Monday, January 31, 2011

Upsy Daizy

A supremely mundane day.

Woke up late - it was cold and rainy outside.

Stayed in bed until 12 (with the laptop and season 2 of Gossip Girl.)

Sara called at 12:50 and convinced me that it's beneficial to my health to get out of the house on a (more or less) daily basis. So - I got dressed (well, put a skirt and coat over my pjs) and picked her up at the campus. We went to Mega and bought cheese. (She also bought cheese ravioli, ingredients for an amazing mushroom cream sauce and a bottle of white wine for a post-exam pity-party - which rumor has it went quite well.)

Back at Home I joined Z in the office (cause the heater was on and it was warm and toasty in there.)

Breakfast was a bowl of white rice with a snack-size-bag of potato chips. Lunch was a bowl of Ben&Jerry's Vanilla ice cream (I bought 3 containers of it before leaving The Sun House - cause they were selling it for 66% less than they sell it for in the middle-of-nowhere) with a couple of chocolate chips and 2 mint-chocolate-chip-truffles. Dinner was another bowl of rice and some chicken (cause I figure I should get a little protein in wherever I can.) Gosh it's a good thing I swallow a super-duper-multi-vitamin every day. Is it weird that it's the 21st century and I'm worried about scurvy?

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Hopefully I'll get my act together early in the day because I really want to experiment with gnocci. (I even found a 'wheat free' version...) Worst case scenario I'll just make a batch of potato cheese bake to enjoy for the rest of the week for lunches.

Thursday should be a fun day - Z has a final in the morning and Little Brother might be coming to visit and staying for dinner! Shabbos this week is going to be a quiet peaceful 'just the 2 of us' weekend and I am SO looking forward to it. (Be forewarned if you're even thinking of asking to join us - the answer will be no. Not maybe, not possibly, just no. So don't get stuck in a pickle, jam or any other food item - the hotel is closed for the weekend - it's been fully booked by a private party and that's that.)

Alrighty - back to Gossip Girl and hopefully it will be bedtime soon. All this doing nothing sure does make me tired (though in my defense I did wash all the dishes and divide the big pot of chicken soup that I made yesterday into 2-person containers - so I didn't do absolutely nothing today - just almost nothing.)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Leroy has Left the Building...

We drove out to The Sun House on Thursday night. After dinner with the fambily we had an entertaining evening and went to sleep on the early side.Friday morning I had a dentist appointment. The good news is that I don't need a root-canal - the bad news is that I do have a teeny-tiny cavity to get filled - so I'll be going back to the dentist sometime in the near future. While I was at the dentist, Z went into Jeru. He bought 20 shekels worth of salted/roasted peanuts (instead of the cashews that I requested) and he bought me not 1, but 2 Black&White cookies from Brooklyn Bakery. (I appreciated the thought(s) but it would've been nicer to get the nuts I wanted and maybe a surprise that wouldn't kill me.)
Shabbos was nice and enjoyable. We hosted a couple for a neighbor's bar-mitzvah. Friday night we played Settlers after the meal and we asleep by 11. Shabbos morning Z shlepped across town to the Wolicki bar-mitzvah - I was lazy because it was raining. After lunch we played some more Settlers. Little Brother came over to visit and we played Rummikub and a game of Settlers too.
Motzei Shabbos was relatively quiet. We ate the leftover fructose-friendly potato kugel and the rest of the chicken soup. I showed Mean'ma how to use her external-hard-drive and stocked her up on movies.
Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. First stop is 'spa-time' (ok, so waxing to be specific - but you probably didn't want those gruesome details.) then after a quick stop to pick up some Ben&Jerry's ice-cream Z and I will be heading back Home.

Yay for cheap expensive ice cream!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Leroys House

It was chilly this morning but I got out of bed at 8:30ish. By 9:00 Phil & I were bored and antsy so we decided that after nice hot showers that we would don our winter-gear and go into town to stroll around. (First I shaped 2 (enormous) ring-loaves of no-knead bread and put them up to rise.) Turns out we really didn't need our winter-gear, but a portable parking spot would've been nice. I'm still not sure why there were so many cars in the parking lot. We finally found a spot all the way all the way all the way at the very very very end behind the kupat-cholim building.

We had a fun adventure in the 'spice & grain' store. Nuts, peppercorns, potato starch, barley, cane sugar... All the good stuff. Then we wandered all the way down to the 'pool side' of the shopping-area. On our way we passed a gumball machine and a little machine with toys in it. Phil decided that it would be a wonderful idea to buy a bouncy-ball for Z. 1 shekel went into the machine and 1 bright yellow bouncy ball came out. We drew 2 eyes and a big smiley on it and named him George. Z seems to like him very much (even though he almost lost him within the first 30 seconds of receiving him.)

