Dates stuffed with walnuts dipped in dark chocolate

September 14, 2014

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I want to pack these stuffed dates in their lunchboxes for a snack, but I know they won’t eat them. I’ve tried sending dried fruits and nuts before and they didn’t eat them. Alex even accused me of ruining his life. He claims that eating cockroach-looking dried fruit at recess is beyond embarrassing. (I thought bugs were cool?)

I hear you, son. If my mother had tried to send me one of those Moroccan marzipan-stuffed dates in my lunchbox, instead of the ever-popular choco (Israeli chocolate-milk-in-a-plastic-bag), I would be absolutely mortified.

Did I really think that covering the dates with chocolate would make them look less hostile and more appealing to Leo and Alex? The only way to make them more appealing to my store-bought-snack-deprived children would be to commercially package them in some kind of noisy wrapper. They claim that they are the only ones in school who don’t have a real snack. A “real snack,” ironically, means “in a crinkly bag,” like potato chips, Doritos, or a yucky, overly-sweet granola bar. So I say, “Well…When you are eighteen, you can eat whatever you want,” or, “No wonder most of the other kids are overweight.” Continue Reading…

GREEN CABBAGE + HERB MINI FRITTATAS (Dairy-free + Gluten-free)

August 19, 2014

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Yes, I am alive, and today, after six hectic months, I can finally say, “alive and well.” I survived the move from our two-bedroom – and only one bathroom! –  townhouse to a three-bedroom – and three bathrooms!!! – townhouse. Two-and-a-half bath, technically. Now, we each have our own bathroom, almost.

I survived middle school madness. If you live in LA, you know exactly what I am talking about. Here, if you don’t live in a zone that has a good middle school, you are basically screwed. Unless you get lucky, like we did. Thanks to the universe, Leo ended up getting accepted to the SAS (School for Advanced Studies) program at our local middle school, which is considered to be good, and he also won two lotteries for two good charter schools. We chose to send him to the smaller and closer charter school.

I also survived the twenty-four-hour flight to Mallorca and back. Every time I fly, I swear I will never fly again. Then three months later I find myself again sitting, uprigh and tightly, in a crappy economy seat, cursing my inability to remember how horrible it is and the ants in my pants. I forget how much anxiety and exhaustion a few moments of air turbulence can cause. I know flying is safe (if you don’t fly over Ukraine.) “Safer than driving,” etc., etc. I get it. But somehow when the plane starts shaking and making scary crashing noises, I can’t get away from my terrifying images. (One of them is that my kids are in the middle of the ocean, trying to survive a pack of hungry sharks. And I can’t help them because I am already dead from the heart attack I suffered two minutes before the crash.) Continue Reading…

Chocolate Pallette with Hazelnuts, Rose Petals and More

February 4, 2014

IMG_6416 IMG_6348   The inspiration for these rich and flavorful chocolate palettes (rounds) came from a very chi-chi restaurant cookbook called Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook. I’ve never eaten at the restaurant, but I heard from the friend who gave me this book as a present that Eleven Madison Park is one of the most extraordinary, upscale restaurants in NYC. You can tell that the food is exquisite just by looking at the stunning pictures in the book. Next time I’m in New York, I will have to eat there (and take Alex, too; he adores this book even more than I do.) This cookbook is neither typical nor practical. Quite the opposite: the recipes are fancy, exotic and sophisticated. It’s beautiful and inspiring. I actually find it very useful. I have never actually cooked any actual recipe from this book, “by the book,” but I’ve concocted many dishes influenced by the brilliant food combinations, unique flavors, and professional techniques. For me, it’s enough to read the recipe title and scan the picture of the dish to lead me to create my own, simpler version. You could say that simplifying recipes is my specialty. It’s something that I really enjoy about cooking: taking old-fashioned, traditional dishes, then modernizing and simplifying them. Or the opposite: taking a modern, sophisticated dish, and turning it into an easy-to-make, home-cooked dish. That’s exactly what I did with these fancy chocolate palettes.

Continue Reading…

Wild Berry Dairy-Free Bread Pudding

January 27, 2014

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Leo: Mommy, I feel bad saying that my french toast is delicious.

Me: Why?

