Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Between B-days Z!

Shavua Tov everybody! I know, I'm posting more pictures instead of actually writing what's going on. Honestly I haven't got the time or patience right now to blog properly so this will have to do. Hey, at least I'm making the effort.

Last week Z and I made an awesome pizza for dinner. Do you see the cute little bow-tie pastas sticking out from under the cheese? It was improv ziti-pizza and Z's side had mushrooms too (just so we could say that it was a 'well rounded' meal. Also cause he likes them - but that's besides the point.)
This past Shabbos we had a whole bunch of fun guests. Ayala and her brother Yoni came from over on Sde Eliyahu and the Koplen siblings joined us for the meals. It was funny to have a sibling weekend without any of my own. But Fredso was just here last week - so I guess I can't complain. The food turned out really deliciously. Notes to self: marinating Sara Schapiro's Tomato Chicken overnight makes it taste REALLY delicious, use 'big' salt in potato gratin and don't be afraid to sprinkle it on good!

These 'everything' cookies were a real hit last week with the girls and a single batch pops out 60 at a time if you scoop them with the itty-bitty scooper so I made them again. They're Peanut-butter Oatmeal Chocolate-chipsters and they are good! For the record, I didn't burn them this week and yeah - turns out they're supposed to be a dry/crunchy type of cookie. I think they go GREAT with a glass of milk and the salty/sweet ratio is awesome.Mr. Twisty came out to play for a bit. Do you notice his funny little googly-eyeballs? He's actually sleeping snug in his little plastic containment home here. Can ya see it?
And the most important part of the weekend was the half-hearted attempt at celebrating Z's English birthday. I put in a whole bunch of effort but he's not so big on birthday celebrations. On the bright side - I took the Fishmans' advice and went with a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. It turned out beautifully and tasted divine! I'll definitely be making it again! I stuck with a thin layer of frosting since Z isn't a sweet-tooth kind of guy and I didn't have any chocolate sprinkles so I opted to put on some chocolate shavings and curls.
Random Note: Another reason I love when Ayala comes for Shabbos is because she always takes leftover baked goods to give to the soldiers at the random checkpoints on the way from our house to hers. It's a super-easy way for me to feel like a nice person and I know that the chayalim will definitely appreciate it. So I sent her out with a whole bunch of cookies and a goodly number of an assortment of muffins! Now I gave treats to some soldiers and made room in my freezer all at the same time! It's brilliant I tell you!

Alrighty - I've got to get back to work, but stay tuned for some really yummy stuff coming your way a little later this week. Z's Hebrew birthday is Wednesday night/Thursday - so if you forgot his English you can still get 'timely' wishes in.

Who knows - maybe this will be the week that I finish this nightmare project and get moving on my own stuff...

I'd be happy to get out of the house and do some fun stuff. Maybe even see some friends.

That would be nice.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who should we eat today?

Shabbos was a lot of fun. Lots of guests - super peppery chicken soup - lots of desserts.

More details later - or tomorrow...

Depends on when I decide to 'take a break' from work...

Cause I'm not doing that right now.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chipotles

So, I was thinking about it and I decided that it's sad when a whole month goes by and I don't do certain things. That probably doesn't seem like it makes any sense, but it does in my head. It makes me sad when a whole month goes by and I don't take any pictures, or I don't listen to my Ipod, or I don't bake anything delicious. Ok, so the baking thing hasn't happened since we moved - but I haven't been experimenting much lately - even though I have over 300 recipes in my 'try me' folder. Guess I should get back to the kitchen.

Why haven't I been in the kitchen? Well, mostly because it's winter and frankly it's too darn cold to be standing around with my sleeves rolled up - especially to wash dishes. (Another less reasonable excuse is) We haven't had many guests, I haven't been hungry and Z's school schedule has been so insane that our eating schedules are completely out of whack and totally out of sync with each other - so he eats whatever he can scavenge from the freezer or deli sandwiches and I am generally happy enough to just eat crackers with chumus or peanut butter. For a month. I'm thinking...gosh, this is pretty pathetic sounding. I should stop being so lazy. Then of course I remember that with cooking comes the cleaning and it really is too cold to wash dishes - so there goes that idea...

