My Food Obessions

A Sweet New Year

ew

Fishheads

We did it. I did it. I survived another year of mad-dash cooking for the High Holidays. There was the fish head, and there were sweetened boiled beets, and carrots and leek and gourd and dates, pomegranates – ooh yeah – what a messy treat, can’t forget those. There could have been black-eyed peas but they just look creepier than a fish head to me, so I opted out. These are the foods we eat on Rosh Hashana that are symbolic to the blessings we ask for.

appleThat and of course apples and honey – the fam favorite! I made sure to pick the prettiest apples I could find.

And then I cooked like never before. There were round challot and long challotchallah and then one with sprinkled cinnamon-sugar and one with chocolate chips and one with a fish-tail braid…plus chicken wingsroastwings and a French roast and then honey-mustard cutlets and steamed broccoli, edemame, squash kugel (pie)lunch, potato kugel  and basmati rice, salmon, salad, couscous, chicken with sweet potatoes, garlic salted green beans and the list went on!!!! There was 3 pots-worth ofsoup hearty chicken soup and of course there was dessert. There was a whip-pie that found its way into the freezer, Ben & Jerry’s and an assortment of Sharon sorbet plus DH’s red velvet cake and an apple pie. I mean tons of food! Too much food! I felt so bloated, in a good way though after every meal it was worth all the effort. 

 

The beauty of all this prepping and eating and celebrating though for 3 days straight meant that I was really looking forward to Yom Kippur. The fast days of ALL fast days. The Holiest Day Of The Year! I was going for the ultimate cleanse. No eating for 25 hours and you know what? I was only a smidge hungry. Before the fast, there was another meal to prepare but I kept it fairly simple.  And because I felt bad for my daughter who suffers with Celiac’s Disease I made her these Betty Crocker gluten-free cupcakes that my sister-in-law was kind enough to bring to us all the way from the States. They were plain yellow cupcakes that I jazzed up with Duncan Hines vanilla frosting and good ol’ colorful jimmies. I placed then in the fanciest cupcake holders I could find  and the result was awesome. She was in heaven, after not being able to eat the apple pie, the whip pie or the red velvet cake – I made it up to her with these.cupcake

What a way to start the new year. Hoping it’s a sweet new year for everyone. SHANA TOVA~!

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Running Out Of Gas, Literally.

gas

You know what its like… when you are running out of time? Regardless of the fact that man created ‘time’ in order to be more organized, feel efficient, and tick things off their to-do list, we hold to it and get upset when others do not respect it. 

Let’s say I wanted to get really deep – and today, my eyes are bleary and it exhausts me to even ‘go there’ but the deeper meaning of my title is just as poignant as the literal one. 

When a big holiday approaches I find it exciting to whip out my pen with the ink that flows effortlessly, a pad of paper (with lines of course) and begin list-making. 

To-Do

To-Call

To-Cook

To-Bake

To-Buy

However, this particular night of whatever-holiday-it-was, the gas stopped. There was no fire, my water did not boil, my dough hung in the oven on the verge of deflating.I plan accordingly. Buying what I need to start cooking the feast of a lifetime (which is pretty much always, we need less holidays people!) and focusing my energies in the kitchen like a sergeant leading his battalion, every product gets lined up and placed in a designated area along with its recipe card. My goal is to clean as I go but sometimes I run out of time. The phone rings while I have my hands in some dough, or the timer dings while my hands are full of suds. No matter what time of day the sunsets signifying the beginning of the holiday I am working until the very last minute before I jump in the shower and scrub off the hard days’ work in 30 seconds or less.

We have 2 gas containers  – huge containers – and the rule in our house is:, ‘you kill it, you fill it’.  This applies to the toilet paper roll, ice tea container, ice trays, the milk bag, the gas.  When one tanks empties the other gets turned on and a call is made to replace the empty one. Since that clearly didn’t happen here I was standing in the kitchen with only a few hours left with no way of cooking the rest of the meal. I was hosting about a billion guests and started to really get nervous. Sending my husband to the local hardware store to purchase an electric burner, sending my half-cooked food to various homes whose food was already cooked and marking on my pad of paper times to have dishes taken out, driven over, switched, picked up. Talk about stress. Sure enough, I managed to finish as always with about 10 minutes to sweep up, wash the floor and jump in the shower.

 That day was really a test. I knew it. My husband knew it. Did we pass? Barely – I probably could have handled the situation a lot better and instead of pointing fingers and laying blame, finding quicker solutions and not having to take the extra time to make apologies. 

This story happened a while ago but because of something more recent, it brought back the memory. I started reading a message that had no good news, only the underlying message of acceptance. We can’t change the ultimate outcome if G-d has decreed it a certain way. We can try to improve the situation to our comfort level, we can beg for mercy, we can (call the gas guy and order a new tank on time) read; plan accordingly, but ultimately we have no control of knowing how long something will last. The amount of gas I use weekly is guesstimated, the trip from point A-B is anyone’s guess if there is an accident along the way, especially the amount of money my kids will ask from me any given week is a total shot in the dark.  We all are forced to accept the things we cannot change, sometimes its as basic as having a spouse pick up their skivvies from the floor or throwing out a used tissue to something more intense, like having to say goodbye forever. 

times up

My advice is to love hard and forgive easily.  The unknown is frightening, but sometimes knowing is even worse. Who are we in the great scheme of things to expect to live a long life (whatever that really means – here comes the deep stuff). Time is something we created – so make the most of it for it is fleeting. We never know when the bell will ring for the final KO so stand proud, make better decisions, duck when the punch is about to smack you square in the face, make lists and keep to them. Stare at the people you love and let them know how you feel. Create for yourself a family and share in the good that this life has to offer. Don’t wait until you realize that your gas has run out, literally. 

Where Cucumbers Come To Die

0005LARThat would be my house, more specifically my vegetable drawer in the fridge. I really can’t understand it unless…my kids are playing pranks on me and moving around the temperature lever on the crisper. Not that I would notice or even know what coldness a cucumber needs in order to stay fresh. Not that I know the lifespan of any given cucumber once it leaves the supermarket.  The truth is I often tempt the kids into taking a fruit and veg to school but they all prefer fruit. When the only fruit left in the bin is moldy or bruised (insert girlie shrieks and protestations) nectarine I beg them to take the crunchy red pepper but alas the answer is almost always ‘no’ and sometimes the ‘ugh, Mom, seriously?’ But then I remember that I bought cucumbers…only to find the last one half smashed and leaking cuke-juice on the bottom of the drawer – ick.

And, I never learn my lesson.  Standing in front of the cucumber bin in the market I am drawn to the gorgeous, hard and shiny cucumbers all screaming ‘pick me’! So, of course I do, but have since learned my lesson. I only buy a few and really try to push them when the kids start whining about which snacks to take. I urge them, reminding them how crunchy and juicy and refreshing they can be.  With eyes rolling back at me they beg me to give up. So I do. Until I am struck with a horrifying morning of late-wakers and shoving the cucumber circles in a baggie pleading them to ‘Please take these, you’ll thank me later when you’re hungry!!!’ Finally, at a last attempt: ‘This is all that there is. Yes, I promise…the bus! The buuuuUS!!!!!’ And that’s the day I felt like a hero. I saved the cucumber. Unfortunately, that was short-lived since the next morning when I had sliced an apple (score one for Mom, to not forget to pick up fresh fruit) and went to put it in her book-bag and there all goopy was a tied baggie of cuke-juice mixed with bits of the cucumber it once was.

Poor, sad, cucumbers, I often think. Then my mind turns to dinner and I start rummaging the bins and pantry to try to concoct a creative dinner (since all I remembered to buy was apples). And there at the bottom of the veg bin is a sad a partially wrinkled red pepper. And I sigh. Poor, sad red pepper I think and scream out, ‘Hey! Stir fry for dinner guys!’ – and guess what they eat? Yup, they eat just the chicken and rice.

