Wednesday, December 28, 2011

100 - For anyone who is counting...

Busy morning.

Menu for Shabbos is figured out.
Z had a driving lesson.
We went to Yesh and shopped as though the grocery stores are all shutting their doors forever.
Unpacked all the groceries and reorganized the kitchen pantry.
Reorganized the 'food pantry' in the guest-room.

Lazy afternoon.

Watched TV.
'Window Shopping' online.
Snacking & eating & snacking & eating & noshing & eating.
I managed to drink a little over 2 liters of water today - that's probably gonna haunt me all night long...

Boring night.

Z is having another 'studio crisis' - where he wasted the 1st half of semester on a project but didn't show the teachers until this past Monday and they hated it so now it's been scrapped and he's back to square 1. Which means a boring lonely night for me while he pulls and all-nighter and gets progressively more frustrated. (Doesn't that sound like fun?!)

Maybe I should have washed the dishes since I need to cook for Shabbos tomorrow and if I have to wake up in the morning and do the dishes I'll lose all willpower to actually cook and then be a wreck on Friday.

Oh man - things just got complicated.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chopsticks!!!

Today was an exceptionally boring day - but strangely enough it flew by very quickly. It might have had something to do with going to sleep at 2am - or rather, getting into bed at 2am but not being able to fall asleep until almost 3... Then a tiny 'cha-cha' feeling deep in my tummy woke me up at a little before 7am insisting that it was breakfast time.
I figured you'd be more interested in the goodies I cooked for last night's party than in the pics of Z and his crazy friends. (I have yet to make it into one of the pictures - but I'm still trying.) As I wrote about - the donuts had a delicious taste (imparted by the nutmeg in the dough is my guess.) The dulce de leche didn't firm up like it has the last 3 times I made it (though I cooked it for the same 3 hours...) so it was very liquidy (but that didn't stop anyone from filling up their donuts with it.) And I'll be using the leftovers in brownies, on ice cream and in a cake or two as well...

And the latkes - I could cry tears of joy about the amazingness that was the latkes. Never before have I made such fluffy, airy, delicious latkes. Since Z & I differ on the correct consistency for latkes - I was a super-nice-wife and made 2 (full) separate batches - one batch with 'processed' potatoes and the second batch with 'shredded' potatoes. My food processor made the whole shebang move along very smoothly and the hardest part was probably squeezing the liquid out of the potatoes&onions (which I did through a clean kitchen-towel). The seasoning was perfect - freshly ground '4 season' pepper and the perfect amount of salt so that it wasn't discernible as saltiness but rather just enough to bring out all of the flavor in the puffs of deliciousness.

Did I mention that I scooped them with a 1 Tablespoon ice-cream-scoop? (You should know by now how much I love that thing!) so there were A LOT of latkes. (Just to give you an idea of how many - when the whole family was in The Sun House for Shabbos two weekends ago The Crazy Lady made a triple batch of latkes for 10 of us - and had in mind that everyone was eating them as pre-dinner snack and then again at the meal... I made a double batch and there were only going to be 7 people eating them after bread and soup.) So you can understand why I wasn't sure that they'd actually be eaten and I worried about the quantity of leftover I was likely to be 'stuck with' at the end of the night.

However - I knew they'd been a success when they were still being noshed on as the remaining 10 were carried to the kitchen and even as they sat on the counter waiting to be put away people were coming in to sneak another one or two...
Tomorrow is Wednesday which means Z will be 'on the road' for a few hours (so keep off the sidewalks) and when he gets Home we'll go out and do the grocery shopping so that I can cook for Shabbos on Thursday. This week I'm really hoping to get the vast majority of my cooking done on Thursday because lately I've been procrastinating until Friday and the stress is just not worth it. Also - I've got a date with Sara on Friday morning - which means there just won't be time to get everything done.

I guess that means I should finalize figure out my menu for the weekend...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Watch Your Mouse!

I'm a little behind, I know. But truthfully speaking there's not much to report.

