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Showing posts from May, 2010

Kosher Menu Plan Monday #17: 19 Sivan, 5770

Back to sweetness, light and trivia!  If you’re curious about who we are and what we eat, please scroll to the end.  I’ll put it back up front next time!  I’m just feeling grumpy right now.  So if you’re curious, scroll. It’s still Monday, dammit, and we need to eat.  Just the bare bones this week.  I’m having a terrible week, and it’s only Monday. Thunderstorms every day, so no bbq. Monday:  No menu planned, and I had my signing class, so Ted made pita pizzas and frozen french fries; I microwaved a tin of mushroom soup.  Some kind of all-time low, that’s for sure. Tuesday:  Garlic, kale & white bean soup – to use some of the kale that is doing so fabulously in a container outside the door.  Bread?  Bake bread?  Maybe, maybe… to use some of the dough to make Wednesday’s supper.  Hmm… Wednesday:  Hamburgers baked inside buns – looks bloody , tastes fantastic! Wednesday (Vegan Vursday!):    Stir-fry… peanutty thai this time, on wide rice stick noodles if I can find some i

Wisdom / Peace

Comes sometimes from people who have been there done that, who have thought these things through and made peace for themselves, however uneasy it may be. Here’s what a wise friend had to say today. I have not asked permission to quote this person, so will not use the friend’s name or any other identifying information. Don’t bother asking – I’m a journalist (kinda) and I have my integrity! There are priorities in Judaism. Being a decent, honest person. Being clean and respectful. Being conscious that God created more than one person because creating a functioning society in which people help each other out was one of His goals and that engaging in that is performing His will. Modesty is about not showing off, not the clothing you wear. Halacha is complex so anyone who have a simple answer for you is lying or an idiot. It's more important to not be rude than to be right in your own eyes. It isn't the hat on your head, it's the attitude in your he

Clueless? Or just invisible?

I have been frum for SO long and had no idea that photos of women were so very, very controversial.  Clueless, that’s what I am! A few months ago, we all found it amusing that there was a notice, similar to that on the left, in Oorah’s auction brochure indicating that if any family wished to receive a separate auction catalog with no photos of women (or girls, presumably), they should call or email.  I didn’t save that notice:  this is a similar one that appeared a couple of years ago, I guess when they were testing out if there was any demand for the woman-free edition. But then, a couple of weeks ago in Kosher City, I picked up a copy of Binah, a magazine for Jewish women (there’s also a kids’ supplement called Binah Bunch inside).  Why not?  Brought it home and, on Shabbos, started flipping through the articles.  Moderately interesting, kind of, in a women’s magaziney kind of way. But after a few pages, I stopped short.  There were NO PICTURES.  Men, sure; boys, sure; flo

Living Jewish: Negotiation vs Assumption (and the slippery middle)

Have you ever noticed that there are times in your life when you just know you are supposed to be receiving a particular message, and that message suddenly seems to come through everywhere you look?  Overwhelmingly so, like you can’t turn away? In the blog world, in the real world, even in the fiction I’m reading (re-reading Naomi Ragen’s The Saturday Wife ), the message is coming through loud and clear:  Judaism is not a one-time thing.  Judaism must be continually renegotiated.  And I am exhausted with the effort (or maybe it’s still the heat?). Prager, for instance [last weekend, he was at a Conservative shul here speaking on Friday night and Shabbos day - I went to hear  him twice].  Very helpful in so many ways, but very disturbing in others.  Why would I pay big bucks to go hear his special method for “kosher” driving on Shabbos (tip:  leave the radio off, or it “breaks” Shabbos!).  His special justification for one-day yamim tovim (except Rosh Hashanah).  Why he eats chicken

Today’s drinkie…

Since I requested No More Chocolate Bars from Mr. Enabler, he likes to pick up these Starbucks DoubleShot drinks for me instead (should I tell him that’s enabling, and probably more addictive than chocolate???). I like the taste of these better than the bottled frappucino, which is cloyingly sweet with an artificial aftertaste (and none of the texture of a REAL frappu).  But the doubleshots, like the name suggests, are MUCH too strong – and again, naturally, no icy “blenderized” texture. So I mix it in the blender – to “stretch” the drink, water it down, and give it some texture.  No big cost savings with this one – these drinks are pretty pricey to begin with. Here’s the magic formula for today: 4 ice cubes 1 tin starbucks doubleshot = approx 192mL, poured into 2-cup measure add milk to 2-cup measure make 300ml (guess that would be about 110 mL, right?) 2 tsp sugar Blend and blend and then blend no more. Drink. Consume with delicious garden-herb and to

