Challah Recipe

Here it is…one of my most frequently-asked-for recipes. Republished just for you!

When I was growing up, we used to buy our challah from the Publix bakery. (Publix is a supermarket in Florida; I don’t know if they’re around the country)Publix makes a GOOD challah. (They also make great sheet cake)

Yes! I made this beautiful looking challah. Freshly ground whole wheat and delicious!
The name of this bread, “challah” is so due to the word “separate.” A challah has a small amount separated and offered to G-d. I never knew this until I moved to Israel; I always thought that challah was just a yummy egg bread.
Here is the Bible reference:
Numbers 15:17-21 The LORD instructed Moses: 18 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: After you enter the land where I am bringing you, 19 you are to offer a contribution to the LORD when you eat from the food of the land. 20 You are to offer a loaf from your first batch of dough as a contribution; offer it just like a contribution from the threshing floor. 21 Throughout your generations, you are to give the LORD a contribution from the first batch of your dough.

When I learned the importance of using freshly ground flour and started making my own bread, I needed a good challah recipe. I tried variations, but this one has been the best so far.
RECIPE
1 3/4 c water
1/3 c oil
2/3 c honey
1 1/2 tbsp yeast
2 1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs, plus another beaten egg set aside for brushing on later (4 eggs total)
7-8 c freshly ground whole wheat flour
1/4-1/2 raisins (optional. But I always use them.)

Combine water, oil, honey and yeast, and 3 eggs. Add half the flour and salt, mix. Add the rest of the flour and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10-15 mins by hand or about 5-6 mins in KitchenAid stand mixer). Let rise till double. Shape, adding raisins if desired. Brush with beaten egg, let rise till double again. Bake at 325F for about 25 mins. Brush again with beaten egg for the last 5 mins of baking.

This recipe makes 2 small loaves (usually a regular 3 braid) or one large (4 or 6 braid).
I have better luck getting it to rise and be big and puffy if I do a large loaf, with a braid using 4 strands. Below is a video showing one way to braid with 6; there are many ways. Do whatever you like and enjoy!
If you want to know more about challah, here is another article and recipe: Challah: The Divine Dough
Shabbat Shalom!

How Chicken Nuggets Are Made

Jamie Oliver did an experiment for his Food Revolution in which he shows children how their beloved chicken nuggets are actually made, hoping to sufficiently gross them out and help them to choose differently once they know the truth. Sadly, the American children were still happy to eat the monstrosity he created. In contrast, the British children he’d practiced on previously were unwilling to eat once they knew the truth. Maybe the fluoride in our water and the drugs for the ADHD have made our children so completely stupid that they cannot make good choices. Pathetic. Watch for yourself to have an idea how these nuggets get made; it’s interesting, in a disgusting sort of way.

What difference does it make what you eat? Parts is parts, after all. Right?

And, now for some writing.  This article explains exactly how those things are made, at the end is a recipe for making your own healthier nuggets. I’m not sure I’d use the cornflakes, but whole wheat breadcrumbs would work fine.

Chicken Nuggets
By Leanne Ely, C.N.C.

Admittedly, it doesn’t take much to get my nutritional feathers ruffled. I’ve seen a lot of things that have made me crazy over the years and you’ve heard me harp on them—from “healthy” whole wheat donuts to artificial sweeteners, Olestra and acrylimide. I’ve sang the siren’s song about good nutrition and what I believe too, to be common sense nutrition. Why would we drink something, in the name of quenching our thirst, that looks like toilet bowl cleaner or antifreeze?

Anyway, today I stop singing and start sounding the alarm. We absolutely must stop the madness that is fast food. We absolutely must stop the madness and the obesity and the rise in degenerative diseases. We are raising an unhealthy generation because we feed this junk to our kids! PLEASE STOP!

I know there are attempts at some fast food places to do better. As Oprah says, “When you know better, you do better.” Well, today you are going to know better about chicken nuggets, because today, I am going to tell you all I know about them.

First, McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets contain 38 ingredients. Yes, THIRTY EIGHT ingredients! Some of those ingredients are things you wouldn’t give to your DOG. Some of those things, you could use to start a fire—well, almost. Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) is a derivative of petroleum that is sprayed on the nugget or in the box that holds the nugget to keep it fresh. TBHQ is also a derivative of butane, also known as lighter fluid. It is furthermore a suspected carcinogen—cancer-causing agent.

The batter is set in shortening (hydrogenated oils) and in turn, it is cooked in partially hydrogenated oils at the restaurant. Some of the additives in there are antifoaming agents, emulsifiers, leavening agents, preservatives, fillers and binders. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? Something you’d want to feed your kids?

