Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pseudo-Science

For lack of anything better to do I'm blogging. Brilliant. Ain't it? Yup, I thought so too.

Since today is Wednesday and Z doesn't start class until 1 PM - we stayed up waaaay past our bedtime last night and as a result woke up late this morning and sort of lazed around for a bit. (doesn't being 'responsibility free' sound fun?!) At around 10 Z started working on some homework and I put together some breakfast (homemade white bread slathered with jam) to tide us over until lunch (which turned out to be 'cascasoon' which is actually p'titim or 'Israeli-couscous' cooked with some sautéed onion and chickpeas.)
Once Z left for school I decided to do some useful chores. I washed the dishes, washed down the kitchen counter (from last night's 'coffeecake-cupcake-mess'), took out the trash, washed the garbage pail, figured that since the guest bathroom was all wet from washing the garbage can (well, of course I washed it in the bathtub - where else would you suggest cleaning it?) that I might as well clean the whole bathroom - since we're having guests for Shabbos. So I scrubbed out the tub, sink and toilet and even did a quick once-over on the floor (more to clean up all the water - but it got the dirt-spots off too.)

I then sat down and wrote out my shopping list for tomorrow. I still need those fruits and veggies. (As you may surmise, I didn't make it to the grocery store yesterday. It was just too hot out.) I also organized my menu-plan for the rest of the week.

Tomorrow morning I'll do the shopping in Rova Alef at Mega. I'll also get to stop off at the local library (to return a couple of books that I took out before Pesach. I hope I don't get charged a late-fee - whoops...)

Mostly I'm looking forward to Shabbos. We're having our friends The Kleinburds over. It sure is a funny thing to baby-proof an apartment for a weekend.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Canned Air...

Yesterday was what I consider to be an 'in-house productive day' - I did laundry, I cooked, I cleaned, I dealt with a Netvision technician, I actually got dressed, I colored in a coloring book, I worked on 'the neverending project' for 3.5 hours... I did stuff. Lots of stuff. Except I didn't actually leave the house.

Last night Z worked on some homework which involved water-colors. He didn't want me to be bored so he suggested I keep him company and color. Sometimes I really do feel like a 2 year old...
Dinner last night was awesome. I finally semi-quenched my ravioli craving. We drowned the raviolis in a homemade chunky tomato-cream sauce (which tasted kind of like a'la vodka - only we didn't add any vodka - must've been the red-pepper-flakes we sprinkled in...) I also made these awesome otameal dinner rolls. They were light and fluffy and incredible with the sauce, and plain and they froze beautifully and we had them for breakfast this morning - I smeared on butter and grape jelly and Z (ever the purist) enjoyed his plain, just warm from the microwave.
In response to a comment on Sundays post - I'd like to introduce our bestest friend - Fuzz. His real name is Oscar Be Wild. He was a lot more wild when he was an eensy little puppy, but he's gotten much better as he's grown (and grown he has.) As I mentioned, he spent Pesach and 2 extra weeks and Doggy Summer Camp - there he made some friend (well, with the trainers anyway) and learned how to be a mellow sort of fellow when the situation demands. It took a couple of days for him to revert to his twinkle-in-the-eye self when he got home - but he's pretty much back to himself now - except that toes are now safe from his chompers and he jumps a whole lot less.
It's Pesach Sheni time so I'm trying to decide what to make for dinner. Definitely matzah maybe mashed potatoes and chicken of some sort. (Or I could make a kitniyot dinner - hahaha - like, a 'wishful Pesach dream')

I just did a serious cutting back of all the herbs in the 'garden' - I noticed that the parsley is getting bit buggy (baaaad news...) so I moved it away from the other stuff. I guess I'll have to do some research and figure out what to spray it with. Also, my dill had gone wiiiild and was all over the place - so I cut it all down to a manageable height.

Since it's 12:20PM I should probably get dressed (I've been up since 9 but have been working for a while.) I've got to take out the garbage and should really do a vegetable-run (since the selection in stores on Sunday was umm, well - let's just say I only bought 2 cucumbers and a bag of potatoes...) While I'm at it maybe I should wash the dinner dishes from last night - except that involves putting away the clean dry dishes that are on the draining racks. I just can't win sometimes.

