Monday, March 19, 2018

Toothpaste as Silver Polish?

When I first saw that someone had suggested that one can use toothpaste instead of specially made/produced/marketed silver polish, I thought it a dangerous joke. I had already ruined some good silver by using a cheap silver polish, Hepi instead of the Silvo.

toothpaste to the left and 
Silvo to the right
The other morning a friend came over to help me polish my silver. She is better at it than I am and really enjoys the chore. I could only find an almost empty Silvo, so when it got really empty, I asked her about the chances of using toothpaste. She said yes, so I first started to experiment on some less expensive items. Believe it or not, it worked! So we both worked on polishing. Then I washed everything, and she dried.

Then I replaced the cloth on the table/cabinet, and put everything back. B"H, that was easy.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Mosaic Havdalah Plate in Use

Since I have a pile of abstract mosaics waiting to be given as gifts or whatever, I began making purposeful mosaics in the senior citizen craft class I go to. The last one I completed before the Passover break is a שבוע טוב Shavua Tov, Good Week for my son-in-law, to be used for the post-Shabbat Havdala ceremony.

I was so happy when they sent a photo of it in use!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Easy Chicken "Fricassee"

What's Fricassee? It's generally chicken cooked in a sauce, frequently a white sauce, but Chef Google showed me links to definitions that say any sauce makes it a Fricassee.

I had a package of chicken wings and a package of chicken breast I needed to cook/use up before Passover.  So first I made a very simple sauce. I don't use/buy ready-made sauces.

Sauce Ingredients 

Photo by Y. Medad
  • diced onion
  • fresh garlic
  • a few ripe tomatoes. OK in Israel they aren't expensive, so you can buy a can of diced tomatoes.
  • 1/2 cup of wine I needed to get rid of
  • a few peppercorns
  • a couple of Tablespoons of Tamari sauce
  • a couple of Tablespoons vegetable oil of your choice
  • saute the vegetables in the oil
  • cover pan
  • When the sauce is boiling strongly, add the wings and cut pieces of chicken breast.
  • Cover again, and cook until chicken has become white and well cooked.
I've made it with meatballs, instead of the chicken breast. You can also add more vegetables to the sauce. We enjoyed it very much. If you try it, please tell me how it came out and how you changed it.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions Into The Finals, 2018, 5778

The Tel Aviv Pioneers quickly ran out of steam last night at the new Kraft Family Stadium, as the reigning champions, Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions outplayed/crushed them in the first of the two semi-finals. Final Score 54:12!

Gd willing, we will complete the season this coming Thursday, undefeated.

Ya'ala BIG BLUE!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Framing the Sky

The challenge for this week's 52Frames photo was the Sky. I take lots of sky pictures. Almost every morning I photograph the sunrise, and the sky in Israel is extraordinary. But to be honest, recently, the sky has been so clear it's almost boring.

I wasn't quite sure what to do. Then when I was walking in Jerusalem I saw this "frame," and took a few pictures. I finally decided that they were the the most interesting, and I finally, with a little help from some friends, chose this one.

"Framed"It's all in the accessories. 

It's not perfect, and I couldn't return to take more. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Nu, And How's The Diet Going?

It's certainly no secret that I have been struggling with my weight for a very log time. A number of years ago, I made it a very public diet which you can find by using the search engine of this blog by asking for "public diet," "diet saga," "low carbohydrate" and other labels.

I did manage to rid myself of about fifteen 15 kilo or thirty plus 30+ pounds, most of which has stayed off ever since, but about a third, five kilo found their way back about a year ago. When that unwanted weight had reached three kilo, I went to war, but lost the battle and gained another two kilo. But about six months ago, after the pool closed, I tried a few different tricks, about some of which I have blogged.

Over 12,000 steps is pretty rare for me.
12,000 is now very common.
The first thing I did was to make more time to walk, since the pool had closed. Three months of water exercise hadn't reduced much, except that my body looked and felt better. And even the experts say that walking is better for weight reduction than swimming. I increased my daily steps, as I could see on the pedometer.

The second thing I did to lose weight was to change my breakfast. For years I had been eating a large vegetable omelet, but not that long ago I felt terrible sugar/fruit cravings as soon as I finished it. I took that as a hint. Maybe I need to eat fruit for breakfast, since the omelets and vegetables weren't satisfying my hunger.

