Saturday, April 30, 2011

Baby Kangaroo Tribbiani

Thursday was a busy sort of day. I baked challah with Ora in the late morning. Then when Z got Home from school we went out to 'town' together. I stocked up on barley flour and oat flour. It was very exciting!Friday morning I started cooking quite early. (Considering I hadn't done any cooking on Thursday.) Sara and Freddie joined us for Shabbos. Freddie brought a beautiful bouquet of flowers - babys breath and carnations. For lunch on Friday I made up a new recipe based on 'Eggplant Parmigian' and 'Eggplant Stacks' - I quickly browned eggplant slices in a little bit of olive oil, then stacked them in ramekins with sauce and thin slices of tomato, after baking them I turned them out onto plates. It was such cute little portion-controlled sizes and looked so pretty.

Friday night menu: salatim, roasted garlic, chicken soup with (hard as rock) matzah balls, chicken with vinegar (from The Kosher Pallete), Jasmine rice & Green beans in soy sauce and sesame oil (they didn't even overcook!)

Shabbat lunch menu: salatim, tomato onion quiche, FF broccoli quiche, tossed salad with slivered almonds and balsamic dressing, glazed broiled salmon

Shabbos afternoon dragged on and on but we made the most of it. A few games of Settlers - Freddie won the 1st, she helped me win the 2nd and the 3rd game I won all on my own. Then we read and took nice long shabbos naps.
Ora & Shlomo came to visit too. We had a lovely little seudah-shlishit (more tossed salad and a nice lemony pasta salad. We played Bananagrams and shmoozed.

After havdalah the boys disappeared into the office to play Portal-2 and the girls headed off to the kitchen to bake bagels. We made a double batch and made a few 'mini-bagels' for Sara - so 27 bagels later we were finally done.Renat picked Sara up. We drove Ora & Shlomo home (and finally saw their cute little apartment. Then back at Home Freddie was 'skype-ing' with Mr. Freddie.

Eventually we decided that it was bedtime and that's what we're up to now.

Shavua tov everybody!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lebanese & BiCurious

Woke up at 6:45 this morning - I guess they started working early to make up for starting late yesterday.

First order of business was painting my nails - because we all know how important that is. Now they're the pretty purple color I like.

The next chore that I tackled was laundry. While the first load was in the machine I made my way to the kitchen.

I shlepped out my KitchenAid and mixed up 3 batches of chocolate chip cookie dough - since the machine can only really handle 1 batch at a time, I mixed them up and dumped them into my enormous 'rubbermaid' container and stuck it all in the fridge to chill.

Ora came over at a little after 12 and we made challah dough together. We shmoozed while it rose then shaped it (we even remembered to put in our keys!) and finally they went into the oven. Halfway through baking Z came Home from school to return the laptop (which he took for studio.) The whole apartment smelled amazing and our 16 loaves came out looking amazing!

Z went back to school and pretty soon Ora had to leave for class too.

I took a few minutes to scoop cookie dough onto a tray and put it all into the freezer. I've decided to freeze the dough in pre-shaped balls, because it will be super easy to pull them out and bake them whenever I need. 99 dough-balls later I was out of space on the tray.

Then Z waltzed in (and ate a few of the cookies that I had baked for shabbos.)

We decided to go to 'downtown Ariel' to pick up the last of the groceries. I still needed my alternative-flours (barley and oat) and I even bought raw almonds to try my hand at making my very own almond milk! (Meanma made over Pesach and it was absolutely delicious - not to mention super-easy!)

Freddie even called as we were parking in 'town' and she's going to bring me pretty flowers for Shabbos! I'm so excited!

I didn't do any real cooking for Shabbos yet - but I figure tomorrow is a really long day and since we've already done our errands it's not like we've got to to out. Which means that I've got time to prepare from wake-up until candle-lighting.

Sounds like a really good plan to me.

Have I mentioned that repurposing leftover repurposed leftovers may sound like a challenge - but it really isn't all that hard and with a little luck and some imagination it can really taste amazing and like something completely different?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I am, George?

At 8:30 I woke up and realized that Z (who was still sound asleep) had 20 minutes to leave for school if he wanted to get there on time. I woke him up and his first question was, "What can I take for lunch? We don't have any bread or leftovers." So I rushed the the kitchen and threw together a 15 minute lunch. How? Easy. While the 1.25 cups of pasta cooked (it was 10 minute bowties) I sliced up an onion and 2 cloves of garlic which sauteed while I sliced a big tomato and opened a small container of tomato paste. The tomato and tomato paste joined the aromatics in the pot along with a couple of spoonfuls of water from the pasta-pot. Then I seasoned the sauce with; salt, freshly ground black pepper, a dash of chili powder, basil and parsley. The timer for the pasta rang so I drained the noodles while the sauce cooked down a bit. Then I mixed the pasta in with the sauce. As a treat I decided to add some chesse - so I decided to layer saucy pasta with slices of mozzarella cheese. I made 3 layers of each - starting with pasta and ending with cheese. A layer of plastic wrap under the cover made sure the cheese would stay with the pasta instead of on the container's lid. Then into his bag it went. Funnily enough, it felt quicker to make the meal than it did to type up the procedure. Go figure.

