Blogaholic Award Nomination

It’s another game of blogger tag that someone made up to increase site traffic, and I’m “it.” By the way, there are a few more days left to my virtual ice cream party, if you’d like to join and meet other ice cream-loving bloggers. I’d like to thank Dolly from koolkosherkitchen for nominating me for the Blogaholic Award, ironically, last week when I wasn’t blogging much because my computer was acting up. Dolly writes such interesting posts full of personal, family, and historical stories to accompany her recipes that I feel truly honored to receive this nomination from her.
Nominees are supposed to share three interesting facts about themselves, but since I’m an English teacher, I’ll spice it up a bit by telling you two true facts and one false. See if you can guess which isn’t true. Let me know in a comment! 🙂
1. I can’t stand chopped liver, but I do like leftover cholent.
2. My favorite sport is swimming; the beaches in Israel are gorgeous!
3. I love the sun, but I also miss *snow*.
My most viewed post: “Emergency” Cookies
My post that received the most “likes”: Species of Israel Salad
My very first post, near and dear to my heart: Welcome to Israeli Salad!

If I’m “it,” now it’s my turn to tag 5 more bloggers. In no particular order:
Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride: https://susielindau.com/
YayYay’s Kitchen: https://yayyayskitchen.com/
Cooking for the Time Challenged:  https://cookingforthetimechallenged.wordpress.com/
Two Writing Teachers: https://twowritingteachers.org/
Granoladox: https://granoladox.com/

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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) 

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.

I would also like to thank Simcha at slimmingbsimcha for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award a few weeks ago, a few days after I was nominated by someone else and already had a post about it, so I didn’t write a new post after her nomination. Simcha’s blog details her determined “slimming” journey with inspiration and recipes.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Hidden Veggie Tomato Sauce

It’s that time of year again. Sunday will already be Rosh Chodesh Adar, meaning six weeks until Pesach (Passover). Last year, on Rosh Chodesh Adar Alef, an Israeli neighbor asked me if I had started cleaning for Pesach. After I regained my balance, I told her no. I’m not going to spend ten weeks spring cleaning and looking for leaven. I don’t have to worry about such encounters this year because I don’t have Israeli neighbors anymore. Okay, just joking; I have one.

In any case, while it’s not time to hit the panic button and pull out the bleach, it is time to start using up open packages of food and stop buying things that make tons of crumbs, like couscous. I also only have two weeks left to use up the end of last year’s matzah before Purim, since we don’t eat matzah for a whole month before Pesach. (Hey, stop making those grossed-out faces. It already tasted stale eleven months ago.)

Today’s versatile sauce is delicious on pasta or in matzah lasagna. Whatever you’re trying to get rid of, smothering it in sauce is a good idea, especially when this sauce is so full of vegetables. I must admit that my pickiest eaters were not willing to taste this tomato sauce, even though the vegetables are completely dressed up as tomato sauce, but I bet they would have liked it if they tasted it. I’ll let you know if they eat it in the matzah lasagna I’ll be making next week. This magic is thanks to my immersion blender, a gadget I never heard of until high school, but now I love it even more than my zester. This sauce should go over well with most kids because all of the vegetables are blended and hidden by the tomato sauce. I even snuck in some protein the form of a can of chickpeas. The overall flavor is milder than the standard, acidic tomato sauce. If you double the water and add a little more salt, this can also double as tomato soup.

Vegetables hiding in tomato sauce, which is hiding old matzah. We’re really getting into the Purim spirit.

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Hidden Veggie Tomato Sauce Recipe

yield: about 2 liters

Ingredients

1 T oil
2 onions
5 cloves garlic
2 large zucchini (or kishuim, Magda zucchini, a paler form of zucchini common in the Middle East, which has a milder taste than the bright green zucchini you typically find in North America)
4 stalks celery
2 or more ripe tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, with liquid (about 2 cups)
1 large can tomato paste (about 2 cups
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Directions:

  1. Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add spices, except salt.
  2. Add vegetables. Vegetables can be very coarsely chopped, even in large chunks, because they will be blended.
  3. Add chickpeas, tomato paste, about a liter (4-5 cups) of water, and salt.
  4. Simmer until the vegetables are soft, about a half hour.
  5. Blend into a smooth sauce with an immersion blender. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  6. Serve warm on pasta, fish, chicken, etc. I divided this big batch into two containers and stuck one in the freezer.