Now, for the past few months, I have fruit, fresh ginger and goat yogurt for breakfast. I must admit that there are days when I crave cashews afterwards, so I eat a few. It's clear that I need more protein early in the day in addition to the sugar/fructose.

Another thing I've noticed, and I do weigh myself almost daily on the same scale, is that the fewer restaurant or catered meals I eat, the lower my weight is. It goes up a bit when I've eaten out. And it's lowest when all the food I've eaten has been my own home cooking.

My weight seems to have stabilized close to where it was post-big diet, bli eyin haraa, let's not tempt the "evil eye." I do have days when I eat things I "shouldn't," but there are diet mavins who actually  say that once a week or two it is good to go off the restrictions. It stimulates the metabolism to work harder and burn calories more quickly. Also, it makes the "diet" easier to live with, and that is a major trick/technique. If you adopt a diet you find impossible to live with, you won't be able to stick to it very long.

And how is your diet going?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Thank Gd, The Chiropractic Adjustments have Helped

Not that long ago, I blogged about my neighbor, Dr. Azriel Gordon's Chiropractic Clinic. I had gone to the open house to celebrate his new location. I listened to his talk with half an ear, not having a clue that I'd soon be one of his patients.

"Gd laughs," as the saying goes.

When a pain in my hip caused my knees to ache and make normal life totally impossible I gave Dr. Gordon a call to set up an appointment. That evening I trudged down the hill to his clinic, which was a bad mistake. I should have found a ride. By the time I got there, I could barely move. And the pain in my knees was excruciating.

Dr. Gordon began by reminding me that a well-treated body should last over a hundred years. Oh, boy, had I just permanently abused it...? Chiropractic healing concentrates on keeping the spine supple and healthy. Everyone knows that a break in the spine paralyzes sections of the body, so it makes sense that blockages will also have dangerous effects restricting movement and causing other damage. I knew quite a bit about chiropractic care, because my brother-in-law in New York has been a chiropractor close to forty years, and he has helped me a number of times. But since a trip to New York wasn't realistic, I had no problems calling Dr. Gordon.

When I got ready for my adjustment, I couldn't even take off my shoes. So, since they were soft, he allowed me to keep them on. Dr. Gordon worked very hard trying to relax/release my spine and move the bones of my hip joint into the proper position.

One thing I wonder about is if there are many female chiropractors. I haven't heard of any. The profession demands great physical strength. Women do well as massage therapists, dealing with soft tissue, but the type of work that Dr. Gordon does is much more physically demanding by the therapist. 

Part of my "treatment" was that Dr. Gordon helped me get a ride home. He told me not to overdo things. I realize that I had gotten in such bad shape, because I hadn't gone for help when the first discomfort began.

The next day I began to feel better and started doing various stretches to get my spine healthy again. I do have a very extensive dance background, which makes it possible for me to know what to do. Other people really do need much more professional guidance.

A week later, I returned for another adjustment by Dr. Gordon. By then I could comfortably walk down to his clinic, but I asked a neighbor to drive me home.

Since then I've been doing daily twists and stretches, while gradually returning to my walking routines. The big difference is that I stop when there's discomfort, but the discomfort has been much less frequent and doesn't reach the pain I had previously. My goal is to be totally cured of this "hip" problem, and I'll return for what Dr. Gordon calls tune-ups. Call 054-4849094 to make an appointment or ask more questions.

In the meantime, I feel that I'm doing well, thank Gd, with gradual daily improvements.

Yesterday I comfortably walked a lot and at a good pace, B"H, thank Gd.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Finally Wore My Hand-Painted Shirt

Months ago I did a project with my older grandchildren, or more accurately, I planned one. I came with a bunch of shirts and sweatshirts for myself* and their whole family. Some were even specially bought the occasion. I decided that we would paint/decorate them.

Photo taken by my husband just before I went to bed when I remembered that there was no photo of me in the shirt.

Well, it was a good idea, but only the youngest, age seven 7, was interested or willing to participate. I just came home with one shirt, which wasn't suitable to the winter weather. Yesterday, before getting dressed, I finally took out my iron, which I hadn't touched for at least a decade, and ironed the shirt to "set the paint." Then I wore it. I hope that is got hot enough, or it will wash out when laundered.

