Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Birthday balloons for the birthday boy!
Mini Birthday Cupcakes - funfetti of course - because if you're going to make celebratory cupcakes, might as well make them FUN!
George Sr. joins the family - he's great for stress!

Special dinner of 'grown-up savory' sloppy-joes - made with balsamic vinegar and sun-dried tomatoes! Served on homemade hamburger buns with fries on the side!



 All birthday-ed out...
Sarah Leah came to keep me company today so that Z could work on studio - but we did a whole lot of birthday celebrating too! It was a really enjoyable day (aside from the cold and the rain...) Z even got to drive twice today!

I'm pretty sure that he appreciated everything - cause he played with his balloons for a while and was sarcastic and snarky while 'we' made dinner. Then he even made a hot-water-bottle for my bed without waiting for me to ask for one when we went to sleep.

It's a good thing I love him.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Metropolis King!

Aaaaand I'm back! That was a highly enjoyable (though slightly exhausting) weekend. (It was probably just super-exhausting because it came at the end of a ridiculously busy and hectic week that seemed to last forever.) In any event - it was still an awesome fun Shabbos.

Akiva & Emunah joined us (they came Thursday night. As I mentioned 2-posts-ago 2 of Z's friends joined us for dinner Thursday night too. The guys played Settlers while the gals watched a movie.) Friday was hectic-feeling. I woke up early and decided to bake a batch of chocolate chip muffins for breakfast - they were ready just as everyone woke up. Then Z & Akiva went on a 'road-trip' to run errands (read: pick up chumus) on the other side of town. Ayala and her brother Yoni arrived at a little before 2pm. Somehow everything was finished by 3pm. I was extremely impressed.

It was freezing outside and the rain was crazy! We put the heater on a Shabbos clock in the living room and had it run for most of Friday and all of Saturday - (cause it's just not ok for it to be 52F in your living room when you're trying to 'live' there!) Anywho - by closing the doors to all of the bedrooms and running the heated steadily we managed to bring the temperature in the living/dining room & kitchen up to a toasty 62F! On a ridiculously pathetic note - the 12 hours-worth of 'shiputzim' that the 'fix-it-guys' did last week were all for naught - because all of the leaks are back. (At least there isn't mold anymore though - since they chiseled out the moldy concrete and re-filled the channel...) I hope they aren't too crestfallen to see their hard-work gone to waste when they come tomorrow to 'finish' painting.

Our guests all had to run pretty soon after havdalah - many kilometers to travel and all. We bid them 'goodbye til next time' and we're hoping 'next time' won't be in the too distant future!

Menus:

Friday Night - roasted garlic, 'AbuDushi' chumus, matbucha (homemade), pickles, mushroom & orzo soup / vegetable soup (onion, carrot, zucchini, sweet potato, potato, split peas, barley, salt&pepper, orzo), Roasted Chicken (1 whole butterflied chicken + 2 kirayim) on a bed of onions & fingerling potatoes, Rum & Vanilla Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Garlic Rice.

Shabbos Lunch - roasted cherry tomatoes & garlic, 'AbuDushi' chumus, matbucha (homemade), pickles, sliced veggies (red pepper, carrots, cucumbers, green pepper, mushrooms), big bowl of lettuce (add-ins: craisins, sliced almonds, candied pineapple, candied pecans), Israeli salad, chickpeas (with salt&pepper), eggplant parmigiana, AB's citrus-y salmon, potato knishes.

Desserts: Cookie Brittles, Brownies with Ganache, Chocolate Chip Muffins

Impressively enough there weren't too many leftovers. 1 breast & 1 kirayim from Friday night (which made 3 meals for Z to eat this week) and 2 servings of eggplant parmigiana.

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Soft Kitty...Warm Kitty"

The good news is that the apartment is all clean for Shabbos (a bazillion thanks to Z!)

The bad news is that I only got about 2/3rds of the cooking done between Wednesday & Thursday...

Ok - to the kitchen... Hoping to be done with everything by 12.

