Loss of a friend – such pain and a vacuum in my life and that of her family and friends – today was her funeral and memorial –

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Yesterday after months of pain and anguish, my dear friend Ilene passed. We spoke many times every week, texted multiple times a day, traveled with our husbands together – and our children grew up together as we lived just a few doors away from each other for almost 40 years.

There is such a vacuum in my life – and I know that she was more than a mother to her four daughters – more like a very best friend – and her 10 gorgeous grandchildren adored her – their Nana was ( along with Papa) their favorite person in the world. Ilene and her husband Robert accepted and loved their sons in law as if they were sons – and we were so blessed to be included in every family event – even their 50th wedding anniversary last year  ( just two weeks ago was their 51st) – we were invited to join them and their children and grandchildren -it was also the same week that Ilene was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

She is part of my life and will be so forever. For those of you who have lost a friend who was more like family – you know what I mean.

The top picture was the 50th Wedding anniversary – you can see the sadness in our eyes as we all feared what lay ahead.

The bottom picture is us with pure happiness a few months before that – in Mexico having fun – laughing, cooking, eating, swimming and talking – what we always did .

With love – rest in peace dearest friend.

 

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Passover – an important holiday with family and friends – how blessed we are!

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 We were blessed this year to have a full house – family mainly with a few dear friends. I took special care with the table – since our children may well take on the seder responsibilities in years to come and so I wanted this year to be very important. Here is my table and members of the family – the children’s and the adult’s tables – and of course everyone had to put on a mask to commemorate the plagues – and the adults got into the fun too!

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Posted in Blog, Family, Fish, Fruit, Live Events, Prayers and Religion, Raising Children | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carrot Cake – my favorite – love the cream cheese frosting!

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I found this recipe for Carrot Cake – and tried it . OMG it is divine. I could eat the frosting all on its own – huge temptation while making this. So use the recipe on a NON DIET day. It’s too delicious to miss!

Carrot Cake

Ingredients

box (4-serving size) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix

1 1/2  cups milk 

box Betty Crocker™ SuperMoist™ yellow cake mix

cups grated carrots

teaspoons ground cinnamon

Pinch ground cloves

Pinch nutmeg

package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

teaspoon vanilla

cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans ( I left these out – am not crazy about nuts in/on cakes)

 

Directions

1.      Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray.

2.      In large bowl, beat dry pudding mix and milk with whisk 2 minutes. Stir in cake mix, carrots, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Spread batter evenly in pan.

3.      Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool completely in pan, about 1 hour.

4.      In large bowl, beat cream cheese and softened butter with electric mixer on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally, until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla and powdered sugar until combined.

5.      Spread frosting evenly over top of cooled cake. Sprinkle top with pecans.

Yes it packs the calories  – one slice is 320 – but its worth it! 

Save calories all week to indulge on this on the weekend. I forgot to take pictures – so I borrowed a photo from a website called Chefs Tips – which had a photo of a cake that looked similar to ours. ENJOY!

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Blog, Cheese, Desserts, Family, Recipes, Recipes to Make with Children, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Such fun with our goat babies this year!

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 We have been bottle feeding three goat kids this year – and they are now so tame that they follow us around like puppies! Such fun for the grandkids! And us too! Also three new baby kittens – no more than a week old – were put into the back of our mail lady’s truck -and so we adopted them – another wonderful experience for our eldest grandson. Of course our huge Central Asian Shepherd Smokey is not sure that she likes all the attention being given elsewhere so she does a lot of bonding ( pressing herself all over us) when the grandchildren are present.

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Rhubarb Strawberry Cake with Vanilla Ice cream!

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 All throughout making this I kept thinking this is NOT going to work out – and then amazingly – it was perfect! So dont be put off by the stickiness and globby nature of the batter – it doesnt spread well, doesnt look like its enough – and when you sprinkle the topping on top it also looks as if it has not been properly mixed together. But the outcome is divine! Enjoy! Of course we do grow the rhubarb and strawberries – then I freeze them for use when not in season. Just mix the fresh strawberries with the cooked rhubarb.

strawberry rhubarb cobbler

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups chopped rhubarb



1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced



2/3 cup granulated sugar



1/3 cup cornstarch



1 teaspoon orange zest

2 tsp lemon juice

 

For the cobbler crust:

1 cup of granulated sugar



3 cups all-purpose flour



1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda



1/2 teaspoon cinnamon



1 cup cold butter



1 cup  buttermilk ( take regular or low fat milk and add two tbsp of apple cider vinegar to make buttermilk)



2 large eggs, lightly beaten



1 teaspoon vanilla extract

TOPPING:

31/2 cup of flour

3/4 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of cold butter

 

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix the rhubarb and the strawberries with the sugar, corn starch, and orange zest and cook until thickened. Let sit for 30 minutes to bring out the juices and add the lemon juice. Or if you have already cooked a larger amount rhubarb with cinnamon and sugar ( to taste) and frozen it – take it out, let it defrost and then mix 3-4 cups of the rhubarb and its liquid with 1.5 cups of cut strawberries folded into it. Taste for sweetness and if it needs more sugar add a half a cup. ( Sometimes when freezing some of the sweetness reduces).

2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender or your hands. Combine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add in the milk, egg, and vanilla which you have combined, stir until just moistened. Don’t overmix.

3. Pour 2/3 of the batter into a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish and then pour the strawberries and rhubarb mixture over it.  Drop the rest of the batter on top of the fruit. It does not spread well ( I tried! Then realized it didn’t matter as it spreads out when baking)

4. Cut the butter into the topping flour and sugar mixture until it resembles bread crumbs. Then sprinkle the mixture over the cobbler topping. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until cobbler crust is golden brown and fruit filling is bubbling and a cake tester comes out clean Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!



