Monday, November 29, 2010

"The Incas Did it First!"

I woke up somewhere in the vicinity of 8ish this morning. After turning on the dud I crawled back into bed to keep warm while the water heated up. I decided that as an extra treat I would give myself a quick pedicure treatment (cause my feet have been feeling rough and icky) then I enjoyed a delightfully hot shower and decided that today would be a sweatpants and sweatshirt kind of day.

Z stayed Home this morning and worked on lots of homework. I'm not exactly sure what he was doing but he spent a long time in front of the big-computer mumbling about Fibonacci and making clay models.

I was semi-productive this morning. I cleaned out my 'shorts' drawer (I sorted and threw away all the pairs with holes and then I refolded and organized. Now it opens and closes without catching on the drawer above it.) I also hung up the Channuka decorations.

There's a whole bunch of dishes to wash - but I'm procrastinating taking care of those. Though, I did put away all the dry dishes from on the drying racks.

Z is getting pizza fish for dinner (again) - he really enjoyed it last week and made a special request to have it again. I'm thinking I'll make fries as a sidedish. It's like fish&chips or pizza&fries - both are much loved food combinations and this seems to cover all bases.

I didn't look at my yoman or my calendar (or at anything much) yesterday - because I was a lazy bum who spent the entire day in bed with a hot water bottle. So - I totally forgot that yesterday was Saba & Savta's 51st wedding anniversary! I also can't believe I missed Raizi & Ariel's engagement party on motzash - but I just wasn't feeling up to driving especially at night.

I think I've got plans to hang out with Yael on Wednesday and there's another 'anglo-potluck-dinner' on Thursday night in honor of Channuka - but I don't think we're going to make it to that because of Z's class and the time it's called to start at.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Moths & Boats

Today I ingested about 1,200 calories from peanut butter chocolate chip cookies alone. Yup - I ate a dozen of them. No joke. I was keeping track in my food-diary. Now I'm feeling a little ill - but I think it's on account of being chock-full of cookie-goodness. I guess the old saying holds true - one can have too much of a good thing.

Aside from cookies I ate a bowlful of rice with mozzarella cheese, a baked potato and a handful of salted/roasted cashews.

I made the baked potatoes for lunch and served them to Z with leftover salmon teriyaki from Shabbos lunch.

As for dinner - I decided that since Z has been so incredibly awesome lately that he deserved a special treat to go with his rice. So - I pulled the last steak out of the freezer and cooked up (for the very first time ever) pepper steak. He seemed quite enthused by the meal and was even more excited to see that I'd stretched the meal so far that there would be enough to pack up for an awesome lunch tomorrow too!

Now that my post makes it seem like I spent all day in the kitchen - I won't shatter the illusion (with the truth that I actually spent the entire day in my bed with the laptop doing absolutely nothing.)

Don't worry - I have plans for the rest of the week. I have to write a letter and I'm waiting for another petek from the post-office then I'll mail the letter when I pick up may package. I also have to run some other errands in town and pick up my platters (from Thanksgiving Dinner) from my friend's house. Then there's Channuka 'decorating' to do - I have to hang my 'Channuka Sameach' sign and the 'window menorah' - and I should probably polish Z's chanukiya while I'm getting ready. There's also 'work' to do - plenty of it.

Anyone looking for a great movie about the important things in life should definitely watch 'The Ultimate Gift' - Z & I really enjoyed it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sheeps & Rocks

As much as I complain about Shabbos in theory - I love it in practice. Simple as that.

Last night was super relaxed. Dinner was a relatively quick affair. I didn't have any kiddush wine and stuck to my gluten-free diet, so I didn't wash for challah. All I had was a bowl of chicken soup. Problem was - it was an old batch that had been in the freezer and originally it had been cooked with an onion, carrot and a little herb bundle of parsley and dill. I figured that since I was only having 1 bowlful that the minute amount of fructose that might be in the soup would be negligible. Sadly, I was wrong. Within 40 minutes of finishing my soup I was doubled up on the couch and experiencing mild breathing-trouble. Thankfully the episode passed in about 2 hours.

This morning was quiet and I was able to lounge around and finish my book. 2 of Z's friends from school joined us for lunch - which turned out absolutely delicious. (I was exceptionally pleased that I hadn't messed up the potato gratin - which I seasoned with parmesan, mozzarella, salt & pepper - milk was the liquid of choice for the sauce and I used just the right amount to keep the potatoes moist but not swimming - score!!!)

After the meal we served desserts and took out Settlers of Catan. We had to teach the rules to our female guest - and she actually won the first game. We played a 2nd round (so that the boys could 'duke it out' and regain their title) but I wound up winning (partly because they had to go to Mincha and partly because I got ridiculously lucky.)

Somehow the entire afternoon flew by and before I knew it, havdalah time had rolled around. It didn't take too long to put the apartment back in order - and then we plopped ourselves down in the office.

I'm trying to work out my schedule for the upcoming week. Hard to believe Channuka is starting in just a couple of days. I've got to hang up the signs and get out the menorahs. I should also devote some time to figuring out how exactly to make gluten&onion-free latkes. It's a topic which will require some deliberation and experimentation.

That's alright - I'm up to the challenge...

If you want to read a funny sort of article which explains what fructose malabsorption is in simple terms - check out this article: http://avthompson.wordpress.com/what-is-fructose-malabsorption-disorder/

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Gravity Toggler

Thanksgiving Dinner last night was amazing. The anglo-community came together really nicely and pulled off a spectacular sort of event. There were about 60 people in attendance. We were joined by a group of artists from Artists4Israel who are currently visiting The Holy Land and are actually painting beautiful murals on the miklatim around the city. There was plenty of food and the desserts were a big-hit so I've got nothing to complain about.

I was exhausted last night by the time we got Home and I hadn't even started cooking for Shabbos. I figured I'd be up early and that I could start then. Funnily enough - I was so zonked that I slept until just about 8:30 this morning. (When's the last time I slept that late?)