I walked down to the campus gate with Z. Then he went to class and I decided to continue the walk. I was hoping to cover a lot of ground but started feeling uneasy - so I decided that 'something is better than nothing' and that 'good things are worth waiting for' and that 'goals are important' (and a zillion other pithy sayings) so I changed the route and walked down to the 'car gate' of the university then cut across campus (instead of going all the way around it.) I made it Home with 3750 aerobic steps in 34 minutes (which means that I got my 1/2 hour of exercise and that I had reached 'sedentary lifestyle' range for 'steps-in-a-day') so I was pretty pleased with myself.

When I got inside I washed the dishes from last night and this morning. Then after checking on the garden I made myself some breakfast. Meanma let me steal a dozen XL eggs, and they're just the right size for 1-egg omelettes. I made mine folded over a slice of cheese. It was delicious.

It didn't take long for me to get bored. (Ever notice that tends to happen when I've actually done stuff in the morning?) Anyway, I decided that instead of sitting around and just watching tv that I would go out to Yesh to see if they had the stuff that I wasn't able to get yesterday. They had no frozen peas or french fries. They didn't even have tomatoes or cucumbers. Thankfully they had about 20 small potatoes in a bin on the floor behind an empty bin - I dug it out and stuck all of them into a plastic bag. I got on line behind a woman who was just about done paying and noticed that the other 2 lanes were ringing-up people with huge orders. A guy was waiting with 2 cartons of milk on the lane next to me. I let him go ahead of me (because I love it when people are considerate like that and I definitely believe in the concept of karma.) He was very grateful and I assumed he was rushing off to somewhere because he kept glancing at his watch nervously.

Packing the car was easy-peasy (I love shopping with the big cloth shopping bags.) I was on the road in a matter of minutes and at the 2nd traffic circle I saw 2 girls waiting at the bus-stop. Since it was sunny and I know that buses rarely stop where they were waiting, I stopped and offered them a ride the 3rd traffic circle (by the university.) They were very thankful.

I parked and grabbed as many of the bags as I could carry then made my way inside. On my way up the stairs I passed one of the guys who lives in the apartment above us so we said 'hi' to each other. (I was impressed that I recognized him. For some funny reason I can never remember what they look like.)

After unpacking the groceries I sat down to take a little relaxation break. Savta called and I enjoyed talking with her, I especially liked the story with the happy ending - in which Patches the cat returns. I snacked on a piece of 'trail-mix-chocolate' (when I made the truffles on Sunday there was extra chocolate left over from coating them. So, I poured it onto a tray, sprinkled it with slivered almonds and craisins then let it harden. When it was solid I broke it into shards and have been enjoying snacking on them. They're sweet and tart all at the same time. Next time I might put coarsely chopped salted/roasted almonds in instead.

My next challenge was dealing with the 'flour' situation. I bought yesterday but since it was all ground before Pesach I felt uncomfortable not sifting it. (You really never know what's creeping around in flour that's been stored in the the grocery store's storage area...) I found one questionable bug-part (yeah, yuck.) but the rest of it was clean. Now things feel almost back to whatever constitutes 'normal' in my house because there are 9 kilo of flour sifted and ready to use. On a funny note, I became a victim of the window vacuum again. I labeled a new 2.5 gallon bag for bread flour, turned around for a second and then turned back just in time to watch the wind-portal suck it right out the window. I hope my offering to the wind-spirits was well accepted - though I wonder what they're planning to do with such a big bag. I ran down the stairs and outside to try to catch it but by the time I got to the parking lot it was nowhere to be seen.

For dinner I'm thinking of trying this Chicken with Peas & Couscous - because I took leftover chicken from the parents-place, I have some peas and Z really likes couscous. Looks easy enough - so why not.

Z should be home in an hour (or 2) and I didn't actually manage to do any baking today. Maybe I'll just let it slide until tomorrow (1 more day without cookies to nosh on - not exactly the worst thing in the world - heck, I ate eggs and cheese as a result. Protein consumption is a good thing, right?)

Speaking of the first post-Pesach baking binge - I'll be baking challah (I even have a key for this weeks shlissel challah. Don't worry, I'll wrap it in tin-foil and all will be well.) I'm also excited to churn out a batch or 3 of chocolate chip cookies, some 'pretty' sugar cookies, and a couple of batches of muffins (flavors still to be decided.)

There's been a rumor on the wind that Freddie & George will be baking bagels on Motza"sh which is pretty exciting. Let's hope it's warm enough for everything to rise properly.

In the good news column - I am pleased to report that I managed to find the perfect spot to store our new bathtub. Ok, so it's not a tub - it's a 16 liter pot - for chicken-stock. But I am ridiculously excited about it nonetheless!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yemenite Soups

