Thursday, February 28, 2013

Not Exactly The Recipe, But...

There are many good cooks who stick with making "food" and stay away from the "more exact science" of cakes, cookies and breads.  I, too, used to think that cakes, cookies and breads were like chemistry formulas.  If you changed one of the ingredients or quantities you'd be stuck with an inedible disaster. But I have discovered more and more that it's not true.

One of my favorite cookie recipe, OK the truth is that it's my favorite cookie recipe is for the 1, 2, 3 cookies.  One of my sons would do almost anything for them.  The key to making them is to have a kitchen scale and to weigh each of the three basic ingredients to make sure that
  • for every 100 grams of sugar, or 4 oz you have
  • twice as much of melted no salt baking margarine
  • three times as much flour
You can add cinnamon, chopped nuts or a squirt of vanilla plus chocolate chips for flavor.

  • Mix all the ingredients, doubled, tripled etc.
  • spread packed on a lined baking pan and bake in medium heat
  • cut immediately after taking out of the oven
Well, I had decided to surprise my kids by making them for Purim.  At the last minute I rushed into the supermarket and bought a package of margarine.  Oops! I only bought one, totally forgetting that I always triple the recipe.  And to complicate things further, I couldn't find my kitchen scale.

I was stuck, but I'm too stubborn and determined and risk-taking creative to let that minor/major problem to stop me when I'm trying to make my grown up kids happy.  To get 900 grams of flour I just poured from a 1 kilo (which is 1,000 grams) bag and left a bit in the bag.  I then poured what seemed to be less than a half of a bag of brown sugar, since 333 grams is a bit less than 500 grams.  I added a couple of eggs and enough oil until I got the right consistency.  And I added lots of cinnamon.

Then I baked it as usual.  Sorry, but I don't have a picture.  And the final result was that they didn't even notice the difference.  It tasted exactly like they remembered.  If I hadn't told them that I had made a change, nobody would have known.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Nosherei Necklace, In My Day We Used Pasta

The Jewish Month of Adar is a big birthday month at my daughter's.  Her birthday is after Purim, and her husband and second daugter both celebrate before the holiday.  Our second granddaughtr turned eight and I was there for the celebrations.

My daughter's friend suggested that they have the girls make/string necklaces with snack food.

Here was the "work station" with each string already tied with a round pretzel so the beads aka food wouldn't fall off.

They had lots of fun!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Job Perk

There aren't too many perks at a simple sales job like mine.  The salary is the pits, but on occasion I find myself working just when some needed type of clothes is available, like the quickly sold out size of Shabbat-Holiday shirt for my grandson.  In no time we find ourselves with plenty of 2, 4, 14, 16 and 18.  Some sizes get sold out more quickly than others.

And there's another type of perk, such as last week when a young mother asked me to watch her baby while she loaded the car.

The baby was happy, or not crying, as long as he could see me, so I entertained him.

I've also been asked to hold babies when mothers try on clothes.  That's a real treat.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Purim Fun

Considering that Shiloh is one of the select ancient Biblical cities which has to celebrate two days of Purim, instead of the standard one, we who live in Shiloh are Purim experts.  Nobody knows how to stretch out the fun of Purim like my neighbors.

Though  I must admit that my family has a bunch of party-poopers who would rather read.  Maybe it's genetic.  Well, maybe it's because we've never encouraged that Purim drinking many need to "let go."

This time, though, the kids were introduced to the "green trampoline," which surrounds the house.  They had great fun playing on it!

For most of us, there was no fun way to burn off the calories after all the food we had eaten.

Just a few hours left of Purim.  Only one more, out of the four Megillah readings left.  Thank G-d I'm a woman and I don't have to actually read it out loud.  I just have to find the perfect place to hear it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Getting Tired of Purim...

I don't know what has gotten into me this year. For whatever reason or reasons, I'm having trouble getting myself into the Purim mood or mode.  My self-control when confronted with lots of candies isn't so great, so I didn't buy much this year.

I've never been into well-planned theme Mishloach Manot,  the "food for the Purim Seuda/Feast" packages given out.  Some people are very creative.

Fish-themed Mishloach Manot

My general practice is to just make sure that there are at least two types of food, needing two different blessings, such as vegetable soup and a chocolate, usually with a few extra items to round it out.

It's actually a relief that I no longer have to create costumes for my kids.  I can just enjoy seeing what others have and wear.

Please don't forget that here in Shiloh we have two days of Purim, which means two days of eating, costumes, Mishloach Manot and four required readings of Megillat (Scroll of) Esther.  And since I can't follow when it's noisy and got awfully distracted (ADHD) I have to find quiet readings to attend, which isn't always easy.

