Thursday, June 30, 2011

Snatching Eagles...

I woke up at 6:30 this morning. Phil got up a little before 8 and I waited until a little after 8 to wake up Z.

Phil and I watched some tv (and Z insisted on Peanut Butter Ice Cream for breakfast.)

Eventually Z went out to school to take care of some things. Phil and I took it as an opportunity to go out and have some fun of our own. We headed into town where we picked up some roasted/salted nuts to nosh on and some chumus for Shabbos.

Back at Home we coated the mint thins with minty-chocolate goodness. Then we had a delightful lunch of shnitzel or little white fishies with french fries.

I made the chicken soup for Shabbos and took chicken out of the freezer to thaw. At least I can pretend I started the cooking.

I also did 3 loads of laundry and I finally organized my clothes closet (mostly because it was so messy that I couldn't fit the clean clothes on the shelves.) 

SL arrived at a little before 4 and after settling in she started doing some homework and studying.

For dinner I made 'eggplant parmigiana lite' in single-serve ramekins and for the Fructozoids - more chicken!

Phil and I played a lot of Scrabble and eventually we all agreed to watch 'The Proposal'.

Tomorrow is another day...erev shabbos again? Gosh.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lobster-Killer...

By 8:50 this morning I was on the road. I picked up Sara and Shlomo and off to Yesh we went. Z came too. The shopping trip didn't take very long and I was very excited because all of the potato-chips were 25% off.
We dropped everyone off at their respective places and then rushed Home to unpack the groceries. Then I pack up my flip-flops and drove off to Petach Tiqwa to pick up Freddie. Then we said g'bye to Mr. Freddie and headed off to Modiin.
We made it to the mall in no-time and met up with The Crazy Lady, Yo'Abba and Phil. We walked into the nail-salon right on time for our appointments. It was a really nice place - a whole row of pedi-chairs and a lot of colors to choose from. Phil went Lilac, Mean'ma chose pinks and I opted for a slightly redder version of my favorite magenta-y shade. It was highly relaxing and deeeelightful.
Then we wandered around the mall for a little bit before heading back to the cars where The Crazy Lady surprised me with a super-awesome jumbo FF Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie. We snapped a couple of pictures then piled into the car and headed towards Home.
Back in Petach Tiqwa we detoured to the car wash (because cars deserve showers sometimes too.) Then we dropped Freddie off and drove Home.
Did I mention that I kidnapped Phil for the night? She requested peanut-butter ice cream and Z was just the person to make it. He put together the custard and we churned it while dinner was in the oven.
Getting chocolate flakes into the mix was a fun part - but it seems to me that the best part was the 'tasting'(s).
Now it's setting up in the freezer overnight while we enjoy a meat meal of deliciousness. Z did a great job making dinner. (I should leave it up to him more often.)
All in all a highly successful and extremely enjoyable (english) birthday day!

I wonder if the Hebrew one will be able to top it.

Hint hint - wink wink - nudge nudge - to nobody in particular...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Skip a Page...

French fries and iced tea for breakfast after a nice hot shower.
Then we gardened a little bit and soaked up some vitally important vitamin D.
Next a walk down to the university campus - because walking is good for the body and mind. On the way back up the hill I made plans to go out Wednesday morning. I have plans for Wednesday afternoon too, they're just a bit different than what I'd been expecting. Instead of Jeru we're going to Modi'in.
Z came Home from his exam with a notification slip from the post office. The photos had arrived for the cookbooks. We went out to town and picked them up. Back at Home - Z organized all of the photos and I stuffed the albums. They look great!
Leftover chicken from Shabbos and Basmati rice for my dinner. Z got 'pizza fish' - haddock baked with (leftover homemade) matbucha and some mozzarella cheese on top.
Tomorrow I'm hoping to make it into the kitchen to bake a whole bunch of FF cookies for myself. I hope I can motivate myself to actually do it. (Though considering the quantities I tend to consume when I have them around...it might be safer to abstain.)

By the way the plants that the fuzzy-buddies were playing in today are my little pepper-plantlings. They're doing great! I'm hoping that they'll continue to do well and maybe we'll even get some pepper-ful bounty.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sequin for 18

I made a dozen root beer cupcakes for Shabbos. Since there were a lot of desserts not all of the cupcakes got eaten. I really didn't want to throw them out but knew that there was no way that Z was going to eat 8 cupcakes himself. So I turned to our latest and greatest social-tool (facebook) and posted an inquiry to see if anyone would adopt-a-cupcake. It didn't take long for responses to come in and 'first-come-first-served' (and a lot of serious love) had me walking down to the university a short 20 minutes later to deliver the goods. While I was at it I packed up the rest of the cookies too - I figured the students would be happy to enjoy them 'post-final-exam' on a Sunday morning.

