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I adapted this recipe from the Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook Frijoles Charros recipe. This cookbook has been a staple in our family for three years now. I bought it during a period of financial difficulty and have not had any regrets. Slow cookers can greatly reduce the weekly grocery budget in addition to allowing you to “set it and forget it” but still have a meal at the end of the day. If you were to flip through my copy of the book, you would find I have

I sat at the table picking bits of ground lamb and tomato off the “pizza” on my plate. It was a quiet evening two weeks into my 2002 trip to Lebanon. The heat was oppressive. I wasn’t hungry. I also wasn’t thinking. My aunt’s eyes were discs when I looked up. She whispered my name in high-noted horror. I quickly withdrew my hands, embarrassed to be caught playing with my food at age 22. I cleaned my fingers with a napkin and folded the sfiha in half, taking my aunt’s

This is refreshing Lebanese drink that’s great for summer and great for the intestine. My cousin drinks a big cup every night to help with an ulcer. It’s served at restaurants in Lebanon or in homes when people visit. Adjust the thickness to your own preference. Serves 6 Ingredients: 3 cups plain yogurt 1 cup small-diced cucumber (1/2 inch) 1 tbsp finely chopped mint 2-3 cups water 1-2 tsp salt Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher and chill. Add more or less water according to your tastes. Serve

I make this because I love my husband. It’s his favorite dish. I also make it because it’s easy, and I can do it dairy-free with no problem at all. Oh yeah. One other reason: I make it because I love myself. Serves 6 Ingredients: 4 cups chicken stock 3 chicken breasts, roasted and diced 1 large onion, diced 3 large carrots, cut 1 inch on the diagonal 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in 1 inch on the diagonal 1/2 cup frozen peas 1.5 sticks unsalted butter or dairy-free

I had some extra crock-cooked navy beans with oregano. I’ve wanted to try a bean dip for awhile. Nathan said the beans were too plain. I’d made them with my usual sea salt and oregano, and loved them drizzled with a bit of olive oil, but he was right. I’d underseasoned. His admission was the push I needed. Serves 6 Ingredients: 2 cups leftover White Beans with Oregano, drained 1/4 cup olive oil 1-2 cloves garlic or 2 tablespoons toom depending on hhhhhow much you like it 🙂 few grinds black

Ah, the beloved Middle Eastern dipping sauce. Depending on your tastes, the thought of it will make you shiver with delight or fear. For our good friend Hassan, just mentioning toom brings a smile to his face. For many others, the world is painted in colors of nostalgia. Can good toom be found in the United States? That’s up for debate, but mine (my aunt’s recipe) seems to pass the test for both my dad and Hassan. If you’ve never tried this before, I strongly encourage it. Especially if you

Sometimes I need a bit of Summer in Winter. A splash of red in my meal can do the trick, especially when it’s not a sauce. Tomato salad is easily my favorite. It’s easy to dress up with fresh herbs and cheeses or lemon juice and/or vinegar, but I like it best at its simplest. Ingredients: 4-5 medium tomatoes cut into wedges or large dice 2-3 tbsp olive oil 1/2 tsp salt few grinds black pepper Directions: Mix together gently and allow to sit for at least fifteen minutes. Serve cold

Thanks for coming back! On Friday I shared your top five poem choices from my blog during the calendar year of 2015. As promised, it’s time for the top five recipes. Here they are in no particular order: Macaronis bil Laban (Noodles with Yogurt). Ironically, this is a recipe I can’t eat. But you all loved it, and I’m delighted because when I could eat gluten and dairy I loved it too. It’s a simple, quick meal that can easily be adjusted for picky palates. Maqluba: Lebanese Eggplant and Rice Casserole.

Looking for a last minute Thanksgiving dessert to share? This pie is quick and easy. Make it even easier by using a ready-made graham cracker crust. Added bonus: your pie will look better than mine. I have yet to meet a person who can’t apply toppings better than I can. Also, I am terrible at food photography. No lie. If you are asking why a “cheesecake” pie, the answer is this filling tastes like cheesecake and, well, I got your attention didn’t I? Ingredients: 8-10 graham cracker sheets 1 stick butter,

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