File this under mommy was really impressed with herself, and as usual when mommy is impressed with herself, kids give the following review: “Um, kinda good but I don’t really want to eat it.” Same thing happened when I made these DIY Muffins.

Which is outrageous because there is nothing bad about eggs, bacon and toast in a muffin tin. Seriously, these “muffins” are delicious and if you don’t let on how excited you are there’s a good chance your kids will be into them. Right? isn’t that how it works?

Anyway, without further ado here is a very easy and impressive breakfast treat:

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. With biscuit cutters or a glass, have the kids cut circles out of soft bread. (I kept the holed out sliced for egg in a hole – another fun egg dish which the kids actually like.)
  3. Butter a muffin tin and kids smush bread circles into the bottoms.
  4. Microwave 4 slices of bacon on a plate for 1 minute then shape the slimy bacon slice (meaty part on top) around the edges of the muffin. (Kids were grossed out by this part so I did it.)
  5. Then crack an egg into each tin. (Or into a bowl first so you can remove any shell. You could also beat the eggs with a little milk and cheese and pour that in.)
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes (Start checking at 15 minutes. Whites will be a little jiggly but bacon should be firm.)
  7. Cool and eat or slice in half and share. Or eat them all yourself and tell everyone how talented and creative you are.

meatless mondays

One of my first cookbooks was the Moosewood Cookbook. I was in high school and a sudden vegetarian and someone, maybe my mom, bought me Mollie Katzen's book. It was a revelation at the time--one of the first collections of only meatless meals. 

I have since lost that book and I am no longer a vegetarian but lately we have been trying to abstain from meat one day a week. Meatless Mondays is part of our attempt to structure weekday dinners (ie Taco Tuesday). At first Nate protested this rule. Then he found out that pasta is not a meat. Now he's cool with it. But it does remain a challenge to come up with new and filling veggie dinners. I think Michael is secretly hoping I get stumped and he can just eat cheese.

While googling what to make with the bag of green lentils that I bought on a whim at a health food store, I came across one of Katzen's humble recipes from the Moosewood Cookbook. It seemed odd that such a relic was even online. But the simple lentil chili was a perfect starting point, and with a few flavor additions, turned out a hearty, meat-like chili that satisfied us omnivores and even became lunch for the next few days. The trick is lots of creative seasoning and a heavy dose of toppings. Mack even turned the toppings into a meal in itself and Nate, of course, had pasta. 

Moosewood Lentil Chili (modified)

2 cups dried lentils–any kind
3 to 4 cups water
One 8 oz can tomatoes
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cups chopped onion
2 to 3 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 can kidney beans
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp Yeast flakes
Fresh black pepper and crushed red pepper

Optional Toppings:
yogurt or sour cream
grated cheddar
minced fresh parsley and/or cilantro

1.   Soak lentils in water to cover by an inch for 2-3 hours. Drain. (optional)

2. Place lentils and water in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and lower the heat to a simmer for about 30 minutes.

2.   Add tomatoes, cumin, paprika, thyme, garlic, and onions. Stir, mostly cover again, and let it cook for another 30 minutes or so. Check the water level as it cooks, and add water as needed, to prevent dryness. Stir from the bottom every several minutes during the cooking.

3.   Add salt and tomato paste. Stir and continue to simmer about 10 minutes.

4.   Stir in the vinegar, beans, hot sauce, yeast, black pepper, and crushed red pepper, adjusting the seasonings to taste. Serve hot, with some or all of the optional toppings.

good bars

My kids have become addicted to Fiber One chocolate bars. Because they taste amazing, duh, and they do provide fiber but also a lot of corn syrup and other stuff that I'd like to think I can save them from, at least until they’re teenagers when they will probably live on corn syrup... and McDonald's chicken nuggets.

Anyway, this story starts with a sale at CVS. Pitted dates were half off so I grabbed a bag vaguely recalling some recipe for energy-date bars.  

