Thursday, July 14, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
and other Passover oddities.
Passover made me crazy. Not as crazy as the lady I saw literally running through the grocery store on the day before the Seder, but crazier than normal. I procrastinated on the cleaning, and ended up pulling an old person's all-nighter (up until 4AM) to get it all done. The kids were so wound up from eating our sugar stash, it was ludicrous. as of 2 days before Passover all that remained was this: Which isn't really so much, considering I take away 90% of the candy they get given in this sugar-obsessed culture. I give it out as rewards occasionally, but we never eat even half of what we get. Some of it I just throw out because I don't want to deal with it (suckers, BB sized puffs of MSG), some I eat (the good chocolate!), and the rest gets binged on right before Passover. anything left 24 hours before bedikat chometz (the time you look for last bits of leavening in the house) hits the trash.
I'm sure you're wondering how and why my cornflakes are orange. I'm getting to that. In case you don't know anything about Passover, let me give you the skinny (or the kitzur, in Hebrew). At Passover we get rid of all food that has Chometz. Chometz is any substance derived from wheat, oats rye spelt or barley, and it hides in everything. Citric acid? From wheat. No kidding. it's in everything. not to mention the obvious forms: Bread, pasta, oatmeal, cereal, etc. anything that could even have a little speck of this stuff has got to go. So, processed foods for passover have a special kosher certification. If you are an Ashkenazi Jew (North and East European) you also have to get corn, rice and legumes out of your diet. HFCS? oh yeah. peanuts? them too. If you are Sephardi (Spanish, North African, and Middle Eastern Jew) like us, you get to keep these foods. Thus, my Passover Cornflakes. But to make certain that everyone KNOWS these are special for-passover flakes? they add Paprika extract (doesn't change the flavor) to make them orange. Sure, it's a bit unappetizing, but the passover cereals based on potato starch are so much worse, I'll eat my orange cornflakes and be grateful!
Passover is a huge subject. It would take a dozen posts to talk about it all, but if people have questions, write them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
So, here's what happened: I burned the Challah. My favorite, yummy, wonderful challah. I put it in the oven to "proof" and then accidentally turned the oven on. The broken oven, which is either ON or OFF no temperature choice. The smell of burning plastic wrap tipped me off that not all was right. I panicked, because it was less than an hour and a half before candle lighting time. Would any bakery still be open? So I booked it off to the shuk and discovered the deal of lifetime. Bread for a shekel (about 30 cents). Huge bags of pita, rolls, bourekas, rugelach, and everything else, going at less than it cost to make (I know!). I cme home with 2 bags of 10 rolls each, 1 bag of mini panini rolls, and a huge bag of mixed rugelach ( cinnamon and chocolate) and potato bourekas. They were also selling strawberris at 3 kilos for 10 shekels, so I bought some of those s well. Not money I had planned on spending, but in the end, home made jam, chocolate bread pudding and whatever else I make from the stuff I bought will feed us cheaply for the end of the month. And, from now on, I'm planning my cooking to be done ahead so I can hit the Shuk late in the day on Friday and score more amazing deals on food treats for the fam!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
I was totally going to do this post last week, but everyone in the house got a terrible cold, so I was on double-duty! Oh well. These are just a few pictures of one of my favorite places: the Shuk in Jerusalem. I never go there without thinking, wow, that would be an amazing picture, but I rarely go with my camera, because I end up not doing as well when I negotiate.