Goodness gracious time has flown on by. Last I updated it was Thursday and today is Tuesday. Let me see, what's been going on...Well, Friday was a quiet sort of day. We didn't do anything spectacular to speak of. Actually we just bummed around the house and prepared for Shabbos. The only exciting thing was our outing to BIG where we picked up some new reading material for the rest of the 'weekend' and some allergy-meds for Z (so he'd stop sneezing for 5 minutes.)
Shabbos was a lot of fun though. The afternoon flew by in a blur of a dozen games of 'Settlers' - I actually lost count - but the good news is that I won a few. Saturday night was super-busy for me - I scrambled around the house organizing birthday streamers and hanging birthday signs for Soldier-boy.
Sunday was erev-chag again. First I went on a grocery-store run with Meanma which culminated in a grocery-drop-off at S&S. We also made a quick detour to the pharmacy to pick up some decongestant as a birthday present for the birthday-dude. I wrapped it in leftover streamers. Back at the house everyone was getting geared up to go to the beach. I packed my bag and got in the car but never quite made it off the street - the plight of a spazztastical fructozoid. On the bright side - since it was early I had plenty of time to make a batch of Annie's Lemon Chiffon Truffles and I even tweaked the recipe and made a batch of Smooth Orange Truffles.
Chag pretty much flew by too. We were kind of sad to see it go. After all the work preparing for it (and the amazing food that we ate all week) we were hoping it would maybe stick around for an extra week or two. Alas, all good things must end. After havdala we packed up the car (with all of our vacation-spoils), picked up Sara and got on our way back to the-middle-of-nowhere.
Tuesday dawned bright and beautiful. I was woken up by the sound of construction right outside my bedroom window (though I didn't hear it until 7:30 - so either I was tired or they started late in honor of Isru Chag.) I hopped out of bed quite excited to be back at Home. At a little before 11 I picked up Sara and we drove out to Sha'ar Binyamin to go our first post-Pesach grocery 'stock-up' shopping. The place was a crazy mobbed zoo of sorts - so we got whatever we could then got out of there. We didn't mind cutting the trip a bit short since Sara needed to get back to class.
After dropping off Sara's groceries at her caravan I drove her to the upper-campus then continued up the mountain. Z helped me carry everything inside and then helped me put everything away. Now the house is more or less restocked and I'm ready to start cooking and baking again.
I didn't want to waste the rest of the day so I decided to do a bit of gardening. red peppers, orange peppers and apple seeds are now planted in my 'leftover' planters. I'm wondering whether anything will actually grow.

I'm also super excited for Shabbos - which is still a few days away - because Freddie and Sara will be joining us! (Mr. Freddie is flying off for the weekend to sing in a far-away-land.) Anyway - now I've just got to work out the menu. HaveI mentioned that I'm really looking forward to it?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tiny Toilet!

Today was much more 'low-key' than yesterday. First we went grocery shopping at SuperH with Savta. I drove the car, Meanma & Z came too. We got the ingredients for lemon-chiffon truffles and smooth-orange truffles.

Lunch was a delicious snack of little white fishies and tomato vegetable soup. There was potato soup for the frutozoids too. The Crazy Lady baked a zillion cakes last night so we sampled all of them. Nut cake, Bubby's chocolate cake, Rich chocolate cake, Blondies (which we won't be making again - since they had the texture of peach-fuzz) and there were some brownies left from chag too.

Our last outing was to BIG where we got filled the car tank with petrol (cars get thirsty too.) Then we stopped at the pharmacy to get some allergy meds for Z (who has been sneezing his brains out his nose for the last couple of weeks) and then to the bookstore because they were having a crazy sale and we needed new material to read for Shabbos and Chag.

Dinner was an awesomely delicious bbq - chicken wings, hot dogs, shnitzels and chicken-legs - all seasoned to perfection. As a side there were baked potato wedges and salad. Dessert was more of the awesome chocolate cake.

And yet we have to wonder - Do you pee cold pee after peppermint tea? I know - it's a bit of a personal subject - but it's more of a catchy rhetorical question that anything else. Don't believe us - just recite it aloud in a singsong tune.

Shiny, huh?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Nutty Hard Styrofoam...

Breakfast was a nice little affair...
Then we piled into the cars and drove down 38. Some of us were cheerier than others...The trail was rumored to be 'easy' - we found it to be a lot of fun and would definitely all wear sneakers next time.We hiked down into a valley then back up and out of it. It was a lot of fun and the weather was absolutely delightful.Back at the house we feasted on leftovers from chag and a final game of Settlers was played.It's still early and I've only clocked 8,741 steps for today - maybe Z will come on a little walk with me later. Wouldn't that be nice?Moadim L'simcha everybody!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Booty?

And so began the Pesach Holiday...The cabinets were tied up. The last of the chametz was burnt. Everyone was snacking on cheese and eggs. Cooking was underway...
We peeled a gazillion vegetables and somehow a little spider named Franklin hopped into the pot. He gave Meanma a bit of a shock but it was quite hysterical all in all. Miryam and S&S arrived and everybody got dressed in their holiday best.
Finally we lit the candles and chag had begun. There was a minyan right out in the street so nobody had to trudge up to the shul.
The seder was quite enjoyable. We sat around the coffee table on various pieces of furniture and after choosing colorful wine-glass-distinguishers we started the story-telling. Dibble asked the 4-questions and Mr. Freddie asked them in Yiddish for Savta. Many
'plagues' were flung around the room. Finally it was time for the meal - which was absolutely delicious and then after the 4th cup of wine we finished up a little after 1am.
Shul was at 8:30. Lunch followed and was also scrumptious. Of course the most anticipated part was dessert - sponge cake, flake cake, double-chocolate flake cake and brownies...
All of the cakes turned out beautifully! We were very impressed. 4 sponge-type cakes and they all stood up perfectly. It was very exciting!
The afternoon flew by in a whir of Bananagrams, Phase 10 and many games of Settlers (both the regular and the extended versions.)
Havdala-time arrived too quickly. The guys went out to daven ma'ariv and then we settled into some chol-hamoed routine. Another game of Settlers, shmoozing, some motzei-chag noshing.
Moadim L'simcha everybody!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

ShaZam!