It's been a week since I really taxed my system with any dairy - and since I've been holding relatively steady on the fructose-front I decided that it would be safe enough to chance having some butter on my oat-flour pancakes this morning. They were delicious with a smear of butter and some extra sugar sprinkled over the top. I actually think the pancakes tasted better the second day.

Cooking didn't really take too much time. Chicken soup sans-matzah-balls with just a potato and a teeny-tiny whole onion (to avoid fructan contamination), 1/2 a head of roasted garlic, meatballs, peas and of course some plain plain rice (hooray for the part of the meal that I can eat too!) For lunch we'll be enjoying; teriyaki salmon (which Z made), carrot kugel (from the freezer), tossed salad (or sliced veggies depending on how lazy I am in the morning) and potato gratin (which I'm praying turned out well this time - instead of too salty to be eaten or raw or tasteless - all of which have happened in the past.)

As for desserts - because Shabbos isn't the same without baked goods... I pulled 5 Amaretto Mini-Bundt Cakes out of the freezer and drizzled them with a glaze for the company tomorrow. I also experimented with my very first gluten-free baking. Oat-flour peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! The good news is they taste awesome! (Ok - they're a little crumb-y and probably won't age well - but for today and tomorrow they're these awesomely nutty cookies that make me really happy.) I'm willing to bet that the guests won't even know that the cookies are wheat-less.

The bit of butter at breakfast didn't seem to do anything overly bad to my system - so I decided to take a risk for lunch and (liberally) sprinkled my rice with grated mozzarella cheese. So far so good - I ate about an hour and a half ago and am still feeling alright. I'll give it 12 hours or so - but hopefully this is a good sign.

The house is all ready for Shabbos and there's still another hour and a bit until candle-lighting time. I guess that means that now I can relax properly.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

If At First...

I woke up on the early side this morning. It was only 6:30. That's early even by my standards. I didn't start making noise in the kitchen until a little before 8. I figured I'd make some 'oat-flour pancakes' for breakfast. My biggest mistake might have been using 'quick oats' to make my oat-flour (I just ground them up in the food processor.)

See - here's the batter. But it really had to sit for a while so that the oats absorbed the liquid and it became a batter instead of a thin-watery liquid.
The first batch totally fell apart, I had relative success with the 2nd batch and by the 3rd batch the batter had congealed enough to make really nice little pancakes.
Z left for school just as I finished taking the last batch of pancakes off of the griddle.

I didn't waste any time (meaning of course - that I didn't watch any tv.) I got down to work in the kitchen. First I baked 2 batches of apple pie bars and then I baked 1 batch of pecan pie bars. Once the desserts were cooling I cut up a whole lot of vegetables in order to assemble a (rather large) vegetable platter (ok, bowl.)

Kitchen-stuff was done for the moment so I did a whole batch of 'neverending project' work for a while. When Z came Home for his 'in-between-class-break' he helped by slicing up the desserts and putting them on the serving platters. Then we wrapped them up in saran-wrap and took them out to the car.

We stopped off at the post office and picked up the package of pictures. (Yay!) We also stopped in the health-food-store and picked up a bag of 'oat flour' (waaaaay better than grinding my own.) I also got some roasted/salted nuts. Cause I'm in serious need of something to snack on. Last stop was dropping off the food for the party at the organizer's house. (We dropped it off early because we don't quite know what time we'll be arriving at the shindig - considering it's called to start at 8:30 and Z finishes class between 8:30-9...)

I dropped Z off at school on the way Home and now I'm kind of relaxing.

Unfortunately it's not actually relaxing - because I'm already fretting about Shabbos. Our guests for Shabbos lunch 'might' be at 3 now - but nobody knows. I haven't done any laundry, my kitchen counter is lost under dirty dishes, I still really want (read: need) to shower, I haven't started cooking for Shabbos yet and basically I'm tired already and I still need to go out and socialize for 2-3 hours tonight. Oh yeah - and I'm too lazy to cook a shnitzel for myself for dinner - so I'm just not going to eat. (Ok - I'm not too lazy - but the shnitzel is frozen, so I'd have to do a water bath to thaw it - and then cook it and eat all alone and thengo out and socialize at a shindig where I can't eat anything. The not eating anything at the party doesn't really bother me - but the not eating all day aside from a couple of oat-pancakes and a bowl of plain white rice kind of does. I know - it's my own fault - if I want food then I should make food. It's easy in theory - but not so much in practice.)

Forget it - I'm going to watch some tv. Then I'm going to take a shower. Hopefully after that there will still be time to take a nap before I need to go out and be a happy friendly person.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Orange Shniggleblops

I had a whole lot of trouble falling asleep last night. To start with - I stayed up past my bedtime so when I crawled into bed a little after 12 I was midway through my 'third wind' or whatever they call that annoying burst of energy that one gets when they're ready to collapse but don't for some ridiculous reason. Anyway - I spent some time playing more games on Z's ipod (well, until the battery died and I had to plug it in to charge.) Then I stared at the dark ceiling - but that got boring quickly. Last resort was watching tv on my ipod from the comfort of my own bed. Thankfully I fell drifted off to sleep after 2 episodes of pointlessness.

Slightly rude awakening this morning - a serious stomach-ache. I now know that lettuce is off of my 'to eat' list - making an 8 item list even shorter. Whatever - it'll be worth it in the end. Of course I'll reintroduce it after 'detox' - but first I've got to get through these few weeks.

Thankfully the day quickly got better. My tummy settled itself and at around 11:30 my friends Ariella & Meira came to visit. Gosh babies are cute.

Today's activity (aside from being all out girl time) was baking challah. We stuck with the 'Always Successful' recipe and it held up its reputation - at least, I'm pretty sure it did - from the incredible smell that wafted through the apartment while it was baking. We made a whole batch and I braided my half into 8 small loaves while Ariella went a fraction larger and only made 7. They're the perfect size for couples who don't really overindulge on challah at the meal.

I made mac-n-cheese for lunch for my guest - and she claimed it was quite tasty (it was so weird to not taste a noodle to check if it was cooked and to not dip a finger into the cheese sauce to test for flavor.) I made enough so that Z can have lunch tomorrow - since I'll be busy baking for the Thanksgiving Dinner and cooking for shabbos.

