Sunday, December 31, 2017

Making Do After Breaking French Press

It was obvious to me that it was going to happen, inevitable for sure. It was always more an issue of when, than will. Yes, I broke the carafe/bowl/pot or whatever you want to call that glass part of my French Press. Kappora...

Davka, I had just bought a new stock of ground coffee to be made in the French Press. Of course, I could perk it in the percolator... But I decided on an experiment using coffee-making accessories I have sitting in the closet.

I decided to use the same principles as in the French Press, leaving the ground coffee to combine with boiling water and then filter it before it hits the mug. As you can see in the photos illustrating my morning coffee today, I used an old heat-resistant carafe/bowl/pot from a long dead and mourned electric coffeemaker. The filter was the simple, low-tech one I bought a few years ago in New York.

If you like really hot coffee, this isn't for you, but I don't have such a requirement. And coffee never comes out super hot from a French Press.

The only real change I'd make would be to add more ground coffee; I'm still experimenting with the actual coffee taste. I don't know how they roast/prepare the beans for commercial ground coffee in the states, but there's lots more flavor.

In conclusion, this is a reasonable solution to my morning coffee needs. And happily I had all of the equipment in the house. I do have a small, one cup French Press, too. But when do I ever drink just one small cup of coffee?
old parts new coffeetemporary replacementsmorning coffee "chai"#morningcoffeehaiku

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Have a Wonderful Week

According to Judaism the day starts at nightfall. Shabbat begins as the sun starts to set and ends at night when you can see three stars in the sky. The Havdala ceremony which separates the Sabbath from the rest of the week includes a candle with multiple wicks.

And many people light the Shabbat candles again, after Shabbat as a "Melave Malka" for a good week.

Blessings to all of you.
May there be good news, good health and many joyful events and news...

Shavua Tov

Friday, December 29, 2017

Perfect Vegetable Soup

Yesterday I was home, sort of "chilling," totally relaxing and cooking a bit. It was a Jewish fast day, the 10th of Tevet. Luckily I'm not one of those "taste as I cook" people. I go by "eyeball" and smell. In the morning until early afternoon, besides lounging on the couch all I did was to take about a cup of dried peas, put it in a pot and pour boiling water over them. I covered the pot and let it all "sit." The peas cook best, get nice and mushy when prepared that way. You also need less time on the stove.

Ingredients, plus the peas and
a chunk of pumpkin
About three hours before the end of the fast, I felt energetic enough to start the soup. I took out the ingredients you can see on the right, plus the peas and a nice chunk of raw pumpkin. You can use an acorn squash or something similar if you can't get the pumpkin. I only cook with fresh vegetables.

The quantity I made was good for a pot of about 3-4 quarts or liters. I don't measure. By the time I put in all of the ingredients, the pot was pretty full to make a very nourishing soup. My Vegetable Soup is a meal, since the peas provide protein, and after fasting I can't eat raw vegetables.

large onion
fresh garlic
green squash, zucchini would be fine, too
fresh pumpkin
dried peas, lentils can be substituted or combined with the peas
1T vegetable oil of your choice, optional
coarse salt and coarse ground pepper "to taste"
When in doubt under-season, since it's easier for people to add than to get rid of oversalting etc.

pour lentils/peas in the pot and cover-plus with boiling water
cover pot also with a thick towel to keep in the heat
after at least an hour, even 6 or more, add cut vegetables, except for the pumpkin
add the oil
start cooking
add boiling water to about 2 inches, 5cm, from top of pot
when boiling, lower to simmer
add pumpkin, since it cooks much more quickly than the other vegetables
season with salt and pepper
when it looks soft, turn it off and again cover with a towel until serving

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Wednesday Walking in Jerusalem

Most weeks I wake up in Jerusalem on Wednesdays. That's because I am part of a small Tanach, Bible, learning group that meets in Matan early on Wednesdays. I generally sleep Tuesday nights in Jerusalem, walking distance from Matan. It's a great way to start my day.

After our chevruta learning I go to a class, Isaiah: Prophet of Poetry, Passion and Principle taught by Dr.Yael Ziegler. After that I have a break of about 90 minutes until Biblical Politics: Challenging Assumptions About G-d, Leadership, and Land by Yael Leibowitz.

Weather permitting, I take a walk during the break

I try to keep busy.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2nd Hand but First Class

The other day I was in Jerusalem to buy some coffee for the French Press and decided to see what was on sale in my favorite women's clothing chain, Hilah. I was looking for a couple of sweaters to go with my dark blue, jeans-type skirt. There weren't any sweaters there worth buying, though I found a dress. Then I remembered that it was morning, and my super-favorite second hand store would be open. Actually, that's where I had bought the skirt, among other items.