Wake-up was at around 6:15 this morning. I forced myself to stay in bed until a little before 7. By 7:30 I was in the kitchen hard at work cleaning the counters. I cleared off the drying racks and put everything away. Then I poured 'anti-calc' on the icky calcified parts of the counter and let it sit for a couple of minutes. After that it was just a matter of wiping everything down. Next I scrubbed the stove-top and after squeegeeing all of the water into the sink I cleaned the sink out with some bleach-spray. Thanks heavens for heavy duty gloves. Finally the kitchen was clean.
Packing everything up didn't take very long and by 9:40 we were in the car and ready to go. We made it to The Sun House at a little before 11 and our first stop was at the parentals to drop off all of the suitcases.
Then we drove to RBS to pick up A&E.
We made our way to the eucalyptus park and set up the grill. It took a couple of tries but eventually we got the fire going. By the time The Freddies, Phil and Soldier-boy showed up the chicken-shish-kabobs were done and so were a bunch of the burgers, the hotdogs didn't take long at all. We pre-cooked the wings last night so it was a quick matter of heating them up and the vegetable-kabobs went on last and were a nice wind-down to the meal. Last but not least, a whole bunch of cookies and brownies for dessert. There were a bunch of leftovers so we called Yo'Abba and asked him if he'd like to come and get some lunch. He was very excited so he popped over and enjoyed a snack with us.
After bentching we all split up. The siblings went to find some things in the shopping center in RBS, Yo'Abba took Sarah Leah to the bus stop on his way Home and the rest of us took A&E back to their house. We then dropped them off at the bus-stop before going to BIG to pick up some toothpaste for Pesach and a new book as a present for me.
The rest of the afternoon flew by in a flurry of cleaning and cooking preparations. There's still plenty of cooking to do tomorrow - but just about all of the cleaning is done. Phil baked her first batch of 'Phil's Famous Passover Brownies' and I got the honor of writing names on the girls water-bottles.
For dinner most people are going out for shwarma - but the FructMals will be staying in. There was talk of going to Jeru - as is our family custom - but I'm not so sure whether that's actually going to happen. Personally, I am so tired that I haven't got the energy for another hour in the car and a bunch of walking around.
I think I'll go see what else we can get done. Freddie is hiding little 'chametz packets' around the house to make the 'search' more fun. Hope we find them all...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Martians Are Weird...

It's been a few days since my last post and boy have I been busy.

Wednesday night turned into an 'all-nighter' for both me and Z. The model was huge and had a whole lot of parts to it so more than 2 hands were required to put it together. At a little after 4am I was almost non-functional - I called it quits but he kept working. Unfortunately by the time I crawled into bed my body was so confused that I couldn't fall asleep. After 5 I finally dozed off, only to be woken up at 6:30 by the construction out back. I felt awful. It seems that stress, anxiety and abnormal-sleep-patterns cause almost as many problems for my body as eating the wrong foods. I was fuzzy headed and essentially non-functional for the first 3/4 of the day and by the time my head had cleared a bit I was so tired that I didn't manage to get very much done. I did drive Z down to studio with the jumbo-model and 50-something assorted muffins for the class at a little after 10am. At 5pm I drove down to pick him up - because the school decided that they're cleaning out the studios over Pesach 'vacation' - even though all of the students are mid-semester, which means mid-project and all of their projects are in the studios because they work there. After picking up Z and all of his projects we went out to 'town' and Yesh. We needed the last few things for Shabbos and for the 'bbq' tomorrow.

Thursday night I fell asleep at a little after 8. I was completely and utterly drained. Of course, Murphy's Law was put into play - our phone almost never rings but for some reason it rang at 8:30, 9, 10, 11 and one last time at midnight. I was so zonked that I woke up for each of the calls but managed to fall back asleep without too much effort.

Friday flew by - probably because I slept late (ok, so only until a little after 8 - but that's late for me.) I finished up the cooking and packed for next week. Sarah Leah arrived in the early afternoon. I served borekkas and soup from the dwindling freezer stash. We decided that it would be a pajama shabbos. Comfort was very much encouraged. Friday night menu included: Roasted garlic, chumus, chatzilim, matbucha, challah, chicken soup, Yemenite soup, turkey wings, Persian rice, peas.

Shabbos morning I managed to wake up on time to wake Z for shul. He was Home by 10:30 so we had a nice early lunch of potato gratin, honey-mustard salmon, sliced veggies, salatim and challah. The afternoon dragged on - it was peaceful and enjoyable but it took a long time to pass. Z and SL napped. I couldn't manage to sleep so I read National Geographic Magazine and finished my book. The hour before Z had to leave for mincha we played a game of Settlers - which I actually managed to win somehow. (I'm still a little surprised about that.)

By the time we made Havdalah I was itching to do some of the zillion things that are still 'to-be-done' on my lists. Somehow I've written up 8 different 'to-do' lists and each one has a specific 'deadline' but really the deadline is just 'get done before leaving for The Sun House' - which means I have until Sunday morning.