Speaking of the Thanksgiving Dinner - I was super nervous because I neglected to buy vegetables earlier in the week (even though I'm supposed to be bringing a big vegetable platter - for a group of 60 people.) Luckily I went to the store today and they had tons of good produce. I was surprised and amazed. I bought whatever I needed and got out of the store before they decided to keep it. In addition to the sliced veggies I'll be bringing apple pie bars and pecan pie bars. I'm just trying to decide how much to make. I'm thinking that making one 9x13 pan of each should be enough. I know there will be 60 people there - but there are going to be cookies, a cake and 2 other desserts too. On second thought - maybe I should do 2 of each...

I've officially decided that fresh rice is astronomically more delicious than reheated rice. (Have I mentioned that my new 'diet' makes me feel slightly like an 'on the mend' oriental person?) Dinner was fresh Persian rice with a leftover chicken breast from last night.

From the 1-sided conversation I'm hearing we'll be having guests for Shabbos lunch - Z invited some friends over from school.

I'm thinking of making some gluten-free peanut butter cookies for myself. I'm a little apprehensive because I haven't tried sugar or peanut butter yet - but in theory a little shouldn't hurt me.

Live and Learn: The Lesson of the Lettuce.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pangs & Whatnot

Eating in a 'fructose friendly' manner really really sucks. I just want to put that out there into the echoing void of the blogosphere - so that should someone read it that they will then know.

Of course - I've got no complaints about the fact that (in theory) over the next few weeks my body is going to detox. Hopefully the bloating will go away, no more insane bathroom visitations, the 24/7 nausea should abate, who knows - now that I can't eat much of anything for 'sensitivity' reasons my appetite might even decide to come back for good - wouldn't that be ironic...

Funniest point to ponder for today is that according to our trusty (not so dusty) bathroom scale I'm just a few short pounds away from what Z weighs. Remember how I used to complain because I weighed 20 pounds more than him (then 50?)??? Well, that number difference is now officially less than 10. I should definitely do some snooping in the sisters' closets next time I'm in The Sun House. I mean - I'm really enjoying wearing my 'New Again - Old Clothes' from 2007-2008, but some 'New to the Closet Clothes' are always always always fun. Also - it's definitely time for a new 'chor ba'kir' skirt. My 'New Again' one had been worn for a year before it was retired and now it's hitting its 19 month mark - that's pretty old for a denim skirt that's worn just about every day. Also - it's getting too-big... but that's a side-point.

I didn't do too much today. A bunch of 'neverending project' work - making flyers and posters. Some brainstorming time and logo-trials. I also helped Sarah Leah with 'interior design' homework - so we chose tiles, flooring, paint colors, counters for bathroom and kitchen, cabinets and cupboards all for a house that she designed.

Z only wound up having 1 class today (from 1pm-2:30pm) so he was home for most of the day. He wasn't a lazy bum though - he washed all of the dishes from yesterday and then he even cooked me dinner!

We feasted on sauteed chicken breast, mashed potatoes and most excitingly lettuce!!! I almost forgot that there was lettuce in the fridge! It was crisp and cool and refreshing and awesome to use as a wrap for the chicken.

Tomorrow is girls challah baking day with Ariella and Meira. It should be fun!

Oh yeah - and the 'petek' from the post-office finally came which means that my pictures have finally arrived. I'm hoping to pick them up tomorrow. I'm so excited!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Official Fructozoid-ness

Have I mentioned that ever since setting the appointment for the test I had decided (quite absurdly and pointlessly) that 'fructose malabsorption' was ~not~ the reason that I've been suffering physically for the last 13 years - especially for the last year... Well, I did. But the date was set and it was even paid for - so I was taking the test whether I liked it or not.

Hydrogen breath tests are no laughing matter. Mostly because by the time you're done being tested you're so winded that there's no air left to laugh.

Aside from the bland (and very specific) diet the day preceding the test, the fact that you've got to fast from 9PM the night before - oh yeah - and don't forget to mention the ridiculous traffic getting into Jerusalem between 7-8 in the morning (we left home at 6:40AM and didn't get to the hospital until 8:30AM) it isn't all that bad.

The test starts off simply enough - the first 'reading' - so there's this little machine that you hold and there's this tube thing sticking out of it. The machine counts down from 15 seconds, at 10 seconds you start to inhale, and at '0' you clamp your mouth over the tube and exhale at an extremely slow and steady rate until you think you're going to pass out and there's not a drop of breath left in your lungs. The nice lady writes down whatever number shows up on the screen of the machine and there you have your 'baseline number'.

Next step is to drink down the lukewarm 'fructose&sorbitol' concoction. I'm almost certain that somebody collected the dregs from 300 cups of oversweetened tea (you know - like when there's so much sugar that no more will dissolve in it...) and that in actuality that's what they're serving - but according to the nice lady - it actually just an extremely concentrated concoction of fruit sugars (fructose) and some sorbitol (cause that's a fake sweetener that nobody should really be ingesting for health reasons...) Anywho - you choke down the cup of super-sweet-nastiness and then pop outside to wait 1/2 an hour until the next 'exhalation session.'

These sessions continue once every half hour for up to 4 hours. If any two of the 'breathing sessions' register at '20ppm' higher than the baseline then you officially suffer from 'Fructose Malabsorption.'

The nice thing about the test is that it doesn't involve any needles or any physical contact. The cons are only less-exciting if your body can't handle the fructose/sorbitol. Unfortunately - I can't handle the fructose/sorbitol. So it was not a pretty sight.

My baseline was a mere 2ppm. Then it took me a little too long to drink the stuff cause it just didn't want to go down. After 1/2 an hour my number only rose to 4ppm. An hour after choking down the goop my number was only at 10ppm. By the 1.5 hour I felt like garbage, so I sent Z to the car to get Toffee for me - the magic number after breathing was 57ppm. As we approached the 2 hour mark I curled up in a ball on 2 seats in the hallway and tried not to puke as waves of pain shot through my gut - my breathing session showed a result of 93ppm. At this point my results were considered 'conclusive' - I've got the condition - whatever that means - and I was free to leave.

