Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hello there res.

So that's that. Chanukah is over for another year.

Shabbos was a ton of fun - we were in Bet Shemesh and it was all enjoyable - except for the part where The Dibble threw a tantrum because his chocolate ice-cream had supposedly been contaminated by coconut. Desserts were few and far between but the apple turnovers were absolutely delicious and so was the 'use it up' apple tart. Actually - everything was good except for the weird red pate' stuff that The Crazy Lady tried to feed us.

On Sunday Mommy drove us Home. First we stopped off at SuperH to do an 'American shopping' we also dropped by the keilim mikvah to toivel my new baking dishes and on our way into Ariel we did a 'Yesh' shopping. Lunch was leftover eggplant moussaka from the Chanukah party on Thursday night - it was quite yummy. Then after re-stocking Mommy's computer with lots of fun stuff to watch she headed back to The Sun House.

At around 1 pm Z went down to studio to work on a project and he didn't bother coming home until 8:00 the next morning when he took 2 hour nap and then went back to school for classes from 10am-9pm. I finally saw him when he stumbled in Monday night completely exhausted at 9:20pm. He was out cold by 10:00 though - so much for 'quality time' - *sigh*

Monday was relatively productive for me. I worked on a project for Daddy - about 7 hours of fun layout stuff. I also washed, dried and folded 3 loads of laundry. I straightened up the kitchen, washed all the dishes from Sunday and even put away all of the Chanukah stuff. Boring - but at least I did something.

Today has been pretty boring too. Z woke up late (probably due to missing a night of sleep) checked his e-mail for 45 minutes and then ran out to school. I re-designed one of the pages I had worked on yesterday and then ran out of work to do.

Now I'm sitting on the couch wishing my toes weren't so cold (heater, 2 pairs of socks, hot water bottle, 2 blankets - all not helping.)

Today a nice construction crew (finally) paved the street outside of our building.
Today I finally called Bezeq and had them activate our 'answering machine' - which came free with caller ID!
Today I smushed my 'Amish Friendship Bread Starter' - it is officially day 8.

Tomorrow I really should go to Mega to do the last little bit of my shopping. It's going to be hard to bake without any eggs and I really do need some pudding for that friendship bread...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jelly Goop

My trip to Jeru on Tuesday was a success. I met Feige in Talpiot and we went to see "New Moon" at Rav Chen. After the show I made my way back to Tachana Merkazit where I had enough time to pick up some fresh sufganyot and catch a bus home. I was back in Ariel by 7 and when I got home Z & I lit menorah and enjoyed a delicious dinner of 'grown up baked ziti' - it was yummy.

On Wednesday morning I went to the shopping area at Segulah with Yael. It was my first time there. We wandered through some arts-n-crafts stores, toy stores, a health food store and we even did our shopping for Shabbat. We headed home on the early side. Z's brother came to sleep over so when he arrived we lit candles and relaxed for a bit. Dinner was BBQ sauce smothered chicken wings and Z made light and fluffy latkes. I spent most of the evening working on a graphics project for Daddy.

Today has been relatively boring. Woke up on the early side and took a lukewarm shower. Then I washed all of the dishes from yesterday. I decided to bake some muffins but realized that I only had enough margarine to make 1 flavor. I decided to make cinnamon-buttermilk muffins and I got a dozen out of the recipe. For lunch I decided to use up some of my 'pepper collection' - (I keep buying them because I can't remember whether I've got any in the fridge and I've amassed quite a collection) so I put up a pot of brown rice to cook and cut up a variety of vegetables which I made into a stir-fry.

Tonight the 'Adults only Anglo Chanuka Party' is scheduled to be held across town at the matnas. I volunteered to bring a pan of 'veggie moussaka' (first time making it - I hope it comes out alright) - now I just have to figure out how to get a 9x13 foil tin full of sloshy-ish moussaka across town in the pouring rain and insane wind. Sometimes I wish I had a car but then I remember how expensive gas is...

