Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Please Pray...

I've just received word that someone I know needs heart surgery.  Please pray Refuah Shleimah, a Complete Recovery for:
Ditza Tirtza bat Vardit
And say the following chapters in T'hillim, Psalms:
6, 17, 31, 32, 39, 142 and 130.


Thank You,


נא להתפלל
לרפואת דיצה תרצה בת ורדית
הפרקי תהילים המוצעים לתפלה הם: ו' יז' לא' לב' לט' קמב' קל
תודה

Waking Up Early and My Favorite Coffee

For me the two topics in the title are connected, because my early morning time is by the computer drinking coffee.

By nature I'm a "morning person,"  but it's only in recent years that I get up extra early for solitary time. 
  • There's no competition for the computer.
  • I have time to "eliminate" after drinking lots of water and then coffee.
I like strong coffee with milk and sugar in the morning.  I rarely have more than those early morning mugs of coffee.  Coffee isn't a food substitute for me.  It's my morning drink and gets my whole body moving, if you get the drift of the euphemism.

Many life coach and other experts promote getting up early for a variety of reasons.  I've been doing it for years and I can't imagine my life without it.  Physically and mentally, those couple of hours without pressure are necessary.  It wouldn't surprise me to discover, if I was to do a poll, that constipation is more common among those who rush out in the morning and don't have time to eat and eliminate.  We all need to drink lots of water first thing in the morning.  My coffee is being made while I drink water.

Now, what's the best coffee?  Only on the Sabbath and Jewish Holidays do I drink instant coffee.  For the past few years I've prepared my coffee in an electric coffeemaker.  It's a filter coffeemaker and I generally use good standard quality Israeli Turkish coffee.  It's OK.

When I eat out, I'm usually disappointed in the coffee served.  I like my home-brewed coffee better than what's served today as "cappuccino."  There's no flavor. 

During Passover, I can't use my coffeemaker, so I use an old percolator on the stove.  I prefer the taste of the perked  coffee to the filtered.  Possibly with a better electric coffeemaker, I'd taste less of a difference.  In terms of types of coffees, I don't find the expensive ones, even from the states, any tastier than the Elite Turkish Coffee.  I don't like the Starbucks burnt flavor.

Cooking Questions, Just Ask

On one of the food lists someone asked:

my gefilte fish fell apart

It's too late for me to try again for the seder, so either we'll eat crumbly gefilte fish or we'll just skip it all together, but I want it to stick together next time. So what makes gefilte fish fall apart in the pot? I had only ONE ball -- that's it -- the rest was just pieces of ground fish floating in broth.

I used one fish -- about 2 or 3 pounds and there were 3 eggs and 75 grams of matzoh meal in the mix -- shouldn't that be enough to hold it together?



My reply:
re:my gefilte fish fell apart

A few things:

Didn't you use any onions, grated, blenderized, food processed? I would have at least one.

Second, I don't measure/weigh the matzah meal. I mix in until it's not watery. The fish is never of uniform water content, so it's not a good idea to trust recipes. Use your own judgement.

I let it sit for a while after mixing. The stock must be boiling very hard. Lower the flame only after the fish mush balls are in.


Generally you can see if the balls will stay solid immediately as you drop them in, so if one falls apart, stop immediately and add more matzah meal.
If you have any other cooking questions, please ask, and I'll do my best to answer.  Click here for my very simple gefilte fish recipe.  The same basic simple recipe is good for all different types of fish.  For something extra special and no extra work, try "Italian Gefilte Fish."  Instead of classic onions, carrots, salt, sugar and pepper in the water, boil the fish balls in slightly diluted tomato sauce.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'm Going To Have Tighten My Food Intake and Exercise More

I've been eating too much and exercising too little.  Passover isn't the holiday for those on low-carb diets.  At least I'm finished with the seder, been there, done that and ate my three pieces of matzah in one evening.  I drank mostly grape juice, not much wine.

We had a nice seder.  I think my father liked it.  He's in a very "enjoys everything" state of mind.  It's a blessing.

Now for a good night's sleep for me.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Passover, Ready or Not, Here We Come

Re: The Cooking
I have meatloaf and some kugels in the freezer. Gefilte fish is made, soup stock and chicken and some vegetables. For chag, must still do kneidelach, finish the soup, some potatoes and another vegetable dish. And pre-seder lunch must be made.



Re: The Cleaning
It's one of those very basic years.  The kitchen is done, but other rooms just don't have that "sparkle." Sorry, there's chametz, dust and whatever.  Only chametz is forbidden on Passover according to Jewish Law.
 
All of my recipes are very simple, minimal steps and ingredients.  I like easy cooking.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

HH, The Mourning Edition

HaMakom y'nachem to Jack on the loss of his grandmother.

Despite it all, he produced the pre-Pesach Havel Havelim.  Take a look.  It's amazing how many jbloggers are blogging during the pre-Pesach preparations.  Maybe most are like me and consider the computer a better "break" than noshing. If you're interested in hosting a Havel Havelim, please contact Jack.  Details in HH.

And if you'd like to host a Kosher Cooking Carnival, please let me know, thanks.  You can submit posts by clicking here.  KCC is more than just a recipe carnival.  All aspects of kosher food, cooking etc are included.

Kosher For Passover, Whew!

Yes, that's my kitchen, all cleaned and covered for Passover.  You can even see the Pesachdik percolator on the stove.