I strapped on my pedometer (which I noticed hadn't been tracking my steps for the last couple of days) and figured I'd at least get a walk in - which is the reason I didn't drive down the hill. After making the delivery I checked the screen and it was flashing a 'no-battery' signal. I guess it's time to replace the battery. Who would've thunk. I'm really not having much luck with electronics this week and it's only Sunday.

When I got back home I sat down and saw am e-mail waiting in my inbox. It instructed me to print out the attached file, sign it and mail it as soon as possible (before the end of the month) - yes, it was for tax purposes. (See, we do our civic duty and file our taxes.) I figured that since it's pretty much the end of the month that I should send it off as quickly as possible. So, I hopped in the car and went out to town.

After the post-office I stopped at the office supply store and picked up a couple more things I needed for 'the business' including an accounts ledger and a pretty maroon binder to file all of my business-related stuff in.

Back at Home there wasn't much to do. Z called to say that he'd missed the 2pm bus and the next one wasn't until 4:45pm - so he wouldn't be home until 6:30ish. I made myself some basmati rice and ate it with some chicken (leftover from Shabbos) - it was quite a balanced lunch for me.

I 'skype-d' with Rik and the little princess for a while and then Z got home.

He handed me a present saying, "this is an early birthday / thanks for being so patient for the last 2 weeks while I ignored you and worked on schoolwork present" - It looked like a jewelry box. I was a little apprehensive.

I opened the little paper gift bag and took out a jewelry box. Then I carefully opened the box, not sure what to expect, and to my complete surprise there were the perfect sized pearl earrings on real gold studs. I was floored - absolutely speechless - well, for about 10 seconds anyway. The surprise still hasn't worn off. You see - since December 2007 I've been wearing a $5 pair of 'fake pearl earrings' from Claires. They're actually the earrings that I wore at my wedding (yes, I wore fake pearl earring at my own wedding.) However, with daily wear and 'overuse' the paint peeled off of the beads and the backings started corroding a bit. I kept washing them with alcohol and antibiotic ointment but about 2 weeks ago I got a nasty sort of infection - so I stopped wearing the earrings and switched to a pair of gold-dangly earrings instead. I really missed my studs - a lot a lot. Anyway, this morning Z went through my jewelry box (without my knowledge) and took my fake-pearl earrings with him to Jeru. He spent hours going from store to store looking for real pearls that were exactly the same size as my original pair. It was the perfect present. Really really.
.
As if the earrings weren't enough of a present - he proceeded to take out the trash and wash all of the dishes. How amazing is he?! And it isn't even my birthday yet!

Truth of the matter is that today was a great day. I felt pretty good and got a lot accomplished. I sincerely hope that I feel as good (or better) than I did today on Wednesday - cause it stinks to be sick on your birthday - and because I'm supposed to be driving into Jeru for that mani/pedi!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Last Rabbit...

'Root Beer Weekend' was awesome.

On Friday morning we went out 'to town' to run the usual Shabbos errands. We picked up my epilator from the post-office, bought dinosaur-shnitzels for breakfast, exchanged wine for grape juice and picked up 'fresh' chumus from the chumusia in the industrial area.

The cooking didn't take long at all and it was a pleasure (as always) to have Timmy the Soldier Boy around to help. (He even vacuumed the rug!) We decided to skip the store-bought salatim and made home-made matbucha instead. We laughed so hard that I actually cried and the pictures (and video clips) barely do the day justice. Amo arrived a few hours before candle lighting. Then we had a relaxed start to Shabbos. I drove the guys down to shul for 'early' mincha then watched the sunset from our balcony.

The food all came out incredibly amazing... (I don't know why I'm always so surprised that it does.)

Friday Night: Challah, 'Abu Dushi' chumus, homemade matbucha, roasted garlic & cherry tomatoes, chicken soup with matzah balls, pesto chicken, couscous, white rice, peas

Kiddush: mini fruit galettes (apple & nectarine)

Shabbos Lunch: Challah, 'Abu Dushi' chumus, homemade matbucha, roasted garlic, 'Eric's Chicken & Rice Salad' (with homemade roasted red pepper), Roasted chicken fillets with potatoes

Seudah Shlishit: A big ol' basket of sliced vegetables, crackers & dips

Drinks: 6 liters 'not quite snapple', 3 liters lemonade (1.5 pink, 1.5 blue), 1 liter 'homemade' root-beer