Until this morning. I don't think we'd had a homemade breakfast in ages - I think last time it was hash-browns and we haven't had those in a REALLY long time. This morning I decided to be bold and I experimented with one of the new recipes called, "cinnamon perfection in under an hour" - basically, cinnamon buns. The catch - no yeast and no eggs. Don't get me wrong these weren't healthy - I used 3.5 cups of white flour in these babies and loaded them up with real milk and butter. But they didn't have to do that annoying 'rising' or 'proofing' thing. Just mix, knead, roll out, fill, roll up, slice and bake. Ta-da! 40 minutes from start to tummy. For the record - all things considered, aside from the fact that they tasted as though they'd been made as a 'cheaters cinnamon bun' with a Bisquick base - they were REALLY REALLY good!!!

Most of the afternoon passed quickly today. I got noshy at around 4. I would've eaten an entire bag of potato chips when I remembered reading about this fascinating snack idea, which was rumored to completely fill that spot in your heart which is reserved for chips and fries. I know it sounds insane but, roasted chickpeas are my new favorite thing to nosh on. The combinations of spices are endless and these little snacks are just way too addictive. Good thing they're filled with fiber and protein. Oh yeah - did I mention how fattening they are - NOT! I think these even trump popcorn in my book - and that's an accomplishment. Crispy, crunchy, tasty, delicious - I'll stop now. Try them if you don't believe me - worst case, you've wasted some chickpeas - but I'm not too worried about that actually happening.

In other news - I'm still working on the same 'graphics' project. It's gotten a bit complicated and sorting it all out is turning into somewhat of a nightmare. Thankfully my 3 years of training in that office in Jeru prepared me to take charge and organize the situation.

This coming Shabbat we're having 3 girls over. It should be a lot of fun. I'm mostly settled on a menu - but am a little bit torn. It's overkill to serve chicken soup followed by chicken pot pie - but any other kind of soup will be too filling. So just forget soup? It's winter for heaven's sake! You can't not have soup! *sigh* I'll figure it out.

Tomorrow Z is supposed to come grocery shopping with me. That way I don't have to carry everything Home by myself. (The help is very much appreciated.) Point of this story is that I haven't left my house since last Tuesday (when I went to town and grocery shopping with Mommy) - so it's about time I got out. Seriously.

Aside from leaving the house more than once a week I've really got to start actually doing those exercise videos that I downloaded. Pathetic that I have all these options for physical activity and I don't even bother utilizing them. I don't even have to leave the house to do them - just have to get off my lazy bum. Maybe next week...

Alright - enough random rambling for tonight. I'm going to go steal some pasta's with sauce from Z's pot of noodles and meatballs. (Another 'from the freezer' dinner, even though I made a yummy breakfast today.)

Maybe we'll even watch some TV like a normal couple.

Eh, who am I kidding?

Normal?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"...איי ניד סומבודי"

So it's Sunday again. Somehow. I'm not sure where the days last week went. I know that the majority of my waking hours were crammed into 'work' and that a bunch of hours were spent making sure that I got a minimal bit of exercise but I don't remember much else aside from the penne a'la vodka tasting delicious and a couple of special guests.

Oh yeah, I also had a job interview on Thursday. The office of 'American Friends of Ariel' contacted me and wanted to know whether I could come in for a meeting with my portfolio. Seems they're looking for graphic artists and after seeing my work would really like to hire me on various freelance projects. However, since I'm not set up as a 'business' and can't legally give 'cheshboniyot' (reciepts) - well, basically I'm welcome to be a free volunteer, but they can't give money off the books. *sigh* A friend recommended just getting myself set up as a proper business - but after some research I can't quite figure out all the paperwork. I could just have an accountant set up the whole thing for me - but I don't know any Israeli accountants off the top of my head.