I don't know if my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter have ever worn theirs. But I had always liked this shirt and am happy to have hidden the store logo so creatively. There's still some paint for more fabric projects.

*The idea came to me when I was trying to figure out what to do with all the shirts and sweatshirts I had with the "Yafiz" logo from my six years working there. I had returned the one shirt that I had signed for, but nobody wanted or would wear the others.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Pre-Passover Countdown Just 2 1/2 Weeks

I sincerely hope I am wrong, but if next Shabbat is Rosh Chodesh Nissan then we barely have two and a half weeks until the house must be ready for Bedikat Chametz.
I don't think there is too much in the freezer, but there definitely too much forbidden chametz in the house. And in terms of general junk, we are drowning in it.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

DOF- Depth of Field Photography for 52Frames

The latest photographic challenge I did for 52Frames was Depth of Field, aka DOF.

"Love That Lox"
Feasting on Lox, cream cheese and salad on the Jewish Purim Holiday. We celebrate two days in Shiloh. On the second day, my husband and I had this special lunch, not an everyday menu for us.
The photo was taken with my phone, a Canon IXUS 145, which I hardly use. It's not a great camera, and in general I'm happier with the photos from my simple phone, Samsung J7. But it ended up that I couldn't get the phone to cooperate for DOF. I couldn't trick it into blurring part of the photo. Davka, I was bvle to get the camera to do it by having it set for a simple close up, which resulted in the further section being blurred.

Here are a couple of other photos I took, but decided to serve the lox.

Did I choose the right one?

Friday, March 9, 2018

Remember These?

As a kid I liked them much better than real black licorice. So when I saw some the other night I just had to have one.
But I must admit that I was very disappointed. Either my sense of taste has changed drastically or they were poorly made. After one bite I threw what was left of the piece out. I didn't want to be tempted to eat it just because it was in front of me.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

A Bit of Humor in South Jerusalem

A couple of nights ago I went to another event of Anglos of South Jerusalem. This time is was comedy. Olim to Olim, immigrants to immigrants, stand-up by Liami Lawrence, Joel Haber, Hani Skutch and Benji Lovitt.

Except for Hani Skutch's routine, everyone concentrated their stand-up on the immigrant experience, sometimes even asking us the same questions from us. I think we were a tough audience for them, since they were young enough to be our kids. The audience was mostly retirement age plus.

Benji Lovitt, Joel Haber, Hani Skutch and Liami Lawrence
Regardless, it was a very entertaining and pleasant evening. I have a lot of friends who live in "South Jerusalem, and it was nice to get out together. There's a good chance we'll go again sometime to one of the activities of Anglos of South Jerusalem. They're really nice about not keeping out people like me, who not only don't live in South Jerusalem, but I don't live in Jerusalem at all. So, you should check out what is scheduled.
Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, text

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Shiloh Views and Memories, Celebrating 40 Years

I always enjoy being able to walk around my hometown of Shiloh. Views are always changing. Sometimes I try to reconcile the new with the tiny community of a few dozen families we moved to at the end of summer, 1981. Even in our wildest and most unrealistic dreams none of us could envision the large, vibrant, stunning and growing town that exists today.

Shiloh has grown and prospered despite our modest plans and dreams.

Absolutely nothing in these pictures existed or was even planned when we first came to Shiloh. It's clear that Shiloh's great growth and change from "the middle of no place" to being the center of a "settlement bloc" with easy travel to the Jordan Valley, Yarkon Junction, Rosh Ha'ayin-Petach Tikva, Ariel University and Jerusalem is miraculous. During the years I was on our "absorption committee," it became very clear that publicity/recruitment principles didn't hold with us. Something mystical was really controlling the traffic of new families to Shiloh. 

Ironically, or maybe more accurately, siyate d'Shmaya, the Hand of Gd has made the Gush Shiloh area the largest and most popular in Eastern Binyamin, rather than the two communities which had been favored by our regional council Mateh Binyamin in the 1980s.

During Biblical times, Shiloh had been the Jewish Capital City. I don't expect Shiloh to replace Jerusalem in any way, but I see our role in modern Israel growing, just like the gorgeous flowers pictured here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Making Kitchen Progress, Who Wants These?