 

Posted in Sauces, Soup, Stovetop | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Planting and Nourishing: Food for Thought

The kitchen is the heart of most homes, including mine. Each cracker, apple, sandwich, and carrot stick is a blood cell carried in vessels of bags or pockets throughout the day until the food runs out and the someone hungry comes back for more “oxygen.” Whether the family eats supper together around the table every night and discusses the highs and lows of life, or whether it is just where people go when their stomach is rumbling, the  kitchen is the source of of energy driving everyone’s day.

I admit, I’m over-possessive in my kitchen. Maybe even a little snobby. It’s not that I don’t like the idea of my kids cooking with me or guests helping to clear the table; I just like elbow room. Okay, it’s not just an issue of elbow room. I like having thinking space in my kitchen. It’s a place to relax, have fun, and release my creativity, even though it sometimes feels more like a factory. Yet, when I walk into my kitchen alone, the whole family is with me in spirit. I think, What can I make for my pickiest eater that will make him happy and be good for his health, too?  or I should wash the dishes from breakfast before lunch so my toddler can have her favorite spoon. or Maybe I have time to put up soup for my husband while the kids are eating macaroni and cheese. What special treat can I make for a class party or to celebrate an accomplishment? (“Emergency” Cookies maybe?)Just let me make sure everyone has what they need.

Once I’m organized, the rest of the family is welcome in body, not just in spirit. Until then, I have these reminders of who I’m cooking for to keep me company: Tu B’Shvat trees from three of my kids and flowers for Shabbat from my husband.

What we plant in our children has long-range effects. What we feed them effects their health, their ability to concentrate, and their long-term eating habits. The way we speak to them and what we tell them forms their outlook on life and influences their moods, behavior, and decisions. The following quote, seen on jewishmom.com, was distributed to the children in the  preschool class one of my children would have been in if we hadn’t moved last summer:

All of the parents in the kitchen and all of the teachers in the classroom, think about the important job you’re doing there. We plant, we feed, we nourish, and we nurture. We infuse life and strength into people that could stay with them forever…or at least until they get hungry again and come back for more.

Posted in Food for Thought | Tagged , | 8 Comments

“Accidental” Turkey Neck Soup

First, we have a cookie emergency. Now, a turkey neck accident! Saturday morning, while I was taking a container of cake out of the freezer, a package of frozen, raw turkey necks slipped out and crashed to the floor. Normally, if something would fall out of my freezer, I would just pick it up and put it back. However, since Jewish law forbids cooking on Shabbat, anything that can’t be eaten without being cooked first is hands-off until Saturday night. So, I had about a kilo of turkey necks defrosting on the floor next to my refrigerator for twelve hours that needed to be cooked Saturday night.

I most often see turkey necks thrown in as extras into chicken soup. Sometimes, they serve as the meat in cholent, but I wasn’t going to cook for the following Shabbat nearly a week in advance. So we had turkey neck soup for supper Sunday night.

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Turkey neck soup has a richer and deeper flavor than chicken soup, and it is likewise fattier. Turkey necks are also much cheaper than most cuts of poultry or meat. This makes sense because there are full of bones, but they add great flavor to soup. The two options for dealing with the necks are to pull the meat off the cooked bones and add it back to the pot or individual bowls or, for the more adventurous eaters, to place a neck in each bowl and let them pick away on their own.

I had a bunch of celery leaves in my freezer, which I put in the soup, and my kids actually ate. Yes, they ate cooked greens! Adding celery leaves to soup is a great way to get more greens into your diet, and they are much cheaper than popular alternatives like spinach or kale. I have seen recipes that use raw celery leaves, but cooking takes off their bitter edge.

Tired of the same old chicken soup? Try turkey neck soup. It’s a whole meal in one pot!