Chanuka sameach and happy night #7!

Monday, December 14, 2009

No more caffiene for you...

Thursday last week was a relatively boring day. Accomplishment of the day - successfully making kasha for the first time ever by myself. I also baked cookie brittle with M&M type candies and a big pan of apricot crumble bars.

On Friday I set up our brand new beautiful menorah and explained to Z that it was all his. He was super surprised and really excited - especially at the prospect of lighting the really cool blue oil that he chose a couple of weeks ago.

Shabbos was uneventful (if you discount a pointless 6 km walk.) Friday night after the meal we watched a lightning-show on the horizon (there is a beautiful panoramic view of the city and hills though our back door and it is hypnotic to sit back and watch the lightning zig-zag across the sky above it all.) Shabbat day was quiet and boring, aside from the sporadic piano music from downstairs. Our neighbors have acquired a piano and one of their daughter's seems to be an aspiring pianist. I can't wait for her to progress beyond the first 11 notes of 'Old McDonald' which seems to be the only tune she has figured out how to play. Bright side - the chicken pot pie was a delicious lunch and I made THE yummiest sweet potatoes. I sliced them in rounds, spread them on the bottom of a baking dish, put a layer of coarsely chopped pecans, sprinkled with some brown sugar and some maple syrup and then baked them to beautifully caramelized perfection. They were good hot and they were good cold. I ate them right away so they didn't get old. Hehe, I crack myself up sometimes.

Sunday was a really quiet 'do nothing' day. Z and I camped out on the couch in the office and watched Season 3 of 'Weeds' - but we saved the season finale for Monday.

Speaking of Monday - that was today. 3rd day of Chanukah and I'm finally starting to feel the holiday cheer. Z had a break after his first class so he came back home at around noon to have lunch with me. I made Bubby's tomato soup and pan-grilled-cheese sandwiches with cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan. I also cooked up some ABC noodles which I stuck into the soup and garnished the bowls with some finely grated cheddar.

It was the best lunch in ages. We watched the season finale of yesterday's tv show and then Z went back to school to do some work in studio. I wandered around the apartment, washed all the dishes, straightened up a bit, set up the menorahs for tonight and tried to figure out what to make for dinner. (Planning 2 'real' meals in 1 day is hard work...)

I settled on teriyaki salmon and hasselback potatoes (I've been meaning to try to make these potatoes for ages. It's potatoes, garlic, salt, pepper and oil - or butter - so I mean, what could go wrong?) Anyway, Z should be home in the next 20 minutes or so and I've got to go check on the fish. For the record, the potatoes look and smell delicious.

Chag Urim Sameach!

Tomorrow - Becca's bday and a trip to Jeru...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

In a Walnut Shell...

Tuesday's greatest accomplishment was finally getting around to a full shower (yup, that means I washed my hair for the first time since Friday. Is that gross? Well, it IS the winter and I hadn't done much to get shvitzy so I guess that means sort of yes and only a little no.) Aside from the hygiene spree I also made dinner. I made a delicious dish called 'chicken with spaghetti' - you really must ask me for the recipe. It's easy, delicious, filling and best of all it's an awesome way to get rid of tomatoes that are getting a little too squishy for the tomato basket.

Today was Wednesday. It was actually a wonderful Wednesday. It started off on a positive note and I found myself being ridiculously thankful and a bit giddy about living where I now live. I really love this city/town/settlement - place. As the locals say - kitzur, I really love it here.

First of all I found a 'waxing lady' (I know that doesn't sound exciting or important, but trust me, if your eyebrows were as unruly as mine are, or if you disliked certain other - as Bill Cosby refers to them - 'tiny little hairs' - as much as I do then trust me when I say that finding a good waxing lady is both exciting and wonderful.) I digress. My first appointment was last month. She sounded quite nice when I called her and I was even more pleasantly surprised when I showed up at my appointment and she asked if we could speak in English so that she could practice. Best part - she did a great job shaping my eyebrows! Yay! (Small things make me happy. Really.) When I called her yesterday to see whether she had an appointment she remembered me right away. It's nice when people remember you. I'm not sure why, it just is. For the record, she did a wonderful job today as well.