I’m not sure why I even bother, part of me thinks I have no choice, really. I am held hostage in the fruit and veg section in the market. Everything looks so darn good and healthy and I have visions of the Iron Chef guy taking a huge bite out of a red pepper and think, yum! I stare at all the varieties and opportunity for healthy meal options and am struck with this need to fill my basket with ALL of them. I even bought dragon fruit because it was so pretty not having a clue what it was since the sign in Hebrew gave me no hint. I bought quince and kiwi and endives and radishes thinking I was adventurous and the kids would applaud my creativity. One child likes kiwi (yay), no one likes radishes and the quince are still hard in the fruit drawer. I can’t even remember what happened to the endives! I’m not sure I’ll ever truly learn my lesson – I get sucked in by all the pretty colors and am hooked week after week. The one good thing to come out of all my bruised fruit was this week I made fruit shakes and everyone at least tasted one cup. Go Mommy, go Mommy – get your fruit on, go Mommy. Now, I wonder,  has anyone had any success with vegetable shakes?

 

When Did All The Potatoes Rot?

This did not just happen, by the way, this is my life, day-to-day. Small scenarios just like this one. Today, I felt like documenting it.

It is unfair, I tell you. One minute they were fine, the next bruised and stinking up the vegetable cabinet. The house, being closed up all day, incubated that stink so that when I came home and opened the door – booyah! I was hit with the most horrific smell that I could remember. I felt like retching. I felt like running. I felt ill. Why potatoes, why? Was it my fault entirely? I thought I left you enough air. I bought you with great intentions for mash, or to fry and even bake but you turned on me so quickly.

And such is my corny life. Moms, who work, need to – no make that, MUST blame other factors when things go wrong. On the one hand, everything is our fault but on the other, if I am to blame for one.more.THING I’ll go mad. Yes, I will. Legit mad, not like, oh, I broke my nail after a manicure, *sob*. Like red-faced, dragon-breathed, holy-cow-take-cover mad. And then just like that we’re back, smiling and having found inner peace/our happy place. As a newly married woman I recall a phone conversation with my sister-in-law (Please forgive me, I love you). She was pleasant – then crazy, screaming at one of her 10 (at the time) children, then back to pleasant. I thought her behavior was absurd – so Jekyll and Hyde. Then I had children and completely related. I remember having a conversation with one of my best friends deciding whose house we were going to commiserate at since our children were small and misery loves company, when I looked over and saw my 2 yr. old poking my baby’s eyes. So I started screaming something like, “that’s naughty – stop that right now!” (Yeah, like a 2-year-old cares – negative attention is just as good as positive at that age). 3 seconds later I came back to the conversation as if nothing happened – when it was her turn, “no, no, NO – do NOT spill the milk on my carpet!!!” And then she came back to the conversation with, “Anyway, so how fast can you get here?”

I often find myself wondering when something goes wrong, (oh, and by the way? that’s like every other five minutes). Was it me? Was it something I said? Or did? Or felt? Or thought? A look I gave? I look I tried to hide? Was it my breath? Did I even brush my teeth today? I often get distracted (not that I don’t think dental hygiene is extremely important). But, as you’ll probably connect here, moms NEVER get any private time. If I had more private time I could probably be more organized and avoid having things go wrong, Alas, it’s almost inevitable, the second that bathroom door shuts? Someone is wailing or whining or crying or banging or begging to see you. They NEED you. They have to have that conversation right at THAT moment.

*Sigh*

Take 2. Children are such a blessing. They make some trouble for us entering the world and until they figure this life-outside-the-womb thing it’s a bit rocky, but then when all things have calmed down, they bring absolute joy to those lucky enough to be around them. Their cherubic angelic faces brighten the day with their toothless gummy grins and smelling like vanilla or lavender as we rub our lips over their precious fuzzy heads. They make us laugh when they try to stand and fall with a plop and slow-mo roll-over mid-air as their weight pulls them down. They lift our spirits when they make up words like “agaza” and you’re supposed to know that it means ceiling fan. Their make your chest swell with pride when they finally get down the hill on their bike without falling or getting the solo in the school concert or graduating or offering to help when no one asks.

And then, someone touched someone else. Heaven Forbid. Should THAT ever happen, here is the method I generally subscribe to and am convinced that until there is physical contact in a non-playful way – it’s a must use. It’s called conflict resolution. It’s something I learned in a particular college course, in one of the many business classes I took for Business Management that taught the topic of supervisor-subordinate mediation but works as well peer-to-peer.  (I know that sounded super smart  – sometimes I use the old noodle for more than remembering to make dentist appointments). I learned that wherever choices exist there is potential for disagreement. Throw kids in the mix, well – you’ll get sibling rivalry a lot! Knowing how to deal with a given situation when a disagreement occurs is a life lesson worth teaching. He did not HAVE to touch her – but of course he did. She did not have to have ketchup-breath, but of course she did. And this is how it begins, a he-said/she-said scenario with escalated voices and flushed cheeks leading up to an inevitable shove or push or kick or imaginary swipe of a fake light saber in the general vicinity causing tumult and wreaking havoc. (And breathe mommy, it’s almost bedtime). After giving these children an opportunity to sort out their differences in a safe and non-partisan area, using indoor voices, I promised French Fries to all who made amends. And it was quiet. Was it bribery or a reward? – Do I consult my last copy of Parenting circa 2010? All I knew is that it worked. And it was quiet…until I opened the cabinet and remembered there were no more potatoes. Dammit.

Round 2: The Crying Mom

In less than a half hour I am leaving work to take my 12-year-old for a biopsy. Sadly, this is the second time I am headed to the same hospital for such a procedure. A little while ago, my 8-year-old needed one as well.

They both are super small for their age and after we checked the younger one and followed doctor’s orders we saw immediate improvement. However the experience was cukoo-kachoochoo. I was nervous about this little person going under and was a crying mess the whole 20 minutes the procedure took, the whole hour it took for her to wake up and then some more for no apparent reason as we sat and at ice cream when all was said and done.

Today, while I am prepared, and know what to expect I am still kind of anxious. No mother wants to have to witness their child in a hospital setting, even for minor reasons. My brain knows I want the best for her and this will determine why she has stopped growing, hopefully. But I am still sitting here with butterflies in my tummy, but making like it’s no big deal – she is super nervous but also has her game face on.

I am psyching myself up: Mantra station? Arrived. “I will not cry”, “I will not cry”. 

In other non-medical related news – I am juggling like mad to make this week work smoothly. While I still have some major projects at work, it seems that my personal social calendar is getting in my way. Today the hospital, tomorrow, working late so leaving early – balancing the shopping somewhere i the middle, Wed. night a wedding, and Thursday – well, Thursday is a big day. I may need to take off entirely. My husband, who is turning 40, is going to pick up his parents at the airport, while we, the busy bees at home, will be prepping for his “surprise” b-day party. He knows I am planning something, he’s just not sure who is going to show up. Surprise! Not many. It seems as if August has cleared the block. Most of his closest friends seem to be out of the country, working, or on vacation. Poop.  So there is family and pizza and Duncan Hines on the menu – which to me sounds great – I just hope he’s not too disappointed. If this is a bust – guess who’s crying? Yours truly. I just can’t seem to help it. There’s a lotta’ stuff that goes on and well, I’m a sensitive girl. I had this great idea for an 80’s themed birthday cake but was unwilling to splurge for the extravagance so I am thinking I may try that on my own, hee-hee I see “FAIL” all over that – but we’ll see.

All in all my mind is preoccupied with tons of things that are mostly good and I am pleased with the fact that the positives outweigh the negatives. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if I start crying for the good things too – I need more clothing with pockets so I can carry tissues with me wherever I go.

Note to self: make time to go shopping. 🙂

No Bonfire?!? How Could I?

It’s not my thing. Neither is sitting too close to a fireplace.  That fire-y ember burning hypnotizing crackling with sparks flying every which way does NOTHING for me.  In the movies they make it like it’s the most romantic thing ever, sitting on the bear skin rug in the arms of your honey staring at the fire. Please. Sitting on the floor is generally NEVER comfortable. Is it just me? I’m no JAP. I will  on occasion sit on the floor if the activity warrants it – but as a choice of comfort, sorry, I’ll take a cushioned couch any day. Feeling that overly hot burn on  your face, as your eyes start to water, and your foot falls asleep you start to wonder why you wanted to do this in the first place!