Turkey Neck Soup Recipe
Serves 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Ready in

Ingredients:
1 package (about 1 kg/2 pounds) turkey necks, fresh or defrosted
2 onions
4-6 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons turmeric
4 carrots
4 stalks celery
2 cups celery leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen dill
1 cup fine noodles

Directions:

  1. Put turkey necks in large pot on high flame. Brown on all sides.
  2. While the turkey is browning, dice onion and garlic. Add them to the pot. You don’t need oil to saute them because you are frying them in turkey fat.
  3. Add spices. Mix well.
  4. While the onions and garlic are sauteing, dice the carrots, celery, and celery leaves. Add to the pot.
  5. Add water to cover the turkey, about 2liters/half gallon.
  6. Simmer for at least an hour.
  7. About ten minutes before serving, add dill and noodles. Mix well.
  8. Serve with a turkey neck in each bowl or pull meat off the bones and add to the bowl or pot.

Want another idea for a filling, protein-packed soup? Try Red Lentil Soup.

 

 

Posted in Soup, Stovetop | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Chocolate Chip Coconut Squares

Do they have Chinese auctions in China? A quick google search wasn’t enough to give me a clear answer to that question. I can tell you, however, that my neighborhood has too many of them. In addition to Chinese auctions for national organizations, such as Ezer Mitzion, an organization that helps children with cancer and their families; and Sulam, an organization that helps children with special needs, two local organizations had these raffles, as well. That’s at least four Chinese auctions in the last four months. (I think there may have been a fifth that I ignored the flyer for.)

What is a Chinese auction? It is a type of raffle, commonly used as a fundraiser, in which people buy raffle tickets that they choose to place in raffles for a number of different donated prizes. Unlike an auction, the ticket price is fixed. Unlike a regular raffle, you get to choose which prizes you’re interested in winning. I understand why organizations use this fundraising method. It’s effective. People are more willing to donate more money if they have a chance of winning furniture, a vacation, or expensive jewelry. It is sad that we cannot open our hearts and wallets just because it’s the right thing to do, that we need the possibility of tangible personal gain to encourage us. The truth is, I’m getting so tired of all these Chinese auctions that I’m about ready to whip out my checkbook and say, “Sure, how much do you want? JUST NOT ANOTHER CHINESE AUCTION!”

I was recruited to bake something for the refreshment table at last night’s Chinese auction for a local organization that helps children at risk for becoming at risk by providing therapy, mentoring, and homework help. You know how potlucks and refreshment tables work. The good-looking stuff gets eaten, while the plain chocolate cake and sugar cookies are the last to go. Still in an almond mood since Tu B’Shvat’s almond coconut granola bars, I had volunteered to send almond cookies, but they flopped. So I switched to coconut and created these chocolate chip coconut squares.

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Unlike regular chocolate chip bars, these are light and fluffy. The coconut milk in the batter lends a rich flavor without weighing them down. The cake itself is not too sweet, leaving room for the full impact of the semi-sweet chocolate chips. The coconut on top adds texture, flavor, and of course, visual appeal.

Chocolate Chip Coconut Squares Recipe

Yield: About 60 (4cmX6cm/2inX3in) bars

Ingredients:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease large pan, like a deep cookie sheet or baking pan.
  2. Mix oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Add flour 2.5 cups flour, baking soda, and salt. The dough will be firm, like cookie dough.
  4. Add coconut milk and mix until a smooth batter forms.
  5. Add the last cup of flour. The batter will be thicker than the standard cake batter.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Pour batter onto prepared baking pan. Spread evenly to fit the pan.
  8. Sprinkle shredded coconut on top.
  9. Bake 15-20 minutes.
  10. Cool and cut into squares.

 

Posted in sweets, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Species of Israel Salad

“A land of wheat and barley, and grapes and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil-olives and (date) honey.” (Deuteronomy 8:8)

Everyone in Israel agrees that Tu B’Shvat is a time to eat fruit. What type of fruit varies from fresh, local fruit to dried fruit imported from Turkey to the seven species listed above. In my elementary school in America, they used to give us rock-hard pods of carob imported from Israel. No wonder I like Tu B’Shvat better here.