I have a hard time bookmarking recipes—we have two computers at home and I always forget which one I bookmarked and where and in what file folder...I sound like I’m 82. So I just googled a recipe for snack bars for kids with dates and found this one and just made it immediately without much further research because I knew if I didn’t pull out the Cuisinart that moment I would never ever do it ever again.  (#failedbaker)

The bars turned out ok—a little dense and oily but tasty. I was pretty sure my kids wouldn't like them so I called them “chocolate peanut bars." (My chocolate peanut butter balls were a minor success.) As it turns out both kids tasted them and said the same thing: "good" in that way they say "good" when I ask them how school was. 

But then I thought: I get the concept: dried fruit and nuts and/or seeds blended, panned and chilled. Of course, theKithchn figured this out in 2012 but since I'd already trashed the kitchen, I decided to improvise another one.

It was also a good opportunity to use all the stuff I bought when I thought I might be a healthy baker (#failedbaker): flax meal, soynut butter, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, molasses. Blend! The texture was right on but it had sort of a bitter taste and I wound up throwing them out. 

I think the moral is:  stick with kid friendly ingredients. And, when baking, recipes. The "chocolate peanut bars" are still in the fridge and from time to time I offer them as snacks or special treats but no one seems particularly thrilled to take me up on it. They are not nearly as yummy as Fiber One bars. 

snacks et al

Despite the fact that I attended grad school, "snack" is recently one of my most used words because 1. I have kids who don't like meals and 2. because whenever we entertain, it's too cramped and chaotic for dinner so I like to serve just wine and snacks, or hors d'oeuvres as the fancy French call them. 

I have some theories about pre-dinner snacks. They should be relatively simple with recognizable ingredients. Complex gourmet canapés initially impress but don't really ease that meet-and-greet-time awkwardness—especially when the pilot goes out in your mother-in-law's semi-broken 1920s oven and you only realize it 1.5 hours into turkey roasting time.

Anyway, I have been called the "dip queen" by several friends and family members for good reason. And I have a few tricks up my sleeve that once I reveal will ruin me forever but I'm gonna do it - you're welcome. 

  • Easy Dip: mix sour cream with any spice mix (ala onion soup mix but preferably some kind of salt/herb mix). You can also add in mayo or yogurt for a creamier dip. Other fun stuff to make it seem sophisticated: lemon juice or zest, sherry vinegar, pesto, fresh herbs, chunky salt, chopped up smoked salmon, avocado, blue cheese, etc. Serve with crudite.
  • Ricotta: drizzle with olive oil and good salt. serve with pita chips.
  • Nuts: Mix pecans or mixed nuts with melted butter, brown sugar and fresh rosemary. Serve warm.
  • Pickled Vegetables: add cut up cauliflower, radishes or carrots to a brine of vinegar, sugar and salt. (Or any good pickling liquid recipe you can find.) Drain and serve in a pretty bowl.
  • Crostini: toast slices of baguette and smear with goat cheese or even cream cheese. Drizzle with olive oil or pesto and kosher salt. 

Any other ideas out there? Please let me know!!


my turkey secret

I've made the Thanksgiving turkey on a few occasions but it wasn't until last year that I discovered that easier is actually better. I used Russ Parson's "Judy bird" recipe which calls for dry brining and the idea is that you cover the bird in salt and let it sit in the fridge for three days. Then you cook it. No fancy stuffing, tying, basting, turning. Just put it in the oven and come back in three hours to a delicious, handsome turkey. 

I wrote this post about it last year but thought I'd mention again because I'm gearing up to do the same recipe this year. Really, it's crazy easy. 

a lazy bolognese

This is a great dinner party recipe that can be served in a big messy pot on the table but gets rave reviews every time. It also makes the house smell like you've been cooking all day, which you sort of have but not like people think. Nothing about the directions is hard but it requires you being there, observing, adding, waiting, stirring. I find it quite mediative and rewarding. The basic strategy is add liquid and reduce. Vegetables, meat, wine, milk and tomatoes give all their concentrated goodness while their liquid evaporates away. In fact, even after you add all the ingredients, it helps to keep adding water—a strange cooking concept but wholly approved by Marcella Hazan-- which even further concentrates this meaty but nuanced sauce. It's so yummy that all you need is some spaghetti underneath it, and maybe a green salad and bread.


