Sunday, March 31, 2019

Plant Care Tips, Can Anyone Help, Please

We received this plant as a house/host gift.

What's the name?

I hope it's an outdoor plant. Does anyone know?

I'd appreciate advice. Does it need sun? Shade? Does it spread?

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Signs of Spring: Fresh Garlic!

The other day when I went down to our local Shiloh macolet, grocer-supermarket, I was greeted with a sure sign of spring, fresh garlic.

When we were newcovers to Israel, I couldn't understand what the garlicky smell was on buses every year between Purim and Passover. It was like suddenly being in an Italian deli.

It took a couple of years to discover what fresh garlic is, and that this is the fresh garlic season. When we were growing up, garlic was just of the powdered variety, bought in small jars. Very rarely did my mother ever buy a fresh garlic bulb/clove. And that was around the time I wasn't living fulltime with my parents and siblings.

The first time my husband and I bought fresh garlic, it lasted a year. I only cooked with it on very rare occasions. We still were using powdered garlic, and at that time I didn't buy the dried cloves/bulbs. Now, we always have a supply of "real garlic." And I don't buy powdered garlic, just the coarser ground in jars, which is rarely used.

Next week I'll have my husband buy fresh garlic in Machane Yehuda, and we'll hang it to dry before using. He's a shuq addict. I try to patronize the local store, but that's another post...

Monday, March 25, 2019

Country Bumpkins in The Big City

Yesterday when I was rushing down Jaffa Street, Jerusalem, I saw some familiar faces. There were a bunch of Shiloh kids being herded around. A few recognized me, but most were gawking at the tracks, stores and big city sites.

Since "no news is good news," I trust they made it home safely for them and Jerusalem, Capital of the State of Israel.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Post-Purim = Pre-Pesach EEKS!

I just gave vegetable soup and either a cupcake or nuts as
Mishloach Manot this Purim. 
Purim here in Shiloh is double the fun, mitzvot, work etc. As I'm written before, here in Shiloh we celebrate both days. OK, some people fly the coop after eating an early seuda, feast on the first day, regular Purim, and sleep in a location that doesn't celebrate the second day. But not us. We celebrate both days, at least until the rabbis declare what is very obvious, that Shiloh is supposed to celebrate on Shushan Purim, the second day, since the wall is still at the ancient site, and Joshua was even here. It's all in the Bible. Gd willing I'll blog more about that on Shiloh Musings.

This is what my freezer (just a fridge freezer) looks like after two days of Purim immediately followed by Shabbat. Luckily I remembered to thaw out the food I had precooked for this ShabbatBesides that, there are still leftovers in the fridge from the Family Purim Feast to eat up.

I keep looking around the house a groaning, when I think of what an awful mess it is. Yes, I know that cleaning for Pesach isn't about dirt and clutter, but I have no excuse not to make an effort to improve the general situation here. I'm retired and not working at all. Bli eyin haraa, not to tempt the evil eye, I'm healthy.

Actually the kitchen is the easiest part of cleaning, since we just had it renovated half a year ago. I got rid of a lot of things, and there isn't much to switch. Most of my Passover dishes, pots etc are in easily accessible cabinets in the new kitchen.

It's scary to think that I only have three and a half 3 1/2 weeks before Pesach. Thank Gd I'm not hosting the Seder.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Purim Coffee, 5779, 2019

Dear departed friends, George and Rosaly Evnine, Z"L x2, gave us this set of stacking mugs sometime after we moved into our house in Shiloh, well over thirty years ago.

I hardly ever use the mugs, because I want to preserve them. But this year, in celebration of Purim and l'ilu'i nishmatam, just a few months after Rosaly died, I drank my coffee in the whole set.

First I started with the feet, the morning after we Shiloh ladies had a pre-Purim dance fest. Then a few days later, on the first day of Purim, remember that here in Shiloh we celebrate double Purim, on a pretty empty stomach after fasting the day before I used the torso. And finally this morning, when there's just one more Megillah reading to go, I'm Gd willing expecting the family for a Purim Seudah and it's Shabbat in less than twelve hours, I need all my brains to get the logistics right, so I'm drinking my coffee from the head.

This mug set perfectly illustrates the Jewish People and State of Israel. We're all together, all one, and we have a sense of humor.

Shushan Purim Sameach!
Have a truly joyous Purim wherever you are!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Happy Purim Sameach from The US Embassy in Jerusalem

This is definitely a new USA under Trump, and I like it! No American administration was this friendly to Israel.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Starting Purim Early, Dance Fest for Women

Here in Shiloh we celebrate two days of Purim, although our local Chief Rabbi Elchanan Bin-Nun has been consulting with Torah scholars to get a final psak, halachik decision for us to join other ancient Biblical cities in celebrating only Shushan Purim, which is the second day.