Friday, February 25, 2011
I both love and hate the Shuk. it depends on the day and my time. As long as I'm wise enough to stay away during peak hours (after 4 any day and pretty much all of Thursday and Friday) it's a fun experience to go and pick my lovely produce, baked treats, and whatever else you're looking for. The girls always demand treats, which are usually the nice-looking apples or bananas. Sometimes we are tempted into buying the lovely strawberries, and just this week I bought fresh peas in the pod as a fun project. I'll put up some of my favorite shuk photos next week. It's a lovely place, as long as you know when to visit.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
It took 2 hours to get me checked into a bed after my water had broken, and I was subsequently ignored for the next 4 hours, as I wasn't in active labor. Finally someone stopped in to check my dilation. An hour later they applied some gel to help me along and then ignored me again for 4 hours. Finally 12 hours after my water had broken, they decided to put me on pitocin. I was OK with this, having had it on both prior births. I started having gentle contractions over the next hour or so. They upped my dose to hurry things along, and the next time I was checked, the midwife got the "panic" look on her face. She felt not a head, but an elbow. not the end of the world in my mind, but she seemed to think it was VERY problematic. So, they backed off the pitocin to give the baby a chance to re-adjust. Then they (the 2 on-duty midwives) felt again and still felt what they thought was elbow, and one doctor who also said elbow but the doc they called in said it was a heel. They brought in the mobile Ultrasound (my nemesis) to look at the baby's position, and one said the baby was head down, one said he was feet down, one said she couldn't tell. They were all yelling at each other in the delivery room about what should be done and who was the most incompetent. It was a nightmare for me, having gone through so much to get to this point and being so opposed to surgery. They decided to do another ultrasound, my 3rd in less than 24 hours, and this time the one doc overrode the midwives and said I needed an emergency c-section. It was , I'd been awake for almost 24 hours and I was worn down. So, I signed the papers and was wheeled, sobbing, into surgery. They refused to let my husband come in with me, which only made things worse. I spoke with the anesthesiologist and he told me he'd give me something to calm me down as well as for the pain. from that point on, I remember only hearing the baby cry as he was born, being told I couldn't touch him, and even if I had tried I realized my arms were strapped down to boards and spread out crucifixion-style. All I wanted to do was comfort and nurse my crying baby, who was instead being held by this stranger-doctor. I still have nightmares that the baby is crying and I can't get to him because my arms are strapped down. My only comfort at the time was that my husband would be able to hold him, which I later found out was not what happened. They let him only touch the baby for a moment before wheeling him away into the nursery and telling him he couldn't come. It would be another 14 hours until they would "let" me have the baby.
The next day I was even more upset to have one of the consulting docs tell me in a very superior way that the baby had been head down after all, so I probably could have given birth normally. The day after that, the doc who had tried to convince me to abort the baby came in while I was nursing. I didn't even want to speak to her, but I did want to show her that my boy was just fine thankyouverymuch. All she had to say to that was, "we'll see" in an ominous tone.
I am still very upset about the way things went down. I definitely want to do VBAC next time, even if I have to hire a private doctor to ensure it happens. After 3 years here and 3 births here you would think I would know how to work the system, but I still don't, and now I'm more nervous than ever about medical intervention during pregnancy and birth. My husband isn't excited about the idea of a home birth, so that's not really an option either.
Any one used to the Israeli medical system care to weigh in?
Friday, February 11, 2011
This week was dominated by my second daughter's second birthday. I did some balloon decor, which I think turned out pretty well.
And I made a cake, which always turns out well because it is an awesome recipe. Thanks to Hershey's for coming up with it!
Perfectly chocolate cake:
2 c sugar
1 3/4 c flour
3/4 c cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Whisk these ingredients together in a large bowl
1 c milk
1/2 c oil
2 tsp vanilla.
mix until smooth.
1 c boiling water
stir until just mixed
pour into 2 greased and floured 9 inch round cake pans and bake at 375 F for 30-35 minutes. I also put rounds of baking paper into the bottom of each pan, as this is a very moist cake and sometimes sticks despite my best efforts at flouring.
I make a different frosting from the one in the recipe. you can use either, both are wonderful.
Monday, January 31, 2011
I took some neat pictures on the way home from the Shuk (Open market) last week and thought I'd put them up here and see what you all think. (that is, if there's any "all" left after months of neglect!)
Winter here is cool and clear. It ought to rain more, but we are in the midst of a drought. Having grown up in Washington State, I miss rain, and I get so excited every year when the rain starts. But the nice sunny days when it isn't rainy are a nice change from the constantly overcast skies I was used to. And it makes for some nice pictures.