Thanksgiving Lunch on the Fly: Maple Syrup & Mustard Turkey Legs With Sweet Potatoes & Green Beans

Thanksgiving Lunch on the Fly: Maple Syrup and Mustard Turkey Legs with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans

I am still cooking and still writing, but, for various reasons, unfortunately, not for this wonderful blog. I have missed the comradery of the blogging community!

It can be sometimes be challenging to balance working, my children’s special needs and the dietary guidelines of the Jewish faith. In an age of instant gratification, teaching my children to say “No” to delicious non-kosher food is not simple.

I want my daughters to enjoy our faith and feel committed to following our culture, even though they are unable to attend a yeshiva and they are in an environment with very few other Jews.

They are teenagers, and at the age where they want to feel that they belong to a group of friends or peers. It is hard to be different and not do or eat what everyone else is doing or eating.

Raizel was talking about the Thanksgiving school menu for weeks.  Her teachers were concerned that she might feel left out or deprived that she could not eat what all the other children were eating. They are so kind, that they bought a microwave that would only be for kosher food!

I made this wonderful crockpot turkey with sweet potatoes for the first time in years. It is fast, easy, all natural and delicious.

Paired with a super simple frozen green beans, Raizel was able to have a delicious thanksgiving lunch on the fly.

It occurred to me that this is a perfect simple menu for anyone!

Maple Syrup and Mustard Turkey Legs with Sweet Potatoes

 Ingredients

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in cubes

3 turkey legs, skinned

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup prepared mustard, of your choice

½ teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ginger

¼ teaspoon pepper, to taste

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt to taste.

Optional: Thicken broth with 1 tablespoons of tapioca.

 Directions 

Put sweet potatoes in the bottom of the pot. Add the turkey legs on top. Mix together the maple syrup, mustard and spices and then pour over turkey.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Adjust seasonings to taste, if necessary.

Crockpot. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for to 3 to 3-1/2 hours.

In pressure cooker: 12 minutes to pressure and then use the quick release method by running cold water over the lid when done.

Easy Garlic Green Beans

 Ingredients

1 lbs. frozen green beans

3 cloves garlic, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste.

¼ cup water (approximately)

Optional: 1 tablespoon of olive oil or margarine.

 Directions 

Place frozen green beans in a skillet. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover the skillet, then steam the beans until tender. Add crushed garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste. For an extra rich flavor, add oil or margarine and mix well.

Since I was not originally planning on posting these recipes, unfortunately, I only have 2 pictures:

 

The final product. Delicious!

Simple and easy green beans. Add extra oil for a richer taste. Raizel added toasted sesame oil. Yum!

I am happy to say that it was a success! Both girls, and even my husband liked it very much.

 

Enjoy!

 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

 

 

 

 

Coconut Flour Shortbread Cookies

For Purim, I made these Coconut Flour Shortbread Cookies with the leftover coconut flour from Passover.

These cookies are endlessly adaptable.

If you like citrus, they can be jazzed up with lemon, lime or orange zest.

If you want to make a fancy presentation, you could dip them in chocolate and add toasted coconut, nuts or sprinkles.

They can be made with almost “flour” — wheat, quinoa, banana, almond, or gluten free flour blend of your choice or starch such as tapioca or potato.

They are perfect for Passover or for anyone on a gluten free or nut free diet.

Coconut Flour Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut flour

1 cup “flour” — wheat/quinoa/banana/almond/tapioca starch/potato starch, or gluten free blend of your choice

1 1/2 cups sugar.

Optional: If you it less sweet, you can use only 1 cup of sugar.

1 cup oil

4 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 1 teaspoon almond extract

Optional: 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Optional: lemon, lime or orange zest

Instructions:

Food processor: mix oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.  Add the dry ingredients and process until it forms into a dough.

I usually try to mix the wet ingredients first and then add the dry ingredients to prevent over mixing.

Let the dough rest for a few minutes. Coconut flour is very absorbent.

Shape dough into balls with slightly wet hands to prevent sticking and create a smooth shape.

Place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. I find that my cookies are less likely to burn with a double insulated cookie sheet.

Flatten dough with a fork using a crisscross pattern. To prevent dough from sticking to the fork, dip the fork into water. It really helps!

Bake in preheated 400*F oven for 8-12 minutes, and the bottoms are slightly browned.

Cool slightly while still on the cookie sheet and then let cool completely on wire racks.

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Just before baking in the over. I used a silpat and double insulated baking sheets.