One thing I do like is the message of Purim, that we must beware that the world doesn't care what happens to the Jewish People.  We must remember and take steps.  Our only true reliable ally is G-d!

Now that I've finished with this rant, I do feel better.  I don't have time for much more.  There's lots of work to be done.

Have a Wonderful, Healthy, Joyful and Meaningful Purim!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Purim Spied...

When I worked  sometimes it's hard to say that I actually taught  in a yeshiva high school, you could easily "spy" Purim from just before Rosh Chodesh, The First Day of Adar.  That's when the festivities really began.  Elementary schools generally have better control over the kids, so they come in costume just before Purim.

Yesterday I spied quite a few kids all dressed up, even some adults. This is a rare year.  Purim started just after Shabbat. The fast, Ta'anit Ester, was two days early, on Thursday.  That left Friday for the kids to dress up before Purim and after the fast.

I went down to the school/store area of Shiloh and spied these costumed kids when was was walking back up.

We have a double Purim here in Shiloh, so there's a good chance I'll get to take even more pictures.  I have just too much to do, so I'll be logging out pretty soon...

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Freezer, With Barely Four Weeks to Go!

Considering that we have a Monday night Pesach Passover Seder coming up, the worst possible scenario, I'm hoping and planning to G-d willing have the house all finished for the Holiday in less than four weeks' time.

One of the very basic things I have to do is to somehow finish all of the chametz and unsaveable/unsellable  food that is in the freezer.  So as has been my custom the past few years, I'm posting pictures of the freezer's innards.  I just took out cooked chicken and meatloaf, which I'll serve this Shabbat. So, I guess it's good that I was too tired to invite guests.  The aluminium pans you can see are cakes, which can be given on Purim.  So, I'd say that my freezer is in relatively good shape with less than four weeks to go.

I hope that I'll get everything on one shelf and then clean the empty one, so I can start slowly stocking up on Kosher for Passover chicken etc when it's available right after Purim.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pre-Purim Pics

In Israel, Purim is a very big holiday.  Every type of store gets involved.  I've spent a lot of time at work helping people construct costumes from ordinary clothes.  Certain colors of tights and shirts get sold out very quickly.  No, we don't sell costumes, but we have creative customers.  One young mother came with her son who wanted a sweatsuit in a specific green to match his idea of a type of dinosaur.  Yes, it's never dull.

All of the pictures here were taken outside of Yafiz and Rami Levi at the Sha'ar Binyamin Commercial and Industrial Center.  Some of the pictures are window reflections, on the shoe store window.

More Purim Ideas

Check out the Purim post on Real Food Kosher site.  The information on it keeps growing and growing as more posts are linked to it.

It's a different way to do a "blog carnival."  You can add your link, too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Classic, Cookie-Style Hamentaschen

This has been my basic recipe for Hamentaschen for more than forty years.  It's easy to make and even easier to eat!

My daughter just asked me for the recipe.  I've been making them since before she was born, and I don't think she wants me to publicize her age.

The same basic simple recipe can be found in lots of cookbooks.  I double or triple the recipe.

2 cups flour, white, wholewheat or combined
baking powder, a teaspoon or two depending on if it's double-acting or not
1/2 cup sugar, white or brown or combined
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
grated rind of lemon, orange or squirt of vanilla

poppy seeds and jam
mix, so very thick
  1. mix dry ingredients
  2. add eggs, oil and flavor
  3. mix
  4. roll onto a clean, but floured surface.  I have used a glass rather than a rolling pin.
  5. use either a large round cookie cutter or large mug to cut circles
  6. put a spoon of the filling in the middle
  7. fold the edges by thirds, so it'll look like a triangle
  8. use parchment (baking) paper on baking pan
  9. bake medium heat until it looks ready


Illegal occupation for sure!

This family doesn't belong here!!

Yes, this family of a mother cat and her kittens took up living among the colored tee shirts in the store where I work.  Part of the store isn't really indoors.  That's how the cat got in.  No doubt she felt very comfortable among the nice new clean shirts and she chose that location to drop her litter, as the saying goes.

Customers kept coming up to us saying:
"Have you noticed there's a mother cat and kittens on the shelf?"

Yes, we've noticed.  I hope that by the next time I have a work shift, they will have shifted out to another location...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

An Excuse to Party

The Israeli and Jewish social media, blogging, facebook whatever scene actually loves an excuse to f2f party.  So when HaDassa Sabo Milner, In The Pink, announced that she'd be in Israel again, another f2f was planned.

Here are some scenes.  Can you label the pictures?  List the names and blogs and whatevers of the people?


