Quick Chicken-Rice Dinner

I didn’t feel like making dinner tonight, but my son came home so I felt cereal wasn’t a great option. This dinner is so easy, and takes very little energy to prepare.

Baked Chicken Thighs

1 package chicken thighs, bones in

1/4 cp ketchup

1 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp pepper

Place thighs in 9×11 pan. Combine ketchup, oil and spices and spread it onto the tops of thighs. Bake in preheated 375F oven for 1 hour

Baked Steamed Rice

2 cups parboiled rice

5 cups water

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can sliced mushrooms

1/2 cp frozen or canned peas

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 diced green onion for garnish

Place rice, water, mushrooms, peas and garlic in 9×11 pan. Cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour at 375F. Take out and fluff with fork. Place in serving bowl, add soya sauce and garnish with diced onion.

Step-by-Step Brisket Recipe

2 medium chopped onions

1 3 lb brisket

3 crushed cloves garlic

1 tsp Sweet paprika

3 tablespoons crushed tomatoes

5 medium potatoes

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp flour

Sauté onions in Dutch oven with oil until golden brown
Add crushed tomatoes and minced garlic, salt and pepper to meat and rub in all over. I insert some cloves into the meat by making little holes with tip of my knife
Take remaining spices and flour and rub onto meat
Put meat into Dutch oven on top of sautéed onions and brown both sides (3-4 minutes each side on medium heat)
Add 6 cups of water (enough to cover meat) along with whole potatoes. Cover and let simmer on low for 1 1/2 to two hours. Take out and slice and return to pot. Allow to simmer for another 1/2 hour until meat is soft.
Serve in roasting pan with liquid.

My Kosher Cabin at the Top of the Mountain: “Living Off the Grid”

This post has nothing to do with recipes but it’s about a part of my life that I believe influenced the way I’m able to come up with healthy recipes. We lived off the grid in the mountains in Tennessee. I’m an extremely “cityfied” person so the entire experience was a bit overwhelming for me. When we first went down to Tennessee for my husbands new job, we were renting a beautiful farmhouse with electricity. I say this as if it’s strange, but what I didn’t know was that electricity was not the “norm” in this area of Tennessee. Then we were asked to leave the farm unexpectedly, and we were without a place to live. We only had ten days to find a new home. We had no money for first and last months rent as we put everything into our trip down from Canada. The local residents were kind and offered us a cabin at the top of a mountain. The only catch was, it was totally off the grid! No electricity and the solar panels didn’t work. The water came from big rain basins on top of the barn but it wasn’t reliable for drinking. The drinking water came from a fresh spring at the bottom of the mountain. The only way to get to the top of the mountain was by horse and buggy (or on foot) because the road up was so steep so “two men and a buggy” (as they jokingly called themselves) came to pick us and our furniture up. They set up the cabin with a wood stove, oil lamps and warm bedding because the mountains get very cold at night. It was extremely quaint cabin and when I first saw it, I loved it. The following day, they returned to cut down a rick of wood for us. Since we didn’t have a fridge, I set my mind to the fact that everything had to be canned. I got together with a family who lived at the bottom of the mountain, and we spent the entire day boiling tomatoes on our wood stove and filling mason jars of ketchup, tomato sauce, and stewed tomatoes. This happened often. Whenever someone had a large harvest, we would gather and pickle or can. I ended up with green beans, corn, pickled eggs, garlic pickles and potatoes. Cooking certainly kept me busy. There was a man in the town who we ordered our grains and fruits from and any other sundries, but it was an hour and a half away so regular items weren’t something we depended upon. We kept kosher and never ate meat or things other people cooked. Shabbos (the day of rest Jewish people keep) was only difficult if our log burned out at 3am. The man down the hill understood our predicament and would help us restart the fire whenever that happened. We got a lot of our vitamins from sorghum that we helped produce.  I made our bread every other day. We had 12 chickens and I was able to make money selling the surplus of their eggs. The women in the area taught me how to use a treadle sewing machine, and I made my own patterns for shirts and dresses. My son learned how to drive a buggy, grind flour for challah and pick vegetables. He even used to make little competitions with the other kids he befriended. The flour grinder was setup to a bicycle. The more you pedalled, the more grain you would grind. The boys would see who could pedal the longest and that would keep everyone busy for hours.  I homeschooled him in both Hebrew and general studies, and we started our studies at 5am because the sun was up by then. When you have no lights, your inner clock goes by when the sun rises and sets. We milked a cow and I made cheese from it as well as butter. I washed our clothes with a sort of plunger in a large bucket and we bathed by boiling water on the oven and filling up the bath. There was no internet (except for one in the local library) so we were never distracted by electronics. I didn’t get too many pictures because my iPad ran out of power. I learned so much from living this way and from the people that lived nearby us. I gained a new respect for the world we live in and how it supports us. I also found that women are capable of so much and if they need too, can provide their families with everything. We had a phone that was powered with a car battery. One day I got a call that my mother was sick, and I had to return to Canada. That was the last time I ever saw the place. I’ve never gone back, but I often think about it and what it’s like in my cabin at the top of the mountain ⛰

Feel free to ask me any questions or leave a comment.

 

-Chaya

The Perfect Cup of Tea ☕️

Growing up in Canada our hot beverage of choice was always tea. Whenever we traveled to the US and ordered tea, it came to us tasting like “dishwater” (as my mother would call it).

There is a correct way to make a perfect cup of tea. I always boil my water with a kettle on the stove. This brings it to the perfect temperature for making tea. I always use a teapot. I never clean the pot out with dish soap; I simply rinse it between uses. This “cures” the pot because the soap can add a flavour you don’t want.

4 cups of tea:

2 tea bags

4 cups boiling water

Bring water to a boil in a kettle. When kettle steams, take it off the heat. Pour some boiled water into teapot, swirling around and then dispose of it down your sink. Add two tea bags to the warmed pot and then add 4 cups boiled water over the tea bags. Cover. Let steep for five minutes. Remove bags with a spoon and discard. Tea that sits too long can be bitter.

You can keep your pot warm with a tea cozy, or with a dish towel. Serve with lemon and honey or some milk.

Hint: Always use your good teacups because you are worth the good stuff!

Let me know if you have any questions or leave a comment.

-Chaya