Back at Home we cooked up a pot of mushroom barley soup (first we sauteed the onions in BIG chunks and then removed them before adding the mushrooms - so that the oil got a bit of onion-flavored goodness.) The soup turned out pretty good.

Z's friend Yishai stopped by on his way through the city and Sara came on over after mastering her physiology-final! Everyone arrived at the same time and that was 'lunch time' so soup and bread made the perfect meal. (With leftover truffles & cinnamon swirl cake for dessert.)

Sara & I ran out to the 'Industrial Area' to pick up a 'thank you' present for her super-awesome study-buddy and then I dropped her off at caravan-town to deliver the gift.

Back at Home, Phil had finished studying a chapter so we decided to make fructose-friendly cinnamon buns. Unfortunately halfway though mixing up the dough we realized that I didn't have any guar-gum (a super-duper-thickening-agent) so we kind of went 'off-recipe' and tried to make a cinnamon-cake instead. The result smelled delicious but let's just say I don't think we'll be making it again. Ever.

By the time we'd tasted the cake and I finished washing up just about all of the dishes it was time to take Phil to the bus. I drove her down the mountain (and a good thing I did cause it started raining as I dropped her off at the bus-stop.) Thankfully the bus came just 2 minutes later and she sent me an SMS to let me know that she was the first one to board.

Now it's 6:30pm (though it feels like 2am) and the apartment is relatively straightened up. So - I'm thinking that it might be a good time to put on pajamas and watch an episode or two of some tv show or another.

Tomorrow is another day - and I think tomorrow night we might be heading out to The Sun House for the weekend. Z really wants to go to 'Mishmar' at his old yeshiva and maybe I'll get a haircut and go to book-club (if there's a meeting anyway) since I actually read the book that they're supposed to be discussing.

First I've got to do all the laundry and clean this place up properly.

You know you love me...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Whuddup Pudding Cup?

This morning we woke up more or less 'on time' - 8am for me and 9am for Z. First thing we did was head out to Mega to pick up some last-minute things for dinner. On the way Home we stopped off at the barber and Z got his hairs cut - yup, all of them.Back at Home I 'skype-d' with Phil for over an hour. She washed her hair with bottled water while I put together bread dough - tomato basil bread dough to be specific.
The next part of the cooking adventure involved boiling up potatoes for crash-baked-potatoes. Then I made a batch of mint chocolate chip truffles. (I also had a super-flop with a batch of flourless chocolate cookies - but I won't dwell on the failures since the successes of today were overwhelmingly amazing!)
Freddie, Mr. Freddie & Phil arrived right as the little white fishies came out of the oven. The potatoes were crispy and the salad was made. It was dinnertime!
After dinner Sara & Renat came up the mountain. I got to feed them a nutritious and filling carrot-soup & bread dinner. Oh yes, and everybody got to enjoy the desserts.Freddie left with a microwave and a care-package of cinnamon buns, bread (tomato-basil & honey-whole-wheat) and lettuce. Sara & Renat left to get back to studying. Phil, Z and I all made ourselves comfortable on the couch in the office and as soon as I stop blogging maybe we'll watch an episode of something-or-other and then we'll get some sleep.

Tomorrow Phil will be hanging around for the day - so we're going to do some gluten-free baking experimentations and of course she's going to study lots and lots - cause the quiet of the middle-of-nowhere makes it the ideal place to study.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Kangaroo Absurdity...

Thursday night we picked up Z's printed-materials from the printer at around 11pm. Friday was insanely busy after pulling an 'all-nighter' on Thursday. I did 100% of the Shabbos prep and drove Z and his project down to school to set it up before the studio was locked at 3pm.

Friday night was nice and quiet and after a quick meal we both fell asleep ridiculously early - somewhere between 8-9pm or so. We slept late Shabbos morning (due to lack of alarm-clock setting combined with exhaustion) and scrambled to get dressed and out of the house for the long-walk across town.

We ate lunch at the Lockermans' and spent all afternoon there too. I read 'cooking for geeks' and Z won an 'extended game' of 'Settlers' - it was a close call, but a lucky victory point pushed him up to 10. After Shabbos we borrowed bus-fare and I took my first bus in Ariel since sukkot. (It costs 3 shekels to get across town nowadays.) Motzei Shabbat we watched a really great movie called 'Stranger Than Fiction' and went to sleep on the early side.

