food

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~!

The Cupcake Wars

cupcakes

The vanilla ones are from a mix (cinnamon flavored) and NOT as smooth

I never in a million years thought that the cupcakes I made for my daughter with Celiac is what my other children would be begging to eat, fighting each other for the very last one. Naturally, it took a few tries (with various other recipes) to get that not-so-grainy, weird texture that a lot of gluten-free products end up tasting/feeling like. A friend of my mom passed me an AMAZING gluten-free recipe for chocolate cupcakes that I have passed on and on and on, and keep getting great feedback.

One friend said she baked the batter in a loaf pan and it was even better!

There are so many variations for toppings, just like ‘regular’ cupcakes, but the first time I served these, I also had fresh strawberries and whipped cream as an accompaniment. Nothing, absolutely nothing was left.

I’m thinking I want to try making this recipe in a loaf pan, with a sugar glaze and chocolate jimmies…man, I am salivating even as I type this.

These were fudgy but beware, not all ingredients are equal. I substituted Nutella for a gluten-free chocolate spread (also to be dairy-free), one time it worked and another time – with a different gluten-free brand they sunk – were so pathetic-looking, yet, to my surprise still were eaten to the last crumb.

cupcake

The last of the birthday cupcakes

For my daughter’s 9th birthday I decided to bake these cupcakes for the 40 children in her class, adding a butter-cream frosting and fondant confetti. Only 2 children rejected them *but the teachers were happy to take them off my hands! Another friend of mine used this recipe but soon realized in the process that she was short on chocolate so she supplemented peanut-butter and sent me a photo – so so good – who doesn’t love the chocolate-peanut-butter combo? YUM!

So here you go, enjoy!

GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP CUPCAKES

makes 10-12 large

  • 1 cup gluten-free chocolate spread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons potato starch
  •  70 grams chocolate chips
  • cocoa powder
Fill a cupcake pan with liners, coat each liner with cooking spray and then dust the bottoms with a little cocoa powder. Using a mixer combine the eggs and chocolate spread of choice, adding the potato starch slowly and mix well. Add chocolate chips.  Fill cupcake papers half way. Bake at 185°C or 160°F for about 12 minutes. Center should be gooey when tested with a knife.

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. 

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.

The Very Happy Ending. By cheriblevy

Welcome to story time kids. Sit down while Aunt Chubby tells a tale of Frustration.  This is a story about mind over matter. 

Once upon a time the naughty body clock woke mommy up at 5:45 AM. This made Mommy very grumpy, but as hard as she tried, she could not fall back asleep. Her eyes were so itchy and she kept rubbing and rubbing them. This was terrible, and left Mommy with very red swollen eyes. That sure felt awful.

She decided to get dressed in some of her favorite clothes. This would certainly make her feel better. She had a  long drive to work and there was a lot of traffic. This made Mommy grumpy again. She finally made it inside and sat down at her computer and began to work.

Then she realized that there was no ink in her printer. And then she remembered that her computer was also not connected to the main printer. Even though she complained and complained for weeks to the person in charge to fix it, she was still not connected. Wow, Mommy sure was grumpier now.

Suddenly her telephone rang and she had to rush back home and pick up her daughter at school. Nina, who was 8 years old needed to go to a new school for 3rd grade, where there was a special class to help her with reading and spelling. But when they got to the new school, all the Mommy saw was children running around, acting very wildly. The teachers tried to tell them not to scream, run, blast the music or interrupt the adults talking, but they just didn’t listen. That was really bad. Nina was frightened and thought this maybe was the worst idea Mommy ever had.

Afterwards Mommy took Nina back to school and hugged and kissed her and whispered in Nina’s ear that there was still one more school to see, not to worry. Nina felt better and hopped off to class with her friends.

