Thursday, November 17, 2011

Veggie Soufflé

Veggie Soufflé 
is another of my easy, healthy comfort food recipes. 

I couldn't even wait to take a bite, I had to start during the photo session! 

You'll need a food processor to whip this one up in a hurry. It will take longer if you chop by hand but you certainly can do it that way too. 

I never measure on this one. Choose the veggies you love. Here's what's in this version:
1 large carrot
2 medium zucchini
1 red bell pepper
~1/2 cup broccoli florets 
1 medium onion

7 eggs (you could put more)
1/4 cup vegetable oil of your choice
salt to taste (1/2 tsp)
pepper few shakes
cayenne pepper to taste (optional of course)
oregano (OR dill)
tumeric (just a shake will do)

All the veggies in the food processor, the hard ones first, then the soft ones.
Veggies into a big mixing bowl.
Add the eggs, oil, seasoning and pour into a greased 10" quiche pan (or what ever you have!)

Bake in a medium oven for about 25 minutes until you have some golden color on the top. 

You could add cheese to this, or melt cheese on it later.

Choose your veggies according to a color theme.
Here are some ideas or other combinations I've used (onion in them all):
spinich, broccoli, corn
tomato, zucchini, olive
yellow pepper, red pepper, zucchini
mushroom, corn, broccoli

Did I say YUM? Yum!
Aunt Laya

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How to tie a scarf

My friend Moriya just sent me this video. Perfect for the fall and winter when we can accessorize with pretty scarves while keeping warm.

Take care of you!
Aunt Laya

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sweetie, quickie, healthy candy

When I get a sweet tooth and I need something in a hurry, I whip up these yummy treats. 

I use a hand blender that has an attachment to make it into a mini food processor. Be creative, maybe the blender or your regular food processor will work.

Sweetie, Quickie, Healthy Candy

1/3 cup almonds
4 big medjool dates, pitted
heaping teaspoon of carob powder

Process until it looks like a fine, almost powdery consistency. It's possible it could lump together which is fine too. The "dough" will be warm to the touch now.

In rounded teaspoons, compress into the palm of your hand and roll into little balls.
Refrigerate or, better still, freeze for a chewier consistency. Serve. That's it.
Yeild: 12-14 candies

Extra tip:
If you want to make this in the regular food processor in a larger quantity, freeze on sheets of baking parchment to keep them from sticking together in storage.

Wonderful minerals, fibers, vitamins and healthy oil. To your health!

Love ya,
Aunt Laya 

Monday, November 7, 2011

How to orgaize a swap

Get rid of the clutter and trade your unused stuff for new treasures!
My friend had a yard sale with too much of the good stuff left over. That inspires me to write about what I call "White Elephant" swaps. This is one of the most fun, money saving, generous, bonding parties ever. Here's how I have organized them in the past with all the details. You can of course do it how ever you want. This is about being creative and having fun. The first one is usually not the best because people don't understand how letting go of the good stuff means getting back even better stuff.

My first swap was done as a young mama. My friends were all married less than a couple of years and we all had wedding gifts that we didn't ever use. Fifteen years later I have some jewelry that I still wear.
In those years we had regular swaps. One time I found a sweater that I had loved and given away. I took it back again, only to find that I still never wore it. I still loved it but somehow just never reached for that sweater.

It's a great feeling to know that people you like will enjoy the goodies you're letting go of. And because you're getting such good stuff in return, you'll never look back about the letting go. You'll probably take less than you bring, but that's the idea! You're taking new things you'll love even more, lightening up your own clutter, and all that's left goes to charity!

Here how it works:

Invite between 4-14 girlfriends to your house for a swap. Send them a letter introducing the concept.

Dear Friends,
Time for the semi-annual swap!
Dig deep and get out all the stuff that:
  • You love but just don't use/wear any more
  • You don't love because it was a gift and not your style
  • Doesn't fit any more
  • You got on sale and never used
  • It's too good to just give away to Goodwill
Here are the categories, but don't limit yourself, this is just for ideas:
  • clothing (including men's and kids if other moms are coming)
    • womens
    • mens
    • children
    • infant
  • shoes
  • books, cd's, dvd's
    • children's books
  • jewelry
  • scarves, hats, gloves
  • kitchen items
    • small appliances, kitchen linens
  • coupons for services
  • office supplies
  • gardening supplies
  • secret recipe in a sealed envelope
  • cosmetics and perfumes
  • linens
  • pictures, art, and knick knacks
  • throw rugs
You don't need to bring much, just show up!

Here's how the swap works.

Once all the items are laid out, everyone takes 10 minutes to just "window shop". The idea here is to find your top two or three items that will make you happy if you can go home with them. After the group comes together, then everyone goes to take their first pick. 
  • If two women want the same item, one will usually move on. If not, they should just look into each other's eyes. They'll "know" who it should go to. The one who lets go takes another pick.
Have a two or three rounds of top picks. Then, "go shopping!" There is no keeping score. Take what you want. The first half hour or so should just be picks for yourself, nothing for a friend yet, let the women participating have a chance to get what they want.

When people are done choosing. Time to clean up. It's worth it to stay for this. As things get folded and put into trash bags for charity, new things are found that were overlooked before. You will be surprised when you get home with your goodies that something you just took at the last minute could be your favorite for years.  

Questions? Post in comments and I'm happy to share more tips.
Aunt Laya

Thanks to SideShowMom and for the perfect photo!

Why I don't use chocolate

I don't buy cocoa powder or other chocolate products any more unless I am certain about their origin.

