Can you tell which are which? Of course you can!
The cookies in the back are regular chocolate chip cookies.
The four cookies in the front are made with white whole wheat flour.
It's the same recipe, just with white whole wheat flour.
I didn't show the kids the regular cookies so they had nothing to compare them to - and not
one kid noticed anything different in the whole wheat cookies.
The only very minor change I made to the recipe was adding a 1/4 cup of water to the batter
because the dough was not sticking together well with the whole wheat flour.
This is the recipe with the new flour and the water:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
and 1/2 cup oil in the bowl of
a standing mixer.
Add in 1/2 tsp baking soda,
1 tsp salt
and 1 and 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour.
Stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Drop by tablespoonfull onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes.
Allow to cool and offer to children, smiling on the inside. If you smile too much on the outside, they might know something was up.
It's hard to believe that almost seven weeks has passed since Pesach, but
it's true - Shavuot is coming at the end of the week.
And in a bid to stay on top of things and not get bogged down with a
million things on Friday - the day before Shavuot - we made challah today.
We used the same recipe
we always do, we just did some different shaping.
Here's the first one:
In case you can't tell (and don't feel bad, my big kids couldn't tell either*),
it's a Torah. It looks a lot more like a Torah before it was baked. I am really
feeling like my oven is lopsided, forcing doughs and batters to come out uneven
all the time. Nevertheless, the above was my attempt at a Torah...
And here's the other idea we had:
Cut out flower shaped pieces of challah dough and glue** them on to the
challah before baking. I used a very small cookie cutter for the flowers and
used tiny pieces of dough rolled into balls for the flower centers.
*It looks like a potato with his hands over his heads and a star on his shirt, mommy.
** egg wash.
You know how some days you have it all together and you go to the supermarket
and the fruit store, and you clean up and vacuum and not only do the laundry but
fold it too? Oh, and you go walking? And then there are days when you're still
in pajamas when it's time to pick up the kids from school. Yesterday was the good
kind of day. Wait, I shouldn't say good because that would mean that I think
staying in pajamas all day is bad - and I don't think that. I'll say that today
was a productive kind of day.
So productive in fact, that when I saw a sign in the fruit store announcing 3
containers of strawberries for $2.00, I grabbed a bunch. That sounded like a crazy
price - adnd it was. And here's why - upon close inspection, I noticed that the
strawberries were on their way out. Not bad, yet. Just not the freshest they could be.
But that was okay with me.
And why, you ask, would I want to take these strawberries home? I'll tll you.
I have been enjoying adding a cup of strawberries to my smoothie every morning and
so I have been looking longingly at the very expensive frozen fruit in the
supermarket. And standing there, I thought, hey, why not just freeze my own?
And so I did. And here we are, two hours later, with five pounds of
strawberries washed, dried and cut up, sitting in a freezer bag in the freezer,
just waiting for their turn to hop into a smoothie. Because is this not what you
are supposed to do with fruits and vegetables that are going bad and have not yet
been eaten? Of course it is! We don't waste food. If they were vegetables, I would
have roasted them. Or made soup. Fruit, apparently, we freeze.
I wonder what other fruits I can freeze.
We do this all the time now.
It feels like a lot of work with all the peeling and cleaning and chopping and whatnot, but yum, it's
so worth it. The kids love them and Josh has even been known to eat a stray roasted vegetable or two. But only when no one is looking. He wouldn't want me to think he actually likes them. Then I might make them for him all the time. Vegetables. All. The. Time. (gasp)
There are many different vegetables that can be roasted, but we usually go with these:
You can do peppers too - any color works. I threw them in for some prettiness in
this batch, but personally, I think cooked peppers are bad. Very very bad.
Anywho, add 2-3 tbps of olive oil and a small amount of salt and mix.
For some reason, asparagus seems to come out better when it's roasted alone. But don't feel bad for the asparagus, I kinda think they like to do their own thing.
Roast in a preheated 450 degree oven for 20 minutes. Shake the pan and keep roasting for another 5-10 minutes. Cool slightly and eat. Straight from the pan is okay.
To my fellow sisters-in-mommying,
Happy Mother's Day!
May your day be filled with
hugs, kisses and crumbs - homemade or otherwise!
Hard to believe it's been a whole year
since I wrote this letter last Mother's Day.
Time really does fly - treasure every moment and every smile.
Have a wonderful day!
I try to make challah for Shabbos every week - and I always braid my
challah using three strands. I've been playing around with a six-strand braid
lately, but the results are pretty pathetic. I need some more practice before I
One Friday afternoon I tried something even easier than a three-strand braid. Look:
Divide the same amount of dough you would use for one challah into eight or ten
pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place them around the perimiter of a
greased circular pan. Put the last ball of dough or two in the center, brush with an
egg wash and bake exactly the same way you would a regular challah* - I bake mine
at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
My cousin makes her challah in a round pan like this every week - but she's
much braver than me. She sprinkles a different topping on each section of
challah. Some of the topping - sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic salt, chopped
onions, and I can't remember what else. Maybe chocolate chips? Eh, probably not,
but totally sounds like something my family would go for. *If you noticed the aluminum foil key shaped thing in the challah, you're not wrong.
