Saturday, June 22, 2013

Simple Muffins

Last week I had a tough week. Part of my job responsibilities are customer-service based, and it seemed like everyone last week had some kind of gripe or complaint. WHAT'S THE DEAL, PEOPLE?? Maybe all these Chicagoans are cranky from staying up late to watch hockey. (They aren't as hardy as us Canadians- they only tune in during the play-offs.) Either way, it was tough. It's hard to remember to stay positive, and not to let other people's bitterness in. Pip pip!

After a week like that I am happy to come home at the end of the week, roll up my sleeves, and do something simple and easy with a high payoff.

I've been making these muffins since I was little, and they are the easiest and most adaptable recipe in my repertoire. Make them banana, choc chip, apple cinnamon, blueberry, whatever. Make them healthier by swapping out the oil with banana, the flour with whole wheat, cut the sugar and add nuts and seeds. Really the possibilities are endless.


  • 1 1/2 c flour 
  • 1/2 c sugar (scant) 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/4- 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/2 c milk 
  • 1/4 c oil 
  • add in of your choice (coconut, blueberries, apples and cinnamon, chocolate chips, shredded carrots and raisins, etc). 

Stir together dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre, and stir in the moist ingredients just until wet. Do not overmix. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Vegetarian... Chulent?

Chulent is not so glamorous. I tried to compensate with a glamour shot of my crock pot. See below.

About two years ago I became a vegetarian, and about half a year ago I came up with my perfect combo for a vegetarian chulent. For the uninitiated- chulent is usually a meat stew that is cooked in a large slow pot (or a crockpot). It is made on Friday, and cooks until Saturday, at which point it is eaten for the Sabbath lunch.

Although people are sceptical about making a meatless chulent, I think this is a winner. Try it, let me know what you think. 

** note- as you can see from the picture, I use a small crockpot. If using a large crockpot, double or triple this recipe. 

2 1/2  tsp oil 
1 onion, cut into chunks 
1/2 sweet potato, cut into chunks
2-3 small red potatoes, cut into quarters 
1/4 c each of barley, dried chickpeas, small white beans 
spices!! liberal amounts of salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, turmeric, and cumin 

Put oil into the bottom of the crockpot. Add remaining ingredients. Add enough water to cover plus half an  inch. Cook on high for 12-17 hours.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Baking Challah

There's a certain zen that comes with baking bread. You really have to trust the process that the flour, water, and yeast that you dump into a bowl is going to amount to something. At the beginning the dough looks like a shaggy mess, but with patience and a little bit of elbow grease you can really make something special.

Last week I tried out a new recipe for challah. 16 challahs later... I had some sore shoulders from kneading!