After thirty-seven 37 years of a double Purim, it's pretty routine for me. There are advantages, OK only one or two I can think of.

  1. We can give our kids a choice about which day they want to come to us, as long as it's a group decision.
  2. We get to know the text of Megilat (Scroll of) Ester really well.
When I was young, I'd frequently find myself pulling an overnighter, needing all of that second night to cook for a second feast and mishloach manot, the food gifts one gives out. Now I can't do that, and I don't need to. We do less entertaining, and with just the two of us home, I also give out fewer food gifts.

At one time, I promoted having the second night as the perfect time for a Women's Purim Party. I blogged about one as Baile RochelGot That Rhythm! In recent years I haven't even gone to most of the parties, whichever night they had been held. Generally as I'd approach the location, the tsunami-like super-loud music pushed me away. But yesterday (a few days before Purim) was this year's party, and I had promised my friend, who was going to lead Belly Dancing that I'd come. 

My Belly Dancing friend added a few costume additions, so I'd look the part. Sorry, but I'm not posting a full body pose. I had never done that genre of dance, except that one time I wrote about, but did my best to follow. I didn't do too badly, though I was the oldest in the hall, even old enough to be the grandmother of some of the others there. 

Belly Dancing was great fun. Maybe I should convince her to give classes next year. It certainly makes one move every single muscle and parts of the body that in my case had been frozen for decades. 

Now, I'm ready for our two-day Purim Marathon!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Jewish Book Carnival: March 2019

If you like the genre of  Jewish books, a very broad one for sure, then click the Jewish Book Carnival: March 2019 and see what's offered.

To those of you who write and/or publish Jewish/Israeli books and need reviews, then contact the bloggers who are linked in the post. Most of us are always interested in getting new books to read and review.

My post reviewing Maybe Esther-A Family Story is included in the Jewish Book Carnival. I hope the round-up interests you in reading some of the books. Thanks to the bloggers who host it each month.


Friday, March 15, 2019

Cooking for Two Weeks/Shabbatot, Purim in Shiloh

Ever since our house emptied of kids, and I've had jobs that kept me out in the evenings, or coming home without time to prepare dinner, my Shabbat cooking is for the week.

This week, we'll have very few regular evening meals, between my book club, a grandchild's birthday party and Purim. Here in Shiloh, Purim is a long two day holiday, a third day of food change if you count Ta'anit Ester, The Fast of Esther. We celebrate two days of Purim, so next Friday is also Purim, and Gd willing the kids and grandkids will be coming to eat a festive Purim Lunch. That doesn't leave me much time to prepare for the immediately following Shabbat.

So, I cooked a bit more than usual yesterday of chicken and moussaka/meatloaf (using ground turkey) and froze half of it.

This is in the freezer already, made in a double pan.

The two smaller containers are now frozen for next week. 

I'll have to find time to make side dishes before Shabbat, probably after the Thursday night's Megillah reading, which will be our third out of four.

Many people wonder why we in Shiloh have been instructed by the rabbis to celebrate both days. Other Biblical Cities, like Jerusalem only celebrate the second day, Shushan Purim. But even though we are in the same location, which is agreed by Biblical scholars and archeologists alike, the fact that for centuries Shiloh was deserted probably changes its status. Our local Chief Rabbi Elchanan Bin-Nun, in this year's Purim instructions has stated that although we still must celebrate both days and make the blessings only on the first, we should have strong kavana, spiritual intentions recognizing Shushan Purim as our Purim. Maybe in the near, or more certainly distant, future we in Shiloh will be instructed to drop the first day of Purim and only celebrate on Shushan Purim.

After decades of living in Shiloh, since 1981, we've gotten used to a Two Day Purim. It's certainly a lot easier than having two Pesach Passover S'darim. There are no travel restrictions on Purim, and one can be extremely creative in terms of menu. Having two days for the feast gives a lot of flexibility for family and friends. When we host, we have a choice of days, according to what our children prefer. The most difficult of the Purim logistics is making sure to hear the megillah four times.

Have a Truly Joyous Purim
Chag Purim Same'ach

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

MALKA Stout Beer... Not My Favorite

When I bought the Shapira Ale I loved I also bought a dark stout from Malka Beer.

I poured the beer slowly, but instead of a glass of beer, I found myself with a glass of light coffee-colored foamy bubbles. It took ages for me to be able to pour in some more and then finally taste it.