About 20 minutes before Shabbos we noticed that the fridge was feeling a bit warm. By the time we had finished the meal the fridge was decidedly not cool but I figured it might be on account of the warm bottles we'd put into it and that it would cool down by the morning. However... in the morning the plug fell out of the wall (yeah, we're still working out how exactly that happened) but suffice it to say that our fridge was no longer plugged in (and it was only 8:30 in the morning.) To be on the 'safe-side' I moved anything 'perishable' into the freezer - then we hoped for the best. 12 hours later Shabbos ended and I plugged the fridge back into the socket. It cycled on. I waited about 20 minutes to see whether the fridge was cooling properly and it seemed to be - so I figured it was safe to move stuff back into the fridge compartment. I pulled cheese and milk out of the freezer and found that the freezer had not only stayed frozen for the 12 hours it had been unplugged but that it was so well insulated that things that I'd thrown in from the fridge had begun to freeze! I have to say I was pretty impressed with the thing. Thankfully the fridge seems to be working fine now. (This happened a couple of times last summer too - for some reason the motor needs to be 'reset' every once in a while. I guess it's just one of those quirks you get used to living with.)

I drove Timmy down to the Jeru bus at 9:09 pm and we waited until it pulled up to the stop. Then he was off for another week of army-ness. I think I found him a new author to obsessively read - so I can officially consider the weekend a smashing success.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jesus Crisis!!!

#0 - Don't let the colorblind one color the lemonade...
#1 - Dinosaur shnitzels ARE indeed the optimal breakfast food.
#2 - It is unacceptable to follow a wife around the house and demand that she stay out of your way.
#3 - Greenish lemonade may still be safe to consume.
#4 - Washing dishes works best when water is used.
#4 - Laughter is the best ab workout ever.
#5 - Salami comes with its own little hairs sometimes - do not be alarmed.
#6 - The cheapest place to buy Russian beer is not at a Russian alcohol spot, but at an honest to goodness Russian grocery store.
#7 - There is no Russian grocery store in the center of town.
#8 - When the car is in park - it will not go. Even if there is a green light.
#9 - Z claims to exist 'just to annoy me' - I'm willing to believe it.
#10 - When the music ends, it is eerily quiet. Somebody turn it back on.

Birthday weekends are awesome.

The End.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"But I Bought That Paper..."

Last night Z had a friend come over to help him iron out some details with the studio project. His friend was extremely helpful and set a deadline for Z by offering to come back in the morning to check on the progress.

I had extended an invitation to Freddie, but didn't know whether she was going to accept the offer. I figured that since she's done with school, she could come on over and we could bake challah together.
I started off the morning by washing the dishes (which had accumulated) since Sunday. (Yuck. I know.) Then I checked on my little garden and watered all the plants.

By 9 Z's friend had arrived so I tried to be as quiet as I could be while they looked over the project. Until Freddie called. She said she would be delighted to come over.
I looked through the fridge and found 2 nectarines and 1 yellow apple that desperately needed to either be used or tossed. I decided to use them to make mini-galettes (miniature free-form tarts) so I put together a pate sucree and while it was in the fridge chilling Freddie arrived.

She made the challah dough (cause sometimes 2 hands are better than 4) and then while it rose out on the sun-drenched porch we relaxed. When the dough was almost risen I rolled out, filled and crimped the galettes. Then we shaped the challahs. The dough was steaming hot when we punched it down - that is some fierce sun out there! While the braids rose the tray of galettes baked. Then we swapped trays and baked the bread.
We learned all sorts of important things today. (Some we already knew - but we reminded ourselves of them) such as the fact that cumin and cinnamon are not the same and also that cinnamon and nutmeg are not the same. So - don't put cumin in your cottage cheese, and don't put cinnamon in your lasagna filling.

We also wrote out menus for shabbos. Not only did we make menus for ourselves - we decided to make the same thing. Then we called The Crazy Lady and told her that she should make it too. So - we will all be enjoying Yo'Abba's favorite chicken and rice salad. (You know, the one with yellow rice, chicken and salami in it...)

Once the challahs were cool we packed them up (along with a couple of mini-galettes) and Freddie headed home. She had some errands to do before picked Mr. Freddie up from the train and she needed to make dinner at some point in-between. She sure is one busy lady.
I bagged&tagged my challah loaves and worked on the 'Snoopy' project while watching some tv and eating some rice. Then I realized that it was 6:30pm! (The days have been flying by lately!) So, I offered to make Z some dinner.

Oven-broiled chicken wings glazed with a honey mustard bbq sauce sounded easy enough to me. So that's what I threw into the oven. I also made some couscous on the side.

Tomorrow is Wednesday. The first day of 'studio presentations' and grocery shopping day. So I guess I'll be going to the store all-alone. (It's ok - it goes a bit quicker that way anyway.) My list is written and I'm all ready to go.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Petel-Limon

Remember a year and a half ago I went to a dr. here in the-middle-of-nowhere and began the search for answers to my stomach issues? Well - I visited him again this morning (for what I hope will be the 2nd and last time ever.) I figured that it was pointless to drive for an hour to spend 5 minutes with a dr. when I could do the same thing locally.