Sunday dawned sunny and relatively warm. Z had to be in school by 9am so I 'skype-d' with Debs and Phil and spoke with Shosh to help pass the time. My stomach went sort of haywire as the collective wheat-intake from last-week caught up with me. (Darn those amazingly delicious oatmeal craisin cookies, cheese stuffed buns, 'stars' and challah. Why do I love to bake/cook so much?!?!?) I'm also on a no-dairy swing (I think I OD'd on cheese/ice cream/chocolate over Shabbos.) Oh yeah - and turns out that having too much oat-flour is just as bad as eating dairy when I shouldn't. *sigh* I want a new gut.
Anywho - I kvetched my way through Sunday and then in the evening we piled into the car and headed off to Givat Shmuel to sheva brachot for Raizi&Ariel. I never realized how short the trip is from here to there - just 35 minutes. It was nice to see the newlyweds (Freddie & Raizi I mean) and the guys who hosted the party put out a very nice 'breakfast' spread - which was really cute. Pancakes, eggs, bruschetta, hash-browns... It was very cute.

We also got an awesome gift from Freddie - it seems that they received a few too many salt&pepper sets - so we got one of the spares. I'm super excited because it means that now we've got a pepper-mill! I've gotta get me some peppercorns!
This morning has been relatively busy too. So far I've washed dishes, made rice, figured out what to make for dinner and put up the 'birthday sign' for Z.
Z gave his studio presentation and seems to feel that it went well - so we're hopeful that a good-grade will be awarded. (If effort were being graded then I'd say that his 70+ hours of work on the thing definitely deserve an 'A'.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

RexGrip

I woke up at around 8 this morning but was too cold to get out of bed. Instead I lazed around under my toasty warm down-comforter and watched tv on my Ipod. Gossip Girl might not be all that intelligent of a show - but it sure is a great time waster.
Shosh called at a little after 10 and I figured it was time to do something productive. So I got out of bed and make 2 kinds of dough. 1 for the feta-parsley buns (above) and 1 for the babka (below) - since the babka needed to rise twice as long as the rolls, everything worked out timing-wise and nothing over-rose.
Z spent all day working on the 'print-out' part of the presentation. I'm guessing he'll be spending all night working on finishing the last section of the model. (It's a teeny-tiny model - the pen is there for reference...) I'm waiting for him to finish exporting everything to PDF and then I'm going to take him across town to have the whole thing printed.
Sara stopped by before her final to get some of the cheese-buns. I gave her a whole batch to take down to share (or keep for herself...)
At a little after 5 Z was ready to go to the printers. I got to stop off at the spice-store (for hawayich and dried basil) and at the 'salatim store' (for chumus, matbucha & chatzilim) - so now Shabbos is basically ready. Just have to make couscous and cook the chicken tomorrow along with making some sort of fructose-friendly dessert for myself. Unfortunately the printer was having trouble with the machine, and since the files were extremely heavy the process was taking a really long time. We were told to leave the files and that they'd print them tonight (during the 'night shift') hopefully they'll be ready before I want/need to go to sleep.
I'm really regretting what I ate today. I should have stopped after 1 bite of those delectably delicious cheese-rolls this morning (instead of scarfing down 3 all by myself), I also probably shouldn't have eaten the chocolate chips that fell off of the babka along with the filling-clumps that dislodged from the pan...

Dinner was the last of the Shabbos leftovers from last week. I still have about a cup of chicken soup left and am trying to decide whether to make a small portion of mushroom barley bake with it.

The good news is that I cleaned up as I worked today - so at the very least there isn't a huge tower of dirty dishes waiting for me on the counter in the kitchen. (Although now that we ate dinner there are quite a few things that need to be washed.)

Alright - I guess I should do that and then I've got to sit down and write myself a 'to do' list for tomorrow. The cooking might be mostly done but there is a whole lot of cleaning and whatnot to take care of.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bust

I started the morning off right with a bit of spa-pampering. I love facial-masks - especially the peeling kind. (I think it kind of freaked Z out - but oh well...)

I then proceeded to wash the remainder of the collection of dirty dishes (from Sunday - yeah, gross - I know.)

I always feel like a bum when I spend my entire day in pajamas, wearing my fuzzy pink piggy slippers and sweat-socks.

I wish I could say I wasn't a lazy couch-potato all day - but that would be lying (well - only partially - I wasn't on the couch, I've been sitting at the desktop for the last few days because Z has been using the laptop to put together his project.)

Today I looked through 153 virtual pages of bread recipes online (that's about 5,500 different options) - I found a few interesting options for experimenting with. A delicious looking Chocolate Babka, Turkish Feta & Parsley Rolls, a new kind of bread bowl and a really amazing looking loaf of Tomato Basil Bread.

I've also decided that it's been too long since I enjoyed the delightful refreshing combo of chocolate and mint - so I'm looking forward to having my sisters come over sometime in the near future. Their visit would present me with the perfect opportunity to make Mint Chocolate Chip Truffles, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream & Mint Chocolate Cupcakes. Heaven!

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is already Thursday. I've got chicken soup & challah in the freezer so I just have to choose a chicken and sidedish to make and bake a dessert (and something fructose-friendly for myself) and Shabbos prep is done. We're going out to the Lockermans' for lunch - so this weekend is a one-meal-deal and that's that. (I'm just hoping that I manage the walk down there. I'm exhausted already just thinking of it - but it's going to be fun.)