Guess I should get a move on...

Toodles.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mint Chip Ice Cream

Hard to believe we were away for just under a week. We're finally back Home and now that the groceries are put away all I've got to do is catch up on the laundry and I'll feel more or less back in routine.

Re-cap of last week - well, we were in The Sun House for the entirety of it. Wednesday - Fuzz came Home from the Puppy Hotel (3 weeks of vacation and training - he was quite mellow that first day) and we went on a shopping expedition to SuperH (for those 'hard to get' and 'oh so important' - 'American Products' that we 'just cant live without' - ha.) On Thursday Z went to 'the army' to be assigned with an official 'teudat miluim' (meaning that from now on he'll be called up for regular reserve duty just like any other Israeli from now until he's 40 or so...) While Z was dealing with army peoples, Mommy and I went 'Yesh Shopping' in RBS - it rained and poured on our heads while we were outside and as soon as we got into the car the skies cleared. Like magic. Thursday night I baked a cinnamon swirl cake which turned out delectably delicious. Friday was spent getting ready for Shabbos - I baked some fudge-y brownies and pretended to help with other stuff, especially the hard parts (like checking off things from the to-do list.)

Shabbos was Eli's 19th birthday so his English and Hebrew birthdays coincided. For that special reason we surprised him by inviting over some very special guests - The Feldmans for Friday night meal and we cooked the whole shebang not just vegetarian but vegan (aside from the matzah balls.) All in all it was a highly fun and successful affair. Shabbos lunch we made up for the Friday night lack of meat by feasting on shnitzels and mushroom barley casserole (made by yours truly - at Fredso's behest.)

Motzei Shabbos Z and I took a romantical shpatzir to and through the rose garden.

Today was Sunday and once the parentals had returned from Fuzz's training session - Yo Meanma drove us Home. We made a few stops along the way for important provisions (like sorbet and ice cream) and we even checked out the produce sections at the local grocery stores. Shopping was successful - well, we got kitty litter anyway. After unpacking everything we waved g'bye to the PollyMobile and headed into our house.

It didn't take too long to get everything stowed away where it belonged and at around 7:45PM we finally sat down to have some dinner. Easy peasy from the freezy - tomato vegetable soup with stupid little white beans (which actually don't taste bad and add a certain richness to the soup. Darn. I guess I'll have to complain a bit less about them from now on.)

We watched an episode of Good Eats and now Z is building a model (without glue because he ran out during his last model-building-project and neglected to get more) and I'm entertaining myself - more or less.

I'm actually thinking of going to sleep now (even though it's only 10PM) I'm kind of zonked and have a whole lot of stuff to do tomorrow. A bit of work on the neverending project, a lot of work on the family cookbook that I'm compiling, a bunch of pictures to fix-up, and I really want to squeeze in some sort of baking endeavor.

Alrighty - enough rambling for now - be back soon...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Raynaud's Phenomenon

Yesterday we caught the 100 bus to the Kessem train station in Rosh Haayin and we rode the train to Bet Shemesh via Tel Aviv. The entire journey took 2.5 hours but the level of motion sickness experienced was greatly reduced (compared to our usual route which involves being on a bus for an additional 50 minutes.)

Yom Haazmaut dinner was a festive affair with our traditional homemade 'Israeli Spread' - falafel (baked not fried), Israeli salad, pickles, chumus, techina. Friends and neighbors joined us for the meal and to watch the fireworks across the street. The concert actually ended at a reasonable hour and there was no noisy 'afterparty' - even though it took a while for all of the revelers to disperse back to their homes or wherever it was they were going.

At 12:30AM - Daddy and I drove to Be'er Hatikvah (a grassy area along the back entrance road to Ramat Bet Shemesh) where there was a concert underway for 'youth and the young at heart' - we went to see Shai Gabso perform. He finally took the stage at 1:20AM and the concert lasted until 2:45AM. By 3 we were home and after uploading the pictures and movie clips to Daddy's computer it was time to sleep.