Random Sidenote: The white wine and mushroom sauce I made last night congealed so heavily on the (bag and a half of) pasta (and all the salt seemed to disappear) that now there's enough to feed 4-6 people left! How did I overestimate so badly?! Maybe I'll just toss some Parmesan on top and serve it at Shabbos lunch... *sigh*

Thursday, January 26, 2012

10 to go!

Holy wow - I love days when I get everything on my to-do list done!

Garlic rice, potato knishes, matbucha, eggplant parmesan, lemonade (6 liters-worth), muffins, pasta salad...

And I made awesomely delicious 1/4-cup-of-batter sized buttermilk pancakes for breakfast!

Seriously - talk about a good day.

Granted - I'm exhausted and it's only 2:50pm...and half of our shabbos guests are coming tonight (so I still have to make dinner and set up their room), and I haven't done any laundry yet... Still - I'm super impressed with what I have accomplished.

Aaaaaaaaand - 3 hours later I am back. Beyond wiped out and still nowhere near done. Turns out we'll be 6 for dinner tonight (instead of the anticipated 4 - and all 4 guests most likely haven't eaten much today) so I've actually got to make a filling enough meal for everyone. I'm hoping that a tossed salad, a loaf of tomato basil bread and pasta with cream sauce will do the trick - because I don't think I have energy to do much more than that. Good thing there's a bunch of cookie-dough-balls in the freezer - because they'll bake up into a super-quick and easy dessert.

Z & I ran to the grocery store (at 5pm when the 'fix-it-guys' finished for the day - after another 6 hour ordeal - and they'll be back on Sunday too.) The place was a zoo! (Remind me NEVER to listen to Z with regards to shopping. I should've gone yesterday!) As it was the store was mobbed and the place was completely sold out of potatoes. (Good thing I didn't ~really~ need the potatoes... though it's weird to not have any in the basket.)

And now it's 11:30pm and I can't actually think straight anymore. I guess I'll finish this post off for now - and write about dinner and further adventures sometime tomorrow (or whenever I get around to it.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Melee!

A photographic depiction of today's adventures which began at 8am with us clearing everything away from under the window-frames. (Of course now that it's 'fixed' - I'm wishing I had taken some 'before' shots just for comparison...)
The window in the Master Bedroom
Instead of just re-caulking the window frame (which is what they've done three times - in the past 2 years) they actually drilled a channel in the wall to see where/why water was pooling in the wall. (Well, before filling up the channel with new cement anyway...)
Since the windows were out anyway Z decided to clean them...
We weren't really expecting them to do anything else productive but while they were here they agreed to switch the broken strap/string thingies on the trissim. But in order to switch the strings they needed light in the room which meant that they brought in a ladder and fixed the lighting fixture in the ceiling of the guest room (which hasn't worked for over a year - since the wind blew it so violently that one of the wires got knocked loose.) And as an added bonus they even fixed both of the electrical sockets which had fallen out of the walls.
Here's my kitchen - looking somewhat like we're cleaning for Pesach - but we're not. I assure you. We are not.
My makeshift calendar for 2012 built in the 'old-style' (whereby a new settlement is erected directly on-top of the previous settlement...)
We're using the dining room as an 'office' until the fix-it-guys are done (and until all of the fumes they brought with them dissipate.)
Here's a shot of the progress in our backyard. They are still 'terra-forming' the mountain and haven't started building anything. I wonder how they actually expect to get all of the construction done in under 2 years.
On an off-topic sort of note - Toffee can't understand why Z likes to eat smelly-fishies so much!
Still on the list of 'to-do' for today is a trek to the post-office to pick up another package and to pick up a check from a client for graphic-services-rendered.

I'm thinking little white fishies and smash/crash-(baked)-potatoes tonight for dinner. And while I'm at it I might bake a 2nd batch of muffins for the freezer. I'm also very tempted to cook up a batch of pancakes for the freezer - because it's so much easier to pop them into the toaster or microwave than to make fresh ones all the time.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mississippi Mud Brownies!