Z & I spent our first quiet Shabbat together at Home since Before Rosh Hashana. It was highly enjoyable.

Sunday was boring. But today made up for it. Monday night game night + chanukah party! The game crew guys, the (sometimes) gaming-girl, and Sara all came up the mountain for the occasion!

On the menu were:
Carrot soup, no knead bread, fresh latkes (grated texture or smooth texture depending on which you like), homemade sufganyot (with homemade 'from scratch' dulce-de-leche to fill  them with if you were so inclined) and decorated chanukah sugar cookies.

Z's alcoholic treat of the night was home-brewed bloody marys. The guys summed them up perfectly by describing them as, "frozen pizza in a cup" - next time we'll use smaller cups, but everyone seemed to enjoy them.

Here are some pics so you don't think I'm making things up...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Happy 7th night/day everybody!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Squishy & Huggable!

I shlepped myself out of bed today for one reason and one reason only... I really really really wanted to bake my sugar cookies!
These are decorated in tribute to my very favorite donuts from Bagel Nosh in Lakewood - and yeah - I mean the cake-y ones.
I didn't really do any of the cooking for shabbos on account of the fact that I spent all day rolling/baking/icing sugar cookies. Though I have to admit I did spend a while video-chatting with Phil (we watched snow fall for a good 10 minutes...) but we decided to end the call so that she could go make some sugar cookies of her very own. Even Freddie made cookie dough (that she and Mr. Freddie will bake together tomorrow. Aren't they just so cute?!)
For dinner we pulled a container of tomato-vegetable soup out of the freezer. I added some extra chickpeas and we cooked it down a bit then enjoyed it over couscous.
We actually had quite a delightful evening. We lit the candles and sang the songs, then we got our meal together and enjoyed it while watching Kung Fu Panda 2. (For a ridiculous movie it's got some pretty good lessons to teach. Heck, I'm now actively searching for inner-peace.)
The fuzzies have their gelt, a huge pot of beef stock is lightly-simmering away on the stovetop, the cookies are ready for shabbos...

What more do we need?

Happy 3rd night everybody and happy almost 25th toooooo!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Eating the Squished Tree...

Yesterday was kind of crazy. The phone rang off the hook (both of them), people came to the door, people wanted e-mail responses... I haven't been in contact with so many people by so many means in ages! It was so weird!
I did find some time to hang up the Chanuka decorations and get the menora out. But by the time the official candle-lighting time rolled around Z was nowhere to be found... Turns out he completely forgot it was the first night of Chanuka. So much for google-calendar and his ipod organizing his life... I got a good laugh about it (in retrospect) though I was far from amused last night as I sat home alone waiting for him to get back from school.
Since last night was such a 'bust' I decided that today should be a super-fun day. I woke up early and forced Z to make me a fancy breakfast. (Ok, 2 breakfasts - but who's counting?!) Then at 11:30ish I made my way across town to Yael's house. We hung out (for the first time in ages!) and actually ended up baking cutout cookies for the shul Chanuka party.
When all of the cookies were baked (and stacked according to shape - because I'm a little obsessive about stuff like that) we said our 'see ya soon's and 'let's not wait ages to do this again's and I headed off to 'town'. I picked up the few things that I needed for Shabbos then drove back up the mountain.
Z was Home when I got there and he was such a gentleman - he came down to the car to meet me and then carried up all of the groceries!
On account of him being so awesome I figured I owed him a nice dinner - but we were out of french fries. So I experimented and made something new. I sliced potatoes into wide rounds then tossed them with a mixture of: salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, parsley flakes, flour, breadcrumbs and olive oil. Then I baked them until they were crispy and delicious. They turned out much better than I'd anticipated (and I thought I'd come up with something brilliant - but then I found out that one of the kids-cookbooks actually has a recipe for something very similar.) Ah well - nothing new under the sun - but darn they were tasty!
So we lit our candles and sang the traditional songs and played with the stuffed animals (cause that's tradition too) then Z got to feast on broiled-tilapia fillets and spice-encrusted-potato-chips while we watched an episode of Good-Eats dedicated to grilling pizza. (Now I really really really really want to grill pizza...)
Tomorrow is going to be a busy but laid-back day. I already mixed up a batch of cookie dough of my very own and am looking forward to baking more sugar cookies - for the fun of it! Then I'll probably bake the challah for Shabbos and maybe even make the soup and quiche. Who knows - maybe I'll manage to organize something or other while I'm at it! (Wouldn't that be industrious of me? Hehehe...)
Anyway - wishing everyone a bright second night and a joyful second day of the Festival of Lights!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Popcorn Bucket...