This year, I wanted to make a dish that included as many of the seven species as possible, and I came up with this salad. For the base, I debated between bulgur wheat and barley. I opted for the heartier, chewier barley, but it would probably be great with any grain as a base–bulgur, quinoa, couscous, or wild rice. Since grapes aren’t in season, I used raisins, chopped dried dates, pomegranate arils, and olive oil for four more species. Unfortunately, figs tend to be infested with bugs, so I skipped them. There is no wheat in the salad, but we ate it with the challah you see in the picture. 5 species in the salad, 6 in the meal. To balance the sweetness of the fruit, I added fresh, green herbs. The salad is very lightly dressed with just a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of salt, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It came out so good that I had to share it, even though Tu B’Shvat is over. To make this into a dairy meal instead of a parve side dish, simply add cubes of feta or Bulgarian cheese.

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Species of Israel Salad Recipe
Servings: 6 as a side dish, 1 as main dish

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked barley (from about 1/2 cup dry)
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup scallions/green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup cubed feta or Bulgarian cheese (optional)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Cook barley according to package directions. (Mine said to soak for at least an hour, then cook for 45 minutes to an hour.) Allow to cool.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss lightly.
  3. Serve cold or at room temperature.

If you like this, you may also like Ratatoille-Inspired Mediterranean Grain Bowl and Beet Bulgur Salad, two more hearty, filling salads.

Posted in Salad, Sides | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Tu B’Shvat and Groundhog Day, plus Coconut Almond Granola Bars

Last Thursday, kids across America checked if it was sunny enough for the groundhog’s shadow to send him back into hibernation. This week, in Israel, almond blossoms are pulling me out of hibernation. Until we discovered International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, my husband’s favorite holiday was Groundhog Day. By favorite, I mean the most amusing. A holiday celebrating that there are six more weeks until spring?? Because of a story about a small, furry animal?! Really?!

Tu B’Shvat, the fifteenth of the Hebrew month of Shvat, will be this Shabbat (Saturday). In Jewish law, it is the “birthday” for trees, the cut-off date connected to certain agricultural laws. Some people celebrate by eating fruits grown in Israel or the “seven species” of Israel–wheat, barley, fig, grape, pomegranates, olive, and date; some even have a seder ceremony. In modern times, many have expanded the idea of Tu B’Shvat to be a time for planting trees and general environmental awareness.

For me, Tu B’Shvat is a time of hope. Still six weeks until the month of spring, Nissan, the almond trees are already blossoming. On the one hand, we see that spring is coming. It is time to start planning Purim costumes and maybe even cleaning for Pesach. On the other hand, there are still two months left for much-needed rain. It’s still winter, and that’s great, but don’t worry, spring is coming, too. Isn’t that what Groundhog Day is about?

Last week was cold and blustery, tomorrow it is supposed to rain again, but for a few days the sun was out. I took the kids to the playground every afternoon. I walked around my neighborhood, and in addition to the little wagtail birds that fill Israel in the fall and winter months, beside the bare skeletons of trees and the winter citrus trees full of lemons and oranges, I spotted almond blossoms! When I see the first flowering almond trees of the season, I feel like skipping down the sidewalk and singing “Hashhedia Porachat” (The Almond Tree is Blooming), but I let my kids do that for me.

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pink almond blossoms

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white almond blossoms

Aren’t they beautiful? Doesn’t that put a smile on your face? Now, can you spot the honeybee and hummingbird in the pictures below?

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This winter, Israel has seen fires, terror attacks, and an eviction of a community. I have been more acutely aware than usual of how many problems people in my own life have, as well. Health problems, financial problems, family or relationship problems can all create a personal winter. Life can be very cold and dark at times. Tu B’Shvat cannot solve any of these issues, but perhaps the almond blossoms can offer a smile, a glimmer of hope for a spring yet to come.

