Vanilla Kipferl Cookies

This happens a couple times a year. My lovely daughter volunteers me to make something for the class. In December, it was latkes. She wanted to teach her class about Chanukah. This time around, she offered a German baked good. Or rather – anything German and cooked. I had no idea what to prepare.

I researched German baked goods on the interwebz a bit – trying to find something that my grandmother used to make. So many things are variations on recipes most likely handed down in her family. I finally came upon an authentic German cookie that I remember her making. The buttery, almond & vanilla cookies shaped in a crescent shape. These were always among the bags of baked good that she would hand deliver to Minnesota. This seemed easy enough.

These turned out to be successful. The class enjoyed – several kids even asked for the recipe! Glad the 4th graders approve!

Vanilla Kipferl Cookies

2 cups of flour
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/3 cup of sugar
3/4 cup ground almonds
2 tsp. vanilla
vanilla scrapings from 1/2 vanilla bean
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 365.

Mix all of the ingredients together except for the powdered sugar.

The mixture will be crumbly.

Use your hands to form some semblance of a dough.

Pinch of 1-2 tablespoon size pieces and shape in to a crescent or horn shape.

Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for around 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet.

Roll in powdered sugar and cool on cooling rack.



Garlic Scapes and White Bean Hummus with Pita Chips

I had some scapes leftover from the pesto I made the other day. As I ate the pesto with the pasta and white beans, I thought about how this flavor combo would make a good hummus. I had some leftover pita sitting in the freezer from a few weeks ago that was begging to be turned in to some pita chips. I figured it would be a good after-school snack for the kids when they got home from school.

I was right – it turned out to be perfect.

Garlic Scapes and White Bean Hummus

5-6 garlic scapes
1 can white beans
1-2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. thyme
ground pepper
1.5 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil

Place everything in a food processor and go to town! It’s that easy! Seriously!



Pita Chips

Pita (I used around 10)
1/2 cup olive oil (approx.  – depends on amount of pita)
1 tsp. sea salt
fresh ground pepper
assorted herbs (half of mine were zaatar, half had a garlic/thyme mixture)

Preaheat oven to 400.

Cut pita in to wedges.

In a small bowl, mix the olive oil with the spices of your choosing.

Brush the pita triangles with the oil mixture. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet


Bake for around 7-8 minutes or so.

Cool pita chips for a few minutes and serve. Enjoy!


Mushroom Meatloaf

I rarely have the luxury of extra time on Friday afternoons.  I love when the days get longer in the spring time. Still, I somehow manage to race against the clock each Friday, to ensure that everything is ready in time. I had the day off this Friday. I managed to use it well. I also managed to have everytthing cooked with two hours to spare. That’s unheard of in this house. Of course, I managed to find what to do in those two hours. There is always plenty of tidying up, working and parenting that can be done in that time.

What I was extremely happy about though, was that I could actually take a photo of one of the Shabbat foods. It’s the little things, right?

When I did my weekly shopping trip to the kosher grocery store, they had ground beef on sale. I probably should have bought a few extra packages to throw in to the abyss of my deep freezer. I just bought one package though, and decided to wait until Friday to figure out it’s fate.

When Friday came along, the ground beef screamed meatloaf at me. I chose to make a mushroom meatloaf. Everyone is happy with this meatloaf. I pair it with a vegetarian mushroom gravy. The gravy can do double duty for any side dishes.

Mushroom Meatloaf

1.5 lbs ground beef
2 small onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 containers mushrooms (1/2 container, chopped; the other 1/2 – thinly sliced)
2 tsp. ground thyme
2 tsp. paprika
2 extra large eggs
1/2 cup flavored bread crumbs
1/2 cup ketchup

1/3 cup ketchup
2 tsp. soy sauce
1.5 tbsp. brown sugar
 tsp. sriracha sauce (less if you like it less spicy)

olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 container mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp. flour
Vegetable broth – about 1-2 cups or to desired consistency
garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix everything together except for half of the chopped onions and the sliced mushrooms.