As much as I love the Shapiro Ale, I don't like the Malka dark Stout. It's too dry and bitter for me. That surprised me, because I generally like dark flavorful beers whether the unique Israel craft beers or those from the large international breweries.

This Malka stout won't go to waste. I see it as a great cooking beer. I'm thinking of experimenting, using it with fish, instead of the beef, my usual beer partner. What do you think?

I must thank Doug, the Beer Mavin for getting me introduced to Israeli craft beers.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Israel's Eurovision Song, Cultured Not Pop

From year to year, Israel seems to try to surprise the international Eurovision audience with gimmicks and an enormous variety of performers and genres. This year the "committee" finally went for for a very cultured performance, "Home," sung in English by by Kobi Marimi, the exact opposite style of last year's "Toy," which actually won.

If the Eurovision "directors" had been willing to accommodate Shabbat observance, then Israel would have been represented by The Shalva Band. Instead, that very unique and professional band, will be part of the local entertainment that host countries provide during the broadcast.

Last year's Israeli Eurovision song "Toy" sung by  Netta Barzelai.

None of the songs resemble the Israeli winning Eurovision songs from the 1970s. I miss that old Israeli music style.

"A-ba-ni-bi" sung by Izhar Cohen & Alpha Beta, 1978

Eurovision 1979,  "Hallelujah,"Sung by Milk and Honey

What do you think?

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Best Beer! Taste Test #1 A Success!

Over a week ago, I blogged that I bought myself three beers as a treat. On Shabbat I tried one, the Shapiro "Jack's Winter Ale," and I love it.

Strong fruity aroma, rich brown color and full of flavor. It's really the type of beer I like.

I poured myself about a third of the bottle Friday night with our Shabbat Meal, after first drinking an excellent white wine.

Since we had a guest Shabbat morning/lunch, I offered him a chance to share the remaining ale with me. My husband isn't a beer drinker. The guest was very impressed. He pointed out that "Jack's Winter Ale" is relatively high alcohol, 8.5%.

I wonder if I'll like the others as much. Maybe I'll start stocking up on Israeli craft beers after Passover.

Doug, are you familiar with this beer/ale?

Friday, March 08, 2019

Diet's Not Doing Well, Lost Self-Control

This week I've barely had one day when I've stuck to my "diet," better eating regime. When offered temptation, I just can't say no.

One day a week eating what I shouldn't can work and still keep my weight down.  But this past week or so, it seems like every single day there's some sort of special/joyous occasion, irresistible food...or drink.

Even worse, my "at home pick me up" somehow morphed from cashews/dates to chocolate chips. They're all stored in the freezer. It hasn't helped that I read one of those "doubtful facts" on facebook that chocolate is a good cure for coughs. A few tiny chips are a lot less fat/sugar than squares of chocolate, but still...

Considering that I've been following the low carbohydrate eating regime for about a decade, I guess that these "little rebellions" are pretty normal. I must get myself back on the wagon, now, soon, tomorrow, after Shabbat.... whenever. I guess it will be whenever I can recharge my motivation, soon, Gd willing.

After all... tomorrow is another day

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Trying To Analyze Pedometer Results

Just a few minutes ago, I sent a picture of yesterday's pedometer reading and complained to my walking group about how little I had walked. I hadn't even reached 12,000 steps.

But when I take a good look, I can see that I had three periods of real walking.

Granted, they weren't terribly long, but there's more serious walking in those periods than in some days which have more impressive numbers. The Pedometer record for yesterday calculated/sensed one hour, forty-seven minutes and forty seconds of activity, though most of it was just walking around inside. The three straight lines which I've circled are my actual walks outdoors.

Indoors, I walked up and down a few flights of stairs more than once. So if you add the stairs to the outdoor walking, I guess I had close to an hour of physical activity, which isn't all that awful. Now, if I could only find a way to "delete" the dessert I had last night at a neighbor's Sheva Brachot*.

*Sheva Brachot: Post wedding party, which can take place during the week after a wedding.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Could It Be The Cheese?

In recent months, I noticed a occasional increase in my "upper abdomen," but then it would go down. I kept blaming it on weight gain. A few unwanted kilos have been popping on and off. But this was still pretty strange for me, since that part of my body isn't the usual fat-storing spot.

I began to wonder if it was something I'd been eating. Recently, during those same months, I had made a couple of very small minor significant changes to my general diet, food choices.

