Saturday, February 13, 2016

Learning From Sports

I must admit that I'm enjoying the football games more and more this year than ever before. As many of you know, I'm a loyal fan of the Jerusalem Lions "Big Blue" American Tackle Football team. I think that many of you, especially  parents will understand when you hear the reason. It's because my son is no longer playing; he's the coach. How's that? Am I allowed to brag? I do still come to cheer on the team. And if you'd like to see football here in Israel, I suggest you join us. The games are free. Bring your own nosh. The home games are in the sports field in Mishor Adumim. Click here for the schedule.

But the point of this post is to point out some of the really nice bits of sportsmanship and derech eretz, nice behavior you'll see at football games. I've seen them!  Quite often as the guys of both teams get up from one of those frightening to look at tackles, when they're all piled up on each other, they help each other up, not only their teammates, but the guy they had just tackled or who had been tackled by.  I really like the fact that most players at least understand that it's a game, not a war. When everyone plays fairly according to the rules, there's mutual respect.

Another thing that is very nice. When the play is stopped for an injured player, players on both teams, whether on the field or on the sidelines, get on their knee in respect, until the player either can walk off the field or is helped off, and then they all clap to thank him for his efforts and wish him well.

Yes, they all know that it's by the grace of Gd that it's not them needing help from the medic. And many of them have been in that position already.

Friday, February 12, 2016

"Up, Up and Away..."

"Up, Up and Away..."
No, this isn't a helium filled balloon. After much trial, error and wasted balloons, I discovered that the best way to propel them in the air is not to tie the. Just blow them big, get your camera shooting ready, let go of the balloon and quickly shoot pictures as the balloon flies up before it crashlands.
One of the locations I tried has a police station and lots of security nearby. I was afraid they'd come running and shooting at me especially as balloons often pop, but I wasn't disturbed by the authorities.

Camera: Canon Canon IXUS 145
Location: Shiloh, Israel

This week's theme/challenge on 52Frames, the photography group I'm in was "Levitation," and besides buying a bunch of balloons, I used a very low-tech way of "levitating" my subject. I just blew in and let it fly.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Piccolino- Always a Good Meal

When I want a good dairy meal in Jerusalem, there's a restaurant I always return to, Piccolino, and I'm never disappointed. It can be best described as uncompromising quality and creativity at reasonable prices.

While we were waiting for our main courses, we were given an irresistible drink and their focaccia (straight out of the oven) with accompanying spreads. And to be honest, I loved their multigrain bread served with herbed butter even more than the white focaccia. It took all my self-control to keep from filling up on the breads and spreads before the main course arrived.

I treated myself to the Vegetable Lasagna, not my usual, because it was filled with my two favorite vegetable fillings, spinach and mushrooms.  The tomato sauce was so delicious, I ate every drop along with the lasagna, which was perfect. I didn't even need to use the bread to sop it up. It wasn't watery at all.

My dining companion had their Tuna Salad. Now, this is no old fashioned tuna, from a luncheonette or even the nicoise you'll get in most restaurants. Take a look!

At Piccolino the Tuna Salad is seared red tuna on a generous plate of fresh vegetables and perfectly cooked green beans. My companion allowed me to have some, too, and even though she had eaten her fill, there was enough left over for her to take home for the next day's meal.

When we were full and ready to leave, we were told that we must sample their newest dessert creation, and they wouldn't let us leave without it. That was certainly an offer we couldn't turn down, and dug in. It was worth it and worth the extra exercise to burn those calories.

We sat at the bar, since Piccolino was pretty crowded, and with just two of us we could talk easily, plus we could see the "behind the scenes," how some of the dishes were created, assembled. They are truly works of art.

Piccolino is open all day, except Shabbat of course, from breakfast to dinner and dessert. You're bound to find something good to eat. It's strictly kosher mehadrin.