The first order of business was putting the meat for Sunday's bbq to marinate. Once the wings and shnitzel was bagged, Z shaped the burgers and I sliced up vegetable strips. Z washed dishes (as I broke some) and then I moved all of the spices and chametz stuff from the counters into the kitchen cupboard. Then I tried to gather all of the stuff that needs to come with us and put it near the front door. I've been somewhat successful.

There are still a whole bunch of things to do - but some of them really need to wait until tomorrow morning. The hard part is the fact that we really want to get on the road by no later than 10am which puts a whole lot of pressure on me to get up and moving quite early. Especially if there are things that will take a while to get done.

The bbq should be fun. We're expecting somewhere between 8-11 people. Hopefully there will be enough food, but no leftovers. I'm precooking the wings and potatoes to save on time. The burgers are super-thin and the shish-kabob shouldn't take very long to cook. There will also be a couple of brownies, chocolate chip cookies, leftover FF PBCC cookies and of course the rest of the bread from in my freezer. Of course - we still have to figure out where exactly where we'll be having this party - but that'll just depends on how sunny it is tomorrow.

I'm off to clean the kitchen counters and stovetop. Might as well leave it sparkling clean - right?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

4 Hour Skype - Fredso

I wish that the thought of eggs for breakfast didn't make my stomach go all squidgy. They're a great source of protein and are something that I can theoretically actually tolerate. For some reason my nose and stomach have an aversion though. Just thinking about eating them scrambled or as an omelette makes my gut dance unpleasantly. What the heck is wrong with me? (Just in case you were wondering - I wound up eating 2 FF PBC cookies and a mint chip truffle for breakfast instead.)

It was gloomy when I woke up this morning. I don't understand how the air can possibly be so dry when it rained yesterday and the sky looks so overcast and gray today. Something really doesn't make any sort of sense. The weather is seriously messing with my head and it's getting quite annoying.

As I clambered out of bed I had a funny thought. I realized that Pesach means a family trip to the beach. A trip to the beach means that I need a bathing suit of some sort. Bathing suit? Well - I've got a whole collection but none that I've actually worn because every time I order a new one it doesn't fit by the time I receive it. In exciting news - I tried on all eligible candidates in the 'swimsuit bag' and for the moment I have 2 really cute bikinis to wear for the summer! One is black and the other is a really fun hodge-podge of colors. Oh yeah, and my board-shorts don't look too shabby either.

Z went to school late. Probably because he went to sleep late because he was working on the presentation for Thursday. Before he left he decided to eat some breakfast. A container of sun dried tomato pasta salad wasn't quite enough to fill him up and he went searching for something 'salty'. (Has he been living with me for too long or what?) I gave him chumus and red pepper strips. He commented that he was eating so healthfully. I replied that he was eating to get rid of leftovers.

After a snack of white rice and potato chips I decided to get to work. I checked the flour-situation in the cupboard. I had just shy of 5 cups of bread flour and half-a-cup of whole wheat flour.

I kneaded up dough for a batch of hamburger rolls. That used up 3.5 cups of the bread flour. I wound up making 9 rolls out of the batch - but in the future I should try to remember that the rolls get enormous and that the recipe could make 10 or 11 nice-sized rolls instead of 9 enormous buns. They smelled incredible and I let them cool, then sliced them most-of-the-way-through before putting them into the freezer for Sunday.

Did I mention the whole 'Sunday event' that we have planned? Well - 'The A to my Z' is finally back in The Holy Land. His fiance will be arriving on Friday and we really want to meet her. So we've decided to head to The Sun House a day early. Meaning we'll be heading over there on Sunday morning. We figured that a bbq at Tel Bet Shemesh or the Eucalyptus Park would be a fun way to spend the time. Meat, Meet, and of course eat lots of chametz from my freezer. Mr & Mrs Freddie will be joining us too. It's going to be a cute little gathering with yummy food. Burgers, wings, hotdogs, chicken-kabobs, homemade rolls, veggies, cookies - the works! 

So in order to use up some more flour I made - get ready for this - a half batch of '1/3-whole-wheat chocolate chip cookies'. I have no idea how they'll taste - probably quite heavy from the whole-wheat - but I figured it was better than nothing. (Note: Z ate a whole bunch of these cookies and commented that they tasted better than usual and 'more earthy' - so I guess whole wheat isn't all bad.) Anyway - they went straight into the freezer for the picnic too.

Now there's 1 cup of flour left and I'm trying to decide what to do with it. Freddie suggested blondies - which I could easily make for Shabbos. I can also make 1/2 a batch of caramel popcorn with the remaining 1/2 cup of margarine in the fridge.

Tomorrow Z will take the 50-muffin-collection to school for snack during the presentations. That will empty the top shelf of the freezer. Friday we'll be serving borekas and soup for lunch. Then on Sunday morning we'll see how many bagels we can finish off. I'm thinking most of them. Then the freezer will be just about empty. For some weird reason that excites me - a lot.

I'm starting to get a little stressed out about the whole 'today was Wednesday, a guest is coming for Shabbos, we're leaving on Sunday, Pesach is on Monday' thing. I've written about 6 'to-do' lists and a 'packing' list. I might think I write too many lists except that if I don't write them then half the stuff gets forgotten... Like a couple of weeks ago when we had cold chicken soup on Shabbos because Z wouldn't let me write my list in peace (then rushed me and messed up my schedule resulting in a late shower...) - so we served guests cold chicken soup. Anyway - point is - lists are important to me. Oh yes, and I'm feeling a bit stressed. On the bright side - last year we packed our suitcases and took a bus to a train to a cab to a hotel for a week. This year we can pack up our car and go whenever we want. It makes things a whole lot easier.