Your clothes smell gross, your hair smells smokey, even your skin smells charred, you can’t wait to get in the shower to get the stench off you, all for a slightly burned marshmallow or a baked potato? I don’t get it, maybe I’m a Scrooge. A party-pooper. A Debbie downer.  Or. Maybe I’m just normal. 

Am I passing down my distaste for bonfires? Not out loud, I even encouraged my kids to partake in the festivities down the block, gave them wrapped potatoes in tin foil and the skewers. But I also didn’t overly encourage it – one daughter asked if she HAD to go, so I thought the best advice here was to tell her, only if she would regret not going, later. She went.  Was it peer pressure? I’ll never know because I’ll never ask her. See,  when she came back – though she reeked of campground fun, she was happy she participated, even if it meant she had to watch her younger siblings.

All in all? This holiday bugs me. Again, call me a killjoy but I NEVER think it’s a good idea to have children near a fire that can potentially get out of hand.  Children for over a week spend all their free time collecting twigs, branches, wood from someone’s construction site (happens every year), I even saw one young teen lugging what looked like half a tree to a car for transport to their camp fire site.  All that effort and for a few hot dogs? Marshmallows? Potatoes? I’ll never get it. 

Am I missing something?

 

Dragons, Dudes and Delicious Foods

It’s weird. I feel like I just paused my life. For about 10 days I was busy busy busy but on pause. I’ll explain. Preparing for Passover is like preparing for a tornado. You are fearful that if you don’t buy everything you need all at once than half way through there will be nothing left, the shelves will be bare, and you’ll be left with 2 potatoes, an onion and a strawberry yogurt that NO ONE WANTS TO EAT! And heaven forbid you be without coconut macaroons or an extra box of matzoh ball mix! I made turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and broccoli and farfel (a Jewish-y food) and soup and homemade ice cream (vanilla AND strawberry) and sponge cakes and meringues and matzoh balls and meat balls and mashed potatoes and spinach kugel (more Jewish-y food) and corned beef and stir fry and all the special Seder night foods and passover rolls and and and….yes there was more.

Even though my regular schedule was disrupted it was non-stop planning, prepping and cooking, and cleaning up and repeating said process day after day. I was tired. I worked hard, but it was worth it. There was great food, good company and successful day trips with the wee ones. It was by far my best holiday yet.

However, back to our regularly scheduled program…returning to work and finding over 300 emails that needed weeding – ugh – not fun. About 1/2 of them were spammy stuff and coupons about clothes I can’t afford and like to look at but would never buy (Marc Jacobs/ Christian Dior/ Coco Chanel) and recipes, recipes, recipes. I signed up once on a site where they deliver me a recipe a day – well that kind of took over my inbox…note to self, stop acting like an idiot. I was so busy at work also preparing for an event tomorrow that the day flew by, but I never stopped for a minute until the end of the day even for a bathroom break! TMI? Sorry.

Later this evening while helping my daughter look for pictures of her grandparents on the computer for this never-ending project her lovely teacher assigned, I found some old videos of when my first 4 kids were really small. My smile was huge. Soon all the kids were around me as we watched all the cute and funny things they did and said.

The most memorable for me were a few in a series my then 8-year-old son had me film. He was basically telling chapters of an imagination story that included a dragon, a prince and a king, naturally. He was so articulate and animated and his voice was a little raspy and he was very serious and even warned the viewers to pay attention because there would be follow-up questions. All his life this is something I can point to and say “he is so into this stuff”.  Even now my younger son is all about the sword fighting and the plot of good vs evil and slaying the dragon. My older son loves books by Rick Riordan and T.A. Barron, watching  movies like Star Wars and Harry Potter, all where the characters are heroes because they were able to overcome some form of evil (albeit with a little help from magic and wizardry). The boys even on occasion have begun to fake joust and tumble until one becomes the victor.

So after all this, at a late hour, typically when my  brain is alert and, I missed my tired window darn it,  I am struggling with a need to inspire – thinking there must be something I can encourage my son to be more than a fake jouster. He is getting to the age where that stuff becomes babyish and he is starting to get into girls and sports and other manly activities like taking out the garbage and checking out his barely there mustache. I want him to hold on to the image of the heroes like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and Luke Skywalker but without all the wizardry and magic and dragons and Greek Mythology and Millennium Falcons and light sabers (I’m holding, so what?). So I did a little research on one of his favorite authors, T. A. Barron. I found a really great looking book with a positive message about REAL LIFE KIDS doing cool stuff that he wrote.  The book is called The Hero’s Trail. I wanted to redefine his image of what a hero really is and bingo! There it was. Some stories are about famous people like Stephen Hawking and Anne Frank but then there are other ones about ordinary kids doing amazing things – that’s the message I want him to walk away with. One day maybe he’ll be a hero. Before I know it he’ll be enlisted in the Israeli Army and my man-boy will be all grown with real facial hair and I hope to remember the little kid who created his own stories of heroism and fighting dragons.

Being reflective after this wonderful 10-days on pause that was solely dedicated to food and family I am teary-eyed at the possibilities and the future adventures of my little guys. I am emotional and probably should stop this dear diary moment but I can’t. I don’t want it to end, this feeling of mommydom. I snuck a peek at them sleeping, all warm and fuzzy in their beds and I want to imprint that image in my mind. I know right now I am their hero, well, who else is gonna’ provide them with clean underwear? Or tuck them in and read them stories and give bunny kisses and hold them when they cry? Yeah ok, sometimes daddy does that too, I can share the cape. At the end of the day, I just want what’s best for them, just like every other parent wants for their kids. To have fond memories of growing up, to know that money wasn’t the most important thing, that I loved them unconditionally even when I was angry at the ameoba-man drawn on his arms, and my walls, and on his bed linens, and oh, I can go on but I won’t. Well, at least not today.

Weird? Yeah It Is!

רוצים להשלים שעות שינה? לחצו כאן!

Weird Thing #1: This is a product that someone told me about.  Its like the Elephant Man Pillow. So Bizarre! I can’t believe people would purchase it and NOT end up with a neck ache! Clever…and if there is a market out there kudos to the seller, but consumers> like I always say – we are suckers! This thing is ridic.

Weird Thing #2: Someone (a complete stranger/first time meeting them ever) recently mentioned they MUST get in touch with their Shiatzu guy…why do I need that information? It was so random!!! Also, it’s weird what people MUST do and why they MUST tell you. I’m good with banter so I managed to get through it without that ‘what the heck?” look on my face…I hope.

Weird Thing #3: I am hosting a dinner party next week with a few friends and we decided on a Chinese Food Theme. Being in Israel – that can be a challenge since there are not so many great take-out places and we’ll probably re-create the menu. After a few back and forth emails on moo goo and moo shoo and poo poo platters I searched online for a visual to show my friend. I found this. Lets just say it was under the ‘poo poo platter’ section.

Weird Thing #4: Next week we celebrate the holiday of Purim. Quick synopsis, Jews were being persecuted *big surprise and the evil Haman, the kings right hand man wanted to destroy us. The king, Achashverosh (his Persian name – others refer to him as Xerxes, not much easier to say though), recently divorced from Queen Vashti (lets just say, she didn’t love his partying), was looking to find a new wife. Nice Jewish girl named Esther was chosen and she stepped a bit over the line. She went to him without being called (to beg him to help save her people against the evil Haman) and that’s a no-no. However the king took her brazenness as a sign of courage. She told him about Haman’s threats to her and her people which angered the king and sure enough Good prevails over Evil. Haman and his sons are hanged.

Smelly Feet CandyPerhaps that was not so quick…in any event, to commemorate this momentous occasion, and here is the weird part: we dress up in costumes and have a big feast, and give baskets of treats to our neighbors. (It sounds a bit like Halloween). As I was looking for some creative way to package said basket/treat giving while still in the poo poo section, I cam across this. The Porky Pooper. I mean, its funny and gross at the same time. Porky poops out chocolate balls.

Fart Candy - Click to enlarge

Who buys this stuff?!? Probably the same weirdos that buy “Smelly Feet Treats” and “Fart Candy”, ugh.

