◊ Seated and Listening

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Dear Mom,

I’m relieved that you’ve adopted a mushroom log to fill my absence… it’s important to have something to feed and water (don’t forget about dad).

I too have barely cooked since I left home. My kitchen here is one fridge and four burners between five girls. I know a transition to this from three fridges all to myself at home is possible, but I need time to adjust. On the upside, my veggie-chopping view is the same one you get in postcards of Jerusalem… my kitchen window looks out over the Old City.

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kitchen table view

View from my room

from my room

No matter how breathtaking the views, adjustments are never easy. My schedule feels so not me… I spend most of my hours absorbing information rather than creating output. I’m itching for dirty hands already. Typically, I channel energy by producing – painting, taking photographs, cooking, writing – but here I sit in class, read and listen. It’s not my style and I’m scared that I don’t know how to do it… though I admit that the practice is probably exactly what I need.

Jogged up a hill and saw this

jogged up a hill to here

It’s painful to be seated and listening for most of the day, especially when what’s being said takes 100% of my brain power to decipher. I want to run away to the market and get lost in samples. Once again, why am I here?

Inhale. Exhale. I’m only here because why not? Because challenges can be good for the soul. Because listening skills are important.
xo,
Shaina

ps. A tip for the shrooms: Soak them oil infused with fresh herbs overnight… they’ll soak up a ton of flavor and will be great chopped up with nuts or in salads.

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Another thing I’ll have to get used to is life without an oven. I did without one in India, but its absence here is unexpected. How will I endure the week without my Sunday afternoon mass-veggie-roasting ritual? This recipe is a tribute to what once was.

Whole Grain Back-to-School Carrot Muffins
Prep time: 45 minutes
Yields 24 regular muffins OR 48 mini muffins

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This is a quick, easy clean-out-the-pantry muffin. When I was first presented with the opportunity to move to Israel, I freaked. I met with my decision-making goddess for a consultation and in return I developed a special a back-to-school muffin recipe for her (she has two young children and was looking for a breakfast idea that she could easily and quickly throw together before carpool). Now that I don’t have access to an oven, all I can think of is these muffins. They would be perfect brain food for between class breaks. Packed with protein, whole grains and vitamin A, these muffins are perfect for students and parents of students who need something healthy and hearty to grab before heading out the door.

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  • 1 1/2 Cup whole wheat flourIMG_9129
  • 1 1/2 Cup of your favorite whole grain cereal mix (I use Bob’s Red Mill Hot 5 Grain Cereal Mix for its hardy combination of flax, oats, rye, etc. You can also use rolled oats or  self-prepared combo of rolled oats, flax meal, wheat bran, etc)*
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ripe bananas (can be frozen)
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt (if you’re worried, nonfat is ok, but 2% or whole is better)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups grated carrots (or zucchini)
  • optional: 1/2 cup crushed walnuts, 1/4 c raisins, 1 tbs fresh grated ginger
  • 4 tbs oats or hot cereal mix for topping

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine dry ingredients. Mash banana with a fork until pureed. In separate bowl, combine banana, greek yogurt, oil and eggs. Add flour to liquid mixture and gently stir until just combined. Gently fold carrots (+walnuts, raisins, etc) into the mixture and spoon batter into muffin tin coated with butter, oil or cooking spray. For full muffins, bake for 20-30 minutes – for mini muffins, bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

A few muffin tips: check for doneness with a toothpick early (you don’t want to overcook!); leave some lumps in the batter – over mixing will reduce fluff; cool in the pan for just 5 minutes and then remove so the muffins don’t get soggy; store in airtight container or freeze.

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