What is a Balaboosta?
Balaboosta (n.)(bah-lah-b00-sta) A Yiddish term meaning the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook, and gracious hostess. She does it all and does it well.
I make simple food with easy recipes and I like to try new things. My family and friends love my cooking and always ask me to share, with them, what I know about food, flavor, and technique.

I'm not a professional chef and I've had no formal culinary training. What I know and do in the kitchen comes from three women...Nana, Grandma Della, and Rose, my mom. Each one of them knew more about putting a meal on the table than any fancy chef in a white hat. They were the ultimate Balaboostas.

What I offer you is a lifetime of experience in the kitchen with my compliments and theirs. I hope they'd be proud. I will bring you my recipes as I make them with photos of the actual food I'm preparing. I'm no professional photographer either but I promise, my food will speak for itself in every picture.

The food on my table isn't stacked in a trendy tower.
Instead, my food is stacked with flavor and full of my passion for cooking. So please come in, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy.

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Disclaimer: While most of my recipes are "Jewish Style", I do sometimes cook with pork. This might have been a great disappointment to some but my grandmothers knew that I live in modern world. I light Shabbos candles religiously but I have to admit...I do not keep a Kosher home.

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Date Dandies - Oatmeal Date Nut Cookies

This recipe is from one of those tattered odd pieces of paper found  folded up inside the cover of one of my mother's cookbooks.  These soft and chewy cookies were always one of my favorites because my mom would let me use my hands to toss the chopped dates with flour. She also let me stir in the oatmeal, dates, and nuts, at the end, using a big wooden spoon.  There was no title on the written recipe but she called them "Date Dandies".  I always loved the name too.  It's just one of those warm childhood memories that sticks with me.   Thank you Mom.
If you want a 'healthier' version you can substitute the white flour with whole wheat. You can replace all or part of the sugar with Splenda sugar substitute.  

Ingredients...
  • 2 cups pitted chopped dates
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1 cup margarine (or butter) 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups dry rolled oatmeal (NOT Quick or instant)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chopped  nuts (walnuts or pecans)
Here's how you do it...

  1. This  first step can be done ahead. - Put 1 cup of the chopped dates  into a small saucepan. Reserve the other 1 cup of chopped dates for adding to the batter later.
  2. Add 3/4 cup water just until the dates about covered.  
  3. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer for 10 minutes. 
  4. Pour the boiled dates into a bowl and set aside until almost cooled (You can put the bowl in the fridge or freezer to speed things up.)
  5. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside.
  6. With your mixer, cream together the margarine and sugar until light in color and fluffy.
  7. Add the 2 eggs (first broken into a cup to avoid unwanted shells) and beat.
  8. Add the vanilla and beat.
  9. Stop and scrape the bowl. Then beat another 30 seconds.
  10. Beat in the cooled boiled dates and the water they boiled in.
  11. Gradually, add in the dry ingredients you set aside earlier.
  12. With a spatula blend in the oats, nuts, and remaining 1 cup of chopped dates (if you chopped the dates yourself be sure to toss and coat this 1 cup of dates only with a teaspoon  of before adding to batter. This will keep the bits of date from clumping.)
  13. Mix until evenly distributed.
  14. Drop by tablespoon (or scoop), 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets lined with parchment.
  15. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. (My oven does it in 10 minutes exactly.)
  16. Cool completely, on a rack.
  17. Store in an airtight container.

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