As the Beatles put it, “…It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter. Little darlin’, it seems like years since it’s been clear. Here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right…”

If you are looking for fruit recipes for Tu B’Shvat, I recommend Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Coconut Mousse or Gluten-Free No-Bake Brownie Bites (which are actually made from dates and walnuts). Personally, I’ve been in an almond mood all week. These coconut almond granola bars are vegan and gluten free, but they are not diet food. They are not low fat or low sugar, but they are full of healthy fat, protein, and fiber. They are chewy and crunchy at the same time, portable, and a delicious snack for people eating one-handed at a desk, driving a car (not so safe), holding a baby, etc.

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Coconut Almond Granola Bars Recipe (Vegan, Gluten Free)
Yield: 16 snack bars

Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup date syrup (or other liquid sweetener, slightly less if using honey)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup quick oats (or whole oats, chopped in food processor)
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup mixed seeds (I used sunflower, pumpkin, chia, sesame, and flax)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt, if using unsalted nuts

Directions:

  1. Stir together oil, sweetener, and almond extract
  2. Add dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly and evenly combined.
  3. Press into a square pan lined with baking paper (for easy cleanup).
  4. Bake at 350F/180C for 15 minutes. (This step is probably optional if you’re in a rush or don’t have oven access, but toasting brings out all the nutty flavors.)
  5. Refrigerate for at least an hour until bars are fully cooled.
  6. Cut into 16 squares. Store in the refrigerator or freezer in a container or individually wrapped to grab and go!

 

 

Posted in Food for Thought, Snacks, sweets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day- Feb.4, 2017: Invitation+GF/Vegan Ice Cream Recipe

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Fresh chocolate-peanut butter-banana ice cream in chocolate cookie cup

One snowy, February morning in Rochester, New York, one creative mother humored her children, the two youngest of six, by giving them ice cream for breakfast. The family began eating ice cream for breakfast on the first Saturday in February every year, and when the children grew up, they spread the tradition with their friends. Fifty-one years later, it is an international holiday celebrated especially in the United States, Israel, and–recently–China. Celebrations have also taken place in Switzerland, Peru, Costa Rica, Canada, Sudan, South Africa, Vietnam, Australia, Egypt, and more countries all over the world.

How is it celebrated?
1. Eat ice cream 2. for breakfast 3. on the first Saturday of February.
4. The real die-hards (mehadrin min hamehadrin) hold big ice cream parties, sometimes used to raise money for charity. This one, for example, has the right idea, just with the date two weeks late, and they changed the holiday name to “International EAT Ice Cream for Breakfast Day.” That’s fine. As the holiday has gained in popularity, many people have decided to extend the celebrations throughout the month of February.
To learn more about International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, click here.

The coolest thing: I personally know the family that invented this holiday!
So, how am I celebrating? I’ll be eating the creamy, vegan chocolate ice cream in cookie cups that you see here. Recipe below. I tasted it on Tuesday when my son made another siyum. This time, I was prepared and didn’t need to make “Emergency” Cookies. It is so much better than other parve, eggless, no fake non-dairy cream ice creams I have experimented with over the last few years. (I thing lemon coconut ice cream made from the recipe here and frozen is second best.)

Now, what does this have to do with you?
I’m hosting a month-long virtual ice cream party! Since I observe Shabbat, I don’t use the computer from sundown Friday until Saturday night. But what’s the rush? We can party for a whole month! And this is a party, not a competition. No judges or judgments. Just a lot of yummy ice cream recipes.
How ?
1.Post your favorite ice cream-related* recipe on your blog
2. Please mention and link this post.
3. Share a link in the comments section of this post, and we’ll come check out your recipe!
4. If you don’t have a blog, you are welcome, too! Just post a link to a recipe you like! Oh, and you can bring friends.

*Ice cream-related can be ice cream, sorbet, gelato, toppings, cones, milk shakes, etc. anything that has to do with ice cream is welcome. 😛

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream in Gluten-Free No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Cups
Perfect for Breakfast and No Ice Cream Maker Needed

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Banana Ice Cream(Vegan) in Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Cup (GF, No-Bake)

Vegan ice cream recipes have become very popular in the last few years. You just need to know that if you’re using only two or three ingredients, your final product will taste like those ingredients. So, if you don’t like coconut, you probably won’t like coconut ice cream. If you don’t like avocado, you probably won’t like avocado ice cream unless it is heavily masked by a strong flavor like chocolate. It is always best to choose a base you like and flavor combinations that would work even if you weren’t going out of your way to eat vegan.