Weird Thing #5:

So after extensively discussing which costumes my children were going to be dressing in, they have settled on a zombie, a cupcake, a cowboy, a nerd and a ninja. That’s not happening, he recently asked me if he has any Ninja blood in him, so I sarcastically remarked “yes, you are 1/8th Ninja”…and he whooped, I had to break it to him gently that sometimes mommy jokes around. He wasn’t pleased. Some of these I can take bits and pieces from the HUGE costume box that is overflowing with perfectly good costumes, but I digress. Some of the other ones may be a bit difficult for me, I am not creative when it comes to costuming, and I usually wait until the very last minute for inspiration…so I took to searching online for Do-It Yourself costume sites…as if.  Half the costumes were inappropriate for my wholesome non-violent children and the other half were basically how-tos after you purchase all the fabric and elastic and extra doodads…I wanted easy, simple, and cheap! So whats weird?  My obsessive behavior this year in trying to make sure they all get what they want. Ninja acquiesced to be a  mad scientist and asked for a test tube. I should have given in to the ninja…or make him be a Shiatzu guy ;).

I Heart You and Stuff

Today is a big day. In my own world Valentines Day was never celebrated but the rest of the world is spreading love everywhere. Plans for surprise proposals that will surface on Youtube, pounds of chocolates and heart-shaped everythings have been sold, stragglers are sure to pay  for a hefty overpriced love trinket or single wrapped rose because they waited until the last-minute to prove their love, and women all around await with bated breath and big hopeful eyes that they will not be forgotten on the most romantic day of the year.

I get to have romance 24/7 with my loved one. Cheesy? You bet. Can you guess why?

Fine, I’ll just tell you. He never cooks dinner (unless you are a man reading this, so I guess grilling up some hot dogs once in a while and making a bbq a few times a year counts). He never leaves love notes on my pillow (though once I found a nice note in the car reminding me some stuff – errands –  for the day (..that was at best thoughtful). After year one I can’t really remember getting flowers (don’t cry for me, I have terrible allergies).

So it’s not traditional but I can best describe it with an example.

We were up pretty late watching a show when I remembered to tell him that I needed to work a special event Sat night. He phrased his question funny and I couldn’t resist responding appropriately, plus it was pretty late as I mentioned and I was kind of silly (who me?) at that hour. He asked: What do you need to work as? My response: as a waitress in a cocktail bar.

Those of you who know Billy Joel will catch the reference. As it happens the only concert we ever went to was a Billy Joel concert. (back-story folks). I was really pregnant and we lived in Jersey, the concert was in Jersey, but blondie left our tickets to the concert in his government office drawer in NYC. So even though the couple that we were supposed to meet were already there and enjoying we got stuck in traffic, naturally, and government bureaucracy (why would he NEED something from his office after hours, he may or may not have forgotten his ID badge), we got stuck in traffic on the way back, got lost in the parking lot until we found an open doorway, walked half way around the stadium before we found our seats and made it just as Billy belted out, “a bottle of red, a bottle of white” and the crowd went wild. We made it for like 2 songs. They were at least 2 we knew…so it ended well. That typical funniness, the quirkiness, the oddball actions – that’s real romance. I’m not joking, when I can make my bestie laugh out loud in the middle of the night with a quick one liner and a Billy Joel quote, that’s romantic! We get that every day here at the fun factory.

Just the other day when I reached into my purse for my keys and magically there was some ABC gum stuck to them, I laughed in a grossed out kinda’ way. I would NEVER share that with him because he suffers gumphobia (a story that’s all his to tell, sorry, kids), but to me laughter is romance, those crazy kids are extensions of us. They remind me daily of the love I share with my partner in this really weird (read: romantic) way. That’s love and you can’t wrap that up in a heart-shaped box.

Oh This Is JUST Great

Day 1

When you’re already feeling a bit down and THEN you get an email with three items on sale specifically designed for you (so they said).

1) Wrinkle Cream

wow, message received.

2) Haagen Dazs

temporary fix.

3) Killer Abs for Dummies – or some other obnoxiously named video tutorial reminding me that the time is now.

let me just finish my 2 gallons of Haagen Dazs will you?!!?

Man, I wish I had some.

Day 2

In other exciting news… I served leftovers for dinner, read: my kids were angry with me. I needed a sappy tv drama, stat! And another gallon or two of Ben & Jerry’s to maybe help keep my mind off depressing stuff.

Enough of the self wallowing pity party for one, I needed something to cheer me up and fast. It came in the form of a phone call. Another opportunity dropped into my lap. Just. Like.That.

When one door closes another one opens. I mean, the odds of it happening that quickly are rare but boy was I glad it did. What a quick reminder for me, sure I was all lemonade-y but I was still sad, until that phone call.

We never know when things will turn around, or why bad things seem to happen to good people, or why the elastic sometimes randomly busts on your underwear (someone once told me that happened to them).

In all seriousness, lots of opportunities are out there. 2 days ago I played a game of Bananagrams with my daughters when  I had a light bulb moment.  When you hold on to a specific plan or idea, sometimes, you might miss something even better if you aren’t willing to change or alter the original plan.

So there you have it. I’m getting older, wrinklier and wiser. I love ice cream and hate working out but might indulge in a little online couponing, those ads were pretty compelling. I will have my cake and eat it too, one day. But for now, I’ll stick to the local ice cream brands and continue to stare at my video cassette of Killer Abs for Fatties, or something like that.  And you know, that’s okay because even though one door opened and then slammed shut on me, another is right there within my reach.  The only loss was a wee bit of self-esteem and it was a good dose of reality. I am humbled and there is a lesson to be learned in everything so smiles all around.  Anyways chubby people are supposed to be jolly and make you laugh.

 

Blingitty Bling

This is gonna’ be one of those weird ones. I came across a great product – but I get that it’s not going to make everyone laugh. For us wig-wearers,  this is a new-ish item. I absolutely adore it, but would never buy it for myself. A blinged out head for my wig. Glitz and glamour for my golden locks as they rest for the night…silly little trinket, even looking at it makes me happy. I like the shimmer and shininess of it. There is a whole line of colors and styles, just by clicking on the photo, you’ll feast your eyes on more.

I can just see it now, quick someone buy me the Bedazzler for when I am ready to retire to Miami and make my own rose designed sweatsuits. But in all seriousness, even as little girls we females like to bling things out. I can recall Chubby stuffing her ampleness into her Sergio Valente jeans with the bedazzled back pocket. Here, let’s go back in time.

There she was in her new Sergio Valente bedazzled jeans, round and round gaining speed on the corners at the local roller rink. She could do the hokey pokey with the best of them and even attempted to win the limbo contest. Her favorite was the corner game…remember the DJ would call out a number and you had to skate to the corner as quickly as you could? She was fast even though she was chubby. No one missed her, whizzing by with matching ribbons in her pigtails, she had a glitzed out back pocket but popped her trouser button when she bent too low one day…those were the days. Her mama should have started her on sweatpants then.

https://i2.wp.com/media-cache0.pinterest.com/upload/42925002668263598_pyobIklc_b.jpgAnyhoo, there is just something about shiny items that women love. We’ve jazzed up our cell phones and  their cases. Our clothing. Our accessories. Our jewelry. Our shoe-wear – (go Keds!) Our jean vests, or jean anything, hello! We’ve even gone as far as bedazzling our upholstered items like couch pillows. ( I think that may be overdoing it though).

As Seen On TV 'The Mini Bedazzler Tool' I think this is a great gift, the mini Bedazzler. Not too expensive and the ad even says small enough to fit in your purse…you know, for those times, when you are in a need to bedazzle crisis, DUH!

We’ve bejewelled our fingernails. Our faces. Even Our Teeth!!! Not Joking – check it out. Seriously, I think we’ve all gone a bit mad. It’s one thing to like a little glitz and glam but it’s another thing to go over the top, spend lots of money on things that are above and beyond what is ‘normal’.

I remember once, wearing a gown that was so heavily beaded that it weighed me down and I found it hard to move and dance and truly enjoy myself (even though I l thought I looked A-Mayzin’…looking back, not so much).

