Friday, June 14, 2019

Why I Love Fridays

it is 5:30 p.m. in the holy city of safed.   Shabbat candle lighting is at 7: 20 p.m.  I made a Shabbat meal for myself.  I ate a bit of it already.  I got up early but couldn't really do anything.  my back and legs were pretty stiff.  I have been walking a bit lately.  nothing truly strenuous.  ten-fifteen  minutes here and there.  it is a shame as I was an avid walker.  I really let myself go this past year.  my feet swelled up from the intense heat and my back has gone a bit sciatic.  I am trying to lose the weight.  I started eating more recently.  I was doing the south beach for about three weeks and I kind of lost my appetite.  well, it came back with a vengeance with my puffy stomach.  I started eating bread and I guess, I don't do well with carbs.

I went down to the neighborhood supermarket to buy some fruit.  I got hooked on eating frozen grapes.  I bought cherries, honey dew melon and grapes.  they were no near as tasty as what I bought for Shavuot.  I only had a bit of fruit on Shavuot because I couldn't deal with the sugar content after doing the south beach.  I must say that I got over that and ate a lot of grapes the other night.  I think I will go back to the south beach on sunday for another two weeks.  I also stopped drinking a lot of water.  I am consuming way too many calories to lose weight.  I am still doing the intermittent fasting at night and it has saved me from binging a few times already.  by the time I return from work I hardly have much time to have a proper dinner.  I have been stopping to eat by 9:00 p.m.  I know that most people do not eat at that hour.  I can go all night long and I usually go to bed around 2:00 a.m.

I made 2 chicken breasts with fresh mushrooms for Shabbat night.  I used fresh lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.  I already ate one of the breasts.  I am actually stuffed.  I also made a salmon fillet.  I had one for lunch and I had a slice of whole wheat raisin challah with cream cheese for breakfast.  I also ate a small box of cherries.  I have beets for later.  is there any wonder why I don't lose weight?  I heard from a couple of people who got thin that they increased their fat intake and did away with the carbs.  I need to lower my calorie intake, seriously.  I will get back on the wagon next week.  at least, I didn't indulge in any cheesecake or tiramisu over the holiday and I didn't eat any lasagna.  I stuck to the cheeses and veggies and olives.  I tried to stay away from salt because my ankles were so swollen but a girl has to eat.  I still haven't had any butter on my bread.  I have not had more than two slices of bread a day. I've had one slice in the morning and another slice for supper.  next week there will be no bread.

I just did a couple of loads of laundry.  I have a huge amount of bedding to do from pesach.  I didn't feel like going outside to hang it as it was very hot.  I am very tired today.  I worked almost 7 ours yesterday.  the heat is debilitating and the yeshiva kitchen is airless.  I am thoroughly depleted.  I must drink more fluids.  I have been frying a lot of foods lately.  I made nearly two hundred falafel balls and about 2 pounds of French fries the other afternoon.  I made tons of corn fritters and hamburgers, too.  my legs are caving in on me.

the daughter-in-law invited me to come for Shabbat next week.  we spent a lot of time together talking on Shavuot.  they are coming next week for a bat mitzvah in the next town and will spend the night.  I went out to buy treats, chocolate milk, eggs, and more cheeses and fruit. I bought more gifts last week. I still have frozen waffles for the kids.  I better buy a few veggies on sunday.  the daughter-in-law likes her salad.  and I guess, I need some bread.  I bought apple juice concentrate for the kids. my friend comes to baby sit my dog and I have to keep the freezer full for her.  I have frozen grapes and watermelon.  she loves her shakes.  I also have lots of chicken and hamburgers.  I left a piece of lasagna and a piece of tiramisu, too.