Friday night was super quiet (aside from the crazy party that our college neighbors hosted - with screaming and loud obnoxious music until 1:30 in the morning.) Dinner came out delicious. We started with Challah, chumus and roasted garlic. The chicken soup was fresh and perfectly seasoned and the matzah balls were just like Z likes them, soft enough to get a spoon through but with some effort. Main course included; Gramma's tomato sauce chicken, fluffy couscous and really yummy roasted root vegetables (onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots.)

Shabbos lunch was really nice. Our friends the Lockerman's came over to join us for the meal. We started off with challah and chumus again. Then had a 'salad bar' - there was a big bowl of lettuce and then you could either add the 'salty' salad (cucumbers, carrots, peppers, tomatoes) or the 'sweet' salad (strawberries, candied pineapple, craisins, candied pecans) and there were dressings for both of the options. The main course included; (the cutest little) tomato onion quiche (I made it in a miniature glass pie dish that I took from Mommy, I think it was my great grandmothers), vegetable lasagna, challah kugel (cause nothing beats french toast for breakfast) and teriyaki salmon (for the fish eaters.)

Desserts this weeks were; cookie brittle with colorful charedi candies, super deluxe fudge-y brownies with walnuts and personal-apple-pies (which I baked in my cute little ramekins).

We spent all Shabbos afternoon shmoozing with our company and after havdalah they headed home while we straightened up and got to work on homework and work-work type stuff.

Which brings me back to now - Sunday - late morning. How'd it get so late so quickly?

I think I'll have some french-toast kugel for breakfast with maple syrup and then get to work. Today I've got at least 6 slideshows to 'make pretty' and flyers to re-write and lay out and a booklet cover to make, right after I re-write the booklet and an internet banner to fix and a general logo to sort out and I still don't even know the name of the company. Oh yeah, and there's supposedly more material which hasn't even been sent to me yet and everything is due in about 5 days.

*breathing now* - I think I'll start with some kugel.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Good Omens...

Today I bought vodka without getting carded! So exciting! Really, it is!

Wait, let me start that again.

This morning I woke up bright and early. (Ok, well 8 IS the new early - for me anyway) Outside it was so foggy I couldn't even see the city, I could barely see the main road that connects us to the city. Heck, it was hard to see the railing of the mirpeset. Thankfully it had started to dissipate by 10:00 when Z and I left the house. He went to school and I went on an adventure.

I caught a bus to Rova Alef (basically the 'center of town' - even though it isn't anywhere near central) and stopped off at the library to return some slightly overdue library books (no such things as late fees at our library though - so I kind of feel like I got away with murder. Hehe.) I then strolled into the main shopping area. I figured I'd look around and see whether I could find a nice mirror for the 'guest' side of the house. It's a little silly that whenever we have guests and they want to look in the mirror that the all parade into our bedroom to check their reflections. (This isn't usually an issue when we have boys, but the last time we had 3 girls for shabbos things got very tricky when it came time to apply makeup, curl/straighten/'do' hair and of course the girly 'last peek' before leaving the house.) I found two possible candidate, one is a full length option and the other is 1/2 the size. Both have very simple frames. I liked them but chose not to purchase them because the morning's trip had only begun.

From 'town' I made my way on foot doooown to tzomet Ariel and up to the 'Yesh' supermarket located near the hotel. The walk only took about 20 minutes - which put me ahead of schedule. Shopping didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would and I was walking down to the bus stop a whole 1/2 hour earlier than expected. I did manage to surprise myself with regard to how much I could carry, considering how much stuff I bought and the fact that a lot of it was quite heavy. The #100 bus pulled up after a short wait and 25 minutes later I was crossing the street to my building.