We’ve managed to cover the computer area, and our office needs,  our backpacksNwt Victoria's Secret Pink Limited Edition Bling Backpack Rainbow Bling Paillett Photothe inside of our carshttps://i0.wp.com/www.coolbusinessideas.com/images/Swarovski-studded%20Honda.jpg

Aargh – the list goes on and on.  What have we done?  Just btw – I REALLY like the car bling…

https://i0.wp.com/cdn03.cdnwp.thefrisky.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/02/bedazzled_g1.jpg

See full size imageI am all over this look. I don’t know this fellow. I don’t understand why he is wearing this head-piece * at least I hope it’s a head-piece and not little gems hot-glued to his royal baldness. I feel like lots of women can get away with wearing a basic black dress and donning one of these coiffures with perhaps a little 20’s vibe  – ya’know the curl at the ear. That’s all you’d need to dress up the look!

It could be a thing. I’m no trendsetter so you won’t see me sporting this look  – but there is one thing I know. No matter what age we ladies are, from the beginning we are dazzled and amazed by shiny objects. They make us feel happy and so no matter what your business is people, if you cover it in glitter or hot-glue it with rhinestones (even though that was an epic fail for one dress-maker I had commissioned) you’ll have a product that will sell.

The last thing I saw was edible bling. Gross. People spraying gold or silver on doughnuts, pretzels, strawberries and chocolate. I wish I were joking. Way to ruin a good hot pretzel, huh?

All in all if there is one thing I learned from all my ‘research’ its that trends may come and go but one thing remains the same. Men, pay attention: WOMEN LIKE SPARKLY STUFF!!! ‘Nuff said.

Freeze The Cheese

This is a phrase I want people to start using. I want to hear it one day used in a movie, on the streets, in a song…you name it. It can be used in a myriad of ways all for different needs.

Example #1: The Cheesy Pickup Line: While some think they are being ‘clever’ most people will see it as being cheesy and honestly how many times have you heard this classic pick-up line…”Do your legs hurt from running through my dreams all night?” Ich. Here anyone could and should respond with a simple “freeze the cheese.”

Example #2: The Cheesy Joke: How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it. Yeah, I know, little chuckles for everyone. It’s cute. It’s also cheesy. Not cheesy enough to warrant the phrase? How about this one? Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married.The ceremony wasn’t much, but the reception was excellent. Bada-boom. Here, it would be perfectly acceptable to face the jokester  and say, “freeze the cheese”. (I also call these ‘Dad jokes’)

Example #3: The Cheesy Potato: Where I work there used to be catering services. There was a specific caterer one year that would make the same basic menu week after week, and there was always a day dedicated to the cheesy-potato dish. It looked like this:

This looks so unhealthy and coming from me, that is a big deal. I love lots of things that look unhealthy and often indulge though I know better but imagine eating this dish week after week? Someone should have had the guts to face the chef and say, “freeze the cheese!”

Example #4: Cheesy Clothing:  There is something to be said for originality. I appreciate the witty one-liners but I can’t stand when you’re at an amusement park and you pass a couple wearing matching t-shirts on purpose. Like the couple that has to walk around always on the same side of each other because her t-shirt says I’m with him and an arrow pointing to the right and his says I’m with her and an arrow pointing to the left. Barf. In this case you can’t really say anything because well freedom of speech applies if you live in the US it’s always important  to encourage individuality. But there is no law that says you can’t think it:

Freeze The Cheese!Easy Cheesy Tee Shirt

Okeedokee. Bridal showers are all about weird cheesy gifts and games so while it’s not entirely fair for this to be part of the series it still must be mentioned. There is this one game that I remember vividly – basically everyone purchases an inexpensive kitchen item and all the gifts are filled in a laundry basket or garbage pail or some other receptacle that can be used by the new couple once they are married.

Example #5: The Cheesy Gift: Everyone must think of  a cute hint that is sort of punny. attach it to the gift and the bride has to try to guess what it is before opening it. The card may read: Wishing you a sweet life beyond measure.  Did you figure it out? It was a measuring cup filled with candy. If you are rolling your eyes like I am you or shaking your head slightly with raised eyebrows – you may have been at the same party as me, perhaps in a different state or the week after, preparing the bonnet of wrapping paper and bows that the bride-to-be ends up wearing and smiles like a goober to commemorate the cheese as her friends and Aunt Sylvia are saying, look over here, as the cameras go a-flashing. Yikes. I may have just heard one of you screaming at me to ‘freeze the cheese’ because this stuff is too awful to read, it was bad enough having to participate in them but reliving it here? Oh now c’mon – you know you loved it back then and are smiling like a goober now!

All in all – I hope this post gets passed around – (SUBLIMINAL HINT HERE) and it goes viral –  and the world will be using my phrase to stop the weirdos amongst us. Peace Ya’ll.

If Only I Thought Of That First…

I saw this picture posted on a friend’s feed and it got me thinking of all the other inventions I should have come up with first.

Erg, it makes me so angry. The first year of marriage we were surrounded by young patent lawyers as we started our life together in Washington D.C. While my bestie was in grad school and I was temping for various ultra boring jobs, I kept trying to come up with the ‘next best thing’. The problem is, you only think of the most awesome invention ever when your life is missing that one thing that would make it cooler, easier, faster.

Lighted slippers. Genius.

I do have some weird dislikes with certain foods (read past posts like Apple Pie With Skins. Why?!? or Hiding My Lima Beans) and the way they move (jiggle/wiggle). I am not a HUGE fan of touching sticky things either so when I saw the Butter Cutter (great name) I thought, man, that’s genius! Now, if there was a way of spreading it and reassuring it would be mess-free, I’d consider buying that gadget. Even if it would only get that 3 times a year usage when you are sick and drinking tea and eating toast. One annoying feature would be cleaning this product. I hate cleaning in general but when there are small crevices – makes it so much worse.

On to more cool inventions.

I would never drink coffee as a kid, but it didn’t stop me from having mugs that I loved. Chubby liked her hot chocolate just like any other portly kid. There was the one with the cats, the one with my name, the black one, the cheap one…etc. The one thing that was always missing from my life? The Cookie Mug. https://i1.wp.com/www.geekstir.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/cookiemug-200x200.jpg Just brilliant! A storage spot for my cookies! Next birthday friends, put it on my wish list. There are more fun mugs like this, that are blue with cookie monster eyes painted on it, but I am past that childish stage (*cough) and would be prefer this plain, nondescript looking mug. Seriously. Genius.

I would love to see an invention where someone can drink while reclining, and without choking to death.

I would also love the freedom to sit all day and think up cool inventions but the only way to do that is if I have one really amazing idea and strike it rich because everyone thought so too.

Hey – another great invention would be, let’s say your server goes out while you think you’re saving a blog post, but then oh wait, no, half of it is gone…as-if-you-never-typed-it-up-in-the-first-place…grr, and there was some way to retrieve it.

So as I was sweeping the entire first floor of my house this morning (much-needed therapy) instead of waking up numero cinco, I looked out into my dirt pit/would-be-garden (if only I had the spare change) and thought, keeping all my priorities in check will guide me to the place I always want to be. Of course goals always change depending on whether you sneeze or win the lottery but nevertheless, I have kept true to myself, creating goals and reaching them. Sure, I could have used the time to “prioritize” (which really means spending one’s time wisely) this morning and washed the dishes or fold AND put away the laundry but that wasn’t really what I WANTED to do. What I wanted to do was sweep the floor. Goal Set. Goal Accomplished.

Think Big. Dream Big. 

I dream of being able to hire a housekeeper one day – to me that’s big. But in the meantime, I prioritize, which usually means watching Modern Family before washing any dishes but enough about me and how much I detest housework. What really needs to happen is something on a grand scale like with Rosie from the Jetsons. A robot who would clean my home, cook me dinner and I wouldn’t feel guilty for asking all my requests to live this privileged life. Or how about someone creating self-cleaning rooms or mess-free children – where can one purchase some of those?

I dare to dream…

 

Dear Potato, I Love You

No, I do not call my husband “Potato”. It would be funny if I did, one day just to see his reaction, (and I may even try it tonight, it’s making me giggle), but I digress.

