Sunday, March 29, 2009

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This week you have to take time to create menus and shop for it all. Let the meals be easy organized, and with double cooking and baking, you will have a relaxed and pleasant
week.. Do what ever you can do today. The stores and parking are difficult and at the last minute unexpected issues crop up……use today efficiently.

Take time to cool food properly anr store carefully, Keep the fridge organized and not over crowded with items you do not need. Cool drinks can be kept elsewhere and water can be chiiled with ice cubes on Passover day. Ice cube trays can be used for relishes, pesto and chopped parsley that is mixed with olive oil. This can be used for cooking all week.

The Seder requires a lot of cooking and last minute work. Once the cleaning is done and the Passover plates, cutlery and dishes are in place, you can start to cook. I always do the main course first and while they need attending to in the oven, I make the soup and prepare one dessert. The Passover plate needs a little planning and that can be done with the help of the kids during the day of Passover Seder.

Have the wines and drinks ready ahead of time. Buy the cans you need, the condiments, chrain, sauces and relishes now. Buy the gifts and candies today.
Now for ideas for meals……count how many adults and kids. Who is vegetarian? Any people who have special diets.? How many babies who need pureed food?????????????? Now make a large sheet and on it write people, days, breakfast, lunch, supper. Tea time treats.

You need Matzos and the pieces for AFIKOMEN
The bowl to wash hands. Little towels to dry hands.
Saltwater to dip Karpas in.
Charoset. Make a large bowl of this with lots of nuts that are ground. Be aware that some kids cannot digest nuts or are allergic. For those I make charoset with dates, raisins and orange juice. .
Hard boiled eggs for everyone.
Soup and matzo balls.
I make a very large platter with olives, cucumbers, asparagus, carrot sticks, sliced peppers, tomatoes and boiled eggs. Have chrain and charoset on the tray as a relish. This is eaten by everyone and the kids love the choices. I even have chopped parsley, lettuce and baby leaves as a salad..
Beetroot salad is good to have . Look at my beetroot recipes (Sept 17th)
This can be made and kept for a few days.
Carrot Salad (October 11th) this can be eaten the next day too.
Cauliflower, Sweet Potatoes and Baked Potatoes can be done and used the nest day. You just sprinkle olive oil on and bake them,after they are steamed.
Consider having tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in abundance for quick, fresh salads. Avocadoes make a good dressing with olive oil and herbs. Add orange or lemon juice to make it drizzle.
Tzimmes, that is carrots, onions, garlic and prunes, make a great baked vegetable dish.
Mushrooms are sensational on matzo. Just bake a medley of cut up mushrooms with onions, garlic, herbs and sprinkle olive oil liberally over the mushrooms. You can add white wine, or just add a cup of boiling water and bake covered. I keep them parave and if left over, blend them into a spread for matzo or on omelets.
Potatoes. Roast are the best. Just cut up and pre boil them for 10 minutes. Then season with salt and pepper, rosemary and olive oil. Bake and serve with a little chopped parsley. Sweet Potatoes. I steam sliced potatoes and bake them with a sprinkling of honey and cinnamon and olive oil. Good hot or cold.
Eggplant. I slice a few, arrange in a dish. I cover them with herbs like oregano, vegetable salt, black pepper, a full cup of tomato puree and a cup of boiling water and two tablespoons of olive oil. Cover and bake for thirty minutes. Excellent cold as well.



Simply wash good fruit and cube . Arrange pineapples, Orange slices, Pears, grapes, in fact all the things in season. I cube apples or cut in rounds and steam them and pears. Them I put them on the kebabs with a date, apricot and mixed fruits. This way they do not discolor.


Great to make a few days ahead. Easy to warm up and serve for parave pudding with jelly, or with a dairy meal with ice cream..

Cook apples and puree them, without the skins, for the babies and the older folk.


Core twelve apples, prick the skins and place in an oven dish. Fill the centers with cut up apricots, raisins and a little cinnamon. I fill the dish half way with orange juice or water with a tea bag in it. These can be served hot after the main meal, or eaten with a blob of ice cream or yogurt. If you need a quick pie, just blend the apples with a little water and fill a pie dish. For Passover use coconut and butter, in place of flour. Watch for cake recipes next time.