Lazy Bolognese

  • 1 onion
  • carrot large
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 pound pork sausage (removed from casing)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1.5 cups tomatoes peeled in juice

Put the kids in front of the TV. Roughly chop veggies then pulse in a food processor until fine. Melt butter and oil in large pot and cook vegetables (plus salt and pepper) over med-high heat for 10-15 minutes until water evaporates and they start to turn brown. Add meat and sausage, breaking up with wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper and cook for 10-15 minutes until browned. Add milk and stir occasionally until it evaporates. Add wine and do the same. Add tomato paste and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes as you add them from the can. When the sauce returns to a boil, turn down and cook at "lazy simmer*" for 3 hours. But continue to monitor it and add water if it starts to dry out, which it will. 

* amazing phrase courtesy of Marcella Hazan

zucchini makes an easy soup

Basic recipe: Cook zucchini (and/or yellow squash which is what we had) in broth and then puree it. HERE is the recipe.

Notes: I didn't have creme fraiche on hand (who does?) so I used some Ricotta and a little milk but you could use cream cheese or plain yogurt. Or nothing--the cream just gives it a little richer taste. I added the sherry vinegar right to the soup but you can also serve on top of each bowl. It's a very mild yet tangy soup which any kid who eats soup would like. You could even throw in a few noodles! And it really can be served hot or cold. Make a batch and freeze half for November. 

There is another recipe for zucchini soup via Grant Achatz that I also love and is only a tiny bit more complicated but richer and better for a party. 

kale and chickpea soup

I combined a couple similar recipes to come up with this one but you can really use any green and any bean (or even skip the beans.) It's fast and flavorful and keeps for a long time. A great quick reheat for lunch or dinner. And it's healthy and filling enough that it makes you feel like the Green Lantern. Maybe Batman on a good day.

Super Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, stemmed, rinsed, and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 6 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBSP parmesan cheese (more to serve)

    1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a pot. Add onion, carrot, and celery; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
    2. Add garlic, salt, and pepper; sauté until fragrant, about a minute.
    3. Add kale; stir to wilt. 
    4. Add stock and chickpeas; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 10 minutes. 
    5. Mix eggs and parmesan in small bowl. Add a ladle full of hot broth to temper. Stir and pour into soup. 
    6. Serve with more cheese and a sprinkle of olive oil.

my version of friday take-out

For some reason, I cannot order takeout when the rest of the intelligent world would, so tonight's dinner is a result of what was in the freezer/fridge after a week with TWO school holidays, six loads of laundry and a movie about cartoon turtles who fall in love. Eaten silently with a spoon in two identical bowls. And yes I realize they don't really go together and yes, I was too hungry to take pictures so this is a somewhat lame post but actually both were pretty awesome...Michael and Mack ate every last bite. I will make both recipes again. Unless someone orders takeout.

Easy Chicken-Broccoli "Fried Rice"

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  •  chicken thighs cut into small pieces
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli defrosted
  • 1 tsps each fish sauce, soy sauce
  • 1 small bag Uncle Ben's parboiled brown rice
  • 1 egg

Heat olive oil and garlic clove in saucepan. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes then add fish and soy sauces. Cook for 5 minutes and add broccoli then rice. When hot, add raw egg and mix to cook. Season with soy or hot sauce to taste.

Easy Greek Shrimp

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 1 pound raw shrimp cleaned and shelled including tail (I used bag o' frozen)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1/4 cup feta

In saute pan, olive oil and one garlic clove then add tomatoes, tomato sauce and salsa and cook until tomatoes are soft. Add raw shrimp, stir until covered then scatter feta on top. Cover and cook over medium high until shrimp is cooked and feta melted (about 3-5 minutes).

everyone has been lying to me about eggs

When I was a kid, my parents told me the story of our friend's daughter who set out to make herself a hard-boiled egg for dinner by putting the egg in the freezer. "Boiled, duh," my dad said. I would never have made that mistake, even at age 10, but hard boiled eggs have remained somewhat of a mystery to me. Sometimes the shell slips off, sometimes it doesn't. Everyone has tricks: put eggs in water before it boils. Turn heat off and let sit for 20 minutes. Old eggs won't work. The water to egg ratio is critical.