Six Word Saturday: 17 Sivan, 5770 – the Munsch edition

Robert Munsch? How very, very sad. Or is it…? Is it perhaps hopeful that at least one Canadian icon is speaking up about mental illness and addiction? Does this mean we respect him less now, or MORE? Here’s what I remember from when my mother took us to hear Robert Munsch telling his stories, back in March. He came on stage and began telling the story but got stuck in the middle of a sentence. A couple of times. It was troubling. He was stuttering – and this is NOT a man who stutters. I almost couldn’t sit there & listen, it was so troubling. When I came home, I said to Ted, and he remembers – or at least he says he does - “That is not normal. Something neurological is going on there.” Indeed. It turns out that among his many revelations this week – which I totally missed because I don’t watch news – is the fact that he had a stroke two years ago. Woke up one morning and he’d totally lost his ability to speak. Had to learn how to talk all over again, from th

Shabbos Desserts… stuck in a rut!

Well, I seem to be totally stuck in a rut when it comes to Shabbos desserts.  I hadn’t even realized it, but we’ve basically been going ‘round and ‘round with banana cake, brownies, cookies (3 kinds:  choco-chip, brownie cookies, and almond cookies) So, for this week, just to bump us out of the rut, two pareve desserts that are at least slightly different from the usual: Rice Pudding (first made this here … very easy & yum!) Mandelbroit / Biscotti (if I hurry, if there’s still time) Must run & start the mandelbroit – they need two LONG baking times.  Oh – here’s the recipe . p.s.  The mandelbroit is done, but now Naomi Rivka has requested Rice Krispie Squares… maybe!

First bout of garden optimism

Well, who wouldn’t be optimistic with an amazing clematis like this in bloom??? I love the motif of miniature bulldozer juxtaposed with natural wonders… something about “paving paradise”, but then, I’m tired. Here’s the rest of the clematis.  The story is – I bought two clematises on sale at the end of the season two years ago.  One is Nelly Moser and one is The President.  I planted them in what I thought was a good spot (feet in damp shade, head in the sun), but alas, it was too late.  They died. Except not quite.  Last year, Nelly came back and gave me two blooms – here’s one of them.  Not a sign of the President anywhere. This year, not only is Nelly back with a vengeance – that’s what the flower shown here is – but there is a single stem creeping up behind her that looks suspiciously darker in colour.  It won’t flower this year; in fact, Nelly is promising only one more bloom again this time, but the things have leafed out tremendously and are almost half the heig

Sweet potato progress

Originally reported here ; I started growing this in mid-April.  Boy, is this thing slow to start this year… I think it really needs a lot of warmth before it will even start to root.  I probably began too early, when the house was still very cold. I love the gorgeous purple colour of the new shoots…!

Shabbos Menu (early?) for a change!

Supper: Challah (crossed out = done!) Meatballs Mashed potatoes Roasted beets again bc they are SO good Corn Iced tea Lunch: Teriyaki Salmonoodles on udon noodles Blintzes Marinated 3-bean salad That’s it so far…more details to be filled in as it looms closer. It’s unlike us to be anything like prepared ahead of time, even for as basic a menu as this one. But this week is the Dennis Prager event , and apparently it’s starting early. In the end, the deal we got was a reduced price that would have included supper except we’re not bringing the kiddies and not prepared to have Shabbos dinner without them. (my mother is having dinner there, so that’s one less person here) So Ted & I will eat at home and then make our way to the shul. The secretary said they’re davening at 6:45, having entertainment at 7:15, supper at 7:30 and he’d probably be speaking around 8:00. Ted doubts very much that he’ll be speaking before 9:00, however, so

Cranky Complaints Lady… can’t haz Toonyaz?