After my appointment I headed to the grocery store. While I was there I saw a friend, which was nice. We exchanged 'hi's and then I was off again. At the health food store the nice guy who runs the place remembered me too. (I was just there last Thursday after all.) I left feeling like a bird bandit with a whole bunch of nuts & seeds.

As I got to the bus stop the friendliest sherut driver pulled up. (I've mentioned him before.) He's always full of 'hellos' and lots of laughs. He's a funny older guy who is friends with all of the ladies in town. (I assume he's friendly with them because on every other block he'd call out to one of them and they'd wave back and smile.)

Back at home I did some stock-photo sifting for a project that I'm working on, and tried to think of ways to change something that there's no real way to change. (It's a thankless task sometimes - like trying to change the world - but that doesn't mean I'm giving up.)

At around 4:15 I put spiced potato wedges into the oven to bake. I also cut up a nice big green salad - chock full of loads of fresh crispy vegetables. At 5:35 Z and I caught a bus down to the other side of town. We made our way to the Lockerman's where we did some bikur cholim, had a delicious dinner (broccoli cheddar soup is yum. mental note made.) and we tried to be fun and friendly company of sorts. (Did it work? You'd have to asked the 'visited' but they're nice so we're guessing they'd say yes in any case.) All I know was that Z proclaimed it successful and that I really enjoyed. (Have I mentioned that it's awesome to have people in our age group, in the same stage of life as us, who live nearby and share common interests?!!? Well, it is. It is AWESOME!!!)

Now we're back at Home because Z has got a ton of homework (all due tomorrow of course) and so I'm back on the couch. I've really got to figure out the Shabbat menu - I'm still debating what kind of chicken to make although I'm kind of thinking something with apricot... Don't hold me to that though - I'll probably (nope, definitely) change my mind half a dozen (maybe even 7) times before Friday ever gets here.

All I know is that tomorrow I've got to go to Mega to buy margarine and 1 bottle of Coca-Cola.

And do laundry.

I really must wash the laundry...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Kung Pow Cow...

Let me begin by saying that Shabbat this past weekend was every positive adjective that I've got in my vocabulary and then some. The food ALL came out deliciously, the desserts were heavenly, the company was beyond incredible - are you getting the picture? Sammy, Sara and Raizi slept over, Ora came to visit Friday night and also joined us for the Shabbat meal, and Ora's brother and a friend of his came over in the afternoon which was spent playing many round of bananagrams, a cut-throat game of Settlers, Phase 10 and lots of laughs.

The menu was as follows:
Friday Night: chumus and roasted garlic with the challah, chicken soup with matzah balls (they came out fluffy again), chicken roasted with garlic and basil, couscous, roasted veggies and we finished with chocolate mousse for dessert.

Shabbat Lunch: mini tomato onion quiches and mini broccoli quiches, Sara's awesome couscous salad, Jack Daniel's (green label) BBQ Sauce Salmon, vegetable sticks and chumus. Dessert was a deliciously wonderful uber-rich white chocolate mousse.

Before the girls left on motzei shabbat we decided that on Sunday we'd be 'spontaneous' and all meet up in Jerusalem for dinner.

Sunday morning Z and I caught the 11AM bus into Jerusalem. (We almost missed the bus because the battery in my watch died at 10:35.) We met Freddie at T.M. and wandered around for a bit until we could conveniently ditch Z and then we headed into town. We met Raizi at Binyan Clal (where I got my watch battery replaced) and then we visited the shuk, the baking store (I finally bought black food coloring), and English Cake for some tastreats. We found a bench all the way down Agrippas where we sat down to snack on some 'lunch' and then we walked back to T.M. - Freddie caught a bus back to school while Raizi and I made our way to Malcha. When we got to the mall we found Z, a little while later we picked up Eli wandering around looking for a specific store and finally Freddie arrived. We made our way to the fancy Chinese restaurant and had a wonderful dinner together. (We pretended it was Eli's mesibat giyus - since he never had an 'official' one and he's been in the army for over a month already.)