One of my tasks before redoing the kitchen, Gd willing, is to get rid of things that have been in it for decades, which I don't use.  And like many people, especially experienced and confident cooks, I don't open my old cookbooks.

Way back when I did love and utilize cookbooks, I'd frequently read them cover to cover and then internalize general principles. Except for cakes, I'd very rarely follow a recipe exactly. Besides eliminating or seriously reducing the amount of salt and other seasonings, it was usually impossible to find all of the ingredients in my pantry/kitchen. I became a "housewife" in late June,1970, and two months later we docked in Israel. Post-tzenna* Israel had plenty of food, but not all of the the ingredients in the American recipes.

My mother bought/sent me not only cookbooks, but lots of books about natural health, dieting, pregnancy and child-raising. I added many books and health/vegetarian magazines to the collection. But it has been a very long time, decades, since any of them have been opened and read. When I need a recipe, instead of taking down a few books, going through the index, putting small pieces of paper to mark the pages and then reading and comparing, I just check with Chef Google. Isn't that what almost everyone does?

So, as I've planned and envisioned my new kitchen, the bookshelves** will morph into my coffee corner. Gd willing in a few months, maybe by my next birthday, we'll be seeing my percolator, French Presses and coffee mugs on those shelves.

I've already given away more than half of the actual cookbooks. If anyone is interested in any of the remaining books, please come and get them.

*צנע tzenna or zenna, was the term for the austerity days of great financial difficulties and hardships in the early years of the State of Israel. The population grew dramatically, as Jews from all over the world hurried to our Historic Homeland. Basic food items were rationed, and families/citizens were given coupons to try to make it possible to share the limited supplies.

** That wall closet is to be re-doored with new formica to match the new cabinets on the other walls.

Monday, March 5, 2018

You Need Coffee #3, Ethiopian Gima

This post is the third and for the meantime final in the series of coffee reviews about You Need Coffee. From the size of the bulk of the impressive bag of Ethiopian Gima coffee, I was sure that I had bought quite a bit of it. A discernible aroma wafted out the minute I opened it, but so did the air. Yes, there was lots of air, too much packed together with the coffee.

Ethiopian Gima coffee served with milk and a bit of sugar

Finally, I realized why their, and other Israeli freshly ground coffee then stored for a few weeks or even days, tastes so disappointing. They make no real attempt to vacuum pack it. Other shops haven't a chance, since their bags are of cheaper materials. But You Need Coffee uses quality bags, and even if the sealing included very low-tech pressing to attempt "vacuum-pack" pushing out all the air possible, the coffee would keep fresh much longer. When I return to the shop, and I probably will some time after the Passover holiday, I will request better bag sealing.

In the meantime, I'll finish what I have and then perk simple Israeli Turkish coffee until after Passover. Gd willing I'll be getting some good American ground coffee from a friend. Then I'll even be able to "cold brew" coffee, though I do need a new French Press... but that's another story.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Oy, Nobody's Immune

I had great plans for tonight. It was a chance to mark off yet another dream from my Bucket List. I was going to audition to be in a play. I don't think I had been in a play since some Hebrew School Purim play in the Oakland Jewish Center, Bayside, NY, when I was about eleven. I had a small role  which included a solo sung to Queen Esther, which had words something like:
"Oh, Ester lovely queen
Go pray before your king
and plead our Jewish cause
... cruel Haman's Laws"
The Women’s Performance Community of Jerusalem will be putting on a play in a few months, “HIDDEN – The Secret Jews of Spain."

Image may contain: shoes and text

And I was hoping to be in it. OK, just a small role, but now it doesn't look like a good idea. So, I canceled my audition slot.

Why? You're probably wondering. The truth is that my hip has been giving me trouble, so I'm afraid to commit and wary about having to dance to choreography not suited to my body. Too much standing isn't good for me either. In addition, the traveling isn't easy, but I would have made that work. Maybe they'll let me get involved later on, in a way that would allow me to get on stage for the finale, all costumed and sing with everyone... Gd willing.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Jewish Life, Passover on My Mind

On Shabbat my friends and I grumbled about the upcoming Passover Holiday and all the necessary preparations.