Mommy had to drive all the way back to work. She was happy at least there was no more traffic. Even though her eyes were still very itchy and even started to water, she tried to keep her fingers from rubbing them. That would have been very dangerous. When she returned to her desk, Mommy thought all about their trip and felt a little sad for Nina but had more work to do, so decided to save those thoughts for later. She worked and worked and worked some more. At the end of the day, she knew she had to go food shopping. Too bad Thursdays were the busiest day in the market. She’d have to wait to find  a parking spot, navigate her way through the busy aisles, make sure she bought Nina’s special cookies in the lane for gluten-free items, and then wait in the very long line to pay, unload the groceries into the car, return the cart and drive all the way home. Once she got home, she’d have to unload the groceries from the car, climb the stairs, empty the bags and then start dinner for the children.   Even though it would very late, Mommy was planning on making pizza for dinner, that would make everyone happy.

Mommy was going to be really tired at the end of the day. Waking up so early and keeping so busy can make someone get grumpy, especially with itchy red puffy eyes, but it’s important to remember one thing. To Smile.

When we smile it forces us to feel happy. When we feel happy and share our smiles with others, it makes them happy. So kids, if you see someone having a grumpy day, all you need to do is smile at them to help make them feel better. Even if they say something like, “Your computer should be fixed by Sunday or Monday, or maybe even Tuesday”. Even if you don’t believe that’s true – you’ll feel better because the other person is smiling at you when they tell you. So the lesson for today is,  don’t worry be happy. Turn that frown upside down. Smile and the whole world smiles with you.  And when that doesn’t work, eat ice cream.

Over 10,000 Views And I Still Have Stuff To Say

Wow – that is a big number for Silly Ol’ Me. It was a thrill to see it and it encourages me to write more. 

That having been said – I’ve been continuing the market research on this blog project and it never ceases to amaze me that the more serious, emo-heart-tugging, grab-a-tissue posts are the ones that get the most hits. I really thought Dr. Ruth had a chance.

I’ve been thinking of ways to expand, not my girth – THAT btw is ever so ridiculously slowly shrinking, thanks to a serious lazy gene, but conscious effort to eat better. I mean expand my blog – different things I should write about.

challah– I am obsessed with food, but there are already so many amazing foodies/ food bloggers out there. I’ve gotten a little better about baking with dough – see my Challah Bread here? So gorgeous – though this was the exception to the rule. They usually come out less evenly braided or with a big weird air bubble – but I am never discouraged and have often considered blogging about the food I create and the deeper meaning behind it or story connected to it. There usually is something that triggers me to cook or bake something and the stories are pretty juicy *see how I did that?

– I like to brag about my kids and their achievements but am not at all qualified to start blogging on good (or even mediocre) parenting.

– I often find the most random and silly products on the web but I already started writing Weird Stuff On Wednesdays and like to keep it a weekly thing.

– I sometimes want to write these Dear Diary moments and then think twice – some things really should be kept personal or anonymous. Some people share way too much on the internet and though I have been accused of this from time to time, I prefer to think I give people a glimpse but not the whole story.

– I see (like most people) what I want to see. I often want to challenge myself and wonder if there is a possibility to see things from a different perspective. One thing I learned from sitting in on one of the sessions at the Israeli Presidential Conference was that the brain has a way of convincing you that your opinion is the right one. I know a lot of lawyers that would agree.

– I want to learn how to play another instrument so I’ve been thinking seriously about blogging from day 1 with video footage of the process and progress. This is definitely the forerunner. I’m not worried about embarrassing myself  – Lord knows I do that often enough and most of the time not on purpose – so…no worries there.

ant

– I love photography, but have no real skills or fancy camera but have a keen eye when using my iPhone, see? I caught the ant/bug-thing on the leaf/ flower bud there. La-dida-ing in my garden and sure enough the opportunity presented itself. I call it, Bug On A Flower Bud. Perhaps one day there may be a gallery opening for iPhone Art and then I’ll have a place to display this amazing capture. (yes, I’m being sarcastic)

So – that’s whats on my mind in a nut-shell. I have really enjoyed blogging – met some really interesting people because of it and am looking forward to more opportunities to share and leave a part of me behind.

I don’t intend to be quoted one day but perhaps my messages will transpire the generations. It’s important to share our experiences. Paulo Coelho (a Brazilian lyricist and novelist)  once said, “Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience”, and I agree. Jump in and get wet people – life only happens once.

“Chewing Too Much…

…Can Cause You To Be Tired.”