Okay - I'm going to go stress out a little bit more while bothering Z (who has finally started building the model for his presentation tomorrow. It's only 9:21pm - so I figure that he should be done by around 9:45am - only 45 minutes late for the presentation...) I should probably decide what time I'm going to go to sleep tonight.

Not too late - there's a heck of a lots of stuff to do tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stodgy = 27

When I woke up this morning it was raining. Actually, it was the rain drumming on the roof and the wind howling in through the 'tris-box' that woke me up in the first place. I shouldn't complain though - instead of the 'usual' 6:40am wake-up from the construction machinery - I was 'allowed' to sleep-in until 7:05. Very kind - don't you agree.

Z and I started playing a game of Scrabble but took a break when I decided to apply myself to a graphics project. Truth be told - he didn't want to play the game any more because I was winning.

Eventually we buckled down and started cleaning the office. As you may (or may not) know - our office was in serious need of both a Pesach cleaning and a Spring cleaning. The dust was so thick that we tried to avoid all flat surfaces and things kept falling off of shelves. Did I mention the big unidentifiable sticky-spot on the floor under the couch? Yeah - so I guess that's one of the dangers of being 'grown-up' - no parents to force you to clean... Suffice it to say that it took almost 8 hours to go through all of the junk. We also dusted all of the bookcases (and books), reorganized the shelves, wire-tied all of the cables and plugs so that they're all neat and threw stuff out.

For dinner I cooked up a 'little white fishie' and heated up some leftover Bulgur for Z. Note to self: Z does not like bulgur. (Whoops.) I ate a couple of mint chocolate chip truffles, some FF cookies and more potato chips. (Did I mention that I polished off a 'big' 200 gram bag of chips today?)

In exciting news - I've been offered big pot by the Mean'ma. 16 liters-worth of chicken-stock making goodness. It'll be all mine right after Pesach and for some reason the thought of it makes me very very happy.

I'm getting a little stressed out about this upcoming Shabbos. We're having a guest and that complicates matters because I really can't afford to have any leftovers but I need to actually serve food. I also really don't want to go to the grocery store. Not quite sure how to proceed. Frustration. Frustration. Frustration. *sigh*

So here we are - it's 11:30 at night and Z is nowhere near done with his schoolwork. Due to our 'cleaning break' today he didn't get to do any work which means he'll probably be working all night tonight. There's a presentation on Thursday so he'll probably work all night tomorrow too. Stupid school.

Tomorrow I'm going to be busy again. I've got a newsletter to lay out, a book-cover to work on, a stuffed animal collection to wash (yes, it's bath-time), flour to use up (I'm thinking hamburger buns for our bbq on Sunday), grocery shopping to do, a kitchen to clean, shabbos pre-prep to take care of, packing (for a week+) to consider and there's some other stuff that I don't have energy to think about now too.

On a funny note - for the last 4 years in a row I have been crazy strict about not eating potato chips on Pesach (because I tend to over-do it) - but this year they're going to be my food staple. How amusing is that? Do you reckon I'll gain weight over the week? I'm thinking I'll probably lose a bit since I won't be able to eat any of my awesome oat-flour cookies. Ah well - I'm sure it'll come right back the week after. I really to love my thin-mints and peanut-butter chocolate chip treats. Curse you Passover 'Holiday' Week!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Out of Flour...

You know those days where you just feel fat and nothing seems to fit? Then all you really need is love but there's no one to show you any? Then you go out of your way to try and do something nice for people but all they have to say about it is criticism which makes you feel stupid? Yeah - I had one of those days.
After baking a cake, washing dishes, straightening up, organizing papers, watching a movie and 2 episodes of tv, video-chatting for over an hour, eating way too many cookies and talking to my stuffed animals - I was just about ready to pull my hair out. Boredom is really really really really awful. In a bad way.
The funny thing is that today wasn't really a bad day - it was just really boring. I'm itching to do useful things with my life - but every time I finally get inspired to get up and do something, I eat something wrong and end up sick again.
Have I mentioned that I am sick of potato chips and cookies? Yeah - like so sick of them I could cry. Oh wait, I already have. To no avail though - because my only other options are rice and chicken - sounds like fun, doesn't it?
The most exciting part of today was watching the huge rock-crushing machine turn half of the mountain into piles of gravel.

So many joys and wonders.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jimmies

I did all of the 'heavy-lifting' on Thursday which left Friday wide open to do just about nothing. I have no problems with that though. Friday morning I woke up early and did the last of the cooking. Then Z and I went out 'to town' where we picked up salatim and bumped into our friends The Lockermans. Then we drove over to Yesh to pick up some vegetables and on our way out of the parking lot we quickly detoured to the flower-man's tent outside of the creepy 'Abu Eli' makolet, across the street from the Arab-owned plant nursery and pet food store. Turns out the nice Jewish-guy who sells flowers has a good selection for a relatively great price (for the area anyway.) On our way up 'the big hill' Z noticed one of our upstairs neighbors 'hoofing it' up the hill - we stopped to let him hop in and gave him a ride the rest of the way. In return he helped Z carry the bags up to our front door. (Hey, I'm not complaining - it freed up my hands.) Since all of the cooking was done we had close to 5 hours to spend however we wanted. Z did one last 'babyproofing' sweep of the shelves and then we watched tv.