Turns out all you've got to do is ask...isn't that right Z? Mmmm, ice cream, water and sometimes even pasta!

Today has been quite productive. I managed to get 6 loads of laundry done. (Where do 6 loads of laundry come from in a house with just 2 people?! Ok ok - 3 loads were sheets and towels from the guest suite - so I guess it's not so unreasonable.)

Z did a bunch of chores that he'd been pushing off for quite some time. I'm pleased to announce that the sheirut mirpeset (service porch) is officially tree-free and a lot less muddy, the legs have been re-attached to the challah board and that the (completely incompetent and useless) 'fix-it-guy' stopped by to look at the water damage in the apartment and yeah - this is the same stuff we've been having issues with since we moved in. Supposedly he'll be back again tomorrow morning at '9:00am' to 'fix' the problem (again)...but only if it doesn't rain.

I had a 'moment' today when I accidentally took off my glasses instead of taking off my headphones and couldn't figure out why I was still attached to the computer. (Yeah - that really happened. Go ahead, laugh. I know I did - for a good 5 minutes after I realized what the problem was.)

One of Z's friends will be sleeping over all week - since it's studio-prep week for all the archinerds architecture students.

I really want to bake some muffins and bread to restock the freezer. (Did I say that last week too?) Well - this week I really mean to do it. I've got a liter and a half of milk to bake into delicious breakfast treats for Z. Maybe I'll even make him a batch of cinnamon buns...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mmm...cheeeeese.

Remember how yesterday I said we had sushi for dinner with Sara - well, that was actually only half of the story. What we actually did was rolled 26 rolls of the stuff for Renat's bridal-shower (which is taking place as I type this which is why I'm finally allowed to talk about it.) Mostly I was supremely impressed with myself because I cooked 6 cups of raw sushi-rice to fluffy and sticky perfection.
In other news - if you haven't seen me recently, or you've been wondering how/why I've been waaay off the fructozoid-food-wagon for the last few months, or you're confused by the numerous cryptic number-related blog-posts I guess it's time to let you in on the secret...
We ordered a super-special package and are anticipating arrival around Pesach-time!
As you can see - things are growing quite well!
(Heehee, I'm so punny!)
Today was also notably exceptional because Z drove our car for the very first time (with me as his 'accompanying experienced driver'.) He did a great job! We went all the way to the grocery store and then back home again.

As a 'thank you' for letting him get behind the wheel he even volunteered to make us lunch. We enjoyed pan-cooked grilled cheese (filled with honest-to-goodness mild English cheddar and a smear of spicy-brown-mustard), sliced veggies and a tall glass of lemonade apiece.

Tonight is Little Brother's engagement party on in Givat Shmuel, but due to scheduling conflicts with 'studio' and 'end of semester madness' we won't be able to make it. I wish the date hadn't been changed (it was supposed to be tomorrow night!) but I guess life is what it is - and we'll just have to get them out here for a fun-filled-family-dinner at some point before 'the big day'!

Tomorrow - much cookie baking will commence...I hope!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bendy Strippers...