I overheard that 2 days ago from a student that likes to hang around my office…and it made me giggle and I jotted it down.

Of course the old Chubby thought, aah now it makes sense why I am always too “tired” to exercise… it must be all that chewing I’d done earlier when stuffing my gob. Then the new Chubby thought – but I’ve been eating popcorn and fruit – and I am still super tired at the end of the day, that can’t be right.

So I did a little research, and here is what I found.

Wanna’ lose weight from your cheeks? (No, that WAS a serious question – and apparently a thing for people).

“Chew gum. Not only can chewing gum calm your nerves and freshen your breath, but it can also help you lose weight from your cheeks. The repetitive chewing motion will help strengthen your jaw. The best part is, you won’t even feel like you’re doing any exercise. You can set a goal of chewing gum for just a few minutes after every meal.
*Just make sure not to chew gum so much that it starts hurting your jaw.” – That sounds like it would make me tired.

https://i0.wp.com/joltgum.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/jolt-gum-med-res-single-pack-spearmint-copy.jpgAnd then  I found this to kind of disqualify the statement: JOLT  energy gum.

From the HealthGuidance website:

“Weight Loss

First of all, if you’re concerned about your weight then one of the best ways to lose excess fat is to chew your food properly. It might seem miraculous that this can work bearing in mind that you are still eating the same amount of food but in fact there are several ways this works. First of all, by chewing your food longer you create the illusion that you have eaten more and this makes you feel fuller.– Side-note: that’s never happened to me. My mom used to get real upset about how long it took me to eat my dinner and I don’t call my younger self  ‘Chubby’ for no reason.

Basically, I found a ton of information about chewing and it was all related to TMJ or digestion or weight loss – not so much about it making you tired.

Lots of my research ended with the knowledge (as if I didn’t already know) that chewing basically causes jaw fatigue – not much else…oh well.

I wonder what other gems these kids are gonna’ come up with?

Just Breathe

Finally, an official diagnosis. It’s not terrible, it’s manageable. But it’s a disease for life – which means she’ll have to maintain a serious diet…forever. That’s depressing – but people with serious food allergies deal with this all the time. I am thankful it’s not worse.

Basically my 8-year-old has been diagnosed with Celiac’s disease. She is at stage 3 (there are only 4) and there is damage to her stomach lining. As it happens, I have at least 3 neighbor’s who have children also with Celiac’s disease so I’ll be going to them for recipes and support I imagine. The silver lining is the doctor said after a few months of adhering to the strict diet the damage to her stomach lining is reversible. She’ll start to grow and not be teased that she is a baby anymore because of her size (I hear growth is almost immediate after a proper diet is established).  We all need to be tested as well, I fear another daughter will also be diagnosed as she is quite smaller than her peers – but at least they’ll do it together.

https://i2.wp.com/assets4.designsponge.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/rosie_the_riveter1.jpgThat was yesterday.

Today, after meeting with the psychologist from school, we have a final assessment that our 8-year-old is quite intelligent and has tons of motivation but she lacks in language skills, in both languages so she suffers tremendously in school. We are trying to get her into a new class, a smaller class so that she won’t get as lost or feel frustrated that she can’t keep up. The problem may be that even if she qualifies to be in the class, it may not be held at her current school, where she has her sisters to rely on when things are too much for her to handle. We’ll have to wait and see, if there are enough students in her current school to warrant a special class, then she wins. If the majority of students are from another neighborhood then she’ll need to switch schools to where the majority go. That makes me nervous. She’ll need speech therapy. She’ll need to read more books and play more language based games, we’ll try to make it as fun as possible, which means lots of extra TLC – lucky girl.

Lastly, she has a hearing problem. Well, well, well. No wonder she is not thriving in school! She has a belly ache half the time, she can’t hear what’s going on and when she can hear she doesn’t always understand.  My poor girl.