 

 

 

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Posted in Blog, Desserts, Little farm products, Recipes, Recipes to Make with Children | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Larraine Segil Scholars Quarterly Dinner

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 The LSS group met for dinner at The Little Farm – Each of these remarkable women impress me more every time we get together. And what gives me tremendous joy is that they have formed such a bonded group – caring about and for each other as much as I care about each of them.

The process starts again this month as we begin requesting applications from the Law school and Business School where I obtained my JD and MBA – and the LSS themselves start the interviews of the semi finalists and eventually the finalists – making THEIR selection of two women who will fit into the group and are worthy of the award. Exciting times for all of us.

LSS had so much good news to share – girl twins to be born in May, baby boy coming in August, new jobs, new house sales and purchases, and new ideas for exciting futures. Sadly one of our group suffered a death in the family – and all shared condolences. We laughed, we ate and drank and we shared. What could be better than that! I am so blessed to have these remarkable women in my life – thanks to all of you for braving a rainy night, tons of traffic and crazy drivers ( which is what happens when it rains in LA!).

The menu? I made Zucchini Soup Cranberry Chicken and Vegetable Rice, and an Almond Pear Tart along with Blondies. It was the start of the Persian New Year so we celebrated that with one of our members who is Persian and were so happy that she decided to spend the holiday evening with us! The Blondie recipe is below!

 

Blondies Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted
  • 1 cup of tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup of butterscotch chips (chopped walnuts and chocolate chips are equally tasty)

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour an 8X8 pan. Whisk together the melted butter and sugar in a bowl.

2 Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk.

3 Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, mix it all together. Add the butterscotch chips or other mix-ins.

 

4 Pour into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve. Make 9 large or 18 small blondies. 

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Posted in Blog, Desserts, Entrepreneurship, Little farm products, Live Events, Philanthropy, Recipes, Recipes to Make with Children, Women's Topics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zucchini Soup – Low Calorie — you will LOVE this!

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This is a great low calorie soup – it fills me up and I love it! You will too!

Zucchini Soup

Ingredients:

·        1/2 small onion, quartered

·        2 cloves garlic

·        3 medium zucchini, skin on cut in large chunks

·        32 oz Better than Bouillon chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian)

·        2 tbsp reduced fat sour cream or non-fat yogurt plain ( better – lower cals)

·        kosher salt and black pepper to taste

·        fresh grated parmesan cheese if desired for topping (optional)

 Directions;

 1.     Combine chicken broth, onion, garlic and zucchini in a large pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender, add the sour cream and purée again until smooth.

2.Taste for salt and pepper and adjust to taste. Serve hot. Only 60 calories a cup! If you add parmesan on top – its about 100 calories more ( two Tbsp)

 

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Posted in Blog, Cheese, Little farm products, Recipes, Recipes to Make with Children, Soups, Vegetarian Mains | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another recipe from Kraft Food and Family Magazine – using Kraft products – yummy!

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 I love this shortcut strata using lots of good stuff – kale, chicken sausage ( they use turkey sausage – we prefer chicken) and more. I found it in the Kraft Food and Family Magazine.

Kale and Turkey Sausage Egg bake Strata

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg Stove top stuffing mix
  • 6.5 ounces of Oscar Mayer Natural Uncured Turkey Sausage sliced or you can use Chicken Sausage ( we prefer it)
  • 2 cups of tightly packed stemmed kale chopped
  • I red pepper chopped
  • 1 package of Kraft shredded mozzarella cheese with a touch of Philadelphia
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 quart of milk

Directions

  1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spread dry stuffing mix on bottom of a 13×9 baking dish
  3. Cut sausage into slices and spread on top
  4. Spread kale and pepper and cheese on top
  5. Whisk eggs and milk and pour over mixture
  6. Bake at 350 until a knife comes out clean
  7. Serve!


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Using Kraft Food Products from their Magazine – love their ideas – and their CEO Denise Morrison – a role model for all women executives!

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 I get the monthly Kraft Food and Family magazine – and love it. There are tons of short cuts and great recipes. I made two of them just this week – my family was HAPPY!

I modified this one to add Peanut Butter pieces instead of Chocolate ( I am allergic to Chocolate) and left out the nuts – you can add either of those back in. YUM!

Cool Whip Peanut Butter Blondies – using all Kraft Products

Ingredients:

  •  1 8 ounce Cool Whip Thawed
  • 1 yellow cake mix box
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package of Peanut Butter chips ( you can substitute Chocolate or Caramel)
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts ( I left them out as I don’t like nuts in cookies)

Directions:

1.      Heat oven to 350 degrees

2.      Mix Cool whip with cake mix and egg until combined. The mixture will be stiff

3.      In a 13/9 inch pan, line it with foil so the sides stick up – then spray the foil with Pam

4.      Add the chips and nuts ( if you use them) to the mixture and mix gently.

5.      Spread the mixture into the pan

6.      Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean – let it cool completely then cut into squares and serve!

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Kids moving into a new house! Such fun!

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 Our son and his family moved into a new house recently – so much fun and work! We all got involved – both sets of parents unpacked and drove kids back and forth to sports and more – so exciting for everyone!

And for those of you who have moved, it seems like the boxes go on forever – one has to be sure however that something ( or someone) very valuable is not thrown out with the garbage! Here is Noah having fun!

 

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