I put all of the groceries away and then put up a nice sized pot of tomato based vegetable barley soup for lunch, I think I'll make some garlic bread to go with it. TJ(K) is coming to visit soon, she's gong to hep me eat some of the muffins from my freezer. Aside from that, I haven't figured out yet what we're going to do. We could either be really boring and watch a movie, or we could bake something fun and yummy.

Now about that vodka that I mentioned back at the beginning of this post - that's for tomorrow night. Ita and Tonny are coming to visit. Tonny wants some more movies and Ita hasn't seen us in a while - so they decided to come out to nowheresville. I decided that since they'll be here at dinner-time that it should be a special dinner and I decided that special dinners have to include alcohol. (That's a lie - in my book, any meals can involve alcohol.) Anyway, I decided to make something yummy that I haven't had in a while. So - penne a'la vodka it will be. (I don't think I've had that since sukkot or so.)

Tomorrow morning I'm going to walk down to Mega to pick up a fresh baguette (or 2) - I would make some, but between the 8 hours of 'rise time' and my finicky oven, I just don't really have the patience.

Now it's back to work until my special guest gets here. This project I'm working on is due in 9 days and it's only about 10% done on my part. (That's pretty bad if you ask me.) I really hope it's done on time.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Twenty-Ten

Excuses and reasons to explain my recent absence from the Blogosphere - I've been a bit busy doing some 'work' and I've been a bit busy baking lots of yummy stuff.

Weekend Re-cap: The last Shabbat of 2009 was nice, Feige came and it was overall an extremely enjoyable weekend. The first Shabbat of 2010 was a quiet weekend, just us home alone, and I made the yummiest brownies and blondies.

A couple of weeks ago Mommy finally gave me a bag of 'Amish Friendship Bread Starter' - it's basically a bag of yeasty pasty goop that sits on your counter for 10 days and then you bake stuff with it and feed the aforementioned baked goods to everybody you can find. Oh yeah - and at the end of the 10 days there's still enough extra starter for you to bake AND you get to divide goop into 3 additional containers so that you can bake more in 10 days time and also give the starter to 2 friends - unless you don't want to bake again in which case it would be advisable to give all 3 bags of starter away.

I cared for my starter for the required time and then I baked up a batch of chocolate-chocolate chip muffins. They came out really yummy. I divided the remaining starter into 3 parts and put 2 bags into the freezer (I'm supposed to give them to friends, but I haven't seen them in a while) - I left the 3rd bag on the counter and on Motzei Shabbat I baked up a batch of cinnamon swirl muffins. Half of them got chocolate chips and the other half got craisins and chopped walnuts stirred in. They also came out deliciously!

I spent about 4 hours on Sunday editing text for a 'project' that I'm working on with Yo' Abba.

Today started off pretty well. I woke up at 8 to turn the 'dud chashmal' on for 20 minutes and for my efforts I was rewarded with plenty of hot water for a luxurious shower. I then walked down to the university campus with Z and after he went to class I continued my walk down to r'chov hagilboa and then back home. It wasn't an overly strenuous walk - 3 km in 40 minutes - but it was out of the house and it was a bit of movement, so I feel kind of good about it. I need to start walking again.

Speaking of walking, I really just want to do stuff to make me feel like a better me. So, I got my hands on a couple of exercise and yoga DVDs. Don't worry, I'll start with the beginner's stuff and I won't push myself too hard or too fast. I know what I'm doing. Well, sorta.

Note to self: Stop biting your nails again! I WILL paint them a hideous shade of pink. I'll do it and you know I will!

I've done 2 hours of 'work' today - and there's still TONS to do. Tomorrow I think TJ(K) might be coming to visit me and on Wednesday evening Ita and Tonny are supposed to come for dinner. Tomorrow morning I have to stop off at the library and return some extremely overdue books and I'm thinking about walking the 15-20 minutes down to Yesh to do my grocery shopping since I'll already be on that side of town.

Alright - enough procrastinating. I really do have to get back to pointless editing of rambling fluff text. Wish me luck.