this year my lasagna was stellar.  I used mozzarella and ricotta for the first time here.  it was so much better than cottage cheese.  the sauce wasn't runny.   I also used Italian tomatoes.  the tiramisu also turned out great.  I made it alcohol free and used all natural almond extract which tasted like marzipan.   only one friend didn't like it because she is not a marzipan fan.  I tempered the egg yokes over a double boiler this time.  even the teriyaki salmon was a hit.  the only thing not touched were the cheese blintzes.  I put them back in the freezer.  my grandson had one but then he ate anything in sight.  all in all it was a lovely holiday.  I forgot how exhausting watching kids is.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Countdown To Shavuot 2

it is 11:30 a.m. in the holy city of safed.  I just got back from the neighborhood supermarket.  I made a marble brownie Tofutti cheesecake for my manager for Shavuot.  his son is lactose intolerant.  I wanted to make a non dairy cheesecake for awhile.  after choosing several recipes, I decided to stick to brownie bars.  I wasn't sure how the Tofutti cream cheese tasted.  I had read several disappointing reviews online.  I got up pretty early today to make the brownie bars and a small keto cheesecake for another coworker.  I was project cheesecake this morning. 

I was just about to put the pan of Tofutti brownies in the oven to bake and I tasted it. I was curious how it tasted.  too my utter shock, I had used salt instead of the sugar.  I threw the pan out and ran down the stairs to buy more Tofutti cream cheese, eggs, cocoa, chocolate bars, coconut margarine, and vanilla extract. Guess what? I found American natural almond extract there.  I came home and hurriedly made a new batch. they are in the fridge cooling a bit.  what a disaster it would have been had I not tasted it.

the keto cheesecake looks okay but I hope that the texture isn't gross.  I added a tablespoon of potato starch and perhaps it was too much for a little cake.  I  also substituted mascarpone cheese for the cream cheese.  I went to the large supermarket after work last night to buy cream cheese and to buy almond extract.  I had walked in the direction of the health food store in town yesterday to buy the natural extract.  it gives a strong liquor flavor and this guy doesn't use any sweeteners.  I figured it would compensate for the lack of sweetness.  I  like it on my cottage cheese.  I got distracted and forgot that I was on my way to the health food store and went on to the bus station to go home.

wen I reached the bus station I remembered that I needed to go to the health food store.  I jumped on a bus that took me to the large supermarket which is across the way form the brand new large health food store, that i have been meaning to check out.  I made a mistake by going to the supermarket first.  I met someone I know and we schmoozed for quite awhile.  I bought ground peanuts to make a tahini crust for the keto cheesecake and got distracted and checked out before I bought the cream cheese.  by then the health food store was closed so I taxied home without the almond extract and cream cheese.

 I didn't want to go back to the supermarket this morning so I used the mascarpone cheese that I had bought to make the tiramisu and added sour cream.  i ended up adding a bit of lemon juice and the regular Israeli imitation vanilla extract.  I also cut up half of a 72% dark chocolate bar into little pieces and added it to the mixture.   are we having fun yet?

I just tasted the sides of the marble Tofutti cheesecake and the chocolate tasted bitter and unsweet. I panicked.  I thought I had forgotten to add sugar to the brownie and I was just about to chuck it into the garbage bin when I remembered that I had dusted the baking tin with cocoa.  go know? I am dressed and showered and ready to go to work.  I will have a tea first and then call a cab.  what a morning!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Sleepless In Safed

it is 4:00 a.m. in the holy city of safed.  Shabbat ended at 8:30 p.m.  I thought I had a good chance of going to bed at a decent hour because I only napped for about an hour or two.  I have been popping antibiotics and pain pills all of Shabbat.  my gum was so swollen that I couldn't open my mouth fully last night and eating a crusty piece of challah was nearly impossible.  I am happy to say that the swelling has definitely gone down.  I started to get my appetite back and intermittent fasting tonight was challenging.  I had to eat a spoon of peanut butter to take my antibiotic. in fact, it is time for my next pill.  So why am I still awake?  I didn't drink any caffeinated drinks all Shabbat.  it's been days since I had a tea.  it's been just too hot for that.