Here's why:
There is child slave labor used to harvest much of the world's chocolate supply. I don't want to add pain or tears to the food I eat and serve if I can help it.
Here's more on this topic:

Here's the link to this video:

It makes me wonder. I wonder if there is so much depression in this world because we have closed our eyes to the brutalization of other human beings. We get to vote with our choices. We get to make a difference with our attitudes. Food tastes better when it's made with love. What if the food is grown with love? What if it's the opposite? What if it's harvested with pain? Wouldn't that change the vibration of the food itself. This may sound airy fairy to you. Read "The Field" for an explanation of how we are all connected.

Raw Carob Fudge Cake Recipe

Serve this without guilt to any kids (without nut allergies of course!).
My take on this raw cake.

Raw Carob Fudge Cake
2 cups walnuts or pecans
12-15 medjool dates
1-4 ripe bananas
4 heaping Tbs of carob or cocoa powder
pinch salt

Optional: dried shredded coconut, whole nuts or banana slices for garnish

With the S blade in the food processor, process the nuts first until they are very fine.
Add the pitted and checked dates (no worms or insects in my cakes!), carob powder, and bananas
If you have a super duper processor, you can add the bananas last but if yours is wimpy like mine, add them together.

Line a spring form pan with plastic wrap.
Spread the "batter" out into the pan and freeze for about four hours.

Sprinkle your cake plate with shredded coconut if you like to keep the cake from sticking.
Turn the cake onto your serving plate.

Garnish with shredded coconut, decorate with whole nuts, or, if you're not going to leave it out of the freezer for a long time, slices of bananas.

Optional glaze: mix a small amount of honey (2 Tbs) with carob powder and drizzle over the cake for a beautiful effect. (Do this just before serving because it won't stay so elegant once it's been out for a while and put back in the freezer. It will still taste divine though!)

Some people like to soak the nuts for a few hours first to take off the bitter taste and the enzyme inhibitor. It's the healthier option but this recipe is fine if you don't. If you do, be sure to drain the nuts well, even let them dry for a while before processing.

Remember that this is a raw recipe so you can taste it as you go... add more banana or dates as you like. Add honey or agave if you want to make it sweeter. Try processing all ingredients at the same time for a crunchier version. My family likes it creamier so I make sure to process the nuts well at the start.

Healthy and wonderful. Always a hit at the table.

Easiest Chicken Ever!

This is so simple and fast. I cook my chicken on the stove top but you can certainly bake this as well.

Lemon Dill Chicken

Whole chicken cut up, or parts as you like
2 large onions

Lemon juice of one or two lemons
Cracked pepper
Dried dill

Start by cleaning and peeling the onions.
Slice them into rings and lay at the bottom of the pan
(I guess I use a 14" skillet with a lid!)
Clean and rinse the chicken and lay the parts on the onions.

Drizzle the lemon juice on the chicken
Sprinkle the turmeric lightly so all the pieces are covered and lovely yellow
Pepper lightly over chicken
Sprinkle the dried dill over the pieces so they are completely covered with a thin layer

Cook covered for around 45-60 minutes on low flame. You will very likely have lots of juices from this. Save any juice and onion (and even chicken) left over and add it to soup to make it tastier and richer.

No oil, no salt!

Melts in your mouth. Delish!

Chili recipe

My beautiful friend Felicia requested a few of my recipes so there's the reason for the bunch of them in a row.

I make this several times a month because it's so yummy. You can use either a slow cooker (crock pot) or a regular pot on the stove. I always made chili but my recipe is tweaked because of another wonderful friend, Martha, one of the best cooks I or anyone else knows.

This chili is made with pinto beans so the color will vary on the beans you use.
All beans are good so use what you have or what you love.

Mexican Chili
Beans of your choice: 500 gr package (a 1 lb. package is a little less and that's fine)
Soak the beans between 12-24 hours for healthiest results. It will still make up fine if not.
Pour off the soak water and put into a pot with boiling water. Just boil them until soft before you add anything else! (If you do this in a crock pot, put them on high to start so they really boil for a while.)

In a frying pan:
2 Tbs oil
Medium-large onion chopped up

As the onion becomes translucent, add the rest of the ingredients:
1 green pepper (or yellow or red, or all three!)
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes cut up

Salt to taste
Cumin (approx 1/4 to 1/2 tsp I just use a couple of good shakes)
Oregano (approx 1 Tbs, or something else green will work according to Martha and she knows!)
Cayenne pepper (hot pepper in Israel) to taste
Love and prayers for your and your family's well being!

When the beans are soft, add the veggies and seasoning.
If you need to add more water at any point, make sure it's boiling water so it doesn't interfere with the cooking of the beans.

For best food combining health serve beans with rice either on the side or mixed right in.

Best blessings!
Aunt Laya

Optional: you can add  1/3 cup of rice to the boiling or just add cooked rice at the end. Rice and beans together make a healthy combination.

You can add ground beef if you want to, or keep it veggie and serve with sour cream or shredded cheese. If you live in the US serve with corn bread!!

Black bean, butternut, and tomato soup recipe

Here’s the newest experiment from my kitchen.
It was a big hit and didn’t last very long at all, I didn't even have time to photograph it, sorry. Maybe I'll add a photo when I make it again.

Black bean, butternut, and tomato soup:
Water to cover all the veggies below
Onion-med, garlic-two cloves (best if sautéed first)
Butternut squash-small (peeled & seeded of course)
Tomatoes-plum are best, any will do (about 3, cut up)
Can of black beans with the liquid

Boil until everything is soft.
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Lemon (2-3 Tbs.)
Parsley (about 1 Tbs.)
Cumin (two shakes)
Cayenne pepper (to taste)

When all the veggies are soft:
Puree with a hand blender

You could garnish this with a dollop of sour cream or bits of parsley, or even a few pumpkin seeds.