Look at my article on Strawberries for quick and easy ideas. (March 11th)

Have fun preparing and I will be in touch when we are in the swing of cooking.




Tuesday, March 24, 2009

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The subject of Sane and Sensible Breakfasts for the Festival of Passover , is a serious subject. Just imagine the scene. Wednesday night is the Seder and then on Thursday, everyone is home, waiting for an interesting breakfast. Them you have Friday and Saturday and lots of meals to plan.
Here are
Fabulous Breakfasts that are sane and sensible, filling and fun too.


This is scrumptious Mix one cup of Matzo meal with two cups of water and a little salt. Cook in a large pot on a low flame for five to eight minutes. Stir so lumps do not form. Then serve with hot or cold milk, with cinnamon, sugar or honey.


4 Eggs.
6 pieces of matzo, broken into pieces.
1/2 teaspoon vegetable salt.
4 Tablespoons of milk.

Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a pan. You can substitute olive oil, if you prefer.
Pour boiling water over the matzo pieces. Drain in a strainer .
Fry the matzo pieces in the butter. Beat eggs, milk and salt and add to the mixture Fry and when eggs are ready, serve with a great salad of tomatoes, olives , cucumbers and cheese. Use one egg at least for eaxh person.


This is matzo with cream cheese on it. You bake it in the oven and it makes a great breakfast with a good beverage.

Use two pieces per person. Mix three eggs with two cups of cream cheese. Mix in a little cinnamon and three tablespoons sugar. Mix well and spread this over matzo that has been "wetted" by dipping the matzo into a bowl of milk. Use a shallow bowl and it is easier to lay the matzo in it. Sprinkle the cinnamon on the cream cheese mixture and bake on a greased pan in a oven of 180 for ten minutes.


This is easy to make and loved by everyone. The idea is to make a good tomato, red pepper and onion sauce. Let it simmer and add tomato puree, salt and pepper. When it "boils " in the pan drop eggs into this and cook until they set. Serve with many slices of matzos.
We ate this at the genuine restaurant "SHAKSHUKA" in Jaffa. It was simply divine and the kids who were with us , licked the pan clean.

ןI use the fresh mushrooms from Tekoa. I find that we eat lots of mushrooms during Passover, as you can have them in a lot of different ways. I use them in soup, in egg dishes, on their own, with vegetables, as a hot relish and with cheeses.

Take two cupfuls of mixed mushrooms. Use fresh one like Oyster, button mushrooms, shitake or Porcini
mushrooms. Cut up and sauté in olive oil or butter with vegetable salt and pepper. Add herbs, parsley and spring onions. I add two yogurts and let them heat through on a low flame. Then I add five or six chopped up black olives and two tablespoons of parmesan or grated cheddar cheese. Serve on matzos that were heated in the oven.

I keep the dry mushrooms as well and use them as needed. Just add water and let them soak until ready to use.

Take a look at my blog for COMPOTE. Cook some and keep it in the fridge for Passover. Useful for older folks and people who find that matzos cause them digestive discomfort.
Dried fruits are useful to have on the table all week. Add raisins and figs, nuts and almonds to the tray.

Breakfast with all the family can be fun. Let it be slow and get everyone involved. Kids can squeeze the oranges, cut up grape fruits, make fruit salads, cook the porridge, cut up salads. If you set the action, everyone will follow. Do not imagine that all the food you served last night will last. They all wake up very hungry and wait for miracles………….it only arrives when you create it all. One kid can make hot chocolate drink; the other can butter the matzo and place it in the oven. Some one else can set the table and believe me, it is worth all the effort. Then finish and take time with a glass of tea and relax…………………….until lunch.

Love and light RONA

Sunday, March 22, 2009

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The last few weeks the word India seems to be in the air. The films, the books and the many emails with clips of the beauty, flavors of spices, tastes of foods and the exquisite silks and colorful clothing…..the people, the land and travel experiences, seem non ending.