I finally turned off the television at 2:00 a.m.  that's after I read that Syria had fired two rockets into the hermon.  I can see the hermon from my window.  we are talking about half an hour away from safed.  but that isn't what really kept me up.  a couple of minutes ago I got out of bed to look up Shavuot trivia questions to grill the grandkids and give out prizes.  I also started fretting about my menu and even venue for the holiday.

after checking out the weather forcast which predicts even hotter days for Shavuot I kind of lost my sleep and mind.  should I set up the upstairs apartment for the kids to sleep?  are mattresses sufficient or do I need to drag up the bed frames?  should we have the meals upstairs?  the apartment is air conditioned?  should I move upstairs for the summer?  should I tell the repairman that the new screen door is already riddled with small holes?? should I run out and buy a small air-conditioning unit for the kitchen?  and how exactly could I pay for one?

is the gardener coming this morning?  what can I make for the yeshiva's dinner today? what recipes do I have for eggless cakes? should I forget about the tiramisu and make one for my birthday,  which is in a couple of weeks?  should I ask my daughter-in-law's sister and family to join us on shavuot night? should I buy more ice cream or ice popsicles?  should I eat the camembert cheese for breakfast?  should I buy more prize gifts for the grandkids?  and now the sun has appeared here in the middle east and I am still awake in the holy city of safed.  I just remembered that I don't need to make lunch today so I will have the full day to recover and rest. Amen!

aftermath:  it is 9:30 a.m. in the holy city of safed.  the gardener just left.  we had a schmooze and coffee a little while ago.  it isn't broiling yet.  there is still a slight breeze outside.  i just spoke to my daughter-in-law. miraculously, I got her in a public place.  they have no cellphone reception in their home.  I gave her options.  now I need to speak with the son.  I found an antibiotic on my kitchen table.  I think I didn't take it at 5:00 a.m.  oh well.........

Friday, May 31, 2019

It Is Stil Hot

it is 2:30 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  it is really broiling outside.  it's pretty hot inside, too.  I just got back from the neighborhood supermarket.  I went to buy some yogurt and challah rolls.  I guessed that I needed to eat yogurt while I'm on antibiotics.  I have a major loose tooth/gum tooth infection. I also wanted to see if they did have the Tofutti cream cheese.  I bought the Tofutti sour cream by mistake.  I actually read online, that they both have exactly the same ingredients.  who really knows?.  many years ago they did a study and found out that there was relatively no tofu in the Tofutti ice cream.  they wanted the company to change it's name.  here we are in 2019 and the Tofutti brand is still going strong.

for those people who think tofu is suspect these days; it means making these vegan dessert recipes with coconut oil and cream and milk and flaxseed.  I decided to make marble cheesecake brownies for the manager's lactose intolerant son.  after reading so many negative comments online, about the poor results of the Tofutti cheesecake recipe; I decided not to make one.  I think these brownies will be a sure fire winner with the entire family.  as it turns out, these kids are mad about chocolate and sugar.  the brownies are super easy to make, too.

I bought more dairy ingredients to make another cheesecake.  I thought I'd take one over to the Sephardi grandparents.  that's, of course, if we go there for Friday night's Shabbat dinner. Shavuot comes in on Saturday night after the Shabbat ends.  you don't get a chance to watch t.v. or go online but you do get a chance to smoke cigarettes and cook more food from an preexisting lit memorial candle.  I also bought more cheeses.  I like my cheese and fruit platter on Shavuot.  I'm sure that I bought way too much.  I'm  also pretty sure that the kids made plans to go out on Shavuot day for a barbecue.

I am trying to play it easy breezy.  I'm kind of on a south beach 'phase 1' diet at the moment so it won't be so bad to eat lots of cheese.  I've been intermittently fasting at night and it's been a great relief to not binge.  I thought about doing a fruit fast next week but I think that I will continue my eating mostly protein and veggies and stopping to eat by 9: p.m.  for most people it probably seems normal not to eat after supper.  I go all night long, munching away, until I pass out.  I have radically, cut down on my caloric consumption this week.  I, desperately, have to knock off 20 pounds as soon as possible.  I'm about 30 pounds overweight now.  I am feeling hopeful.  I even started drinking water.