Fambily weekend in The Sun House was highly enjoyable and successful. I managed to get all of my baking done on Thursday (2 'big' babkas, 3 'small-ish' babkas and way over a hundred chocolate chip cookies...) We packed up most of the goodies and sent them to 'deep-freeze' so that the parentals could shlep them 'fresh' across the ocean for the Fambily over there.

One small babka turned into a birthday cakes with a little help from some sparkly toothpicks and we all partook of latkes fresh from the frying pan!

Saturday night was uneventful and Sundays adventure included wishing parts of the family a safe and enjoyable trip across the pond and driving back to the-middle-of-nowhere. (Funnily enough the drive seems to get shorter and shorter - except for when you get stuck behind those reeeeeallllly slooooooow trucks...)

I kept myself busy today. I've finally been 'accepting' graphics work in a relatively steady flow (good for preventing boredom and good for filling the bank...) Anywho - today I worked on projects for 2 clients. The more exciting project was a wedding invitation (which I really seem to enjoy laying-out.) The fun part was that the client wanted a column of cute little illustrations - which meant I got to play around in Illustrator for most of the day - which made me very very happy.

I also managed to do 3 loads of laundry (washed/dried/folded/put away) and I unpacked the suitcase from Shabbos. And just because I'm super-nice I even sliced up some veggies and made some pasta with garlic cream sauce for Z to enjoy for dinner.

Now I'm pretty much exhausted so I think I'll go to sleep. I hope I sleep through the night. That would be awesome!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hail the Red Hat with Flaps!

Hello world! Popping in to say 'hi' and 'I'm still alive' and 'I'm much happier today than I was last time I posted'...Sorry for leaving such a sour post up for so many days without an update.

Thankfully the non-physical issues that were exacerbating the stress/anxiety were sorted out between Monday and Tuesday. Including the final transaction required to secure our ownership of a gorgeous 820sq meter lot of land in The Holy Land!!!

Then I actually got a nice 6 hour stretch of sleep on Tuesday night which left me well-rested-enough to be able to drive down to The Sun House on Wednesday afternoon. The drive was actually very pleasant - especially because I downloaded some new music to listen to!

When we got to The Sun House our first stop was at S&S's house. It was wonderful to see them and as an added bonus we got to see Aunt Sharon too! I shared a tiny bit of chocolate with Z, some with Mean'ma and a whole lot of it with Jellybean - who seemed quite content with the awesome treat.

Our next stop was SuperH where we ran amok (~amok amok~) and found a lot of fun stuff (bring on the cow, bring on the sauce and a YoAbba?!)

Back at The Fambily House we put away the groceries and had an all-around good time. Dinner was lightly herbed salmon with seasoned olive oil and pasta with roasted garlic tomato sauce.

Phil came Home from sheirut leumi for dinner because she had worked a 'morning shift' (did I ever mention that she's working in the same machlaka (ward) at Shaarei Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem that Freddie worked in a couple of years ago? How cute is that?!) Anywho - she made awesome barley-flour chocolate chip cookie bars for dessert. (YUM!)

I guess the exhaustion from the beginning of the week hit me because for the 2nd night in a row I slept like a 'log' (well, I got up once but only for about 2 minutes because my bladder refused to be ignored. Heehee, sorry if that was too many details.)

Now it's Thursday and there's tons to do! Appointment up in RBS, baking babka and cookies for loves across the pond (and for Shabbos), errands to run and most importantly ice cream to eat!!!