After dinner the Bet Shemesh crew headed to the car while Z and I made our way back to T.M. to wait for the bus. (We missed the 7:15 bus so we had to wait for the 9:00, which meant we had plenty of time to spare.) We did however run into a whole bunch of friends along the way, so the wait didn't actually feel too long. At 10:45 we pulled into Ariel and stopped off at the mailbox on our way up the hill. There was a note from the post office which said that there was a package waiting for us at the post office.

The only package that we were expecting was a couple of books from Amazon but the 'estimated arrival date' is listed as January 11th. Nonetheless this morning I bundled up and walked Z down to school (in the pouring rain) then I hopped on a bus to the other side of town. Lo and behold the Amazon package had indeed arrived, in under 2 weeks! How cool is that?! I think it's pretty awesome. So now Z and I can give each other our 'Channukah Gifts' on time. Of course he's excited about the architecture book he ordered but I'm really excited about the cookbook that he ordered for me - a new copy of 'Joy of Cooking' - Yay!

Hope everyone is stocking up on oil and potatoes and polishing their menorahs! I know we are! Speaking of which - I've got to find my 'Channukah Box' so that I can decorate the house properly! I love this time of the year. :)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Ramekins...

Yesterday I figured I'd get ahead of the game and bake my challot. For some reason my oven went on the fritz and randomly decided to be 400F instead of 325F (there is a story behind this but I haven't got the energy required to type it) suffice it to say in under 5 minutes my adorable challot were burnt to a crisp on the tops and the bottoms did not escape unscathed either. Don't get me wrong - they were delicious on the inside (we ate a loaf with our split pea soup for dinner) but I'm not sure whether it is halachically permissible to use a pick-axe on Shabbat...

Anyway, I decided that since we're having company for Shabbat that I probably shouldn't serve yesterday's challot at the meals. So I baked another batch. I was super-watchful and the loaves came out beautiful looking, smelling and everything else. (Hope they taste good - but we won't know until tomorrow night.) I also baked up a batch of peanut-butter chocolate chip muffins.

Tomorrow I've got to; cook the matzah balls (I already made the goop), roast the garlic, roast the veggies, make cous-cous, bake the chicken (it's currently marinating in pesto-y type stuff), brew iced tea (probably 4 liters or so), somehow get fish cooked (yuck), make 2 kinds of mouss and I think we need something else for dessert but I haven't figured out what.

I also have to clean the house, wash a whole bunch of laundry, find space in the guest room for my 3 guests to sleep and make the beds, change the sheets in my room, wash both bathrooms, wash the floor, clean the stovetop and I'm sure there's more that I've forgotten.

Considering I wanted to be ahead of the game I sure do seem to have procrastinated a whole lotta stuff.

I should learn a lesson from this.

I'm just not sure which one...

PS - nobody in Ariel has any pine nuts in stock.
PPS - I bought garam masala today. I am very excited.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Manmouth Monmouth - Same Difference...

I woke up warm and cozy this morning. Partially thanks to my down comforter, partially due to a hot water bottle and also a little because I slept in a sweatshirt. I really had no interest in getting out of bed. I read for a bit but when Z got up to get ready for school I figured I probably shouldn't be SUCH a bum so I got up too and found my way to the computer. Obviously nothing interesting had happened on Facebook and I hadn't even received any exciting e-mails.

I thought about what I could do today and decided that Wednesday is not too early to start cooking for Shabbos. It's 1:30 PM now and I'm pleased to say that 4 really cute challot are halfway through baking. I've also gotten a head start on the mini-quiches by grating the cheese (last night actually) and making the pie dough. I'm currently debating which project to tackle first - quiches or some muffins. I kind of really want muffins... Mmmm, muffins.