I really wanted to bake yesterday but didn't and the same thing happened today - every time I went into the kitchen I was discouraged by something or other. Maybe the whole 'make but don't try' thing is starting to get to me? I hope not. Anyway - I've been sneaking stuff that I shouldn't and seem to be paying for it - so maybe it's better that I haven't made things to tempt myself with. It's a serious matter when I keep putting stumbling blocks in front of myself. Especially when it's my health and well-being that we're talking about.

Bright side - we finally gave up on all pretense of caring about our electric bill and turned the heaters on high. We've been keeping the doors to the bathrooms, guest room and our room closed all day and only heating the rooms that we're in. It seems to be working and has been a toasty 64F in the apartment today - compared to the 56F that it is in the bedrooms.)

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be slightly more productive.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bless Herzl Gopher...

Considering we got Home from the wedding after midnight and went to sleep after 1:30 I figured I'd get to sleep late. Unfortunately my stomach had other ideas and a raging stomach-ache woke me up at 6:45 this morning. (Not on account of food - it's 'other problems' today.) Anywho I was mean because I woke up Z and sent him to the kitchen to make a hot water bottle for me - which he did and I love him for it.

By 9:30am I was bored out of my mind. I didn't really want to spend the day in bed so I decided to make myself some breakfast. I wasn't really hungry though - so I procrastinated by washing part of the large accumulation of dirty dishes from the counter. Just as I finished washing the dishes my cell rang. It was Sara wondering whether I was going grocery-shopping this week. I admitted that I had a list written up but that I hadn't decided on a time or day to go. She suggested leaving in an hour - I said '10 minutes' and she agreed.

So - I downed 2 Tylenols, put a skirt over my sweatpants, switched into my 'outside boots', grabbed my wallet and headed out.

We went to Yesh and did our shopping, then at the campus the guard at the gate let me pull the car onto campus to drop everything off. I finally met Sara's roommate and we all shmoozed for a while.

Eventually I decided to leave because I figured it would be a good idea for me to check on Z's 'project progress'...
The good news is that he's hard at work - the bad news is that it's an extremely complex model and it's taking a really long time to get any significant amount of work done on it. We're hoping that he'll actually get most of it finished by Friday morning - when it's due.
Z ate yellow rice and a little white fishie for lunch. I made myself 'comfort food' (6 Tbsp of 'stars' - I know, I know - pasta isn't good for me, but I felt that I deserved it after being a good sport and eating more or less properly before the wedding last night. Also cause I made it through the wedding and even left the house today! I'm so proud of me! Anyway, I figured the pasta couldn't really make my stomach any worse - and I'm not planning on going anywhere for the rest of the week - so who cares if I'm bloated up like a balloon?!) Even more excitingly, I enjoyed my bowl of 'stars' with a glass of cranberry-shpritz. (After 'chancing' Craisins on Shabbos, I decided to trial cranberry juice - it's got sugar listed (not corn syrup or weird sweetener) so I figured it might be ok. So far so good and it was nice to drink something other than water or unsweetened tea for once.)

Also - I replanted my mint - remember how I was trying to sprout roots on a cutting in a jar on the kitchen counter? Well, I figured that the roots had gotten long enough to be planted in dirt... So - a dead plant was uprooted and I put the mint in!
I'm kind of really in the mood to make bagels - I know, I'm a crazy person - but I love baking bread - there's something ridiculously comforting about it.

I'm not sure where the week has gone - I can't believe it's almost half over already!

Slow down!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Green on the Waters...

Mazal tov to Raizi & Ariel who officially tied-the-knot last night in style! The wedding was absolutely gorgeous and a whole lot of fun!Last application of lip-gloss before Ariel gets there and the whole shebang begins...
Awwwwwww!
Everybody said Tehillim so we could finish the whole sefer together!
The previous newbie-couple. Aren't they just adorable?!?!?!
All in all a wonderful night (even if it ran a little late.) So much fun stuff happened - from a tour of Freddie's house in Petah Tiqwa to driving new roads (without getting lost) and championing the sweet potatoes cause - it was awesome!

Looking forward to lots more s'machot in the future!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Twenty-Oneth Day...

I had no interest in getting out of my toasty warm and cozy bed when I semi woke-up at 8:00 this morning - especially considering we only went to sleep at 2:30am. I closed my eyes and thought to myself that another 20 minutes wouldn't hurt. Somehow next thing I knew the phone was ringing and it was 10am.

I popped out of bed, ran for the phone (which I missed), turned on the dud, waited a bit, took a nice hot shower and then got dressed warmly. Z & I walked down to the campus to buy a couple of supplies for his 'end-of-semester studio-project. (It was super warm in the studio and I was tempted to move in - just like the students have.) Then we walked Home and I washed all of the dishes from Shabbos which were still sitting on the counter.

