logo design

Gallery Slide Show

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.

To see amazing detail in any photo just click on it!
Don't forget to SIGN MY GUEST BOOK at the bottom of this page and/or LEAVE A COMMENT (be sure to leave your email address if you'd like a response)

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.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Mom's Mushroom Barley & Bean Soup

Nothing can warm you, from the inside out, better than a steaming bowl of this wonderfully old fashioned winter soup. It is hearty, wholesome, and delicious! You can serve this up as a one dish meal by throwing in some extras. These comforting flavors pair well with mini meatballs, sausage bites, chopped turkey or chicken. It's also a great way to use up all the vegetables in your fridge or freezer. If you prefer to stay strictly vegetarian with this recipe simple substitute vegetable broth in place of the beef broth.
(Learn How to Freeze Soup below recipe)


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 cloves of minced or pressed garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup slice carrot
  • 1 large can Italian flavored chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped vegetable... cauliflower, string beans, or potatoes
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 cup lentils (or bean of your choice)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon each salt & black pepper
  • 2 cups water (to soak lentils)
  • 5 cups broth (beef or vegetable) Use canned or made from bouillon.
Here's how you do it...
  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add 1 cup dry lentils.
  3. Cover and allow to soak for 1 hour.
  4. Heat a soup pot on medium.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
  6. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until translucent.
  7. Add the chopped garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, another 3 minutes.
  8. Add the chopped celery and carrots and continue cooking another 3 minutes.
  9. Add the can of chopped tomatoes with it's liquid.
  10. Add the lentils and the water they soaked in.
  11. Add the beef or vegetable broth.
  12. Add the barley.
  13. Add the cup of chopped vegetable (cauliflower, string beans, or potatoes work well)
  14. Add the bay leaves.
  15. Stir and bring to a slow boil.
  16. Cover and reduce to low. Simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours.
Serving Suggestions: To turn this soup into a one bowl meal add one of the following to the each bowl... (great way to use leftovers)
  • shredded or chopped turkey
  • mini meatballs
  • grilled sausage bites
How to: Freeze Soup...

Portion soup 2 full ladles per zip lock sandwich bag.
Remove excess air from the bag as you seal it.
Lay these soup bags flat on a cookie sheet.
Slide the pan into your freezer overnight.
Next day remove the pan and put the individual serving bags into a larger gallon size freezer bag. Store frozen soup for months. Enjoy a hot bowl of soup anytime, at a moments notice.


Anonymous said...

Hallo, Balaboosta!

I just bought a freezer, so I've spent the past few hours cooking to "feed the beast" while at the same time scouring the internet for good freezer recipes. By chance I found your recipe for the mushroom and barley soup and it is a great recipe, especially since I discovered that I had a giant bag of barley hiding in one of my store cupboards. The soup is now simmering on the stove, smelling lovely.

I look forward to reading your other recipes;)

Best wishes,


The Balaboosta said...

Hello Vivienne

Thank you for taking the time to write.
I'm so pleased that you found my site and that you're making the Mushroom Barley Soup!
Yes, it's a great recipe, my family loves it. Remember, you can turn it into a one dish meal by adding cubed cooked chicken, meat, sausage, or whatever protein you have in your refrigerator.

If you send me a picture of what you've made I'll be happy to post it on Be A Balaboosta along with your comment!

Bon Appetit!


Jeanne C said...

Hello Balaboosta,

Overnight the October weather changed from sunny 70's to grey and rainy 50's, which to me spells SOUP! Went searching a non-cream based mushroom recipe and found yours. It was awesome! I like the idea of freezing in zip bags, but would have to make a double or triple batch to even think about leftovers. My daughter (non-soup eater) and I each had two bowls for lunch. I served for dinner with corn bread and my husband (if it's not Campbell's - it's not soup) ate a large bowl (except the mushrooms which he picked out). Daughter and I are about to finish the rest for lunch today. Can't wait to try the butternut soup with the jalepeno kick.

The Balaboosta said...

Jeanne C, What a lovely comment, thank you for taking the time to give me feedback. I love hearing from my viewers. I know that warm belly comfort from eating a hearty and flavorful soup. You mentioned the butternut squash soup and it so happens that I made a big pot full yesterday! I had friends over for dinner and it was, as always, a huge hit. Remember, the quantities of onion, garlic, squash, etc... are approximate. Don't get hung up on measuring exactly. I love the flavor that the cumin gives the soup so I have a heavy hand with that one. That soup is the fastest to make of all my soups. I know you're gonna love it and I can't wait to hear back from you. Stay warm and happy cooking!!!