The Spodeks arrived about an hour before candle-lighting. Friday night went by quickly and so did the day - before we knew it our guests were off to other neighbors on the other side of town for seudah shlishit. Shabbos was over way too soon.

The meals were good though - just so I have a record:

Friday night: roasted garlic, chumus, matbucha, chatzilim, quick-pickle-slices, chicken soup, roasted chicken on a bed of onions and (parboiled) potatoes, white rice, garlic rice, peas, streusel topped sweet potatoes

Shabbat lunch: roasted garlic, chumus, matbucha, chatzilim, quick-pickle-slices, sliced veggie basket (red-yellow-orange peppers, cucumbers, carrots, mushrooms), honey mustard shnitzel, pan sauteed chicken breast, sun dried tomato pasta salad, FF 'tri-color' pasta salad, Judy's bulgur sidedish, FF mashed potato kugel (with barley flour)

Desserts: cookie platter (crackle cookies, rum & spice cookies, FF PB CC cookies)

Sunday morning was 'same old' - the machines were banging away outside our window bright and early. Then at 8:30 the creepy old 'fix-it-kablan' showed up banging on the door. "Show me where the water damage is in the apartment." So we showed him. "I'll be back after Pesach to deal with it." Uh-huh, sure, right...we'll believe that when you actually show up.

At a certain point I decided that it was time to be somewhat productive. I put on some bad 'pop' music and started baking. Z's studio class is having 'presentations' this week and I was offered the opportunity to bake for them. I'll be trying this 'Rocky Road Texas Sheet Cake" for Monday's evening studio and today I baked assorted muffins for Thursday's morning studio. I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip muffins, a batch of double chocolate chip muffins and a double-batch of cinnamon buttermilk muffins. All in all I ended up with 54 standard size muffins.

That got me thinking a lot about muffins. I can't remember whether I've mentioned my next 'big plan' in this forum. For the last couple of weeks I have been toying with the idea of selling baked goods here in the middle of nowhere. You see, there are a lot of student on campus and I reckon they might be interested in tasty treats. I'm also pretty confident that my breads would be quite well accepted. So after Pesach I'm hoping to start baking and selling locally. I'm in quite a tizzy trying to figure out 'cost' and how much I would need to charge in order to break even and then to make a profit. The truth is that I'm realizing that it is completely 'do-able' - all it takes is the time and effort. This is something I can definitely handle - and be good at!

The plan is to offer; cookies by the dozen, frozen logs of cookie dough, assorted muffins and artisan breads. Orders can be placed by telephone or e-mail (until I actually manage to put together a website for myself - oh man, that's going to be quite a challenge - I've never actually done it before...) Deliveries will be made twice a week - probably on Monday nights and on Thursday nights.

Of course, me being me - I feel that 'presentation' is quite important. for that reason I really don't want to deliver my baked goods in plain old sandwich baggies. I also want cute muffin-liners. Wise business people that I know always used to say that it takes wisely invested money to make money. So - I've spent most of my free time today pricing things out online. From the looks of things boxes and bags aren't economical to buy online if you don't live in the USofA. However - my Bro-in-Law is in Shmutz Laaretz for Pesach and cute cupcake liners definitely don't weigh very much. Hopefully he won't mind shlepping a bunch back for me. Then I'll be a step closer to getting this project underway. I'm assuming that a trip to the party-goods type store in Jeru will be in order to get bags and boxes for the food to be distributed in.

Last part of the plan is the logo and design. Obviously I'll be doing that myself - but I've got to figure out what to call it. It's a shame that 'cheaper by the dozen' is already taken.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Found the Charger...

