Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Scattered thoughts

Just a few things on my mind:


1. Jerusalem Post columnist Liat Collins commented this week about the irony that the fact that only 242 rockets have been launched into Israel this year makes it a quiet year. I originally wrote that the rockets "have fallen into Israel," but thought that those words, too, made for some irony.


2. On Shabbat, Ariella saw that I was keeing the rest of the family and guests away from her. She said,"Right, Imma, brothers and sisters have to stay away from a sick person so they don't get sick too, but it's okay for Immas?" Well, it is okay in the sense that taking care of our sick kids is what we do, but clearly, I have no special mommy-strength immune system. David, on the other hand, spent a nice aount of time with Lola, as well (though because of the miracle of timing, missed out on cleaning up vomit and tushie), but has a constitution of steel. Lucky.


3. Recently read Julie Powell's Julie and Julia (yes, I know, I am a little late to the game) and really enjoyed it. She comments about how fortunate she was to have a "rabbit-hole," i.e. the Julie/Julia project, to fall into. I don't know if I am quoting correctly, and I don't know what I think about the real Julie Powell - I was happier not to have read anything else about her - but I fully identify with the feeling. I am so lucky to have found a business opportunity to do what I love, and to love something that I am actually really good at. I don't expect to make my fortune this way, but I will always feel fotunate. (Did you like what I did with the words there? I am feeling so clever today.)

4. I don't know why people don't read more food-related books. No one in my book club seems to be taken with the idea of reading Michael Ruhlman or Bill Buford. Guess it's just me, and my love of food. There, I admit it. I like food: cooking it, eating it, reading about it, reading about people cooking or eating it... I currently have something like 25 food-related blogs bookmarked on my computer. Too much?

End of true confessions and deep thoughts.

Dvora

Sunday, December 27, 2009

G-d said Ha!

Shana turned 16 this week. I am officially really, really old. And, yeah, it really is all about me. To celebrate, a bunch of Shana's friends slept over for Shabbat, and it was a very nice one. We enjoyed the girls, and they all seem to have had a nice time. Unfortunately, Ariella graced us with another stomach virus, waking up Shabbat morning with the pronouncement, "Imma, I am barfing!" She spent the day in the bathroom and in bed, but we seemed to have kept her away from everyone. That is, everyone but me. I was the proud recipient of the handed-off virus, losing the entire Sunday to yuckiness. I had plans to work on my project, but that was just plain impossible. Man proposes, G-d disposes. I guess the work will continue tomorrow, in between making up for lost cleaning and laundry.

Shana's birthday cake was a miracle of speed - frosted and decorated in under 40 minutes. It is a little slapdash, and looked much better an hour after this picture was taken (such is the nature of fondant). Unfortunately, that was already Shabbat, so photography as an option, not so much.


But the bottom line, it was delicious - moist chocolate cake, mocha filling, buttercream frosting - and everything was spelled right. In all the rush, what did I fail to do? TAKE A PICTURE OF A SHABBAT PLATTER. See, Arica, I do need the post-it! It would go well with the 9 am book club reminder call that I require in order to not flake on the 9:30 meeting. Shana certainly gets her "ditza-ness" from somewhere.

This week is starting with a bang - had to blow off Ayelet's teacher conference because of my inability to leave my room, much less the house. Hope she did not have anything to critical to say! Have a great week, everyone.

Dvora

Thursday, December 24, 2009

No soup for you!

It's been another weird, wacky week. I have been working on a dessert project for the bar mitzvah of the son of a friend, and though I can not show you until the party, it should be very cute. Unfortunately, I am not making the progress I need to. I am committing to getting this under control by the end of Motzaei Shabbat - and you can all hold me to it. I very sadly lost out on a job for this Shabbat, for a kiddush in Yerushalayim, because the shul in which it is being help requires hashgacha. For all of you chutznikim who think that sounds really basic and, well, sound, it needs to be mentioned that a great many shuls here allow members to bring in homemade goods. Similarly, no Green's mini-cupcakes for birthday parties here; you can bake you own and bring them to school! So I was a little distressed by the turn of events, but it has renewed my interest in getting a hechsher (which we had investigated before but deemed difficult and unnecessary). Do you think it would have helped if I told them my husband used to be a professional mashgiach?