We will be vigilant. We will see the speech therapist, the ENT, the dietician. I will enter the health food store, regardless of its funky barn-like stench, I will learn biology and what this really means so that I can offer her the best information and choices for her to flourish and blossom.

https://cheriblevy.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/be3f6-apple.jpgAnother day, another hurdle. To add to this emotional roller coaster I started eating better myself. Tired of the roly-poly me, even though she is so jolly, Chubby is watching her weight and even exercising, alert the media! Just kidding, please don’t = even though I love watching The Biggest Lose (Australia) – I wouldn’t want to be a contestant. So even though I still have not surpassed that major desire to wolf down a sugar packet, I am making smarter choices and taking smaller portions, but I am still kind of cranky.  I want to love healthy food…but I don’t. Not yet anyways. I know it will come, I know I need to keep the pantry stocked with better choices and the fruit and veg bin full at all times – this will help me from grabbing something I shouldn’t eat. Now that I’ll be consciously watching my daughter’s diet, I think this will help me overall as well. Fingers crossed people. The longest I ever stuck with any diet was a week.

Mood Swings (and other serious stuff)

https://i2.wp.com/us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/thesupe87/thesupe870909/thesupe87090900148/5621511-an-icon-set-of-cartoon-smiley-faces-in-a-variety-of-expressions.jpgToday I am, what Jewish people say, parve. Parve means not a meat-like food and not a dairy-like food. It’s somewhere in the middle. Eating something parve (which you may notice from time to time on your food labels) means you have no status of being either ‘meat’ or ‘dairy’ – and our dietary restrictions make it so that we may not eat meat cooked with dairy – so no cheeseburger for example, and waiting a certain period between eating the 2 types of foods, depending on your families customs.

That having been explained I use the word parve in terms of how I am feeling when I am neither sad nor happy, just somewhere in between.

We are always affected by our surroundings or events that cause our moods to shift, for the good and the bad. I raise the question as to when do we or rather CAN we change our attitude so as not to affect others? What do I mean?

I mean this: yes the bombings at Boston were a horrific tragedy and a senseless loss of life plus the feeling of American’s security blanket is now altered once more. In Israel we are bombed at least once a month – even just today (and that’s a light estimation) – for no good reason, yet the world remains silent and we must defend ourselves when we take action to protect or defend our countrymen and land.

A friend’s young cousin was killed in an accident. A different friend has so far passed 3 rounds of the X Factor Israel living out her dream. Another friend acknowledges the loss of her husband (2 years ago) with sharing insightful thoughts with close friends and neighbors but at the same time saddened by a new relationship that just wasn’t meant to be. Wild dogs barking in my garden at 3:30 in the morning at a cat that was caught in the trap set by the dog catcher. Child sick with strep throat. A call from the teacher saying your five-year old is just laying on the couch in kindergarten because he’s stuffed and dripping from his nose all at the same time and really just not in the mood to play with anyone or do anything. Slow computer trying to weed out the 113 emails in a timely fashion (haha! – JOKES ON ME!). A friend so over-the-top proud of her Bar- Mitzvah son. For a group of friends thinking of someone other than themselves and helping decorate another friend’s barren wall. For a group of women coming together to cook a 3 course meal for someone, who most never met, after having a baby. Shared smiles and tears.

All causes for the emotional mini roller coaster leaving me today at this point feeling, parve. Neither her nor there but definitely sad for the sad things and happy for the happy things. Balanced out? I guess so. But all these things have swayed me throughout the day and my reactions to separate events certainly as a result of whatever I just experienced. Could I have altered my responses or actions? I’m not sure. Do I wish I had? In hindsight – probably.

The weather outside is gray, rainy and windy – certainly anyone’s good enough excuse to stay in pajamas and cuddle under a warm blanket with a good book or television program/movie. Yet we trudge on doing our responsible things because there is that voice in our heads willing us to ‘do the right thing’ – at least mine does and man is she annoying. On barely any sleep, worrying about sick children, hating all dogs forevermore, I am grumpy. For friends small successes and overcoming emotional burdens, for thinking of others before ourselves, I am happy.