Since the owners know I'm a food blogger, they always serve me a few things I hadn't ordered so I can sample them. This isn't the same as the restaurant reviewers at the Jerusalem Post who get literally wined and dined by restaurant owners. I do pay for my meals, what I've ordered.
שעות פעילות OPEN HOURS

ראשון עד חמישי 10:00-24:00 המטבח פתוח עד שעה 23:00 Sunday to Thursday 10:00-24:00, The kitchen is open until 23:00

שישי וערבי חג 9:00-15:00, המטבח פתוח עד שעה 14:00              Friday and before Jewish holidays from 9:00-15:00, The kitchen is open until 14:00

שבת מצאת השבת עד חצות, המטבח פתוח עד שעה 23:00 Saturday from an hour after Shabbat ends until Midnight, The kitchen is open until 23:00

רחוב יואל משה סולומון 12 ירושלים
Yoel Moshe Solomon Street No.12 Jerusalem 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Chickpea Mushroom Vegetable Soup

Yes, it tastes as good as it looks!

Like many Jewish housewives, this is the season to try to use up what has been hiding in the pantry before the Passover Holiday. I'm not quite sure when I bought a package of chickpeas, but it was certainly many months ago, most probably in the summer or even the spring. That's because I found it unopened in the fridge. If it had been bought in the fall or winter, it would have been in the closet.

Beans can keep for years. Just look at the expiration date on the packages, but like many Jewish housewives I like to get the house as empty of food as possible before Pesach.

Usually I make my vegetable soups with quicker and easier to cook lentils, split peas etc, not beans or chickpeas which need more soaking and cooking. But Saturday night when I realized that I'd be home most of Sunday and Monday, I began preparing the chickpeas for a soup.
  1. I checked for bugs and stones first; all was clear. Then before going to bed I left them soaking in water. In the morning, I spilled out the water, added more and boiled them. Then I let them simmer and then they sat in the hot water. I ate one to see if they were sufficiently soft, and they were chewy enough. 
  2. Time for the cut vegetables:
  • onions
  • garlic
  • carrots
  • squash
  • mushrooms
  • a couple of spoons (I never measure) of vegetable oil
  • salt, pepper and parsley
    3. Saute the vegetables in a covered pan on a low flame until they begin to soften.
    4. Add the chickpeas, including the water, and even add more water--boiling water for faster cooking. 
    5. After half hour or more, when it all seems cooked, but not overcooked, add the salt, pepper and parsley. Cook another few minutes, turn off heat and leave it for at least ten minutes before serving.


Enjoy! I'd like to know how it came out if you try the recipe.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Busy With Arts & Crafts

It's nice to see that my young granddaughter, Kindergarten age, still does old fashioned Arts & Crafts wielding a stapler and scissors with great skill and creativity. 

homemade "pop-up book"

adding staples to the stapler
There was a time I had to tempt her away from the computer screen, but now she has been going straight to her Arts & Crafts supplies, thank Gd.

Creating is much more fun than staring a screen and moving a "mouse."

Monday, February 8, 2016

Lazy SmartPhone Can't do Two Things at Once

Last night when I called a friend for a nice long talk, I figured that it was the perfect time to take a walk around the house and get a nice gold medal from my phone pedometer. But...
I discovered something very annoying last night. WalkLogger, the app on my phone for counting steps doesn't count when talking on the phone. At least it didn't when I had a long talk with a friend simultaneously marching around my house. I must have marched a few thousand steps considering how long the phone conversation and that I didn't stop moving for a second. When I checked the pedometer after "hanging up," I discovered that the numbers hadn't moved at all.No gold medal, but calories were burned!
And please don't tell me to just talk on the Bezeq phone, because on the "land line" I don't have the same unlimited free phone calls abroad I have with Golan.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Review of my Bargain French Press

A couple of weeks ago, I had proudly blogged here about my bargain French Press. But now after using it, I must say that it isn't worth more than I paid.

  • Although it claims to be an 8 cup size, I don't know what size cups they used for measuring, since it's just a bit larger than my giant mug, and my former one which I think was a standard 8 cup made me two nice mugfulls. I don't even get two half mugs from it. The only advantage of that is drinking a bit less coffee, though I don't have blood pressure trouble.
  • The filter, which is the key to the French Press process is a bit leaky. It's not the end of the world, but it's not perfect. 
  • Many of the better French Presses have an extra small filter that you put by the "spout" to catch rebellious coffee "pieces." This one certainly doesn't have one of those.
But of course I'll use it as long as it stays whole, unchipped and uncracked. 