Am I the only one that finds it ironic that 'Palestinians' murder Israelis so the Israelis are 'granted permission' to build new homes in their own country but the building results in having more 'Palestinians' getting paid and wandering around Israeli towns than ever? Yeah - so 'construction' started at 6:50 this morning.They're jackhammering the mountain behind our house apart for seemingly no-reason at all. I drove Z down to school because he had to take a big model down to studio. Yeah, I'm too nice sometimes. I put a pot of chicken-stock up to cook - I threw in 2 carcasses and 1 lost chicken wing. I'm guessing that it will be pretty thick and tasty whenever I decide it's done simmering. I also cooked up a pot of vegetable stock to use at my own discretion. Since it's Thursday and that means Shabbos is tomorrow I kind of figured I should start cooking. I'm pulling dessert(s), challot and a FF mashed-potato-kugel out of the freezer. So I made a FF version of our favorite 'tri-color pasta salad' (Idid thatby using rice pasta, using GF soy sauce, cane sugar and omitting the 'color' which is the saute'ed pepper strips and snap-peas.) I also put together sun-dried tomato pasta salad and cooked up a batch of 'Judy's Bulgur Sidedish' to eat at some point. I hope the bulgur is good since I can't taste it on account of it being wheat and the onions, carrots and Tbsp of onion-soup-mix that went into it.) I've got a shopping list all written up but don't really want to go out today - since I'll probably end up going out tomorrow too. All that's on the list is vegetables but I also need to pick up the 'salatim' and who knows - maybe Z will get me flowers is I drive him to the florist and demand some - loudly. I mean - he can take a not-so-subtle hint, right? Breakfast today was another barley-roll. This time I sliced it horizontally into 3 pieces, spread about 1/2 tsp yellow mustard on the slices then topped with 1 slice of 'yerushalayim' cheese. Then I popped it into the microwave for 40 seconds to make the cheese melt-y. It was quite a nice changed from butter. For lunch I got a special treat. I pulled the potato out of the vegetable stock, sliced it into rounds and sprinkled it with salt. It tasted really great because it had boiled along with other veggies so it had some extra 'umph' to it. I did a fake reorganize of my clothing closet (because the situation had gotten so bad that the door wouldn't close properly and things kept dive-bombing off the shelves.) I also folded all 4 loads of laundry (yes 4. I washed sheets, towels and clothes.) Z came Home a little early. He was happy to pick the chicken from the soup clean for dinner. Then he surprised me by sweeping and washing the floor. He also set up the candles, set the table, washed the dishes, made the beds in the guest room and even changed the sheets in our room. Now he can sleep late tomorrow morning because all of his chores are done. Or so he thinks. In response to his cleaning frenzy I decided to do one last useful thing. I organized the medicine and toiletries shelves that are in the top half of Z's clothing closet. He had been asking me to take care of it for weeks - so now it's done. We are even. In other random news - Z took the cake truffles from yesterday down to studio this morning. Rumor has it that they were gone in no time and people really enjoyed. They liked the ones with the white-chocolate rosettes better and those were the ones that disappeared first - turns out aesthetics do matter. There's not too much to do tomorrow. Just a bit of cooking and a quick trip to the grocery store. For now I think I'll get some sleep - I'm pretty sure that the 'diggers' will be chipping away at the mountain at some ridiculous hour of the morning.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Z's Magic Stick...

By 9:00 am I had accomplished the following:
Woken up Z.
Cooked up a cup of pasta and made a container-full of sun-dried tomato pasta salad for Z to take for lunch - along with 2 'mini' Reeses cups.
Warmed up a homemade bagel and made a pizza-bagel with homemade tomato sauce for Z for breakfast.
Divided the mint-chip-truffle dough into blobs and put them to chill.
Put the 1st load of the day of stuffed animals into the washer.
Entertained (been entertained) by Dibble via Skype.
Rolled the mint-chip-truffles into neat little balls and returned them to the freezer to harden before commencing chocolate coating.

I ate a lemon chiffon truffle, 2 FF PBCC cookies and licked mint-chip-truffle stuff off my fingers for breakfast.

As a little break I watched an episode of 'Greek'. By 12:00 I had added the following to my list of activities:
Moved the first load of today's stuffed animals into the dryer.
Phone conversation with the guests who will be joining us for Shabbos.
Video-chat with Phil.
Chocolate coating the mint-chip truffles.
Preparing and shaping the cake-balls. (I got 40 out of about 1/4 of a cake recipe. That's a lot of cake balls.)
Washing all of the pareve dishes.

Put the second load of stuffed animals into the washing machine.

For lunch I ate a big bowl of Persian rice with a bowlful of potato-chips. Of course I sampled a mint-chip truffle too - just to make sure they tasted good. I mean, somebody had to.
By 2:30 I had also:
Switched laundry loads and freed the now clean, soft and fluffy fuzzies from their pillowcase prisons.
Chocolate coated the yellow-cake balls and decorated them with sprinkles.
Prepared, shaped and chocolate coated 30 chocolate-cake balls. I also decorated them with white-chocolate rosettes.
I moved the now finished mint truffles into a plastic container and cleared off most of the counter.Z came Home at a little before 5 just as I finished snacking on potato chips and 2 more FF PBCC cookies. I force-fed him cake truffles - just to find out if they were actually edible. We also fed one to one of the guys from upstairs - since I needed an objective opinion. I got thumbs-up on all fronts. Z said that they remind him of 'Entenmanns Munchkins' and that they're very moist. He also said that they are almost fudge-like in consistency. (I'm assuming thats a good thing since most people like fudge. Also good to note that most people also don't like dry baked-goods that stick in the throat and make them wish they hadn't eaten them.)

Continuing on the 'productive activity' list - we neatly arranged all of the now clean stuffed animals on the 2 shelves designated for them. They're quite thrilled to be free instead of stuck in a laundry basket, piled on top of one another, secured from certain 'falling' by a big mesh bag. Yeah - I can definitely understand why they'd be happier now.

I should probably figure out what to make for dinner, but that just seems like a lot of work. There's still enough chicken leftover from Shabbat for one more meal - though I would have to come up with some sort of side-dish for the picky picky whatshisface.
Tomorrow night's dinner is all sorted out - pizza fish with crash baked potatoes. I've also got lots more stuff to do tomorrow. Shabbos prep and whatnot. Thankfully the challot and desserts are all in the freezer. Z will take the cake truffles down to studio which means 2 cakes & all that frosting will officially be out of the house. Woohoo!

My brain is whirring with all of the stuff that is already done and all of the stuff that is still on the list. The 'to-do' and 'to clean' lists don't seem to be getting any shorter but I know I've been busy. Busy busy busy. Oh so busy.