I often play with variations of Indian foods and sweet dishes at home. The other night I made a quick curried vegetable dish and served it with chutney, coconut, raisins, tomatoes and cucumber salad and chopped onions in a spicy dressing Serve with rice. White or r brown rice and dress that up as well, I add mint leaves, cut up apricots and a few spicy cashews to the rice at the end. Here in Israel, we have THE EDEN MARKET and you can purchase ready mixes to stir into the rice, they are simply delicious. Try a few. Also add them to baked potatoes and to pasta dishes. Their uses are endless.


Prepare a variety of vegetables and use in order…..first the onions and garlic and then the harder vegetables and then softer ones and lastly the cauliflower and zucchinis. I make a large pot of vegetables and do the rice separately.

Five onions and five cloves of garlic. Cut up into slices. Sautee in olive oil on a low flame. Add three cut up apples(without the peels) . I cut up five peeled carrots and two leeks, three potatoes, a large sliced of pumpkin squares, two sweet potatoes and a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger, half a teaspoon turmeric and cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and two teaspoons of curry. I let this all sauté until the vegetables wilt. Then add three zucchinis, cut into slices and two cupfuls of cauliflowers. I add ten to twelve button mushrooms. Add some cut up parsley and three cut up dates and three sliced apricots. I add two teaspoons of agave syrup or honey. Pour in three cps of boiling water, turn the flame low and let it cook for forty minutes on a lower flame. The aroma will be great and as it thickens, the vegetables will retain their shapes and look fabulous.

Create an exciting table. Use a colored tablecloth or a colorful sheet. Mix exotic gay serviettes, a medley of flowers and little butterflies and nick knacks as a centerpiece. Use six colorful bowls for the extras. One for coconut, one for raisins and chopped apricots and dates, one for chutney, another for cut up tomatoes and cucumbers and the last two for cashew nuts and chopped mangoes, pears or a fruit in season, with chopped red peppers.

Now do the rice. Three cups will make a generous amount
. Cook and keep warm in a steamer.

Serve the vegetables over the rice on a large tray. Presentation and aroma are the trick…..go large and use exotic spoons to serve the food. The little bowls all need spoons. Double dipping just is not needed.

Serve and enjoy. Finish the meal with a light fruit salad and a few Indian candies, with a mint tea.


This is lovely to use and looks so exciting.
2 cups rice.
3 1/2 cups water.

Use a few threads of saffron, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, a bit of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt,1 tablespoon sugar and a few raisins.

ץCook the rice with all the spices and at the ned stir in the raisins. Steam to keep hot.


2 cups of beans.
2 onions, 2 carrots, 2 red peppers, I cup sliced leeks.
Spices… a little of each of.ginger, garlic, curry powder, cinnamon and 1 cup tomato paste. I add 1 teaspoon Marmite or Soya sauce.

Soak the beans, a mixture of a few kinds, overnight, wash and rinse and cook soft. Fry the onions, garlic, ginger and spices in a little olive oil Add 1 cup of water and the tomato paste , Marmite or soya sauce. Cook on a medium flame for 30 minutes. The bean salad can be served with some raisins and coconut sprinkled on top and lots of chopped parsley. Some people add a teaspoon or two of honey.

I serve a large, fresh salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce with the meal.

Samooses are great as a starter and a fruit platter of frsh fruits, dates and dried fruits can
End the meal.

Love and light RONA

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

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take time to think, go within


We are all moving at a pace in this busy world. We hear information all day. We see many people and exchange words, eat a hasty sandwich together, share a ride, and wave hi as we enter the drive way. The bus, the train ride, the streams of traffic take us here and there…………………and at the end of the day….how much did you absorb? Did you absorb what you heard, can you repeat the news of the day? Did you stop, turn off the TV and radio, to listen to your kids? It’s a fact, we are so plugged in to the movement of life, that time to think is a luxury.

Stop and smile. Smile and listen. Hear the birds call and find crumbs for them. Notice the hungry and give food. All the animals and pets need attention and sweetness. They share intimate and private moments with you. They see you low, sad and tired. Respect them.
Give your family the time to complain, explain and simply let them trust that you will listen. We forget that everyone is battling with issues of their own. Just be there…………….