This is how it went down...

I walked into his office when it was my turn and took a seat.
He said something along the lines of "Are you new around here?"
"Nope" I answered. "I actually saw you about a year and a half ago."
Then he swiped my card and when my file opened on his screen he said, "Oh yes! I see you were here about a 16 months ago. I gave you a referral to a dietitian as a consult regarding your weight-problem. I guess it worked miracles, you really look great."
Boy did I get the last laugh as I told him (very - ok well, somewhat politely) that he was an arrogant jerk and that I had never even bothered to call the dietitian.

Thankfully I had on my 'business face' - so he gave me the papers I needed for the bloodwork. I made it out of his office just in time to be the last person to squeeze into the nurses office to get the blood taken. Now I'm waiting for all of the results to come in. Here's to hoping that I'm doing even better than last time.

Back at Home I decided to make Z something nice for lunch. I mixed up a batch and a half of pizza dough then I cooked up a potful of tomato sauce. 9 adorable personal-pies later I made myself comfy on the couch and somehow the day flew by. Before I knew it, the clock read 5:11pm.

Z heated up chicken soup for us for dinner and we ate it while watching 'Will & Grace' - our new time-waste together show. Then he washed all of the dishes cause he's so awesome.

Now he's hard at work on the studio-project. It seems to be coming along nicely. Let's all just cross our fingers that it'll be done by Wednesday.

Tomorrow morning I'm planning on making myself all sorts of delicious treats. I've got a batch of almond milk that needs to get used up - so I'm thinking oat muffins and barley pancakes. Wish me luck!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Faqir Esq.

Shavua Tov everybody! Shabbos was incredibly nice this weekend. It was long but it wasn't too boring and/or lonely. All of the food came out amazingly delicious. (Well, aside from the fact that white-skinned potatoes never seem to cook - the scalloped potatoes were in the oven for 2 hours yesterday and then on the plata for almost 3 hours and Z claimed that they were still 'raw' - he also didn't like the new recipe for brownies that I attempted as the base for 'Turtle Brownies' - but I'm pretty sure that was because he likes fudgey brownies and because my caramel somewhat flopped - it was my first try EVER so cut me some slack...)

At a little before 10pm the 'game crew' arrived. They were all stuck in Ariel for the weekend in order to maximize time for building their enormous studio project. (Can you tell that this whole studio thing is a REALLY big deal?!) Anywho - they took a 'shabbos-break' and wound up at our house. They brought beer and I made snacks - so they were set for 2 rounds of Settlers.

The weather was amazing this weekend. Not too hot and not too cold - sunny but not unbearably so. I was thrilled - I even spent some time in the sun to boost my vitamin-D levels.

Speaking of vitamin levels - it's time to get my vitamin-levels re-checked! Hopefully they've stabilized (normalized) like my weight! Can you believe it's been 30 weeks since my FructMal diagnosis? Craziness indeed.

The birthday countdown is in full swing. My birthday present to myself is a mani/pedi in Jeru with a friend which I am really really excited about!

A whole new week is beginning but I'm already excited for it to end - Soldier-boy is coming for Shabbos next week and I am very much looking forward to it!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Watch it Burst

Yesterday I tried to make barley-bread. It flopped. So I spent the day hungry. Well - hungry for real food. I consumed almost 400 grams of potato chips, 3 cups of cooked rice and a chicken breast.

This morning I made a batch of almond milk. It came out much thinner than last time - not quite as creamy and delicious. I figured I'd use the almond pulp to try to make cookies. They flopped. Now I've got no dessert for myself for Shabbos.

Come to think of it - there isn't really very much food for Shabbos in general. There is chicken soup for tonight and I'll saute some chicken breast for tomorrow. Sidedishes are overrated. Gosh it's a good thing my stomach shrank.

Tonight for Z there is: roasted garlic, salatim, challah, chicken soup with matzah balls, 'Chinese Chicken Wings', Jasmine rice, green beans

Tomorrow there will be: roasted garlic, salatim, challah, sauteed chicken breast, Moroccan Spiced Chicken, Jasmine rice, tossed salad/sliced veggies

Desserts this weekend are pretty boring. I messed up a lemon-pound-cake for the bat-mitzvah, so it's been sitting in the house and no one is eating it. This morning I turned it into cake-truffles (which helped use up the buttercream frosting (from the sugar-cookie-bars) and some of the 'coating chocolate' (from the chocolate dipped pretzels)) Z seems to like them - so I guess he'll eat those. As for me - I've got 1 bag of potato chips left. I hope it lasts.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Your Name...

Happy 'loazi' Birthday to Yo'Abba and to my amazingly awesome Aunt!