The 2nd hand women's clothing store is in the Bell Tower on King George, near Yaffo. It's just by the bus stops and around the corner from the lightrail. Recently a Toys R Us opened in the building off of the street. The second hand store is in the main entrance, main floor, right side. Get there before 3pm, since it closes soon after. I don't know what it's official name is.

On the way, I checked in a few other stores for sweaters and saw some for well over my budget. I was not about to spend over ns100 for a cheap feeling ordinary sweater. So, I continued down King George Street to the Bell Tower.

Yes, in what was originally called the "Sweet Shoppe" has been a second hand clothing store for years already. Not only have I bought quite a few skirts and tops plus a necklace there, but I've even sold a couple of things.

I was greeted as a long lost relative and told the owner what I was looking for. She quickly found me a couple of sweaters that were absolutely perfect in every way. Not only did they seem high quality, fit and match the skirt perfectly, but they cost me only ns50 together. Yes, one was just ns20 and the other ns30.

To be perfectly honest, I don't think I could manage just buying second hand clothes. But I'm not adverse to sometimes buying second hand, especially items that one wears "forever," like skirts and sweaters.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

French Press "Rides" Again

A few days ago I finished the last of my American ground coffee, so I had to make do with Elite Turkish Coffee perked in my classic stove top percolator. Finally, yesterday I combined my biweekly shopping in the Shaar Binyamin Rami Levi for fresh chickens with a shopping trip to Jerusalem.

This was a nice rainy day, which is what winter is supposed to be, and equipped with an umbrella and a smile I took care of a lot of shopping errands.

Getting ground coffee was the priority, so once I got to Jerusalem I made my way to Machane Yehuda's main covered market street/lane and searched for Rosmarin, where I had found the best prices plus a coffee-grinder that doesn't overgrind.

It's the only store I've found that has some coffee for under ns10 per 100 grams. You can choose between Brazilian and Columbian for ns8 per 100 grams. I bought some of both. They totalled about 600 grams altogether in two separate bags. Maybe another time I'll have them mix the coffee beans. What do you think?

This morning I was back drinking coffee from the French Press. I opened the Columbian, and it was fine. Yes, I'm awake.

French press coffee Yay!
bought ground coffee in the shuk
Cold, dry day not good 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #26, New Kraft Stadium, Complaining May have Helped

This is a continuation in my ongoing series about public toilets in Jerusalem. See #25,  #24,  #23#22#21,#20#19#18#17#16,  #15a#15,  #14#13#12#11#10#9,  #8#7,  #6,  #5, Saved by The First Station aka #4a#4#3#2 and #1

These open urinals make it MEN ONLY.

It sure pays to complain. Or am I taking too much credit? As regular readers know, I attend football games in the new Kraft Stadium near Ramot to cheer for the Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions.  The first time I needed to use the WC, 00 aka Public Toilet, there I discovered that there was just one open, for the men. Now I don't mind going to "mixed facilities," like in the First Station, but when there are urinals, they are obviously MEN ONLY.

After a sympathetic ref made sure it was clear of men, a few women took over guarding it, so we could all have a turn. The men who needed graciously volunteered to "use the wall" in the back. I sent a message of complaint about the lack of a "ladies room" to IFL officials, and asked others to do the same. Besides the female spectators, there are female referees, physiotherapists and photographers at the games on official business.

So, at the next game, with great trepidation I approached the little WC building and discovered that they had unlocked the door to the room on far left, also. The lights were on, and it looked large and impressive. OK, there wasn't any toilet paper, nor did I notice soap, but the locks seemed to work as did the water faucets. As I've said before, it is important to always come prepared.

There also weren't any signs on the door indicating male, female...

But I did discover that if you find the official with the key, there's a handicapped toilet there, too, for those in need.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

One-Sided Jerusalem Big Blue Lions Win Over Beersheva

Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions entering the field, Kraft Family Stadium, last night before the game.
We knew that the Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions, reigning National IFL Champions had an excellent chance to beat the Beersheva Black Swarm, but we didn't think Beersheva would end up scoreless.
קבוצה Team נצ' הפ' תיקו % נקודות ספיגהאריות ירושלים   
Jerusalem Lions 4 0 100% 160 52
מורדי יהודה Judean Rebels 3 1 75% 116 110
פתח תקוה טרופרס Petah Tikva Troopers 2 2 50% 144 149
חיפה אנדרדוגס Haifa Underdogs 2 2 50% 37 63
כסופי הגב מזכרת בתיה Mazkeret Batya Silverbacks 1 3 25% 42 56
הנחיל השחור באר שבע Beersheva Black Swarm 1 3 25% 84 141
חלוצי תל אביב Tel Aviv Pioneers 1 3 25% 110 122
I've been watching the games for about ten years, and there has been great improvement in the Lions, especially their offense and what I'll call endurance or motivation. They play hard all four quarters, even when losing. The problem is when confronted with too many weak teams. And it looks like there are few teams which can really challenge Big Blue.

