;

share

The Blog-aholic Award

blog-a-holic-award

For whatever reasons, I am inspired to respond to some of the wonderful blog awards from other bloggers in our wonderful blogging community.  I would like to say a great big “Thank you” to Miriam, from Israelisalad.wordpress.com who has graciously nominated me for the The Blog-aholic Award.

Miriam has a blog very similar to mine. A young American-Israeli mother, Miriam writes about cooking fresh, delicious and seasonal dishes on a budget in a small kitchen with limited time.  It is nice to know that there are other people who share my passion for healthy, all natural fast and easy cooking. Please check out her blog and show her your support. You will not be disappointed!

Here is the link to her blog:

https://israelisalad.wordpress.com/2017/02/26/blogaholic-award-nomination/

I always think of blogging awards as a good way to practice team work and build esprit de corps. Miriam, however, has a wonderful way of describing blogging awards. She calls blogging awards “blogger tag,” as their function to increase site traffic. I like that explanation!

Good play skills are important. My mother always says that “recess” is the most important class at school. I guess I am “it.”

how-to-play-tag-8-638

What is The Blog-aholic Award?

“The Blog-aholic Award” is an award created by Esme, The Recipe Hunter, for bloggers addicted to blogging with creative, ingenious and inspiring posts. They “mesmerize their followers with their posts, keep them captivated and riveted to their blog.” The Blog-aholic Award is also for bloggers who “Share and Inspire Others!” The Recipe Hunter (Cook & Enjoy)

Please also show your support to Esme. Esme is a leader in sharing, caring and playing “tag” with other bloggers.  The cohesiveness of our blogging  community is in part due to her (and naturally many others’) efforts.

Thank you Miriam and Esme!

Rules

  1. Put the above award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog (it can be to the post in which they nominated you or any other post or you can even link to their “About” page)
  4. Mention the creator The Recipe Hunter (Cook & Enjoy) of this award and please provide a link or pingback
  5. Write a post to show your award
  6. Share a link to your best post(s)
  7. Share 3 interesting and different facts about yourself
  8. Nominate 5-10 fellow bloggers, or more if you wish. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

Now that I am reading the award rules more closely, I am very humbled by this award. Frankly, I consider my blog to be very simple and homespun. My goal is just to organize my recipes and share them with others. I am so grateful to everyone for your positive warmth and support. I am always amazed at how friendly everyone is. Thank you all!

Here are my answers:

Rule number 6 is share a link to my best post.

The world of blogging is full of surprises. Unexpectedly, my most viewed post is Roasted Beets Without Foil. http://wp.me/p3GhIj-11Y

My post that received the most “likes”: My About Page. http://wp.me/P3GhIj-1

The next part of the award is to share 3 interesting and different facts about myself. I thought I would answer the following questions:

If money was no object, what would you do all day?

I am great at keeping myself busy and productive!

If money was no object, I would devote myself to my children and community, including this wonderful blogging community.

With unlimited resources, I would love to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner.

I would also love to follow my passions and spend more time advocating on behalf of people with special needs and those with mental illness.

However, I could also see myself continuing to work. I am blessed to have a meaningful job which I enjoy. My patients are awesome!

What are your hobbies?

I love the domestic arts: sewing, knitting, and of course cooking.

Which would you rather do: wash dishes, mow the lawn, clean the bathroom, or vacuum the house?

Out of the 3 choices, I would rather wash dishes. I am very particular about how I clean dishes. I think I like playing with water too. Yard work is not my thing as I am afraid of insects and worms. As for vacuuming, I always say, “there are cookers and there are cleaners.” I am definitely not a cleaner, but I admire and appreciate cleanliness.

Since I’m “it,” now it’s my turn to tag 5 more bloggers. 

In no particular order:

Joelle at https://macuisinesanssulfites.com/

Love and Umami at https://loveandumami.com/

Anjali Dhawan at https://anjalidhawan.wordpress.com/about/

RD healthy at https://rdhealthy.org/

Felicia at  https://felisrecipes.com/2017/02/

Please show your support to these wonderful blogs!

tag-your-it

 

 

Cumin Beets

Cumin Beets

As I have shared in the past, I consider myself to be a pressure cooker and crockpot Queen, in addition to the Arch Duchess of the rice cooker. 

To save time, I am always looking for ways to make fast and easy recipes. 

I was very excited to make this new way to cook beets. It can easily be made in a crockpot, stove top, or in a pressure cooker.

Ingredients

Beets, sliced

1 onions, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 can (14 oz.) chopped tomatoes, juice included

1 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Optional: fresh chopped herbs such as cilantro or parsley 

Instructions:

Wash and scrub beets. Slice with a food processor. If desired, beets can be peeled or left whole. A longer cooking time will be needed for whole beets.

Saute onion, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Add beets, water and canned tomatoes.

In pressure cooker: bring to pressure for 2 minutes and release the pressure. Simmer if needed until done.

In crock pot: place in crockpot and cook on low until done. If a longer cooking time is needed, then leave beets whole, so that they can cook all day.

Stove pot: bring to a boil and let simmer until done.

Adjust seasoning as needed once fully cooked. 

Fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley add a special gourmet touch.

 I made this just before Shabbat, so unfortunately I have only one picture.

Freshly made, and without any adornment.

 

This is a fast and easy and super tasty way to cook beets. Everyone loved them, even my husband who is not a fan of cumin.

Enjoy!