So right after Havdala, I peeked into my fridge and took a couple of pictures. Whatever I've stashed must be eaten or thrown out. I think I have some good stuff in there. It's time to feast. And then I can start stocking up on meat, poultry and fish, since in Israel by Purim you can get lots of Kosher for Passover foods.

What are your tricks?

Friday, March 2, 2018

Purim in Shiloh 5778, 2018

Many years ago, one of my neighbors established a custom of spending part of Purim in the main intersection, providing street theater and entertainment for one and all. Yesterday I managed to photograph him from my perch in the front seat of the bus.

Today is also Purim in Shiloh, but of a more anemic variety.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

This Year's Purim Soups, Yes Two 2

I feel best breaking fasts on vegetable soup. The Jewish Calendar has a number of fasts in the year, and one of them is the day before Purim. My custom is to spend the afternoon making soup. That's what I did yesterday afternoon.

Since I no longer have, nor usually need, a supersized pot, I made two pots of soup. Another reason was that I had lentils and peas I wanted to use up. So instead of mixing them into one soup, I made two different ones.

Lentil-Ginger Soup
The Lentil-Ginger Soup ingredients:
fresh garlic
fresh ginger
parsley root and leaves
a spoon or two of vegetable oil
salt to taste, or a just a bit less
  • A few hours before I plan on cooking the soup, I put the checked lentils in a pot and add boiling water to cover and then cover the pot.
  • Afterwards I cut all the vegetables, add them, except for the parsley leaves, to the lentils, add the oil and some more boiling water. 
  • Cover, start cooking on a high flame, then lower it to simmer for at least 45 minutes.
  • Add the parsley and salt.
  • Cook a few more minutes, and then let it sit covered.

Simple Pea and Carrot Soup
The  Simple Pea and Carrot Soup Ingredients:
root and leavesvegetable oil
coarse black pepper and salt "to taste"
  • A few hours before I plan on cooking the soup, I put the checked peas in a pot and add boiling water to cover and then cover the pot. 
  • Afterwards I cut all the vegetables, add them, except for the parsley leaves, to the lentils, add the oil and some more boiling water. 
  •  Cover, start cooking on a high flame, then lower it to simmer for at least 45 minutes. 
  • Add the parsley and salt. 
  • Cook a few more minutes, and then let it sit covered.

After sampling both soups, I decided to try them mixed/together. 
I hope my neighbors like the soups they'll be getting for mishloach manot, Purim food gifts as much as I did.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Joyous Wedding

We were privileged to be invited to a beautiful joyous wedding, which was held last night in Jerusalem. I got to see so many good friends, which was a bonus. Thank Gd.  May the young couple be blessed with good health, lots of wonderful healthy children, long life and a super-sized sense of humor, Gd willing.

Monday, February 26, 2018

French Roast, #morningcoffeehaiku

Another coffee post for your drinking pleasure.

First the review of the French Roast which I bought at "You Need Coffee." It cost a bit more than the Colombian I had gotten there, but it does have a bit more flavor and aroma. Considering that I haven't liked any of the Columbian coffee bought ground in Israel, I hope I remember not to buy it any more in any coffee place. The French Roast was worth the extra money.

And now for a few more of my recent #morningcoffeehaiku collection/writings. They are posted most weekdays (non-Jewish Sabbath) on facebook.

winter rain returns
hot coffee to warm me up
thank Gd for the gifts

white winter morning
no snow, just very pale sky
choose to be happy

early, dark outside
French Roast, nice strong aroma
busy day today

Hot morning coffee
Now in cold Jerusalem
Family warms me

perked the new coffee
sadly too subtle for me
sun burst into sky

keeping coffee hot
on a cold winter morning
lots of plans today

Chodesh Tov, Dear Friends
May Adar bring joy to all
l'Chaim, coffee

hot instant coffee
busy day leaving early
blessed rain falling

cinnamon coffee
trying to add spice to life
when sky is dull grey

perked coffee fills air
let the caffein fill my brain
substitute for sleep

vanilla coffee
hot, strong perked to perfection
cool winter morning

coffee stock dwindling
soon back to perking daily
at least there's sunrise

steaming perked coffee
spectacular winter sky
must unfog my brain

I hope you like them even if you don't drink coffee or you read them at times other than dawn.