These were my challahs from the Shabbos after Pesach, when there is a custom to
bake schlissel challah.
Anyone wanna mow our lawn for us? Josh hasn't been coming home before dark
lately and mowing in the dark sounds like something a drunk fraternity guy might
try, not a responsible husband. (Ed. note: If you are a drunk fraternity guy
looking for something to do, please come mow my lawn. You'll be fine, don't
The yard is in bad shape. And I don't just know that because the neighbors
are pointing and laughing. I know we need a good mow because when Little
T walks around in the yard, she doesn't have to bend down at all to pull a
dandelion. They're kind of at eye level. Okay, fine, she almost has to reach up to
The upside here: Using those dandelions, I've finally been able to teach her how to
blow from her mouth properly. A huge skill for a two year old.
We're hoping that the rain stops by the weekend so Josh can mow. And also
because for every five minutes it rains, I'm pretty sure the grass grows another
inch. Can you say jungle?
This week marks a special day on the Jewish calendar. Starting this Wednesday night and
into Thursday, the day is called Lag B'Omer
is the English pronunciation of the
Hebrew letters lamed
. In Hebrew, each letter is also assigned a number - the letter lamed
equals 30 and the letter gimel
equals three, and so together (and without using your
calculator), you can see that lag
equals 33. Thursday is the 33rd day of the omer,
being the counting of the days between Pesach and Shavuot, the next holiday coming up. Got that? Good.
The 33rd day of the omer is celebrated/commemorated as kind of a big day - and you can read all about it right here
. In Israel, Lag B'Omer
is celebrated with picnics and barbecues and bonfires.
Here in America, there might be some picnics and barbecues and even some school trips to the local park, but rarely will you see a bonfire.
So in the spirit of all the missing Lag B'Omer
bonfires in New Jersey, we're going to make s'mores. Fun, I know! But here's the thing - if you have been following along, you will know that I - and by
extension all the kiddies and the husband that I cook for - are slowly venturing into the world of clean eating. And s'mores are very not clean eating. You can almost say they are dirty eating, what with all the sugar and marshmallows and stuff. So instead of making regular s'mores, we are going to test out a somewhat healthier version, found at cleaneatingmag.com,
except we're going to do what we usually do and only kind of follow the directions.
Shall we? Great, let's go.
Gather together the following items:
20 chocolate chips, chopped
I will say that it's possible to make your own clean eating graham crackers
and it is possible to substitute something called raw cacao nibs for the chocolate, but I will be doing neither. There's
really only so far a girl can go. And because I do not see a trip to Trader Joe's happening in the next five minutes, we are just going to proceed with the regular old graham crackers we have from Shoprite.
Just a side note: I am not claiming my version of the recipe is clean. But I do feel like replacing the pretty-not-good-for-you marshmallows with something else is a good start. Can I hear an oh yeah
? Oh yeah!
Anyway, here's what we did:
Open the box of graham crackers and make a neat stack of 6 sheets - the double square kind.
Break each rectangle in half so that you have 12 squares. We will be making 6 s'mores out of these graham crackers.
Mix 1/3 cup cream cheese with 1 tbsp honey. Then mix that with 3 tsp of cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa powder is mixed in, but not until the cream cheese has turned all brown. Make it kind of streaky and weird looking.
Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of each graham cracker, sprinkling some of the chopped chocolate chips on each one.
Next, lay a piece of aluminum foil in your toaster oven and place as many graham crackers as you can on the foil. Set the toaster oven to broil and broil until the chocolate has melted. Repeat with the rest of the crackers - unless they all fit in the first batch, in which case, go you for
having such a large toaster oven! This can also be done in the regular oven, but why bother, ya know? It's such a small amount of food.
Remove the foil, carefully, from the toaster oven. Sandwich the graham cookies together, letting them cool slightly. Eat them with your family on the living room floor, sitting in a circle, with the lights off and some flashlights being passed around, 'ala a bonfire. Or just shove them into your mouth over the kitchen sink. Either way, happy Lag B'Omer!
Continuing on my way along the path towards Eating Clean, I spent some time trying to cook for my first Clean Eating Shabbos - and it was way harder than I thought it would be.
Let's start with the roast that I pulled out of the freezer. Roast? What's a roast? Can you be more
specific as to what kind of meat that is?
So all good questions - and the answer is I wish I could be more specific, but sadly, I cannot.
Growing up, any large piece of meat was called a roast. My guess is that my grandfather - the butcher - didn't want to confuse us. And so whenever he would arrive, loaded down with bags from the butcher store, he would tell my mom and my aunt that he put a few roasts in the freezer.
Okay, they would say and go on their merry ways. Because really, according to my
grandfather, whom we call Zeidy, "Meat is meat. Just cook it. Okay."