Now I'm all 'pumped' up and excited to get things done!

(Usually) I love mornings!

Monday, December 12, 2011

~ R A N T ~

My little corner of the universe means MY place to share the thoughts in MY head. If you don't like it STOP reading - but don't you dare read and complain.

I'm lying awake at 2 in the morning (again) because I'm in excruciating pain and nauseous beyond belief.

So I'm thinking to myself - it's kind of ironic that people ask how you're feeling but don't actually give a hoot what the answer actually is. Oh yeah - and even when they insist that they want to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth - they really don't. They just want to think that your life is full of rainbows and puppies and kittens and all sorts of happy flowery good-feelings and stuff.

Well - you know what?! Even though it might be beneficial for me to pretend to everyone in the outside world that everything is hunky-dory it isn't.

That's just the depressingly annoying truth.

Sure there's tons of good stuff going on - but it doesn't negate or outweigh the bad stuff that I'm dealing with.

Quick List of the physical 'bad stuff' I'm trying to work through:
Extreme nausea (for going on 6 months - and yes - I AM medicated, but it doesn't really help much), a return of all fructose-symptoms (including the nasty rashes, insomnia, lack of energy, severe eczema, and digestive issues - but I'm still unable to stomach protein such as eggs/meat - so going back on 'the diet' is out of the question because I won't be able to get the right vitamins/minerals or even consume enough carbs/calories in a day), my pelvis is quite literally falling apart (physical therapy and orthopedist referrals in my possession but it's too hard to drive 40 minutes to see a dr) - and there's more but I won't bore you with the nitty-gritty details.

All I'll say is that I KNEW my body hated me and that's why I pushed certain things off for a few years - but stupidly I charged ahead when things were finally feeling good/stable assuming that things would sort themselves out and for some (not so hard to understand) reason - at this point I'm regretting my decision. A lot.

Also - I'm sick of being told that I'm a wuss and a cry-baby because I'm feeling this way. Pain is REAL people - and it would be nice if you could be sympathetic at the very least! Maybe I don't have your super-hero complex or your impossibly high pain-threshold - but when I am hurting it is a VERY real pain to me - so have some mercy and stop comparing me to my sister / your other friend / yourself / a cat that's been run over 3 times but is not quite dead yet.

If I've neglected to call you to thank you for sending me things I wasn't expecting that I only found out about while discussing a different topic with somebody then I'm sorry. If I've forgotten to return your call because I was sleeping at some seemingly 'early' hour then I'm sorry. If I've forgotten your birthday or anniversary I'm sorry. If I've neglected to come and worship at your feet (because I have enough trouble trying sit up - let alone kneel down) then I sincerely apologize.

15 minutes of typing and I don't actually feel any better. Go figure...

At this point in the game I'd usually just delete this entire post, put the computer down, turn over and stare at the wall until the sun comes up in a few hours - then when tomorrow has blossomed into a new day I'd go back to pretending that everything is juuuuuust dandy.

However - on this super-special occasion - I think I'll post this anyway - because it's 2:24 in the morning (again) and I'm sick of being awake at this ridiculous hour.

If you're 'expecting' a call from me today/tomorrow (whatever date you want to call it) it'll have to wait. I've got to spend a few hours on the road (probably mostly spent in agony/nausea and a relentless wave of puking thanks to the vicious motion-sickness that has intensified to a debilitating level) all to go to the bank to deal with something ridiculously stupid that should be able to be dealt with in a simple fax but which this country insists on making 40x harder than it needs to be.

In short - I'll try to call in the afternoon - if I'm still functional.

And if it sounds like I've been crying - that's because I have been.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dinner Fries

Friday was quite the busy day - seeing as I had to do ALL of the cooking for Shabbos - because I'd been toooooo lazy to get anything done on Thursday.

