The Standbys

My little sis, eating an apple muffin.

There are a number of recipes in our eating life that have moved past the realm of being one-time, occasional or even regular players in our little family’s meal rotation. They are — with the addition of fresh fruits, vegetables, and water — our sustenance.

Favorite Granola

1 1/2 cups oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup nuts/seeds of your choice (sesame, pumpkin, almonds, cashews etc)

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix everything together in a large bowl and spread evenly onto the baking sheet. Bake for ~45 to 1 hour, opening the oven to stir the granola every 15 minutes or so, so that it bakes evenly and you do not end up with large, solid granola “cookie”.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour, or a mix of white and whole wheat pastry flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup sugar (the original recipe calls for 1 cup, but I found that too sweet- play with it and see what works for you)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup chilled brewed coffee or tea

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbs of apple cider vinegar ( if you do not have apple cider vinegar you can substitute 1 1/2 Tbs plain white vinegar– not white wine vinegar!)

Preheat the oven to 375 F

Generously oil a 8-9 inch pan and dust with cocoa powder and/or line the bottom with parchment. If you are making cupcakes, grease one 12 -cup muffin tin or line with cupcake papers.

In a medium bowl sift (mix with a whisk) flour, cocoa, bkg soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar. In another bowl, combine the oil, coffee/tea and vanilla. Pour the liquid into the dry and mix until smooth with as few strokes as possible.

Add the vinegar and stir briefly, the baking soda will begin reacting with the acid right away, leaving pale swirls in the batter. Without wasting any time, pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool on a rack in pan, and serve directly from the pan when cool, or transfer to a a plate.

Whole Wheat Bread

I make a few different kind. This one is great.


Pictures help for this one! Click here


I make hummus all kinds of ways, but for a great recipe you can visit my friends’ Ryan and Kate’s blog: Tea and Limpets

Iced Hibiscus Tea

click here

Israeli Salad

Very fine chop tomatoes and cucumbers (you can also add bell pepper and a small clove of garlic), and season with lemon juice, good-quality olive oil and salt & pepper to taste. Mix, enjoy!

French Hill Salad

1 large bunch of very fresh parsley, WELL washed (I usually do several washes) and very finely chopped

1 small-medium bunch of cilantro, WELL washed and very finely chopped

1-2 scallions, finely chopped

1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped

good-quality olive oil

juice of half a lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Mix parsley and cilantro in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice and a couple glugs of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and top with chopped toasted almonds.

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Step by step recipe:

click here

Asparagus Walnut Pasta

1 lb. asparagus

1 Tbs olive oil

2 tsp salt

1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp brown sugar

1 lb whole wheat penne or fusili

1/4 cup butter or vegan margarine, cut into pieces

1/2 cup lightly toasted, chopped walnuts

1/3 cup parmesan or manchego cheese (optional)

Heat the oven to 400 F. Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus and discard them. Cut the spears into ~ 1 inch pieces. Put the asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the vinegar in a small saucepan. Simmer until 3 Tbs remain. Stir in the brown sugar and remaining 1/4 tsp pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the butter/margarine pieces until dissolved.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just done (see package for cooking time). Drain the pasta and toss with the balsamic butter and roasted asparagus. Sprinkle walnuts and/or cheese evenly over the top.


There are a lot of different ways to make this cracked-wheat and parsley salad. Play with it and make it your own.

1 cup dry medium bulgur (cracked wheat)

2-3 tomatoes, finely chopped

juice of 1/2  a lemon

1 small bunch parsley, very finely chopped (you can use 1/2 a bunch, if you like your salad a little heavier on the grain, than on the greens)

salt pepper and olive oil

optional add ins: 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, chopped walnuts, chopped red pepper

Soak the bulgur in water (cover the bulgur by 1/2 an inch) for about 30 minutes. If their is extra liquid, drain it.

Add the chopped tomatoes (with their liquid) and the lemon juice. Put in fridge for 20 minutes (or until right before you are ready to serve).

Add the chopped parsley, walnuts, chickpeas and red pepper, if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste, along with a couple glugs of olive oil.

Spicy Tomato Sauce

When time/energy are in low supply, this classic, simple sauce is a great go-to dinner recipe.

Makes 6 cups, enough for 2 pounds of pasta, active time: 20 minutes, start to finish 1 hour.

3 Tbs olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (this makes a seriously spicy sauce, if you want a little zing just add 1/4-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, you’ll taste them, trust me)

2 (28 oz. cans) whole tomatoes in juice, drained (juice reserved), and chopped (I did not do this, I just threw them in the pan, and just broke them up as they softened).

1 1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup fresh basil or parsley, chopped (I used both, and definitely more than 1/3 cup!! Why not?)

Heat oil in a 5-6 quart pot over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring until garlic is golden, about one minute. Stir in tomatoes, juice, and salt and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until thickened, 35 to 40 minutes. Stir in Basil.

Serve with your favorite pasta shape

4 thoughts on “The Standbys

  1. I recently found your blog – very nice – and I thought you may be able to solve an old problem.

    I was in Jerusalem about 6 years ago & fell in love with these sesame seed cookies – teamed with a cafe au lait, I could wolf down obscene quantities of these crunchy yummies.

    I assumed that when I returned home, I would be able to find a recipe for them but, alas, no luck.

    Do you know what they are called? Do you have a recipe, or can you suggest where I might find one?

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