Of course, pure Murphey's Law, it will last a very long time...

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Another "Puzzle Piece" of My Life Found

I don't know if this sort of thing is happening to my peers, but of late, now in "late middle age," I've been rediscovering/reconnecting with old friends and have made contact with relatives I hadn't seen or heard from in more than a half century but I'm now in contact with a branch of relatives I had barely known existed. Internet and facebook are fantastic tools for reuniting.

A few months ago when I had written Dancing Memories... about the dancing school run by a Mrs. Sullivan in her tiny basement, I mentioned that I was looking for the friend who is next to me in the picture. Just a few days ago, my friend Margaret found me!

I woke up to an email from her, and yesterday, before Shabbat, we spoke on the phone, and we must talk more and meet in person, even though the logistics are complicated. What timing; I just returned from the states and had spent over a week in Manhattan. But I shouldn't complain, because at least I found out that she had felt the same. We have never forgotten each other.

And along with others who grew up, or at least spent the best years of our childhoods, in Bell Park Gardens, Bayside, New York, we considered it a Garden of Eden for kids. We had a freedom and security that doesn't exist nowadays.

PS Now out of the five of us in that picture, only two are unknown to me, the girl in the middle and the blond next to her. The picture was taken either in spring, 1953 or 1954, when we were four or five years old. If anyone has a clue...

Friday, February 5, 2016

52Frames, Shot From Above

Shot From Below
Greetings from...
A couple of weeks ago, I was so shocked and happy that my "Greetings from..." photo for 52Frames got so many "likes" and nice comments, but then, my "Shot From Below" was very ignored. I have no real eye for what the "audience," other members, like. This week's "Shot From Above," which I thought was interesting barely hit a combined double digit for "likes" and "comments."  Maybe I should have photographed more or chosen one of the other pictures, like these?

Here's the one I chose. Did I choose incorrectly?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bragging, The Piano Recital and More

final practice
before recital
Now, for the second year, I had the privilege and pleasure to attend the piano recital of my granddaughter. Now that she has two years of piano study under her belt, I see such a great improvement over last year. Unlike her older sister, she didn't try a number of instruments before the piano. There's something about the piano and her innate drive for perfectionism that suits her nature very well.

Her older sister has settled on the guitar after trying the chalilit, recorder and the electric organ. And her younger brother loves his electric drums. Electric drums? I had no idea there was such a device/instrument until one was bought for him. Yesterday he performed for me, having more fun changing the sounds and effects even more than doing the Ringo Starr thing. It's a new world out there. And my younger grandchildren aren't yet up to learning a musical instrument.


P.S. "Icing on the Cake," she's wearing the sweater I bought her in NY!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Whatever Happened to Decent Service?

So many times after eating my restaurant meal, I've waited much too long to finally get the bill, I've been tempted to just walk out and wonder if they the staff would ever notice. And other times, even if I was with a group of just three, we'd find a terribly long time between when the first was served until the last. Or as happened in a well-reviewed kosher restaurant, 613, in Stamford, CT, they seemed to have forgotten to bring our food until long after it should have had arrived. And of late, more than once, my dining partners and I weren't asked if we wanted dessert or tea/coffee after the meal.

Today, when I was dining with two others in the "Gregg's" in the Sharonim Mall, Hod Hasharon (near Yarkon Junction,) almost all of those things happened.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, because we grabbed our table without the assistance of the staff. Nobody seemed to be in charge. We asked for the menus, of which they brought two even though we said that a third would be joining us.

They took our orders without too much trouble, even checked to see which quiche would be served. Actually that we for me. I ordered their mushroom quiche which came with a salad and some sour cream or creamy white cheese. I had asked for the green salad, but they gave me Israeli one cut up small. I didn't bother complaining since I was served about twenty 20 minutes after one of my dining companions was served, and she had gotten her meal about fifteen 15 minutes after our friend. The quiche was the doughiest I'd ever eaten, but at least it was whole wheat.

