GREEN CABBAGE + HERB MINI FRITTATAS (Dairy-free + Gluten-free)

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Yes, I am alive, and today, after six hectic months, I can finally say, “alive and well.” I survived the move from our two-bedroom – and only one bathroom! –  townhouse to a three-bedroom – and three bathrooms!!! – townhouse. Two-and-a-half bath, technically. Now, we each have our own bathroom, almost.

I survived middle school madness. If you live in LA, you know exactly what I am talking about. Here, if you don’t live in a zone that has a good middle school, you are basically screwed. Unless you get lucky, like we did. Thanks to the universe, Leo ended up getting accepted to the SAS (School for Advanced Studies) program at our local middle school, which is considered to be good, and he also won two lotteries for two good charter schools. We chose to send him to the smaller and closer charter school.

I also survived the twenty-four-hour flight to Mallorca and back. Every time I fly, I swear I will never fly again. Then three months later I find myself again sitting, uprigh and tightly, in a crappy economy seat, cursing my inability to remember how horrible it is and the ants in my pants. I forget how much anxiety and exhaustion a few moments of air turbulence can cause. I know flying is safe (if you don’t fly over Ukraine.) “Safer than driving,” etc., etc. I get it. But somehow when the plane starts shaking and making scary crashing noises, I can’t get away from my terrifying images. (One of them is that my kids are in the middle of the ocean, trying to survive a pack of hungry sharks. And I can’t help them because I am already dead from the heart attack I suffered two minutes before the crash.) Continue reading

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Chocolate Pallette with Hazelnuts, Rose Petals and More

IMG_6416 IMG_6348   The inspiration for these rich and flavorful chocolate palettes (rounds) came from a very chi-chi restaurant cookbook called Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook. I’ve never eaten at the restaurant, but I heard from the friend who gave me this book as a present that Eleven Madison Park is one of the most extraordinary, upscale restaurants in NYC. You can tell that the food is exquisite just by looking at the stunning pictures in the book. Next time I’m in New York, I will have to eat there (and take Alex, too; he adores this book even more than I do.) This cookbook is neither typical nor practical. Quite the opposite: the recipes are fancy, exotic and sophisticated. It’s beautiful and inspiring. I actually find it very useful. I have never actually cooked any actual recipe from this book, “by the book,” but I’ve concocted many dishes influenced by the brilliant food combinations, unique flavors, and professional techniques. For me, it’s enough to read the recipe title and scan the picture of the dish to lead me to create my own, simpler version. You could say that simplifying recipes is my specialty. It’s something that I really enjoy about cooking: taking old-fashioned, traditional dishes, then modernizing and simplifying them. Or the opposite: taking a modern, sophisticated dish, and turning it into an easy-to-make, home-cooked dish. That’s exactly what I did with these fancy chocolate palettes.

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Wild Berry Dairy-Free Bread Pudding

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Leo: Mommy, I feel bad saying that my french toast is delicious.

Me: Why?

Leo: Because I don’t want you to feel bad that you can’t eat it.
Me: Thank you, motek (sweetie), but don’t worry, I don’t feel bad at all. I’m extremely happy with my baked french toast. It’s probably better than your french toast.
Daddy: It is.
While my husband made a classic  french toast for the kids and himself, I baked myself a dairy-free french toast, a.k.a. bread pudding. I just discovered that bread pudding doesn’t need milk or cream to be fluffy and delicious and puddingy - just eggs and some liquid. Continue reading

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Intoxicating Herbal Tea

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Last night, while gazing at my screen and trying to describe my tea rituals, I heard my husband shouting – or, to be precise, threatening – from downstairs that if I don’t cut Leo’s hair right now, he’ll do it himself. With clippers. Normally I don’t get threatened  easily but this time I was. I immediately stopped doing what I was (or wasn’t) doing. I walked straight to the bathroom and yelled to Leo to come right away before Daddy does something irresponsible.
When it comes to Leo’s hair – which, like my father’s,  is thick enough to cover five full heads – there is too much risk in cutting it short. Our Leo, just like his biblical ancestor, Samson, believes his strength is in his hair. Chop his hair and you chop his power. And he isn’t the only one who believes in the power of his hair. His grandmother (my mother-in-law) also believes that males (at any age) with long hair are powerful. She would be devastated – literally – if we cut off more than one inch of Leo’s mane.
I like his full, shiny hair. I think it’s charming, but that’s not the reason I neglect to trim it, not even an inch off his bangs, which cover his eyes and force him to tilt his head back in order to see anything. The problem is I just can’t stand being trapped in our 3′ x 3′ bathroom with a wriggly worm that growls at me like a bear. “What’s the point of cutting it? It’ll just grow back!” or “You always say five minutes, and then it takes you an hour!” or “Ugh! This hair! It feels like someone taped a sheep to my face!” Now, it makes me smile, but yesterday I was ready to put him on a plane to Israel to live with my mother or father. Or next time let my husband shave it all off!
Now – always – is a good time for a cup of tea. Continue reading

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