We succeeded according to my preordained schedule.  Yes, amazing, it worked.  Of course, I almost went to bed without taking out the chicken and fish from the freezer.  Nobody's perfect.


There's oilcloth (of sorts) covering the marble counters.  For almost forty years I pasted contac paper, then suddenly last year I decided that it wasn't worth the money and effort.  For lots less money I bought a couple of meters of this oil cloth and cut it to fit.  Actually I bought two pieces but discovered that one piece was large enough.  Of course, when I took it out of the closet last night I couldn't find any markings to indicate which piece was meat and which dairy.  I figured it out like a puzzle, as to which matched the size, sink etc.  It took a fraction of the time that the contac paper took to measure, cut, paste etc.  I used some left-over contac paper on the "island," more peninsula that's used as a work-surface snack table.

That's it for the early morning blogging email etc.

PS I just heard something at the door.  Last night I advertised on our Shiloh email that there was chametz for the taking, Cheerios, cake, etc.   Some of it was just taken.  I'm glad that someone is enjoying our left-overs.

Ye Olde Green Cabbage Cure

For those of you wondering how my infected aching foot was doing, here's the lowdown:

The slow, slow improvement could not be due to the antibiotics.  When antibiotics work for a skin infection like that, it works pretty quickly.  That's why the doctor originally prescribed just a week of pills.

Friday night, I still felt the heaviness and periodic "toe strangulation," though less frequently and less intensively day by  day.  I remembered a "hair root" infection in one of my fingers when I was a kid.  The doctor opened it , pushed out the pus and cleaned it.  I was tempted to  perform that sort of minor surgery on my foot.  But it was Shabbat and I wimped out.

Then I remembered green cabbage.  I had first read about using the leaves of green cabbage on abscesses over thirty years ago.  One of my neighbors who works as a natural healer recommends it for all sorts of things.  Very siyatte diShmaya, hand of G-d, conveniently, there was a nice big green cabbage in the fridge.  I took off a leaf and wrapped it on the afflicted spot, using a cotton sock to hold it in place and then I went to sleep.

Over Shabbat I changed to fresher leaves and yes, Baruch Hashem, Thank G-d, I felt better.  OK, I also rested; I wasn't on my foot much.

I'll finish the second week of  antibiotics which ends very conveniently on the Eve of Passover.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Daylight Savings: I Protest

When I was a kid, I didn't care about Daylight Savings Time.  It came and went and I was rather oblivious.

I first noticed it when I was a mother of young kids who wouldn't go to bed on time, because the sun was still shining.  I'm a morning person and has always believed in getting up "on time," even on vacation.  It's so easy to get into an all night up rut and not function during the day.  That happens even more easily when there's  Daylight Savings Time.

During our two years in London, mid-1970's, Daylight Savings was really a problem.  It didn't get dark until 10-11pm.  As Orthodox (Torah observant) Jews, that meant that Shabbat was over very late on Saturday night, long past our daughters' bedtime.  We used to make Havdalah, the ceremony separating the Sabbath from the weekdays, on Sunday morning for them.

Israel is closer to the equator, so our summer sunsets are earlier than that, but late enough to make the Eve of Shabbat meal later than I like to eat.

A friend with health problems found herself feeling sick every Shabbat morning, because she had eaten too late for her health.

My very elderly father has been having enough problems getting up and finishing breakfast before noon.  Now it will be even harder, especially on Shabbat and Jewish Holidays.

Last night's news claimed that there are fewer car accidents with  Daylight Savings, but I Remember hearing the opposite.  Daylight Savings promotes staying out too late, so people get insufficient sleep, which causes concentration problems and more accidents.

Last night we in Israel turned our clocks ahead.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Insanity! Davka on The Eve of Passover...

... would you believe that I baked a cake?!?

I almost never bake, so why davka now of all times? 

There's a pretty dumb reason.  My husband bought home an awful lot of bananas, because when I'm too busy to cook, I serve bananas.  Some of the bananas he bought got squished, badly abused.  I took pity on them.  When I cleaned out the freezer today, I found some flour, so I made a shidduch.  Rather pathetic isn't it?

This way I was also able to use left-over chocolate chips and juice syrup.  It's going to be a strange cake.

It was almost a burnt cake, since until two minutes ago, the heat was too high, because I had been baking my simple but fancy vegetables and had forgotten to lower the heat.  Nobody's perfect, not even me.

Who Has Been Here? and Why The Cuckoo Clock?

This visitors graph from sitemeter this morning has me very curious.  Who checked all these blog-posts and why?

As you can see, this isn't one of the big-time blogs.  Someone obviously was looking for something here.  What could it have been?

Another question:
Why did my computer go daylight savings a day early?  I'm used to looking at the time on the computer, and it's an hour fast.  That's tomorrow's time.  Also, the virus check clicked in/started according to the computer and not real time.  That's confusing and annoying.

Look What Came To Shiloh!!

First of all, I almost always have my camera strapped to me when I go out of the house.  It's not that I always take pictures, but there's a feeling of "what if...?"  Last night as I was ready to go out, my neighbor asked:

"Would you really feel naked without it?"
I ignored her comment, best as I could...


From a distance, this metal enclosure looked like some sort of animal cage.  When my friend and I were walking (more like shuffling for me) around the neighborhood last night, we spied something new.  She tried reading the Hebrew first.  I was too busy getting my hah! I knew I should have brought it camera out of the case.