I bought a small container of humus, a package of precooked beets and a couple of avocadoes to go with my chicken this evening for Shabbat dinner.  I am really trying my best to get back into my clothes and get rid of my giant belly. one can only hope.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Taking Care Of Business

it is 2:00 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  I have a new repairman here fixing all of my screens and he is now tackling the blinds in the bedroom.  I can't believe that I don't have gaping holes in my screens anymore and that I will be able to open the blinds once in awhile to check out what's happening on the street. I got tired of scotch taping over all of the ripped screens and luckily, a good friend knew of someone to fix them and even more lucky; he was coming today.

he will replace the plug on a brand new fan, I bought four years ago, too.  my dog tiny chewed the wires when he was still a puppy.  I have been wanting to get it repaired for awhile.  I also want him to put up a ceiling fan in the kitchen.  it has been sitting on a shelf for nearly 18 years.  it is really hot in the house and we are having yet, another heat wave here.  I want to make it as comfortable as I can for Shavuot.  I don't have any air conditioning units.

I stayed home from work today.  I only had to give then lunch and I stayed later yesterday to create one.  why schlep out in the mid hot sun for just an hour or two of work?  I left oriental pasta salad, cucumber salad, and tuna salad.  I hope it will be enough.  it is an out Shabbat and some of the guys may have already split for the weekend.  yesterday, I worked until 7:00 p.m.  I felt exhausted.  it was a real scorcher.  I felt so drained and nearly faint.  I baked oatmeal and tahini bars for a treat for them yesterday before I left.  I had tried, very unsuccessfully, to make a cake out of the leftover cooked oatmeal from their breakfast.  I added some flour and sugar and many eggs and baked it for hours and still it was not a cake.

I hated tossing the whole pan.  I should have left the oatmeal for them for today's breakfast.  go know!  in the past, I got away with adding the oatmeal to the meatloaves.  I made a tabouli couscous salad with sautéed carrots and onions because I didn't have any bulgur yesterday.  I also made dozens of corn fritters for lunch as well as a huge Israeli salad and served chumus.  I fried up many dozens of mini hamburgers for their supper and made roasted zucchini and rice.  I actually, had two hamburgers.  they were nice and spicy and juicy.  that was pretty much my lunch.  I had a tilapia fillet for supper with some cooked cauliflower.  I am still fasting for 12 hours every night.

I felt pretty weak this morning.  I stood on my feet yesterday for nearly 7 hours cooking.  I didn't drink enough, either.  I haven't really eaten yet today.  I had 2 spoons of peanut butter in the morning.  I wanted to take an antibiotic.  my loose tooth seems to be infected.  I only have chicken in the house to cook.  my friends wanted to go out to rosh pina this evening for a bite.  it is still very hot outside.  I also wanted to return my empty bottles to the supermarket .  I just can't face this heat.  i think i better go on and cook the chicken.  I'm starving.

the repairman just ran off.  I won't get to see him for a while.  that's always the problem with them.  they are so busy.  I still have three windows to have screened downstairs and I really want the ceiling fan hung up in the kitchen but that's how it goes.  at least I got his phone number and he lives in this area.

9:30 p.m.  at 4:00 p.m. I cooked some chicken and finally broke my fast.  I took an antibiotic and passed out.  it is not easy for me to swallow pills.  I just successfully swallowed a pain killer. yeh!  I never made it out with my friends.  I walked to the end of the street a moment ago to put my plastic and tins in the recycle bin at the end of the street.  I couldn't take the bottles to the bin near the synagogue because I wasn't really dressed modestly. hopefully I will get out early and run to the supermarket.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Getting Crazy

it is 8:30 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  I just got back from the neighborhood supermarket.  I went to see if they had Tofutti 'cream cheese'.  I decided to make a dairy free cheesecake for my manager's son, who has an intolerance todairy.  I found the Tofutti and it was on sale.  unfortunately, I didn't buy enough.  I think I need two packages.  I wonder if I can substitute soy yogurt for the second package.  the kid drinks soy milk and I guess, he's used to it.  I read reviews of the recipe and they weren't so good.  I think i'll go back in the morning and get another Tofutti and buy some soy yogurts to make it extra creamy.