I like peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I like Reese’s peanut butter cups. So chocolate-peanut butter-banana is a logical combination for me. If you don’t like peanut butter, you could use another nut butter, such as almond butter, instead.

Bananas are a filling and healthy fruit; peanut butter has protein to keep you feeling full for longer. Many mornings, if I don’t have time to sit down to a fruity power breakfast bowl, I grab a banana smeared with peanut butter. (Oh, and I learned from experiencing five rounds of morning sickness that bananas and peanut butter both fight nausea.)
The cocoa adds both flavor and a little caffeine for a morning boost.

Could there be a more perfect breakfast than this ice cream?
Yes. Serving it in chocolate oatmeal cookie cups. Breakfast in February should include oatmeal.

I tried a few cookie cups recipes recently, and the sound of the oven door closing makes my baby hungry, which leaves me with over-baked cookie cups. Then I thought no-bake. Oatmeal. I’ve made these cookies before, but never as cups. When the chocolate is still warm, they can be pressed into shape in a muffin tin. And if you have any crumbles left over, they make a great ice cream topping.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream in Gluten-Free No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Cups Recipe

Ingredients for 2 cups (1 pint) Ice Cream:
4 ripe bananas, frozen in chunks
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut milk (The liquid helps the food processor blend better.)
No added sweetener necessary!

  1. Put all ingredients in the food processor or blender and blend for a few minutes, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides.
  2. Eat right away or store in the freezer and take out an hour before serving to let soften.

Ingredients for 16 Cookie Cups:
300 grams (10.5 oz) bittersweet baking chocolate
3 cups quick oats (or pulse whole oats in food processor before using, GF if needed)

  1. Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler.
  2. Stir in oats until fully coated with chocolate.
  3. Press about a tablespoon of the mixture into each indentation of a muffin tin, one at a time. It is important to do this one at a time so the chocolate doesn’t cool and harden before you mold it. I used cupcake papers to make clean-up easier.
  4. When cool, store in airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge until ready to fill with ice cream.
  5. Extra chocolate oat crumbles make a great ice cream topping for any flavor.
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Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Banana Ice Cream in Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Cup (Vegan, GF, No-Bake)

If you are looking for more healthy, vegan, GF desserts, try Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Coconut Mousse and Gluten-Free No-Bake Brownie Bites.

Join the ice cream party! Comment below! Invite your friends!

Edit: I just saw that a recent study showed that eating ice cream for breakfast may improve mental performance!

Posted in Fast Food, sweets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Blogger Recognition Award

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This blog is less than two months old, and it’s getting more exciting every day.
My week started off with a notification that I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by Bernadine at Bern Bakes. Thank you, Bernadine! I’m glad you like my blog. 🙂

I started this blog in some free time I had on maternity leave with baby #5.
I love to write, take pictures, and experiment with healthy recipes. This week, my daughter gave me a big compliment. She said I should stop using recipes and always just make up my own. 🙂
I feel like this nomination is a warm welcome into the blogging community. And I am learning that it is a virtual community. The whole idea of the award generates more traffic for everyone and helps bloggers get to know each other and pass on compliments to each other. What a wonderful idea!
I advise new bloggers to recognize the blogging world as a community. Realize that there are real people on the other side of the computer screen on the other side of the world. Be kind to each other. Read other blogs. Like other blogs. Comment on other blogs. Do unto others as you would like to be done to you. Also, try to write good quality, interesting posts. Be unique. (I think I’ve gone beyond my 2 cents worth of advice.)
My nominees for the Blogger Recognition Award are (in no particular order):