"What does this mean?  It looks like it's to collect plastic bottles and bags, but it says, 'לא למחזר Don't recycle.'  That doesn't make sense.  What do they mean by זה מטורף? Zeh metoraff?"








I finally looked at the sign.  Yes, it was clear that this new structure was for collecting plastic for recycling.  What could that sign mean?


זה מטורף לא למחזר
Zeh metoraff lo l'machazor
The actual translation is:
It's insane not to recycle

Yes, Shiloh has joined the international recycling community.


חג פסח כשר ושמח
Have a Kosher and Happy Passover

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why The Warnings?

Do I really blog about my kids all that much?  Sometimes they tell me things with the warning:
"Don't tell anyone! Don't blog about it!"
I don't think I mention what I shouldn't.  It's rare for me to post pictures which reveal their faces, or the faces of the grandkids.  Since my husband promotes his identity even using his picture in his blog-banner, I don't have to worry about censoring his face.

I do have permission to remind everyone to visit The Lion's Den, HaGov.  It's kosher and will be closed for Passover.  It's an "open all night" sports bar & grill, where you can watch games and eat and drink.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On My Feet Too Much Today, But Progress on The Cleaning Front

Between the infection on my foot (I'm taking antibiotics) and the cracked skin, I shouldn't be on my feet too much.  I can't wear shoes or sandals which are tight, and between the heavier socks and the bandage, everything but my slippers are tight.  Not good.

It's hard to clean the house off one's feet.  My father helps by taking in the wash.  That's good.  I like hanging it, and he can handle taking it in.

This morning a group from the neighborhood (community) Pre-Passover Camp came over asking for chametz to eat, so I gave them a package of salty crackers which we must have gotten from someone on Purim.  Yesterday, a different group came over to play the exchange game. They gave me an apple and I gave them the fanciest lollipop imaginable.  It was also from Purim, and I was glad to get rid of it.  I was afraid that at some low-point, I'd weaken and eat it.  So, for me the apple was a great trade.

If the camp doesn't come over for something tomorrow, I'll run out and give them the "ices" I have in the freezer. 

I pretty much did what I planned today in terms of Passover cleaning.  There's a limit on how much one person can do.  I'm no longer young and I'm not at my fittest.

Tomorrow's big job is finishing the freezer and the bottom of the fridge.  I'd like to confirm Shabbat guests, if any and even cook for Shabbat in disposables.  My dream is to do the basic Pesach kitchen switch before Shabbat, except for the sinks and covering the counters.  That's the Saturday night job.  That way I have Sunday to cook.  Monday, before the seder is for vegetables and whatever side dishes there are left.  But we're not having a lot of people, so I don't have to cook tons of food.

Bed time

PS I'm probably boring you.  sorry

My Cracked, Aching Feet and Cleaning Progress

I can't remember the last time the skin on my feet dried up like this.  It certainly never happened so early in the spring, when I don't go sock-less.

The cream I found, a gift from the teaching staff where I worked for a couple of months, softened my hands, but I can barely move my feet because of the pain.

I wonder if the strong antibiotics I'm taking for an infection isn't making my skin more susceptible.

Oh, well.  Just another thing to kvetch about.

I guess today will be bathroom day.  My bathroom (the master one) needs a good scrubbing and the main one, used primarily by my father and for bathing by us, since our shower pipes get all stuffed, always needs cleaning.

And maybe I'll do the fruit/vegetable drawers and try to give away stuff from the freezer and figure out how many people for this Shabbat.  I'd like to cook "just enough" in advance, do the major switch to Passover before Shabbat and use disposables for Shabbat eating.  I volunteered to host the שיעור נשים Shiur Nashim, Women's Torah Class.  I frequently do it on Shabbat HaGadol, the Shabbat before Passover.  It's not that my house is better under control and ready than others.  It's because my maternal grandmother's Yartzeit death anniversary is the Eve of Passover.  She died just before my third birthday and I have vague memories of her.  Hosting the class is a good way to memorialize her.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wild "Ruby Tuesday" Flowers at Tel Shiloh


Last Tuesday I didn't Ruby Tuesday, but I did take this picture at Tel Shiloh, the site of the Ancient City of Shiloh, yes, the Biblical one.  I live just over a mile east of it, "up the hill," as we locals say.  I live on the other side of the higher hill to the left of the picture.  It would be pretty accurate to say "just keep walking," sort of Forrest Gump style, and you'll get to my house.

According to Israeli Law, these flowers are protected, and it's illegal to pick them.  But you can shoot them with a camera, just like I did.





On Tuesdays, just post any photo you like (it must be one of your own) that contains the color RED and then link to work of the poet, the Ruby Tuesday host.

My Wimpadoo Cleaning

"Wimpadoo?"  I just made that up; it's not a real word.

Today I was feeling like "Wow! I'm making progress!!"  Then, whoops!  I noticed the nextdoor neighbor.  He had his fridge on the little mirpeset, terrace by the front door.  It was stripped.  You could see the coils.  How obscene.  It looked whiter than virgin snow in an unpolluted meadow.  And I get so proud when I slide out a shelf for cleaning.

My elder son was over to help, and he did help.  The two "spare" bedrooms were as done as I'm going to do them and the same for the laundry room.  Yesterday I pulled out the stove, cleaned the sides and the filthy floor.  Today my son pulled out our fridge to clean the floor.