Next I made a batch of oatmeal-rolls. I let the dough rise then when they were shaped and doing their second rise I mixed up a batch of oatmeal-craisin-white-chocolate-chip cookies. The rolls baked first and the cookies took only 3 trays to be done (I got 48 out of the batch.)

Dinner was called for 6:45ish and our guests arrived right on time. Sara, Ora and Tzali joined us for an uproariously fun Sunday night dinner. I served chicken soup with matzah balls (from the freezer stash) and the leftover Spaghetti & Chicken (from last Thursday - which I added salt and a bit of fresh chicken stock to) of course there were oatmeal rolls and cookies too.

Once our guests had left Z got back to work on his model and I sat down to figure out our route for tomorrow night. We're off to Raizi&Ariel's wedding and I kind of wanted my super duper road-map but it was at the Lockerman's house. So I asked Yael if I could come by and pick it up. (I figured that since I was dressed - shoes, headcovering and all - that I might as well put the cute outfit to good use.) She said it was no problem, so I hopped in the car and went down to Rova Bet. We wound up shmoozing for a while (she was a little lonely cause Shlomo gets home from work late) so I was happy to keep her company. I also made out like a bandit and borrowed a cookbook and an awesome looking fantasy-trilogy by Tanya Huff. (I'm pretty excited to have some new fun stuff to read!)

Back at Home I noticed it was only 10:25pm so I 'skype-d' Phil quickly - so I could say good-night before she went to sleep. We had quite an amusing conversation and even Z got in a couple of words.

Now it's officially after midnight and I'm thinking it's time to sleep. I haven't got anything to do tomorrow (aside from washing the dishes from dinner tonight - but I can't do that until the dishes I washed today dry so that I can put them away.) Raizi&Ariel's 'Wedding Night Survival Kit' is all packed up and ready to go - I even printed out a cute little card to go with it.

I've really got to decide what to wear tomorrow night. Phil reminded me of an adorable skirt (that I stole from Sassy ages ago) - so I should check and see whether it fits (I have a feeling it won't stay-put. I think I'm somewhere between an 8-10 now - and that's on the widest part of my hips...) It's also an issue as far as tops go - none of my button-down collection fits nicely either. They're basically all too baggy - even the size 8 (that I've never worn because it never fit before) is now too big. Well - I suppose that this should be my biggest problem.

Plug in cell phone, put camera-battery into charger, go to sleep...

And I'm off.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Banana..."

Here's a quick re-cap of what Thursday was like:
7:00am wake-up
7:45am - 3:20pm bake; 2 batches cookie brittle, oatmeal rolls (18), roasted garlic breadsticks (double batch), 2 loaves 'no-knead dough' bread. 3 loads laundry. kitchen clean up.
3:30pm pick up 3 people from the michlala and drive to Jerusalem
4:30pm - 6:15 errands in Jerusalem (town/shuk) with co-party-organizer for mostly party related stuff
6:20pm - drive to The Sun House
7:10pm - arrive at party venue and help set-up/organize food
7:45pm - 10:00 party-time
10:30pm clean-up, last stop (for food pick-up for a friend in Ariel)
10:50pm stop for gas (so we'll make it back home)
11:50pm drop off everyone and all their stuff at the michlala caravans
12:00am arrive home and unload the car
1:30am sleep time
3am multiple blackouts (causing the computer's battery backup to beep multiple times)
6:45am wake-up
Now I'll expound on some of the really fun parts. Sara & I went to Jerusalem - we wandered all over town. I bought 2 new skirts from 'chor-bakir' (both short. one denim and one black corduroy. both size '3' - since my old ones were 4's and falling off.) We bought mitpachot for Raizi (and managed to find really cute 'lingerie' to give her too - cause it's traditional to give the bride that at her bridal shower - right? Well, we think so.) We also visited a couple of yarn-stores so Sara could restock her string-stash (we also bought really cute buttons for the hats that she's going to make.) Last stop was at the shuk where I bought 1 liter of vodka (cause it's time to put up a new batch of vanilla extract again) and Sara bought 2 kilo of chocolate-covered coffee-beans to help her and her friends get through the upcoming test-period. (Speaking of which - I really have to go over there and help her separate them in small portion-controlled baggies...heeheehee!)
Then we drove to The Sun House where we helped set-up Raizi's bridal-shower. It was a very nice affair. It was hosted at the Gershons' house and a dozen people were there. We did the cutest arts-n-crafts (which I really should remember for the future) everyone was given an A3 paper and then there were all sorts of stickers, ribbons, markers, sequins and photos of the couple to be used for decorating - when everybody finished, the papers were taken to be laminated and 'poof' the couple has an awesome set of personalized placemats! Like I said, it's an absolutely adorable idea!
Friday was super-busy (because I wasn't really sure how many guests I was having and because I hadn't actually done any cooking on Thursday.) I woke up at a little before 7 but refused to get out of my warm bed until at least 7:05. I put up 2 pots of rice and made the matzah balls.