Today I'm supposed to organize the guest room. It seriously needs a super duper clean-up. Truth be told - if I don't organize it I have NO idea where 3 people are going to sleep Friday night. I guess I should probably do that.

Last night I wound up making calzones for dinner. Partly because I didn't want to use a ton of tomato sauce on pizza and also because I had one container of cottage cheese left over (from the ravioli making last week.) I'm glad I wasn't a lazy bum because they came out deliciously. Honestly - the best calzone filling is a combo of; cottage cheese, grated mozzarella, a bit of parmesan and some sliced veggies (we had onions, mushrooms and green peppers.) Yum. I felt like I was in a nursery rhyme when I marked my calzones with a 'L' and Z's with a 'Z' - on a funny note - he was excited to be able to tell which ones were his.

So - in conclusion, I've still got a room to organize, I need to finish my book (so that I can return it to the library tomorrow (when I go to the other side of town to mail a special birthday package) and I've got lots of cooking to do too.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Watered Cola

This morning I decided that I would walk Z to school and then do my grocery shopping. So, I got up and dressed and ready to leave the house. The walk down the hill was nice. The weather today is clear, cool and crisp. The sun is shining brightly in a blue sky and the clouds floating lazily by are like big fluffy cotton-balls.

At the grocery store I found everything on my list (except for pine nuts and a head of lettuce) and I went to pay. Of course unloading the cart my finger opened a bag of sugar (which spilled all over) and then I almost dropped my eggs. Finally I got everything packed into my backpack and 1 plastic bag, signed the credit card receipt slip and walked out of the store. After returning my shopping cart I realized that the bus driving past was the one I was supposed to be getting on but I also noticed that my credit card wasn't in my pocket with my receipt. Keeping a cool head I double and triple checked my pockets, unpacked my backpack and checked the contents, checked my wallet and purse and when I couldn't find it I packed everything back up and walked back into the store. I asked the cashier whether I'd forgotten it and she replied "Yup, I already gave it to the customer service booth. They should have it." So I went over to the booth, and told the lady that the card she was holding was mine. Presented some ID and ta-da I had my card back in my possession.

As I walked out of the store another bus had just pulled up to the stop and there was no way I would make it there before it pulled away. I walked up the block and sat down on a bench to wait. About 10 minutes later a sherut and a bus were driving towards me. (I always opt for the bus rather than the sherut because I find them more comfortable) so I waved the sherut on and of course, it was the wrong bus. So I sat myself back down and waited. About 5 minutes later another sherut pulled up. It was one of the cheery drivers who always smiles and says hello so I hopped in.

Back at my building I reached to open the front door - but it wouldn't open. Believe it or not - I was locked out of my own apartment building. At a loss for how to cope with this new situation I decided to ring every doorbell there and figured somebody would open the door. Luckily a nice lady who lives on the entrance level came out to open the door. She said that she had also been locked out earlier and that someone else had opened the door for her. And it seems that there is no key for the front door so basically if you're locked out and no one is in then you're in trouble. Yeah - that doesn't make me a bit paranoid or anything...

Anywho - I went up to the apartment, opened the front door (with Zalman's key which he has been leaving home with me because I forgot my house keys in Bet Shemesh this past weekend.) Unpacked my groceries and figured that you, my dear reader, might be amused by my adventures this morning. I'm relatively amused - considering everything seems to have worked out alright.

According to my menu-plan tonight for dinner I'm supposed to make stir-fry and brown rice, but I'm kind of in the mood for calzones - so I'll have to wait until later to see what I actually get inspired to cook.

Tomorrow I think I'll go to rova aleph. I've still got to buy pine nuts and I need to buy and envelope as well as pay a visit to the post-office. Of course, that all depends on whether I write the letter I need to write.

I'm getting super excited for this coming Shabbat. We're having the girls over and it's gonna be SO much fun!

Happy December everybody - hard to believe 2009 is almost at an end...