Here are a few short videos I took last night at the game:

Join us cheering the best American Football Team in Israel, Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Tips for Easy, Safe Walking and Fitness

There is just one bit of advice I can give. Wear soft, supportive comfortable shoes, and go barefoot or shoe-less when you can.

Facebook friends and Instagram followers have a pretty good idea as to what I wear on my feet, since I've been posting my step-count along with my kicking off my shoes most nights.

My favorite brand is Skechers, which I've found to be the softest, lightest and most flexible of any brand. I've bought quite a few pairs when in the states. Now that I don't have any plans of going, I will have to find them here in Israel. The black shoes, in the picture on the right are Rockport, which are good for a leather shoe. But I still, when the weather is warm enough, prefer my Skechers.

Since yesterday was so unseasonably warm I wore them, and I walked much more than usual without any discomfort.

As you can see on the graphs, I don't walk all that much each time. I break up my walking and rarely take more than 4,000 steps without being sedentary for awhile. Besides wearing the right shoes, that is of the utmost importance. I'm not young anymore. My body must be catered to.

Another thing I do is to exercise my feet by not wearing shoes or even slippers. When I was young I studied Modern Dance and Israeli Folk Dance barefoot. And I firmly believe that fully exercised feet, which aren't encased in shoes, or being strained by what's called "flip-flops" in Hebrew, backless shoes, sandals or slippers, make for a healthier person. I connect this to the effectiveness of Reflexology. Our general health can be traced to the state and flexibility of our feet. That's why I like thick socks which keep me warm but don't restrict my feet.

What do you think of this? What are your tricks and tips?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Granny/Savta/Grandma Project With The Kids

I'm one of those annoying grandmothers who tries to keep the kids "busy" and "productive. The idea of just hanging around the house drives me crazy. 

You may remember some of my other "projects," some successfully done when they come to me, like soap-making and jewelry making.

As you can see in the pictures, I decided that painting on sweatshirts would be a great idea. I got the idea, because I have all these "souvenirs" from my time working at Yafiz, where I had to wear shirts and sweatshirts with the logo. Since I'm not the most talented in the artistic realm I thought that I could get my grandchildren to paint over the logo, so I could wear some of the clothes.

There ended up being just a couple of problems with it.
  1. It's not cheap.
  2. Only the youngest one out of the four grandchildren I was visiting even bothered trying to decorate/paint their new clothes.
At least she was enthusiastic, as you can see. She painted my old shirt, her mother's, father's and her own.

I left the special fabric markers with her and hope that she has fun decorating more clothes. Why not? She's named after an aunt of mine, an artist who had studied textile design.

Too bad the older kids weren't interested. Maybe they'll paint their clothes when I'm not around...

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

For Olim Chadashim, New Immigrants and Veterans, Too

I challenge all you other Israelis who read/follow this blog to read through Smarter Israeli Banking by Rifka Lebowitz and say that you didn't learn anything new. Even after almost half a century here in Israel, I must admit that Lebowitz's book is very helpful. 

Here's my review written on Shiloh Musings:

Smarter Israeli Banking, A Book Review

Smarter Israeli Banking by Rifka Lebowitz is a very helpful book. My husband and I made aliyah in simpler times, when we had fewer choices and internet banking was in the distant science fiction. Even doing banking by phone wasn't something anyone could imagine, since a high proportion of Israelis didn't have phones at home. We've been in Israel for just under half a century, and the changes in daily life, including banking, are sometimes incomprehensible.

So, yes, even I who rarely finds Israeli "anglos" more veteran to the country than myself learned a lot reading Lebowitz's book. First of all, I want you to know that Smarter Israeli Banking is a very easy and pleasant to read book. I must admit that I was a bit terrified when I received it and was sure that it would make me feel stupid and remind me of those forms that get me dizzy, confused and stupid-feeling.

