What could be better than a birthday hug from my four grandsons! NOTHING!

I was so blessed this birthday that my grandsons spent the weekend with us – and the best present in the world was what I got – home made birthday cards – and a big group hug. What could be better than that? NOTHING! How lucky I am!

Second Group hug Jack jonah noah gabriel and Larraine Birthday hug 2016 at home shabbat

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A delicious Salvadorean, Mexican, Bolivian and Argentinian treat! Enjoy!

Two of our Little Farm Staff, and four of our extended part time staff come from El Salvador. They introduced us to the most delicious of all treats – ALFAJORES~

You will love these – and they are not difficult to make either. Beware a binge attack however – eating one is not an option!

Alfajores from Argentina and El Salvador

Makes 12 cookies

  • 100grams (about 7 tablespoons) butter, soft
  • 40grams confectioners’ sugar
  • 75grams cornstarch
  • 75grams all-purpose flour
  • 4tablespoons dulce de leche
  1. Cream the soft butter together with the powdered sugar until the mixture is fluffy. If your butter is very soft already, this should take no more than a couple of minutes with a handheld mixer.
  2. Whisk together the cornstarch and the all-purpose flour, then combine it with the butter and sugar using a large wooden spoon until the dough starts coming together into a ball.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C) and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the disk of dough on a floured surface, dust it with some extra flour, then carefully roll the dough out to a thickness of no more than 5 millimeters (about 1/8-inch thick).
  4. Using a 5-centimeter (2-inch) round cookie cutter, cut out 24 cookies (you will have to re-roll the dough a couple of times to do this), and place the dough circles on the prepared sheet pan, leaving about 1 centimeter (about 1/2 inch) of space between the cookies.
  5. Place the sheet pan in the fridge for approximately 10 minutes, so that the cookies can firm up.
  6. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they’re just starting to color around the edges. Lift the cookies onto a cooling rack and leave them to cool.
  7. Once they’re at room temperature, top half of the cookies with dulce de leche, using about 1 teaspoon on each one. Then sandwich those cookies with the plain ones. As you press the cookies together, carefully rotate the two cookies in opposite directions, which will help spread the dulce de leche all the way to the edge of the cookies.

Here they are!



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Segil Urban Farm Fellow Endowment – for future generations

We are so proud to have endowed an annual fellowship for an Urban Farm Fellow at the Shalom Institute and Camp in Malibu Hills. This fellowship will enable a young adult to spend the summer at the camp becoming expert in Urban farming and transferring that knowledge to the thousands of children and families who attend the camp year round. They will learn all about sustainable organic farming – imbuing this teaching with the values outlined in The Ten Commandments – as well as respect and care for nature and the world around us – regardless of whether we live in an urban environment or in rural areas. This is what we have done at our Little Farm and now we have established this fellowship so as to preserve in perpetuity these same beliefs for the community at large. Here is a picture of us with the Camp CEO and Director, the first Segil Family Farm Fellow and our son and four grandchildren. Such an exciting day!

Segil Farm Fellow first award at Shalom Institute Camp July 2016

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Chef John from ALL RECIPES has a great Peanut Curry Chicken – but high in calories!

This is a really terrific recipe but very high in calories. So be warned! It is directly from Chef John, from the site ALL RECIPES

Chef John’s Peanut Curry Chicken


1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
3 1/2 cups chicken broth, or to taste
3/4 cup unsweetened natural peanut butter
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 pound zucchini, cut into chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 green poblano pepper, diced
2 cups hot cooked rice
1 lime, for garnish
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

  1. Mix salt, coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl.
  2. Place chicken pieces in a separate bowl and add 1/2 of the spice blend. Mix together thoroughly to coat each surface with spice blend.
  3. Heat oil over high heat in a heavy pot. Brown half of the chicken pieces on all sides. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add onion to pot. Saute until onions start to turn translucent and golden, 1 or 2 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and ginger; cook about 1 minute.
  6. Stir in remaining spice blend; cook and stir one minute.
  7. Pour in chicken broth.
  8. Add browned chicken along with accumulated juices.
  9. Stir in peanut butter and ketchup; add brown sugar.
  10. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to maintain a gentle, steady simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  11. Transfer zucchini, red bell pepper, poblano pepper, and peanuts to the pot.
  12. Stir to mix. Continue simmering until chicken and vegetables are fork tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
  13. Remove from heat.
  14. Serve over rice with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of peanuts and chopped cilantro.
    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2016 Allrecipes.com
    Printed From Allrecipes.com 7/16/2016



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Low Calorie Diets – do they work?

I have been reading about Low ( make that VERY low) calorie diets. The 5.2 diet in particular. They work.

After a particularly heavy eating trip, I tried this out. It helped a lot. Eat only 500 calories for two ( non consecutive) days a week and the other 5 days eat whatever you like ( without binging).

Give it a try!


In addition there have been recent articles on how low calorie diets can help some illnesses – especially the Auto Immune kind.

Here is the link.



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Cooking Sea Bass the low calorie way

We love fish.

Sea Bass by mused chefSeabass is our favorite It is a fatty fish and so needs very little to make it taste rich and yummy. We use Pam Olive Oil Spray on the baking dish, add Lawry’s seasoning salt and a squeeze of meyer lemon juice and bake it for 30 minutes ( one pound) at 400 degrees.

Serve with sliced farm fresh tomatoes and cucumber and you will have a healthy and tasty meal!


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A great vegetable soup – everything but the kitchen sink!

Before we went out of town this summer, I had a lot of vegetables in the fridge. So I made up this veggie soup – basically threw in everything I had except potatoes – and used vegetable broth with it. It was delicious! We froze it so that when we returned we would have it in portion sized bags to heat up as a returning meal.