On the plus side, I did get an order from someone else in the capital for a party. We are feeding people far and wide! Unfortunately, the platters have already been picked up and I - all together now - forgot to take a picture! I must remember to photograph the regular Shabbat platters... In case, the flavors are chocolate dipped chocolate chip, cranberry pecan bars, lemon glazed ginger crisps, linzer cookies, thin mint sandwiches, and tuxedo brownies. I also tried a new recipe, courtesy of Yocheved, for a chocolate caramel cookie bar, a lot like a Twix. It still needs some tweaking, so it is not going in the platters, but so yummy (though David did find it a little overly sweet, but that is just silly).

And this week's soup adventure - I made a faux Temani soup. That is the soup is faux, not the Temani. I took leftover chicken soup (from the soup I made Sunday; since we were away for Shabbat, we were still eager for chicken soup on Sunday. I was kind of hoping it would not taste as good without the "spice of Shabbat," but it was awesome. But I digress.) I took the leftover strained broth, added some water and a bit of fleishig chicken soup powder - note that the powder is indeed an ingredient in the original recipe given to me by a friend whose husband is Temani. Then I added in hawayij for soup, which is a Yemenite spice blend, and some cut up potato, carrot, celery, and onion. Zucchini would have been a good addition, but somehow we were completely out. After letting it simmer a while, I returned the leftover soup chicken, shredded up. I served it over a pile of rice, and it was so good and rich. As David said, "All we need now is the kubeh." Which we could buy frozen in the supermarket, because we live in God's country, and that's how we roll. Anyway, there is no soup for you, not because you are being punished or denied. There's just none left.

Next up, Shana's birthday cake and Shabbat sleepover. My oldest is turning 16. How did that happen?! When did that happen?!

Dvora

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Eight Crazy Nights

I can see that you all have been looking for me, but I have been making myself scarce lately. It was not my intention, but time just keeps slipping away. Excuses, excuses, it's just revolting, I know. Chanuka was very nice, if uneventful. Once we recovered from the shul dinner, we headed to Yerushalayim for the Rotter annual Chanuka scavenger hunt and Chanuka party. After zooming around the neighborhood to find our clues, we finished up with ice cream cake and headed home for more fun. Aviva and Josh and family came out for a Chanuka dinner, and everyone had a good time. I even photographed the quiches I made (one "Italian" vegetable and one onion), because I was oddly and unreasonably pleased with how they came out. I think I now have more pictures of food than of my children.











Tuesday was a slow day - Ayelet spent the day in Yerushalayim with Carmi. After shopping and lunching with Ariel, they went with Savta and Tzivia to an interesting exhibit of clocks at the Islamic Museum. Shana worked on her giant term paper, Dani hung out with Pacey and babysat, and I took Ariella shopping for Shabbat clothes. We had time to make latkes for dinner, and I will happily say they came out great - definitely better than the ones I made for Shabbat. And look, Shana caught the ridiculous photography bug and snapped a picture of the beautiful potato pancakes.
Wednesday was our sojourn into the center of Yerushalayim. We tried to get to the Kotel, but found it impossible to get close enough in the drizzly weather. We headed into town instead, had falafel, and started walking toward the Shuk. After a few stops at various stores, we made it there and stocked up on sugary necessities. We returned to town, had Katzefet, topped it off with a latte (it was cool and damp out, so the frozen yogurt had to be topped off with hot coffee!), and headed home. Thursday was ceramics day, then baking and Shabbat prep. This week's platters included chocolate cream dreidel sandwiches, ginger crinkles, chocolate cherry brownies, black and white cookies, honey pecan squares, linzer stars, and fondant covered dreidel sugar cookies.Because you can't really see the detail on the dreidels in this shot, I am adding a close-up.
I hope you can see the imprints on the fondant a little more clearly here - they were so cute! And surprisingly, they were actually tasty, though I will openly admit that these are vanity cookies, and not on the platter because of their fabulous flavor profile.

