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Posts Tagged ‘honey’

Success in t’shuva is not measured by the final score at the end of the game. It is measured by the playing. The striving for good is goodness itself. The striving for perfection is what perfects, in and of itself“-Harav Kook, from “The Art of T’shuva – The Teachings of HaRav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook: Commentary” by Rabbi David Samson and Tzvi Fishman

This speaks to two strong beliefs of mine – getting better is a process, and the process itself is also important. This is true for everything important in life – being a mother, being a daughter, being a wife, being a friend. It is not the end that is important – it is all the time and effort put into it.

May we all have a sweet, fruitful, illuminating and perfecting new year. Shana tova umetuka!

Dip your apple in the honey...It's Rosh Hashana!

Dip your apple in the honey…It’s Rosh Hashana!

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Last Friday I made:

1. Cooked carrot, squash and potato for my baby

Vegetable soup for baby

2. 6 bags of carrot + celery + onion mix for my freezer.

Carrot, onion and celery mix

3. Carrot muffins as a hostess gift (we were invited to dinner). As our friends don’t eat refined sugar or white flour, I substituted the 3/4 cup sugar by 1/2 cup of honey, omitted the chocolate chips, and baked for 25 minutes at 10 degrees less (170 degrees). Notes for next time substitutions: less honey and more cooking time. It was just a little too sweet and just cooked. But it tasted awesome!

Awesome carrot muffins

So basically I peeled carrots all Friday 🙂

 

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I’ve been trying to make my diet more healthy, specifically avoid sugar. This is a bit of a problem for me, as most of my snacks have sugar. Even though I use oil and whole wheat and oatmeal (instead of margarine and white flour) I usually add sugar. So I’ve been trying to make my snacks more vegetable-y 😉

I’ve found how satisfying a simple lettuce salad can be. I rip a few leaves of lettuce with my hands, add some halved cherry tomatoes, and that’s it. If the mood strikes me (and if my hunger allows me to spend a few more minutes) I add sliced red pepper, sliced cucumber, or fresh mushrooms. However, the piece de resistance from my point of view is the honey mustard salad dressing.

I’m willing to eat almost anything if it comes with honey and mustard. 🙂

I make a small amount in an old jam jar. It keeps for 3-4 salads, easy. And it’s so much tastier to make it myself.

Of course, I’m substituting honey for sugar, but amounts mean something right? 1/4 tsp honey has got to better than a tbsp sugar. And the lettuce probably counts for a lot as well 🙂

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing

1 tbsp real mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
dash olive oil
dash vinegar

Place all ingredients together in a jar with an airtight lid. Shake it until mixed. Taste and add ingredients to your liking.

Additional options: You can use balsamic vinegar in place of regular vinegar for a different tang. You can use freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of vinegar for added freshness. You can add spices such as dried oregano or basil for an Italian touch. Just don’t leave out the honey and the mustard 😛

Enjoy!

Salad Dressing [and salad]

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The last week was, on the one hand, very difficult. My husband was on reserve duty, so I had to take care of the kids – get them ready in the morning, bring them both to their daycare, work, pick them both up, play with them and put them in bed. In addition, there were all the arrangements for Rosh Hashana – planning, shopping and cooking. We invited both my parents and my husband’s parents for the first evening, and in the tradition of my family, I planned enough food for twice as much people. I very quickly got tired and I certainly wasn’t getting enough sleep.

On the other hand, the last week made me realize very strongly how much I have to be thankful for. I received help unstintingly from my parents (who came to help me with the kids in the afternoon) and my husband’s parents (both in shopping and help with the kids) and my sister-in-law (help with the kids). Even my brother dropped by (from out-of-town) to say hallo and play with the kids a bit. I overdid things a bit on Wednesday with trying to juggle my studies, an important meeting at work,shopping, playing with the kids, and cooking until 1:00 and I understandably felt bad on Thursday. Everyone offered to help  – with cooking, with the kids, with the doctor, you name it.

When my husband came back Thursday evening, seeing him feed the baby a bottle with one hand and cuddle the toddler with another – still in his uniform – my cup of happiness was full.

I am truly blessed.

*                **                **                **                *

The Rosh Hashana dinner also went well, with everyone having something they liked and everyone enjoying themselves. I also incorporated one of my resolutions: more vegetables. So in addition to the one cooked vegetable dish I always serve – in this case, green beans and peppers in soy sauce – I added a vegetable kugel of my mother’s and 3 salads: regular, cabbage and beetroot. Of course there was chicken soup, which I also make with a lot of vegetables because I don’t use soup powder. The main dishes were beef in wine and chicken in honey and ginger (which was a great hit). I also had rice and potatoes as side dishes.For dessert, I made a marble cake and an apple tart, and my father-in-law brought fruit.

As you can see, there was certainly enough food!

I stopped using soup powder when my toddler began eating table foods. I am not actually sure why, but we were told not to give the baby MSG until he was at least one year old. On the other hand, soups are highly recommended for babies. So… I tried to do without. I was surprised at how easy it was. The concept is simple: use a lot of vegetables, especially celery, onion and carrots. and most important – let it cook uncovered until it becomes concentrated enough to be tasty. A nice addition is some salt and/or various soup spices. Since I discovered how good it tastes without soup powder, I simply stopped using it altogether. (Even though I still use kneidl from a mix, and various ready foods that include MSG. However, our consumption of MSG has certainly plummeted.)

I also freeze any leftover stock I have and I add it if necessary instead of soup powder.

For onion soup powder it was a little more difficult. The chicken in honey and ginger called for 1 tbsp of onion soup powder. What to do? I browsed the Internet a bit and found the recommendation was onion flakes, garlic powder and salt and pepper. I accordingly went in search of onion flakes and garlic powder. What I discovered is that garlic powder looks and smells like white sand – not in the least appetizing. And the only onion flakes I found cost 20 NIS for an itty bitty box. Of onions.

So instead of that, I minced onion finely in the food processor. I removed everything but a few tablespoons and froze it for later. (I intended to add minced garlic, but I forgot). Then I added all the other ingredients of the sauce, using less honey than recommended because I always find it too sweet. I tasted before pouring over the chicken to make sure that it was sweet enough, I though it was sweet and just spicy enough. I found out that after cooking, the ginger mellows, so next time I’ll put a tad more ginger. However, it turned out great and was undoubtedly the surprise hit of the evening!

Ingredients:

1 chicken, cut into pieces, or other pieces as you like (I used 3 thighs and one white, we don’t eat chicken wings so much and I make soup with them)
2 tbsp mustard (I use Dijon)
3-4 tablespoons finely minced onion
2 tbsp oil
4 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp ground ginger (I will use more next time)
8 tbsp soy sauce
water if necessary

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Mix all sauce ingredients together. Taste and fix seasoning if necessary. Arrange chicken pieces in glass dish with high sides. Pour sauce over chicken, adding water if necessary so that all pieces are covered (or almost). Cover with aluminium foil. Bake for 50 minutes, turning the chicken in the sauce every 20 minutes so that the entire piece gets the taste of the sauce/ If you wish, remove the aluminium foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking so that the chicken is browned. (I didn’t do this because I removed the skin from the chicken and I was afraid it would get dry if I baked it without foil). Chicken is ready when you prick with a fork and juices aren’t pink (yellow or clear).

You can halve the liquid sauce ingredients and you will have something more similar to a gravy. Or you can thicken the sauce afterwords with a bit of flour if you like (I didn’t. I like lots of sauce so that the food keeps well on the Shabbat hot plate).

Bon Apetit! And may you all have a sweet and happy year, filled with blessings and nachat.

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