I hope to merit living long enough to see that we may live in a world with no violence, and I pray. I pray that the sick will heal, that the deaf will one day hear, that the blind will see, that the lonely find comfort, that the saddened find joy. I pray that the lost are found and that the people of this world, all colors, races, and religion try to accept that the only way to to truly change is to make changes within ourselves. This was the main point in my friend’s get together, words of wisdom. She brought proofs from the Bible and well, if you’re a believer like me, they made sense. That’s what I walked away with. This knowledge that we have the power to make the world a different place as long as we start with ourselves. Sure, I think I am a good person, but can I be better? Always. There is always room for improvement and I urge all of us to take a look inside and see what we can do to better our lives and as a result the lives of our friends & neighbors so that one day we will merit a world with no enemies, no violence or bullying, no murder, no malice. Kindness and justice for all.

The Lure of Gooey Cheese

I remember vividly, on any given rainy day, the best – most amazing comfort food (at least for Chubby) was a warm bowl of tomato soup, with rice floating inside, sometimes with a side of oyster crackers, and accompanied by a delectable golden grilled cheese sandwich, that when pulled apart released the most beautiful yellow cheese oozing between the two triangular pieces.

As far as cheese went, I never was a big fan of EATING it but I did enjoy looking at the holy Swiss and playing with the mushy triangles that came wrapped in foil and encased in a circular cardboard box. Yellow cheese was always available but really reserved for rainy day treats. Frozen pizza cheese was always freezer-burned and barely edible but sometimes and I mean on a rare occasion there were pizza bagels that had a SMALL section of cheese that was not completely ruined by the freezer and when heated up – gave the ittiest bit of stretch when plucked from its bagel. As a young teenager I became a fan of the mozzarella cheese sticks that were deep-fried and breaded then dipped in a rich tomato sauce as I gossiped with my friends about the latest lip glosses in silver city pink or how to color coordinate our goomies to our neon clothing, and how we could obtain more copies of River Phoenix’s centerfold poster from Teen Beat Magazine.

Fast-forward 30 years and here we are on a Saturday night and the kids want to eat, never mind that they’ve been stuffing their pie holes all day but the minute I mention bed-time – all the whining begins…but we’re sooo hungry!!! So I offer 2 items, eggs or cereal. Order #1 comes in with a sunny side up, order #2 comes in with a scrambled egg and a ‘please’ (hold still my beating heart). The other 3 start in that they don’t want anything I’ve suggested. That’s when my mother’s voice comes out of my own windpipe:” This is not a restaurant!”

I suggest a cheese omelet and my daughter looks at me as if I’ve just sprouted blueberries out of my head. I describe what it is and she is all: ” is the cheese gonna’ be melted? I answer, ” yes”. She tilts her head and asks, “but is it gonna’ be gooey”? I nod. She squints her eyes, “I mean like, really gooey”. My patience running out I say yes, and that she had 3 seconds to decide or there’d be nothing.

She agrees to taste it and then as soon as it hits the plate she starts laughing this deep gutteral laugh like she’s just won the jackpot. She squeals with delight about all the oozing going on and then the others come along begging for what she got. Gladly I crack 3 more eggs and open a new package of cheese. Easy to make and healthy to boot. The problem was getting them to eat it with as much gusto as they had pulling apart the egg to the see the gooey cheese stretch along the length of their plates, or as far as their arms could stretch apart until I got wind of what was going on. With another countdown, I threatened that if the omelets were not gone in the next 3 minutes I was taking the plates away and bedtime would come whether their tummies were grumbling or not, as it was it was nearing 9PM, way too late for these little people to continue their manipulations.

Well, they all became members of the clean plate club, another thing my mom used to say. Everyone all tucked away, cozy in their beds, I finally changed into pajamas, sat down to check my email when I heard the crying, then the whimpering, and then the worst noise a tired mom can hear. The sound of the gag- pre throw up belch. I ran as fast as I could, but not faster than the cheesy egg omelet on its way up. 2 blankets and 3 sets of pajamas later, things seem quiet.

