Thursday, February 23, 2017

Almost Purim

it is 8:30 a.m. in the holy city of safed.  I got up at 5:45a.m. and let the dogs out.  I quickly put up a pot of chicken that I had left defrosting on the kitchen counter and made a bit of rice.  we had an extreme heat wave yesterday.  it felt like summer.  I took advantage of the weather and washed a bunch of sheets, the dog's bed, the small carpet in the t.v. room and an assortment of towels.  I also washed all of the floors.

my daughter-in-law thought that I had started my pesach cleaning.  I simply, was cleaning the house.  it was filled with dog hair and pish, children's art projects and supplies, and my own crafting scraps all over the kitchen.  there were Purim costumes and props strewn everywhere, too.  in safta Zelda's house, it's Purim all year round.  the kids can trash the house all day long.  there is no end to the amount of envelopes, stickers, gift cards, glue and cellophane tape.  one does not have to limit oneself while dressing up and creating art and crafts by cleaning up.

I, myself, have been helping out a friend with play costumes and props.  I made a tutu out of green tulle with red and black highlights. I found a YouTube tutorial.  it was slip knotting hundreds of strips of tulle onto an elastic band.  it took days to finish.  I recently discovered a box of material while I was clearing out the closets downstairs, after the kids moved out.  it had been there for 17 years and  probably before that, in my mom's home for another 30.  I threw out the outdated material but I kept the tulle.

 I have also been crafting wedding party favors lately.  I haven't been in touch with the hospital.  I have been running around finding bridal stickers, napkins, cake decorations, muffin holders, organza baggies, and toothpicks, etc.  when I'm not finding bridal themed party objects, I am searching for new Purim wigs, cigarette holders, microphones, and coloring books and stickers for the kids.  I know I must contact the hospital next week.

I volunteered to make a post wedding celebratory meal for the sister of my daughter-in-law at the end of march. it is traditional to wine and dine the new bride and groom for a week.  it will be two weeks before pesach and I gather , there are not many offers to host the couple and their families at that time. I spent a lot of time watching videos on how to craft bridal champagne glasses and simply gave up and bought stickers and premade baggies.  I'm not a glue gun type of gal.  I actually, find crafting hard.

I couldn't even find one bridal doll in town.  I did find a set of bottle covers but they were pretty cheesy and pricey.  I made an 'ornate' vase out of a large wine glass using bridal themed stickers and stick on jewels.  I bought a Purim bridal bouquet.  I also adorned 4 shot glasses with bridal appliques and one wine flute.  I cannot control myself.  when I get a party theme in my head I simply run with it.  I also made about 50 chocolate bride and grooms and put them into cellophane bags with silver tie twists.  I put bridal themed stickers on another 40 cellophane bags to fill with jelly beans.  I decided on white and black jelly beans but I can't honestly say that I have ever seen black jelly beans in safed.

 you can see why I haven't found time to blog lately.  the kids have been here a lot.  I am exhausted most of the time and my nose is constantly running.  I have been eating a lot of wheat so it might be that.  and yet, the grandkids have been coughing and ejecting a lot of nose mucus too.  after airing the house out yesterday it became very cold again.  I slept with the space heater on.  I usually turn it off.  I was really knocked out.  I never sleep through the night.  anyway, the house is clean for the moment and it is quiet.  the dogs are outside.

my male dog has taken to prowling at night.  I have had mostly female dogs.  I am not used to males. he is also larger than I'm used to.  my last male dog was a chiwawa.   he returns on some nights after midnight.  there is a female dog further up the street in heat.  we are definitely, not having fun.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Tu B'Shvat 2017

it is 11:30 p.m. in the holy city of safed.  tomorrow night is Tu B'shvat.  it is the New Year of Trees.  I invited my kids to come over for Shabbat.  they will walk home and return for Saturday lunch.  I thought they might want to sleep over if the weather is harsh but it appears to be a warm spell at the moment.  I pretty much prepared the Shabbat meals.

I have been running around town buying the various fruits that we use for our Seder on Tu B'shvat.  some people have the custom to drink four cups of wine like we do at the peach Seder.  i'll be happy with one.  I have walnuts, almonds, chestnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, black olives, barley, frozen cherries, sabras, persimmons, fresh lemon relish, fresh figs, dates, prunes, apricots, pomegranate, a carob and a carob date bar, red and green grapes, candied citron, apples, pears, cooked quince, and a pineapple.  I make a quince every year.  no one except moi, likes it.  I usually eat the whole thing by myself.

I made an applesauce cake.  I think it might be a tad raw inside.  I cooked chicken livers in teriyaki sauce; made barbecue wings in sweet chilly sauce and fried up chicken fingers.  I might skip the fish course tomorrow night.  I made chocolate leaves.  I made a beef cholent with black beans, wheat and white beans.  haven't done one of these in years.  the daughter-in-law doesn't like cholent.  I threw in a package of prepared kishka but it disappeared in the stew.

I was thinking about making a cheesecake but I decided not to in the end.  maybe i'll make some coconut bars tomorrow.  I need to clean the kitchen floors and pick up the kids from gan.  maybe I can buy some ice-cream.  I grated some raw beets for a salad.  I plan on making one large green salad with cherry tomatoes. we can munch away at the remaining nuts and fruit for dessert in the afternoon.  this year I tried to buy as much fresh fruit as possible.  I did hit the dried fruit pretty hard all week long.

in past years, I made a lot of dishes using the 30 fruits of the Seder.  I used to put out ten types of nuts, ten types of fruits with stones and ten types of fruit with small seeds.  we used to read a bit of scripture for each fruit and drink red and white wine.  by the end of the night we were singing 'yes,we have no bananas' and the Chiquita banana song.  those days are gone.  in the past, you couldn't get certain fruits that were out of season.  now a days, they have everything in the fruit stores.  they had giant papyas but they seemed pretty hard.

one year when Tu b' Shvat fell out on a Friday night, like tomorrow; I cooked up a dish for every single fruit and nut.  I made lychee donuts, carob coconut soufflĂ©, nectarine chutney, lemon couscous, cashew thai chicken breasts, and chestnut soup; to name a few.  that was my greatest culinary performance.  tomorrow night it's just chicken wings and chcken tenders.  and if I get a second wind, i'll make some tilapia  fillets.

I hope it will all go smoothly.  I hope the kids will not be too wild.  I must not have any expectations.  I did my best to provide the fruits and nuts according to the Sephardi Seder.  my friends down the block, are out of town and actually, the kids want it to be just us 5, so we shall be an intimate gathering.  I wonder if the grandkids will get to stay over.  last Friday night my granddaughter got a turn to stay over.  I was not consulted beforehand.  luckily, I had the heaters on timers.  her girlfriend came over so she wasn't bored.  we slept most of the afternoon away.