I decided to go 'all-out' with the challah and kneaded up 1/2 a batch of dough. Z could only locate 1 'challah-pan' so I ended up shaping 3 loaves and only making 1 chocolate babka. (probably a good thing because if there had been a second one available I probably would have eaten the entire thing myself.)

Abe joined us which was really nice. We hadn't seen him in a while. The weather was cold but the food and company were good - so it all balanced out.

Friday night: chumus, matbucha, meatball minestrone soup, coucous, jersey chicken & green beans.

Shabbos lunch: chumus, matbucha, 'build-your-own' sweet-salad, sliced vegetables, 'the drs' dry-rubbed chicken, potato kugel & kasha varnishkas.

Dessert: blondies (leftover from Wednesday night) and the most delectable chocolate babka I've ever made.

Why did I never think of using chocolate-spread in babka before?! I smear on a thin-layer of chocolate spread then sprinkled some walnuts and chocolate chips and a final dusting of cinnamon - then I rolled it up, twisted it and baked it with a delicious brown sugar crumb topping. It made oneheckuva mess in the oven as it oozed and grew - but man oh man - it rivaled the taste of chocolate babka from any bakery I've ever tasted.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Jump Bump - Jump!

Tuesday was a boring 'do-nothing' day. Well - that's not entirely true. I spent Tuesday designing receipt booklets and a stamper for my 'little business' - now I will have fancy receipts to give out instead of the silly little generic ones I've been using until now.

Wednesday was relatively laid-back and quiet. Ora & Shlomo came over for dinner which was really nice. We hadn't seen them in a while so it was good to catch up. I served tossed salad, a hearty tomato vegetable soup and a loaf of amazingly delicious cheddar cheese bread. For dessert we ate blondies (kept warm in the oven) served over french-vanilla ice cream. In a word - scrumptiousness.

This morning started off on the early-side. I headed into 'town' at a 8:45am so I could get some of the grocery shopping done before meeting up with the newly-begun English-book-club. I had to go to 4 different stores to find the ingredients for the super special treat that I'm making Z for Shabbos - meatball minestrone soup.

I didn't actually get much accomplished today - too tired and nauseous (and cold and lazy - but who's counting?) I did 3 loads of laundry and cooked up the (dried) beans for the soup. Thankfully the only labor-intensive parts of Shabbos cooking are the challah and the soup - so hopefully it won't take too long to get everything done tomorrow. I've also decided to multi-task on the challah/dessert front and make 2/3rds of the dough into challah and the last 1/3rd into a chocolate babka. Ta-da! Brilliant! Right?!

In very happy news I bought coca-cola 'flavored' gummy worms today.

In even more heartwarming news - Z made dinner tonight (well, he made most of it anyway) - he pan-seared thin chicken cutlets (seasoned with garlic olive oil, salt & pepper), then he turned the leftover baked potatoes (from Monday night) into crash(smash)-baked-potatoes. I finally got around to cooking that cauliflower I bought last week as 'popcorn cauliflower' and it was amazingly delicious (as usual) and for some 'color' we added a bit of tossed salad (man it's nice to have washed lettuce in the fridge!) I think it was probably the most healthful meal I've eaten in a long while - at least it felt that way. (Maybe that's because it was the first time in a few months that the thought of eating chicken didn't seem revolting to me...)

Other adventures of the day included: almost throwing out the oven-mitts, creative uses for a popcorn bucket, the search for spinach, buying bones, many tiny kicks and more.

Somehow in my life even the boring days are exciting...

Monday, December 05, 2011

Jollybean!

Super fun day today! Definitely more sociable than the last 2 days were. Aviva came to visit and restock her tv-collection.We shmoozed and had a great couple of hours. Then Z came Home for a break between classes and we worked on the house-plans together for a bit.

It was chilly in the kitchen until I turned on the ovens and I actually enjoyed being 'in the swing of' the baking. I didn't get around to the muffins today - but I did wash almost all of the dishes and made a pretty incredible dinner so I feel decidedly productive.

It's kind of a shame that the guys brought assorted beers last week - because they would've gone ridiculously well with tonight's 'super-bowl-party' themed dinner. Though - the plum wine that came with them this week smelled heavenly and amazing!