Smush half of the meat mixture in to a loaf pan.

Sprinkle the remaining chopped onions and sliced mushrooms over the mixture. Top with the rest of the meat mixture.

In a small bowl, mix up the glaze ingredients. Spread over the meatloaf mixture.

Baked for around 45 minutes.

While the meatloaf is baking, work on the gravy.

In a deep saute pan, saute the chopped onions, garlic, shallots and mushrooms in olive oil.
Sprinkle in some garlic powder, salt and pepper

Stir in the flour to make a roux.

Whisk in the vegetable broth until you reach desired consistency. Taste. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.

When the meatloaf has cooled down a little, slice and serve with the gravy.


Holy Macaron!

This post is long overdue. I have had it sitting in the queue for a while now, and I’ve had the photos sitting on my desktop even longer.

I started to cut out the gluten in mine and my younger daughter’s world several months ago. In doing so, I needed to come up with some sweet and tasty treats for when the craving struck. While I like some of those gluten free flour blend alternatives, I prefer to make things that are intentionally gluten free. I seem to have better luck with those.

I have long wanted to conquer the French macaron challenge. Those little almond treats that can come in a rainbow of colors. When done right, they are so good. When done wrong, it can be a sticky mess.

Like any baking recipe, if you follow the recipe properly, they will come out properly and everyone will be happy. Have no fear. It’s really not too complicated.

Before you get to work, make sure you have everything ready:

  • 2 baking sheets (good, heavy kind)
  • parchment paper
  • a piping bag
  • nothing larger than a 1/2 inch round tip

Basic Macarons
3/4 cup almond meal
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 large egg whites (some people suggest using older eggs). Let the eggs sit out for a few hours before using in this recipe.
1/4 cup superfine sugar

Nutella or your favorite chocolate spread, jam, ganache.  The list is endless. This is your place to get creative.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor, process the confectioners’ sugar and the almond meal together. You shouldn’t have too many specks left. Some people recommend sifting the mixture, but I skipped this step and my macarons came out fine.

In a bowl, beat the eggs whites until foamy. You should see soft peaks.

Slowly beat in the superfine sugar. You will see that the eggs whites start to become shiny. If you wanted to add flavoring to the cookie base, this is the point that you would fold it in.

Slowly fold in the almond meal mixture in to the egg white mixture. Don’t over mix.

Spoon the batter in to your pastry bag. Alternatively, you can use a large ziploc bag and cut the corner instead of the piping tip.

Pipe out 1-inch rounds on the parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Tap the bottom of the baking sheet against the surface to let out the air.

Let the baking sheets sit for 30 minutes to rest. You will see the the tops of the batter rounds will look a little dull.

Once rested, reduce the oven temperarture to 325.

Bake only one sheet of macarons at a time. 

Place cookie sheet in oven for 10 minutes. When done, the cookies will look solid and crisp, but do not let them brown.

Let macarons cool a few minutes, then transfer to wire cooling racks.

Repeat with the second tray of cookies.

Sandwich a couple teaspoons of filling between the two cookies.



Mushroom, Spinach, and White Bean Casserole

Recently, I have been on this casserole kick. Don’t know where it came from. I didn’t grow up with casseroles. When I hear the word “casserole,” I think of Paula Deen and her twang as she talks about adding mayonaisse and cream of mushroom soup to cans of green beans. Definitely not my kind of cooking. The other kind of casserole I kind of know are the hotdishes of the tater tot variety that I use to see at various Minnesota potluck dinners. Again, not my taste. Though I do love tater tots. One day I will turn tater tot hotdish in to a healthier me kind of dish.

This morning I cooked up some brown rice, and had a nice vegetable market haul sitting in my fridge. I decided to elevate the casserole and the brown rice in to a mighty tasty dinner. Behold, the healthy and hearty casserole!