OK, this isn't a contest.  Just because the neighbor takes apart his appliances, I don't have to.  If the grime doesn't get off with soap and elbow grease, it can't be edible, so if it's not edible it's not chametz.

I'm glad I got that off my chest.

Passover cleaning isn't worth getting aggravated and sick. 

We took apart and cleaned some disgusting windows in one of the bedrooms, no, not because we thought it wasn't kosher for Passover.  We don't eat off the windows.  They were dirty and he knows how to take them apart and help me and put them back.  I was very grateful for the help.  It's hard to do everything myself; I'm not getting any younger.

Don't Spray! Cleaning Alert

In the Jewish World this is a very dangerous season.  The desperate, dedicated fanatic Passover "spring" cleaning unfortunately fills the hospital emergency rooms with many preventable injuries.

One of Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi's warnings was about dangerous cleaning supplies, because a friend's child spent months hooked up to all sorts of unpleasant feeding tubes after drinking a strong cleanser which had been in a cup on the table.  If the dirt needs a substance so strong and powerful, then it's not the forbidden chametz anymore.  Anything that doesn't come off with ordinary cleansers and elbow grease can stay forever including on Passover.

My own personal pet peeve is the marketing and use of spray bottles for cleansers.  If you spray, you're endangering your eyes, skin and lungs.  I don't spray.  I work with rubber gloves, rags, commercial "sponges" and for the hard to reach spots, brushes, the longer the handles the better, though beware of dripping poisons into your eyes and on your skin.

Also, keep the windows open, so you won't breathe in dangerous fumes.

You don't want to exchange a "chametzdik" (full of chametz) house for a hospital room.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jack's Passover Cleaning Break, HH

I'm a firm believer in taking a little air while getting ready for Passover.  That's a good excuse to check out this week's Havel Havelim, hosted by Jack

The buck stops at Jack's when it comes to Havel Havelim.  If you'd like to host one, let him know.

For the Kosher Cooking Carnival, I'm the address for hosting and send your links to BC.  All posts about kosher food, kosher cooking, etc are welcome.

Passover Fun!

Pesach Festival in Shiloh



Street Theater from Biblical times with ancient craft workshops, tours to the site of the Mishkan (Tabernacle)


Weds and Thursday March 31st-April 1st 1st and 2nd days of Hol Hamoed 10:00-17:00


Musicians and period-costumed actors, arts and craft market, Entrance fees: - 30 shekel single entrance– 120 shekel  Family entrance


Food stands and Refreshments at The Tabernacle Cafe`


The event is authorized by the Security Forces


Tel Shiloh and The Tabernacle Gallery/Cafe` are open throughout the year


For more information please call: 02-994-4019 telshilo@gmail.com  

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Request, Prayers, Please

The timing for these things is never pleasant nor convenient.  A dear friend has cancer.  She'll have surgery and additional treatment after Passover.  Instead of getting ready for Passover, she's getting tested, probed, examined, biopsied etc, etc ad nauseum etc.

The doctor prescribed that she just move out of her house for Passover, stay at relatives and friends.  And that's what she'll do.  This is the same doctor who once "prescribed" that neighbors prepare Shabbat food for us, when on a Thursday it was discovered that my #3 had "tzahevet," jaundice and my house was in an upheaval of crying kids, my husband had been away and I hadn't yet recovered from spending six weeks with my baby (#5) in the hospital...

My friend's name?
Rachel bat Echya
Refuah Shleimah
a full and speedy recovery

Friday, March 19, 2010

Traffic Will Only Get Worse, Until... and Unpleasant Memories

Traffic Will Only Get Worse, Until... after Passover.


This morning when I got up and checked my email, I didn't see any notices of comments on my blogs.  I guess that everyone's too busy with Passover cleaning etc to visit.  So, what did I do?  I visited blogs, something I very rarely get to do.  Too rarely considering blogging etiquette.


This is not going to be one of my best Passover cleaning years.
  • I hate cleaning, always have.  I try to run the house to minimize the spread of the forbidden chametz.
  • I'm on antibiotics and feel very down.
  • With my father here, I can't ignore him for hours on end, nor can I fill up the hallway with junk.
One of the things I remember that the Rebbetzin (Rabbanit) Yemima Mizrachi said was the importance of making Pesach cleaning a fun time, so the kids would have good feelings about it and not hate it and the holiday.  I goofed very big on that.

When I first became religious my parents were very angry with me.  This was in the mid-1960's and they had never heard of the phenomena of Jewish kids taking on the mitzvot and traditions their parents (and grandparents) had rejected.  Later on, they could mentor others through the trauma, conveniently forgetting the horrors I had suffered, due to their anger. 

One trauma for me was the pre-Pesach cleaning.

My mother's kashrut compromise was "two sets of dishes," one for "everyday" and the other for Passover.  Yes, two sets of traif, non-kosher, forbidden according to Jewish Law.  Over the years I've discovered a few others raised in that sort of home.  During the year, not only didn't we separate milk from meat, but shrimp and other forbidden foods were cooked and served in our home.

When it came to a day or so before Passover, the kitchen, and only the kitchen was cleaned, and the dishes, cutlery and pots were switched.

The first Passover after my grand announcement my mother said:
"So, you want to be religious?  You clean the oven!"