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Final outcome.

Coconut flour is different than wheat flour. But, I am happy to say that most people really liked them. The proof is that I brought them to our Purim seuda (festive meal) and they were all eaten. I consider that to be a ringing endorsement.

Enjoy!

DIY Deodorants and Magnesium Oil

Basic Formula for DIY Deodorants with and Without Baking Soda

I am time challenged person who seeks to live a balanced and sane life. My passion for fast and easy all natural healthy kosher cooking also includes a passion for DIY fast, easy and all natural beauty and cleaning products too. When I go on my periodic all-natural kicks, I am only willing to use DIY beauty products if they are easy, economical and effective.

In addition to my facial scrub and hair conditioner, I also make DIY deodorant.

Super-Fast and Easy DIY Deodorant

This is the recipe that I posted earlier. I call it my “In A Pinch Solution.”

Ingredients

1 part baking soda

1 part starch: corn, potato, tapioca, etc.

Instructions 

Blend together and store in glass jar. Apply with makeup brush or sponge while still slightly damp from bathing.

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Make using equal parts of both.


 

Carol’s Basic DIY Deodorant Powder

When I first began using DIY deodorant, I used just plain baking soda. Unfortunately, I found it very abrasive for my skin. Over the years, I have developed this recipe which is practical, easy and works! Afterall, if it is not practical, then I can’t sweat it, if you will pardon the pun.

Ingredients 

1/2 cup baking soda

1/2 cup starch

1 or 2 tablespoons clay powder

1-3 teaspoons activated charcoal

Optional: coconut oil to right consistency (about ½ cup)

Optional: 5-10 drops of essential oil of your choice, i.e., tea tree, peppermint, lavender, sandalwood

Instructions 

Blend together and store in glass jar. Apply with makeup brush or sponge while still slightly damp from bathing.

If you prefer to apply as a cream or a stick, slowly mix coconut oil into the powder until desired consistency. Personally, I find the powder faster and lower maintenance.  However, lots of people find a cream easier to apply. So, try it both ways and decide for yourself!


I have been using this for over a year and I can honestly say that it works!

My husband jokes — “if all else fails, you can eat it too!”

After I made my regular deodorant, one of my daughter’s therapists, Lynette, told me that she always wanted to use DIY deodorant, but, she is allergic to baking soda.


I figured that she could not be the only person who reacts to baking soda, so I went on line to try and find a DIY deodorant without baking soda that meets my criteria of easy, effective and economical. I am happy to say that I have created my first batch, and it really works too!

The downside is that it is slightly less effective than the one with baking soda. I found that it only works for 12 hours. After that, I found that I needed to reapply either the powder or the spray.

These deodorants are not antiperspirants. So, you will still sweat, but, you will not smell offensive. Sweating, however, it a good thing. It helps to release toxins and is necessary for proper temperature regulation.

Carol’s First Attempt at DIY Deodorant Powder without Baking Soda

Ingredients

1/2 cup starch

1/2 cup clay powder (you can use only 1 or 2 tablespoons clay powder, if you want)

1- 2 teaspoons finely ground natural salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)

2 -3 teaspoons finely ground Epsom salt or Magnesium oil (more on this later)

Optional: 1-3 teaspoons activated charcoal

Optional: 5-10 drops of essential oil of your choice, i.e., tea tree, peppermint, lavender, sandalwood, etc. The list is up to your creativity and personal preferences.

Instructions:

Blend together and store in glass jar. Apply with makeup brush or sponge while still slightly damp from bathing.


Carol’s First Attempt at DIY Deodorant Spray without Baking Soda

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Epsom salt or Magnesium oil (more on this later)

1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

2 tablespoons Witch Hazel

2 tablespoons Vodka/alcohol spirits up to 120 proof (the higher the alcohol content, the stronger it works: 70-90 low; 90-120 medium; 120+ strong)

1/8 teaspoon (a “pinch”) natural salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)

Optional: 5-10 drops of essential oil of your choice, i.e., tea tree, peppermint, lavender, sandalwood, etc. The list is up to your creativity and personal preferences.

Instructions:

Mix together the ingredients and store in glass jar or spray bottle. Shake before using and apply using your fingers (assuming they are clean and you are not sharing the jar with anyone) or spray under arms while still slightly damp from bathing.

For some reason, I found it better to first apply the spray, and then apply the powder too. Then, in the morning, I would just apply the powder.

I am not including a picture, since it is a clear liquid.