Why cheese? Why? Why have you done this to me? What did I ever do to you? I cherished you and saved you for the most special rainy Sundays. I feel betrayed. I thought all my problems were solved and that I would have the gooey cheese factor as my back-up plan. Cheerios, my new best old friend, how have you been? I think we are going to be seeing a lot of more of each other in the near future…

Superbowl Monday & Social Media

I am so over it. I didn’t even watch it. I didn’t even know who was in it. My Facebook feed was enough to make me vomit of all day play by plays, or jokes because of the power outage, or who loved which halftime commercial. The best (she said sarcastically) was the debate about whether Beyoncé is the bomb or not because she is a singer, not a dancer…seriously? Who Cares!?!?! I love People and US Weekly just as much as the next girl but can’t we all agree that Beyoncé is an amazing performer? She has proven herself as a singer and felt like dancing instead – BIG DEAL PEOPLE!!!

In my house the day came and went like any other. Sunday, a regular day here in Israel (aside from the many posts I saw of friends figuring out where they were going late in the evening to watch it via Slingbox) was still a workday, a school day, a day for laundry and dishes and homework and regular appointments.

The very next day…Monday, the beginning of the work week for many others, however for us, just day 2. It was like a Facebook hangover, everyone still posting their thoughts and links regarding the Superbowl, ugh. I guess it’s better than political mentions or cat videos.

Keyboard_HelpThis side effect of social media, the repetition and random thoughts of EVERYONE, all the time at your fingertips is a double-edged sword for me. I love it, I hate it, I want to be a part of it.

So instead of fighting it, I choose to join in. However, it’s now technically Tuesday and I still see people posting about the Superbowl. About their parties, about the food they served, the articles post game day, the commercials and so on and so on. Argh. I am putting an end to it if I can.

So I did what anyone should do in this situation. Revert to YouTube. The one thing that takes my mind off anything I don’t want to think about is watching one of two things. Country music videos (no judging) and American Idol auditions ( I said, no judging). There is a purity in country music. The lyrics and heart that country singers have and sing with, hands down beat any other genre. And American Idol? Seriously the hopes that contestants come in with whether they are completely shaking with fear of rejection or full of bold confidence, they believe in themselves or someone else does, enough to give them the courage to be open to criticism and more importantly recognition. That’s feel good tv, imho. These are every day people wanting a chance at something bigger. A chance to change their lives.

Not like football. I think it encourages people to cheer, yes there is that in common and yes, they both need audiences to succeed but when I watch all those hopefuls go in and give it their all for a golden ticket and another opportunity to perform and possibly alter the course of their lives? That’s inspirational.

I want to busy my days with inspirational stuff. That is why I am immersing myself in this social media world. So far it has helped me meet new people, accept a few new jobs, given me a confidence and a world in where I can continue to explore things beyond my front door. Reading blogs has opened my mind to a world that I generally do not engage in. Thanks to Raunak, I know more culturally about others.

There are people creating magic out of food (like The Gush Gourmet and Sweet Little Thang), taking pictures from all over the world (like my friends Patrick Latter & Eyoälha and definitely Rona Black & Konstantine), submitting DIY and tutorials (like Sweet Jelly Bean) or personal stories (like Clotilda Jamcracker), creating music (like Right Beat Radio) or introducing me to fashion and style (like mode-sty and YMC) or great cartoons like Sophi & slapppshot.

I am inspired daily and that’s important shizzle, yo! (I’ll keep trying to pull phrases like that, poorly – sorry). I know, some people say I need help, I’m willing to agree. So help inspire me. Message of the day? Inspire Others. At least that’s what I try to do.

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.

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://i2.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://i0.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://i1.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

https://i0.wp.com/img1.etsystatic.com/000/0/5343933/il_fullxfull.261473221.jpg

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.

This J-Dub Eats Caak

I’m not sure how one spells caak (rhymes with snack). Basically it’s a Middle Eastern treat. It’s made up of wheat flour, water, soybean oil, sesame seeds and yeast. It’s a tasty, crunchy, savory bread snack that I first was introduced to in high-school, but never ate it. Why? Well that was THEIR food. I grew up eating potato chips and pretzels, well my brother did mostly, Chubby got apple slices and carrot sticks, but occasionally snuck in a Ring Ding…or 2…or 3.

Now, when I said THEIR food, I was referring to my Sephardic classmates. I went to a private Jewish high-school predominantly made up students of Syrian descent. It made life interesting for the few Ashkenazi kids in each class but we were taught both customs and a new vernacular.