On Friday we headed to Har Nof for a family Shabbaton. We brought cookies to celebrate the holiday. The little kids all made lots of noise and ran wild, but happily so. Just 25 hours later, the Festival of Lights was over, and so was vacation. Packing up backpacks was the order of the evening, and heading to sleep at a normal hour. So long, time off! Welcome back, order, schedules, and waking up too early...

Dvora
And now, for a quick quiz, tell me why this platter looks so much better than the picture above...The other one had the yummy addition, but the visual image is way better here. Weird, right?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

O, Chanuka, O Chanuka, come light the menorah

Anyone remember the next line of that old chestnut? I'll give you a minute to think about it...

Yes, I have been negligent in posting for a while. My sincerest apologies. I hope to be back on track now.

The holiday week started out with a bang, or rather, a bar mitzvah. Yocheved and Jon's son Gidon celebrated his bar mitzvah this past Shabbat, and David was his teacher. It was a great party and a lovely Shabbat - Mazal tov! We will definitely miss them when they go back to the States.

The cookie platters for the first Shabbat of Chanuka included linzer dreidels, mini chocolate caramel dreidel sandwiches, and sugar cookie magen David ganache sandwiches.
One customer got nervous when I said I was including Chanuka cookies in the assortment - she thought the whole platter would be plain old sugar cookies with sprinkles or something. Funny how simply you can incorporate a theme into cutout cookies. Minimal additional effort = something really sweet and special. And that, readers, is why I love cookie cutters.

As usual, I neglected to take a picture of the full platters. Someone will have to stick a post-it to my forehead or the inside of my glasses or something.

After Shabbat, it was back to work on Sunday night's shul anniversary celebration. Ariel was the head, and I was her assistant, and somehow it all came together. The theme was Brooklyn, in honor of the original Glenwood, and the concept ran through the evening. The centerpieces were popcorn tubs, full of popcorn, with Israeli flags and Brooklyn Dodgers pennants perched inside. The food was all retro-Brooklyn themed, with Italian ices and bakery type cookies for dessert. A video retrospective captured the essence of the night, and a trivia game (yay, Lori!) got everyone enthused and involved. It was a fun evening, capped off with a great souvenir - a photo in a custom Glenwood anniversary frame, done by Gary and Suzanne. Glad it went well, glad that it's over.

Now we can enjoy the rest of Chanuka. More to follow...

Chag Urim Sameach!

Dvora

P.S. "Let's have a party, we'll all dance the hora"

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cupcake Creations

Let me start out by saying that the palmiers were delicious. Even Ariella loved them, which is funny, because they don't exactly seem like a six-year-old's idea of a treat. She was a little intimidated by the "green things" - she is her father's daughter - but got over it quickly and enjoyed them. David would be loathe to admit it, but he did not hate them. Now that I have experienced the taste combo, I want to find a cookie recipe with the same flavors. I think that would be tasty and unusual.

This weekend, I decided to flex my cupcaking muscles a little bit. I tried two new flavors: lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream, and devil's food cupcakes with caramel buttercream. The lemon was just delicious, with some real tartness in the frosting. I was less enamored of the devil's food, as the texture was a little delicate for a cupcake. I mean, who wants their cupcake to fall apart when they take off the paper? The frosting was also somewhat problematic. The recipe is an American one, which calls for brown sugar, but the coarseness of the brown sugar here prevented the texture from ever becoming smooth. They still tasted great and looked cute, but the sugar added some real crunch in the creamy frosting. Guess I will have to work on it - the kids will be so disappointed!

