• Mai

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

Regular size muffins

Anything pumpkin and corn or cranberry is totally appropriate for thanksgiving right!! so i combined the seasons star ingredients into these delicious pumpkin, cranberry cornbread bites that are a perfect compliment to your thanksgiving table. I serve them instead of rolls or bread. This simple recipe has a lot of bonuses, no one needs any complicated recipes during this time of the year: you can make them ahead, they freeze so well, just thaw and reheat in the oven before serving. They also cook so fast about 10 -15 minutes, and my fav bonus is that you can eat them the next day for breakfast with a little whipped cinnamon butter or give them to your guests as goodie bags just keep in mind that they might never leave.

Tips for a moist cornbread, because if you tried a dry cornbread before you know exactly what i mean:

  1. This cornbread recipe uses the muffin mixing method: whisk together dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet in the other, then fold the wet into dry just until its all combined. Don't overmix so you have a fluffy batter

  2. Use fine cornmeal. Cornmeal varies in grind size from coarse to fine. At the market you will often find White or yellow cornmeal either one works in this recipes. I used the yellow cornmeal here.

  3. Use kefir for moisture and flavor. Kefir is a fermented yogurt drink so that tiny acidity adds flavor and moisture to the corn bread.

** Cornbread is best eaten fresh the day off. Wrap tightly if you are storing for later or freexe and defrost when in needed.

You can bake these bites in mini muffins tins they will take about 10 minutes in the oven or regular muffin size they will take about 15 minutes. Also but feel free to use a 9 inch round cake pan, or a cast iron skillet. Just watch your coking time as it will vary based on baking tool you use.

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 10-15 minutes in muffin tins

Serves: 12-14 regular size muffins or 24 mini muffin bites


Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup flour

  • 1 cup fine cornmeal (Yellow)

  • 1 Tbsp baking powder

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • few grates of freshly ground nutmeg

  • Zest of an orange

  • 1/2 cup packed date sugar or regular sugar

Wet ingredients

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup pumpkin purée not pumpkin pie filling

  • 1/3 cup neutral oil or coconut oil melted

  • 2 Tbsp date syrup, you can also use agave or honey

  • 1/3 cup plain Kefir


  • Set the oven to 350F

  • Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl

  • Whisk the wet ingredients together in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until just combined. Don't overmix so batter stays fluffy.

  • Turn into a prepared muffin tins or greased cast iron. Bake for 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of your muffin pans) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  • Let them cool slightly to handle. They are delicious served warm with a dollop of cinnamon butter.

  • store covered in an airtight container or a ziplock

mini bites

Recipe bonuses:

- You could actually bake it while the turkey rests, and bring it to the table hot out of the oven.

- Cook in any pan you have no special tools needed

- Store these bites in the freezer and thaw before serving. And reheat as needed

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

Its so important to eat well and take care of our bodies and souls during this time of the year. Especially with the pandemic, cold season, working from home, kids zoom classes, etc not stressful at all 🤪!! we got to treat our bodies right. This time Of year there are also all sorts of root vegetables that are in season, they are super delicious, and nutritious such as beets that are in season during summer till late fall, but you can also find them year around.

They are naturally sweet and earthy. Roasting the beets intensifies their flavor and sweetness, plus their beautiful color, its like natures candy. They are also loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. Growing up this salad was made with diced up beets and then tossed in the tahini dressing. It was often served for lunch with pita bread. I am pairing the sweet beets with a tahini and kefir base that’s flavored with sumac, thyme and lemon. The earthy flavor of tahini pairs so well with the sweet beets. And Kefir adds loads of protein, vitamins and probiotics to help our gut, and is essential to our immune system. This vitamin powerhouse salad makes for a perfect meal on its own with some greens or serve it as a side dish next to pan seared fish. I hope you make this salad and stay UP BEET ❤️I cooked this live on @lifewaykefir you can check it out on their IGTV

Roasted Beets on a bed of kefir lemon, sumac and tahini

Perfect as a salad, a side dish or as an appetizer

Serves 3-4

Roasting time: 45 min

Prep time: 15 min


  • 6-8 small beets or 3-4 medium to large yellow or red, or a combo *

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • salt and pepper

Roasting beets:

*Beets: The entire beet, from the roots, stems, and leaves are edible. The root bulb is most often consumed, you will find beets often sold loose at the market, that's simply because the leafy greens will wilt a lot faster than the bulb. The dark leafy greens are high in calcium, vitamins, and iron. Just sauté them in a bit of olive oil, garlic and a squeeze of lemon. They are perfect with eggs, in omelets or anywhere you would use spinach. Consume the leafy greens within few days of purchasing. While the bulbs wrapped in a dry towel and away from moisture will last few weeks to even few months in the fridge.

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  • Prep your beets:

  • Cut off the green tops, Scrub the beets well. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil

  • wrap them loosely in aluminum foil.

  • Place the beets on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the beets. Check after the first 20 minutes. If a skewer slides easily to the center of the beet it’s done. Otherwise continue cooking

  • After the beets cool enough to handle. Place them in a paper towel and rub off the skin it should come off easily. I also sometimes use a vegetable peeler or a pairing knife if you have stubborn skin.

Storage: Roasted beets can be refrigerated whole or sliced in airtight container for up to 1 week.

Ingredients Tahini Dressing:

You can adjust any of the ingredients to your taste.