This morning we had a waffle and ice cream breakfast followed by fluffy icing beating/piping and decorating. We didn't go on a tiyul of any sort - because we were all kind of exhausted. Phil went to the Ashdod beach with some friends so Freddie and I got to go pick her up at tzomet shimshon. (Hey, it was an excuse to get out of the house.) Ezri had a drum lesson and in the afternoon Daddy took Dibble to the park because there were some jumping castles set up.

I helped make some hamburger buns and sneezoned some baked potatoes for the dinner bbq which we'll be enjoying in about 2 hours. Saba & Savta will be joining us for the occasion - so the food and company are gonna be awesome!

Not too many plans for tomorrow yet - first we'll get through the rest of today.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lack of Motion...

It's been a few days but I've been busy. Well, sorta. More like 'out of it' and unable to put together my thoughts.

On Wednesday I didn't do much of anything. Come to think of it, I can't even remember what I did. I remember helping Z with his 'model' until quite late at night. There were some issues with the glue gun and a general glue shortage not to mention that things were turned the wrong way for a while and just wouldn't stay put.

On Thursday I traveled into Jerusalem to meet up with Feige. Unfortunately the day didn't go quite as we had planned. We did spend the entire afternoon together however, we never made it out to lunch and I didn't get to run all of the errands that I'd been saving up. I caught the 8:30 PM express-bus home and the ride (mercifully) only took 1 hour 10 minutes.

As far as Shabbos - we ended up canceling our plans on Friday morning. The idea of 3.5 hours on buses was simply too much to handle. So at 9 AM we ran to the grocery store to buy everything that we needed for Shabbos.

Thankfully the store had what we needed (and had even just gotten in a fresh meat shipment) so we paid and headed home to start preparing everything.

As you (may or may not) know, Z and I have been watching a show called 'Good Eats' hosted by Alton Brown. In an episode that we watched recently we learned how to cut up a whole chicken. Gravity is a cook's best friend and popping the joints were what I got out of it. Z on the other hand wanted to do the actual slicing. So, I let him cut the whole bird up. He actually did a pretty good job.

The carcass, neck and wings went into chicken soup, along with some fresh dill and parsley from our garden. I cooked up some matzah balls, roasted some garlic, marinated and broiled a leg&thigh of zaatar chicken, made a bag of couscous and roasted some root vegetables.

For Shabbos lunch I pulled together a smallish potato gratin (Between the layers I sprinkled kosher salt, black pepper, Parmesan cheese, and a whole lotta sautéed mushrooms and onions.) I even managed to put the right amount of milk - so that there was enough to cook the potatoes but not so much that they'd still be swimming in the liquid when I wanted to heat it up on Shabbos. Along with the gratin we had a green salad (Bulgarian cheese optional) and 1/2 of a whole-wheat vegetable braid (leftover from dinner on Wednesday night.)

Shabbos passed relatively quickly. I won Rummikub Friday night (well, we both won, but I won first.) I read 3 out of 4 books in the Earthsea Quartet. We drank a whole lotta iced tea (about 5 liters) and somehow ate 16 Oatmeal Craisin Cookies.

Motzei Shabbat we watched a strange movie, I painted my nails and we killed the mosquitoes that had somehow gotten in even though I had closed all doors and windows before the sun went down.

Now it's Sunday morning. Bright and early (at around 6:45) banging began on the neighbors 'backyard project' - they're 'working on' their garden - tiled patio, plants and whatnot - but it's a little thoughtless of them to allow the workers to start banging so darn early. On second thought - I wonder whether the construction is even legal. Considering there's a 'settlement freeze' and whatnot and that the army had nothing better to do than rip out a similar structure in Efrat last week.

Tomorrow we're supposed to head to Bet Shemesh for Yom Haazmaut. I'm hoping the ride is quick and painless.

In honor of tomorrow I'm going to bake today. (Doesn't it seem like I'm always looking for an excuse to bake?) I'll definitely be going with a blue and white theme - just have to decide whether to stick to sprinkles or to go with food coloring. We'll see.