A Great Vegetable Soup


  • 4 Shallots
  • 1 cabbage
  • I bulb of fennel
  • 10 Tomatoes
  • 16 baby carrots
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Dill
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Chives
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 4 Parsnips
  • 1 bunch of bok choy
  • chopped eggplant
  • Whatever other vegetables you have in the fridge that you think would be good in a soup! Lettuce does not work.


  1. Peel and chop everything and add to a big soup pot with 4 quarts of vegetable stock.
  2. When all is soft, take out half and puree it – add back to the pot and you will have a soup that is smooth as well as has bulk with the half of the vegetables that are not pureed.
  3. Adjust seasoning as needed. ( I add some curry and turmeric for a change – your choice!)

Here is some chopped cabbage and below that part of the soup cooking.

Cabbage Vegetable soup cooking

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A simple chicken recipe for the summer ( or any time actually!)

Balsamic Chicken Breasts


  • 1/2 cup of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes cut in half ( you can see that we have a plethora of tomatoes to choose from)
  • one lemon – zest and juice


  1. Mix vinegar, mustard, olive oil garlic and salt and pepper together into a marinade.
  2. Place the chicken breasts into the marinade and let sit in the fridge for about 4 hours ( or overnight)
  3. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Place the chicken in a baking dish with the marinade over it and the tomatoes over than. Bake until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Sprinkle zest and lemon juice over chicken before serving ( optional)
  6. Serve with Couscous and a green saladTomatoes crop 2011

Chicken Breasts raw

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Family Retreat 2016 – Such Fun – How Blessed We Are!

We had our annual family retreat at Palm Springs – so much fun – it was HOT HOT HOT (reached 130 degrees one day – felt like Egypt in summer – yes, we were there one August) but we still had a great time. The kids are in heaven and the adults love watching and playing with them. Thanks to my nephew who organizes all of it ! Five sets of grandparents, four sets of adult kids, and 12 little ones! Amazing fun – swimming, playing ball, flying mini helicopters, running races, eating and eating and eating, some cooking – my niece is a terrific cook – salads, bbq, cake ( we celebrated one little boy birthday) a LARGE pinata,  candy ( oh so much candy!), sleepovers, minecraft ( ad nauseum), movies, games, wii and other electronic games and reading lots of books – and the adult kids got to go out on the town for dinner while grandparents babysat – fabulous times for all.
adult kids pic of all at restaurant fam week 2016 - Copy

A birthday meant lots of cake and happiness!Alex had a birthday family week 2016 - Copy

Cooling off – our youngest family members.Babies in baby pool Teddy and Sloane with nina romy and natalie - Copy

Screen time for some of the cousins when the temperature was 124 outside — of course!Cousins and screen time family week 2016 - Copy Donne and Gabe doing electronic games Fam week 2016 - Copy

The best part of a family week is one on one time with each of the little ones. Larraine holding jack fam week 2016 - Copy Segil Family Retreat 2016 - Copy Some of family in pool family week 2016 - Copy

Both sets of twins loved jumping in!Twins jumping into pool fam week 2016 - Copy

Snow cones anyone?Twins snow cones fam week 2016 - Copy

Two grandmas with one grandson on the way to the poolTwo grandmas with one grandson walking Fam week 2016 - Copy

While we were away our rescue dog Goldie ran away ( maybe to look for us?). Thanks to a friendly neighbor who called animal services, and another wonderful neighbor who picked her up for us – she came home. Very concerning – we have secured the Little Farm Property carefully even before she got out – but she still managed. We are so happy she is home. And Smokey, our very large Central Asian Shepherd was happy to see her too.

Smokey and goldie May 2016

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A great idea to make two soups out of one

Some time ago I shared with you a super Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup that I made.  I have included that recipe again here in case you didn’t see it. The cauliflower makes the soup seem creamy which it is not. It is pretty low calorie.

Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup


  • 1 cauliflower – florets only
  • I butternut squash – peeled and cut into pieces
  • 2 quarts and a cup of vegetable bouillon ( I use Better than Bouillon)
  • I large onion chopped
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the cauliflower in water until soft
  2. In the meantime roast the butternut squash pieces in the oven in a little olive oil until soft and caramelized.
  3. Heat olive oil in pot
  4. Saute chopped onion until soft
  5. Add onion, cauliflower and butternut squash to a blender with  enough vegetable bouillon to make it liquid
  6. Put all into the pot and add 2 quarts of vegetable bouillon to thin the soup.
  7. Serve! Freezes well too

So that was the soup. It was so simple.

But I made too much.

So having some fresh oyster and shiitake mushrooms in house, I decided to change it up a bit!

Give this a try! I revived the Cauliflower Butternut Squash soup and made it into a Mushroom Soup – and it was yummy and good for another two meals! YAY!

Mushroom Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup – TWO SOUPS IN ONE!


  • Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup ( whatever you have left – at least a couple of servings)
  • Leeks ( 3) chopped ( here they are growing in the picture below!!)Leeks growing
  • Oyster Mushrooms ( or  mixture of any kinds of mushrooms that you have on hand) cut into chunks along the line of the petals and shiitake mushrooms ( take off the stalks)
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp of chopped dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Better than bouillon Mushroom Bouillon


  1. Heat the oil in a pot.
  2. Saute the chopped leeks until softened. Move them to one side in the potChopped Leeks
  3. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute until tender
  4. Add two pints of bouillon ( mushroom bouillon)
  5. Add the Cauliflower Butternut Squash soup
  6. Mix together and season to taste.
  7. Sprinkle dill and stir it in before serving Mushroom Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup
  8. Enjoy!


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