Sadly I wasn't in any shape to go anywhere which we ascertained based on the fact that I was nauseous and still doubled over in pain. Since Meanma was also being tested we figured we'd keep her company. By the 2.5 hour point the pain was beginning to lessen - the nice lady let me 'breathe' again and the result of 55ppm proved that the episode was passing. 3 hours later and the number was 44ppm - thankfully I was feeling somewhat more capable of standing upright. At the 3.5 hour mark I still registered at 45ppm and was feeling overall 'icky' but heading Home seemed like the thing to do.

The sooner you leave the sooner you get there after all.

On our way we detoured to Neve Yakov and popped in to visit Shosh and family. I didn't manage to get tickle-tickled, but rumor has it that I got lots of 'byes' as we drove away.

The ride home was smooth and I spent the remainder of the afternoon on the couch with a hot-water-bottle swearing off of fructose-heavy foods forever in the hopes that a fructose-lite diet will make me feel better.

First step is a very strict 2-3 week diet - after which I will be able to start experimenting with 'possibly tolerable' foods. Also - I get to start my very own food journal! How much fun does that sound like!?

Ah tomatoes - how I'll miss you. In soup, in sauce, in ketchup, in salad, in pizza, in pasta dishes galore and most memorably - in that silly tomato rissoto that I ~knew~ I should've made before I found out that it could hurt me so badly.

Do me a favor - if you love me - don't invite me over for meals or anything involving food for a while. As frustrating as it would be for me to try and explain what I can and can't eat - it would be even more frustrating for you. Trust me. Let me de-tox and start healing and then we'll talk about it. (Of course Shosh - this doesn't hold true for you. Oh yeah, and Meanma - you're cooking for 2 fructozoids at home so just make enough for 3 instead.)

Sincerely Yours,
White Rice & Boiled Chicken Girl

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ingrown Stubbles

Shabbos went by fairly quickly. Friday night was relaxing and we ventured across the hall to our neighbors for lunch which was quite enjoyable. I finished the book that I was in the middle of and reread one of the 'Calvin & Hobbes' books too. Before we knew it we were crashed on the couch watching some really random movies.We got a relatively early start today. Z had an appointment with the doctor (just to get his form stamped so that he can move to the next step of acquiring his drivers license.) Our next stop was at 'Yesh' to stock up on some essential groceries (and we were lucky enough to find narrow-oil-thingamajiggers for the menorah. We did a trial run and they actually fit!!!) Back at Home we shlepped the groceries inside and then I ran out for a 'spa-type' appointment (how can I have no qualms about waxing my underarms - but driving the car to Jerusalem makes me so nervous that I get physically ill? I really don't understand it.)
Speaking of Jerusalem - as you might remember I'll be venturing there tomorrow for the 'fructose test' at Shaare Zedek. Today I'm on a fun fun fun bland diet of eggs, rice, potatoes and plain (boiled) chicken. I get to fast from 9pm tonight until halfway through the test tomorrow. (Though I have a funny feeling that with my nerves, general lack of appetite and everything else that I won't actually feel well enough to eat anything until I'm back Home - so I'm hoping that won't be too late.)
Back to today - I finally decided to be industrious, productive and artsy. I dug through my sewing box and sorted through my 'scraps' collection. (Now I remember why it's a good idea to keep worthwhile scraps from projects!) I found a whole batch of this loose linen-weave type fabric (that I used to make a wrap-skirt a whole bunch of years ago.) Then I pulled out all my fun sewing accouterments - the heirloom scissors, my straight pins, the needles, olive green thread (I should probably stock up on some basic colors...)

I decided to make 4 small (they're about 8x12cm finished) sachet pillows. I'm going to put 2 under each bed. The loose weave of the fabric lets all the yummy smell out and keeps the spices in. Each sachet is filled with 4 cinnamon sticks and a whole bunch of cloves.

It smells like Xmas and like crafting stores in the USofA.

It's a smell that makes me happy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Supreme Frustration

It seems ridiculously pointless to have a car and still feel too sick to use it.

It annoys me even more that people assume that now that I have a car all of my stomach-issues are null-and-void and that therefore everything is hunky-dory and I can and should go and do whatever I want whenever I want.

Trust me - there is nothing that I'd like more than to be able to come and go as I please without being prisoner to my inane bowel, total nausea and stupid stomach.

If someone is willing to donate their entire functional digestive tract to me (in return for my evidently faulty one) I'd be much obliged.

*sigh*

I just want to give up.

Every time I think I'm finally on the mend the situation turns itself around and goes right back down the drain.

Oh yeah - and another thing - DO NOT invite me over to your house for a meal knowing full-well that I have stomach problems and that I don't eat much on a daily basis and then have the blatant stupidity to be offended that I'm not eating and/or try to force me to eat by making airplane noises, asinine comments or simple guilt-tripping. Thanks so much for your cooperation.

At least there isn't much to do today.

Have an awesome shabbos everybody.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

NoKey

Z went off to school this morning with oatmeal craisin white chip cookies for his studio class. Rumor has it that they were enjoyed by all.

At around 11ish Z called to let me know that I was going to have some company and to find out whether I wanted to go to our neighbors across the hall for a meal on Shabbos. I told him that we could go out for lunch - which totally gets me out of making shnitzel. About 15 minutes later Ora arrived. She was totally exhausted so I sent to the guest room to rest for a bit.

I decided to be productive at around 11:30 and figured that since Ora was here and Z would be coming Home for lunch (yay Thursdays!) that I should make something ridiculously delicious and super special. I settled upon that pizza monkey bread that I wimped out of making last week. (It was totally worth the effort - and wasn't even as much effort as I'd thought it would be.)

I decided to multi-task when I made the pizza dough and figured I'd make challah too (since closer inspection of my freezer had yielded only 1 loaf.) So - the pizza dough went into the KitchenAid and the 1/4 recipe of challah was made by hand. Done at the same time though - so that was pretty impressive.