I do some meditation and find comfort in going within, breathing deeply and sharing
Time with myself. We all have too many currents around us. TV, phones, micro ovens, alarm clocks, DVDs wake up calls, reminder signals, beeps from the computer, oven bells ringing, whistling kettles and the kids yelling. STOP it all and be still. Unplug unnecessary electrical units, especially in the bedroom. Sleep with dreams, not bells and

Our earth is made up of energy. The light energy is around us. Let it reach you and embrace you. Understand you are part of a large world and each of us is blessed with the moments each day to feel unconditional love and warmth
Reach out and help less lucky people. Be aware that some members at the office are not having an easy day. Everyone need a little attention and love. Respect the level of other people's ability to cope. They try and we need to have the grace to be gentle.. When you make space for others , you are creating a better world..

Tomorrow is a new day. I send you a sunset of beauty and in it see the promise of a new dawn. Think of how you can create the new day to be good for you and those you love. Give love, give time and give a friendly smile. You have abundance within you, an endless supply of good. Do not waste the gift of life, of joy and of gentle grace.


Monday, March 16, 2009




Great for teenagers, pregnant women and people who suffer from anaemia. This is a good source of natural iron.

2 Cups washed parsley leaves.
3-4 sautéed onions ( a few cloves of garlic are optional)
1 tablespoon oregano and basil.
2 tablespoons olive oil.
Mix all the ingredients in a blender. Place in a jar and use on matzo, as a spread for omelets, with a vegetables salad. I add some apple cider vinegar and
Create an salad dressing.


6-8 sun dried tomatoes (and a little olive oil)
4 cloves garlic (optional)
1/2 cup cut up chives and spring onions.
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon dried basil
4 tablespoons olive oil.
Mix all ingredients in a blender. You can spread this on egg plant slices, or baked potato slices , cauliflower , onion slices and zucchini rounds.
Sprinkle olive oil and bake vegetables in 1/2 cup tomato or vegetable juice. Bake in a medium oven for ten to twelve minutes.

Passover means eating a lot of matzo. My Mom used to make Matzo rolls that we could take along , when we went out.
Remember that years ago, the cafés and restaurants were not geared for Passover like today. So we had these rolls and filled them with all kinds of relishes and even honey and cheeses, vegetable salads and boiled eggs.

They need to be made for the day, as they do not last for a few days.


6 Eggs.
1 1/2 cups of water.
2/3 cup of oil
2 cups matzo meal.
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon brown sugar or honey.

Bring oil, water, salt and sugar to the boil.
Add matzo meal, slowly , 1/2 a cup at a time
Mix and remove from the flame. Add 1 egg at a time.
Grease a baking sheet. Make small balls of the mixture and set apart (2') and with a knife, make a few incisions across the balls, Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes.


Take time to organize the Seder. It is not only about cleaning the home, it is the head that needs a lot of time to think, to create and make the festival of Freedom, meaningful for everyone. The kids enjoy their own Haggada and little games and gifts. Make the table ahead of time, prepare extra little items for the next day.
When people sleep over, have wet wipes in the bathrooms, diapers for babies, in case they were forgotten, extra toilet rolls and tissues, tooth brushes and tooth paste and soaps. A few extra towels are needed and of course have some cushions to make the seating good for kids and older folks. I find that a shawl is useful for older people and you need to be prepared with a bed for an older or younger member of the family to reitre on.

All in all, it is a lovely Festival and I love each part of it.

On Friday we went to visit the tent for support of Gilad Shalit. The price of Freedom hits you hard there. When you think of where he is. We are lucky to be free. Make it a wonderful holiday of Freedom. We hold hands in prayers for the Freedom of Gilad.

Have a good week Love and Light Rona

Wednesday, March 11, 2009



Passover is a great festival and the traditional way of sitting down to a Seder is so special. The candles, the wine, the Haggada and the traditional foods make this a wonderful meal. The Seder plate and the symbolic stories of our people, the songs and stories, create
memories that the children carry throughout their lives..

Rejoice that you are privileged to make the Seder. Prepare well and you will be surprised at how easy all of it can be.

Haggadahs. Make sure you have enough and in the language your guests need to be comfortable in and able to participate with the reading.