It was punishment.  Yes, tough cleaning was my punishment.

For my mental and physical health I try to keep stress far away, so I do everything not to obsess over cleaning.  I've learned to work in tiny doses.  Flylady calls them "babysteps."  I wish I had learned all this when my kids were little, or best, before they were born.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Getting Ready, Passover Progress

My freezer is slowly emptying out.  Actually, some of the meat is Kosher for Passover, but obviously the rolls and challah aren't.  I have given away the "batzek allim," puff pastry dough to a neighbor.  Usually I call her a couple of days or hours before the "bidikat chametz" deadline for having the forbidden-on-Passover chametz, but this year I knew that there was nothing I'd cook with it and wanted it out of the house.


There's plenty of Passover food already for sale in the Machane Yehuda Market.  I'm not in the market for that type of food.


I just bought myself some fruit.

Today I cleaned out the kitchen closet which is always the first.  I don't think I'll be doing the rest of the house very well this year for various reasons.  We only eat in the kitchen, dining-room, living-room and yes, I must admit, in the den, though no chametz as far as I know.  I don't eat chametz much.  I have my challah on Shabbat and that's it.  I don't eat cookies, pasta, cake, cereals etc.  For almost a year and a half I've been on a low carbohydrate diet.  I stay away from all wheat products.

OK, back to work.

The Solution (For Some) to the U.S. Visa Dilemma, U.S. Citizenship

A generation or more ago, when my fellow American immigrant friends and I were replenishing the earth with babies we very quickly and conscientiously registered them as United States Citizens.  That way, if our parents in the "old country" sent tickets to visit there would be no visa problems.

Their citizenship was/is fine for visits to meet the clan and get to know our old haunts, but it's a "second class citizenship," not giving them all the rights we have.  One of those rights is citizenship for the next generation.

Ex-patriot Americans are all over the world, and I don't know who lobbied nor from where, but the law was "tweaked." Now it's possible for us, the grandparents and "first class citizens" to get "second class" citizenship for the grandchildren.

It has become very popular for our married children to travel with their kids to the states after filling out and filing tons of forms and getting an official appointment in a special office.  My daughter and son-in-law (who needed to get a special visa for himself) were lucky to get the appointment for the same month when there was a family wedding in New York.

In a few months we'll be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and after that forty years since our aliyah to Israel.  When we got on the boat (yes, we did come by boat) we thought that we were cutting ties with America, but ironically, since our grandchildren have U.S. citizenship, they won't be restricted by the nightmare of visa application/approval.  They'll be able to travel all over on their American passports.  Yes, the world is getting smaller all the time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Did It According To The Rabbanit Yemima

Last Saturday night I went to Ofra to hear the Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi.  Ladies, if you understand everyday Hebrew and have an opportunity to hear one of her shiurim, classes, go.  Even if your Hebrew isn't great, you'll understand a lot of what she says.  She's more stand-up than Beis Medrash.  I'd say she's better stand-up than those marketed as comedians.  OK, maybe not all of her talks were as funny as this pre-Passover one, but she's really fun to listen to.

Being kinesthetic by nature, I was more impressed by the feeling of the event than the details of her talk, one thing I did hear and remember was that we must buy ourselves a new outfit in honor of Passover.

Today I did it.  I was in Jerusalem to take my father to the hearing aid place.  My daughter was in charge and dismissed me, telling me:

"Go shopping.   Go to the shuk.  We'll let you know when we're finished."

How could I refuse?

I found something on sale.  It's the type of outfit I never could have worn before I lost weight.

Easy and Tasty Tofu and Vegetables

Cooking can be easier than calling for take-out deliveries if you have the right food in stock.  I keep serving size pieces of tofu in the freezer, each separately wrapped in a plastic bag, so I can cook a tofu dish without any problems.  (And my tofu doesn't spoil in the freezer as it would if I had kept it in the fridge.)

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to bake instead of the usual saute` in a large covered frying pan or cooking the tofu with leftover vegetables in a small pot.

As you can see, I cut some onion, squash, tomatoes and carrots.  (You can certainly add other vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, cauliflower, etc.)  Then I placed them all with the still-frozen *tofu, some oil and Tamari (soy) sauce in a baking dish, covered and baked them on a medium heat.



When I could see that the vegetables were cooked, my meal was ready.


I served it with a simple salad.  Yes, I'm a very lazy cook and don't obsess over details.  Meals like these are healthy.  If you don't or can't keep all the fresh vegetables in stock, you may use frozen.  (Check what's written on the bag.  Some frozen, ready to cook vegetables have salt and preservatives.)  Cooking really is easy.  By home-cooking you can control your salt, carbohydrate and sugar intake.

Since my very elderly father has moved in with us, his blood pressure has been steadily going down and we've been reducing medication.

*You can make the same basic recipe using fish, beef or poultry.  Left-over (already cooked, which can also be kept in the freezer) takes less cooking time than raw.  Cheese can also be substituted for the tofu. Personally, I don't eat cheese and haven't served it to my father.  Most cheeses are terribly processed and contain a surprising quantity of salt.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Early-ish, But Time To Sleep

Yesterday I went to a wedding and got back late.  It was very special.  And then I couldn't unwind, so I really didn't sleep enough.  This morning I went down to Tel Shiloh for the Rosh Chodesh Prayers.  And then I went to the clinic for a skin infection I had just discovered.  I got antibiotics.  I don't take them all that often, but I just knew that I'd need some.