I slept in this morning. Seriously. Til' 9. It was absolutely delightful.
When I finally decided to get out of bed I realized that there wasn't very much to do.
When Z finally woke up and got out of bed (two things that happen hours apart) I convinced him to join me in the kitchen.
He obliged and together we assembled the ice-cream maker and churned yesterday's custard into silky smooth and deliciously amazing french vanilla ice cream. All good ice cream needs add-ins just for fun. Z's french vanilla got Oreo cookie bits & Godiva milk-chocolate pearls stirred in.
The little fuzzies adopted 2 of the cookies. They were very pleased to learn that someone out there finally realized that it's hard to hold a full-sized cookie with tiny paws.
Z helped me scoop the ice-cream into a container and then he got to lick the bowl. (Well, lick the spatulas - since licking the bowl probably would have culminated in 'tongue sticking to the bowl'.)
While the ice cream firmed up in the freezer I made us some breakfast. I'm not the biggest fan of 'eggs' but when they're the only thing on the edible-list... sometimes you've just got to give in. I've also found that having boiled potatoes in the fridge at all times is extremely wise. With them I can make hash-browns and eggs and they can all be ready in under 10 minutes. Absolutely brilliant.
The day progressed slowly and I was very excited when Sara called to find out what I was doing. She came over at around 2:30 and we tried to decide where we should go out to. Today was the day she chose to take a 'break' from studying. We went down to the car and figured we'd just drive to somewhere. Somehow we wound up on the university campus - in the physical-therapy 'machlaka' (where a lot of her classmates were studying.) Lucky for me they were studying massage. Off came my clothes and onto a bed I got - always happy to be a body - you know, all in the name of science...
After practicing the movements for her final we went to the other side of town and had some fun in the 'spice store' down there. Then I dropped her off at caravan-town and went back Home.

Z made rice-pasta for dinner for me. He's so great!

We also found out that the bus-company here is starting a new route from the-middle-of-nowhere to Jeru via highways 5 & 1. That means no more nauseating back-road and a lot quicker of a ride. It's only a commuter-route (for now) but it's still exciting news!

Thursday tomorrow already - how can that be? I'm excited for 'quiet shabbos' - very excited as a matter of fact.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Big Stinky Devlans

It was delightfully chilly this morning. At some point the sun warmed everything up which was nice. I blackmailed Z with an ultimatum. I told him that either he could come on a walk with me or I would eat something 'bad' for me. He chose the walk option. At least I got out of the house and put a couple thousand steps on my pedometer.
On our way back we checked the mail. I was super excited because a notice had arrived from the post-office. My package has arrived! Yay for new clothes that (hopefully) fit! I'm going to go and pick them up tomorrow.

Z also decided that I should make ice-cream tomorrow. I'm not sure why he's being so insistent - it's not like he's going to eat it, and I can't, so it seems like a silly endeavor. He has his little heart set on French vanilla brownie bit ice cream. He even put the bowl-thingamajig into the freezer. So I guess I'll pick up some cream, milk and vanilla beans while I'm in town tomorrow.
Toffee looked over the 'sales' flyer for Yesh but there weren't any overly exciting 'deals' or 'specials' listed so maybe I won't bother going grocery shopping this week after all.

It's sad to be finished with all of the crazy-busy baking. I was just starting to enjoy having loads to do and very little time to do it in. I hope the party went well - we couldn't make it on account of (as I've taken to calling it) 'potential studio flop'. Have I mentioned lately that I hate architecture school even more than I hate stupid little white beans...?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Do You Play the Kora?

I was up and in the kitchen by 6:30 this morning. First I baked 2 buttermilk bundt cakes, then I baked a batch of chocolate crackle cookies. The first 2 bundt cakes came out of the pan with no problems whatsoever, but the 3rd cake, (the lemon one) flopped. I was upset - but not deterred.
Meanma and YoAbba arrived at around 1pm. The first order of business was putting a lemon pound cake into the oven. While it baked Meanma helped me in the 'garden' - we thinned out the pepper-plantlings. Now they're housed in 2 planters so they have more room to grow. I hope they keep growing as nicely as they have been growing until now.
The next thing on the list was lunch. I made 2 versions of stuffed zucchini. One type for Yo'Abba & Z which was filled with a seasoned couscous and vegetable mixture and a second version for Meanma filled with a rice & zucchini mixture.

I sliced the tops off of the zucchini then hollowed them out with my melon-baller. Then I drizzled some olive oil into the zucchinis and sprinkled in some salt and pepper. Finally I popped them into the oven to roast for 20 minutes.