Mushroom, Spinach, and White Bean Casserole (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

10 oz. chopped mushrooms (I used a mixture of crimini and white)
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1.5 cups chopped spinach
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1-2 handfuls of shredded cheese (I used cheddar and monterey jack)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup parmesean cheese
2 tsp. tarragon
2 tsp. thyme
ground black pepper
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

In a large pan saute the mushrooms in some olive oil. Add a bit of salt. Stir.

Add in the onions and garlic. Saute a few minutes. Add in the spinach and the beans. Let some of the liquid evaporate. Add in the rice mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, shredded cheese, and spices. 
Combine the rice mixture and cottage cheese mixture in a large bowl. Stir until well combined.

Pour mixture in to baking dish. I used a 9×13 and a 9×9. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes more or hot throughout and golden along the edges. Sprinkle some of the chopped tarragon, and the remaining Parmesan.


Gluten Free Crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers Copycat Recipe)

I’ve become a gluten free guinea pig. Scouring the web, bookstores, and brainstorming new ideas for gluten free meals and snacks. The main meals aren’t too complicated. Dinners have only needed minor tweaking to adapt to gluten free. The hardest area has been snack food. We aren’t a big cake/cookie family – but the kids likes her crunchy stuff. Pretzel sticks have always been a mainstay in her feeding therapies. There’s only so much popcorn one can handle.

Store-bought snacks are not cheap. Coupons are hard to come by for the kinds of foods we are looking for. So I am trying to make my own. When we first began our gluten free adventure, I asked a friend for pretzel ideas. She mentioned the Sticks & Twigs by Mary’s Gone Crackers.

I’ve quickly become addicted to these gluten free pretzels. They aren’t like ordinary pretzels. They are full of seeds and stuff. They have a great crunch. They have a nice, nutty flavor. More involved than a standard Snyder’s pretzel. Unfortunately, at $4.50 a bag – they don’t fit my budget too well.

Looking at the ingredient label, I pondered trying to make my own. The ingredients aren’t too complicated; brown rice, quinoa, flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, and tamari. I have these ingredients in my pantry. While googling for ideas, I came upon the crackers of Mary’s Gone Crackers fame. They are basically the same pretzel taste in a cracker. I figured that I would tackle that first – and then I could move on to pretzels.

The first time I made the crackers – my results were uneven. Some pans came out ok, and some pans came out – well, not so ok. By the second time – I finally got it down pat. Similar to the pretzels, the crackers cost around $4.50 for way too few crackers. Happy to get about 3 times as many crackers at a significant savings by making my own. I do plan on playing with the recipe more to add flavors – like garlic and rosemary.

I am still determined to figure out how to make the pretzels – in the meantime, enjoy these yummy crackers!

Gluten Free Crackers (Mary's Gone Crackers Copycat Recipe)



Gluten Free Crackers (Mary's Gone Crackers Copycat Recipe)
This recipe was slightly adapted from here.
Recipe type: Crackers, Snacks
Cuisine: Gluten Free
  • 1 cup quinoa (dry)
  • 1 cup brown rice (dry)
  • 2-3 tsp. water
2-3 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup whole, toasted flax seeds
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
1/4 cup black sesame seeds (could also use gomasio)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  1. Prepare rice and quinoa as per your regular methods.
  2. Add cooked brown rice to Cuisinart and process with a small amount of water.
  3. You should process brown rice to a mush.
  4. Add quinoa to the mix and process a bit more to incorporate.
  5. Add the tamari or soy sauce and mix a bit more.
  6. Take the dough out and place in bowl. Mix in other seeds and seasonings with a wooden spoon. The mixture will be very sticky.
  7. Spray baking pan with oil spray or rub olive oil on baking sheet. Do not use parchment paper.
  8. Drop teaspoon size bits of dough on to cookie sheet. On a half sheet pan, I got around 16 balls.
  9. Take a small piece of parchment paper, spray lightly with oil and place on top of each ball and flatten. I pressed down on to the paper with a stainless steel measuring cup. It seemed to work best.  The cracker should be very thin and flat.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees. Keep an eye on the crackers. Remove them when they have browned and are comepletly dry. Don't let them burn. I took them out at around 17 minutes. Keep an eye out. Different pans conduct heat differently.
  11. Cool crackers on rack.
  12. Enjoy!



