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Volunteering on Thanksgiving Week

Posted Nov 23 2010 7:00am

On Sunday, Jeffrey and I spent our afternoon volunteering with the Jewish Federation of Houston for Mitzvah Day.

Before I get to that, I created the best oats–so thick with perfect flavor and few ingredients.


This bowl was different than previous ones by using less water and a lot of cinnamon. The cinnamon was kind of an accident, but it was really good. It turned the bowl a beautiful brown color. You can see the specks in the picture.


  • somewhere between 1/4 C and 1/3 C Scottish Oats
  • 3/4 C water
  • 1/4 C almond milk
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon (I had meant to do 1/2 tsp but used the wrong spoon and did just under 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 banana thinly sliced
  • 3/4 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 T black raisins
  • Kashi Go Lean Crunch for sprinkling on top

I cook all the bowls the same way:

  • Boil water, add oats, whisk. Add almond milk, whisk. Let cook for 3-4 minutes. Add banana, cinnamon, chia, raisins, let thicken for 5 minutes.
  • Pour in bowl and sprinkle with cereal on top.

I also wanted to show you this pretty combo of colors. It is 2 slices of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread, toasted. One side has Crofter’s Four Fruit jam, and one has Stonemill Kitchen Pumpkin Butter. I really like pumpkin butter–it has calories similar to jam, but is kind of thicker like peanut butter.

And then a 3-ingredient green monster . I loved how all the colors looked and tasted.


On Sunday, we volunteered at a place called Aishel House in Houston. The name is a Hebrew acronym for Food, Drink, Lodging. This is a place for people who come to one of the nearby hospitals for their own treatments like chemotherapy or radiation, or to care for someone else in the hospital. They aren’t from Houston (some are international visitors) and need a long-term place to stay that is affordable and close. The Aishel House has 18 apartments, and they also help with meals, transportation and counseling.

We volunteered to cook a kosher meal for the people staying in the apartments and for others in the hospital. Our group made Garlic Knots (picture above), Minestrone Soup (below, adapted from my recipe), and Libby’s Pumpkin Pie (I forgot a picture, but it was classic pumpkin pie!).


I suggested the soup and contributed my recipe (link above), but I have never multiplied a recipe to make so much soup. We way overestimated, but that is better than under. The soup had carrots, onions, celery, zucchini and noodles. The broth was water, tomato sauce, and stock seasoning. My original recipe uses chicken or vegetable stock.

It takes a very long time to boil three gigantic pots of water.

It’s really nice to spend some time helping others by doing something you enjoy. Cooking is fun and always appreciated, and also nice to give back on Thanksgiving week.

Do you volunteer on Thanksgiving week?

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