Recommended books:

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Boston Girl by Anita Diamont
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time by Peter Lovenheim
The Red Tent by Anita Diamont
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
The Artist Way by Julia Cameron
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Kick-Ass Creativity by Mary Beth Maziarz

Ratatouille Stew

This is an easy healthy recipe and tastes even better the next day! Enjoy!

1 large sweet onion chopped
2 T olive oil
1 med-large eggplant peeled, diced
1 large carrot peeled and chopped
2 med-large potatoes peeled and diced
4 large zucchini peeled and quartered
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 large fresh tomato diced
1 cup chicken or vegetable Broth
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions in oil until soft. Then add potatoes, carrots and eggplant with 1/4 cup of chicken broth. Saute until fork tender about 12-15 minutes. Then add diced tomatoes, canned tomatoes, zucchini and 3/4 cup of chicken broth. Bring mixture to boil. Add crushed red pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to med-low stirring occasionally for at least 15 minutes until zucchini is tender. taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot with crusty bread.
Serves 6-8 large servings

Sun Dried Tomato and Pepper Cheese Dip

3/4 cup sun dried tomato
4 T olive oil
2 T pine nuts
1 whole red pepper seeded and sliced
1 oz Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes or salsa
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 oz feta cheese
1/4 cup fat free half and half

Blend everything in a food processor until creamy. Serve with crackers or you can serve with pasta. If serving with pasta add pasta water to cheese dip to thin dip and help coat pasta.

Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo Ball and Soup Mix (I buy Manischewitz brand)
2 celery stalks sliced thin
2 carrots peeled and sliced thin
1/2 sweet onion diced
2 garlic cloves chopped (optional)
2 T olive oil or vegetable oil
1 T unsalted butter
10 cups of water
1 cup small pasta (seashells or elbow macaroni)
1 or 1 and 1/2 cups of diced cooked chicken (you can use rotisserie chicken)
1/4 of a lemon (optional)

Making the Matzo Balls:
package of matzo ball mix
2 eggs
2 T vegetable oil
Follow the package directions to make the Matzo Balls.

Making the soup:
While the Matzo ball mixture is chilling saute the vegetables (celery, carrots, onions and garlic) in
2 T of olive oil and 1 T of unsalted butter until soft. Now add 10 cups of water and soup mix to saute vegetables. Drop Matzo balls into boiling soup. Cover tightly. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.Then add pasta and cook for 10 more minutes with lid on. Then add chicken. When pasta is done squeeze in lemon juice. Matzo balls should be soft and light.Enjoy!

If you do not have the vegetables, chicken and pasta you can still follow the directions on the package and enjoy the soup!

Milk Bar Store "Crack Pie Mix"

Do you have a college student that might need some extra TLC before exams or do you want to start your holiday shopping early? Check out this fun store for delectable treats. One of The Momofuku Milk Bar's best selling item is their "Crack Pie Mix" named for it's addictive salty-sweet oat cookie crust and gooey filling. Just add egg, butter, cream and powdered sugar.

Sesame Cucumbers


Tikkun Olam project - Crochet Sleeping Mats

I love this idea for a "pay it forward" project. This project reuses plastic bags that are made into a sleeping mat for the homeless. My mother and her friends at Country Meadows in Bridgeville, PA work together to make these mats for the homeless.