P.S. As a follow-up, I did succeed in making the pretzels. 

Veggie Lentil Loaf

Sunday is my day to make things. I spread out my wings in the kitchen, so to speak, and get down to business. It will never be my day to shine as a once-a-month cooking type person, but I can at least try to get createive in the kitchen. I try to make something new, using a new skill or a new ingredient. Whatever it may be – I have a few extra minutes, so why not use it to cook something tasty. I get extra excited when whatever I make becomes an easy meal for during the week.

I am trying to make more gluten free, whole meals that can serve everyone. I don’t like having to prepare multiple meals to fit the eating habits of various family members. I’m also trying to spend less and use up more in the house. 
Looking through my cabinets I found some trusty lentils. I’ve been wanting to make a lentil loaf for a long time. I came up with this recipe. Seems to work!

Veggie Lentil Loaf

2.5 cups of cooked lentils (I recommend you cook the lentils in veggie broth)
2 cups rice, cooked (I used basmati)
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, grated
10 oz. mushrooms, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. rosemary
2 tbsp. flax + 2 tbsp. water OR two eggs

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place lentils in a large mixing bowl and mash half of them. Add the rice to the bowl.

If you are going the flax seed route, this is where you will mix the flax seed with the water and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

Saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add in the mushrooms and carrots.  Add in the spices. Saute for another 3-5 minutes.

Add the vegetable mixture to the lentil/rice mixture. Mix in the ketchup and another tablespoon of olive oil.

Press the mixture into loaf pans. I had enough mixture for two loaf pans. Drizzle ketchup on top of each loaf.

Bake in the oven for about an hour.

I served this with a vegetarian onion gravy made up of earth balance, veggie broth, onions, garlic, herbs, and potato starch as a thickener.

Dinner was some lentil loaf, roasted brussel sprouts, and sweet potato fries. Yum!

You can definitely play with it.


Apologies for the not so pretty picture…
it was just that kind of night

Chewy Ginger Snap Cookies

Last year I decided to be a bit frugal and start making my teacher gifts. I can be crafty, but I don’t have time to be as crafty as I want to be. I knew I wouldn’t be buying out A.C. Moore and making fancy baskets. I still had to do something. Each kids has a gaggle of teachers, and buying something more tangible from a store would be ridiculously expensive. I decided to make a cookie basket of sorts. I think I will continue with that place this year. About $20 in baking ingredients + $15 in packaging supplies from the craft store, and we’re good. I may add some cute pictures of the kids in aprons or something along those lines to add to the card.

Anyhow, I made about 4 different kinds of cookies. My Russian tea cakes bombed. Will need to find a new recipe for that. The chocolate krinkles and the chocolate chip cookies were easy and appreciated. It was the chewy ginger cookies that were the biggest hit – both at home and in the schools. I have since made the recipe a few times, and they get devoured pretty quickly. Definitely recommend it.

Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies
Recipe slightly adapted from the Cooking with my Kid Blog


3/4 cup melted butter

1 and 1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tbsp chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 tsp cloves

Melt the butter and let it cool. 

Mix in the egg, molasses, and 1 cup of the sugar. 

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. 

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture a little at a time until combined. Chill for 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper and heat the oven to 375 degrees. 

Make 1″ balls with the dough and roll in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until coated. 

Place on cookie sheet with about 2″ between each ball. Bake for exactly 9 minutes in the middle of the oven (only 1 cookie sheet at a time). 

Take them out at 9 minutes even if they don’t seem done. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for 2 more minutes before removing and cooling on a rack. 


English Muffins

I don’t remember ever having a breakfast sandwich until I moved to New York. 