I know that I am going a bit crazy for Shavuot but I do love the challenge of vegan baking and cooking.  I can also buy a prepared graham cracker crust.  I guess I can make one myself using  cookies and coconut oil.  I am having a hamburger and some cauliflower for dinner.  I had a couple of eggs for breakfast and a bit of salad at he yeshiva. I'm not really all that hungry.  I thought about having a can of tuna but I was all out.  I stopped off at my friends' house and they offered me a huge piece of lamb.  I really wasn't in the mood for greasy lamb.

I wanted to do laundry this morning but I was out of laundry detergent.  I did one small load and then I remembered that I had liquid gel in the kitchen upstairs.  I always have some on hand when my granddaughter comes to visit.  she loves to make slime with it.  maybe i'll catch up with the sheets tomorrow.  I had thought about travelling to see the kids for Shabbat but it is pretty hot, once again.  I think I will stay  put.  I don't have to work on Thursday.  it is an out Shabbat.  my friend wants to make a little day trip to the neighboring town of Rosh Pina.  there is a Japanese chain restaurant that I really like. we could share a salmon dinner.  that's what I would go for.

I would also like to check out the health food supermarket there.  depending on how hot it is, we will make plans.  I went to work a bit earlier today and was less rushed and a bit more inspired.  I made baked potatoes with mushroom sauce, Israeli salad, super hot corn salad, tahini, egg salad, spicy chickpeas, and tuna salad.  I think they liked today's lunch.  they were held captive by one of the rav's of the yeshiva and got to lunch nearly an hour late.  I thought that they had fled the coop.  I made a huge turkey loaf for supper with rice and green lentils.  I hope they didn't leave it on the electric hot plate all evening.  I threw out three dried out platters of food on Monday.  i'm  afraid it might have to be pasta again tomorrow.  I ran out of potatoes.

I trimmed my dog's hair yesterday.  he was really suffering from the heat.  I wanted to have him shaven professionally but I didn't really know of one near by.  not having a car is a bit limiting.  he sat on my lap very quietly and lovingly while I trimmed his hair.  I think he truly enjoyed our together time.  I did a much better job than last time.  he looks normal and not mangy.  I guess those hair cutting lessons, I took many years ago, finally paid off.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Countdown To Shavuot 2019

it is 10:00 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  the extreme heat wave broke.  it is very warm but very doable.  I actually saw my ankles this morning.  they have been so swollen that I looked like an elephant.  I started drinking water.  I went to the pharmacy for a natural diuretic.  I bought urtica drops but didn't use them yet.  I was afraid.  I have been very limited.  it has been too hot to move.  I've taxied it to and from work almost every day.  today, I walked to the main bus station from work and caught my bus.  it's only a 10 minute walk but I haven't been able to do it.  I am in bad shape.

I started my intermittent fasting yesterday.  I have ballooned out and I look and feel awful.  it was a relief not to eat last night.  I have been binging and eating non stop for weeks.  it felt so good not to eat so much.  I had a can of tuna and a hamburger for dinner and stopped eating at 8:00 p.m.  I will drink some lemon and mint flavored water and eat again at 8:00 a.m.  I am trying to work on portion control now.  I had two frankfurters for lunch with some lentils and bulgur.  I usually eat more.  I actually feel too full right now.  the hamburger, probably, was too much to eat after the tuna.

I stopped at the supermarket last week and bought a bunch of stuff for Shavuot.  I usually make cheesecake, tiramisu, lasagna, greek salad and mini ravioli.  I bought frozen Belgian waffles and cheese blintzes.  I guess this is overkill.  I still want to buy fruit for a cheese platter. I saw Roquefort and I don't think I have ever tasted some.  I will go back to the store and buy some more cheese.  this is not a good time to begin a diet.  I will skip the desserts and stick to the protein.  I have to get this right before summer officially begins.

I need to buy a bunch of veggies to cook this week.  I think i'll hold off the fruit for a bit. and i'll stay off dairy until Shavuot, which is next week.  I have to do an MRI in a couple of weeks.  my appointment is at 5:30 a.m. in the tel aviv area.  I will have to go to bnei brak on the last bus and catch a taxi to the hospital.  I will probably have a long 3 hour wait.  it won't help getting taken early because there aren't any busses until around 7:00 a.m.  what a bummer!