Then I made the fillings. First I diced up the zucchini flesh. Next I sauteed a diced onion in a little bit of olive oil and once it was translucent I added some of the diced zucchini. When the zucchini was softened I threw in some diced tomato then seasoned with salt, garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Once everything was cooked down I stirred some couscous (pre-cooked) into the vegetable mixture and stirred it all together.
For the rice mixture I just sauteed the zucchini until it was soft then seasoned with salt, black pepper, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a dash of garlic powder. I cooked it down and when the zucchini had released its juices and was nicely cooked (and starting to caramelize a bit) I stirred the rice into the mixture and heated it through.

When the zucchini shells were roasted (but still firm enough to hold their shape) I stuffed them with their assorted fillings and served immediately.

They made a delightful light 'Mediterranean' lunch served alongside some broiled lightly seasoned 'little white fishies' (tilapia were the delicate fish of choice of the day.)
The parentals had to leave on the early side so they could get back to The Sun House. We packed up the car and said our goodbyes.
All in all a very productive and enjoyable day.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Flying Locust Attack

Friday wound up being quite the crazy-day (as expected) but I pulled through.

Ayala and both her brothers came to stay for the weekend and it was a whole lot of fun. We played a lot of 'Settlers' (don't we always?) and there was a good mix of 3 and 5 player games.

We took 'early' shabbos which meant that we got to eat dinner at a 'normal' hour which was nice - because it resulted in getting a good night's sleep.

The meals were super-simple but everything turned out really well.

Friday night: Roasted garlic, salatim, pickles, chicken soup, matzah balls, regular roast chicken (4 kirayim), couscous, peas, white rice, glazed sweet potatoes.

Shabbos Lunch: Roasted garlic, salatim, pickles, savory meat roll, zaatar chicken (just white meat from 2 chickens), pineapple kugel, sliced veggies (peppers, carrots & cucumbers), white rice.

Desserts: PB&J bars, brownie pieces, FF oatmeal cookie 'pizza-brittle-thingamajig'

Z also brewed up 6 liters of his amazing iced tea and another 2 liters of his superb mint-lemonade.

Although it was quite warm on Friday, it cooled down considerably on Shabbos. The cooling trend continued Saturday night and I was excited to put on a cozy sweatshirt.

After Shabbos ended I got back to 'bat-mitzvah-prepping'. I melted 2 bars of baking chocolate and started dipping pretzels. Ayala was amazing and helped me out - which cut the workload and time in half - while making it a lot more fun and enjoyable. Altogether we only dipped 2 bags of pretzels. It doesn't seem like a lot - but it was a really time-consuming process. It took the 2 of us close to 2 hours to get it done and we were working at a pretty good speed. (I ended up with some extra chocolate - but I'm sure I can find a worthwhile use for it tomorrow...)

Speaking of tomorrow - Meanma and Yo'Abba will hopefully be coming to visit us. We're going to thin out the pepper plantlings together. I've got to figure out what exactly to make for lunch... it's a complicated situation. Regular food for the dudes and FF stuff for the fructozoids. On the bright side - I'm pretty sure Yo'Abba will enjoy the PB&J bars - so I'm glad we have a few leftover.

It's going to be another early morning since I have to get all 4 cakes and a triple batch of cookies baked and packed up before our guests arrive. I have until mid-afternoon - but in my book - the earlier the better.

Shavua Tov Everybody!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Haj = 42

Tuesday was erev chag - I woke up early, straightened up the apartment (somewhat), packed and got dressed. Then we left for The Sun House. We went on the early side hoping to do some errands. We ended up going to RBS where we were successful in all missions (except for acquiring ridged potato chips.) We even picked up Z's A, and they went on a little tiyul together out in nature.

Chag was splendid. We had a really great time. The Freddies' were also around and a good holiday was had by all. We played some Settlers, read some bad jokes in the newspaper and didn't let the dog eat our socks. I even went to shul in the morning (for the first time in close to 2 years.)

When chag ended we picked Sara up and headed back to the middle of nowhere. She had a final scheduled for early this morning and I had a lot of caramel popcorn to make.

I was awake at 6:30 (for no explicable or logical reason) but I tried to be quiet until 8. At that point I made a batch of PB&J Bars (yup, peanut butter and jelly bars) and I put the chicken soup up to cook. At a little after 11, I picked Sara up and we went grocery shopping. I was surprised to see that Yesh actually had some decent produce (considering it was the day after a holiday.) We also stopped off in 'town' to pick up the salatim for shabbos.

Back at Home I popped 3cups of popcorn kernels and proceeded to begin the arduous caramel-popcorn making process. You've got to understand that my oven can only fit 1 tray into it at a time - and that a single batch of caramel popcorn makes 2 trays worth of stuff. I was making a triple batch (which meant 6 trays worth of popcorn) and each tray needs to be in the oven for 50-60 minutes. Oh yes - and the tray in the oven needs to be stirred every 10 minutes (so that the caramel coat sets evenly.) So... altogether that means 6 hours of kitchen time and that for those 6 hours, I needed to run to the kitchen every 10 minutes to 'stir' the stuff. Like I said, arduous.

