Yummy Dessert! Easy, universal flaky pastry dough secrets!

Let’s pretend…

It is a cold, rainy Sunday morning and you couldn’t fall asleep till 3:00 am! When your dog manages to drag you out of bed it’s already too late for church and now, in addition of being cold and tired you are going on a guilt trip!
Well… may be not you, but I would, if the above would happen to me, which it never does!

Regardless of circumstances I find that dessert always makes me feel better so I will share this with you and hope you like it too!
How to make a flaky universal pastry dough

The secret for a flaky dough is using very cold butter and also very cold water and letting the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour before using it.
The secret to “universal” is to make it without sugar, so you could use it for other dishes, not only desserts.
Ingredients for dough
2 sticks of butter
2 cups of flour
A pinch of salt, or less if the butter is salty already
If you use the dough for desserts, add:
A pinch of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Add COLD WATER slowly for desired consistency.
What does this mean??? The consistency needs to be just right to be able to roll it and work with it in the desired shapes. If it is too watery, add flour, but make sure you keep in mind it is the butter which gives us the flakiness feature. So, add more butter.

Mix the ingredients using your hands or a blender.
Do not over mix! The cold butter is CUT IN and the water we add must be cold to get the flakiness feature.

Place the dough in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes, but I let it rest overnight. In fact, I use little at a time if I want to have a fresh, hot pastry daily!

To sum up:
We have the flaky dough. If we decided NOT to use all of it for desserts, don’t use any sugar. The dough must be refrigerated for at least 60 minutes but it could be used as desired, little by little during the week. Do NOT keep more than a week!


For Desserts:
Mix chopped walnuts or any kind of nuts you have at hand with any berry preserves. Fresh is always best. Berries picked by you, even better! Take the desired amount of dough out of your refrigerator, roll it, flatten it in the desired shape, place the filling in the middle, close it so that the filling will not spill out while baking. Place on unbuttered cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let cool and make it look pretty by topping it with confectioner sugar, especially if sugar is not a health concern.

Fillings for “non-desserts.”

One of my favorites is shredded cedar cheese mixed with one egg. Ricotta, cottage, are other favorite fillings.
As all of the recipe shares on this site there is a “give and take” element and the encouragement to use our imagination.
Cooking, baking, generally making something which we could eat, is good for the soul!
Enjoy your flaky dough in any way you decide to use it. Please, as always, share your personal experiences.

Rodica Mihalis, M.S., Counseling and Clinical Psycology

Yummy pastry!

Yummy pastry!

This Weekend Movie Suggestion: Netflix – The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies- APPEARANCES ARE DECEIVING…

The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies is the perfect movie to watch on a rainy weekend like this… Especially if, perhaps, like me, you need to be reminded at times that many times evil comes in “normal,” or externally beautiful ways. Appearances are deceiving!

The movie, a BBC production based on real events, starring Jason Watkins,
is nothing short of extraordinary! His performance, so nuanced, I wondered how or whom did Watkins study to reach such perfection!

Jefferies, a retired school teacher of 34 years, whose “only fault” was eccentricity, is wrongly accused of murdering a young woman and hounded by media and misjudged by society on no real grounds.

A young man, who looked “normal” by the standards of our society, is overlooked at first but ultimately judged and punished as the real killer.

However, Jefferies life was already ruined: He was no longer welcomed to participate in activities dear and meaningful to him and many of those who befriended, turn their backs on him.
The emotional consequences are devastating! Jefferies, a kind, peaceful human being is forced to turn into a determined fighter in the name of ALL “the Jefferies” of the world, good people who are assumed guilty just because they are different from what our culture considers “normal.”

This masterpiece reminded me of the children’s Bear Family Book Series, specifically the book in which Mama Bear teaches the cubs about hidden dangers and deceiving appearances. She demonstrates how deceiving beauty could be by showing the cubs a beautiful, on the outside perfect, healthy apple. When she cuts it, the inside is brown and rotted…

There are many layers of messages in this exceptional movie, delivered through multiple channels of communication. Peter Morgan, who wrote it, delivered a powerful message, and each word is a jewel. However, Watkins’ acting is so nuanced, his facial expressions and body language so convincing, I felt I needed to watch the movie again and turn off the sound to focus on the images.

Next time I am tempted to judge “different” and assume it is “evil,” or “less,” or “wrong,” I will remember this movie which is based on true events. An official “Letter of Exonoration” is not enough to mend the tragic consequences of false accusations. It is easy to misjudge based on appearances and hard to ignore what our culture has taught us is normal!

Please share your opinion and/or story if you have a personal event when appearances were deceiving and led to unpleasant consequences. Food for thought…
Have a cozy weekend!

Rodica Mihalis, M.S. Counseling and Clinical Psychology
Life’s Crossroads and Wellness Coaching

The Importance of Accuracy in measurements of Cervical Dilation. Elm Tree Medical, INC. Dedicated to innovations in women’s health!