Yesterday was pretty productive overall. I washed/folded all 4 loads of laundry and washed up most of the dishes. I also went out with Sara for a couple of hours. We went to the 'spices store', to the post office, to Mega and to the paper-good store. I made it home with plenty of time to bake up a 1/2 batch of cinnamon swirl cake and an amazingly delicious pizza-bubble-ring for the guys. There were only 3 of them so I allowed myself to be 'convinced' to play Settlers with them. I almost won too. Really - if they guy before me hadn't had so many silly progress cards and ports I would've had it. I had the cards in my hand!
Book club books! I'm excited to read them!
It was a nippy 10C in our bedroom this morning. I refused to get out of bed until the 2 sweatshirts I'd put on warmed up to 'body-temperature'. We eventually found the nerve to turn the heater on and 2 hours later we basked in the toastiness that was 16C. (It's a really good thing we've got a freezer stocked with soups. They keep us warm.) Thankfully I can always sleep in my 'inside boots' when my toes are frozen.
Because in every boys mind: video game = homework
I spent most of the day curled up on the couch in the office - because that way we only had to heat up 1 room in the apartment. Why the office? Well - it's got the most 'inside-walls' so it heats up the quickest and stays warm too!
The wild fuzzies have gathered some berries!!!
Truth be told I didn't do much of anything productive today. I ate a lot of junk and procrastinated leaving the office for any reason.
Do you think he's enjoying that English cheddar? I KNOW he is!
Sara came over at around 5 and we had a sushi-party for dinner! It was a pretty typical evening - though I amused myself a little more than usual.
The box from my newest toy!
After the food-part was over we did full clean up. Z washed dishes, Sara took out the garbage and I was the head-over-see-er from the comfort of a dining room chair - cause I am GOOD at that job.
Sugar Coma - of sorts...
Sara's friend was passing by so she offered to drive Sara back down to the campus which worked out perfectly. Then after Sara had left I went back into hibernation on the couch in the office.
Special-Op: Retrieve Cookie
Tomorrow we're supposed to go to Yesh - and Z is supposed to drive us there! Yikes! I know I shouldn't be so nervous but I just am... You understand, right?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Outward Pressure...

Not quite sure where the last week has gone. Last Wednesday was spent attempting to straighten up the apartment. Thursday turned into a crazy-hectic-day when I had to bake an anniversary cake, make dinner for the guys and take Sara across town all at the last-minute - well, the cooking/baking/entertaining was last minute - the outing across town wasn't. On Friday we made our way to The Sun House in the pouring rain - when we got there we visited S&S and I was presented with my suitcase-of-presents from the USofA. I love all my new clothes (especially the fuzzy sweatshirt which fits over my bulgy-belly) and I especially love my slightly-belated Channuka present from Z - an adorable (and super exciting) Canon Rebel XS! I'll start taking/posting some pictures with it just as soon as I find my old photography-course notes and figure out how to use the darn thing! Shabbos was lots of fun - we spent it eating lots of good food, getting shot at and shooting nerf-guns and laughing a lot. The anniversary sign might've said the wrong number, the frosting might've been grainy (on account of homemade 'powdered' sugar), the dog might've wanted to eat all of The Dibble's friends - but it was highly enjoyable!

Saturday night we headed back to the middle of nowhere with Sara and her friend Yael. They came over and we all enjoyed a delicious fresh batch of heavenly thin crust pizza. (Yeah - the one I raved about 2 weeks ago or so...that awesome one where the dough gets made in the food-processor, has a 24 hour cold-rise, then bakes up perfect pizzeria pies...mhm, yum.)

I slept late this morning - on account of not sleeping so well Friday night and suffering extreme DWTMTFS (Don't Want To Miss The Fun Stuff) on Shabbos afternoon (which meant I didn't bother napping.) Anywho - I didn't wake up until 9am - which (as you know by now) is pretty impressive for me.

At around 1 we left the house on a 'material-mission' which took us down to the printing-place, then to the Industrial Area(s) of the middle of nowhere. I got to visit the fun spice store while Z wandered around price-comparison-shopping for super-narrow PVC piping. I put my foot down as far as buying an electric saw went - but he got the materials he needed for his project.

Logged onto Skype I got to catch up with Rikuda&Co and said 'hi' to the Smushes via video-conference. The Z came Home and we dug some meat out of the freezer. (The Crazy Lady gave it to us at some point) It made a delicious dinner served over some pastas.

Now Z is busy trying to string his tetra-deca-whoza-gons together into an enormous model of foamy-goodness. I'm pretending to figure out how to use my camera but keep getting distracted by stuff on pintrest (my latest time-wasting obsession.)

Tomorrow I've got lots to do. Laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, 'refreshing' the spice-jars, going out with Sara to the other side of town, dinner for the guys (Hard to believe this is the last Monday of the semester...) then game night!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

27+4 = 12+3

It was boys-night last night so I dragged myself out of bed and cooked for them.