I didn't accomplish much of anything else. Well, I did 3 loads of laundry - but that doesn't really count. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day because we're having Ayala and her 2 brothers over - so I've got to cook, and set-up the guest room. At least the dessert is already made. I'm also using the challah from the freezer, the pineapple kugel from the freezer and the matzah balls from the freezer. The soup is made (though I need to boil it up with some new vegetables.) So all that I have left is the 'main's, some 'salads' and side-dishes... On second thought - there is quite a bit of work left to do.

I guess tonight should be an early night -to compensate for what will no-doubt be an early morning.

Wish me luck!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Defying Gravity

Early morning. They were banging outside the window at 5:45 this morning. Then at 7 they stopped and left - for the day. Idiots.

But I was awake - so I got up and decided to be productive. I baked 3 batches of brownies. While they were cooling I reorganized the freezer. As the batches cooled I used my cute little round cookie cutters and did some arts-n-crafts. I was left with 84 little brownie bites. (There's a picture a little further on in the post.)
I spoke to The Crazy Lady and Ora and 2 wrong-numbers on the phone. Then I spoke to Freddie for a few hours on Skype - we worked on her paper some more. (It's coming along quite nicely! Hopefully it will be done by tomorrow.)

She was about ready to take a break when Z called to ask whether his friends could come over for a 'game night'. Considering it's finals period - they really need a break now and again - so I said it was ok. Then I realized that I had nothing to make for dinner so I decided to go out.

I got in the mood to look cute - so I slipped on my black flats (instead of the usual naot) and it must've been a good move - cause I'm pretty sure I got checked out a couple of times. (Ego boost!) At Mega I picked up a nice quality spring-form pan (finally) for 1/2 price (12 shekel isn't a bad deal at all!) Then I went out to the industrial-area to get some covers for my 9x13 foil pans. While I was there I picked up some 'super-awesome' chumus from Abu-Dushi the felafel-ria. On my way Home I stopped at the keilim mikvah to 'dip' my new pan - just one less thing to have to worry about.
Z came Home from school early. He offered to make dinner for himself (and his friends.) Rat-ta-too-eee and pasta served with the oatmeal rolls from the freezer.

In the meanwhile I baked up a triple batch of sugar-cookie-bars. I think I'm going to give them the same sort of treatment that the brownies got - but I think I might use a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Then I just have to frost them then wrap them.

I'm also going to mix up the dough for crinkle-cookies. I didn't really want to make them because I don't think they look so pretty after freezing - but they're the tastiest that I've got in my repertoire that don't involve common allergens - like nuts...
Tomorrow morning is going to be crazy busy. I'll have to bake the cookies, pack for chag, straighten up the house and then head off to The Sun House.

I wanted to go as early as possible but now that I'm thinking about it I'll be there again early next week - on a regular weekday - so that might be a better time to visit the stores that I want to go to.

Maybe I won't have to leave as early as I thought I would.

Still - there's a lot to get done before we go.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Belle

I spent about six and a half hours in the kitchen today. Altogether I baked a double batch of chocolate chip cookies (170 2-teaspoon morsels of deliciousness) and then I baked three batches of sugar cookies (a total of 250 cookies) they have pretty color-coordinated sugar on their edges.

I made waffles for A&Z this morning as a special breakfast. I thought they would enjoy them with ice-cream but they went the boring ol' maple syrup route instead.

I was evil and forced Z to wash the dishes today - twice. He did it though.

I got a funny e-mail today and I wanted to share it with you since it was the funniest part of my day:
Dear Freddie and Larry,
CALOOGA.
love,
Phil! :)
p.s. stop with the french fries!!!
I love my funny siblings - oh wait - that's all of them.

Tomorrow more baking...

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Global Warming Conspiracy Theory...

I won 2 games of Settlers and the one game we played of Phase 10.

The food turned out really really really good.

Friday night: roasted garlic, salatim, pickles, chicken soup, matzah balls, chicken with cherry tomatoes basil and white wine, jasmine rice, couscous, peas

Shabbos Lunch: roasted garlic, salatim, pickles, salsa meat roll, sauteed chicken breast, FF potato kugel, carrot kugel, Israeli salad, sliced veggies

Desserts: FF overnight oat/barley flour chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookie bars, cookie brittle

All in all a ridiculously nice Shabbos.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Vegans Don't Deserve Good Coffee!