I'm tired.
Chodesh Tov
Good Night

Blogging About...

It's not that I can't think of what to blog about, I just have too many ideas in my head, and today I don't really want to blog about them.  If I do, when I call - I'll hear:

"I read it on your blog."

Sometimes that's a drag.  I'd really like to blog a picture post or two or more, but my computer hasn't been cooperating.

I should blog about eating fresh, soft green almonds which I ate at Tel Shiloh this morning when I was down there for our Women's Rosh Chodesh Prayers.  But how could I blog about that without showing you pictures?  Because of the better than usual rainfall (though in Shiloh only 85% of average) the almonds are large and juicy.  "Juicy almonds?"  You must think me mad; that is if you've never seen them before.

Today there was a really nice turn-out, more women than usually come.  No mobs, but it was nice and we even danced.  No, not in the Valley of Shiloh and none of us are single.  Though must of us children who are...

Well enough of this peculiar post.

Have a wonderful month.
Chodesh Tov!

JBlog Surprise, Almost Like Family!

Tikkun Olam's Lady-Light blogged about her Uncle Jack who just passed away.

As I read the post, I realized that her Uncle Jack and my Uncle Izzy had to have known each other.  They were both American volunteers in the "Palyam," helping Jewish immigrants, Holocaust survivors, sail to the HolyLand after World War Two, before the establishment of the State of Israel and against the cruel decrees of the British Mandate.

They both served on the ship, Midinat HaYehudim, the State of the Jews.

The big difference was that her Uncle made aliyah while mine built his life in New York.  A big result was that her uncle could talk about his experiences, while Uncle Izzy kept them bottled up.  His two sons were kept in the dark about all he did.  He was willing to talk to my family, because, as he said, we could "understand." 

One of my daughters, who did her national service in Haifa, visited the illegal immigrant museum at the port and became very friendly with Almog, who ran it.  He was my uncle's superior officer and remembered him well.  My uncle, who had dreamt of being a doctor, had been a United States Army medic and was called "the doctor" on the illegal immigrant ships where he served.

Uncle Izzy was my mother's closest in age brother.  There are two pictures of him in this blog's banner.  He's the tall, very handsome man and the taller than his older sister (wearing a headband) boy.

Chodesh Tov and Thank the Bima Ima for a Great KCC!

It's hard to believe but in just two weeks from now it will already be Passover, and we'll be Post-Passover Seder, that is all but the very western reaches of the Jewish world.


I have two special things to do today.  One is to go to Tel Shiloh to pray and another is to read the Bima Ima's hot of the press edition of the Kosher Cooking Carnival.


Not all of you can get to Shiloh, but if you're reading this, you're online and you can check out all of the posts concerning kosher cooking, Halacha (Jewish Law,) customs, restaurant and cookbook reviews and don't forget recipes.


If you'd like to host one, please contact me.  To send in your posts, click here.


Chodesh Tov!
Have a wonderful month!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cleaning For Passover

In all seriousness, yes, I have been cleaning, putting things away, like the doll carriages the granddaughters don't play with anymore.  And I went through my husband's dozens and dozens of shirts, throwing out the ripped and stained and trying to rejuvenate some white ones with bleach, a wash and sunshine.  And I did most of the fridge and a closet, so when push comes to shove, all I need to do is wipe.

But I do relate to this little ditty sent by a friend:

Pesach Cleaning 2010

I asked Hashem to tell me
Why my house is such a mess
He asked if I'd been computering
And I had to answer yes

He told me to get off my seat
And tidy up the house
And so I started cleaning up
The smudges off my mouse

I wiped and shined the topside
That really did the trick...
I was just admiring my good work
I didn't mean to click

But click I did and oops I found
Such an absorbing site
That I got so way into it
I was into it ALL NIGHT

So nothing's changed except my mouse
It's shiny and so clean
I guess my house will stay a mess....
That seems to be the scene

Stay Healthy!

Simple Sliced Fruit Plate

Healthy Entertaining Made Easy


I'm very lazy and that includes my food preparation. I can't stand doing anything difficult and complicated.  So, if you need cooking and menu ideas that are easy, I'm the one to ask.  Since I changed my way of eating and lost over fifteen (15) kilo (35 pounds) I've tried to stay away from serving, not only eating, cakes and cookies.

I served these fruit plates last week to the movie club.  All I did was slice up apples, oranges, bananas and a "star fruit."  Toothpicks were added for cleaner eating, and that's it.  Whatever fruits, fresh and dry, can be served.  You can provide small plates/bowls or just paper napkins.  This is easier than a fruit salad which must be served in a bowl or cup and eaten with a spoon.

I've discovered that if I eat enough fruit a day, at least three servings, I have no desire, no craving for any candies, chocolates, cake or cookies.  We do need something sweet in our system, and fruit is best.

PS Even diabetic guests can enjoy this, since they are permitted a certain amount of fruit, and the slices can be small and savored by eating slowly.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

No Need to Knock Myself Out

I could go to the pool tomorrow, in theory, but if I do I won't have the energy for the wedding I'm going to, G-d willing at night.  There's a limit.  Also, there's a limit to how long I can leave my father, even with my husband.  To leave the house at 7 something am and get home late at night...  It's not worth it.