Monday, February 18, 2013

Felafel, Classic or With New "Trimmings"

Sorry, that I didn't photograph it, but last night I needed a quick and low cost dinner, so I went felafel-hunting in Jerusalem.  I chose the shuk-Machaneh Yehuda as the best place to find a felafel of reasonable price in a stand that doesn't sell shwarma or any other meat product.

When it comes to felafel, I'm an old-fashioned purist

I like my felafel simple, just the freshly fried chickpea balls, salad, techina, some charif, hot stuff and that's about it in a pita.  I also don't like to spend a lot.  I found a small place on Rechov Agrippas (Street) that only charged ns12.  He also had a big sign claiming that his is the best in Jerusalem.  I haven't done a taste-test, so I can't verify that.  My true favorite used to be Moshe Siton's on Rechov Meyuchas, but he closed it years ago.

He offered all sorts of "extras" which I refused.  I didn't want the hummus, nor the chips nor the eggplant nor the pickles etc.  Yes, there was more.  I did accept the cabbage to be added to the simple classic tomato and cucumber salad cut up real tiny.

It was good.  The felafel balls were fresh and not too salty, and the salad tasted fresh, too. I had been afraid of the salad being too old, since it was already dark when I was there starving.

So, are you a felafel-classic eater, or do you add what I consider extras?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Not Elegant, But Warm and Waterproof!

I must admit that I'm not the most elegant of ladies.  I'll take comfort over style anytime, especially when we're talking about shoes.  I don't wear high or even slightly raised heels.  The soles of my shoes must be flexible, like walking barefoot but padded.  I'm also sensitive to cold, and it's getting worse with age.

So, now presenting my latest shoes, bought in a Timberland Outlet store during my recent travels. 

For me, these are dream shoes!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

One More Week to Purim!

Here's my grandson trying on his Power Rangers costume:

In Shiloh we celebrate two days of Purim, so if you like Purim, Shiloh is the place for you!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Vicarious Aliyah, Moving The Family To Israel

My husband and I got on the boat to Israel just two months after our wedding.  That was the easy way.  And it was over forty years ago.  During those forty-two and a half years, I've seen other families and singles make the big move complicated by children and more deeply ingrained habits, customs etc than we took.

During my years of blogging I've gotten to know many other Jewish bloggers, of all ages and family situations.  Some live in Israel and others in Chutz L'Aretz, abroad.  Some of the bloggers davka use their aliyah as the ongoing theme of their blogs.

One blogger I've been in contact for years, who has also hosted the Kosher Cooking Carnival is Adventures in Mamaland, A New Adventure Everyday.  She's now in Israel with her husband, לתור את הארץ "latur et haAretz," to "stake out" the Land and is writing Adventures in AliyahLand.

We met up the other day f2f.

I anxiously await their arrival as עולים חדשים olim chadashim new ascendants/immigrants!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Finish That Matzah!

Matzah is one of those products that lasts forever; yes, in two ways.
  1. It never spoils.  Properly sealed, it stays edible for years.
  2. If you overbuy the amount of matzah you really need for Passover, something we frequently do, it's easy to forget to eat/cook/serve it. So you end up suddenly discovering that very expensive simple food when preparing  (cleaning) for the next Pesach.
I've discovered that I can give my husband perfectly good matzah brei during the year as his "lunch sandwich."  He generally gets two peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, plus a couple of fruit and yogurt for breakfast when he goes to work.  With this eating regime, he has lost, and kept off, even more weight than I've banished.

Last night, since I realized that we were out of bread, making him matzah brei was the perfect solution.

I wrap it in foil and keep a piece of matzah dry for him to use to make the bracha blessing on bread.

The recipe is very simple.
  • 2 pieces of matzah
  • 2 eggs
  • water (milk or both) to moisten the matzah
  • oil for frying
  • honey or jam optional to sweeten it
  • break matzah in pieces and put in bowl
  • add water or milk or combination, about 1/4 cup
  • add the eggs
  • mix and then leave for at least 10 minutes
  • heat the oil in the frying pan
  • add the mixture and cover
  • start on high and quickly turn to low flame
  • when you can see that the matzah brei is solid, turn over and cook another couple of minutes
  • leave covered on flame for a bit
  • then serve or pack, with optional honey or jam
This is very easy and wonderful for traveling.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fantastic Idea, The "Family Restroom"

I spotted this during my visit to the states.  Finally a solution to the problem of a father taking his young daughter to a men's room with urinals, or little boys pishing up the seats of the ladies loo, or female caregivers helping elderly men to to the 00 etc.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New Coffee Treat, The French Press

Have you ever tried coffee made in a  French Press?