Overall, I was very pleased with the outcome. I am going to share it with Lynette now too.

DIY Magnesium Oil


In the process of learning about no-baking soda deodorants, I learned about magnesium oil and its many health benefits. There is a ton of information available on line, so I am not going to repeat myself here.

I thought, however, that it might be helpful to include various infographics that I found on line to explain the benefits of the various ingredients. At the end of this post, I am also including various sites which include information about magnesium, and other sites to explore DIY beauty products.

Apparently, it is very difficult to get enough magnesium intracellularly through food, as the soil today is more depleted than in the past. And, one of the best ways to obtain magnesium is through the skin, or transdermally.

DIY Magnesium Oil

1/2 cup filtered water

1/2 cup magnesium chloride flakes

Basically, the ratio is 1:1 water to magnesium chloride flakes

Instructions:

Bring the water to a boil in a non-aluminum saucepan. Turn off the heat and stir in the magnesium flakes until dissolved. When cool, pour into a spray bottle or glass jar. No refrigeration is necessary.


Spray directly on the skin, and rotate the site to different parts of your body and rub lightly until it is absorbed.  Use anywhere from 10-30 sprays per day.

Results so far:

I wanted to share with everyone that using magnesium oil daily has so far changed our lives.

For over a year, Yaffa has unfortunately had a chronic staph and strep infection on her skin. She completed several rounds of antibiotics. Despite also washing her with betadine solution, nothing seemed to be helping.

 

So, I started to give her Epsom salt or magnesium chloride baths, and spraying magnesium oil on the lesion twice a day. It was miraculous! Her infection is finally better and starting to resolve!

Since Raizel became sick, she has been complaining of chronic fatigue.  We have gone to so many doctors and had so many blood tests. Nothing seemed to explain her symptoms. So, I started spraying magnesium oil on her twice a day too and another miracle occurred! Her fatigue is lifting, and every day she feels better and better. Raizel even notices how much better she feels. It has been quite dramatic.

Finally, I have developed psoriasis, probably due to all my stress. Despite all my efforts, nothing seemed to really help. I too have started using the magnesium oil twice a day, and no more itching! I am so happy!

So, I highly recommend using magnesium oil, assuming you are otherwise healthy. Any questions or concerns, please consult your health care provider.

References:

https://wellnessmama.com/3610/low-magnesium/

https://wellnessmama.com/22357/spray-deodorant-recipe/

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/magnesium

http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/magnesium

These are 2 of my all-time favorite sites to explore DIY everything:

https://raising6kids.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/natural-diy-deodorant-ideas/

https://www.diynatural.com/natural-homemade-deodorant/

 

DIY Anti-Frizz Hair Spritzer 

I am into fast, easy, all natural, healthy, kosher cooking AND living.

This past Shabbat, Aunty Elle, my sister-in-law came over. We were very excited! She was our first guest in our new home.

The weather, however, was hot and humid. 

Raizel, Aunty Elle and I all have different types of curly hair. In humid weather, our hair becomes hopelessly frizzy.

Aunty Elle bought herself an expensive hair spritzer to make her hair less frizzy.

When I heard how expensive it was, I just about fell over. I thought, “why not adapt my DIY hair conditioner to use as leave in conditioner?”

This is my first attempt at making anti-frizz hair spritzer, or leave in conditioner. 

Ingredients 

2/3 cup boiled water (distilled is better, but I didn’t have it handy)

1/4 teaspoon coconut oil, melted 

1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum

Optional: essential oil of your choice.

Instructions 

Place water, oil and xanthum gum in container. Blend until thickened with immersion blender. Store in spritz bottle.

I used it on Raizel this morning and it worked well. 

Aunty Elle said that it worked really well too. She said that her hair was soft and manageable. 

The disadvantage was that her hair was less stiff than with the commercial product. 

The advantages were: no additives, dyes, chemicals or preservatives. 

In addition it is also environmentally friendly, biodegradable and economical. 

I think that is definitely worth it!

It is possible to add essential oils, for an aromatheraputic effect. 

I personally do like like perfume. But, it could be easily added, according to your preference.

Here are 2 pictures:

final outcome, ingredients and supplies

first batch that I gave to Aunty Elle

I am giving out samples to my co-workers and our therapists.

So far, everyone likes it. Dawn, Raizel’s therapist says, “I can work with this.”

I am on a roll!

Enjoy!