Everyone has been lying to me and I finally figured it out. Making hard boiled eggs in which the shell easily slides off is actually not that hard. I've done it three times with this method that I found in The Silver Spoon (love this book) and it's worked every time.

Fill pot with salted water (it helps soften the shells) and when it boils, slip in your eggs. Boil for 10 minutes then remove eggs and cool in cold water/ice bath. Peel under running water. 

a very bad muffin day

I took Mack to camp today, all psyched up with a giant backpack of towel, bathing suit, water bottle, extra clothes, lunch box and shoes but when we rolled in, the receptionist informed us that camp starts tomorrow. Fuuuuuck. 

A whole day with no plans, I considered taking Mack on some great big adventure but just didn't have it in me (wasn't that what the last 2 weeks were for??). Mack was complaining that he was tired and wanted to watch a movie so I tried to energize him with a muffin but that turned into a crying fit ("I don't want that one!") so we left the cute organic cafe, balling. On the way out, a guy eating a yogurt parfait at a little table gave Mack the thumbs up. "I know how you feel my man," he said.

So we went home. And here we have stayed. We've both had naps, we've seen a movie, we did art projects with popsicle sticks and glue. We are both sporting numerous Star Wars tattoos and we made these very healthy whole-food pumpkin muffins (my constant dilemma for baked goods - make it healthy... or not). They come from a blogger in Australia on and they are super simple. I made a few changes and I think they are really moist and yummy but as today would have it, Mack decided he didn't like them before they even came out of the oven. 

Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins

  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4C-1/2C honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking powder, baking soda, spices and a pinch of salt.
  3. Combine your eggs with the pumpkin puree, applesauce, honey and vanilla.
  4. Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on size, until a skewer removes clean.

I now have a degree in beef jerky!

I don't know why I haven't discussed my love for beef jerky on this blog. It's a long-lasting romance that Michael even mentioned in his vows to me on October 21 2006. I love beef jerky. I love the saltiness, the spiciness, the texture, the fact that it takes a while to chew, that I can carry it around, that it's mostly protein. It's the perfect snack and I'm rarely without it. That said, I've given considerable time and thought to what is the best beef jerky. The best, as reported by Gourmet Magazine way back when, is Stripling's. I think it was my brother in law Avi who first bought it for me as a gift (you have to mail order it.) It's now a special purchase I treat myself to every few months.

In terms of store-bought, I like a lot of the newer more organic, locally made, grass fed varieties like Field Trip, even though they are more expensive and slightly harder to find. In a pinch I will always go for a drugstore brand--usually Jack Link's pepper flavor. If something is on sale, I'll often cheap out too. Over the years I've spent a lot of money on this snack which is why when I saw a "how to make your own jerky" class being offered by Dickinsons' Meat Shop in Chelsea Market for $85, it seemed like a solid investment. And it was, I think. The class was casual but informative and I definitely learned the major how-tos. Yesterday Michael picked up my bag o jerky (it needed a few days to marinate and dry) and I have to say it's really amazing. It's almost as good as Stripling's.

Here's how it works:

Use lean cut like bottom round (not ribeye!) which is on the thigh near the butt. The strategy is to eliminate fat and moisture and it helps to freeze meat a bit before slicing. Clean all the fat and bristle off with a sharp chef's knife or Cenataur. Remove silver skin and use for stock. Square off the end so it's all the same thickness. Cut even slices about 1/4 to 1/8 inches thick, using your hand to push the meat against itself. The slices should be flat, uniform and a little translucent. (Flatten on table with hand or knife if necessary.) If the meat turns a little brown, it's just oxidizing but if it smells bad don't use it.