Thursday was pretty boring. I made chicken soup and watched a lot of tv between loads of laundry. When Z got home from school he swept and washed the floors and even set the table for Shabbos. We went to sleep feeling very relaxed because there wasn't much left to do.The last thing I did before going to sleep was to mix up a batch of 'FF' cookies. I used our family-favorite chocolate-chip-cookie recipe, but I substituted 1 cup oat flour and 2 cups barley flour in place of the wheat. Then I let the dough sit in the fridge overnight so that the flours could hydrate properly. This morning my first task was scooping out and baking the cookies. They came out like little cake-bites. Delicious!I decided to be nice and drove Z to town to run the errands (instead of making him take a bus.) The errands didn't take very long and we were Home again in no time. I got back down to cooking.The last thing I put together was the salsa-boreka-roll. I made some salsa, then cooked the meat in it. After it had cooled a bit I spread it on puff-pastry dough then rolled the whole shebang up. Then I baked it. The guys taste-tested it while it was cooling and I think they lliked it - which is good - cause they're getting it for lunch tomorrow.Have a great Shabbos everyone and I'll see ya on the other side when the crazy baking frenzy begins!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Infection Detection Suspection

A productive morning is directly affected by the quality of sleep experienced the night before.

I haven't really been getting anything done for the last week or so. I'm guessing it had something to do with not sleeping well. Yesterday Z and I went grocery shopping and finally decided to splurge and buy one of those 'plug-in' thingamajigs against mosquitoes. Basically it sprays some sort of poison around the room to kill the buggers. I'm pretty sure it's not all-that-great health-wise - but personally I'd rather be inhaling the mosquito-poison than getting bitten and woken up by the buzzing. Last night was the first night in about 2 weeks that I fell asleep when my head hit the pillow at11pm and I didn't wake up until 7:00 this morning. It was delightful.A by-product of an extremely restful night was getting stuff done this morning. I baked my challah for shabbos (I made a 1/2 batch of dough into 6 small-ish loaves - because Akiva is coming for Shabbos and he likes his challah.) I also cleaned out my kitchen garbage pail and lid (with bleach in the bathtub) because it was in dire need of a scrubbing. Then I tackled my oven-trays - they were disgusting for some weird reason. I gave them a super-scrubbing and now they're, well - not quite like new, but definitely much much better.Today is June 1st. That means that in just 28 more days it will be my 26th birthday. I thought 25 was exciting - but I'm guessing that being on the side of 'closer to 30' will be fun too. If anyone was wondering what sorts of things I want for my birthday - well, wonder no more. I've had my eye on 3 books in particular (ok a lot more than 3 - but let's just keep it at 3 for now) and if anyone decided to send them to me - let's just say I'd be thrilled. The first is Sugar Baby by Gesine Bullock-Prado - it's a book all about sugar and candy making which I am getting very interested in - especially now that I've bought myself 2 cheap-o candy thermometers to experiment with. The other 2 are 'bread bibles' because as you know - I am a bread-baking-aholic even though I can't eat it anymore *sniffle* The first is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. The other is The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhert.

Speaking of baking bread - the challahs I made this week are decidedly the prettiest loaves that have come out of my oven in months. Just in case you were wondering.Z came home from school super early today - which kind of threw off my 'groove' of doing random 'around-the-house' stuff. I retired to the couch - but decided that I might as well do one more kitchen-experiment just so I could feel somewhat productive.I had a whole batch of cherry tomatoes sitting on the counter and I wasn't in the mood to make sauce. Instead I sliced them in half and stuck them in the oven at 100C for about 7 hours. After the first 2 hours I drizzled them with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled on some coarse salt and garlic powder. 3 hours later I switched the parchment paper they were roasting on and flipped them upside down. 1 hour later I turned them over again. When they seemed leathery and dried-out I took them out of the oven and let them cool. Then I sterilized a glass gar, packed them into it and covered them with olive oil. I'm storing the whole shebang in the fridge and am going to use them in the next 2 weeks - because that's what all the protocol I read suggested doing (to prevent food-poisoning anyway.)

Z ate them straight out of the oven and he really seemed to enjoy the super-tomato-flavor packed into the little morsels.For dinner Z ate the last onion-soup from the freezer. He was awesome and made me rice-spaghetti with a dollop of tomato-sauce for dinner. (See, he really does love me.)

I spent a couple of hours helping Freddie write a paper today. We opened it in a Google-document and were able to edit it simultaneously. It was the first time I ever had the opportunity to work with someone on an open document at the same time. It was really cool.Tomorrow is Thursday again. I'll be waking up early and setting the chicken soup up to cook. I've also got to figure out what it is exactly that I'm making for Shabbos. I have somewhat of an idea - and the chicken is already frozen in its marinade so that saves me some time. But still - I want it to be nice. At least the challah is done.