Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Possible art show

The municipality, along with the local Fringe Theater, and a few other organizations is putting together an art and music show of works by local women in honor of International Women's Day. I just sent in a submission request, along with lo-res versions of four possible photographs I'd like to feature.

What do you think?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Stick to your ribs delicious

Between the colder temperatures, clouds, wind, and expected rain, and two out of four people in the house having pretty bad colds, this is definitely soup weather. Here's a delicious, filling, and easy corn chowder recipe that always gets rave reviews when I make it.

What is your favorite winter soup to make?

1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red or green pepper, diced (if you use green peppers, it will give the soup a greenish tinge that's not the most appealing. Using red peppers gives it a reddish-orange color that looks far more tasty)
2 T butter
2 T all-purpose flour
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
3 cups milk
salt and black pepper, to taste

Saute the potato, onion, and pepper in butter until the onions are soft (about 7 minutes).

Add the flour and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring thoroughly.

Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and the chowder has thickened. You do NOT want it to boil.

Then either spoon the soup into a blender, or use a stick blender, and puree until it's a thick chowder, with no large lumps of potatoes.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Different route to school

Elchanan and I started off on walking a different route to school, so he could find different things to photograph. But after only about 5 minutes, he decided he wanted to take the city bus. So he got a few photos taken, but not as many as he'd taken in the past.

When you were a kid, how did you get to school?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Shuk with a camera

Words cannot express the absolute pride and joy I felt while watching Elchanan experience the local shuk with a camera in his hand. He was like a bee in a flower garden, flitting from one stall to another and snapping away. None of the vendors scolded or yelled at him to stop (which has happened to me on more than one occasion), and a couple of them even gave Elchanan encouragement.

What hobbies do you share with your children?

Behind the dried pineapple is dried (and probably sugared) watermelon, rind and all.

Abstract of lettuce.

Jews with Tattoos

I've always wanted a tattoo. When I was about 30, I got my first one. I'm much older now, and I've been wanting a second and third and fourth since that day.

It's not really done in my society, for several reasons. The first (and big one), is the Biblical prohibition. Leviticus 19:28 - "You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves: I am the LORD."

The second reason is the forced tattooing many of our ancestors were put through during the Holocaust, when they were reduced to numbers in concentration camps. Tattoos just leaves a bad taste in many people's mouths because of this.

The third is because people seem to believe that if one has a tattoo, one cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

So as to the first reason, there is great debate as to just what the context is, and what it means in general. There are those who say the context of the tattoos is tied to the first part of the sentence; that is, the ritual of tattooing to commemorate the dead. There are those who believe the context is within pagan worship; that is, getting pagan iconography tattoos onto you.

The third reason is actually just Jewish urban myth. It's highly likely someone was told this when s/he asked about getting a tattoo, and whomever s/he asked tried to think of the ultimate deterrent.

And as to the second reason, I certainly can understand and respect it. I just feel that by getting a tattoo, by MY CHOICE, I reclaim something. Just like the LGBT movement reclaimed the pink triangle as a symbol of strength, when it was used in Nazi Europe to identify, mark, and disgrace gays and lesbians.

My younger daughter has been wanting a tattoo since she was about 15 or so. I told her she needed to wait until she reached her majority, and that she had to find something meaningful to her. Once she found the graphic, she would then have to spend a year looking it over, considering it, etc. and then if she still felt strongly about it, she could pay for her own tattoo.

Ten years later, and yesterday, she got her first tattoo. It's on her upper thigh. When I asked her why she got it there, she said because she wants to be able to see it, but she also doesn't want it to be visible to others. Then she said that for her next tattoo, she wants an inspirational quote.

I laughed, and she asked why. I said to her that her first tattoo isn't even 24 hours old, and she's already planning her next tattoo... she's hooked!

Here is a collage of photos I took back in 2014 of different Jewish people with tattoos. The top and bottom are the same person. The right-hand photo is a friend. The left-hand side is me.

So, do you have a tattoo? What does your family think about it? What does your culture feel about it?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Meatball-stuffed garlic monkey bread with marinara sauce

It's a bit of a to-do because you have to make the dough, season the chopped meat, make the meatballs, wrap them in dough and make the marinara sauce.
Of course if you don't particularly care about buying processed foods and ready-made foods straight out of the freezer, I've seen the quick and easy version of this on Pinterest with: Buy some kind of frozen Pillsbury dough, buy frozen cocktail meatballs at Costco, and pop open a jar of your favorite sauce.
The dough I made for this is the onion rolls recipe from The Secret of Challah. Obviously the filling are meatballs instead of onions.