For dinner I made garlic pita chips (cut pitot into 4 wedges then separate the tops/bottoms. Drizzle with olive oil, salt & garlic powder. Toast on a higher shelf in a 200C oven for 8-10 minutes. (Check them often or the thinner ones may end up crisping too much.))

I served the 'chips' alongside a Chicken & Pasta dish. (No pictures because they ate all of it - even though I made a bag and a bit of pasta! But trust me when I say it smelled incredible and was pretty too!)

Chicken & Pasta
Ingredients:
2-3 chicken breasts into small bite-sized chunks.
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 medium zucchini, cut into small/med cubes
8-10 button mushrooms, sliced (I went slightly thicker so they'd hold together better)
2 tomatoes, diced (with their seeds & juices)
1/2 tsp dried basil
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1/4-1/2 cup chicken broth
1 package pasta

Directions:
Cook the pasta (make sure it's al dente cause you don't want it getting mushy! It also pays to make it first so you can nosh while you're cooking. Oh, only I do that? Yeah, I didn't think so...)
In a large pot saute the garlic in some olive oil until it's fragrant then toss in the zucchini and the chicken. Then season with the basil, salt & pepper. Give everything a stir so that the chicken starts to cook and gets seasoned.
When the chicken is just about cooked through toss in the tomatoes, and let them start to cook down - after about 2 minutes gently stir the mushrooms in too.
Pour in the wine and the chicken broth and bring the liquid to a simmer.
Now it's time to carefully add the pasta - (if your pasta has clumped together and cooled you can pour some boiling water over it and give a gentle stir to loosen and separate the noodles.)
Stir everything together, adjust seasoning as needed and make sure that the pasta heats through.

Even more exciting than the pasta was the dessert I put together. A while back a friend gave me a chocolate chip pound cake recipe which I tried but wasn't exactly thrilled with the results, I also tried another recipe (provided by the ever awesome www.tastespotting.com) but more than half of it ended up feeding Mr. TrashCan. A few weeks ago I found yet another chocolate chip pound cake recipe and decided to give it a spin. (Well - with a few personal tweaks for the heckofit.)
See those knife marks in the ganache? Yeah - that's a sign of gooood ganache (and for the record I didn't do it - it was the boys - I swear!) Anywho - I baked up this beauty in my 6 cup bundt pan (this recipe amount would probably make about 1 loaf if you don't have a cute little bundt.)

I tweaked the recipe from kosher camambert's blog - as she said it's not a light and fluffy cake, it's nice and dense, but it's also delicious and moist! I actually mixed 1/3 of the batter with cocoa powder and spread it on top of the white layer - it baked up gooey and almost brownie-like.
Marbled-ish Chocolate Chip Cake:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk (I actually used pareve cream - like Rich's whip)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cocoa powder (optional - noted in recipe...)
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips (does anyone actually measure these?!)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375F
Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla too.
Combine the flour and baking powder then mix half of the dry ingredients into the batter.
Add the milk/cream and beat until just combined.
Mix in the rest of the flour.
(Optional - at this point you can move about 1/3 of the batter into a small bowl and beat the cocoa powder in until well combined.)
Stir in the chocolate chips. (If you opted to 'marble' the cake make sure to add chips to both parts!)
Spread batter into greased/floured pan (I put the yellow in first then carefully spread the chocolate on top of it.)

Bake for 30 mins, then lower oven temperature to 350F and bake an additional 8-10 minutes.
It's done when it passes the 'toothpick test' and a toothpick inserted carefully into the center comes out cleanly. (Just don't go poking any chocolate chips!) Pull it out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

If you're into ganache (which I am - very very much so...)
Heat up 1/4 cup heavy cream and chop up 100 grams of bittersweet chocolate. When the cream is nice and warm dump the chocolate in and stir like the dickens until you've got a beautiful, satiny puddle of chocolate. Let the ganache cool (stir occasionally so that it doesn't start to set up) and when it's thickened up a bit (which happens as it cools) drizzle it artistically over the top of your cake. Let it run down the sides and pool in the middle and when you're done be sure to lick the pot and the spatula - because the thought of wasting ganache makes me oh so sad!