Speaking of challah - I'm super excited because one day next week I'll get getting together with a friend from across town for a challah-making session. I love making challah, I love making a full batch and being able to make a bracha on hafrashat challah, and I love having company - so all in all - that's going to be the best day of the week! (Well, it'll be tied with Monday - cause even though I'm not so thrilled about the driving I have to do on Monday - hopefully I'm going to visit the Fishmans - which means tickle time with the little ones and visiting time with Shosh!) Summary is - I'm already planning to have 2 awesome days next week so I hope my stomach can keep up.

I pulled lunch out of the oven about 15 minutes before Z got Home. Ora and I dug right in (cause she had to get to a class) but we were still enjoying when Z walked in. He seemed really ecstatic about the food-choice and seemed to enjoy it a lot. (I guess I'll be making it again.) I made it in 2 disposable loaf pans (instead of a bundt) so it only baked for about half an hour and the three of us polished off a loaf and a half.

As Ora left for class I egged the challot and stuck them into the oven to bake. Not wanting to waste the remainder of the beaten-egg I mixed up a batch of brownies. Ta-da - challah & dessert are now officially made.

I defrosted the whole chicken that we had in our freezer and Z cut it up after he washed all of the dishes. (He really is the bestest!) Since I don't need to make shnitzel (thanks to last minute Shabbos lunch plans mentioned above briefly) I decided to divide the chicken up and make it last. The wings, carcass and a breast turned into awesome smelling soup, one leg and thigh is marinating to become za'atar chicken for sometime next week, and the last breast, leg and thigh are marinating to become some Sara Schapiro Sesame Chicken for Friday night. Oh yeah - and any leftover soup is going to be turned into chicken-pot-pie - mark my words.

Z left about 25 minutes ago for his last class of the day - so he'll be back at around 8:30. I'm making him wings & french fries for dinner which he seemed happy enough about. (Sometimes I wonder if any of his friends eat as well as he does...)

I'm hoping that the 'petek' came from the post-office saying that my package of pictures is waiting for me. That would be great! We could go pick it up tomorrow and get me some flowers for Shabbos. I guess we need some chumus too - since we don't have any. Maybe I should write a shopping list...

I've even done almost all the laundry. All that's left is to do is change the sheets and wash the floor. Oh yeah - and I've got to make couscous and the peas. Tomorrow is going to be ridiculously relaxing - I am so excited! I really enjoy calm Fridays.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Migrating Appendicitis...

So - Tuesday...

Woke up early. Couldn't decide between going to Jerusalem and trying out a class at an all womens gym. By the time decisions were made it was too late to do either. Instead I clipped on my pedometer and we took a walk. First we visited the 'fire site' (still smoking in the morning breeze) then we walked around to the mail-box. There was a note saying that a 'registered envelope' was waiting for us at the post office - so we walked up the mountain, hopped into the car and drove to town. (The walk clocked me about 3200 steps - just in case you were wondering.)

After waiting on line at the post-office (for twenty numbers and about twenty minutes) I got my envelope. I opened it, took another number and got right back on line. It was the official document to transfer the 'ownership' of the car into my name. Finally fifteen minutes later it was my turn again - 202 shekels and a few signatures and I am officially owner of my car - in all respects.

We also stopped off to buy some cinnamon sticks - I'm going to make a couple of potpourri sachets to toss into the storage space under the beds - cause I'm sick of the icky storage-space smell that's in there. I'd much rather it smell like X-mas - hence the proposed cinnamon sticks and cloves.

Last night by 8ish I was feeling kind of icky so Z filled the hot-water bottle and moved the laptop into bed so that we could watch some tv before going to sleep. It was really sweet of him.

This morning I was feeling a bit better but we decided to take it easy - just to be on the safe side. Z only had 1 class so he was only gone for about 2 hours. I heated up a nice big piece of pastel for him for lunch - which he seemed to really enjoy.

We caught up on 'House' and played a lot of 'cut the rope' (a fun new game on the itouch.)

Mostly we just relaxed.

We were going to go out grocery shopping with Sara D but my stomach spazzed out on me and I wound up cancelling our shopping-date because I felt too sick to drive. Then I felt really really stupid - because I'm not that crazy unreliable nutso who always cancels 10 minutes before it's time to go. I like to make plans and stick to them - but my stomach doesn't let me. It's ridiculous and it has got to stop! /rant.

I'm not really in the mood to make or eat dinner - so I'm thinking I'll just pull some soup out of the freezer for Z. There's still carrot, tomato and mushroom barley in there. I'm thinking carrot since he had tomato on Sunday for lunch.

Hard to believe that tomorrow is Thursday again. I am really not ready to cook for Shabbos yet. Seriously. I don't have koach to bake challah and it seems pointless to bake a dessert that I probably won't even taste. Z wants shnitzel for shabbos lunch - which I don't mind making - but it is the most labor intensive chicken that there is.

I'm also starting to fret about Monday - yes, already. Fructose test at Shaare Zedek - in Jeru - at 8:15 in the morning. So I'll be driving to Jeru ridiculously early and back Home again - all alone. I'm really not looking forward to it.

Alright - the ranting and kvetching just keeps pouring out and it's driving me crazy - so I'm going to end this post.

Hopefully happier thoughts tomorrow.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mahnozh is up Cowhill

Just for the sake of the records - remember how I was so happy that the floor was clean on Friday? Well - the 'wind' last night blew in more than just noise, it blew in sand. Lots of it. Here's the collection 'as is' in the living room.And here's the real reason it's just not worthwhile to wash the balcony (or the windows)...
I finished placing form-fields on just about all of the PDFs for 'the neverending project' today. I also organized all of the papers in the office. Dinner turned out especially delicious (thanks Shosh for the idea) - breaded&baked little white fishie (which I skinned all by myself) with smash crash baked potatoes (cause they're so easy and so good!)
Like that last picture? It's what's going on at the other side of our 'development' - somehow the mountain by the 'back gate' of the city caught on fire. I'm guessing it went wild because it's been so dry lately. Thankfully the fire department actually showed up (yes there was room to doubt whether they would or not) and luckily the wind was blowing away from our apartment.

