Musings of a Kitchen Guru

Thoughts, Hacks, and Recipes as I Navigate Through this Wild Adventure Known as Life

  • Sara Leibowitz

I've never researched the history of

cookies. I probably should. I wonder how long these small treats have been bringing joy to children of all ages. I've always been a fan of chocolate chip cookies personally. My grandmother would make them for us when we were kids and each and every one was exactly the same. I have no idea how she did it. She didn't use any fancy tools, that I know of. Yet, they were all completely uniform. Even when I use a cookie scoop , during baking they all seem to have a mind of their own.

I think to myself now with instagram and other social media postings, the need and expectation for perfection. I've written before how I let my food get cold so I can photograph with the right angle and lighting to illicit interest and likes. We have the same expectations for ourselves as well, with how we look, how much we make, our careers, our homes. The list goes on and on. I'm exhausted trying to keep up with the necessary steps but tying to keep it real at the same time. Instead of spending my time and energy worrying about attaining perfection, and knowing that it's impossible, I have to train myself to accept myself and my creations the way we are. In this crazy world we live in with so much excess, and skewed ideas of how and what we should be, it should be good enough for us to try and do our best. I don't need my cookies to be the prettiest, the healthiest, the lowest calorie count, or the most organic. The fact they are made with love and taste pretty damn good is really all

that matters. I'm going to ponder that while indulging in a homemade butterscotch chocolate chip cookie.

  • Sara Leibowitz

This week was an extremely busy one. It's funny how not having a conventional job seems to be much more time consuming than sitting in an office from 9:00-6:00. I would say all in all though, I prefer the less structured life.

I did quite a bit of recipe testing this week. The first new treat were

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies with a Chocolate Ganache. They came out pretty well. I used Alton Browns recipe as a start. In my opinion it needs some more flavor so next time I will experiment with adding some lemon zest and vanilla. You can find the recipe online, just google it.

The 2nd recipe test I did was a Gluten Free oat bread. My niece told me my mom made it for her and I HAD to get the recipe and try it out because it was AMAZING. My niece was 100% correct. My mom found the most rediculous recipe. The bread has a crispy crust and the inside is soft, and the texture isamazing. The bread holds together, perfectly for sandwiches. She told me she slices it and freezes immediately. I did that with most of it but I wanted to leave some out over night to see how it held up. The bread on day 2 was just as delicious! This excites me on so many levels, mainly because its whole grain, really healthy, and really filling. I will do some tweeks to it and then share the recipe here.

In the meantime, I will share a picture you can salivate over. If you stare at it, while eating junk food while watching the Super Bowl, I'm pretty sure your jeans will still fit on Monday 😛.

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There are very specific milestones in life, where change and transition are expected. Times like going off to college, getting your first apartment, getting married, having children, or even making a career change by choice, are all examples of huge life changes that although difficult, you expect your life to change completely. Then there are times in life where you don't plan for change. Times where although you may or may not be at your happiest, you are not uncomfortable enough to turn your life upside down by choice. Or even if you are, the fallout is much worse than anticipated. This is usually when life has a good laugh at your expense and you are faced with two choices. You can either sit it out and be a spectator , as you watch and experience life happening without you being in the driver seat, or you grab the bull by the horns and take control.

Many of us choose the first option, at least in the begininng. Sometimes when our lives get derailed, we just don't have the emotional energy to pick the pieces up and chart a new course. We don't feel confident enough in our abilities, our talents, our skill sets, and the things that make us individually special. The light goes out , and we feel broken and powerless. Sometimes we let ourselves live this way for weeks, or months. Sometimes we live this way for years.

For many of us, these periods of darkness don't last forever. When we least expect it, there is a shift. Sometimes it's from within, and you feel you can't live one more day in the dark. Other times the shift is circumstantial. You meet someone who gently makes their way in and starts to open the shades and the light starts to trickle in. This is where it starts to get dicey. This is where you make the choice for yourself , actively, to move outside of the comfort zone of familiarity that you built for yourself, and consciously decide to live.

I saw a quote recently from Hemingway that really struck a chord with me. "We are all a little broken...that's how the light gets in." It really is so poignant and true. Each one of us comes with our broken pieces. If we're lucky, we meet people along the way in life, that we can trust with our brokenness. These people give us strength, as we do the hard work of pushing outside of our comfort zone to create the life that we want to live.

Sometimes the moments in life that catch us by surprise, and turn our lives upside down, happen in order to prepare us for tremendous blessings. Sometimes the blessing starts with the journey. Sometimes you ponder all of this while eating homemade Shakshuka.

Shakshuka is comfort food for me. The richness of the flavors. The mixing of savory spices with a hint of sweetness in the sauce definitely does it for me. There are so many different ways you can make it. The goto recipe I use is from Tori Avey.

It's simple, full of flavor, and easy to customize to your own flavor pallet.

Life is short, but it's also really long. Surround yourself with the right people who will champion you. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Feel strong enough to live outside of your comfort zone, because in the end we often regret the things we don't do, not the the things that we do.