For the marinade, you need 3 tablespoons of salt or soy sauce per 1-2 lbs, Also use a combination to taste of lime zest, fish sauce, ABC's medium sweet soy sauce, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, Worcestershire, soy sauce, smoked paprika, black pepper, honey. Add water so you have 8 oz of marinade per 1-2 lbs meat. Mix beef in plastic bag with marinate separating each piece and coating it. They should all be color of the marinade. Marinate 3-6 hours in fridge.

Lay pieces on a wire rack without touching and dry in low temp oven. 150-175 degrees or "warm"--rotate if its a higher temperature. Crack oven door 1/2 inch. Can also hang over racks in oven or get a mesh mat online. Dry for 4-5 hours.

slow down salmon

In slow cooker news, I finally steamed/poached salmon according to Grant Achatz's general philosophy of cooking fish in the crockpot. First, I lay lemon slices and a few chives on the floor of the slow cooker. Then I poured in about 1/4 cup vermouth and 1/4 cup water. I seasoned the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and lay them on the bed. Cooked on low for about 1-1.5 hours. It was delicious but may have worked even better with less time and less liquid. I served on a cauliflower puree which I intended to be more of a mash—I saw a good recipe from Art Smith but didn't remember it exactly and added too much liquid. On top is a caper/red onion/olive relish.

Update-I finally did the Art Smith cauliflower recipe after actually reading the recipe and it's amazing and made it into my Paprika collection.

meatless monday: veggie mapo tofu

From the New York Time's cooking section: the vegetarian version of mapo tofu. I love the traditional Chinese dish Mapo Tofu (which I made last year) ...but without ground pork? It's different, but actually spicier with more depth of flavor. Shitakes replace the meat and I used a fermented black bean sauce not actual fermented beans but otherwise followed the recipe as is. The meatless dinners are hard--more work, less filling. But this was hearty enough, with a thickened sauce served over quinoa which weasled its way into the stew. Such a goody-two-shoes, know-it-all that quinoa.

passover 2015 ala slow cooker

This year's menu....made in the slow cooker and much better than Passovers of years past.

Mile End Deli’s Matzoh Ball Soup
(adapted from recipe by Noah Bermanoff)

6 cup chicken stock (stock made in slow cooker from Smitten Kitchen's recipe)
2 cup matzoh meal
1 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
7 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup schmaltz

Bring stock to a simmer in a 3 quart pot. Meanwhile,in a large bowl combine matzoh meal, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Stir in eggs and schmaltz. Using a 1/4 cup measure,scoop out matzoh mixture and roll between palms into balls. Drop matzoh balls into simmering stock. Cover pot and reduce heat slightly to maintain a medium simmer. Cook 15- 20 minutes until balls are puffy and uniform in texture.

Brisket from Cooks County
(better than last year's brisket recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 large onions, halved and sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 2 pounds)
  • tablespoon light brown sugar
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  •  2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  •  3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 3⁄4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  •  1 (5 lb) flat-cut beef brisket trimmed of exc ess fat
  •  3 sprigs fresh thyme
  •  3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar


    1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Saute onions, brown sugar, and 1-4 teaspoon salt (to taste) until onions are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Clear a space in the middle of the pan. Add tomato paste and flour to open space and cook, stirring constantly, until darkened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and cook until sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. Off heat, stir in 2 tablespoons vinegar and transfer mixture to bowl. When cool, cover tightly with plastic and refrigerate.

    2. Whisk together 1 teaspoon salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne in a small bowl. Prick brisket with fork, evenly all over both faces. Rub spice mixture over brisket and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate brisket and onion mixture overnight.

    3. The next morning, add half of onion mixture to slow-cooker. Add thyme and bay leaves and place brisket, fat side up, on top. Spread remaining onion mixture over brisket. Cover slow cooker and cook on low until brisket is fork-tender, 9 to 10 hours (or cook on high for 5 to 6 hours). If brisket it especially thick, cook an extra hour. Turn cooker off and allow brisket to rest for 30 minutes.

    4. Remove brisket to cutting board. Cut across grain into 1-to-2-inch slices, and transfer to serving platter. Tent with foil.