Maybe it'll be in the news tomorrow or something. Finally - Ariel in the news and not with any political agenda - well, unless they find out that it was actually arson...

Oatmeal & Effective Care

Well - I didn't end up making that rissoto for dinner last night. No siree. I decided I'd save it for a lunchtime experiment all for me - or maybe I'll make it on Tuesday or Wednesday because Z's classes have been mostly cancelled on those 2 days. Instead I made an awesomely delicious chicken stir-fry and served it over jasmine rice.

Yesterday was pretty quiet. I've been toying with ideas for 2 separate logo requests that I've gotten. No luck with one and a tiny bit of success with the other.

I didn't watch too much tv and spent a bunch of time organizing stuff. My last project of the day was teaching myself how to insert form-fields into pre-made PDFs for 'the neverending project' - I figured it out and now with some behind-the-scenes coding from our programmer we are finally automating the personalization of all of the marketing materials. I am (understandably) very excited about this because it means no more tedious copy/paste/positioning work for me! Yayyyy!!!

By the time Z got Home from 'tutoring hours' he was completely exhausted. As a matter of fact it was the first time I can remember him being excited at the prospect of a 10:30 bedtime.

This morning started off well. I woke up at 7 and organized the rest of the papers in the office then I packed up a lunch, warmed a muffin from the freezer-stash and waved goodbye to Z as he headed out the door.

I figured there would be plenty of hot water for a shower because after all it's been sunny and warm out - but I was wrong.

Today was day 1 of my renewed-efforts to get back in shape. Now that I'm basically the weight I want to be (read: the weight I used to be and am happy at - but still 15 lbs away from my unachievable always-desired goal) I'm still not motivated enough to get out and walk (which makes me sad) but I've decided that something is better than nothing - so I'm going back to basics and making myself a star-chart. Oh yeah - and I'm starting with my basic stretches again - because as I said - something is better than nothing. Anyway I can officially give myself a star for today because I did a really nice stretch-session which combined the daily-dozen yoga poses with my old post-workout stretches and I threw in a couple of crunches for the heck of it. In summary - I got increased blood flowing to just about all of my muscles and feel better already. Soon I'll be holding my toes in the palms of my hands again.

Breakfast has turned into brunch at this point but now that I can somewhat eat and enjoy food again I'm treating myself well. I've got a nice-sized glass of home-brewed unsweetened cinnamon-magic iced tea and I'm thinking a scrambled egg and some vegetable-sticks with chumus would go really nicely too.

Alrighty - to the kitchen!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

1.1 = Magical Formula

First and most excitingly a super duper enormous mazal tov to Rik&Goose on the birth of their little princess who has officially been named Yael Tirtzah (even though it seems undecided as to what she will actually end up being called.)

Friday flew by. There were a whole lot of menu changes (I skipped the chicken for main-course and we had carrot soup instead of the traditional chicken soup.) I was too lazy to get dressed and take Z to town - so I didn't get any flowers. On the bright side - the entire apartment was clean and organized by noon. Even the mirpeset got a proper washing with soap and whatnot.

Shabbos started off very relaxed. The girls stayed Home but davened kabalat shabbat anyway. Then dinner was a delightfully slow affair and we shmoozed until around 10:30 (which as you all know is bedtime.)

Shabbos morning was nice too. A lazy warm morning, a light brunch-y meal, and more shmoozing followed by reading and shabbos naps. Desserts figured in there somewhere too.

After havdalah we straightened up and caught up on the 'girly shows' from last week. Then at around 10 I drove our guest down to the Jerusalem bus-stop.

I must be getting better at parking because I managed to back the car into our spot in the lot with cars parked on either side with no problems.

Thanks to Shabbos naps we weren't overly tired last night so by the time we fell asleep it was kind of late. That meant we slept in this morning (ok - well, 8 is late for me anyway - Z didn't get up until after 10.)

Aside from shmoozing on the phone, ordering 100 family photos to be printed and mailed to me, watching a movie, cleaning my kitchen counters and organizing my latest 'list' notebook - I haven't done too much today.

I'm thinking of making some tomato rissoto for dinner tonight. I've had the recipe bookmarked for ages but never actually get around to making it.

Ok - time to find something useful to do...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Turtle-Back

I was highly impressed when Z was ready to go grocery shopping yesterday morning at 9. Now - thanks to the car we can manage a trip to the store and back Home again in under an hour. He even helped carry all of the groceries inside. As a 'thank you' I let him heat up some of the leftover garlic knots for breakfast - alright - so I insisted.

Z left for school and I sat down and worked on 'neverending project' stuff for a couple of hours - but I finished all of the work by noon and the rest of the day was pretty boring. Z showed up at a little after 2 - he had gotten bored in class and decided to skip the 2nd half. He came Home to work on a big studio project that is due today. Aside from a 20 minute break for dinner (I made baked ziti because I was too lazy to make pizza dough for pizza monkey bread) he's been working on the models and is still working now - he's only got another hour and a half until class so I hope he gets it finished. (Yeah - it's 7:15 in the morning - which means I spent all afternoon yesterday alone, and went to sleep all alone and woke up all alone and since today is a Thursday I'll be alone from 9am-9pm yet again.) I hate architecture - especially the schooling that goes with it. Have I ever mentioned that before?!

Back to the present - today is Thursday which means it's time to cook for Shabbos. Thankfully I've got chicken soup and matzah balls in the freezer - and I'm pretty sure I've got enough challah in there too.

I've got a lot on the menu - so I should be pretty busy making a mess in the kitchen today. I'll be making; pastel (even though I'll bake it tomorrow), chicken piccata, tomato-onion quiche, carrot kugel, tri-color pasta salad, chickpea salad, cinnamon swirl cake and (possibly) milano cookies (with or without the optional mint filling layer.)

I'm trying not to leave too much for tomorrow - but I'm pretty sure I can handle roasting a head of garlic, peas, salmon and washing lettuce on a Friday when I really need to scrub down my stovetop and counters...

Since it's supposed to be on the warmer side - weather wise - I'm thinking I'll also brew some iced-tea. Maybe I'll do some sweetened and leave some plain.