Fast food and junk food are possibly 2/4 of my favorite food groups. BUT I know they are not good for me, so I don’t eat them every day. I have though, more recently, noticed that the older I get the more careful I need to be and try much harder to eat well-balanced meals. So today I ate a banana. I ate an apple. I had healthy bread. I ate lettuce. I was still hungry.

I craved chocolate and chips and ice cream and grilled cheese (my mind was wandering) and then I thought, man, I really want a burger and fries. PS – I generally do not crave burgers…my body was sending me a message…EAT SOME PROTEIN! I had none at work, well I did, but it seems as if SOMEone chose to throw my tuna out of the fridge, so I tried to keep my mind off food, as if.

I decided to clean up the desktop from pictures seeing if I could delete unnecessary clutter when I came across this photo I took a while back.  It may be hard to tell what it is, but it’s a STA-HOT warmer with a tray of a few fries left.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love fries from a burger place but when I see this machine…I aint buyin’.  I like fresh, deep-fried, leave your fingers oily fries. NOT reheated by a red-glow-light, who-knows-how-long-they’ve-been-sitting-there, stale-looking pathetic fries.  I am not kidding here. I love good fries just as seriously as I hate wiggly food.

Alas, not all fries are created equal. My top fry would definitely be the curly fry, or better yet, the spicy curly fry. You can get a mound of those in the kosher concession stand at Hershey Park, yuummmeh. Now, I keep kosher so I can’t possibly know the differences between Burger King, White Castle and McDonald’s fries, but the commercials sure make them look really delish.

The one thing that can ruin a good fry? Too potato-ey. Ew. I like a nice crunch or a soggy skinny, but under-cooked or overstuffed – ich. Reject. Veto. Nope. No Way. Return, please, can I have my money back, thank you very much.

As it happens I enjoy almost every form the potato takes. The Baked Potato being the least adored (well it’s just so boring, no matter what you plop on top of it). Mashed potatos with some fried onions and chopped chives…and a steak…OBVIOUSLY (also served on the eve of the first seder night of Passover with meatballs as is tradition in our home).

Next not so fave is the boiled. Also a Passover dish served in salty water. I have memories of my grandparents and dad eating them with Borscht and a dollop of sour cream. (ew).

Going back a jillion years, Chubby loved the smell of the fries at the Holmdel Swim and Tennis Center, though she was never allowed to eat them because they were not kosher. Watching the other kids pour gallons of ketchup and their fingers sticky and oily would make me crave them like any other portly kid might. I would beg my mom on those days to make tater tots when we got home.

Another amazing memory is the Sunday brunch (read heavy mid-day lunch) at Edna’s Glatt Kosher Delicatessen on Church Avenue in Brooklyn, N.Y. No matter if ordered the turkey on rye or the chopped liver (no, I’m not kidding) sandwich it was accompanied by a potato knish and of course a can of Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry or Cream Soda and of course a big fat juicy kosher dill pickle. But there was an art to eating the knish, and it varied, depending on my mood. Sometimes, I’d eat it like an Oreo, saving the middle for last. Sometimes I’d cut it in half and slowly work my way through and save the outer brown shell for the grand finale. Clearly, and my sister would agree, that the knish though was not what we remember most. It was the 80-year-old waiters serving us, with shaky hands, informing us, “hot soup”!  AS far as knishes go, if there was no option for Edna’s, I’d have taken Gabilas from the freezer aisle and often did as a newlywed.taken from Pinterest

The only time I took a break from eating chips was after eating an entire can of Pringles with my friend Melanie, as kids. We went to see the movie the Dark Chrystal…not sure why…and we got such belly aches from eating the whole can, but like the commercial says, “Once you pop, you can’t stop!”

Today though, as a thrifty mom, I try to be as creative as I can since potatoes are inexpensive and filling and generally liked by all my children.  We change it up from time to time making home fries, latkes, potato soup, mashed potatoes, kugel (which is like pie, but not) and rarely go for the baked…no one is really interested, except for this one holiday where the custom is to spear a potato wrapped in tin foil and bake it over a bonfire,  but they enjoy a good boiled (which I find amusing). We bake them with salt and sometimes oil and onion soup mix and sometimes even go crazy and add some chopped parsley…whoa, I know.

There are other aspects of the potato that I love. The couch potato, Mr. Potato, the game Hot Potato…the list can go on but I’ll spare you. It’s time for dinner and the natives are restless, 2 have pillow cases on their heads and are running through the house screaming “zombies, we’re zombies!!!”

You can’t make this stuff up folks.

Our Booth Was Blessed

Tonight is the last night of Booth Week. Over the weekend we had 2 nephews, their cousin, our cousin, a super-duper cool neighbor and her awesome and famous friend visit our booth. I made some really yummy food that almost got finished and a sweet strawberry soup that was really refreshing in the heat of the day.

We also got to celebrate with lots of friends in another booth at the end of the block for a variety of fun events, like a young couple’s engagement and parents making aliyah (moving to Israel) and a birthday party, it was basically a block booth party (say that 10x fast).

While I didn’t feel overly hot I caught quite the sunburn on my face and now my nose hurts when I wrinkle it. I know, then don’t wrinkle it.

http://www.catnapin.com/Critters/Butterfly/Tiger%20Moth,%20Grammia%20nevadensis,%20Floyd%20(1)_small.jpgWhile all this is an extremely entertaining account of our weekend, she said sarcastically, the best part of the weekend is when we were attacked by a vicious looking moth. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, it was more like a dangerous sounding moth. The Tiger Moth. Or professionally known as Grammia Nevadensis. She looked so beautiful when she rested on our canvas walls.

https://i0.wp.com/www.whatsthatbug.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/great_tiger_moth_amy.jpgBut when she decided to take flight, this meaty creature was aiming for the light but landed too close to one of my daughters and did she screech, my daughter not the moth. Enough to scare Grammia to my side of the table where it hit me in the head, so of course I scream out with an: Aaaahhhhh heheheh aaaahhh”. So she moved on to my son, the boy, the teenager who gave a deep resounding “Bleehhhh” when she approached too close. Her wings all aflutter at rapid moth speed she hit the light, came towards my nephew…who was super brave and macho and giggled at how ridiculous we all sounded. My 7-year-old complained that she was following her, first in the front of the house, then in the park and now in our booth…to which I explained the possibility of perhaps there was more than one moth. With her puffy cheeks and big blue eyes and pouty lips and eyebrows drawn in anger she was adamantly opposed and convinced it was one and the same.

Finally Tiger Moth decided we were too loud for her, she frantically found her way onto the nephews’ cousin’s hat and cousin came to the rescue and brought her outside. We all sighed, and sang  in celebration. Well we really sang because it was the Sabbath and there was harmony and guests and tea and cake. All in all it was a great way to end the holiday and enter into another starting tomorrow night.

On goes the cooking, and the creativity when it comes to meal planning and dessert making. Any suggestions?

Where’s The Beef?

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/89/Clara_Peller_publicity_headshot.jpg/237px-Clara_Peller_publicity_headshot.jpgHere is our beloved Clara that made the phrase, “Where’s The Beef?” famous. What I loved about her was that I didn’t think she was acting…I think she was being naturally funny. The truth is she looks like the quintessential bubbe. What bubbe doesn’t like a little corned beef on rye?

Every major Jewish holiday there is a custom to cook a dish made of beef, red meat, or as the young guys call it, basar, (sounds like busser), which means meat in Hebrew.

My house is permeating with the smell of corned beef, which I’ve only made once before, and it was a while ago so I’ve gotten some advice from one of my oldest friends…she rocks in the kitchen and has really been there for me recently so here’s hoping with my fingers crossed that this turns out ok. There is no alternative plan…jumping without a parachute? Perhaps, but there will be soup and sides and dessert, no one will starve. There’s enough babka to fill their tummies!

I have already made sweet and sour meatballs, I’ve made a french roast and I have in mind to make stuffed cabbage later this week! While discussing on FaceBook, my corned beef boiling needs, said friend told me of a really yummy glaze, which I had all the ingredients for except apple cider vinegar.