At the moment I'm contemplating breakfast. I'm a little torn between English Muffins and Bagels. Both make delicious breakfast foods - so it's a really tough call.

I'll go talk it over with Toffee Bear. He's a good listener - even early in the morning.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Assumption & Gumption

Today started off bright and early for me. I took a stroll down the mountain with Z (well, I walked him most of the way to school) and I actually dropped the letter into the mailbox - so if the postal people actually collect the mail in any sort of a timely manner the intended recipient should receive my correspondence sometime early next week.

After walking back up the hill I watered the plants and sat around doing not much of anything really. I watched a movie and 3 episodes of a TV show that I had to catch up on since I hadn't watched it over Pesach break.

I finally got bored of watching pointless shows and decided to take an afternoon nap. Lo and behold just as I drifted off into dreamland my cell-phone rang. It was the friend that we're going to for Shabbos. She wanted to know what time we'd be arriving on Friday and whether I could bring dessert because, and I quote "your cookies are always so yummy." Ah, music to my ears.

Since the week before Pesach I've been craving chewy oatmeal cookies. Preferably with craisins in them. Only thing I didn't have was a recipe. So, I decided that this was the opportunity to do some testing. I found 2 possibilities, headed to the kitchen and realized that I only had enough margarine to make 1 of them. No problem though - the one I chose came out really deliciously. (I'll try the other one next week.) I scooped 1/2 the dough with just craisins in the batter and to the other half I mixed in some white chocolate chips with the dried fruits (just so that nobody could accuse me of trying to bake healthful things.) Now I've got 79 cookies bagged and tagged in the freezer, 11 on the counter for Z to enjoy and 1 in my belly - which thankfully filled my craving criteria. I'll take 40 of them for Shabbos and the rest can hang-tight until they're needed.

In other food news I baked the white bread last night and by the time it came out of the oven Z had waltzed in from school and requested soup to go along with one of the fresh loaves. So we put up a pot of tomato vegetable soup and after much debate I let him pour in a can of stupid little white beans. Which - *gulp* - I actually ate! (Almost a quarter of a century old and I'm finally learning to eat beans. Go figure.)

So now I'm debating what to make for dinner tonight. Maybe that mac n' cheese that I've been pushing off? Guess we'll see.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Watering Hole

Quickish Updates:

Didn't do anything useful or worthwhile yesterday. Didn't even bake the bread. I know - pathetic.

Today is shaping up to be much the same as yesterday. (Although I've spent about an hour and a half researching the best possible way to compile a cookbook of family favorites without much luck.)

Yesterday there was a horrible sand-storm and the weather was unbearably hot. Today the air has cleared but it's cold and windy outside.

I'm actually washing some laundry - I guess that's a good thing. Maybe I'll even get around to straightening up a bit.

Yesh shopping has been postponed until next week due to green snotballs and upcoming 'holidays' in far-off-towns.

We figured out our route to Kibbutz for the weekend. Each direction will take about 3.5 hours, 2 buses and a 15 minute car ride. First we've got to get there on Friday and then we've got to get home on Sunday. Have I mentioned that there's a heatwave predicted...over 100F?!?

I really should go take a stroll since I've got a letter to drop in the mailbox - but the bottom of the mountain seems so very far away and I'm rather comfortable in my pajamas.

Macaroni and Cheese for dinner tonight - if I don't get too lazy to make it anyway.

Happy news? I put the ice-cream maker bowl into the freezer - maybe I'll make some mint-chip ice cream next week!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Happiness = Enigma

Gosh, the days fly by. Wednesday Z & I went to Yesh to re-stock our pantry but the store was half-empty. I don't mean of customers, there were plenty of those - I mean the shelves. Not to mention that the meat counter was closed up and the frozen meat section was no better, containing only 2 packages of frozen chicken breast and 1 half-opened package of chicken legs&thighs. (It was a shame we were shopping for Shabbos.) There also weren't any vegetables to speak of, aside from a few mushy green peppers and a couple of spotty zucchinis. I quickly decided that Shabbos dinner would have to come from the depths of the freezer at home and luckily I had 1/2 a kilo of chopped meat left - so meatballs it was.