After we had all finished eating, we had to work hard to catch a waiter's attention to order coffee. The waiter didn't ask if we wanted any dessert, nor were our plates cleared away. Then the coffee was brought, which we finished quickly, and then we wanted to pay and get out. But we couldn't find any staff to bring the bill. We were getting rather annoyed. I suggested that we just walk out, and if they do notice, we'll say that we're just testing them as part of a survey. My idea was vetoed, and we weighed the idea of not tipping. On that we disagreed, but the final result was a much lower tip than the bill would indicate.

And we asked for the manager to come, especially since the staff we could see were so young, much younger than our kids,  and it was obvious that nobody was well-trained. A young woman came identifying herself as manager. She admitted that things aren't running smoothly. She offered us a free coffee, but she could see that we had already had coffee. She offered some cookies, but we're all dieting. If she had offered some sort of discount card, that we would have taken.

This sort of thing has happened too many times to me. It's becoming more and more rare to get good competent service in a restaurant, anyplace at all.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

More Steps = Less Weight & Lower BP

A few months ago, when my blood pressure was suddenly in that questionable numbers category that is too high to be good and too low for medication, and my weight had crept up just a wee too much, I decided to try to "walk it off." Ever since I got my smartphone, about two years ago, on the recommendation of Isramom, who is still a close friend, though no longer blogging, I got the WalkLogger application for my phone. It's free, of course!

Until then, I hadn't used it to push me to walk more. It did make me realize that I don't walk as much as I thought I had been walking. On very rare occasions, I'd march around the house to get to a close goal. I'm set up for a Bronze Medal at 5,000 steps, Silver at 8,000 and Gold at 10,000 with a special mention of 5 kilometers. I had gotten myself "satisfied" at the lowest level of 5,000 steps, and even that wasn't all that often.

But things changed during my recent trip to the states. I love walking in Manhattan and walked a lot. An almost daily Gold Medal perked me up, and then I was in the Phoenix, AZ area for a few days, during its most comfortable season for walking, and I kept it up. When I got home I saw that even though I hadn't stuck to my eating plan all that carefully, I had dropped a kilo.

So I decided to push myself to read at least Silver and even Gold as much as possible even if it wasn't an outdoor walking day. Remember, it's winter and that means rain and snow. So equipped with my phone in a pocket, I've even put on my listening device and marched around the house to make sure I'd get a "prize." And even my blood pressure dropped to an amazing (for any age) 123/66, bli eyin haraa, and that was at the "first try." And another kilo plus (each kilo is 2.2 lbs) left, bli eyin haraa.

There's nothing like success, so I'm determined to keep up the walking, even if I'm home or at work, since my phone counts the steps.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bnai Akiva Comes to Shiloh!

Due to the weather, all of the TU B'Shvat festivities, plantings etc were postponed a week. Here in Shiloh, Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh to be exact we hosted a major part of the Bnai Akiva youth movement, the Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and Mateh Binyamin sniffim, or chapters/branches/clubs. I went down to the Tel to see what was happening.

Considering the massive numbers of kids, hundreds or even thousands, I doubt that they all planted trees. And I left before that part of the festivities had begun. And festivities there were.... Here are some photos; you can find more on my facebook.

These photos were taken when I was on my way to Jerusalem by bus. Apparently the plantings were all over the Shiloh area.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Quickie Kosher Cooking Carnival

I haven't done this for a very long time, so I'm just grabbing a few recipe and kosher food posts. I'm listing the titles only and hope that you'll visit and comment and share thanks. And please remember that I run a KCC- Kosher Cooking Carnival page on facebook. If you'd like to get more involved, then please email me,, thanks.

Honey Mustard Roasted Fennel and Cabbage Wedges- Paleo, Vegan Options
Easy "Fancy" Cooking
Shabbat Menu
The elusive quest for a Passover beer
More than "Just a Meatloaf"
Soup Glorious Soup Take II - Thenthuk Soup
Homemade "Airplane Food"
Catching Cold
German Pancake
Oops, Kosher Clams Advertised at Ami Magazine
Hit The Spot Lentil Soup

Again, you're invited to send me links and kosher food blogs to be used in the next Kosher Cooking Carnival. And I'm sure you'll like the posts included, so please visit, comment and share, thanks.