Cholent

I often feel like I am working overtime on Fridays.  This past week I did some prep cooking on Thursday and completed cooking and cleaning on Friday.  Yet, with all my efforts I was still very tried by the time the sunset.  Never-the-less, Shabbos was wonderful.

I’ve seen video’s on The Joy Of Kosher were Jamie Geller and her husband make a wonderful stew called Cholent.  It is filled with meat.  It looked so good I wanted to try it.  So this Shabbos we enjoyed my version of this stew.  I did it a bit different from her because I don’t eat meat.  🙂

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Here is what I put in mine:

Three small potatoes

half of onion

Veggie meat (kosher)

pepper

red beans (handful)

barley (handful)

Vegetarian style seasoning (to your liking)

Smoked Paprika (to cover the seasoning)

It was so good.  I will make this almost every Shabbos.  My husband and son devoured it.

I also made Challah (no big surprise there)  hahaha

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I made a few other things but my Eggplant really was the big finisher for the meal.

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All in all we had a wonderful Shabbos and look forward to the next one.  I’ve already started on my menu for next Shabbos and I’ll be shopping on Wednesday and prepping my veggies on that day.  I plan to have all my work done by Friday so all I have to do is cook the food and make the Challah and clean.  It should be another wonderful Shabbos.  My your week be filled with joy, love, and peace.

Pineapple Banana Swirl

Good morning sunshine!  0507130837

I wanted to start the day with something sweet but not over the top.  Light but with a great flavor.  I discovered this gem.

2 bananas peeled

2 cups fresh pineapples ( I froze mine)

2 cups pineapples juice (I make my own)

Some ice cubes

Put all this in the blender until smooth.  It makes about 6 cups.  The flavor is very smooth and light and will really give you a wonderful start to any day.

 

Asparagus….worth taking a second look

The African-American life is filled with traditions that helped shape my love for food.  Our culture is one that should be celebrated more often.  I’ve always found inspiration in the many wonderful meals around the table.  Much of what we’ve learned to eat over the years has caused many health issues.  I was thinking about ways to make that food we love so much, healthier.

In my family there was one vegetable that almost never made it to the table, Asparagus.  I’m sure some of you have experienced this in your home.  Well, I think asparagus has gotten a bad rap.  I recently enjoyed some at a friend’s home and was amazed how wonderful they tastes, when cooked right.  *clears throat*

My friend put them on the grill and added some olive oil and kosher salt, she then wrapped them in veggie bacon, which to me just added to the wonderful flavor.  It occurred to me that the bitter taste I often have when I eat asparagus, was gone.  I had to ask her what she did.  She shared with me some of her sure-fire ways to enjoy them.

I will be cooking some this week and sharing with you what I discover.  One tip she gave me is when buying them make sure they are fresh.  How? I asked.

1. Always look for the dark green almost purple tips

2. While the diameter of the stalks doesn’t matter when it comes to taste, you want to choose asparagus that is all the same size so that they all have the same cooking time. If not, some will come out overcooked with others will be under-cooked.

3. While asparagus is regular green asparagus that has been deprived of sunlight. This gives white asparagus a more mild flavor and makes it slightly more tender, but it also costs more.

4. It’s best to eat asparagus within 2 to 3 days of purchase.

5. To keep asparagus fresh, store it in the refrigerator with the tips wrapped in a moist paper towel.

6. Before cooking, bend the asparagus stalk in half. The stalk will naturally break — the bottom half you can throw away and the top half will be perfect for cooking

Shabbat Challah

There are thousands of recipes for making Challah.  Challah is a braided bread.  I recently started watching a wonderful cooking show on the internet called Jamie Geller’s  Joy of Kosher.com.  You should check it out.  She is amazing!

I wanted to make her recipe for Challah this Shabbat (my husband does not like the one I make) hahahahaha

I watched the YouTube video of this process, you can find that here.

Now, you can go to her site to get the original but here is my take on what she did.

It takes about 4 hours total to make this Challah from start to finish so make sure you start early enough in the day so that you are not going over your time.  It is best to make it on Thursday, but I like my loaf to be fresh so I am daring. :).

This is going to make about 4 challahs so you can adjust it according to your family size and guest.  I made it just as she did only because she gave some really great ideas of what to do with the dough.  

Ingredients:  

start with 4 tablespoons of yeast to this add 3 tablespoons of sugar and 2 cups of luke warm water.  Give this a stir and cover it with a hand towel and set aside.

Next you will need a very large bowl ( I did not know this and used one that was too small).  In this very large bowl you will add 4 tablespoons of kosher salt, 6 pounds of flour ( if you can only find a 5 pound bag, get two).  There are 3.4 cups of flour to a pound so do the math :).  I think it was about 20 cups or so.