Okay, I promise – no more lolspeak .  That is your RonyPony Guarantee.  So please, come back, keep reading – the latest installment in  the ongoing saga of how the world bruises the crank out of me over and over and over again. It’s just a little thing… like, $3 worth of seeds little.  But you know by now how crazy I get about petunias … specifically, their wonderful, subtle scent.  Which is why I specifically chose “Laura Bush” petunias back in the madhouse depths of wintertime (read more here ). To raise them painstakingly from seed only to discover that they’re the wrong kind, that they’re scentless… well, it’s a betrayal of the highest order.  Well, maybe not, but here’s what I wrote: I bought the seeds for these petunias from your eBay shop back in January.  I started growing them in February, and finally planted them out a couple of weeks ago, where they're doing great. However... they are not Laura Bush petunias.  One is - in this picture, the middle one is a pi

Kosher Menu Plan Monday #16: 12 Sivan, 5770

For newcomers, welcome!  We are Jewish and all our meals are kosher.  We have two sets of dishes (okay, we also have lots of pareve stuff for veg prep, bread baking, etc).  We all eat meat, chicken, etc., along with dairy.  I do try to offer one delicious non-animal-product-dependent meal each week, usually on Thursdays (aka Vegan Vursdays). You can also visit my super-duper-list-o-mania of Everything We Eat (as well as the rest of this blog, of course). Thanks! Well, I missed last week due to Shavuos, and nearly missed this week because we were BUSY busy busy with the holiday, out in the garden, fireworks, etc.  Yay – finally, a Victoria Day where the weather is actually nice enough to enjoy sitting on the beach taking in fireworks. Sunday:  Take-out Ely’s Chinese food – too expensive and not very tasty… it was an experiment I will not repeat. Monday (Tonight, aka Victoria Day):  Homemade pizza on not-baked-enough leather-tough no-knead crust.  Ugh.  Easily The Worst Pizza

Sometimes… my mother is amazing

I really love my mother sometimes.  Just chatting on the phone, on the porch, just now, a little birdie landed on the tree.  I said, “quick, it has black wings with white speckles, a black head and red spots above its ears.”  (secretly, I don’t know where birds’ ears are, but it was where my ears would be if I was a bird) And she said, “it could be a woodpecker?” So I looked back and, indeed, just at that moment, it began to peck.  I’ve never seen a woodpecker before!  I think it was this type, a Hairy Woodpecker, but there is a Downy Woodpecker that looks quite similar, just a bit smaller and fluffier. We really REALLY have to get a bird-identification book.  My mother has one, it turns out, so we will borrow that.  Naomi has been asking me bird-names, because I tell her all the flower-names, and so now she knows that everything has its own name. (Why oh why do I teach them stuff?  Some lazy days, I think it would be easier to not know the flowers, just like I don’t know

A name by any other rose

Andrea at Are You Listening? , a blogger I’ve visited a few times through IComLeavWe , wrote about nicknames today … the nicknames she swore her kids would never have. Like her, I swore my kids would be given beautiful, well-chosen, well-thought-out names.   And indeed, they were... so why is it that they are more often than not referred to as Pookie-Loo (YM, 15), Boobah (EC, 14), Choochie (NR, 5) and Chicken Pie (GZ, 2)??? The scary part is the evolution of the nicknames.  Like Elisheva’s, which started out as “Elisheva-beva-boo-roo.”  These days, I mostly call her “boo” or “roo.”  Because who could say that whole thing every time?  We have also taken to calling her “Rochel Faigie,” because she said she was tired of hearing me call her name to do things, so I made up a totally different name. Naomi’s full nickname is “Choochabee-pone-pone.”  (Don’t ask!)  And Gavriel Zev’s started as “Chicky-Boy” because I was calling him “boy chick” before he got his name… and then reali

First Shabbos bookay! (bouquet)

  Three ornamental allium heads, two heucherella flower spikes, and three hosta leaves… minimalist, but I think quite nice on our Shabbos table! These alliums (allia?) have been traffic-stoppingly lovely all week, with passers-by asking me about them and everything.  I haven’t been able to get a picture of them yet, but maybe tomorrow.  They’re a  new addition this year:  I am SO happy I planted them last fall.

The Internet is Full

I like to imagine that someday, I’ll go to post here and I’ll submit my post for publishing and get back a message saying “Sorry… the Internet is full.” Hasn’t happened yet, though, so here goes. My thoughts on Shabbos – before they were interrupted by my brother – were about vacations that never happened. I know, totally upbeat, right? Three of them. The first, not quite a vacation. A retirement, of a teacher in my high school. I’d seen him in the hallways & the language office, but we’d never spoken. He was the German teacher, Herr Dieter. Two teachers were retiring that year, and the yearbook crowd put together a tribute page for each of them in that year’s yearbook. Then, one day, maybe right around now – late May? – Herr Dieter dropped dead. Maybe a heart attack. I don’t know. But he was immediately dead and gone. And then, just a couple of weeks later, in my memory, the yearbooks arrived. With the tribute page… including the cheery farewell: “auf wieders