Leo: Because I don’t want you to feel bad that you can’t eat it.
Me: Thank you, motek (sweetie), but don’t worry, I don’t feel bad at all. I’m extremely happy with my baked french toast. It’s probably better than your french toast.
Daddy: It is.
While my husband made a classic  french toast for the kids and himself, I baked myself a dairy-free french toast, a.k.a. bread pudding. I just discovered that bread pudding doesn’t need milk or cream to be fluffy and delicious and puddingy – just eggs and some liquid. Continue Reading…

Intoxicating Herbal Tea

January 6, 2014
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Last night, while gazing at my screen and trying to describe my tea rituals, I heard my husband shouting – or, to be precise, threatening – from downstairs that if I don’t cut Leo’s hair right now, he’ll do it himself. With clippers. Normally I don’t get threatened  easily but this time I was. I immediately stopped doing what I was (or wasn’t) doing. I walked straight to the bathroom and yelled to Leo to come right away before Daddy does something irresponsible.
When it comes to Leo’s hair – which, like my father’s,  is thick enough to cover five full heads – there is too much risk in cutting it short. Our Leo, just like his biblical ancestor, Samson, believes his strength is in his hair. Chop his hair and you chop his power. And he isn’t the only one who believes in the power of his hair. His grandmother (my mother-in-law) also believes that males (at any age) with long hair are powerful. She would be devastated – literally – if we cut off more than one inch of Leo’s mane.
I like his full, shiny hair. I think it’s charming, but that’s not the reason I neglect to trim it, not even an inch off his bangs, which cover his eyes and force him to tilt his head back in order to see anything. The problem is I just can’t stand being trapped in our 3′ x 3′ bathroom with a wriggly worm that growls at me like a bear. “What’s the point of cutting it? It’ll just grow back!” or “You always say five minutes, and then it takes you an hour!” or “Ugh! This hair! It feels like someone taped a sheep to my face!” Now, it makes me smile, but yesterday I was ready to put him on a plane to Israel to live with my mother or father. Or next time let my husband shave it all off!
Now – always – is a good time for a cup of tea. Continue Reading…

All About Paris and Cashew Cream Acorn Squash Pasta (Vegan)

December 23, 2013

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Long time, no write!

Two days ago I arrived back from a magical week in Paris – a trip which my mother, older sister and I have been dreaming about and planing for years. My aunt Shuli tagged along. For my mother and sister, it was their first time in Paris. Up until the sixth day of our trip everything went well and we had a great time.

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While I gather my thoughts and all the notes I took about my favorite places to eat, I will first share the only “non-magical” moment, to get it out of the way, and so I don’t have to mention it in my next post about Paris. Perhaps some of you who are planning to visit in Europe would benefit from my story. Continue Reading…

Skinny Jeans & Green Tahini Shakshuka Open-Face Sandwich

November 21, 2013

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I’ve decided to use my food blog to make a fashion statement.

Sending kids to school in skinny jeans (non-stretch) is cruel! The poor little fashion casualty sits in the classroom or plays in the yard while her little knees are bound by a pair of too-tight pants. I don’t think kids should ever wear skinny denim unless they are very stretchy!

I know it’s the cutest thing in the world to see a tiny tot walking around in a funky pair of pants, but it’s totally uncute to know that he could have been much more comfortable in a sweat pants.

There. I said it. Now, back to food. Continue Reading…

Kale & Swiss Chard Warm Salad with Harissa

November 14, 2013

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This salad is very much like my mother’s Moroccan Warm Mangold Salad, but this version is made with kale, Swiss chard, and Harissa (or chipotle harissa) instead of the oil and paprika mixture.

Unlike my mother, I make this salad whenever I feel like it, not only for Shabbat. I find it funny how Moroccan jews are so strict about the distinction between Shabat or holiday food and everyday food – they never eat Shabat food on a yom chol or weekday – and vice versa. So I guess that makes me a Moroccan culinary rule breaker.)

For me, this mezze, served over a  bowl of rice with a few slices of avocado and some roasted seeds, or on a piece of toast, makes a satisfying light lunch. Last time I made it I was so hungry I ate it as is, without even bread, or anything. It was very spicy, but still good. Continue Reading…

Chipotle Harissa

November 6, 2013

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This is a recipe for harissa with a twist – or, as my husband and I call it, “Mexican Harissa.” I found the chipotle peppers at a supermarket in Playa Del Carmen about two months ago. In Mexico, you can find dried chipotles everywhere. But here in the U.S. they’re a bit harder to find. I just Googled and found them for sell on eBay! (What doesn’t sell on eBay?) Another option is to use crushed chipotle, which can be found on William-Sonoma’s website.   Continue Reading…