  • Since I'd begun craving carbohydrates, I added some periodically to my meals or snacks.
  • For the first time in a decade I began buying and eating yellow cheese. At the time I lost weight, I was also unemployed and had stopped buying the cheese because of its expense. Recently I had started buyin it again and discovered that I felt much fuller/more satisfied after eating a slice or two.
Since I believe that our diet can affect all sorts of things, I decided to see if the carbohydrates, cheese or the combination were guilty in changing my body. Cow milk allergies are common in my family, and even though I love eating yellow cheese, I know that it's terribly processed and unhealthy. Just read the ingredients, if you don't believe me. So, I started with the cheese and eliminated it from my diet. 

The E-202 is a preservative,  Potassium Sorbate, which does cause stomach problems in some people.
And what do you think? Yes, my stomach went down once I had stopped eating yellow cheese. One thing we have to remember is that yellow cheese is highly processed. I've never heard of anyone making it at home, easily or not, while people do easily make yogurts and white cheeses. 

A decade ago, when I began making changes in my eating to facilitate weight loss, I also began cutting down/eliminating processed foods. In addition, I followed the basic principle of the Blood Type Diet, which for me Type O Blood meant eating more animal protein and less carbohydrates. 

As much as I like yellow cheese, I'm just going to have to try to avoid it. There are worse things...

Monday, March 04, 2019

Still "morningcoffeehaiku" -ing


Six days a week, I compose what I call my #morningcoffeehaiku and post it, well illustrated with pictures of coffee and the morning sky, on facebook. It gets my creative brain going as the lemon ginger water and then caffeinated coffee hydrate my systems. On Shabbat, I'm not on the computer, though I drink lemon water and instant or cold press, or some sort of coffee.

Following is a selection of sunrise and coffee photos along with some of my more recent "morningcoffeehaiku's."

diff'rent perspective
you can control what you see
make your day super

cold morning today
hot coffee to the rescue
praying for winning day

cold rainy Thursday
fresh hot coffee just perfect
must cook for Shabbat

quickly changing sky
shopping, wedding, great day planned
coffee energy

glorious sunrise
perfect hot French Press coffee
thank Gd for mornings

up early today
Jerusalem, here I come
Gd willing good game

Instantly coffee
Busy Jerusalem morn'
Friends, Bible, Matan

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Yes! The Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions Won Israel Bowl XII

If you had been wondering if The Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions won its third consecutive IFL Israel Bowl national championship, yes, we did! Yes, this is tackle football, like in the USA. 

The Petach Tikva Troopers played hard and well, but the Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions played better. That's it in a nutshell.

Yes, as you can see from the score, 29-26 was a close game, and at one point we were behind. But lions don't give up.

The game had been scheduled for Thursday night, but since very stormy weather had been forecast, the league was able to arrange a postponement with the Jerusalem Municipality for Friday morning. It was perfect weather, dry and not too sunny. The crowd was all ages, and Hebrew was the dominant language, even though you could hear plenty of English.

Friday, March 01, 2019

Today's The Game- How did I End Up in The Bleachers?

You probably don't believe me, but not only am I not from an athletic family. None of us were sportsmen. We weren't in any of the school teams. We didn't watched sports, not on television and not in the stands. Only once did my father take my brother to baseball game, and that was because his cousin's husband somehow convinced him that they should do a father-son outing together. For a short time in high school, I went to junior varsity basketball home games and did have fun cheering Great Neck North, which probably won every game. None of my friends went to them or the varsity games, even though our school was generally first or second in all categories. Once I became active in the Great Neck Synagogue Teen Club, NCSY* chapter, that was the end of my life as a spectator.

So, it's rather funny to think that today I'm one of the loyal fans, too hyper even at my age, to cheer the Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions from a seat. I guess that I'm considered one of the "local characters" by the team and other fans. "Why?" You're probably wondering.

When my youngest child came back from his post-army sojourn in New York, he was hooked on American tackle football. He tried out for Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions and became part of the defense. And we started going to the games to cheer for him and the team. At that time the Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions was a middling team and didn't win any championships. But I enjoyed watching, being with most of my children, getting to know other fans and the energy surge I felt even as a spectator. After a number of years, my son was appointed head coach, and in his second season, which would make a great movie, the Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions won the IsraelBowl X Championship! That was two years ago, and last year we also won.

Today at 11am in the Kraft Family Sports Campus, we'all watch IsraelBowl XII and cheer on the Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions and pray for a third record-breaking championship in a row, Gd willing. Yaala Big Blue!

*Davka, one of the players in Jerusalem "Big Blue" Lions is the grandson of NCSYers from the 1960s.