At 9:15 we left the house and went to 'town' for a couple of groceries. They didn't have what we needed at Mega so we went down to Yesh too. Back at Home, Z cleaned the floors and I kept myself busy in the kitchen. Somehow all the cooking got done, the bathrooms got cleaned (well, the toilets did anyway), and I even found time to clean the stovetop and counters.

Friday night we were joined by Sara, Yael (also a Sun-Houser) and Sara's classmate 'Aviv from Eilat'. The meal was highly entertaining and we had a lot of good laughs. Shabbos lunch the girls came back up to eat with us and it was slightly more subdued but still a seriously good time. The afternoon was quiet (the girls left right after the meal for study-sessions with friends - this week is the first week of 'finals period' so everyone is in full-swing study-mode.)

The food smelled absolutely incredible and my sources tell me it tasted pretty good too.

Friday night:
Challah, chumus, chatzilim, matbucha, pickes, roasted garlic, tossed green salad with Italian dressing (served in a tortilla bowl). Chicken soup (zucchini, carrot, onion & potato) with matzah balls. Gramma's tomato sauce chicken, white rice, yellow rice (seasoned and with veggies), peas, glazed sweet potatoes.

Shabbos lunch:
Challah, chumus, chatzilim, matbucha, tossed green salad (with sweet dressing, craisins & candied pecans), sliced veggies (red peppers, yellow peppers, cucumbers & carrot-sticks), cheesy potato bake, teriyaki salmon, carrot kugel.

Dessert: chocolate chip cookie brittle (made with mini chocolate chips) & chocolate cake frosted with chocolate ganache.

The day was over way too quickly and now Z is hard at work on his 'studio project' which is due on Friday by noon. (He's also 1 night shorter on work-time because we have Raizi & Ariel's wedding on Monday night...) This is going to be one crazy long (and yet way too short) week. Finals-period stinks!

Things to look forward to this week... Sara & Ora coming for dinner Sunday night, Monday night is the wedding, Thursday is Tu' B'shvat, Friday Z's project is due and it's Shabbos again. What's with Tuesday & Wednesday - well, I'm not sure yet - but I'm sure they'll be busy and fun. Maybe I'll work on the latch-hook some more. Snoopy is just about done.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tracy...

I woke up feeling 'not so great' (probably on account of the fructan-laden foods I ate on Saturday) and wasn't sure whether I'd be able to properly participate in 'Bread Bender Day 4' - thankfully after a couple of extremely uncomfortable hours the pain subsided to a tolerable level and I made my way to the kitchen.
Half a batch of dough yielded 6 cute little loaves for Shabbos. While I was there I washed all of the dishes from the party last night and then I put up the chicken soup. The soup cooked at a 'lazy bubble' for about 5 hours. The aroma was absolutely divine.
Cousin Chaim called to see whether he could stop by. It's 'end of semester' so everybody is spending a lot of time in the library studying a lot. I told him to come on over and he arrived just in time for dinner. I made Chicken & Spaghetti because I actually had broccoli on hand. My taste-testers/diners informed me that aside from being a teensy drop under-salted that it was delicious. (I've decided that it's really hard to make pasta without tasting it. I got lucky this time though - it was cooked just the right amount - not crunchy and not mushy.)
My mint-sprig is finally putting out roots! I'm so excited! Soon I'll be able to plant it and hopefully this means we'll have an abundance of fresh mint in the not too distant future.

Today I also did 3 loads of laundry, re-organized the freezer, and suggested apple kugel as a 'birthday cake' stand-in (turns out it's a favorite - so that was a good guess on my part.)

Tomorrow is going to be really busy. 2 batches of cookie brittle, 3-4 batches of breadsticks, 2 loaves 'no knead' bread. Drive to Jeru, errands, drive to The Sun House, party set-up, party, party clean-up, drive Home.

I hope my stomach cooperates - there's a lot to do.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Archi-who-ha?

It was chilly this morning but I got out of bed and made my way to the couch. Phil 'skype-d' me so we were video-chatting and then The Crazy Lady showed up and decided that it was food time. So I joined them via internet for an 'egg-celent' breakfast. Yo'Abba showed up too and told me all about getting a quicker internet-speed and the complications involved.