The nuggets themselves contain 53% chicken. You wanna know what that 53% chicken is? I promise you it isn’t nice white chicken breasts! If you find those nuggets spongy and watery it’s because the chicken meat and skin is ground into a slurry, binders and fillers are added, plus lots of water, then formed into neat little nuggets.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ILL. Why do we manufacture stuff like this and then call it food? Where’s the value in it?

Please, for the children’s sake and for your own health’s sake, let’s stop this craziness with the food. It’s time to get back to basics and only eat food that is 100% identifiable. If you don’t know exactly what went into what you’re eating, you’re making a mistake. Our bodies do not need to contend with more pollution than what is already in our environment.

Here’s a quick and easy alternative to chicken nuggets:

Crunchy Honey Mustard Chicken Fingers
Serves 4

1 pound chicken tenders
1/4 cup honey, warmed
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup corn flakes, crushed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

In a small bowl, mix mustard and honey together. In another bowl, place the crushed corn flakes.

In assembly line fashion, dip the chicken tender in the mustard mixture, then roll in the corn flakes and place on the cooked sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, or when cooked through

Copyright (C) 2010 www.savingdinner.com Leanne Ely, CNC All rights reserved

Eggplant Torte Recipe


I’m always looking for more recipes that do not include meat and are both easy and inexpensive to make. This is one of them.
Eggplant Torte a la Provencal adapted from The Occasional Vegetarian by Karen Lee

1 large eggplant sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
2 medium potatoes sliced into 3/8 inch rounds
2 medium tomatoes sliced into 3/8 inch rounds
1 medium red onion sliced into 3/8 inch rounds
1 medium zucchini sliced into 3/8 inch rounds

3/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/3 tsp dried thyme

  1. For seasoned oil, combine oil, garlic, and thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Brush eggplant with oil & broil for 2-3 minutes until brown. Remove from oven.
  3. Toss other vegetables to coat (but keep them in separate sections in your bowl or separate bowls.
  4. Layer vegetables in an oiled baking dish, tucking basil leaves between layers.
  5. Repeat until all have been used up.
  6. Pour any remaining oil over pan
  7. Bake uncovered for 1 hour at 350F

Serve hot or at room temperature. This torte can be refrigerated for 1 day. Reheat before serving.

Menu Plan Monday-June 8

Another Monday. With all that’s going on around here (potty training, new bikes, forest fires causing us to evacuate–you know, the normal stuff), I didn’ t even remember that it’s Monday, and Monday means “post your menu plan”. And all I can say is that I am SO glad that I actually already had it planned out. In fact, if I’d been more on top of things, I could’ve already had it scheduled to post. Maybe next time.

Ha ha. I have to laugh. I just looked at my calendar and realized that I actually MISSED Monday, and today is Tuesday! Well, better late than never!

So, on with it.

Monday: Eggs scrambled with veggies. Toast.

Tuesday: Chinese Fried Rice. Pictured above.

Wednesday: Sweet n Sour Cabbage Soup. Dark rye bread.

Thursday: Mediterranean White Beans and Rice

Friday: Crockpot Sausage, Peppers, & Onions over pasta

Saturday: Leftover Cabbage Soup

Sunday: Mexican Taco Casserole

Have you made your menu plan yet for this week? It’s already Tuesday. What are you waiting for!

Middle-Eastern Rice and Lentils

Middle-Eastern Rice and Lentils Recipe

Another great recipe from my The Occasional Vegetarian book.

1 cup lentils
1 cup canned tomatoes, crushed
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or stock of your choice (I use my chicken broth)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole grain rice
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, sliced

  1. Bring the lentils, tomatoes, bay leaf, cumin, stock, & pepper to a simmer over a high heat in a medium sized pot. Stir, cover, and turn the heat to low, and simmer until the lentils are cooked through and have absorbed the liquid, 45 mins to 1 hour. Add 1 tsp of the salt during the last 5 mins of cooking. Remove bay leaf
  2. Cook the rice in another pot during this time.
  3. Meanwhile, in a skillet, saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes (I like to make extra onion. It’s yummy)
  4. Place the rice on a plate, put the lentils on top of the rice and the onion on top of the lentils. Serve hot or at room temperature.

This recipe is very simple and easy to make. It’s filling and tasty. I double it for my family. Enjoy!

Menu Plan Monday-May 30

Here’s what’s on our menu this week:

Monday-Spaghetti w/ Simply Delicious Spaghetti Sauce, salad, garlic bread (I learned this great easy make-ahead garlic bread trick)

Tuesday-Middle Eastern Rice and Lentils

Wednesday- Potato Leek Soup and salad

Thursday- Pita Pizzas, veggie sticks with guacamole for dipping

Friday- broiled sole, steamed green beans, whole wheat couscous, Apple crisp

Saturday- leftover Potato Leek soup

Sunday- frozen pre-made veggie & tuna noodle casserole

The “Musical Fruit”-Frugal Fridays

“Beans, beans, the musical fruit. The more you eat, the more you…..”