It was the first time I was referred to as a J-Dub, which is kind of derogatory. Syrians called themselves, SYs (ess-why) and the Ashkenazi kids were called J-Dubs {which stood for Jewish, White (dub as in ‘W’)}. We were used to it and it was never said in a derogatory way.

Girls were known as ‘G’ s (gees), one girl being a ‘G’ (gee) and if you were nutty people called you ‘mejnun’. There was a lot of pig latin mixed with Arabic words and initials as well. If you were cute, you were called ‘aboose’, something gross was ‘ert’. When they wanted to say how something was so absolutely amazing, they’d say it was ‘not normal’ and when they couldn’t deal with something they finished the sentence with ‘I can’t’. Some of the girls get married at a really young age (18 or 19) and what we normally call a bridal shower for them is called a ‘swanee’ (swaa-knee)- which I think is like a Henna Party. I was invited once to a Brit Milah (circumcision for a Jewish boy on the 8th day of life) of a “Syrian” friend. There was an assortment of food (really just appetizers that she called mazza (rhymes with plaza – which mean small bite). I’d heard of this word but never really tasted this food, much like caak.

There was yebre (stuffed grape leaves)

and kibbeh (deep-fried, shaped mostly like little footballs (or meatballs) made of bulgur and stuffed with meat, minced onions and usually spiced with cumin) 

and lachmajin (little meat pies – chopped meat with tamarind)! Platter of Homemade Lachmagine by Lauryn Weiser

Now that I live in Israel, these foods are not as foreign to me and we eat them every once in a while. We still very much stick to our shnitzel (breaded fried chicken cutlets) & cholent (stew) on shabbos (the Sabbath – day of rest) but since blending with our new culture more and more these foods are ‘normal’ and often exciting for the kids to eat.

עוגיות עבאדי (צילום: יחסי ציבור ,יחסי ציבור)So last week I was in the supermarket looking for a snack that wasn’t the same old boring repetitive treat for my children. Now that camp is over and they are hanging out in the house and hungry ALL THE TIME, I need to keep the pantry constantly stocked! I mean, I expected the 13-year-old boy to act this way, but it’s everyone. They are bored. I know this and while even though I want them eating healthy snacks they are right, that food is bo-ring and not always filling! I suggested making peanut butter cracker sandwiches and came home to a really sticky counter, lines of ants, and crumbs galore. When I saw this product feature on the right, I was reminded of my high-school days and decided to buy it. Translated they are called ‘western cookies which sounds weird in English but is much more normal in Hebrew. Now, my children want it all the time. Part of me wants to learn how to make them, of course, nothing like a challenge! Instead this week I decided to make funnel cakes. Totally NOT a middle eastern snack but while I was thinking of my childhood there was always that booth at the beach, down the shore, selling them, and they looked amazing. Of course keeping strictly kosher my parents would never buy them for us, and truthfully, I don’t think we ever even thought to ask for them.

Browsing through one of my cookbooks (its a vice, I LOVE cookbooks) I saw a picture and decided I was going to make my own funnel cakes. Owning a funnel is a key factor and not having one is a sure way to fail this endeavor. However, I am resourceful and decided to use a turkey baster! Suffice it to say I made a disaster of my kitchen until I got the hang of it. Deep fried these pretty web like pancakes (in way too much oil) and sprinkled them with powdered sugar. Some of them came out stunning, ‘legit’. I stacked them in paper towels just like the directions said. What the directions didn’t tell me was that these treats get real soggy and it’s best to eat them right away. Of course there were some takers immediately, there usually is, and the recipe said it would make 10 pieces and I ended up with about 20…which no one ate, naturally because they got soggy.

As experiences go, I’d say I overall enjoyed it. Trying something new gave me a sense of adventure, and I highly recommend it. I was sticky and it was messy, but it was fun, educational and the kids loved it. Now onto baklava!

The End of Kosher Delight?!?

Say What? NOOOooooo, but, but, but…

…but I had so many amazing memories of eating there!!