I'll just go to Jerusalem in the afternoon.  That's the best idea.  It'll be exercise just getting to the location, since it's on Mount Zion, and the Old City will be very crowded with the "Hurva's" dedication re-dedication after reconstruction. 

Yachdus, or Yachdut? It's A Debut Havel Havelim!

Yachdus's Yosef Greenberg has taken the plunge, posting his very first (meaning I expect more) Havel Havelim. 

Maybe you'd like to try a Kosher Cooking Carnival?  You did a really great job on this HH, and not only because my post got place of honor.  There's no sex discrimination at KCC.  Kashrut is taken seriously, as it should be.  Anyone who'd like to host a KCC should contact me.  And of course, you'll all invited to send in your links.

Suddenly Summer

We've had an unusually hot/warm winter this year.  Being that Shiloh is in the mountains, we did need the heater, and that's especially since my very elderly father is living with us.  But I'm not exaggerating to say that we went from having the heaters on to needing the windows open.

It suddenly became so hot that it now feels like the heaters were left on maximum for days on end.  But that's just the weather, mid-July in March.

Suddenly we need summer clothes.  My father didn't even wear his heavy jacket, the one I bought him for Chanukah which can be worn indoors.

I had to dig out my sandals from the shoe mess near my bed and wear summer clothes on Shabbat.

G-d willing, we'll have more rain, since Israel is still suffering from a drought and over-use (waste) of water.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

And What Do You Serve At The Seder Meal?

Today's Shiur Nashim, Women's Torah Class had a very practical subject, the seder meal menu.  In two weeks most of us will be cooking for the seder.

I used to just serve a main course.  Considering that the ritual part of the seder includes/requires three matzot, the size of a "kizayit," measurement which is the basis for an Israeli matzah and about 2/3 of an American one.  Besides that, we eat some greens, two servings of charoset,  a "paste" or patte of nuts, fruit and wine, some large lettuce leaves and four cups of wine or grape juice.  I'd say, we've had enough just with that.

But it's customary and required to also eat a festive meal.  Yes, it's also customary to eat a hardboiled egg in salt water.  That's  a lot of food.

My family accepted my "just the main course" until my sister-in-law lived in Israel and invited us.  She served gefilte fish, soup, main course and desserts.

So, I've had to beef up my menu a bit.

What do you eat/serve/cook?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Morning, Logout Time

Yes, it's that time of the week.  I don't know if I'll be back at the computer today, certainly not for blogging.  Friday is always busy.  Also, there's an "Hazkara," memorial ceremony at the cemetery.

Enjoy pre-Shabbat, Shabbat etc.

It's the Season; Not Just Caterpillars


Im not quite sure what happened to this photo.  I thought it was in the right direction, but...

Spring's the time of all sorts of things in bloom.  I've always hated caterpillars and even went through a rather phobic stage as a kid.  I remember going to a playground with my cousin and having an awful time trying to avoid stepping on them.  Now I just stamp them out, like the one I saw at my friend's doorstep the other day.

It's easier to avoid the turtles which wander the paths and streets this time of the year.  Kids collect them.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe since I wouldn't touch them.

One year for Pesach (Passover) we were with friends and all the kids were playing together.  One of their occupations was collecting turtles.  They had a bunch in a pail, and one of our friends freaked out about it screaming about cruelty to animals.  He forgot about cruelty to kids.  It wasn't very pleasant.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chronic Mistyping, Repeat Typos

I never liked spelling.  Memorization isn't my thing, never was.  I learned "touch typing" in the 7th grade, JHS 74, Bayside, NY.  We sat at huge manual typewriters. I was always a rotten student.  I made tons of mistakes.

But somehow, the rudiments of touch typing, blind typing as it's known in Hebrew, entered my brain, from head to fingers.  I look at the screen now that I type at the computer, not at the keys.

But there are letters and words I mess up.  My "maiden name" is problematic because of the "ie."  Each letter is typed with a middle finger, and for some peculiar reason the "e" would get typed before the "i."

Nowadays my most mistyped word is "the."  It usually comes out "teh."  The Google toolbar has a spellcheck, which is very helpful.  Of course if I write the wrong word spelled correctly, it won't catch it.

Reflecting, I've Never Considered Myself A Feminist


I came of age when Feminism was rather new and anti-motherhood.  That was probably a major element that turned me off of Feminism.  All I had ever wanted to be was to be a mother.

I never saw motherhood as a second class existence.  An outside job and salary never seemed more attractive than taking care of my children.  And yes, I've worked, sometimes more than a full-time job.  I've had many, many different kinds of jobs over the years.  Besides the short couple of years I taught Creative Dance, none of them really inspired me.  Thirty years ago  taught Creative Dance in Jerusalem, and it was beginning to catch on.  More schools wanted me to teach their girls than I had time to do.  Then we moved to Shiloh, and the person in charge of after-school activities didn't understand what it was.

Hmmm... That wasn't the point of this post.  Oops!  Now back on topic!

Maybe it's being of the generation which has heard decades of feminist philosophy, but I do have certain expectations, OK, demands.  And I do not tolerate certain slights, insults, even if they are caused by careless reading.

Yesterday afternoon, in one of my first stages of pre-Passover cleaning I finally cut out my "National Jewish Post & Opinion" articles to file (OK just store) away.  I also cut and collected, in a separate envelope, the American stamps from the envelopes the newspapers were in and sent an email to our Shiloh email list.  I signed my name, Batya.  One neighbor quickly replied that he was interested, so I told him to come over to get them.  A short while later, another neighbor replied, addressing the note to my husband.  That neighbor won't get them.  Even if he had been the first to reply, he wouldn't get them.

Why should he take for granted that my husband sent the note?  It's bilingual and includes my name.  Usually, I tell the one who gets the stamps who else is interested, so he/she can
pass on the duplicates.

I won't include the guy who wrote to my husband.  Why should I put him on the list?  It would be proof that I read my husband's mail, nu? 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Eagle Landed Today

Today the movie club saw "The Eagle Has Landed."  My father liked it.  No surprise, since it was about World War II.  He wasn't the only World War II war veteran in the room.  And I think that they all liked it.

I get a kick out of Peter Pan's son's role, but the club didn't enjoy it as much.  Now, does anyone know what I'm referring to?

Because of Old Clunky

I'm sorry to say that I don't think it's right for me to continue posting picture memes like Ruby Tuesday until we replace Old Clunky, our elderly computers.

Besides the technical problem of posting pictures, which is my problem, I find visiting other blogs almost impossible nowadays, so if I haven't visited yours, it's nothing personal.  Our once new laptop and still newer than this pc can't handle much more than cardgames and burning picture cds.  Re: the picture cds, at least I can do it there, because this one (pc) can't at all.  The laptop is more problematic on internet stuff.

This computer has better but slower internet action.  There are hours of the day (usually late at night and dawn) when it's better.

Sorry to sound like a kvetch.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oscar? Not My Uncle

No, I didn't see any of the movies nominated for the Oscars, Academy Awards.  I'm generally quite a few years behind in my cinema exploits.  I buy and sometimes borrow DVDs.  When I go to New York, I buy them in stores like Waldbaum's and Kmart.  Waldbaum's has better deals, and it's easier to pick a good movie than choose a good banana.

I must choose a movie to show to our movie club.  We do watch winners.  We've seen Network, Serpico, Scent of a Woman and lots of other great ones.

Choosing a movie for the club is more complicated.  It must be pretty clean, easy to follow and upbeat.  Last week they saw The Siege, a favorite of mine, but they didn't like it.  Sometimes they like movies I think won't be successful, like Radio.

I've been thinking of showing them the "Ya Ya Sisterhood," (or whatever ti's called,) but I'm pretty sure my father won't like it.

One of the members of the club was involved with the true case behind Mississippi Burning.  He agreed that we can see the movie and he'll talk about it.  I'll call them later to check that they'll be at the movie tomorrow.  If so, that's what we'll see.

Clowning Ruby Tuesday



On Tuesdays, just post any photo you like (it must be one of your own) that contains the color RED and then link to work of the poet, the Ruby Tuesday host.
The gorgeous clown is my granddaughter, and the queen is my other granddaughter.  No doubt they adore their handsome uncle.  They're dressed up in costumes for the Purim holiday.

We had a cook-out on our mirpeset, balcony/terrace.  At least the cooking was done there and we ate in the house.  I think that it's a family custom already.  We did it last year, too.

Monday, March 8, 2010

No, We're Not Closing for the Cleaning

Fellow female blogger Lady-Light of Tikkun Olam has blogged that she may not get to blogging until after Passover, but I'm not blogging that.  I need my breaks.

When I was a "FlyBaby" I learned to divide my chores into bite-size pieces, tiny doses.  It makes difficult work much easier, especially for cleaning-phobes like myself.  Since I took out all the fridge door shelves yesterday to clean them and plan on doing the same to the large shelves this week, G-d wiling, I know that when I get closer to the final big switch-over to Passover, it'll be easier.

Over thirteen years ago, when I worked in the Bagel House, a full-time job responsible for selling ready-made sandwiches plus to offices, I discovered something amazing.  On a normal day, after selling on my route, I'd sit over lunch at the desk, go over the day's sales and plan the next day's orders.  I'd work until the last second needed to catch the bus home.

But... on the rare occasion when I had a date to meet someone for lunch in Center 1, I'd leave the office for more than an hour, sometimes two, and I'd finish work early with time to spare.

Breaks from the desk, or cleaning, make us much more productive!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Post-Purim Means Pesach Cleaning

This year's calendar is a tough one.  Passover starts on a Monday evening which gives very little time between Shabbat and the Seder.

If we were rich and independent we could go away for Shabbat HaGadol (the Sabbath before Passover) and return to a home ready for Passover cooking.  Maybe I should plan it very much like that, as if we had the Seder on Saturday night or something like that.

Shabbat food could be chametz on disposables and then switch the kitchen after Shabbat.  I will need all of Sunday for cooking.

Or  I could change the house before Shabbat and only serve oven food on disposables or serve Pesach food.

Yes, about cleaning.  I actually started, sort of.  I decided to start cleaning the fridge, so it wouldn't be a lot of work when I have to.  Oops!  Some of you probably clean it well every week or every month.  I admit that I don't, besides the obvious spills etc.  Now you know.  Yes, now you know that I'm an awful housekeeper.

You Say Mishmosh; I Say Mishmash. It's Just Havel Havelim!

Our favorite Bima Ima is hosting the latest Havel Havelim.  Don't miss the show!

She'll be hosting the Kosher Cooking Carnival pretty soon.  Please send your post about kosher food, cooking, restaurants, relevant Halacha etc.