The last fun food activity for this Shabbat was making vegetable sushi with Ayelet. I was inspired by Arica's recent sushi post, as well as Ayelet's incessant requests for sushi making. We used an assortment of vegetables - avocado, steamed sweet potato, red and yellow pepper, cucumber, and carrot, in various combinations.

They were fine, and yummy, if not particularly artistic. Local sushi places have nothing to fear from our rolling technique. I am sure that will a little more practice, our technique will improve. Also, next time we must include smoked salmon, kanpyo, and shitake mushrooms, just for fun.


Shavua tov!


Dvora

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I just know he's gonna hate it

Sometimes I like to try flavors that are a bit out of the norm - my Kicked Up chocolate Chip Cookies, Mexican Chocolate Cookies, Orange Chocolate Chipsters, Chai Sugar Cookies, well, they are all examples of that tendency. And those are just the ones that actually work. Today, because I have a leftover piece of puff pastry hanging around, I decided to try making Lemon-Rosemary Palmiers. Ay, there's the rub. David hates rosemary. Hates. But I love the idea of the palmiers with the acid and the woodsy flavor melting into the sugar, not to mention the decadence of puff pastry (like I said before, not your everyday ingredient in this house.). And hey, there was only enough dough for about two dozen cookies. Just enough to try, not enough to OD.


First batch just came out of the oven - smells sooo good. Here's a photo, because I remembered to actually take one. Yep, still on the baking tray, because I don't want to take the chance of forgetting. I think I will use the leftover lemon zest-y sugar to make lemon cupcakes, as I am super-conservation girl (actually, just hate to throw stuff out). Will let you know - maybe even see - how those come out.



Dvora

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

And I wonder, still I wonder

Lots of things in Israel have funny names: New Year's is "Chag HaSylvester" (note the lack of attention to the anti-Semitic nature inherent in holidays named after saints who loved to dispatch with heretics), St. Valentine's Day is "Yom HaAhava" (again, as if there is no anti-Jewish aspect to the whole holiday just to start with), a ladybug is "Parat Moshe Rabeinu," plastic road dividers are "New Jerseys," a hands-free phone receiver headset is a "Madonna", and the list goes on. One cool funny name, though, is what pigs-in-blankets are called here - "Moshe B'teiva," Moshe in the ark/floating basket he was placed in as a baby by his mother Yocheved and sister Miriam. Ariella LOVES Moshe b'teiva. She askes me to make them before every Shabbat. As a good, healthy eating and feeding mother who never serves bad-for-you stuff (please refrain from reflecting on the title of this blog), naturally I demure most weeks, as I absolutely refuse to serve puff pastry and all its attendant fats on a regular basis. It has been a while since we made them. So I can not tell you what prompted the latest Lola observation.

This morning, the little princess jumped out of bed and ran into our room, requiring a little snuggle time before getting dressed. She settles in, then suddenly pops up to ask, "Imma, why are pigs-in-blankets called "Moshe b'teiva'?" Before I can even respond with what I thought should be an obvious answer, she continues, "It's not right because Moshe was all covered up in his teiva. It was closed at the ends, and the hot dog is open at the ends." I was speechless. I guess we are getting something out of the free, public school education!

Dvora

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I made it through the night

Thursday night was a hairy one - with so many cookies to finish (1,025, to be exact, plus margin of error), sleep was not happening. But by 12:30 pm, all the cookies were plattered, wrapped, post-it noted to indicate table placement, and ready for transport.

Somehow, they look less impressive boxed up. There are actually four or five platters in each box,, but you can't really tell. And wouldn't it have been nice to take pictures of each set of platters as they were assembled? I guess that unless I get a photographer on staff, the pictures are going to remain amateurish and sometimes an afterthought. But it was a LOTTA cookies, in a LOTTA flavors, and from what I understand, they didn't hang around all that long at kiddush. Baruch Hashem!

One platter was assembled early for a Thursday pick-up.


Orange-cranberry-white chocolate cookies, thin mints, pecan pie thumbprints, chocolate crinkles, molasses cream sandwiches, chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookies, and linzer cookies.