I'm glad to have discovered in Smarter Israeli Banking that it won't cost me more to go to just any cash machine, as long as it's from a bank. The private company ones do charge a bit more. So many times I've walked and searched to find one from my bank. It's a great relief to have learned that I had been mistaken.

There are so many great and necessary tips in Smarter Israeli Banking. For an example, read the page above about how to protect your check payments. 

I agree and find it inexplicable that the English language internet sites for the banks are so bad. As a former EFL teacher here, I can't understand why it's so. A couple of summers ago I went looking for the new bank branch we had been transferred to to take care of some "bank business." I was sure I needed to do it in person. I had gotten the address from the English site. There was no bank at that address. After almost passing out from dehydration I called the bank and discovered two things:
  1. the site had the wrong address
  2. I could take care of it all on the phone
Lebowitz wrote Smarter Israeli Banking mostly for new immigrants, but even in the first few years in Israel, newcomers can find themselves in a situation we've found ourselves twice. She wrote that banks are closing branches, but she didn't say how that affects us.  When a bank closes a branch it offers a choice of open branches for your account. Your old checks will be honored for quite a long time, but your account number and other information changes. This can get complicated, if you use checks to copy all the information from. Payment won't be honored or won't get deposited to your account. You need to have a copy of all the up-to-date account, bank and branch numbers. 

There's a glossary at the end of the book, which includes many of the terms that confuse those of us whose business Hebrew is weak.  

Smarter Israeli Banking by Rifka Lebowitz is a wonderful gift for any newcomer to Israel, and if the newcomer gets more than one, just pass it on to someone else. It won't go to waste. I'd also suggest it not just to olim, but to anyone who is new to handling his/her banking and finances, whether young adults or the recently widowed or divorced.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Why Do I "Crave" Persimmons?

Persimmons are one of the foods, like avocados and artichokes, that not only had I never eaten before moving to Israel, but I had never even heard of. Actually I can make a very long list of foods in that category. Another would be a pomegranate. I really don't remember them from New York. Last year they were my "craved fruit." This year, I really can't make myself eat them

This is the year of the persimmon. But what has me stymied is what vitamin or mineral is in that pretty orange fruit that my body is demanding?

Wikipedia gives two different nutrition charts. I'm not sure which type of persimmon they have here in Israel. It may even be different from the two they list.

American persimmons, raw
Diospyros virginiana
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy531 kJ (127 kcal)
33.5 g
Dietary fibern/a
0.4 g
0.8 g
Vitamin C
66 mg
27 mg
2.5 mg
26 mg
310 mg
1 mg

Japanese persimmons, raw
Diospyros kaki
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy293 kJ (70 kcal)
18.59 g
Sugars12.53 g
Dietary fiber3.6 g
0.19 g
0.58 g
Vitamin A equiv.
81 μg
253 μg
834 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.03 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.02 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.1 mg
Vitamin B6
0.1 mg
Folate (B9)
8 μg
7.6 mg
Vitamin C
7.5 mg
Vitamin E
0.73 mg
Vitamin K
2.6 μg
8 mg
0.15 mg
9 mg
0.355 mg
17 mg
161 mg
1 mg
0.11 mg

In all honesty, it's a pretty tame craving and a lot healthier than chocolate, roasted nuts or ice cream.

What do you think?

Sunday, December 17, 2017

An Elvis Hanukkah

An Elvis Hanukkah - Jewish a cappella group Shir Soul featuring Elliot Dvorin of Key Tov Orchestra

This is the greatest! Let's dance....

Yummy Cauliflower Casserole/Kugel

Last week at our Book Bliss/Book Club meeting, one of my friends brought a totally irresistible Cauliflower Casserole/Kugel for our potluck dinner. I asked her for the recipe. She told me that she makes two versions, one dairy and the other parve, which is lactose free and good for vegetarians who eat eggs. The photos here are of the parve (lactose free) version, which she made a couple of days later.

She very kindly sent me her recipe. It is like many of mine; you don't have to be exact over every quantity.

Parve Cauliflower Casserole
1 800 gram bag frozen cauliflower, defrosted or lightly steamed, (I would use fresh)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbl. flour
2 Tbl. oil
1/2 Tbl. salt
some pepper
1/2 cup mayonaise
3-4 eggs
Mix all together. Place in baking pan. Can sprinkle garlic powder or granules on top. Bake at 180 degrees C for around 45 minutes.

Double amount of flour and oil, use between 500 to 750 grams cottage cheese instead of mayonnaise. Can add a handful of grated yellow cheese to filling and sprinkled on top.

Saturday, December 16, 2017