Reference

This is the original link to the post on DIY homemade conditioner:

http://pistachioproject.com/2012/03/homemade-conditioner.html

DIY Hair Conditioner Recipe 

This week I experimented with making homemade hair conditioner.

My husband jokes that I am really “Miss Moosewood” — a reference to the popular cookbooks originally written by Mollie Katzen.

So, in my travels through Pinterest, I found this recipe for homemade hair conditioner.

It is surprisingly easy, fast and it works!

Essentially, this recipe is coconut oil, emulsified in water with xanthum gum.

There is a difference between using this and regular conditioners. 

The first time I used it, my hair, which is thick and curly, came out great. Raizel fell in love with it right away. But, she is a curly girl like me. 

Yaffa, on the other hand, woke up with greasy looking hair.

The next time I used it, I used much less. Yaffa’s hair came out looking shiny and beautiful. My hair also came out soft and manageable. 

So, more is not better and use sparingly!

Ingredients 

2/3 cup water. Distilled water is recommended as it has fewer impurities. I am sure it’s true, but since this was a first time experiment, I used boiled bottled water instead.

1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted. Since I used boiled water, it melted in the water. The amount can vary depending on how dry your hair is.

1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum. The original recipe called for guar gum. But, xanthum gum was available in a little small packet at my local supermarket, so I used that instead.

Optional: essential oils of your choice. 

Instructions 

Place ingredients in container. Using an immersion blender, mix until well blended.

Store in a container of your choice. I am using an old shampoo bottle.

According to Brittany, this should only be made in small batches. It usually only lasts for up to a month. 

Since I didn’t use distilled water and there are no preservatives, it remains to be seen how long this batch will last. 

In general, I do not like the smell of coconut. Nevertheless, I didn’t add essential oils, which could give it a more pleasant smell. Maybe next time, if this experiment is successful?

Here are the pictures:

blending in immersion blender

final outcome in bottle with some of the ingredients and utensils

Overall, this has been a successful experiment. 

It is fast and easy, all natural, no chemicals, dyes or preservatives and uses easily available ingredients  

Raizel declared it “awesome!” However, she would like essential oils added to make it smell nicer.

Thank you Brittany for this great recipe!

Enjoy!

Reference 

http://pistachioproject.com/2012/03/homemade-conditioner.html

If anyone is interested in the cookbook by Mollie Katzen, here is a link:

Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention: Fast & Easy DIY Facial Scrub & Deodorant

Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention: Fast & Easy DIY Facial Scrub & Deodorant

 

Necessity is truly the mother of invention. I am visiting my mother in Toronto now. I traveled by myself and left the girls home with my husband. Risqué, without a doubt.

But, no matter how old I get, going home to Mom, is going HOME. I packed my bag, and traveled very lightly. I figured any toiletry items that I might need would surely be available at Mom’s.

Well, times change.

I think that I am growing up, but I forget that my mother is growing old.


When I got here, I saw that she did not have any facial scrub. Why would she? She doesn’t use it.

And, Mom lives alone now. She has only one stick of deodorant. At this stage of the game, Mom is not too comfortable sharing.

So, I decided to make fast and easy DIY Facial Scrub & Deodorant.

Fast & Easy DIY Facial Scrub

Ingredients:

1-part sugar

1-part baking soda

1-part borax

Optional: by mistake, I added 1-part coarse salt (Kosher salt). It still worked.

Instructions:

Blend together and store in a covered jar. I used an empty pill bottle.

To use: pour into palm of your hand. Add enough water to desired consistency, and gently apply to face using small circular motions.

Rinse well.

When I came out of the shower, my skin felt very smooth. My mother has agreed to try it during her shower, and she will give me her personal opinion.

For fun I made this picture:


Fast & Easy DIY Deodorant

Ingredients:

1-part corn starch (any starch is good, but this is what was available.)

1-part baking soda

Instructions:

Blend together and store in a covered jar. I used an empty pill bottle.

To use: pour into palm of your hand, and apply as needed. It would have been nice to use a make up sponge, but, since I didn’t have one, I made do.

Just for fun, I made this picture as well:


Voila, fast and easy DIY beauty supplies. They are practically edible and no additives, preservatives or chemicals. Both look the same too: white. So, be sure to label the container so that you can tell them apart.

I was pleased with the outcome. Simple and easy, and I only used easily available ingredients.

Mom and I are cooking in the kitchen together now. It is so nice.

I am so happy that I could get away and spend some alone time with just her. I treasure these moments.

Enjoy!

 

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

Instructions 

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)

Instructions 

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.