    5. Pour sauce into large skillet, discard herbs, and simmer over high heat until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Skim off as much fat as possible, add remaining vinegar, then pour half of sauce over brisket. Serve with remaining sauce on side.


breakfast pasta

A stupid-simple, obvious ripoff on carbonara, but the kids liked it (mostly for the name though nothing about this dish is not delicious) and it added some protein to the usual plain pasta dinner. It also inspired our enthusiastic discussion of: "why can't you eat pasta for breakfast or breakfast for dinner?!" Next up: veggie pancakes?


  • 1/2 lb spaghetti
  • 1 egg
  • 2 slices turkey bacon
  • Parmesan cheese

    Cook spaghetti and add 2 tbsp of the cooking water to raw egg. Beat egg and stir into pasta with crumbled bacon and cheese. 

fish for dummies

I have a problem with fish: I don't like to cook it. I don't like having to be super delicate with the spatula for fear of ruining the filet. I don't like grilling it and watching it fall through the grates. I don't really like salmon and there's only so much swordfish a girl can eat.

After some research and practice, I discovered two great fish recipes that make it much easier and much tastier. The upshot: cover with seasoned texture and bake.

Jacques Pepin' slow roasted salmon (above) is from his book Fast Food My Way which is brilliant, but dated. (I found it lost in the back of my mom's cookbook collection but refer to it all the time.) He puts a coating made of bread crumbs, herbs and ground hazelnuts on top of the fish then bakes it low and slow. He serves it with a sundried tomato mayo but I just mixed a little tomato soup into mayo, added some S&P, and it was perfect. I also didn't have nuts so I just mixed the bread crumbs with some olive oil and salt. 

The other recipe comes from The Barefoot Contessa but the concept is the key. Cover (any white fish) seasoned fillets in a mixture of mustard, sour cream (creme fraiche if you want to be fancy) and capers. (See left) Then bake. The fish comes out really moist with a slightly spicy/creamy flavor. 

DIY egg muffins

It was Michael's morning to sleep in so when the kids lost interest in the epic car race across the living room, I came up with this project. I greased some muffin tins and beat some eggs in a pourable measuring cup. Then I gave them a choice of toppings on a plate: crumbled turkey bacon, cheese, sauteed red peppers/onions and pumpkin seeds (a new favorite in our house—we pretend they are little bugs.) I poured the egg and they added their choice of toppings to their muffin tin. We made one for Michael too even though he was still sleeping. 

I can't say these were a huge hit but many factors other than their inherent yumminess may have contributed to their failure. First, kids were now fighting because they had been indoors too long. Then Michael, hungover from a night of whiskey with the boys, was not hungry because he had had a late night love affair with a taco stand. I did get credit for trying. Michael said he appreciated my spirit in the face of adversity. Met with continued resistance I continue to try to entice the boys to eat new things. I am Super-Feeder. I will not be defeated!!

simple shwarma

My new favorite easy dinner party recipe, which I've now made three times, is Sam Sifton's recipe for oven roasted chicken shwarma. It's easy to make and serve and all three tries have been huge successes. The basic idea is to marinate chicken thighs, bake them until crispy, then cut them in pieces and serve on a big tray with a mix of any of the following: couscous, greek salad, feta, olives, parsley, humous, pita, tahini, yogurt sauce, etc. I also serve it with my secret special sauce which I adapted from something called "white sauce" and is supposedly Turkish. 

secret special sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • salt/papper

    Whisk everything together and chill. 

stealing your date

I made these for the "healthy eating bake sale" at school after Spencer's mom Cynthia revealed that she often makes date cookies for her kids and calls them chocolate. #stealingyouridea But I also added molasses and some actual mini chocolate chips to further fool the innocents. Oh and I used the Bob's Red Mill Date and Bran mix which I highly recommend if you don't bake.

  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill Date and Bran Muffin mix (see right)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 soft mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut.

    Mix it all in a big bowl and bake in muffin tins for 20 min on 350 degrees.