Six Word Saturday: 10 Sivan, 5770

Schizophrenia: Giving “nutty” a bad name… Below are some of my brother’s ramblings that he felt were important enough to write down (on some kind of wacky translucent cigarette paper) to pass along to YM. He is obsessed with YM, and often phones to share “life lessons” with him. Today’s life lesson: Power plus Intellect equals Money. He made me repeat it back to him (he asked nicely: “I’m sorry to ask this, but could you repeat it back because it’s SO important?”) – even though it’s also written on the cigarette paper. He said he’d only drunk “one tiny beer” but really, I almost keeled over when I smelled him. He stayed outside but the house still smells like smoke, for some reason. I’m happy it’s finally nice weather for visiting outside because… well… the bedbugs are back. Shudder. Sheesh… 6WS is supposed to be a “happy” meme: sorry for the big downer!!!

Shabbos Food – and welcome, ICLW bloggers!

Yup… yet another holy day to eat and eat and eat.  We’re making this an easy peasy Shabbos.  Very, VERY basic. Oooh – I just realized it’s IComLeavWe (International Comment Leaving Week – the 21-28 of each month)! To ICLW bloggers dropping by for a visit, here’s my intro from last month explaining why I participate, even though I don’t have a fertility, infertility, adoption, fostering or any other kind of baby-having-related blog.  Basically, it’s a cool idea! So we’re Jewish, and Shabbos is our Sabbath, and we have it every week, with festive meals and singing and whatnot.  Here’s our Shabbos food for this week.  We’re keeping it simple because we just had a major 2-day holiday (Shavuot) on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. So now you know. Supper Chicken soup Glossy S&B Honey Garlic Chicken Corn Israeli couscous Desserts Lunch Jar g-fish Deli-Meat sandwiches Leftover chicken shnitzel from Shavuos Potato salad Green bea

Shavuos / Shavuot Dvar Torah

A rabbi, a priest, and a minister were swapping stories – why not? One time, the was caught in a snowstorm so terrible that he couldn't see a foot in front of him. He wasn’t even sure which direction to walk. He prayed, and miraculously, while the storm continued for miles in every direction, he could clearly see his home 20 feet away. That’s nothing, said the minister. He’d once been out on a small boat when a hurricane struck, with 40-foot waves: the boat was sure to capsize. He prayed, and, while the storm continued all around, for several feet in each direction, the sea calmed, and he got back safely to shore. “Well,” said the rabbi. “Wait’ll you hear what happened to me. One Saturday morning, on the way home from synagogue, I saw a wad of $100 bills on the sidewalk. Of course, since it was Shabbos, I couldn’t touch the money. So I prayed, too: and God answered! Everywhere, for miles in every direction, it was still Shabbat… but for 10 feet around me, it was Thursday.” Well,

Shavuos Menu

This is basically a literally reworking of last year’s disorganized Shavuos menu . I changed the days (last year, one day was Shabbos), and I’ve added a reprise of Shabbos’s delicious vegan samosas for guests who don’t eat meat. Yes, I’m serving meat… just not to them! (p.s. If you want to see how everything turned out, close-up, check out my baking blog, Adventures in BreadLand, over here !) In case that sounds totally rude, they don’t eat dairy either, so I may as well make delicious pareve things. At least they eat eggs… I think! Shavuos 2010 Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Lunch Lunch – Mommy Neapolitan cake?

Six Word Saturday: 3 Sivan, 5770 – Awards Week!

Blog awards… where do they start? NOTE:  if you are here because I have tagged you with an award and have no interest in my ramblings, click here to get all the details!!!  But you’re missing some great – rambly – stuff. On Friday, no doubt spurred by my inspirational Shabbos menu , Jolly Green Mommy named me ( in this post ) as one of fifteen Very Special Bloggers who have recently touched her life. Being the cynic that I am (and figuring everybody else on the Internet probably had one already), I wanted to know where the award came from.  Not just as a cynic, but as a perfectionist who, if I’m celebrating an award, would naturally want to include a link back to the award’s originator as well as to the person who gave it to me. For anybody who’s seen my home:  stop laughing.  I am indeed a perfectionist… a very, very frustrated one in a very tiny, squalid home. So I clicked Jolly Green Mommy’s thank you link and followed it back, and back, and back, until one person seve