Then I married Josh, who, as a five year old, already had an intimate relationship with the neighborhood butcher. Josh would accompany his mom to the butcher store and walk out with free slices of turkey. Needless to say, he was overjoyed to be marrying the granddaughter of a butcher and was then just as horrified to realize that his new family's meat knowledge was pathetic.
Since that fateful Friday afternoon when I explained that "meat is meat, you just cook it", he has been patiently trying to teach me the difference between cuts of meat, like for example, silver tip, brisket, and um, yeah, that's really I can remember. I'm not such a good student. But Josh
keeps trying. One his greatest joys is when we happen to catch an episode of
America's Test Kitchen and Chris Kimball hauls out the human sized plastic cow,
covered in lines demarcating each section of meat and labeled by name and how to
cook it. So I keep trying. Maybe one day I'll figure it out. For now, Josh knows
to be on call when I go to the supermarket so I can call home and read the names
and prices of everything in the meat case to him. Sigh.
Anyway, where was I? Right, I was cooking for Shabbos and trying to be a clean eater at the same time and well, I'm feeling very lost right now. From the label on the package, I see that the roast I pulled out of the freezer is a top of the rib. I basically have one go to recipe for all
pieces of meat - I heat my dutch oven (you can any heavy-bottomed pot that can hold the roast instead) over very high heat and sear the meat on all sides until it's brown. Then I lay the meat down in the pan, throw a bunch of sliced onions and cubed potatoes, sweet potatoes and baby carrots on top, pour a bunch of duck sauce on top, cover tightly and let it cook over a low heat
for 2 hours. It's fast, it's easy and it's delicious. Except that duck sauce is not even remotely related to eating clean. I mean, really, not even a little bit.
I (what else?) googled some variation of the words roast, meat, eating clean and recipe and didn't get too many good hits. I even added the words crock pot but nothing really came up.
Maybe people who eat clean don't really eat meat? Hmmm. I have to look into that. Either way, we're not going meatless so I needed to figure something out.
After much deliberation, I decided that the meat was going to have to stand on it's own. So I put the whole thing into the crock pot, sprinkled a little garlic powder and onion powder on top, threw a sliced onion and a cubed sweet potato on top, added a little water - maybe 1/4 cup - and
turned it to high. It's been in there for 2 hours already and smells amazing. I think I'll give it another hour and check it, but so far, as much as I can tell through the foggy class top of the crock pot, it looks pretty good.
Go me! Well, maybe I shouldn't be cheering yet, it's early still.
And in case you (hi Ma!) were wondering where Little T has been this whole time, she has taken up residence in the pop-up hamper with a few of her baby dolls. She's feeding them lego.
Welcome to Taco Night!
I wasn't really sure how this would go over as it's something new, and new is generally a
dirty word in my house. An even dirtier word: change. The kids like things how they like things
and well, you know how that song goes.
But thanks to the convergence of a few weird things we have been introduce
to Taco Night. And shockingly, it was a huge hit. And even more shockingly, the
whole thing was very easy.
This is what you will need:
One box of tacos. The ones I bought (pictured below) even had 6 grams of fiber in each one!
2 lbs of ground turkey (or ground whatever you like)
1 28oz can of tomato sauce
3 plum tomatoes
1 large cucumber
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1/2 head of romaine lettuce
1 bag of cole slaw mix or shredded cabbage
It seems like a lot of ingredients, but it's mostly just chopping things.
I started by chopping the onion and sauteing it in a small amount of olive
oil. Add in the ground meat, breaking it up with a fork and cooking it until
it's cooked through all the way. Pour the can of tomato sauce over the meat,
cover and and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, uncover the pan
halfway and let the sauce cook, reducing itself until it's pretty thick. Stir it
every minute or so to keep it from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
I let it reduce for not more than five minutes, tops.
While the meat was initially cooking, I chopped the vegetables. I set out
four bowls and filled them with corn, diced tomatoes, diced cucumbers and
shredded lettuce. I could see this being really good with a diced avocado or
some red onions but my kids would never touch those, so we stuck with what we
In a larger bowl, I made the cole slaw. Mix 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
with 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 tablespoons Italian dressing and 1 tablespoon soymilk
or water. Add the bag of cole slaw mix to the bowl and mix well.
As a final part of Taco Night, I made salad dressing. I wasn't sure what
kind to make, so I went with my old childhood standby of fake Russian
dressing. Just mix 2 parts mayonnaise to 1 part ketchup and add in 1/2 tsp of
olive oil. Mix well and you're done.
I put some of the cole slaw (the bag of cole slaw makes a ton) in a smaller
bowl and I put the Russian dressing in a very small bowl. I put all the
vegetable bowls around it and a big plate of the taco meat in the middle.
The kids were super-excited for supper. They each had their own turn to
stand at the counter and pick what they wanted to put inside their taco shell.
They each built their own taco while I breathed deeply and watched tomato and
cucumber pieces fall to floor.
They tasted, they liked and they hugged me in the middle of dinner! I don't
remember the last time they all said yum at the same time, let alone got out of
their seats to say thank you. I'm guessing we're going to be doing Taco Night
again next week.