Next you add 2 cups of sugar and next you add 4 egg yolks.  Don’t make the mistake I did and add 6.  Oppps Lets see how it comes out with 6.  😦  *now it when I turn on my oven to preheat at 375, it also gives me a nice place to set my dough to rise*

Next make a well, ( whole in the middle of the flour mixture) and add the yeast, than add 4 more cups of lukewarm water.  Now comes the fun park, right?  Kneed your dough in the bowl while adding 1 cup of oil (a little at a time)  (if you bowl is not big enough, as obviously mine was not) kneed it on the bread board.  You want to do this for 10 minuets and then let it rest.  Then come back and kneed it for another 15 minuets or so adding the rest of the oil as you do. *your dough should not be sticky*

loosely cover the dough with a towel large enough to cover the entire bowel.  Like her, I also cover mine with a trash bag. 🙂  Place this in a warm spot and let it rise for an hour.  *I also like to keep my house temp. at 75 just to be sure it is warm enough for the dough*  After an hour punch down the dough and kneed it with lightly oiled hands to release air bubbles.  *it should have become double in size*

Cover the dough again with the towel and the bag and let it rise for another hour or more.  Now your dough should be perfect…..

Lightly oil your hands and punch it down again.  Use a very sharp knife to divide the dough into 4 equal parts.  Spray 4 9-inch baking pans with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.  *this is to bake your bread*.

Now you are ready to make your ropes for your challah.  This is up to you how many ropes you want but for this post I did 6 ropes.  I also us my counter and not my bread board at this point, it gives me more space.  With oiled hands I take a piece of dough and play with it to get rid of all the air bubbles then I roll the dough into a long, thick rope, repeat this for the next rope until you have your desired amount.  Now for the braiding.  I suggest you watch her video for this part.  It is simple but hard.  Once you have the dough ready brush the challahs with one or two beaten eggs and sprinkle with anything you like on your bread.  Bake it for 10 minutes at 375 then lower your temperature to 350 if you want it crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Bake for 35-45 minutes or until challah tops are dark golden brown, don’t burn it.  🙂

All your challahs to cool slightly before serving.  She also noted that once your challah has been sliced you can then store what is leftover in sealable plastic bags for up to 5 days.  * it never last that long in my house* 🙂

I will post pictures soon!

Dinner (Stuffed Mushrooms)

My husband is a huge fan of mushrooms…….

I, however, can do without them.

Last night I wanted to make him something he would enjoy.  I often have these day-dreams of things to cook.  I make him some stuffed Portobello mushrooms.  Here is what I did:

I chopped up 1 large onion, two or three cloves of garlic, half of yellow, red, and green pepper and saute all that in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Cook this on med/low heat

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I then added some Gimme Lean Sausage and cooked it until it was brown.  (the link will show you what it looks like at the store if you have never worked with it before)

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I added some salt, pepper, and a little cumin to taste and then some tomatoes just as I turned off the heat.

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I then gutted one of the mushrooms sprayed the pan with cooking spray (olive oil)  and butter and coated the mushrooms with a little oil

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I then stuffed the mushrooms with the veggie meat mixture,you can put as much as you like

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I then topped it with cheese.  Use what ever cheese you like best. Bake it on 350 for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

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Then serve…..He loved it and ate them both.  hahahahahaha

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Saturday

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My day started out with breakfast.  It is the best meal that my day. As you may already know, I am dieting.  So the rest of my meals today will consist of juice. I don’t know how well the day will go. This will be my first full day of juicing.

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Now that breakfast is done I’ll start the dishwasher to clean up, after that, I’ll work on some FRG business.

My husband should be back from rehearsal by the time I’m done and I’ll make lunch for him. One of the hardest thing about dieting is when you’re married and your spouse is not dieting. You have to cook for your spouse and that interfere with your plans.  The smell of food alone can cause all kinds feeling inside of you and you to want to eat.

My herb garden isn’t doing as well as I had hoped.

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I’ve never been one that was good with plants. This is a plan I bought some months ago from the commissary

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and here is that same plant today

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As you can see there’s almost nothing left of the plant, it died.

Well the time now it’s 1238 and I still have a lot to do I’ll check in with you guys later enjoy your Saturday

Lysol Clean-Flip Sweeper

I am always looking for things to help me clean my floors.  Having hard wood floors has been a challenge for me keeping them looking their best.  I saw this Lysol Clean-Flip Sweeper in the Commissary for $9.99.  I felt it would do a good job on my floors, but I was so wrong.  It came with two dry cloths for sweeping and two wet cloths for mopping.

Lysol Clean-Flip Sweeper

Lysol Clean-Flip Sweeper

The dry cloth did well at picking up dust, but that was all it could do.  The package says it picks up dust, dirt, and hair.  When I was done the cloth had lots of dust but no hair, and I know in my bathroom there is always hair on the floor.  I went over the bathroom floor with another mop and it got up hair and dirt.

The wet mop says it cleans the floor but the cloth did not stay wet long enough to do the kitchen floor.  It did clean it well, but it took more than three cloths to do so, and this could quickly get very costly when you think about using it for the whole house.

I also did not get the citrus scent that the package claimed to have.  In fact, when I opened the package, I could not smell any citrus at all.  I don’t recommend anyone buying this.  I feel you will be as disappointed as I am.