  1. jewishmom.com written by a friend, a wonderful Jewish mom
  2. sally’s baking addiction one of the most beautiful blogs I’ve ever seen, with a number of posts with advice for new bloggers
  3. simply recipes a great resource for good recipes for real food
  4. chocolate covered katie full of healthy dessert recipes and other fun kitchen experiments
  5. smitten kitchen by a fellow mom, also cooking in a tiny kitchen
  6. cookie and kate a great blog full of beautiful, healthy recipes
  7. bless this mess please another mother trying to get some wholesome stuff into her kids
  8. from the laundry room deep thoughts, totally relatable, good writing
  9. frugal mom eh a fellow frugal mom, this one in Canada
  10. elana’s pantry  great healthy food blog
  11. minimalist baker simple, easy, healthy recipes
  12. the wholesome fork more healthy recipes
  13. naturally ella more healthy recipes and some great photography
  14. oh she glows another healthy food blog…are you starting to see a pattern here?
  15. the girl on bloor a gorgeous food blog

Rules for the Blogger Recognition Award

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog. ✅
  • Write a post to show your award. ✅
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started. ✅
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers. ✅
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to. ✅
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created. (Doing that now)!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Ratatoille-Inspired Mediterranean Grain Bowl

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Mothers need to eat, too. Just because not everyone in my family appreciates roasted eggplant, roasted red peppers, bulgur, chickpeas, scallions, tomatoes, avocado, roasted garlic, and balsamic vinegar shouldn’t mean that I’m stuck eating macaroni and cheese four times every week. Okay, if the complaint was only about the vinegar, I’d swap it for lemon juice. I am flexible. Seriously, though, since I don’t actually sit down to a meal every day, I would rather have a big bowl of this salad in fridge to grab a few forkfuls of at a time than to be picking at pasta or Healthier Lava Cookies or“Emergency” Cookies or Chocolate Chip Mocha Cookies or whatever I have in the freezer. (This is a hazard of being home all day.) I love that all I need in a meal is in one bowl. Bulgur provides the fiber-rich grain, which also balances with the chickpeas to form a complete protein. Oven-roasted eggplant and red bell pepper, and fresh tomatoes provide a cooked and fresh vegetable. Avocado adds healthy fat. Garlic, scallions, and balsamic vinegar give it a deep, bold flavor. What more could you want in a meal? If you disagree, this also makes a delicious side dish.

There are a number of simple steps involved in preparing this all-in-one vegan meal, but they don’t all have to be done at once. You can make all of the components ahead and assemble later, even a different day. With a baby at home with me, recipes that involve soaking something in a bowl or putting something in the oven for an hour or more and coming back to it later are right up my alley. Unlike a cake that may dry out, if the eggplant or red peppers are in the oven five minutes longer, there’s no harm done.

Are you ready to eat healthy with me? Let’s go!
If you like this dish, you may also like my Beet Bulgur Salad.

Ratatouille-Inspired Mediterranean Grain Bowl
Serves: 2-3 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side dish

Ingredients:
1 cup dry bulgur or couscous
1/2 large or 1 small eggplant
1 large red bell pepper
1 head of garlic
1 large tomato
1 ripe avocado
1 can chickpeas, drained (about a cup and a half)
3-4 scallions/green onions
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
dried cranberries or pomegranate arils to garnish

Directions:

  1. Rinse bulgur and put in a bowl with 1 cup water to soak for at least an hour, until all of the water is absorbed and it tastes cooked. If you are using couscous, follow instructions here: Foolproof Couscous
  2. Cut eggplant and red pepper into bite-size pieces (about 1 inch/2 cm). Spread on a cookie sheet. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap head of garlic in aluminum foil and put on tray. Bake in an oven preheated to 350F/180C for about 45 minutes.
  3. When roasted vegetables have cooled and bulgur is ready, combine bulgur, chickpeas, and roasted vegetables in a large bowl.
  4. Take the garlic out of the foil and slice off the flat side. From the pointy top, push down to squeeze the garlic out of its skin. Add to the bowl and mix well.
  5. Chop tomato and avocado and add them. Mix gently so as not to mash the avocado too much.
  6. Season with chopped scallions, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, if desired.
  7. Garnish with pomegranate arils or dried cranberries.

 

 

Posted in Salad, Sides | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments