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Monday, December 31, 2012

An Important Lesson From Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day..."

Yesterday for the first time since I lost 15 kilo, just over 30 pounds, three and a half years ago, my weight inched over what had been the highest number of my new "normal weight." It was no real surprise, since I had been having my "once every week or two" cake, bread more than once a week for the past month.  Also, last week I made an enormous lentil soup (aka carbohydrates)  which I had eaten a lot of.  And I have been exercising less this winter, mostly due to the weather and my schedule.

Add all those things together, and it is pretty obvious that I was off-track.  I had managed to lose all the weight and keep it off, because I took the general advice of the "blood type diet," meaning that as I am Type O, I've reduced carbohydrates from my daily food and restrict protein to a conservative "portion" per meal.  I do eat a lot of fruit, but it hasn't brought my wight up, when I've kept to the rest of the regime.  I also make sure to eat every few hours, never allowing myself to get to hungry and out of control.

Now, how does Scarlett O'Hara come into this?

A number of years ago, I trained as a Life Coach.  Actually, I have never worked formally in it and didn't appreciate what a great thing it could be at the time, since I had never heard of the profession before.  One thing I liked is that it helps people change without getting all involved in their past.  It looks forward.
"Tomorrow is another day..."

And as I stepped off the scale, I knew that I'd be immediately preparing the cabbage that had been lounging in my refrigerator.  It doesn't matter why I had eaten the wrong things, but I was looking forward to taking a daily walk when possible (and making sure that I make it possible more often) and eating lots of the foods that would keep the weight off.

In the coaching course we were taught a technique using visualization to "put the past behind us."  I think it's an extremely healthy thing to do.  We can't control or change our past, but we do have some control over the future.

No doubt this isn't going to be the only time, I'll have to deal with unwanted weight gain.  G-d willing, I'll have the self-discipline to go back to my eating regime, which has done me well for the past four years.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Starting the Week With Havel Havelim Beneath the Wings

The always amazing rickismom is the host of this week's Havel Havelim.

Talking into account that this is the last one of 2012, she added a section for the best posts of the year.  Take a look to see what has been included in that in addition to the variety included in the regular Havel Havelim.

There are thousands of Jewish and Israeli bloggers out there who aren't participating in Havel Havelim, and that's a shame.  So please share aka publicize it more.  Blog it and email it and visit the various posts.  Havel Havelim is coordinated on our facebook page.  Hosting an edition is a great way to give your blog more exposure.  Details on how to participate and host can be found on facebook.

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Let's Keep Passing/Sharing The Mitzvah aka Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

Working in a simple "clothing for the entire family" store I get to see the best and worst of people.  This is the longest I've worked in a specific, the same, store, so there are many customers, both Jews and Arabs, I know pretty well.  And I've also become pretty good at "predicting" how people will react and what clothing I should show them.

There are governmental laws besides the rules of the Yafiz chain we must work by. Actually I like being able to say:
"I'm just a lowly employee and have now authority to..." 

Sometimes the customers don't like what we tell them, and sometimes the customers get very angry. It's not pleasant to put it mildly. 

One of the rules, government laws, is that it is forbidden to exchange underpants/briefs/boxers even if they had never been worn or box had never been open.  It's a law and there is nothing we can do.

Last week a young man came in to exchange his box of boxers for the next size.  I told him the law.  I could see the anger churning up in him, like a kettle about to boil over.  He held it in and tried again.  I apologized and said that our hands are tied; we have no choice.  It's against the law.

He slammed the box onto our desk and walked out angrily, but silently.  I called to him:
"I'll donate it to a charity."

A few minutes later I saw him outside and thanked him for being so understanding.
"Some people get very nasty," I told him. 

Soon after he returned to the store and bought another box, but of the right size.  Again I thanked him and told him that the mitzvah of donating the first box would be his.  He thanked me.  A couple of days later I passed the box on to a friend who donates clothing to charity.

Who would have thought that a simple, inexpensive box of men's boxers could be the source of so many mitzvot?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thank G-d for The Rain

I've gotten used to the Israeli weather schedule, dry summers and wet winters.  By the end of the summer, the land is dry, brown, parched and liable to burn easily.  Bush fires are a major danger.  Once the rains begin in earnest, there are many benefits. One is that our citrus fruits are totally delicious. 

Hint!  Don't buy oranges until about a month after the first real heavy rain, or they will be too sharp and sour.

The more it has rained the sweeter the oranges and grapefruit are. They are very different from grapes which are sweetest when not watered artificially.  Small, naturally grown grapes are much sweeter than those giant ones that get more water than G-d had allocated in the rainfall.

Every year we can gage the amount of rain by the uncultivated vegetation we see around us.  I love that dainty green.  It's so pure and refreshing.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Eating Out, Don't Be Shy About Complaining

The other day my friend and I met for lunch at Bleeker Square, a dairy restaurant just off of Zion Square in the heart of downtown Jerusalem.  I've eaten there many times before.  Their "business lunch" includes soup with the main course, making it a better deal than the very nearby
Rimon. Rimon does have a cheaper option, ns45- versus the ns49, they both have, but the ns45 choices are all high in carbohydrates.  And Rimon doesn't give a complementary soup with the meal.

When I had been at Bleeker barely two weeks earlier with a different friend we had a choice of soups and chose the delicious vegetable one.  This time we were told that there was only the lentil soup for the business lunch.  When they served us, we noticed that it looked a bit strange, nothing at all like a good lentil soup, neither color nor texture.  But since I had always liked their soups I didn't think twice about tasting it.  Yuck!  It was sour, spoiled, yes, absolutely disgusting.  I quickly called over the waitress and told her that it should be dumped and that we needed a fresh substitute/replacement.  They were very polite and gave us their onion soup.  Now, I don't like onion soup.  It's usually too salty and too full of cheese.  This one didn't seem to have cheese, but it did have some artificial thickener.  I didn't finish it.

For the main course, my friend and I decided to order different salads and share them, the Bleeker Salad and a salad with mushrooms and quinoa.  The waitress was nice about bringing extra plates for us.  The quinoa-mushroom salad was better than the Bleeker one, but both were too salty for my taste and covered with that cheese a lot of restaurants use.  I suffered the rest of the day from that salt burn feeling in my mouth and had to drink a lot of water.

If I ever return to that restaurant I'll stick with their tuna salad or try the quinoa patties.

But one thing for sure, I'm glad I complained about the soup!  They had a lot of nerve serving spoiled food to the customers!

PS they also give a free glass of juice with the business lunch and although they charge more for juice on their menu than coffee, they refused to let us substitute coffee for juice.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Easy Lentil Soup Plus

This week I made myself a new version of my two-pot vegetable soup,

Lentil Soup Plus
  • black and brown lentils
  • celeriac
  • carrots
  • squash
  • onion
  • sweet potato
  • vegetable oil and seasonings
I don't measure.  Sorry, but it all decides on how much you need and how large your pots are and how large the veggies are and what mood you're in.  This is a very easy recipe. Think flexible! 
A couple of hours before cooking...
  • check lentils for stones or bugs
  • put in pot and add boiling water and cover and leave for a bit
  • add more boiling water and then cook on stove
  • prepare your vegetables for the food processor or cut them up yourself

  • put the vegetables in a pot after cutting or shredding
  • add some oil and saute
  • then pour in the cooked, or almost cooked, lentils and some more boiling water until pot's pretty full, cover and then simmer for at least 40 minutes
  • season with salt, pepper and whatever
  • cook another few minutes
  • turn off and leave for at least 15 minutes
And it's ready and delicious!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I Have Nothing Against English, But Too Many Israeli Businesses Are Overusing the Foreign Language

These bothered me, so I photographed them:

These two businesses on Jerusalem's first pedestrian mall, aka Ben Yehuda Street have their signs totally in English.  They are directly across from each other.  There is Hebrew on other signs nearby or I would have thought that I was suddenly in another country.

I don't mind multi-lingual signs, the more languages the better.  When I worked in advertising I'd encourage the clients and graphic artists to add key words in a variety of languages so those insecure in Hebrew would feel welcomed. 

The optician's use of the eyeglass frame makes it clear what is being sold, so they don't need English.  And the sign up on the food place doesn't at all indicate what is on the menu.  It just reeks of Chutz l'Aretz, the diaspora.

I agree with Haifa's mayor, Yona Yahav, that boycotting businesses that do not have Hebrew as the main language in their signs is a good idea.
According to Yahav, it all began when he went to his usual barber for a haircut and discovered a sign outside the shop that read "Hair Stylist" in English.
The mayor reprimanded the young barber and demanded that he replace the sign with one displaying the Hebrew word for barbershop. When the barber refused, the mayor stopped getting his hair cut there.
Israel has an official committee to develop words and terminology in Hebrew for all linguistic needs.  In the 1970's when tape cassettes were new, people used the word "cassette" in their Hebrew sentences. but then the committee found a Hebrew equivalent, קלטת kalettet, and now that is the accepted word.

Hebrew is an amazing language, and over the decades many new, effective and accepted words have been developed from Hebrew.  I'd like to see a law for the entire country demanding that the main language in a sign or business logo be Hebrew.

Monday, December 24, 2012

HH #391, is That a Primary Number?

Esser Agaroth is the host of Havel Havelim #391First of all, to answer my question.  391* isn't on the list I found of primary numbers.

Now for this very special Havel Havelim that Ya'aqov has compiled.  There are lots of posts from various Jewish bloggers. 

Havel Havelim is a weekly blog carnival on Jewish and Israeli topics.  Bloggers send their links in to the week's host, and the hosts can (and should) add other blog posts he/she sees on the net.  We communicate via our facebook page, volunteering to host each week.  Participating in HH is a good way to promote one's blog and get to know other blogs.  Some of my most read posts have been the ones that are Havel Havelim and the Kosher Cooking CarnivalA look at the list on "Top 10" on my sidebar will show you that.

Next week's host will be Beneath the Wings, who has requested that the links be sent via fb message,  details on our facebook page.

*I have no time today to calculate, so can anyone please show how to divide 391, please, thanks?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Walk in The Old City of Jerusalem, Within The Walls

Last week I took a walk in Jerusalem's Old City, within those imposing walls.  I used to live there, the first year we were married, having taken the boat literally two months after the wedding.  It was very different in 1970, hardly any telephones and television was barely beginning in Israel.  So when I noticed all of these satellite dishes, I just had to shoot them.


In those days we the roofs were for hanging laundry.  Things change, don't they?

This is our old home.  Then it was the Maon Betar, on Rechov HaYehudim and Rechov Plugat HaKotel.

The entrance was different then.  We tried to get in but nobody answered our ring.

In those days we could walk freely to the Kotel without security checks.  So much has changed since 1970.

It wasn't called "the Jewish Quarter" then. 


There weren't pretty squares and space to walk around.  Shopping was more complicated. 


We did our food shopping in the Super Sal on Agron Street or in a small grocery shop, Levi's, on Mamilla Street.  An Arab newspaper vendor used to deliver our daily Jerusalem Post to us, otherwise, just like today, we found nothing to buy in the Old City.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Favorite Jerusalem View

I must admit that I was among those who mocked that String Bridge, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, as it was being built in Jerusalem, spanning the Central Bus Station and the Kiryat Moshe neighborhood.  I also admit that it really doesn't fit the ambiance of that area, but every time I approach it from a certain angle, my camera finds itself in my hands and there's that "click."

Yes, rain or shine, whether there's dirt or not on the windows of whatever vehicle, I just can't stop myself from taking a picture.

Having learned photography in the days of film and expensive developing and printing, I rarely take more than one shot of any scene.  But this I have taken on many occasions.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Shiloh, Local Talent

Of course, if all you know about Shiloh is that we're a "westbank settlement," sic, then you haven't a clue about what life really is here in Shiloh.  Besides being the site of ancient Biblical Shiloh, we're an artist colony/community.

One of my neighbors, a former American, is Joe Bazer, who is involved in many artistic endeavors.  His wines have won prizes. 

He does beautiful woodwork and produces "biblical flutes" in his workshop which is a short stroll from Shiloh HaKeduma, Tel Shiloh.

I visited his workshop with a photographer who wanted to see what life is like in Shiloh.  It was Chanukah and raining, so we didn't find children playing outside.  We found Joe and Yoni working.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Aging, As 64 Gets Closer

The New York Times style section has an interesting article mostly mocking and complaining about how the old (older than 64) rockers are still trying to dress like they did decades ago, even resorting to more than dying their hair, meaning multiple surgeries etc.

Roger Daltrey
Paul McCartney

Roger Daltrey
Don Emmert/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Paul McCartney
I live in a very different world.  I don't really mind being me.  I'm not competing with those young enough to be my grandchildren.  I've never dyed my hair or had surgery to "tighten" things up.  I must admit that I don't even use face cream or anything like that.  OK, I'm blessed with good genes, and as a Torah observant Jew and married woman, my hair is covered. 

I must admit that I need more sleep than I did even a few years ago, and if I'm not careful, my knees and shoulder, back, hips etc can ache.  I don't work at keeping in shape, fitness, since I find myself too busy.  I'm glad I don't have the world watching me age like those guys do.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Guest Post: Cris's Meat Strudel

Way back when, in the days I was still boiling vegetables, I met Cris.  She cooked foods with unpronounceable names which were on a level I didn't even know to dream of.  We were closer than family for many years and then life and moves got in the way and we lost touch.  A few years ago we refound each other on facebook.  Now we're back in touch and even met up again a year and a half ago in New York.  The other day she sent me this recipe which she agreed to my blogging.  I broke up the paragraph into these instructions.  Thanks, Cris! 
Cristina wrote: "So, for two strudels that will feed 6-8 people
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry dough (defrost in fridge and keep cold);
  • 1 large onion diced fine or sliced;
  • 600-700 grams good ground beef;
  • 3-4 hard boiled eggs;
  • sliced Spanish olives (olives stuffed with pimento);
  • salt & pepper and whatever else you like to taste. Smoked paprika is very nice in this dish.
  • Saute the onion until turning brown (saute over medium heat so as to not burn the onion).
  • Increase heat and add beef.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Let the beef brown a little bit, without cooking it all the way through. Make sure to move it so that the beef does not clump together.
  • Take off the heat and allow to cool.
  • Slice the olives with pimento (or it could be sauteed mushrooms), chop the eggs into large pieces, and sprinkle both over the meat evenly.
  • When meat mixture is completely cooled, make a row using half the meat mixture at the bottom of a rolled out sheet of pastry. I like to roll my pastry very thin to get as many layers as possible.
  • Tuck the dough around the bottom row of of meat and then roll it all up as you would a strudel. Repeat with second sheet of pastry and remaining meat mixture.
  • In the over at about 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. Towards the end, you can brush some of the meat juices from the strudel on top. Best eaten at room temperature, or at least not very hot. This is one of my favorite dishes. Would be good at the bar*, don't you think?"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Debut Havel Havelim on ThinkJudaism and JBlog News

I'm glad to see that Havel Havelim is being hosted for the first time on ThinkJudaism a blog I must get to know better.

Havel Havelim is the long-running Jewish blog carnival that includes blog posts on all sorts of topics connected to Judaism and Israel.  There's more information on our facebook page.  Next week's HH will be hosted by  Esser Agaroth, to send in your link, click.

I think of blog carnivals as Internet magazines.  There are quite a few on all sorts of topics.  Some are permanently hosted on a specific blog and others float, as I call it.  When I think of the "floating" the song about the floating crap game from "Guys and Dolls" always pops into my head, even though there's nothing illegal about a blog carnival.

There are two other Jewish Blog carnivals, the monthly Kosher Cooking Carnival, click for details, which I coordinate, and JPIX, click for details, coordinated by Leora.  Please participate in them, even if it's only by reading and sharing the links, thanks.

Monday, December 17, 2012

And Now For The Rest of The Winter...

My husband took this of me
cooking up a storm.
Chanukah, the 8 day Jewish Holiday is over.  I had a busy time between traveling to Netivot, family and work.  And I ate much too much of the foods I usually am very good about avoiding.

So, post-Chanukah I must work on self-control.  One thing I've noticed since changing my way of eating, please don't call it a diet,  is that if I eat enough fresh fruit I'll be much less tempted by the white flour, white sugar type of forbidden foods.

Starving doesn't help!

I have to be prepared with permitted foods all of the time.  That's the key to keeping the 15 kilo I lost four years ago off forever.  I'd love to get more weight off, but I don't see how I can really make the right changes.  The low carbohydrate, but lots of fruit, regime I adopted keeps my wight stable, and I usually have very little trouble sticking to it. 

It's better to be stable a bit overweight than to yoyo up and down fighting your body and life-style.

Good luck!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Shabbat Menus, Very Tricky Especially When "Milky"

Frum Satire has an excellent and very important post about the problems when people serve dairy milchik food for Shabbat lunch.

Here's the comment I sent in:
Heshy, this really is an important post.  In Shiloh, the real one here in the HolyLand, there are a few families that serve dairy Shabbat food.  Some are 100% vegetarians and are therefore excused, but others will eat fleishig.  At least the only flesh served at a kiddush here is herring.
It's the hidden meat or dairy which is the most dangerous for those who keep kosher, like the chicken "latkes" your wife ate or parve-looking veggies that are cooked with either butter or chicken soup.  They should be labeled clearly or banned.

To expand on the thought I brought up in the comment, there are too many foods that can have hidden ingredients which make them either meat or dairy, when they look parve.  Parve means that the dish contains neither meat or dairy, and in some cases it's important that it wasn't baked together with either.  In my kitchen I have specific pots and pans for parve  cooking.  Even though fish is considered parve, Ashkenaz rabbis forbid fish from being eaten or cooked with meat/poultry, and some Eidot Mizrach (North African) rabbis forbid fish and dairy to be eaten or cooked together.

In a community that serves fleishig, meat/poultry at their kiddush, it seems rather thoughtless to serve dairy at the meal which follows kiddush.  If the hosts are vegetarian, then they should really serve a nice parve meal.  It's rude to do otherwise.  It would also be nice to inform guests that the meal will be dairy and they should avoid eating meat/poultry, unless there are sufficient parve dishes on the menu.

And even more important, cooks (and those setting up events) must clearly label any food that can be problematic, like cake or cookies or vegetables or fish made with butter or cream.  The same goes for bourekas, blintzes, egg rolls etc that have meat or dairy.

Nowadays, there's more awareness of food labeling because of allergies, like dairy/lactose, peanuts, wheat/celiac etc.  We all have a right to know what exactly is in our food.