All in all I'm pretty much sold on this cake. (Though I will do one experimental run with soy-milk/oil and see how that affects the texture - because really I'm too lazy to take the mixer out to make cakes in the middle of the week. And after that I'll also do an almond milk & barley flour test to see if it can be made Fructose-Friendly for those unfortunates who suffer.) Still, it's good to have to add to my ever-growing recipe collection.

Best part - it's got the boys stamp of approval. How do I know? Well - they DID eat more than half of it...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Attraversiamo...

Last Thursday night turned into an impromptu 'game night' - and since it was post-fast I felt doubly-responsible to make a good dinner. Only catch was that the guys would be getting home at around 5:30 and I had an appointment from 4-5. Thankfully I'm resourceful and realized that if I made dinner early and popped it into the oven when I left the house that I could set the whole oven on a timer so that it would turn on and heat the food and then it would be ready on time! Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! Anywho we had mac-n-cheese (though the noodles were weird and soaked up a lot of the sauce) and I even found enough tomato vegetable soup (and oatmeal rolls) in the freezer to feed everybody.
In case you were wondering (and in the more likely event that you weren't) my appointment was with the dr/nurse and I'm pleased to announce that my blood-pressure is gold-standard 110/70 and that I've managed to gain a whopping 10 lbs in 5 weeks! (Yes, this IS cause for much rejoicing and celebration.)
Friday morning Z convinced me to drive into town with him to pick up the last of the groceries. He then pushed his luck and begged for me to take him to the 'industrial area' to buy that 'good' chumus from the chumusia! While we were there he also suggested stopping at the bakery to pick up some 'taste-treats' (pastries) for breakfast. It was a good thing that I wanted some borekas because we bumped into friends of ours and ended up having a delightful shmooze!
Cooking for Shabbos didn't take very long - and by the time candle-lighting rolled around I was tired but everything was finished so all was good. Sara slept by us and Z's friend Shoham joined us for the Friday night meal. We played a whole lot of Cities&Knights and had a really entertaining night which ended on the super-late side. Shabbos day flew by too (probably because we were so busy playing Cities&Knights.

Sunday was a pretty boring day (though Z was kind enough to change the sheets - which was really awesome because there's nothing quite as great as clean sheets after a hot shower.) I spent an enjoyable hour 'skyping' with some adorable kiddos (and their awesome mother) and counted down until 8:30pm when I got to head across town for the first official book-club meeting. People always think I'm so quiet and shy because I don't tend to talk unless I've actually got stuff to say - but man oh man I had a lot to say about this book - not good and not bad - just a collection of chatter that accumulated in my noggin while I was reading my way through it. The nicest part of book-club was the 'socializing' aspect. I tend to feel highly antisocial living on the 'far' side of town - not intentionally - it just happens to be that we tend to entertain people at our house quite often (as if you couldn't tell) and opportunities to 'get out' don't manifest as regularly as could be hoped for. Point being - I'm really happy to have a reason to get out once a month and hang out!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

"Excuses are for people who need them..."

Yesterday was a pretty laid-back kind of day aside from the whole 6:30am wake-up so you can go get a long-winded blood-test done thing. As a reward for finally getting the blood-work done I stopped off at the fruit&veggie seller and bought myself 1/2 kilo of strawberries because the price was (finally) right. (It's kind of fun that strawberry season on this side of the world is in the dead-of-winter.)

I was home by 9:30 and I didn't do much of anything. Well - I did mix up a batch of 24-hour-pizza-dough (more on that later.) I also impressed myself by washing the pareve and dairy dishes! (How awesome am I?!)