Don’t get me wrong. We ate breakfast in Minnesota. They had Egg McMuffins (shudder) there as well. They just don’t have all the greasy delis, bodegas, and carts where you can order that classic egg & cheese on a roll. 

If I ate breakfast out in Minnesota, it was usually two eggs – over easy, with a side of hash browns and toast. If I wanted to shake things up a bit, there were always omelets and pancakes. My father is a master omelet maker. Still, there is something to being able to go to a corner store and pay a guy $1.50 to make a greasy sandwich – that also serves as a really tasty hangover cure.

Fast forward a few years. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had huge cravings for egg sandwiches in the morning. I decided to start searching for that perfect breakfast sandwich. I still haven’t found it. I haven’t found anyone who gets all the parts just right. If the bagel or roll is good, then my luck – the eggs are overdone. Or the cheese is all wrong. I don’t need much. A toasted english muffin or roll with american cheese, two eggs, salt, and pepper. That’s all it takes. 

I have done bagels. Rolls are easy. I had never done English Muffins. 

Growing up, we often used to eat the classic Thomas’s English Muffins.  With all its nooks and cranny goodness.  I decided I had to make something like that. I studied dozens of recipes online and in my various baking cookbooks. I researched flour and muffins rings. It didn’t seem too complicated. I simply procrastinated. I finally dug in. Sunday morning was D-Day. It really wasn’t hard to do. Was fun to make – and tasty too! 

Traditional English Muffins

1/4 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees)
1 tablespoon (1 package) active dry yeast (or a little less than a tablespoon of instant yeast)
Pinch of sugar
4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
Cornmeal (for dusting)

If using active dry yeast, combine the water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. If using instant yeast, as I did, you can just mix the yeast in with the flour and omit this first step and the sugar.

Combine 2 cups of the flour and the salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in egg, milk, butter, and yeast mixture. Mix until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring in each time, until you have a soft dough that just clears the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 3 to 5 minutes. Return the dough to a clean, greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

Sprinkle a work surface with cornmeal. Pour the dough out of the bowl and onto the surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with cornmeal and then roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Use a large round cookie cutter or an upside down drinking glass to cut the muffins out of the dough.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place the muffins onto the skillet and let the bake for 5 to 10 minutes until quite dark before flipping.

 I threw my english muffins in the oven for a few minutes to finish the baking process.

Cool them on a wire rack when out of the oven.

Serve toasted with butter as I did on Sunday, or as a breakfast sandwich with egg and cheese as I intend to do tomorrow morning. Enjoy!

Check out all the nooks and crannies here!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cooookies! Did someone say cookies?

I took a day off work today to get some appointments out of the way, and then lo and behold, two of those three appointments got cancelled. Doctors get emergencies? Who knew? Anyhow, I had lots of time to kill and no plans.

I got my shabbat shopping and a Target run out of the way and I still felt like I had endless time. I decided to knock out the shabbat desserts. I first made an apple crisp. Easy peasy, right. But then I had leftover flour, brown sugar, and oats. They are useful to have around, but not in the amounts I had. A cup or two here and there. These leftover ingredients screamed cookies to me. I love a good oatmeal cookie. Always, always with chocolate chips and never with raisins. I also had some peanut butter at the bottom of the jar begging to be folded in to the cookie. Voila! The cookie was born!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Pareve)

1 cup earth balance or butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups flour
3 1/2 cups oats
2 tbsp. coconut milk or regular milk
3/4 cup peanut butter – creamy or nutty would work
1 + bag of chocolate chips (I had a 1/2 cup or so chocolate chips left in a bag begging to be used)

Preheat the oven to 360.

Cream the butter with the sugars until smooth.

Add the vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs. Beat some more.

Add the rest of the ingredients slowly, one by one. Mix well with an electric beater or mixer.

Drop by rounded spoonful on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for around 8-9 minutes for yummy chewy cookies.



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