What to tell the kids when their friend is taken away by JF&CS

You’ve noticed Moishe hasn’t been around for a while. Maybe you didn’t know that Mr & Mrs. _____ aren’t Moishe’s first Mommy and Abba. He had different parents when he was born, but he has been in their family for a long time, since he was six.  (I don't know what happened to his first parents:  sometimes parents get sick or can't take care of their kids, so other parents have to help out.) Remember – we know other kids who didn’t have the same Abba when they were born? YM & EC had a different father. Then, when they were younger, he died. And when Mommy and Abba got married, Abba became their Abba: now you all have the same Abba. So the people who decided a long time ago that Moishe should be in Mr. & Mrs. _____’s family decided last week that he should live somewhere else instead. We don’t know who he’s living with right now, or where he is. He’s not allowed to see his family or friends from our street yet. Maybe the people thought they were helping him. M

Shabbos Menu

Updated just before shutting down… *DONE next to everything that is done! Dinner – easy easy because we are broke till the morning so everything has to be fast & easy *DONE Soup *DONE Challah (eggless, honey-sweetened, 2/5 stoneground whole wheat) *DONE Shake n’ Bake (honey garlic, not crumbs) (still to bake) *DONE Starch and / or Apple kugel *DONE Storebought spring rolls Frozen Corn Pareve Desserts Lunch – as vegan as possible because of a guest *DONE Challah (eggless, honey-sweetened, 2/5 stoneground whole wheat) *DONE Halva spread – homemade, just as an experiment *DONE Baked Samosas – if I can make wraps because storebought wraps have egg in them (wraps recipe here ) *DONE Carrot/cumin/garlic salad – that’s it:  cook carrots, toss with cumin, garlic, olive oil and salt Bean salad – brought by guest *DONE Guacamole – storebought *DONE Grainy/couscous salad – Ted’s request Pasta salad w/olive oil & roasted pep

The Week of Lost Boys

Wow, if weeks could have a theme in real life and not just in sitcoms, this week’s would be “The Lost Boys.” I swear to you, I don’t court drama.  But between our neighbours’ taken-away foster kid , the kid with cancer , and then, today, a random invitation to lunch to observe the deathiversary (English-date yahrzeit?) of a friend’s 10-year-old (brain cancer, 28 years ago)… well, the drama is finding me. And then I get home late tonight (from a wonderful amateur production of Cabaret), and Ted wants to tell me all the unholy pursuits one of our children has been pursuing on the computer and I just DO NOT want to hear it.  I want to make challah, plan Shabbos, fold laundry, go to bed. (It’s already midnight and very little of the above list is accomplished just yet.) I just want to keep my boys safe.  Besides the cast, I mean.  A cast, a minor break, that’s okay; I’ll take that, sure.  It’s the big stuff that’s scary.  Please keep my boys safe.  And girls.  Oh, and keep their s

Antisemitic Ads?

Just reading this amazing article at the JPost site when my mouse accidentally hovered over an underlined “advertising” keyword and this popped up: Yup.  Jewish = Extermination.  Pest control.  Flattering! I tried hovering over other words to see if it was a fluke, and got entirely neutral results for every single one: jUtterly mystifying.  The article is definitely worth reading, though!

More of GZ’s Bubblegum Song

He seems to be stuck in a rut with this bubblegum thing (if you want to hear the real thing, click here - or here for a video of a creepy guy singing it not too badly).  More of his newly-invented verses I overheard this morning: “Sticky sticky sticky sticky bubblegum, sticking to my cup …Oh, no!  I can’t pour !” “Sticky sticky sticky sticky bubblegum, sticking to my head …Oh, no!  I can’t lie down!” “Sticky sticky sticky sticky bubblegum, sticking to my clothes …Oh, no!  I can’t put them on!” “Sticky sticky sticky sticky bubblegum, sticking to my slide… Oh, no!  I can’t… slide!”

Emergency fudge

What’s the emergency? Well… no fudge.  That’s an emergency, right? Recipe here .  For Rocky Road add roasted half-pecans and mini-marshmallows.  Don’t add the marshmallows too soon or they’ll melt.

Happy Yom Yerushalayim – יום ירושלים שמח

(most of these pictures are Ted’s… I never got to Machaneh Yehudah to see in person the infamous “Rock n’ Roll boxer shorts” for which the market has been known for hundreds of years).                 Yup… here they are!