Later in the afternoon I helped out a friend by taking her to the dentist to have a wisdom tooth removed (no fun to have done and especially no fun to have to go alone.) On the way back to her dorm (she was still all numbed up) so I insisted that we stop and pick up some ice cream for her to enjoy when the '2-hour-post-op-period' was over.

Dinner was mini-pastel from the freezer and really delicious mashed-potato-puffs while watching some pointless comedy.

This morning I woke up on the earlier side and Z was amazing and brought me my toast with butter and jam in bed. (Heehee, how sweet? Ok - truth be told he's been doing it every day for the last 3 months or so - but today I feel like boasting about it.)

When I was feeling up to it I shlepped myself out of bed and decided that today was the day that I found a way to use the 2 red-grapefruits that have been sitting in the fruit bowl for just a bit too long. A quick internet search led me to some citrus-y type cupcakes. I tweaked the recipe (used oil instead of butter, used slightly less zest, used soymilk, and made 1.5 batches using 2 medium eggs.) I also double-dipped the tops into the glaze made from powdered sugar and grapefruit juice and ended up with the perfect muffin. They were tangy and refreshing. Decidedly citrusy but not too sweet. And 4 out of 12 were missing by the time I went to put them away in the freezer a few hours later...

Game-night on Monday had been cancelled on account of a BIG studio presentation that the guys are working on. Z asked if they could maybe possibly come tonight and I said I didn't mind. (After all - that's why we buy pasta when it's on sale!) I baked a 1/2-batch of this peanut butter chocolate chip coffee cake (in an 8" round pan - and used oil instead of butter because I was too lazy to melt anything.) for 'just in case' they actually came - figuring that even if only 1 slept over it would be a nice breakfast for in the morning.

But I warned Z that even if the guys were coming that they wouldn't be arriving until 9pm and that I was still planning on making the thin crust pizza that I'd prepped the dough for yesterday for dinner at around 6pm. I even went ahead and made the tomato sauce listed in the recipe (though I had to peel/seed my own tomatoes because I didn't have any in a can.)

If you are looking for pizzeria perfection (in the comfort of your own home, for a fraction of the cost, even if you don't have a pizza peel or a pizza stone...) then THIS is the recipe you need to try. It had that awesome thin crust - crispy on the bottom but that awesome chewy-gooey stuff under the cheese. I went easy on the sauce (as indicated in the original post - it was quite potent) and ALL the taste was there but without the mouth-filling gloppiness that you get from marinara sauce - it really let the flavor of the crust and the cheese shine without being drowned out in the least bit! I was SO impressed - but I'm not the gauge by which we measure such things. What do I mean? Well, we always look to Z for a comment on the matter. In this instance the fact that he devoured his crusts sealed the issue (he NEVER eats the crusts. Not even when he's really really really hungry!)

Ok - so it's true - you can't just decide to make this particular pizza on the spur of the moment, or even that morning - it requires some forethought - but considering that the dough can stay in the fridge for up to 3 days... well, I'm all in favor of making it for 'just in case' you decide you want pizza one day that week! I love that the whole affair comes together in the food processor (dough and sauce) and I am a HUGE fan of the whole 'no-knead' philosophy (because it seems impossible and implausible but it really works!) And anyway - according to the original post you can freeze this miraculous stuff and so long as you pull it out in the morning you CAN enjoy pizza any day!

I really should have taken pictures of everything (because the citrus flecked muffins were gorgeous, the coffee cake belonged in a bakery and the pizza was a work of art) but I was super-lazy today and didn't even take out my camera until the second pizza came out of the oven - and by that point all we could think about was the torture of waiting 5 whole minutes before cutting into it in order to devour it - crust and all.

Mind you - I found the space somewhere in me to enjoy some ice cream for dessert. Because after all - the only appropriate thing to follow incredibly good pizza is ridiculously tasty ice cream...

Monday, January 02, 2012

PitaButterJellyTime!

Yay for my little corner of the blogosphere where I can publish my daily achievements and feel like I managed to accomplish something (aside from setting a new world record for most consecutive hours spent in bed watching tv...)