Eventually Z woke up and we went grocery shopping at Yesh to pick up stuff for tonight and Shabbos.
Back at Home - Z went to school and I baked a batch of roasted garlic breadsticks. Then I tried to bake a 1/2-batch of chocolate cake. (Remember how last time I tried to bake a chocolate cake I completely forgot to add the water? Well - this time I added too much water - as in the full amount - so I wound up baking a whole batch of chocolate cake.) I baked them in two 9"-rond-pans and they came out very nicely - but I wanted to frost them. So I experimented and made my first ever chocolate ganache. (I couldn't taste the ganache though - cause it had Rich's whip and corn syrup in it.)
Sara and Z came Home from school together. Z got the chicken wings marinating for the party while Sara raided the yarn-box. Meanwhile I cooked up a BIG batch of crash-smash-baked-potatoes.

Sara went down to study with a friend (armed with a freezer-stocked carrot soup) while Z and I got ready for our next guests to arrive.

3 of Z's school friends arrived with beer and meat. We got the fire in the grill going and sent the wings out to cook. Mini-Burgers were cooked next. I washed up lettuce and tomatoes and amazingly enough everything was ready at the same time.

It was a really nice evening all in all. I think the guys are all excited that they've reached the end of the semester. It's really exciting (aside from the insane amount of projects that they've got due in the next couple of weeks.)
After dinner I packed up the leftovers (not too many - 9 wings, the leftover chumus, 1/2 of one of the cakes, a halndful of breadsticks) and forced the guys to take them. Of course they tried the old excuse of 'no you keep it' - but Z begged them (explaining that he ~has~ to eat like this every day and doesn't have room for the leftovers.)

Then we did some English homework (yeah - that's exactly what it sounds like) and had a little concert while trying to figure out how fish-oil helps heal mosquito-bites. All in all - a very nice night.

Finally Z wrote his own assignment and when it was finished it was time for bed.

Now is that time.

Nighty night - see you tomorrow - 'Bread Bender' Day 4 - we're baking Challah - woooohoooooo!!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Huffing Hooch...

Hi there neighbors! I'm on a bread-bender this week. I read an article (from some random and probably unreliable source) which explained that if bread dough is allowed to ferment then the chemical compounds in the dough begin to break down and become (somehow) more easily digestible (which is good news for people who have problems digesting bread - like me... in theory anyway.)
So I did some recipe research and stumbled upon this age-old (recently revived) tradition of making 'no knead' bread which is allotted a nice long slow cold-fermentation (of up to 10 days.) As I explained fermentation means breakdown and breakdown means there's a possibility that I may be able to tolerate it. May be has become a very exciting possibility for me - so I was game to try it. Worst case it turns out terrible and no one eats it, best case I can eat and enjoy it - and the middle-case scenario it makes me sick but Z gets awesome bread. Either way - it seemed silly not to try it.
4 ingredients. Yeast, water, salt & flour. The first 3 get dumped into a container with a lid and stirred to dissolve. Then the flour gets added - everything gets mixed with a spoon until it's a relatively uniform consistency and everything is 'wet' - then you slap the cover on and let it all rise for 2 hours at room temperature. Finally you put the whole shebang into the fridge (where it slowly ferments for anywhere from 24 hours to 10 days.)

When you're ready to bake you pull off a chunk of dough and shape it. Let it rest for 30-45 minutes. Then dust it with flour, slash the top and bake for a whopping 30-45 minutes.
It's really not a whole lot of hands-on time and the bread is absolutely uh-may-zing! Yes - I tried a bit.

Well, I couldn't in good conscience send a loaf down to Sara (along with 2 servings of split pea soup) without even having a try.

And you know - watching Z devour 1/2 a loaf along with a bowl of carrot soup for lunch wasn't enough of a tip-off that the bread was really really good. I mean, he doesn't even like crusty breads - but within minutes half a loaf was gone.)Just one note - when it's time to bake and you take the lid off of the container that's been fermenting - do yourself a favor and try not to inhale too deeply. A whole lot of fumes escape and they are strong.

Lots of stuff coming up in the next couple of days. Tomorrow we may or may not be hosting dinner for 2-4 of Z's school friends. Wednesday is going to be a busy day baking challah and desserts for Shabbos. Thursday there's cooking to do in the morning then I'm running away with Sara cause there are errands and surprise parties to attend to. Friday night Sara & her roomie are joining us for dinner. Shabbos lunch may or may not be quiet - nothing is decided yet. Saturday night Z's homework frenzy continues. Meanwhile I really have to figure out what I'm doing about the wedding gifts that I need to give to the next 2 friends that are getting married in the next couple of weeks.

Friday, January 07, 2011

I'm an Angry Bird...

