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Archive for May, 2010

About a week after passover I called some old friends of mine to ask them if they and their kids would like to join us at the zoo. Her answer was that they couldn’t, they were in the hospital as their youngest (16 months) has cancer.

I was shocked. Their youngest is two months younger than my youngest, and what possible reason could there be for a baby to have cancer? You certainly can’t blame it on ten years of smoking! (our friends don’t smoke either). I was speechless. Ironically, my friends are very calm about it and are calming to their friends. Instead of us supporting them, they seem to be supporting all their friends at the beginning.

I looked it up on the Internet (as I couldn’t go and ask my friend, “so…what are his chances then?”) and found to my surprise that the survival rate for children is above 70% which is good. However, the specific cancer he has is fast and violent which is very very bad. So I did what I could (including crying my eyes out for a week), which is visit them in the hospital when they were there and offer to pick up their eldest to the zoo etc. And every synagogue that heard of them is praying for them, including ours of course. But my faith was and is frankly rocked. I asked “How can this happen? What could they possibly have done to deserve this?”

My husband could not give an answer, of course (if he could, he would be proclaimed the Messiah and the kid and the leopard will lie together etc.) but he says that in cases like these he looks around and sees the effect of this on the surroundings. I looked and I saw that all their friends are coming home and saying thanks for their kids’ health, their own health, their relatives’ health. People are looking at their lives and saying “I have it good”. They are noticing things they took for granted before. They are looking at the good instead of the bad.

Granted this is good but it is a pity that it takes such a shock at the expense of some very good people to cause this.

* * *

When I was at the hospital, I asked her what they were missing. She said frankly that though people are very kind people bring too much cake and sweets. “Oh, for some cooked vegetables!” she joked. I said great, that’s no problem. I’ll also add my favorite granola bars – filling, nutritious AND sweet. She said that would be great.

Fortunately, they weren’t in the hospital long and I haven’t made it yet, but in case you ever have to visit in the hospital, or in case I might have to again (they are periodically in the hospital for chemotherapy treatments, but the baby is doing better and everyone is happy for them) here are my favorite veggie recipes and my all-time best granola bar:

Granola bar

This is based on this recipe. For convenience, I will rewrite it with the small changes I made, and some optional additions. I’ve also done this with my toddler, he loves baking!

Ingredients:

4 cups oatmeal
2 cups whole wheat flour (sometimes I substitute 1 cup of ground almonds for 1 cup flour)
1 cup coconut
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 honey (swirl the oil in the cup first for easier measuring)
chopped dried apple/sunflower seeds/chopped dried apricot

Mix everything except the honey and chopped fruit/seeds in a large bowl. As kzmom says, you should really mix with your fingers so that all is coated in the honey. If it is still crumbly, add a teaspoon more applesauce. Press into baking pan, cover (especially if using dried fruit) and bake for 15 minutes at 160 degrees C. As kzmom said, don’t wait until it’s brown. Cut while warm and keep in a closed box. I keep meaning to freeze these and see how it works but I never had a chance yet! I bring them to my son’s day-care. my friends, and we all eat them for breakfast. Highly recommended!

Easy-peasy Microwave Squash

A friend of ours ate this at our house, and as she is originally my husband’s friend this became known at her house as “leftoverrecipes’ husband’s squash”. I always find this hilarious, as my husband hates squash and refuses to touch it. In any case, this is easy and marvelous!

Ingredients

squash, peeled and cubed (not too small)
olive oil
salt

Mix all together in a microwave safe cooking dish. Cover and cook on High for 3 minutes. Mix and taste. Continue in 1 minute batches until tender. If the squash has a bitter taste, add more salt.

Exact amounts are not very important, but there has to be enough olive oil to coat the squash. Fresh squash needs less salt; slightly older squash needs more to prevent bitterness.

Upgraded veggies in microwave

This is simply the first recipe with some nice touches. Everything is optional and can be substituted for whatever you want.

Ingredients

Olive oil
salt or soy sauce
spices as you wish: oregano, basil, thyme, marjoram, turmeric, cumin…

any or all of the following, chopped roughly: onion, tomato, squash, red/green/yellow bell pepper, cauliflower, frozen vegetables…

optional: canned chickpeas.

If using onion, place first in microwave safe cooking dish (either the Tupperware microwave cooking series or glass) with the oil and microwave on high for 5 minutes (if your microwave is very strong or your onion chopped very fine start with 3 minutes). Mix and return to microwave if uncooked to your taste (I like mine still a bit crunchy).  Add other vegetables and spices. Cook on high for 5 minutes. stir. Cook again until desired tenderness.

Using tomatoes is great here because it creates a tomato “sauce” with the olive oil and the spices.

You can add chickpeas and serve over couscous or rice for a satisfying vegetarian meal, or serve over pasta with Parmesan, or just eat as is!

שיהיה רפואה שלמה לכל חולי ישראל

Good health to you all

Bon Apetit

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