I just used up the last of it a few weeks ago for the Bar MItzvah for this amazing citrus-y salad dressing….so I sent a message to our neighborhood email list and I received NINE responses with offers, NINE! Do I live in an amazing neighborhood? Yes, I do. Of course, it goes beyond my apple cider vinegar needs. No matter what anyone posts, there is a general quick response time, whether it’s to pray for someone’s relative or friend, to help pick up children waiting and stranded because mommy or daddy got stuck in traffic AGAIN, or needing to borrow mattresses, hammers, glue-guns…the list goes on and on. We are here for one another and it’s a daily reminder for me to appreciate the here and now. From the smallest things like 3 TBS of apple cider vinegar to the largest ones, please pray for my wife.

I love where I live, I’ve said it a billion times and I’ll say it again. When choosing a place to live 6  (7?) years ago, there was not much to see, and I didn’t really know anyone that was here or planning on moving here. I went based on intuition, reputation and a weird spiritual (which doesn’t happen often) moment. I put my faith in G-d and sometimes that’s all there is to do.

While praying for my friend with cancer, and praying for my great-niece that she come off the respirator, and that my student’s father who went for brain surgery comes out healthy, I have had a lot of serious-time with G-d. I want Him to hear my prayers and I have even the slightest bit of hope that my little part contributes to those that are more devout than me. We all want the same things out of life, and we ask Him daily (in our own way, sometimes) to hear and answer our requests.

We want a healthy, happy family. We want to be successful in our employment or studies. We want to create a stress-free lifestyle so that we can enjoy vacations and holidays. We want to grow old with our mates and see the fruits of our labor, thrive and multiply and flourish.

We plant seeds and hope they take root.

https://i0.wp.com/bubbewisdom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Round_Challah.jpgWe also boil corned beef and hope it comes out tender and yummy. My entire house smells of laundry and corned beef…it’s so very tempting…the worst is, I am about to also bake Challah bread…my olfactory senses are going to go bonkers.

I truly enjoy the holiday we are entering. It’s called Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths). I wish we could come up with a catchier name for it. It’s such a fun holiday where everyone builds this ‘booth’ or hut or 3-4 walled temporary fixture on their porches and gardens and basically eat, sleep and entertain in it for a week. Kids decorate with paper chains and in Israel…weird but true, Christmas lights…and plastic fruit and “garbage-art” that comes back from daycare and well there is bunch of other items that are involved but I am not doing it justice, and will probably make it sound more bizarre than I already have for someone who has never been inside a sukkah before.

With only minus 3 hours to go, my house smells amazing, and my tummy and inner Clara voice is screaming, “Where’s The Beef”?

WSOW 9/12/12 – Aww Honey Honey

In lieu of the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashana and it being Weird Stuff on Wednesday, I knew where I was going, just not sure how I was going to get there. But I seem to have figured it out. Here goes:

When you hear the words ‘tin insect’, what comes to mind? Not much I hope because well, those are 2 weird words thrown together. But not for toy makers! I would NEVER use these words in a product description, but there you go, I’m not selling tin insects and I never plan to.

The holiday of Rosh Hashana is a time when Jews wish one another a ‘sweet new year’. The customs of cooking/baking with sweet ingredients to enhance the meals that surround this specific holiday are intensified. Everyone uses apples and honey in at least one if not more of their dishes. It’s no secret that Chubby loves her cake, but honey cake always took a back seat to most others. Honey-themed dishes and serving pieces and honey jars and bumble bees seem to be accepted amongst most Jewish homes this time of year. That is how I came across:

Hank the Honey Bee

https://i0.wp.com/www.tintoyarcade.com/product_images/r/tta2494_hank_honey_bee_wacky_windup__19584.jpg

For the low price of $2.98 who wouldn’t want this for the Jewish new Year? (hint hint, please send me one)

The funniest product description I’ve seen.

Type: One Tin Wind-up Toy Yellow Bee • Big Key Included, Attached
Category: Tin Insect • Not for children under 3
Size: Each 1.5″ Tall (1.5 x 2.5 x 2 inches)
No Longer In Production – Retired {hello, seriously??? Why would Hank retire?! Vertigo maybe.}
Package: Clear Envelope Sealed Bag

Retired. Hrumph – oh well.

https://i2.wp.com/www.revhoney.com/images/strawberry_360.pngREV HONEY U-TUBE

I just started thinking it’s time to change our eating habits and switching to whole wheat products and substituting brown sugar for white, yadayadayada… and while researching desserts for the holiday I came across this weird product. Here’s a new take on U-tube. These are the benefits listed for this product:

Benefits

  • 1 Serving of raw honey
  • Simple, all-natural ingredient list
  • Great for sports or healthy snacking
  • 16 Antioxidants (naturally occurring in honey)

So it’s no surprise that exercise and healthy eating go hand in hand. This company suggests: For maximum performance: take 1 U-Tube before, during or after exercise to fuel or refuel both your brain and muscles. Sorry, I can’t stop laughing…it’s so bizarre! Who can ingest a tube of strawberry-flavored honey before going on a run? That’s weird.

TEIGLACH

Through my research, I actually found the dessert I was looking for. It’s called teiglach. For my non-Jewish fan base, this is pronounced tay-glah-ch, roll the ‘ch’ like you’re hocking a loogie. It’s a Yiddish word meaning, ‘little dough’.

https://i0.wp.com/kosher.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/2637845ec4c4d333622d32070755f8a7/6/8/683715015110-zomicks-teiglach-1_1.jpgEvery year Grandma Mildred would bring us this traditional dessert. Sticky dough balls (covered with honey) piled high in a pyramid shape. There were nuts and maraschino cherries occasionally stuck in between these dough balls and as kids we’d pull the balls and watch the gooey honey pull away in silvery threads from the base. I could not find a better picture on the internet and this is not doing it justice. I aim to attempt to make one this year! Wish me luck!
While I can appreciate this because it’s a reminder of my youth and fondness for my grandparents, I can see how it may seem weird.

But still not weirder than fruit cake on Christmas.

THE BUMBLE BEE HONEY DISH

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Last but not least is the ever-present honey dish. It is customary to dip apples in honey and honey dishes vary from kitschy to elegant. Dishes shaped as bee-hives, honey comb, and apples may appear on any table at this holiday.

Let’s be honest – this honey dish is U-G-L-Y and quite frankly scary for kids. He has no feelers, no smile, and creepy eyes and brass legs. So what if it’s vintage? It’s a weird bee. Maybe it’s meant to be art, – I don’t get art. Naturally this product was made in Japan, which makes sense that there are no feelers or fuzzy parts – the Japanese are pretty smooth people in general.  I found the conditions that were listed for this product funny. Also, I don’t think it was meant on purpose, maybe just a forgotten or unnoticed spell-check mistake. See if you can find it.
“condition: great vintage – Black paint on stripes and eyes has a bit of chipping, brass stand is very slightly oxidized, no cracks or chips in the ceramic. Could also bee used as a trinket box or small planter”.

Happy Holidays!

The Processor and The Stripper

 

I knew that title kinda’ grabbed your attention.

It’s a food post folks, don’t get all nutty (pun intended, sorry). Smile, it won’t hurt, I promise.

As a gift this summer I was given a Kitchen Aid Food Processor! Yipeeee – and that’s not being sarcastic…like I’ve mentioned previously I am a foodie and I love to experiment and come up w/ fabulous delicacies…I’ve managed until now without a food processor, but I’ve seen how quickly food can be chopped and sliced and completely destroyed (in a good way) on TV and now I can do this from my very own kitchen.

There are soooo many attachments though and the instruction manual is just okay. So I’ve been trying some of the pieces out. I feed a lot of people and the bucket is slightly too small for the quantities I make, so I may just need to experiment with snacks and desserts…maybe a homemade slushy!

So I’ve been processing. There are no more babies in the house and everyone (except for the 7 yr. old) has most of their teeth. No one needs anything pureed, but that has not stopped me! This is a gorgeous piece of machinery  – I even like just looking at it.

Now at my bridal shower I was given loads of kitchen items. Things to cook with, things to cook on, things to mix with things to open cans and bottles with, things to wear while cooking…the list goes on and on. The one thing I never thought I’d have at my shower, being a religious and modest Jew was a stripper. MmmHmm, I said a stripper. ha-ha. Not THAT kind.