Elm Tree Medical and its CEO, Eva MARTIN,M.D., a Harvard Medical School graduate, have been dedicated to improvements in women’s healthcare.

DilaCheck is a medical device which has the goal to revolutionize the accuracy of cervical dilation measurements in this crucial phase of labor and delivery.

The device’s goal is to improve the accuracy of measuring cervical dilation, from approximately 50 percent, now, to about 96 percent, using the device.

Recently, Elm Tree Medical INC. of San Francisco, California, has entered The FedEx small business contest.
Please take a moment to read about this revolutionizing device and support advances in women’s healthcare by voting for Elm Tree Medical.
If you have any personal stories you would like to share about your pregnancy and the importance of accurate cervical dilation measurements, please share!

For valuable Information about pregnancy and women healthcare visit:
http://www.elmtreemedical.com and subscribe to their Free Newsletter.
To learn more about Elm Tree and the FedEx contest, please follow this link:


Thank you!

This Weekend ‘s Surprise Lunch! What’s in your refrigerator?

Smoked turkey, bacon, cheese lunch

Smoked turkey, bacon, cheese lunch

Cold weather and rain doesn’t seem to let go of Central Pennsylvania and here we are, on May 15, 2016, I turned the heat on again!
We are expecting 38 degrees tonight…
Perfect weather for a HOT meal, so… Let’s see what could we put together.
The contents of our refrigerator, tells a lot about ITS owner. WHAT does mine say?
A couple of English muffins, some slices of smoked turkey and bacon from Sharp Shopper, a favorite local grocery store, some Pravelone cheese and an orange. The bread is not fresh but that’s no problem, here’s how to solve the it: sprinkle water on the bread, then a few drops of oil of your choice. I use olive oil which I flavored with fresh, chopped garlic.
On top of the prepared bread, place the smoked turkey, layer of cooked bacon and the cheese.
Bake everything for 10-15 minutes until done. WHAT does “done” mean? Since all the ingredients are already cooked, done means not burned or under cooked, or the bread will be soggy instead of crunchy and delicious.

Presentation makes food taste better and I was lucky to have an orange in my refrigerator, but the lettuce leaves were the real surprise of this improvized lunch:
A few days ago, I noticed lettuce growing in the back yard, in the middle of the lawn:)
It probably reseeded itself last year… It doesn’t matter much, except that I uprooted it and planted where it belongs but saved a few leaves for this weekend’s lunch.
That’s it for today!
WHAT does this say about me? For sure I continue to believe bacon makes everything taste better!
Please share what’s in your refrigerator?

Happy Mother’s Day! Motherhood is a State of Mind!Once a mother, always a mother…

IMG_0065imageThe TV commercials flood us with images of perfect children, grateful husbands offering diamonds and an overall ideal WORLD, making me wonder what’s wrong with the “Picture” in which I live?
Perhaps I’m the only mother whose husband didn’t offer her diamonds, or for that matter flowers. As he told me, times and again, “You are not my mother!”
He is no longer in our lives and my children are grown ups. They live thousands of miles away… My reality is cards, texts, agift cards..
Am I as happy as the mother in a tv commercial? No, but I am grateful they remember me.
Which brings us to the next question: Who must wish a mother, “Happy Mother’s Day,” if anyone?
No one is under a moral obligation, however, it feels good when friends who know how much unconditional LOVE a mother offered, acknowledge it.
The message I hear is, “Good job!” I feel validated and worthy.

As a mother, my message to all the mothers in the WORLD, is:
Once a mother, always a mother, Even if your reality is not a TV commercial!
The reality of motherhood is much more! It is a state of mind!

Bacon, Avocado, Nuts, Egg Salad — Give or Take

Yummy avocado, bacon salad

Yummy avocado, bacon salad

Lemon, mint, honey waterThis is based on the observation that adding bacon to almost anything, makes it taste better.
It’s a give or take, as most of the ingredients could be replaced with something in the same family, or skipped.
For instance, I used mostly sunflower seeds and a few almonds. If you have walnuts at hand, use them. I added a few raisins, but the salad would be fine without. If you do not have eggs, substitute with baked carrots or another vegetable.
2 avocados
4 boiled eggs
4 strips of crisp bacon
2 Tbs- sunflower seeds (roasted)
1 Tbs almonds or walnuts
6-10 – raisins
All chopped and mixed well with the dressing.
You may add fresh dill, or basil.
Olive oil
Sea salt
Juice of one lemon
If you like garlic, chop finely and add to dressing.

Serve with well toasted flat bread.
Drink plenty of lemon, mint and honey water.
Use plenty of fresh mint or herbs in season to make your meal taste and look yummy!
Enjoy and use your imagination!
Please don’t forget to share.
Thank you.