And J2 is moving and changing its name? Is nothing like a 2nd date with the man you fall in love with not sacred anymore? Now, I’ll never be able to relive that moment – in the off-chance I happen to be visiting America/NY/Broadway again! That moment where I met some of his friends, was awkwardly re-introduced to his mom and given the book: To Dwell In The Palace, that even started me thinking about the possibility of making aliyah (moving to Israel). The most serious 2nd date I’ve ever been on, but then again, look who we’re talking about, wink.

There was that time at KD with the brand new hubby when that lady in the booth next to us had no shame and nursed her baby right in front of the newlyweds….we had to stop eating, at least until she was done. It was weird for us and we felt like a deer in the headlights. We tried not looking but felt frozen and horrified. Okay so it’s natural – yeah, for moms and babies, not for newlyweds who are trying to eat a meal! No offense to all you public nursers…[please no hate-mail].

The time I broke up with a reaaaaaaallly sweet paramedic for the FDNY after an ahahah-mazing time at A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum with Nathan Lane and Whoopi Goldberg, over a steak, that I paid for, at KD, because I felt so guilty. Who knew they sold steak until I offered him to get whatever he wanted since he sprung for the Broadway tickets. It looked juicy but it was probably the worst steak he ever ate thanks to me.

I loved filling up those mini paper cups with unlimited amounts of ketchup, the salty fries, the orange booths, the red infrared lights heating up the fried chicken, the paper they wrapped the burgers in, ordering delivery for grilled chicken sandwiches when I worked at the OU (Orthodox Union), plopping lots of mayo and bbq sauce on them, licking my fingers…aaah, ok maybe that was a bit too descriptive.

I think the only negative was the long and narrow stairwell that led to the restroom. Creepy. Dirty. Sticky. Gooey. Hmmm, these are probably some of the causes for closing it down. Not keeping to code? Durnit. It’s sad. But gross too. When you hear that your favorite restaurant (I know, really classy, Chubby), is closing down for health code violations it kinda’ puts things in perspective.

Are we always conscious of what we eat? No. Do we even care when we are teenagers? Most of us, don’t. My childhood friend Brett used to always remind us in high school not to pig out lest we get the ‘Junk Food Blues’. How did he know? I mean, he is REALLY smart. His parents are also really smart, they probably told him that. But still, I love fast food. Why? Because it DOES taste good, it’s fast, and easy. All in moderation of course and I’ve seen Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. That is an amazing wake-up call to anyone who cares about themselves and wants to avoid obesity. Oh, and an early death from clogged arteries, a coronary heart disease, and or high blood pressure…the list goes on.

I’ve researched eating healthier and to be honest, if the world is changing and evolving into a more natural and healthy eating environment, then I think healthy foods should costs LESS, not more. How is processed food cheaper? There is a whole process it has to go through before it gets to us, as opposed to healthy all natural food, that honestly looks like it just came out of the field and into those health food stores.

I miss the days of the farmer’s market, if you have them nearby, shame on you if you don’t enjoy and purchase from them. I do like fruits and veg. I do. I just don’t like all the prep. Plus they really taste so much better when either dipped in chocolate or drizzled with cheese. Yes, I know that defeats the purpose of “healthy” eating but let’s be HONEST – they taste better that way! Keeping kosher, not that I’m complaining, is much harder to keep when everything needs to be double washed and triple checked for bugs that you can’t even see. I know, I should probably go organic.

That leads me to this realization and reminder:

Nothing worth having ever comes easy. A kosher home? Nope. Childbirth? Definately NOT fun or easy. A good figure, is only achieved by having awesome genes or awesome jeans or eating right and exercise. A successful business. A lucrative career. The list goes on and on but you get it. So while my favorite restaurant is closing its doors, I’m sure there are others that will open willing to give teenagers a place to hang out, mom a place to run to when she is just too tired to make dinner, and couples to have great 2nd dates at. I guess this means I need a plan B for re-visiting it for our 15th anniversary. Feel free to give me suggestions. It’s my year to plan and November is right around the corner. Oh, and we’ve already been to the symphony and the ballet, and are not interested in jumping out of anything that’s already moving. Thanks.