The Stripper was a peeler of sorts. It was supposed to peel apples and potatoes, BUT it never actually did, unless the fruit or veg was completely round, which it never actually was. Don’t get me wrong, I love kitchen gadgets, especially ones that actually work – I have a whole drawer full of them. I continue to be hopeful and purchase one garlic press after another – I feel I am never strong enough for these tools and end up purchasing the already chopped garlic in the fridge section at the market. The melon ballers are my favorites – I have a few in various sizes, and I rarely use any of them. Every once in a while I’ll have the patience to actually go through a watermelon and ball it all, then lamely attempt to make a basket out of the carcass. I should blog about Food Gone Wrong! They need to make a reality show for people who are clueless about food and kitchen gadgetry – see who mucks it up the worst – that would be hilarious!

I’m a fan of the kitchy stuff , I get it, think they are cute ideas, but generally stay away from buying them, like the Mickey Mouse Ears pancake/eggs mold or the Darth Vader Toast Imprinter. These are real things, I kid you not. Of course, they are not as fun as saying I own a stripper but then you really shouldn’t say that in certain circles.

I’m interested in experimenting so if you’d like to journey with me feel free to offer up ideas on what I can process and I’ll try to post pictures of the finished products, the good, the bad and the ugly!

Just leave your suggestions below!

 

Apple Pie With Skins. Why?!?

I am a foodie. I love reading about food, looking through food magazines, watching the Food Network, cooking, baking…you get the idea. I am addicted to those glossy photos in cookbooks and am a sucker for the new reality tv shows that are popping up ALL the time! I also have become adventurous the older I get.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have some issues with certain foods. Namely, all things that jiggle, wiggle and shake abnormally. Jello and puddings and flan and the weird shnoo in gefilte fish jars…keep them FAR AWAY, I mean it (no offense Mrs. Adler). Custards and calamari (it’s a good thing I keep kosher and this sticky tentacle delicacy is off-limits) are so gross to me.

Just the other day I was offered a piece of apple pie – and it looked AMAZING. I took a bite and loved the topping, the streusel crumbs in my mouth and the warm apple, aah so goo…wait a minute…what the he…..ewwww what is that???? Yes, it was. It was a skin. Apple skins in my pie. Big no no. For me anyway.

After watching these Master Chef, Celebrity Chef, Iron Chef shows I understand that certain judges and real professionals in the field enjoy, encourage and embrace different textures in their mouth at the same time. I disagree when it comes to apple pie. No skins, no nuts, no weird currants or raisins (unless they are mushy). Hard apples in apple pie is bad, and when the skins are left on – no way no how. That’s unbearable! You want texture? The yummy golden buttery crust or the sugary, sometimes crunchy streusel topping – that’s acceptable.

I know it’s a matter of taste. But when I have a mouthful of syrupy sweet cinnamony apple mush – it’s heavenly. With a dollop of whip cream or a scoop of pure vanilla ice cream – wow. Adding some thin pieces of green or red skins in there ruins the whole experience! Again, for me. I’m no apple pie expert. I just like what I like and don’t like skins.

I love Bon Apetit Magazine. Everything always looks amazing and almost achievable. But they make everything sound hoity-toity. Like calling a tart a Galette or even Crustada.  I know the French are fancy when it comes to their pastries. Or anything for that matter, like calling a sauce a coulis or roux…I mean I guess they are just using their french. Celebrity chefs use these terms all the time…anyone who wants to be part of the master chef series needs not only how to bake, de-bone a fish, the difference in chopping, mincing and dicing, but also knows how to work with foreign foods like a sea urchin – I mean seriously? Is this a joke, do people or chefs or restaurants ever serve this stuff?

I know that once on the show Fear Factor they made contestants chug an intestine shake and other gross things that are considered delicacies in other parts of the world, and one time on Iron Chef the surprise ingredient was squid and the young competitor made a sherbet using the ink…I say leave the fancy shmancy frenchery and creative techniques to the masters… and well reality tv contestants. And if you are planning a home cooked meal with a well thought out pie for dessert for heaven-sakes keep it simple, but don’t be lazy. Take the time to peel the skin…off the apples…before smothering your slices in your cinnamon-sugar mix.  At least if you plan on inviting me for dinner.

I’d do the same for you. Am I wrong? Is it an acquired taste? Not sure, I feel like I’m correct here. But I am not that self-centered. I admit that when things seem off to me, I’m quick to scrunch up my nose and make a face but I’ve been better. When we first got engaged and this was going back 15 years I was invited to a meal where the hostess served up fruit in her green salad. I thought this was one of the most bizarre things ever to do. (this was before I knew it was a trend – waiting to take off, before the days of me plastered to The Food Network).

At 24 years old this is how it went down in my head:

who puts strawberries in a salad with, wait, what are those? leaves from a tree? why are they so dark? oh, that’s what spinach looks like? huh, interesting. ICH, it’s bitter, oh there is a dressing? OK…um what are those things floating in the dressing, never mind I don’t want to know, I’ll just eat what I took and try not to make a face. Here we go, omg, don’t make a face! swallow, Chubby, it’s salad for goodness-sakes…not jello!

It was from that moment on, where she served homemade pesto and a sun-dried tomato cream cheese, and other various “weird” choices that I made a mental note to change and be more open and try new things. That’s how I ended up tasting sushi. I shivered like when you swallow Robitussin MD…it was that bad. I even tried it a few more times because it was the cool thing to do. It’s completely an acquired taste. I have come to even enjoy some vegetarian rolls. Progress, I guess.

The funny thing is, I’m not THAT picky! I know it sounds like it, though. I do love food. It’s because of my love of food (and absolute animosity towards exercise) that I got the nickname Chubby. Ok no one ever actually called me that. I got the nickname Junior (which is a great story – for another day.

I Bought Gumballs

It’s happening faster than I can handle it. There are holes that I need to plug up. Checklists are not helping. What was I thinking? I am not an event planner. I am creative and occasionally witty which helps deal with pressured situations.

I need a nap.

I want another pedicure.

I want one of those massage chairs or a hammock and just the sound of white noise or ocean waves.

Today is Sunday and I am having a brain-ache with all that I need to accomplish in the next 5 days. But I’m making lists.

I bought gumballs.

I partied last night with friends for her son’s Bar Mitzvah. It was a FABULOUS party with colored lights and a smoke machine, an amazing choir performance and a play and a deck party by the pool with great hors devours, and a speech by someone famous, and appetizers and 2 main dishes, and she looked stunning and her mother looked regal. Great dancing, great seeing friends, a real blast. We didn’t get home until 12:30 and we ditched dessert.

I am going way more low-key. I bought gumballs.

On my list for today? Purchasing. Paper goods, pasta and soy dogs. See? WAY more low-key. Almost sounds lame but I have a vision. It involves gumballs, obviously. People are flying in for this and so far all I have done is purchase gumballs. Well, that and make lists.

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But I’m not nervous, oddly enough. I am confident. This party has mediocre written all over it but I know it’s going to be awesome. Why? Because at the end of the day, no one is going to say, “oh man, can you believe she decided to cook it herself”? Heads up, if you are one of those people –  you probably won’t be making it back for the Bat Mitzvah in November, because clearly you don’t get me.

I’m low-key. Low Maintenance. A creative thinker with high expectations with my pulse on what a good thing is when I see it. That’s how I chose my husband. That’s how I chose to live on my hilltop. That is how I KNOW without a doubt that this party is going to be AOK. Even with my little soy dog ‘pigs in a blanket’ snacks and my gumball idea.

The only snag I am currently having is trying to find where I misplaced the boy’s notebook that contains his speech, that he handed to me and asked me to type it out for him. I know I touched the notebook. I cleaned like a madwoman on Friday, was away for the weekend, came  back really late last night and now…? I thought that might help…retracing your steps…but no, nothing. Do you, as mom’s, ever play this game? “If I were a notebook, where would I be?” This is the only thing that is making me nervous. He is gonna’ KILL me.

If I am as smart as I think I am, it’s in a safe place so it would not get touched or wet or ripped. So that eliminates the kitchen. I last touched it in the dining room. I need to go check there. I need to get dressed first. I need to make a list.
To be continued…