Speaking of dinner - I tested out 3 news recipes (who better to try them out on than hungry guys?)

Tossed salad - Perfectly seasoned baked potatoes - ('mildly' charifBaked buffalo wings - Pretzel rolls - Pink lemonade to drink and some of these incredibly delicious cinnamon roll bites for dessert.

No pictures because it was dark by the time everything was ready to eat and then the guys got Home and then the food was all gone.

Crazy how that happens!

Crazy Bear?

This morning I 'woke-up' after a fitful night of many tiny naps.

Z was kind enough to go and make some breakfast for me.

While he was in the kitchen getting the food ready Toffee started poking my stomach and screaming at the top of his fuzzy lungs "breakfast is coming! settle down in there!"

Yup - completely normal start to the day...

---------------------------------------------------------

I've got to figure out what to make for dinner. It's boys-night, so it needs to be enough for the gang-of-4. I want to make it early and then be able to leave it in the oven to keep warm while I go out to a "Hapoel Tel Aviv" basketball game on the other side of town for about an hour and a half...the issue is the overlap time - I'll be out from 7-8:30ish, and they'll probably get here at 9ish...

I'm also thinking that today is a perfect day to bake muffins. (I really love muffins!) I'm thinking double chocolate with peanut-butter chips (or swirl), and those sugar-coated 'donut muffins' that so many people keep talking about... Gosh I hope I have enough milk!

I have GOT to get out of bed today! Really though!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Woohoo Twenty-Two!!!!!!!

Crazy fun girls shabbos planned for this weekend...
Menu -

Friday Night: roasted garlic, chumus, matbucha, chicken soup with matzah balls, Sara Schapiro's sesame chicken, green beans with garlic olive oil, couscous

Shabbat Lunch: roasted garlic & cherry tomatoes, chumus, pickles, Israeli salad, chickpea salad, eggplant parmesan, baked penne with roasted vegetables, carrot kugel, mini corn muffins, tossed salad with sweet dressing

Seudah Shlishit / Afternoon-tea: leftover salads, sliced veggies with spreads

Dessert: Devil's Food (Belated) Burpday Cupcakes topped with Pillowy Soft Mocha Frosting, Root Beer Float Cookies


Wishing everyone a Shabbat Shalom and a wonderful weekend!!!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Jellybean Likes Jam?

Tuesday was super-boring aside from a nightmarish blood-test in the morning that left me black&blue in one arm and nerve-shot in the other. Silly veins ran for their lives when the saw the needle coming...

Wednesday wasn't too exciting either. I went to Yesh (all by myself! Yay for feeling well enough to go places alone!) Back at Home I cooked up 4 liters of chicken stock and puzzled over the Shabbos menu.

Thursday got off to a super-exciting and disgusting start (good thing we bought that popcorn bucket...) 'Spa-time' was the order of the day - so I pampered myself. (Aside from painting my nails - cause it seems silly to waste the time on polish when I'm going to spend hours in the kitchen...) My doctor appointment went really well. Pleased to share that the weight-gaining-effort has been successful this past month! I've made it back to the weight I was at back in June. This is a VERY good thing!

After finishing at the doctor we went to the fruit&vegetable store. I got a bit over-excited and bought clementines, grapes, and an adorable little cauliflower (for lunch tomorrow.)

I pulled a carrot kugel, corn muffins, matzah balls, challot, and matbucha out of the freezer for Shabbos. I also made a nice-sized tray of eggplant parmesan (I actually breaded and oven-fried the eggplant slices!!!) and there was so much eggplant that there was even enough to make a small tray for Z to enjoy for dinner. The last thing I did was bake up a batch of devil's food cupcakes. I'll frost them tomorrow with a dark chocolate frosting. Yum! Chocolate obsessed...

Not to much to get done tomorrow - so I'm hoping that everything will be finished by no later than 12...I wonder if that will actually happen.

I guess we'll find out!