Last night, I went into the kitchen and saw this:

And I thought: Wow, The Hubbins really, really wanted pizza for dinner. Then I looked a little closer and saw this:

Gasp! I gasped. It’s matzoh time! But this is no ordinary matzoh: This is special matzoh that The Hubbins has to get from a special place, where the matzoh is very carefully handmade. It’s extremely crispy and fresh, and TH always makes sure to get several boxes (as you can see) because once Passover is, well, over, so’s the special non-bread of the holiday. No mas matzoh.

As I mentioned in Cherries in Winter, The Hubbins and I love and respect all spiritual traditions, and we especially love all food that goes with spiritual and religious holidays. During this season, we’ll be enjoying lamb for Easter (a little early, as I have to test a recipe for one of the additional chapters for the paperback edition of CIW), and we’ll be enjoying our Passover matzoh. Here’s me enjoying some:

If you can’t get your hands on some hand-made matzoh, another way to try the conventional supermarket type is in spinach matzoh pie. Here’s a great recipe I made last year, and here’s a vegan variation on that same recipe, because why not?

And I think I’ll go enjoy some of of that matzoh again right now.

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These cookies have been known to make elves dance for joy. Writers, too. And yoga instructors...

Our friends Deb and Joey were coming over for dinner. They offered to bring something, but being the over-achieving hostess I said Nah, I got this. They arrived with cookies so good I wanted to throw the dinner I’d made right out the window and just eat them.

Joey, who humbly describes himself as a “wanna-be chef,” didn’t come up with the name; he just calls them chocolate chip oatmeal raisin cookies. But there’s so much other baked-good excitement going on (raisins! Coconut! Cardamom! Almonds! They can be vegan! They can be non-vegan! Etc.!) that I had to give them a snappy title in his honor. I also like Joey’s free-form jazz recipe style–you’ll see many options–as well as his instruction about not worrying. He says these cookies freeze well, but I have yet to see any make it away from the table.

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (stir it up before measuring)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup oat bran (optional)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 cup slivered almonds or crushed walnuts or whatever (optional)
1/3 cup Sucanot (or maple syrup or other sweeteners you like)
1/3 cup coconut oil (or butter)
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla (or more!!!)
Water as needed

Directions:
* Soak shredded coconut in enough water to fully cover for about 10 minutes. Add vanilla and continue to soak for another 5 or 10 minutes.
* In a large bowl, combine flours, rolled oats, oat bran, Sucanot, salt, spices, and baking soda. Stir in chips, nuts, raisins, and whatever else you wanna throw in there.
* Mix oil, soaked coconut, and 2 more tablespoons water in glass measuring cup. (If using liquid sweetener, add it now.)
* Stir the wet into the dry until flour is absorbed. Batter will be thick but if it’s too stiff to work with, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. It’s better to use too little water at first because you can always add more. Mix batter as little as possible (without worrying about it, of course!)
* Make balls of dough and then flatten and shape with your fingers to about 1/4 inch thick and place on greased cookie sheet.
* Bake on center shelf of preheated 375 degree oven until lightly browned on the bottom, about 16-19 minutes.
* Transfer cookies to a rack to cool. Enjoy with gratitude.

I’ve never been one to wait for January to start making resolutions. Mine usually start in November—right around this date, in fact, after I’ve overdosed on turkey.

Last night was my third Thanksgiving dinner in four days. We weren’t expecting to have as many leftovers as we did, but one of our guests was a no-show and others didn’t want to take care packages home with them. (For once, this was no reflection on my cooking; my husband ate leftovers for the next two nights very happily, and he’s my most honest food critic.) Even after I finished making three-plus quarts of turkey soup, we had enough turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry-orange sauce, roasted vegetables, and stuffing left over for many more dinners.

The only problem is that I don’t want to eat it anymore.

It’s not the repeat performance that’s getting to me—I’m a big fan of food reruns when the meal is good. I just feel…icky. Bloated. Logy. Blah. And other monosyllabic words that signify some sort of imbalance. Specifically, I think I OD-ed on meat.

There are a couple of high-profile books out now that are promoting vegetarianism (Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals) and veganism (The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone). I’ve been both a vegetarian and a vegan in the past, and I felt great—until I didn’t. I learned that I need a wide variety of nutrients that changes as my body changes.

I read a wonderful book by Charles Eisenstein called The Yoga of Eating. Eisenstein’s theory can be summed up thusly: Listen to your body, which in its infinite wisdom will tell you what you need to eat. (For a while I didn’t listen, and my hair fell out in a mad search for iron, vitamin B12, and other scarce nutrients.) When the body says it needs meat—which isn’t the case for everyone, but it was for me—Eisenstein urged his readers to find sources of compassionately raised, non-chemically treated animals and fish. These sources are usually independent farmers, though some supermarkets carry meat that is organic, humanely raised, and hormone- and anti-biotic free.

My mother spent her childhood on a farm, where my grandfather raised dairy cows and hens on pasture. There were no injections or crowded pens, and when the time came that a chicken was needed for dinner, Grandpa—a lover of animals—made sure that death was swift and suffering was minimal.

Things have changed a lot since then. Maybe because of her simple, bucolic upbringing, my own mother didn’t know that the chicken she routinely bought from the supermarket is “produced” by a company known for its mistreatment of animals. The only way we can be sure of what we’re eating, whether we choose to eat only vegetables or animals as well, is to become food detectives and find out where our food is coming from and how it was grown or raised. This is part of my New Month’s resolution, as well as cutting back on meat. Doing that will save both the planet (meat production is the leading cause of global warming) and my stomach.

Are you a vegetarian or an omnivore? Do you research where your food comes from? I’d love to know how you feel about these subjects—leave a message to tell me what you think.