As I mentioned in the previous post - yesterday I cooked 3 batches of soup. The carrot soup and split pea soup went into individual containers for Z's eating pleasure. I got 7 containers-worth out of each batch (and Z got a really delicious lunch yesterday.) I also cooked a big batch of chicken-stock - which made enough for this Shabbos and a future Shabbos.
Not too much else has been going on. The laundry is done, the dishes are washed (more or less), the plata is set up and ready to go, the house is clean, the urn is heating up and all that's left to do is leisurely hot showers.
This morning Z & I went out to town to pick up the 'last minute' groceries. (Ok - it's not really my fault that we only decided what to make for Shabbos at 11pm last night...) We've officially decided that it is worthwhile to stock up on Ben&Jerry's vanilla ice cream in other places (cause they cost 20-23 shekels in The Sun House or Jeru and they cost 38-45 shekels here in the bleeping scenic middle-of-nowhere.)
Tonight the menu is:
Challah, Spreads (Chumus, Matbucha, Chatzilim, 1/2 a head of roasted garlic), chicken soup, rice / couscous, zaatar chicken & green peas.
Tomorrow for lunch we'll be enjoying:
Challah, Spreads (Chumus, Matbucha, Chatzilim, 1/2 a head of roasted garlic), Lasagna (for Z), Cheesy potato bake (pictured pre-bake above - after it's baked it gets a delicious golden brown crunchy crust on the top... yum!) and possibly some veggies (if Z is actually going to eat them anyway.)
For dessert for the fructozoid I tweaked the family-favorite 'blondies' recipe and made them with 100% oat-flour. That means they're gluten-free and fructose-friendly! If you want the recipe give me a holler and I'll send it to you asap. (They're more like a delicate yellow cake than blondies - but it's a baked good that doesn't taste like peanut-butter (cause as much as I love peanut-butter I was kind of getting a little sick of it.) Point is - they came out deeeelicious!
For Z (and his class - on Monday) there are sugar-cookie bars (I made the frosting light blue - cause it's just so pretty!) they're supposedly good but very plain - so I'll need to throw in some extract of 'I don't know yet' next time.
Anywho - have an awesome Shabbos everybody! I hope everyone's chicken soup and rice-making adventures go smoothly. I hope everyone is feeling healthy and happy! See ya next week!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Trains of Action...

It's 11:10 in the morning and what have I done so far...

Well, I've got my first load of laundry in the machine (and another 2 waiting to go in.)

I've put a batch of split pea soup up to cook and a batch of carrot soup too.

I reorganized my pareve-containers cabinet (in order to find single-serving containers to put the soup away in.) Yup - I'm making 2 batches of soup with the sole purpose of putting them in the freezer for Z. Am I nice or what?

I put away all of the dry (or mostly dry) dishes from the drying racks.

I straightened up the office and pretended to straighten up the living room.

Oh yes, and I've taken my multi-vitamin.

Oooh - the washing machine just sang so it's time to switch loads...

Check back later for more updates!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Pogo Bowtie

Brrrr - it's chilly! Helloooo winter! Here's a shot from our brunch yesterday at CafeCafe in The Sun House.
Isn't that just the nicest looking cappuchino this side of the river Jordan?
This morning I woke up at a little after 8. (Since the weekend fiasco I've been sleeping close to 11 hours every night but still don't feel rested or refreshed. I've started taking the super-duper multi-vitamins so I'm hoping that they'll sort out the exhaustion issues in a couple of days/weeks. Regardless - I'm assuming that the stress of the weekend took a lot out of me and that my body needs another 'healing period' which is why I've been spending so much time asleep.)

I went to Mega this morning and bought a whole stash of cheese. Mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan and some 24% Bulgarian. I figure it's a good way to add fat, calories and even a bit of (non-meat) protein to my diet. (Have I mentioned that I'm sick of having people tell me that I'm anorexic?!!? I am NOT anorexic by any stretch of the imagination. I choose not to eat foods that make me physically ill. So - if you want me to eat food then don't force me into situations where there is no suitable food available for my diet. Simple as that. Oh - and incidentally - YES I prefer to eat in the safety and comfort of my own home when/where I know exactly what has gone into the food-making process. This is a slight neurosis but I'm sure it will wane as my body begins to feel better and as times drags on.)
It rained and drizzled and the sky was cloudy and gray. So I decided to do some 'spring-time' activities. We took cuttings from our basil plant right before the cold-spell hit. We had it sprouting roots in a little jar on the kitchen-counter. The roots had finally gotten long enough to plant. So - plant I did. I moved the planter into the (relative) warmth of the living room and got to gardening.

Now I'm trying desperately to save the mint too. It was doing so well until recently - and I'm hoping that it's not too late to sprout some new plants from cuttings. Hopefully in the next few weeks roots will sprout and grow...
Tomorrow should be fun. Grocery shopping in the afternoon with Sara & Yael. I think my list is basically finished and organized. I've also got to bake some rolls and some white bread for Z. Now that the freezer stash is gone he's been looking for bread. Mind you - as soon as it's baked he'll want something else. What else is new...?