  • 2-3 Tablespoons tahini

  • 3 Tablespoons water {more of less depending on the consistency you like}

  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or grated

  • 1/2 cup strained kefir **

  • Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon

  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac plus more to garnish

  • (Optional) 2 Tablespoons fresh herbs parsley and mint or thyme are perfect here

  • salt and pepper

  • a drizzle of honey (optional)

*To Strain your Kefir you will need:

A bowl

A strainer and a paper towel or cheesecloth

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided your the kefir right inside. Make sure your strainer doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. The whey will drip in the bowl. Ideally you want to do this overnight for a thick and spreadable kefir. But 45 minutes while your beets roast is also ok. Discard the whey and store any leftover strained kefir in the fridge.


While the beets are cooling make the Lemon kefir Tahini Sauce.:

  1. Add all of the ingredients and 1 tbls olive oil to a bowl and whisk to combine..

  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper

  3. Slice the beets thinly with a sharp knife.

  4. Plate the tahini kefir dressing at bottom of a serving Plate

  5. Top with the sliced roasted beets

  6. Drizzle with olive oil and honey and a sprinkling of thyme

  7. Season with salt and pepper

You can also choose to dice up the beets and toss them in the tahini dressing just like my grandmother would .

Either way it will be delicious and you will mop up the entire plate

Salad stays well in the fridge 3-5 days in an airtight container




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  • Mai

Musakhan is one of the most popular and traditional Palestinian dishes. I have eaten my share of it especially during the olive harvest season. It was made to celebrate the freshly pressed golden olive oil. I remember as a teenager doing volunteer work at the villages nearby during the olive harvest season. As a reward for our help in picking and sorting the olives we were served Musakhan. Loaves of freshly baked taboon bread that the ladies in the village had just made over open fire in the taboon oven*. The taboon bread is then loaded with ruby onions that are slightly tangy from the sumac that had been sautéed in the golden olive oil and the topped with roasted chicken. The smell was so good it was so hard to work. Musakhan consists of humble yet glorious ingredients. Golden Palestinian olive oil, tangy sumac, spices, sweet caramelized onions and chewy charred Taboon bread.

Palestinian olive oil is extra virgin, and has a robust pungent flavor when its first pressed. The slightly peppery bite, is a sign of the oil's high quality and natural antioxidants. So when the fresh peppery olive oil is paired with the taboon bread, its a match made in food heaven.

Musakhan is a dish that is typically eaten with one's hands just like you would a pizza. If you are invited over for Musakhan don’t expect a fork and a knife. It is usually presented with a generous amount of chicken on top of the bread, and could be served with a simple broth based soup, a simple chopped salad and thick yogurt. The word "Musakhan" literally means "something that is heated or warmed". Which refers to the fact that the components of this dish are made separately and then are assembled and heated together.

*Taboon bread gets its name from the oven it’s baked in. The "taboon" oven, which is a stone oven that resembles a small room. It is roofed with huge sticks of olive branches, and clay to prevent rain water, and in the middle of its floor is a taboon mold made of clay, and polished round pebbles. The dough is placed straight on top of the hot pebbles creating charred and delicious dimples in the bread.

Taboon bread is made of simple ingredients; often white or wheat flour, a little salt, sugar and warm water. The dough gets divided into small round balls, and rolled thin with a little flour to avoid sticking. Although you can find taboon bread all over Palestine and now often made in commercial ovens. But it’s the pebbles, mud and olive branches that gives the taboon bread its distinct taste and texture.

Eating taboon bread in the country side in Palestine, where the blue skies meet top of the hills, and the air is crisp and loaded with the intense smell of the olive harvest it’s there where you will find the best taboon and the best muskhan.

Serves: 4

Total cook time: 60 minutes

Prep time: 40 minutes



  • 1 chicken fryer cut up into 4- 6 pieces ∗

  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil

  • 14 onions, thinly sliced ∗∗

  • 2 medium taboon bread ∗∗*

  • 1/3 cup good quality ruby sumac plus 1 tablespoon

  • Pine nuts to garnish

  • Salt

  • Black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • A pinch of ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom


The chicken: You could boil the chicken first with aromatics to make a broth, then strain it, and then roast the cooked chicken in the oven. I however just drizzle the chicken pieces with olive oil, rub spices all over the chicken, and bake in 375°F/ 190°C oven for 40-50 min until cooked through and the skin is crispy and browned.

The onions:  In a heavy large pot, heat the olive oil. Sauté the onions until completely soft not browned. This process takes time, up to 30-45 minutes depending on how deep or shallow your pot is. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Off the heat, add the sumac saving 1 tablespoon for the garnish.

The Bread:  Taboon bread is made of simple ingredients; often white or wheat flour, a little salt, sugar and warm water. The dough gets divided into small round balls, and rolled thin with a little flour to avoid sticking. If you cant find Taboon, you can use any flat bread.

To Assemble: Dunk the chicken in the olive oil and onion mixture. Generously scatter the caramelized onions over the taboon bread. Add the chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle with pine nuts and the rest of the sumac. Return to a pre-heated oven at 350°F/180°C for 10 minutes until the bread crisps up and soaks up all the flavors.

To eat: Serve each person either a whole loaf or half based on the size of your bread. With a piece of chicken on top. Cut pieces with your hand making sure every bite has lots of onions and chicken. Serve with lots of napkins and don’t be scared to get messy.

∗ The USDA defines a fryer chicken weighing between 2-1/2 and 4 -1/2 pounds.

∗∗ You want enough onions to generously cover the taboon bread.

∗∗∗ Use your judgment because taboon comes in various sizes

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