7 cups sifted flour (1 kilo)
2 tablespoons dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons sugar
2 cups warm water
2 eggs
2 tablespoons oil
Mix together the dry ingredients. Then add the wet and knead for about 5 minutes, until all the ingredients are incorporated. Then cover the bowl and let it rise for about an hour or until it's doubled in size.

1 kilo (about 1 pound) of chopped meat (chicken, turkey, and lamb will do as well)
Spices - I used garlic powder, black pepper, and dried oregano
Mix and make into golf ball-sized meatballs.
Garlic bread mix:

About 4 generous tablespoons of minced garlic
1/3 cup oil
dried oregano

Take a piece of dough (a little bigger than a golfball size) and flatten it like you're making pizza. Wrap it around the meatball and pinch the ends closed. Place in a 9x13 baking dish.
Once the bottom is loosely filled (you want the dough to barely be touching), spoon some of the garlic mixture on top. Then add the next layer of dough balls. Pour the remaining garlic mixture over the top.
Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake at 350 degrees F (about 180 degrees C) for about 45 minutes. Serve with sauce.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Apparently dog poop is interesting

On today's walk to school with his dad, Elchanan decided to photograph a poop-covered rock. When I asked him why he chose to take that photo, he just laughed. Typical of an almost 9 year-old, methinks.

Chewy granola bars

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar*

2 T. honey*

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 egg

1 cup flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup oats

1 1/4 cup crisp rice cereal

2/3 cup chopped nuts

2/3 cup chopped dried fruit

2/3 cup chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, cream margarine and sugars.

Add honey, vanilla, and egg. Mix well.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.

Gradually add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture.

Stir in oats, cereal, nuts, an chocolate chips.

Press into a greased 9x13" pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is lightly browned.

Yield: 2 dozen bars

* I use 1/4 cup + 2 T of honey instead of white sugar.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Give a child a camera...

Here are today's photos taken by Elchanan on our way to his school. The first and last photos have some great leading lines.

Week 52

The challenge for week 52 was black and white minimalism. It's actually one of my favorite themes.

Here is this year's photo:

Lemon Bundt Cake

Lemon Delight Bundt Cake 2 1/2 c flour 1 1/2 c sugar 3t baking powder 3/4 c orange juice 3/4 c oil 2 t lemon extract 4 eggs zest of one lemon
Glaze: 1 1/2 c confectioners sugar 1/2 c lemon juice
Preheat oven to 325 & grease & flour bundt pan.
Combine dry ingredients.
Add liquids & beat 3-4 minutes.
Bake for 45-50 minutes.
When done, insert a skewer every 1".
Pour 1/2 the glaze over so it seeps into the holes.
When cool, turn it over & pour on the remaining glaze.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Elchanan's photos

Here are Elchanan's photos from today (he'll be 9 the end of March).

Drive By

The theme for December 18, 2017 was "Drive By". The explanation of the challenge was taking a photo while IN a vehicle. Unfortunately, my week just didn't allow for that, so I submitted a shoehorn photo...

Death by Chocolate Cheesecake

aka Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake.

For those of you not familiar with what a chocolate turtle is, shame on you, you don't know what you've been missing. It's a lump of caramel with four pieces of pecan sticking out, then dipped in milk chocolate. When it dries, it looks rather like a chocolate turtle.

But anyway... the original recipe is from the Philadelphia Cream Cheese cookbook I have. They have a chocolate turtle cheesecake recipe, but I actually took a different chocolate cheesecake recipe they have and changed a few things around to make it easier... such as using a container of dulche del leche (caramel) spread rather than melting caramel squares. I used the other recipe because it calls for more chocolate.

2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (I use chocolate tea biscuits)
6 TBS margarine or butter, melted

2 8 oz. pkgs Philly cream cheese, softened (roughly 450 grams)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
6 oz. dark chocolate pieces, melted (about 170 grams)

Caramel Layer:
1 500 gram container of dulce de leche
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Chocolate Ganache:
8 oz (1/2 lb or about 1⅓ cup of ) milk chocolate pieces
1 cup heavy whipping cream

To assemble:
Combine crumbs and margarine; press onto bottom and sides of 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 350, for 10 minutes.

Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in chocolate; pour over pecans.

Bake at 350, 40 minutes.

Soften the dulce de leche by either placing it in a hot bath or in the microwave. Spread over cheesecake. Top with pecans.

Bring heavy cream to a simmer on the stove top, stirring occasionally. Just as soon as you see a simmer, remove from heat and poor over chocolate chips, swirling the bowl to make sure all chips are covered. Place lid on chocolate chips to trap the heat and let sit undisturbed (no mixing) for 5 minutes. Remove lid and swirl the chocolate chips with a whisk starting in the center and working outward until smooth. Once it's velvety, let it sit uncovered at room temperature (70˚F) for about 15 minutes before pouring it over your cake. Then pour over the cheesecake, and refrigerate.

Not the prettiest piping job, but it didn't affect the taste in the slightest.

Photography with kids

Yesterday Elchanan started his photo project with Zach. Here are two photos he took.

I'm hoping that in addition to it feeding his creativity, and my teaching him the art of photography will make him a great photographer, it will also set a positive tone for his day that he can carry into the classroom. We have issues with him refusing to cooperate in class, and there's the ongoing morning tantrums about not wanting to go to school and/or the after school program. But I'm hoping that if we can distract him with something positive and fun in the morning, he'll carry that feeling throughout the day and behave better in class.

And tomorrow, I'm DEFINITELY taking my own camera on our walk to school.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Spinach noodle kugel

This is so easy to make and my kids love it. Feel free to substitute frozen broccoli for the spinach.

500 grams small elbow macaroni (or small shells)
400 grams frozen spinach (minced works best)
5 eggs
1/4 to 1/3 cup onion soup mix
1 cup soy milk
1/2 cup oil
1 can of mushrooms (optional)
Salt and black pepper

Cook the macaroni and drain. Thaw the spinach.

Mix all the ingredients together. Pour into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour or into individual muffin cups and bake for 30-45 minutes.


Not sure where Zach has been driving, but the car has TWO flat tires. And neither one of us has gotten paid yet, so for now, the car is sitting in its parking spot.

Tuesdays is a bit of a mess with regards to getting Elchanan to and from school because Tuesdays is a 12:30 dismissal and there's no after school program. And today, he has an added 3 p.m. visit to the dental hygienist for a much need cleaning.

The usual schedule of getting Elchanan to school would be a few days a week, Zach drives to work, so he takes Elchanan to school, and I take Netanel to his bus stop. On days when Zach cycles to work, we switch - I take Elchanan to school via city bus, and Zach waits with Netanel for his van and then Zach cycles to work. On Tuesdays, because it's a short day for Elchanan, we try and make a point of Zach takes him to school, and then I pick him up at 12:30.

For some reason, Zach thought I'd be okay with taking Elchanan to school by bus today, and picking him up at 12:30, AND taking him to his dental appointment. Needless to say, I wasn't okay with it.

The problem is, you're not allowed to take a bike onto the city buses, and either the front of the bus racks don't exist in Israel at all, or at least they don't exist on the local buses.

So it means Zach and Elchanan would have to walk (it's about a 15 minute walk to his school).

Which Elchanan was NOT happy about.

However, I DID manage to mostly deflect his tantrum, and make walking to school interesting, by telling him he could take his camera with him on his walk to school and take photos. Zach would then take the camera to work with him, and I would upload the photos he took to his own Facebook album. He resisted the idea at first, but soon warmed to it.

I'm looking forward to this project.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Carrot Kugel-Cake

A really long time ago, I had this amazing cakey "kugel" when my family and I were having a Shabbat or holiday meal at friends. It was called "Rikki's Carrot Kugel" after the hostess' sister or sister-in-law. It's really amazing and we love it. I don't make it nearly as often as I should.

Carrot Kugel-Cake

1 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs, separated
3 cups carrots (1 lb), shredded
2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Cream margarine and brown sugar together.

Add egg yolks and beat.

Add carrots, water, lemon juice and mix.

Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix thoroughly.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until peaks form and fold into the batter.

Pour into a greased 10 inch tube pan and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes up clean.