I always found this little rhyme at least moderately amusing. It makes me giggle even now. I haven’t shared it yet with my guys because I just know they will probably not stop saying it & then collapse in hysterics. But, they are boys, after all, It might be time to teach them about armpit “honks”. Crass, yes. But some things are just funny.

But I digress.

Beans are extremely nutritious. See bean nutrition facts here. Beans, when combined with rice, provide a complete protein. Many Latin American countries rely on this combination for most of their dietary needs.

But why do I mention it here, on Frugal Friday? Because beans are CHEAP! Really, really inexpensive. Buy the dried beans in a bag, soak them overnight, and then follow any of thousands of recipes. I have some recipes for beans here on my blog;

Chickpeas and Spinach
Lentil and Potato Stew with Spiced Oil
Mexican Taco Casserole
Cuban Black Beans
Amazing Black Bean Burgers

Easy Hummus

Jamaican Rice and Peas

Have a good weekend!

Simply Delicious Spaghetti Sauce

I always thought that to make your own spaghetti sauce (and have it be good), you needed to know some deep cooking secret. I was thrilled to find out how simple it is. Here’s what I do:

1 can crushed tomatoes
1 tin tomato paste
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4-5 large cloves garlic, chopped
splash of white wine
about 1 tsp each of basil, oregano, and thyme
1 tbsp honey/brown sugar/sucanat/stevia to taste
2 tbsp butter

  1. Saute the onion, green pepper, and garlic in olive oil a nice long 15 mins at least–till soft & sweet.
  2. Add everything except the butter and sweetener, if you are using them. Simmer at least 1 hour. Longer if you want. (you can use a crockpot if you want to walk away from it all day)
  3. Add sweetener and butter (the butter cuts the tanginess of the tomatoes), simmer another 15 mins or so. Taste & adjust seasonings.
  4. Serve over whole wheat pasta, top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese (if you use it), and serve it up with a nice big green salad. Enjoy!

Chickpeas and Spinach

from The Occasional Vegetarian

1 pound fresh spinach, washed & stems removed. (I use a bag of frozen chopped)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped scallions, white & green parts (I’ve used onion or leek instead)
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp lemon juice

  1. Steam the spinach until the leaves are wilted, 1-2 minutes. Drain.
  2. In a heavy-bottom saucepan, saute’ the garlic lightly in the oil, about 2 mins. Add the scallions and saute’ for 1 minute.
  3. Add the drained spinach, chickpeas, cumin, salt, and pepper, Stir, cover, and cook over low heat until the spinach and chickpeas are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, stir again. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve hot.

I like to mix this in with some whole grained rice (about 1 1/2 cups) and some labana cheese (plain yogurt would work fine). I serve this with some good fresh bread and more labana and olive oil for dipping. I’ve added sauteed mushrooms in a few times and it was delicious.

Food Combining and Stewed Crockpot Chicken with Vegetables

I love using my crock pot. I don’t do it very often, because it seems to work best for stewed type meat, and we only eat meat for dinner about once a week. ( I do also use it for soups and beans). But when Friday comes and I have SO much to do before our special family dinner that night, it really takes a load off my mind to make a one-dish-meal that I can start in the morning and forget about until dinner time.

It’s simple. And it simplifies. Something that I REALLY like.

I recently listened to this WellWithU radio show about proper food combining and why it’s important. I was reminded that meat & potatoes or grains is not a good combo. This I already knew; we don’t do it much and seem to tolerate it all right once in a while. But the important thing that I was reminded of was that couscous AND potatoes AND bread all in one meal would be TOO MUCH of the same type of thing in our bodies (even if it were properly combined). So, I made a change in the dinner I was preparing. I usually add potatoes to the stew, but realized that it would be much better to leave those out and fill up with more veggies instead.

Crock Pot Stewed Chicken

About 2 lbs chicken parts*. I’ve done it with wings, legs, thighs, whole bird cut up. Whatever.
1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
4 celery stalks, sliced
Any other veggie that you have laying around and want to use up. I usually add cabbage or zucchini. This time I added 1/2 a bag of frozen green beans.
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 tin tomato paste
About 1/3 c white wine
A big pinch (approx 1 tsp) each of Basil, Oregano, Thyme
1 Bay leaf

Put everything in, turn it on, walk away, come back 8 hrs later to dinner. Serve over rice/couscous/quinoa (whole grain, of course)

*I recommend that you only consume animal meat that is certified organic and free to roam, with no antibiotics or hormones injected. And even then, do so sparingly. Accompanied by lots of veggies.