Lentil Stew with Couscous

November 28, 2011

I'm always in search of healthy, parve dinner ideas that I, the pickiest eater in the family, can enjoy.

Parve, because that decadent piece of chocolate is waiting for me in the dark recesses of my pantry, purposely concealed from my daughter's field of vision. I don't share everything.

So, given that I mostly don't like beans, I tried putting something together with lentils, and subsequently threw in some almost expired vegetables. That's the fun thing about cooking, no one can tell.

My lentil, celery, carrot stew was born.

Paired with couscous, this lentil stew is both healthy and filling. You can also easily make this in the crockpot, saving yourself cooking time.

It's so nice to come home to a hearty, warm meal.

Best of all, this is so....


I love easy. Easy is my favorite word, especially when paired with dinner.

Easy dinner. I love that.

Sweet Corn Soup

November 27, 2011

Just a quick share here.

Corn reminds me of summer. And so, with everyone longing, reminiscing about summer days, I wanted to share a corn soup that will, if momentarily, keep you warm with summer memories.

This soup is remarkably easy.

1. Dice and sautee the onion

2. Add the golden, sweet corn

3. Add water and spices, boil, puree, and...
Don't worry, I'll give you the exact instructions!

Happily (dis)Organized

November 21, 2011

I love feeling organized. Knowing that my home and life have structure gives me a sense of serenity in the hectic world of being a stay at home mom to two under two (who actually stay at home). I should note these aforementioned children get real satisfaction from making a mess. Really, just watch my oldest daughter's face light up in glee as she dumps a bagful of blocks on the floor and runs away giggling, totally disinterested in actually playing with the blocks. Or my baby boy's reaction when he splatters his food all over his face, clothes, highchair, and floor, and subsequently laughs out loud. For now he's still immobile and has yet to graduate into serious mess-making.

Given this constant cycle of mess, clean-up, mess, clean-up, mess, mess, mess, getting organized is totally overwhelming. Who wants to organize after cleaning up? And so, I usually accept my state of disorganization, even happily. After all it carries with it an exciting element of surprise. You really never know what you might find in the pantry! Or just when you thought you ran out of diapers, one pops up in your husband's sock drawer. All that is fun until your husband asks you for that really important document that you really remember putting somewhere but really don't know where. That's when the tension starts. Or, when you're running out of the house and you just know you left your camera in the letter box, yet it's not there and you momentarily suspect the housekeeper of thievery even though you really know it's your own fault of disorganization.

So, as these are true stories, I decided to get my home and life organized, despite it's short life span. I've found a home for my camera, stocked up on diapers, and bought cute storage containers to tidy up my pantry. Now I'll certainly be motivated to return the misplaced pieces of chalk and crayons so they don't obscure the pretty view of pasta and cereal.

While I'm at it, I even made checklists of food and home supplies, thereby saving my husband nocturnal trips to the 24hr Walgreens because I forgot (again) to buy infant tylenol despite having spent a considerable amount of time at Target the very same morning.

These checklists that I've created and some that I've found online will help get yourself happily organized. It will relieve anxiety and make you happier and more productive. If you're house is a total mess (like mine was), make yourself a favor and get a housekeeper to help you! You'll feel like you lost 10 pounds. And then, streamline your weekly routine and responsibilities with these fun documents.

I've included my food and home shopping checklist, my Shabbat preparation menu and checklist (the idealized version, not everything on there ends up being made!), and some fun documents that can help you remember to do things you always (conveniently) forget! (like sweeping under the rug or your mother-in-law's birthday)

Happy Organizing!

And because it just wouldn't be appropriate to post without a "photograph," I've taken a portrait of my lovely Oxo containers I finally caved in and purchased, albeit on sale!

Continue for lists (not recipe!), I'm clueless on how to change that!

Pink Cupcakes

November 17, 2011

Life is busy. A good kind of busy {thank Gd}. The kind that makes you fall on the couch in exhaustion at the end of the day after talking, laughing, swinging, buying, returning, cooking, listening, learning, feeding, "cleaning", praying, and so on, and so on. That leaves me with little time for blogging, or I should admit, I make little time for blogging.

The sun setting early is definitely my quite valid excuse. Rest assured, my family is still (in)consistently well fed with dishes I'm itching to share, yet by the time I have a chance to click the shutter, I realize the sun has long set and I'm left lightless. "I'll try again tomorrow," I promise myself. You can probably guess, the next day the scene repeats itself.

And then one morning I woke up with a yearning to bake. I knew I had to work fast. I needed to make something easy and quick, and cute and bright. I perused some baking sites and settled on Pink Champagne Cupcakes.

After many substitutions (I just happened to have sipped the last drops of champagne in my crystal goblet), I whipped up a batch of these, while simultaneously entertaining my toddler with a tower of cupcake liners.

They came out fluffy and light, a perfect weekday treat.

"Champagne" Cupcakes
1 box of cake mix. (I used Duncan Hines Butter Golden, that's what makes it EASY. Don't make me feel guilty!)
1 1/4 cup of Champagne (I used Soy Milk)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 egg whites
4 to 5 drops red food color 

Pink decorator sugar crystals 

This also came with a frosting recipe, but since I needed something easy, I made an easy, easy frosting...um, glaze.

Mix powdered sugar with a little water and some food coloring. That's quite faster than:

But if you have time...

Champagne Frosting
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup champagne
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 to 5 drops red food color 
1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
2. In large bowl, mix dry cake mix and champagne. Add oil, egg whites and food color. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
3. Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
4. In medium bowl, beat frosting ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Frost cupcakes. Sprinkle with garnishes. Store loosely covered.  
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