I spent all of Thursday working on 'the neverending project' and realized that now that it's officially 'after Pesach' that I have got to go and get this whole 'cheshbonit' situation sorted out so that I can freelance legally and give out receipts for graphics services provided. (It's just a matter of finding out the bazillion offices I have to visit and which forms to fill out and figuring out how to keep everything organized and essentially starting and running my own business. All in all it's a bit too nerve-wracking for me to actually contemplate - that's why it's now April and I still don't have the stupid receipt-books yet.)

Friday was a supremely lazy day. We woke up early and went into town to pick up a couple of vegetables and a bouquet of flowers for Shabbos. The cooking was done by 1:00 and everything smelled delicious. Friday night we had roasted garlic, chumus, 1/2 whole wheat challah, chicken soup and matzah balls (from the freezer), saucepot meatballs, bucatini pastas and honey-carrots. Shabbos lunch was light and delectable; mini-tomato-onion-cheese quiches (I LOVE making them in my silicon muffin trays - they pop right out! No fuss!), red pepper and carrot sticks for chumus dipping purposes, a little lettuce salad, and some roasted garlic and chumus for with the challah.

We don't have too many plans for today. It's Sunday and Z has to finish cutting out pieces for a HUGE mid-term-model-project that's due on Thursday (I've been helping him with the gluing portion of the project to help speed up the process.) The only other thing to do today is bake some more white bread. I have been informed that the white bread that I baked last week was so good that it has become the sandwich bread of choice. (Did I mention that it tastes better than Wonderbread and doesn't have any of those nasty chemicals in it?)

This week I'm hoping that the parents come to visit (purely selfish motives there - I want to do a big shopping at Yesh and for that I need a car - of course I'm offering to cook up a palate pleasing lunch of a pareve persuasion...but I have to wait and hear from them.) On Thursday I'm going to Jeru to meet up with Feige (cause it's been months and months) and for Shabbos Z & I will be heading to Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu to spend the weekend with Ayala. (Although I'm looking forward to spending time with Ayala, I'm less thrilled about the weatherman's prediction of a supreme heatwave which is supposedly going to push the mercury up and above 100F on Saturday in that particular corner of our lovely little country...)

In other news I'm debating starting a proper 'food-blog' but don't think it's worth it. Although I've got plenty of pictures and recipes, I'm just too lazy to commit myself to that kind of endeavor. I have no goals when I'm in the kitchen aside from creating something edible, I'm honestly there because I like to be. I don't want it to become a whole 'must blog a post' thing. I mean, I can't even keep up with this blog on a regular basis - why would I start another one?! On second thought, I think I'll leave well enough alone.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Bread & Butter

Golly gee that was a long week hiatus and now I have officially returned.

*Applause*

First off - a HUGE thank you to Saba & Savta for taking us on an awesomely fun Pesach vacation. It was wonderful to spend a week with the extended family and the best part - we didn't have to make the beds or wash any dishes. (Well, except for the knives, but that was our own fault.)

We spent the week in style at a hotel on the beach. We go-karted, learned how honey is made, hiked, swam, relaxed, studied for tests, pretended to do homework and all sorts of other fun stuff. Here's a link to my pictures from the week. 130 photos isn't too shabby (even if a few of them are stolen from Mommy's camera...)

Luckily for us Freddie agreed to drive us Home after the holiday and we were Home in 45 minutes - as opposed to the 2.5 hours it took us to get to the hotel the week before.

Today was relatively laid-back. Woke up on the early side and did some working and organizing. Washed 3 loads of laundry and folded them (though I admit they have yet to be put away.) I also read a couple-hundred pages of the book Mommy gave me and checked facebook compulsively a few times just to make sure I hadn't missed anything. I caught up on tastespotting.com and tried to figure out what to make for dinner.

I took a stroll down to the nearest grocery store - which means I got a nice 2 km walk out of the day and picked up some cheese, flour and soft-whipped-butter.

Dinner turned into a nice affair. Fresh homemade white bread, tomato vegetable soup and blondies for dessert.

More about tomorrow - ummmm, tomorrow?