Today I woke up ridiculously early - I was supposed to go get a blood-test done at 7:15am - but turns out they changed the lab hours (again) and they weren't even open today.

I didn't mean for today to be quite so productive - but my over-sensitive nose and unsettled stomach couldn't handle the lingering scents of 'people' and 'everyday living' that were permeating the apartment. I ended up showering, pampering my feet a little, changing the sheets (which meant washing the dirty linens, which meant filling the loads so by default meant washing the small amount of laundry that had accumulated since Thursday. Then since the machines were going and I was on a roll I figured I might as well wash the floor-mats which I'd been meaning to wash for the last two months or so...) Like a crazy person I opened the windows/doors and let in the frigid outside air. Sure it was cold as it brought the indoor temperature down from 57F to 52F but hey - it got rid of the stench - which made my nose happy and helped to settle my stomach.

When my nausea abated I realized I was in the mood for some lunch - so I cooked up a batch of baked ziti. Since I was in the kitchen anyway I cleared off the draining racks and put away all of the dishes. Z came Home for lunch between classes and was surprised to be treated to a 'real' lunch. There was even enough to pack up 2 servings for lunch for tomorrow - so the boys have what to take with them to eat on their 'long' Tuesday in school.

I spent the majority of the afternoon being lazy and hiding out in the office (because the heater was on and it was toasty in there.)

I even decided to make dinner (cause I'm just tooooo nice sometimes) yellow rice and oven-baked honey-mustard shnitzel. It came out of the oven just as the boys walked in and it smelled quite good - I'm hoping it tastes good too (even though I know the flavors of the rice and the the marinade don't quite jive... I know I know - I'm such a food-snob.)

And in other news - Z has informed me that he suffers from an affliction known as 'pregnancy brain'... Anybody else wondering when he's due?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

I'm Not a Welder...

Last Thursday turned out to be a crazy busy day. I managed to cook most of Shabbos before going to sleep and was quite pleased with myself. (Read: grinning ear to ear when I passed out for the night from sheer exhaustion.)

Friday morning was relatively relaxing. I woke up early and prepped everything for the quiche. Z assembled it and put it into the oven while I was out with Sara. We went out to run a couple of errands. I got home just in time to pull the quiche out of the oven. Then I scrubbed the stovetop and countertop until they sparkled.

It was amazing to have everything cooked nice and early - it really makes the day much more enjoyable. There was even time to clean the calcium-build-up out of the urn (using the old 'boil it with vinegar' trick) before filling it with clean water and setting it up for Shabbos.

Our guests (Feige & Ephraim) arrived on the early side but that was alright - I pulled a freshly baked tray of potato borekas out of the oven for everyone to snack on (since there were still a little over 2 hours until Shabbos.) Thankfully all of the cleaning and prep was done so we were all able to relax until it was time to light candles.

Sara joined us for the meals, we played a couple of games of Settlers and a lot of shmoozing took place.

All in all a very nice Shabbos.

Menu included:

Friday Night: chumus, instant-pickle-slices, roasted garlic, chicken soup with matzah balls, 'regular' roasted chicken, couscous, apple kugel (1/4 recipe), streusel topped sweet potatoes, green beans with garlic & basil olive oil

Shabbos Lunch: chumus, roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic, instant-pickle-slices, sliced veggies, lettuce-salad (add-your-own-toppings), citrus glazed salmon, tomato onion cheese quiche, 'Israeli salad', oriental pasta salad, chickpea salad

Desserts: brownies with chocolate ganache frosting, chocolate babka

Today was super-boring until around 8:20pm when Z 'suddenly remembered' that he had to build a model of the project that he'd spent the day working on. Suffice it to say - I cut, folded and glued many things. 3 hours later it's not quite done yet but I'm thinking I'll go to sleep anyway. I've done my part.

In exciting news - the FamBily is back from MerryCa and we're happy they're Home safe & sound!