Table setting. Plan the tables and cloths, serviettes crockery and plates in your mind now. Have candles, wines, glasses and little gifts for the kiddies ready ahead of time. Sometimes a little toy that relates to the Seder can be useful with restless little ones.

Have a side table for the evening. Here you can have extra drinks, glasses, cups and tea for late in the evening.

Plan a dessert area. An easy way is to have two large trays, with the goodies, cookies and cakes on it. Keep it wrapped and it is ready for the day after too. Dried fruit, raisins, nuts and cookies are easy to prepare. Prepare compote and baked apples ahead of time .

I change the dishes for Passover, but find I never have enough for storage in the fridge and always need extra oven dishes. I buy dishes for baking and many different sizes for the fridge, extra plastic throw away plates and serviettes. I find that you can buy plastic dishes for very little cost in all sizes and if you choose two colors, it is easy for the milk and meat dishes. I also buy new kitchen cloths that co ordinate with the plastic colors.
Buy little glass jars that are useful for left over olives, chrain, jams, relishes and cucumbers or pickles.

Plan your shopping early and make sure that you have enough to create quick meals. In the recipes next week , I will give you ideas for matzo rolls, relishes and simple meals.

Have a good week and remember, the house wife has a lot to do, but involve the family,
they too can be part of the Passover preparations…

Love and light………………………………. Rona

PS. Do you need a special recipe? Let me know.


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The booklet has recipes, relishes, spread and endless ideas. I have tried to eliminate too much frying and eggs. There are easy to do dishes. Passover is a great deal of work, but preparation and organizing it all, makes it easy and a pleasure.



Strawberries simply spell pure delight. Today you can purchase strawberries for longer periods and organic ones are the best to eat.
Use them fresh, in fruit salads, milk shakes, smoothies and in salads. They make a great pie and are a decorators delight for jazzing up a simple dessert.
Strawberries make delicious jams, relishes, jellies and sauces.


Wash and hull, arrange on a plate and sprinkle a few drops, only a few, of balsamic vinegar on them Dust with confectioners sugar. Serve.


2 cups of strawberries. 2 tablespoons brown sugar.
2 cups vanilla ice cream. 1 jar of 3% yogurt. 2 tablespoon cointreau.
Wash and hull strawberries, Sprinkle sugar on them. Chill 2 hours. Soften ice cream and mix with the yogurt. If you use cream instead of yogurt, it will be thicker. I choose the Sane and Sensible options as a rule. Fold in cointreau and strawberries. Serve in a deep fruit glass with a strawberry and a meringue or chocolate on top. Enjoy.


Use tall glasses and have a long spoon for each glass.
Cut up six to eight strawberries. Put aside. Mix two yogurts, one banana and ten strawberries in a blender. You use a yogurt for each person a few strawberries and half a banana. Blend and add a few drops of vanilla. Pour into a glass and sprinkle the remaining strawberries on top. Decorate with some mint leaves and serve chilled.


Cut up fruits in season and squeeze orange juice over it all. Chop the strawberries and add a teaspoon or two of pine kernels and a few raisins. Mix and serve . You can make this elegant by serving the fruit in a glass bowl placed on a doily Arrange one or two biscotti next to the fruit.


3 cups melon cantaloupe balls. 1 cup fresh pineapple cubes.
1 avocado. 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
1 cup strawberries . 1 cup strips of cut up Cheddar cheese.
Honey Nut dressing.

Use a large shallow dish. Cut the avocado into strips and sprinkle with the lemon juice.
Fill bowl with cut up melon balls, cubed pineapple and strawberries.
Decorate with the avocado and strips of cheddar cheese. Pour over a dressing of three tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons of honey. Add a few chopped walnuts.

Alternative salad dressing. Use half a cup of techina and two tablespoons honey and three tablespoons of sliced almonds.


5 tablespoons cream cheese.
A little salt. 1 tablespoon sugar. Dash cayenne pepper.
Half a cup strawberries.
Five pears, halved.
Salad greens.

Mash and whip the cheese. Add salt, sugar and cayenne. Fold in the berries. Place the filling in the pear halves and arrange on the bed of green salad leaves or lettuce. Serve with a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, honey and salt and pepper.

You need two halves per person. This is great with a cheese and wine meal.

Love and light.