I had been hearing about them, but since I do love to perc my coffee on the stove in a percolator, I wasn't all that interested in changing the coffee I love so much.  Though I am flexible when a guest some place.

In perked coffee, the boiling water keeps getting pushed threw the little "container" that holds the actual ground coffee.  In Israel, I'm happy with the results I get using Elite Turkish Coffee.  But on my trip to Atlanta, GA, I didn't have my usual equipment. When my friend set up a "kosher corner" in here kitchen, knowing I'd need easily available coffee, she got me a French Press.

To use it:
  • put a couple of spoons of your coffee,
  • my daughter has hers specially ground in the shuk, requesting "for a French Press," in the glass jar. 
  • Add boiling water,
  • then put in the cover/filter
  • slowly press it down so the filtered coffee will stay on top and the "mud" or grounds will stay safely underneath the filter
I drank the coffee with my usual milk and sugar, and it was fantastic.

Nu, does anyone know if it's considered halachikly (according to Torah-Orthodox Jewish Law) permissible on Shabbat?  Of course, the water would then come from a kli sheni.  It's the good coffee which is taken out for use, just like a water filter, right?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Double Rosh Chodesh Adar and 2 Jblog Carnivals, KCC and HH

Chodesh Tov Everyone!

It's Rosh Chodesh (beginning of the Jewish Month of) Adar.  Purim is just a couple of weeks away!  And Passover is a month later.  It's time to celebrate, and I have the two big Jewish blog carnivals, floating internet maagizines,  for you, Havel Havelim and the Kosher Cooking Carnival.

Havel Havelim is weekly and coordinated on our facebook page.  It includes all sorts of blog posts on Jewish and Israeli topics.  I'm hosting next week's edition, and you can mail your link to me.  If you'd like to host one, let us know on thefacebook page

The  Kosher Cooking Carnival is monthly, posted on Rosh Chodesh.  We, too have a facebook page.  In addition I do my best to keep our blog carnival page up to date, and you can send your links through them.  If you'd like to host an edition, contact me.

So, please visit both carnivals and the included posts.  And of course comment and share as much as you can.

Chodesh Tov, may the festivities begin...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Super Clean!

No, gang, this isn't a Passover cleaning post...

Please, it's only Rosh Chodesh, the bginning of the month of Adar.  First cook for Purim and then clean the kitchen.

One of the things I noticed during my recent visit to the states is...

Yes, it's now  very popular to keep putting chemicals on you hands to stay "sanitized."  I took this picture at a dentist's office when my sister and I took my father in for some treatment.  Chemicals bother me.  I'm a soap and water person who rinses well and looks for clean towels.

Am I nuts or just old-fashioned?

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Eating Kosher in Atlanta, Georgia

I'm recovering I hope I'm fully recovered from my trip to Phoenix, Arizona and Atlanta, Georgia.  In Phoenix I ate home cooking, mostly my own in kosher pots I kept at my sister's and my parents' places.  On Shabbat I was hosted by a lovely family.  So I don't have anything new to write about eating kosher there.

But my hostess with the mostest  in Atlanta took me out to kosher restaurants every day I was with her.  We began and ended the visit at the same restaurant, the Pita Palace, (404) 781-7482 1658,  La Vista Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30329.

Their vegetable soup was totally delicious and hit the spot, soon after I landed.  I also had some chicken and lots of salads.  That day I was much too tired to photograph the food, but I was in better shape before leaving.  Their felafel was excellent, and I enjoyed adding as much salad as the pita could take.

My hostess, who is very fussy about her food, declared their felafel the best!  Here's some of their menu.

We met a facebook friend of mine at a/the kosher dairy restaurant, not sure of the name.  I had a vegetable dish, which must have had been cooked the week before, since it was cold, and we were their first customers on Sunday morning.  My friends couldn't stand their food and sent back their pitas which were stale.  I wasn't impressed by the menu either.  The original plan had been to go to the Pita Palace, but I wanted dairy, actually didn't want to find myself restricted to meat so early in the day, which I didn't even order in the end.

A third restaurant we tried was the Chinese one,  Chai Peking, 404-327-7810 2205 LaVista Road, Atlanta, GA 30329, Inside Kroger Toco Hills. Chinese take out (Seating available) Meat.  It took us a while and a phone call to find it, because we didn't know that it was in a sort of food court in the Kroger Supermarket. 

The food reminded me of "old time New York Chinese," but the ambiance was something totally different...  I did like the filling in the eggrolls and the main course, beef vegetable dish I ordered.  It was pretty obvious that most people use if as a "take-out" place and don't eat meals there.  There was just one small table.

The supermarket had a very large selection of kosher food.  You could already stock up for Passover if you're ready.

Yes, I must start preparing my own home for Passover...