Ya know - looking at the forecast now - I'm happy that I decided against taking out the winter quilts earlier this week. On the other hand - I'm very happy that I decided to wash the softest fluffiest blanket in the world yesterday. Now it's all snuggly and smells as soft as it feels! Toffee was extremely happy to cuddle with me under it last night.

See that - I guess I wasn't so alone after all. :)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Roots & Toots

Wake-up this morning was at 7am. Z had to leave by 7:45 in order to catch a bus for a field-trip. He got to spend the day in Jeru sight-seeing at a whole lot of synamabobs (I guess there's enough to be said on the topic of 'the architecture of shuls' - cause he's got an entire class devoted to it this semester.)

I warmed a cinnamon bun up for him to take for breakfast and then did a whole lot of nothing.

Alright - that's not exactly true. First I baked a batch of peanut-butter chocolate-chip muffins (I got 17.5 muffins out of 1 batch) because the freezer stash got finished up. Then I did a whole bunch of laundry before going out to putter in the 'garden' - I re-potted the little orange tree and watered the other herbs.

I didn't end up going shopping (mostly because I didn't want the honor of shlepping the groceries up 2 flights of stairs.) The good news is that my pantry is so well stocked that we could last at least a month - probably longer...

After consulting the weather-site I decided that the night-time has gotten chilly enough for soup to be a feasible dinner option. I settled upon the idea of Bubby's tomato soup - because we hadn't had it in quite a while. Then I got this crazy idea that I should make a batch of garlic knots to go along with the soup. All in all it turned out to be quite a wonderful dinner.

I washed dishes twice today and Z washed the last batch so tomorrow morning there won't be any dirty dishes sitting on the counter and waiting for me.

We're thinking of going on an early morning shopping spree at Yesh. Z doesn't have class until 10 and the store opens at 8 - so that's plenty of time.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Officer McMeanie

Friday was relatively uneventful. Woke up early, did laundry, packed and straightened up the house. We left Home at noon and picked up Sara D on our way out of town. I managed to find 444 and got us to The Sun House with no problems.

Shabbos was loads of fun. The boys played 'Settlers' and everyone ate a whole lot of swirly-cookies. Freddie wasn't home but Eli had a friend over so it wasn't too quiet. Z & I took over the basement 'suite' which was super-nice. I even took a long relaxing nap shabbos afternoon.

Motza"sh was a whirlwind of fun. First Z, Phil and I stopped by Saba & Savta's house. Then we took a trip to BIG to visit SuperPharm on a super-important hair-cream mission (which was highly successful and culminated with me buying some really yummy green-tea hand soap.) Back at the house Phil and I watched 'Beezus & Ramona' (yet another children's book which has fallen prey in the book-to-movie craze that is sweeping studios around the world.)

Sunday morning started well enough - aside from boring errands and needing to have 2 headlights replaced because they had burned out. (Thankfully the ever-reliable team of 'Moti and Vinny' fixed us up in no time.) We were back Home by noon and Z spent a few hours doing homework until he had to leave to do his 'hours' at the university.

For dinner I made really yummy mushroom cream sauce to serve over some fettucine.

This morning was quite chilly but I managed to get the dishes (from last night) washed. (I wore plastic gloves to do the deed - because the new dish-soap that I bought is doing terrible things to my skin. Remind me not to buy it again!)

I think I've managed to sort out my menu-plan for this week and I'm thinking that tomorrow morning will be the perfect time to go grocery shopping. Maybe Z will even come with me!

Tonight for dinner we're having a fun finger food fest - franks in blankets and fries on the side - and everything goes well with ketchup so the vegetable portion of the meal is covered too.Ok ok - I'm seriously considering making some popcorn cauliflower too.

Speaking of which - I should go get started...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Salt-Free

Late night last night (thanks to homework and procrastination) so it was kind of a late morning. Alright so 7:30 isn't that late.
First thing on my 'to-do' list was making up a batch of cookie dough. I told Phil that I'd make sugar cookies for Shabbos and decided that they were gonna be the pretty swirly kind. Then I decided to use 'candy corn' colors.
I'm really love that Z comes Home for lunch on Thursdays. I was evil though and fed him leftovers. Garlic rice and roast chicken are a pretty good lunch though - all things considered.
At around 4 I drove him down to mercaz almog and dropped him off so that he could get a haircut. (He looks so spiffy now - for the record.) Back at Home I finalized the invitation, did some quick 'neverending project' work, got dinner prepped and baked the cookies!
Z finally got home from class and his dinner was just about done. Yay for little white fishies and roasted garlic mashed potatoes (yeah - we kind of put garlic in everything - it's just so yummy!)

Tomorrow there's a whole lot to do before we head off to The Sun House. In fun news Sara D will be coming with us for the ride!

Today was one of those funny days where the phone rang a lot. The nicest thing about the phone calls today were that 2 of them happened to be from very dear friends whom I haven't spoken to in quite a while. It really made my day to hear from both of them!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Mint Extractions

This morning I wanted to be a nice wifey so I decided to make breakfast for Z. I remembered him mentioning a few weeks ago (after seeing Yo'Abba have one) that he wanted me to make 'egg in a hole' for him. So - that's what I decided to prepare.

What was the response I got - well, it wasn't "thanks honey, you're the best" it wasn't "golly gee - thanks for breakfast" - no - the response I got upon setting the plate down in front of him was an accusatory, "why are you being nice to me?"

*sigh* I guess that's what I get for being nice. Just goes to show that it's easier to just always be grumpy.

Anywho - he finally left for school and I got comfy on the couch for a few minutes. Then suddenly my conscience piped up... "Aren't you going to do anything productive today?" So I thought about it - looked around the house and realized - housework can really only be pushed off for so long.

So -up went the sleeves and I washed all of the dishes. Then I dealt with the 3 loads of laundry - sorting/washing/folding. I cleared off the dining room table (it's a big deal around here considering how many arts-n-crafts things live on it.) I even reorganized the freezer - though technically that was before the cleaning spree began because I was hunting for something that Z could take to school for lunch - I found him the last piece of vegetable lasagna - just for the record.)

At around 4:30pm Z called to say that he was done with school for the day. So I hopped in the car, picked him up and then we headed down to the '2nd Annual Anglo BBQ' in the park. We met a whole batch of the 'new' people and shmoozed with friends.

We hung around for a bit less than an hour then we headed back Home so that Z could get started on his homework. I even made dinner - chicken wings for Z, a roasted chicken breast for me and chips as a delectable side-dish.

I'll be super busy in the kitchen tomorrow because I promised Phil yummy 'fructan-light' sugar cookies. I'm also extremely tempted to try this recipe for Mint Milano Cookies - they're one of my very favorites and how awesome would it be to be able to have them whenever I wasn't too lazy to make a batch?!

Alrighty - I've got to go check on dinner - it's smelling good which is a sign that it's probably almost done!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Donut Seeds A'plenty

After 2 days of leaving the house early I decided that this morning I would get out of bed late. So I lazed around and read a magazine that I stole from Phil yesterday. At around 11 I enjoyed a breakfast of 'stars' and then I treated myself to a snack-pack of Peanut M&M's from the candy cupboard - as incentive to do some of the 'neverending project' work that I had been procrastinating for about a week.

Do you like this picture? It's a shot of the delicious oven-'fried'-shnitzel that Z & I enjoyed last erev-Shabbos as a super special lunch. (Cause when there's nothing left to cook early on Friday - might as well make a yummy erev-Shabbos treat.)
Back to today... So I buckled down and worked for around 3 hours. I also finalized the wedding invitation that I was putting together so my 'to-do' pile is quite a lot smaller than it was yesterday.
Sara D joined us for dinner tonight. Z made his super-awesome 3-cheese pizza and Sara arrived just in time to slice the mushrooms and onions to top the 2nd pie. We ate and shmoozed for a good long while until Sara's 'responsible side' reminded her that she had anatomy to study.
Last week I bought myself some raw pistachios as a Shabbos treat. However, for some strange reason I just wasn't in the mood to eat them. I didn't want them to end up going to waste though - so I spent a goodly amount of time and effort shelling all of the nuts this afternoon. I then decided that the best use for them would be in biscotti.

I found 2 recipes and decided to try a dark version and a light version. The dark version is pistachio chocolate chocolate chip and the light version is crasin pistachio white chocolate chip. (I briefly considered skipping the white chips and dipping the biscotti in the chocolate instead - but then I realized how much extra work that would be - so I mixed them right into the dough instead.)

Overall they've quite good. (Considering I tweaked both of the recipes and added a whole batch of ingredients that weren't called for.)
There's a community BBQ tomorrow afternoon at the park - so we'll probably go and see our friends and neighbors.

I'm not sure what other adventures I'll find to keep myself entertained - so stay tuned...

Monday, November 01, 2010

Puffle-Ohs

Let me begin with the simple phrase - I am.

Yesterday was quite the nerve-wracking morning for me. It all started off with me stressing out about my first-time-ever drive to Jeru. (Anyone who has driven on 60 will share some measure of sympathy. For you non-trans-Samarian highway travelers - I'll describe it as a zigzagging nightmare highway of doom running past a whole lot of Arab-willages. Suffice it to say - the speed limit is 70, I drove 95 and people were flying around me - even though traffic is only 1 lane in each direction.)

On my way out of the parking lot I was still undecided about making the journey alone. (Of course I had packed Toffee and Fringe to keep me company - but I kind of wanted some human companionship.) As luck would have it 1 lonely girl was waiting at the trempiadah - so I stopped and asked if she needed a ride to Jeru. Turns out she's a really sweet girl who is studying structural engineering of sorts in Ariel. Before she got into the car I warned her that it was my first time and that I was really nervous - she told me not to worry and that she was sure I'd do a great job.

Lo and behold she was right. We made it to Jeru in just 50 minutes and she rode all the way with me to Washington Street (where I snagged one of those 'easy to pull into' parking spots just 1 building over from where the seamstress lives.) Considering the ride took only 1/2 of the anticipated time (what the heck was I thinking leaving so early?!) I was an hour early for our appointment with the seamstress. Funnily enough after parking I called Meanma and Phil and they were just leaving The Sun House... So - I sat on the corner on a park-bench and wrote up a shopping list and read an article all about fructose malabsorption.

Our 'try-ons' were really quick - measurements were taken, lining was pinned and we even dropped off the fabric. Outside as we made our way back to our cars I freaked out again - I really didn't want to drive Home alone.

Luckily for me Phil was willing to accompany me - thus did I kidnap my sister. (Though she didn't seem to mind too much - which I gather from the big smile in the picture below anyway...)
Along the way we stopper off in Ofra and I pumped my own gas! (A day of firsts people - a day of firsts.)
We made it Home safe and sound and after a quick trip to the grocery store (to acquire some holy blessed Cheerios) we spent the afternoon relaxing and watching movies. Dinner was as fructose free as can be - we feasted on sauteed chicken with a side of garlic rice. It was actually quite tasty. Bright green toothbrushes abounded but did not glow in the dark and we went to sleep at 'bed time' because 10:30 is an extremely reasonable hour for sleeping.
This morning we were up bright and early. We left Ariel (20 minutes earlier than anticipated) at 7:30 and after missing the exit for 444 we took 6 down to The Sun House. We got stuck in a spot of traffic on 1 but still made it by 9:10.

I ran some errands around The Sun House and eventually it was time to go to the Dr. - now I've got my hafnaya for the 'Fructose Malabsorption' test and all that's left is to make an appointment and get tested! Fun fun fun fun fun!
At a little before 1pm I decided that the time had come to head back Home. Gulp! I was SO nervous to go all alone. Thankfully it wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be. I know the route to Ariel much better than in the other direction so I didn't have any problems.

I pulled into Ariel at just after 2pm and decided to reward my bravery with a trip to the grocery store for some potato chips (and dish-soap - cause chores might wait but they also pile-up.)
Now safely back at Home I'm comfy and warm.

It's really hard to believe that today is only Monday.