This turned out to be quite the week for Cookie Creations - not only were our products enjoed in the yishuv, they traveled all the way to Neve Daniel via Kfar Maimon, and to Baka, to celebrate a bat mitzvah. Cool.

There is little to report on the rest of Shabbat, being that I don't recall so much. Friday night was a quick affair, and then I was dead to the world. Shabbat morning was a quiet davening, even though the shul was full. Shoshana and Steven were super kind and such good friends, and invited us for lunch, realizing even better than I did how much we needed it. We had a great time, then came home for a nap and the end of Shabbat.

That's all for now; and now we return to the old day to day grind.

Dvora

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Coolest moment ever!

For each of my three older children, learning to read always had an ah-ha! moment. That was when things started clicking, when the basic skills suddenly translated into fluency. I most distinctly remember Ayelet looking up at me in amazement, saying"Imma, did you know these books have stories inside of them?" (She was in Pre-1A at the time, if I recall correctly, so she can be forgiven for not knowing that all along.) That was that for her; we have not been able to get her to stop reading since. In fact, a harsh punishment for her has always been forbidding her to read. It worked pretty much the same for Shana and Dani, even though Dani has only now started to catch the reading bug.

But for Ariella, it hasn't been easy. We have concentrated on Hebrew reading and language, knowing that learning can be harder for her, so we did not want to dilute her Ivrit education, as that is the lingua franca. She has picked up some English, mostly from PBS (Bless you, Slingbox!), and she is progressing. But until now, her Hebrew reading was limited to a word or sound at a time. Suddenly, after Shabbat started this week, she announced that she wanted to read from the siddur - and she did! The first three lines of L'chu Neranina and various sentences here and there. When she pointed her finger at the bensching, we could tell that for the first time, she realized there was an actual connection between what she was saying and the words in print. It was a revelation, and we are very, very proud.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving thanks

We just got home from Leiah and Elliot's annual Thanksgiving/Anniversary party. They are celebrating 23 years of marriage, and giving thanks for all the good things that have happened this year. It's a wonderful opportunity to spend time with friends, eat lots of yummy food - especially Elliot's sweet chili and many varieties of stuffing (I was never much of a turkey fan; for my money, the president can pardon them all and the poskim made a error calling them kosher), and reflect a little on our good fortune. The hosts provide the paper goods and the main dishes, and the guests bring a side dish or dessert and a drink. One of the very special things they do at the party is collect money for various tzedakas that are meaningful for them. At this party, before you get, you have to give. Awesome.

And now I will return to finishing up this week's baking marathon.

Catch you later,
Dvora

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cookie Madness

This is the week I have been anticipating and dreading - the 1000+ cookie week. I am really fortunate to be baking for a bat mitzvah kiddush in Yerushalayim - someone who was in the yishuv for a simcha and enjoyed the sweets! They are the relatives of a friend, and since this is a small country, also the friends of a relative. In addition, I have regular Shabbat orders to fill. So my words will be short, but the feelings large - this is a big opportunity to spread the word and show off a great many varieties, according to the tastes of the bat mitzvah's mom, and a very large quantity. Even with intricate and exacting planning, the execution is a huge challenge. Wish me luck!

Dvora

Monday, November 23, 2009

Out of order

Just wanted to point out that since I published some posts in an order different than the one I began them in, you may not have noticed that I posted two new entries, detailing the excitement of the end of Chodesh Irgun. They seem to have been placed after the one showing off my new style. Sorry for the confusion!
Dvora

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Look

I have changed my look! I guess I got inspired by procrastination - what I should be doing, I am not, so I use other tasks as an excuse. (Big job this week, lots to do, more on that later, but rest assured, very exciting.) I recently saw a very cute blog layout that was on Blogger, complete with a link to free templates, so I decided to go for it. Let me know what you think. I guess it is part and parcel of my theory that making aliyah, even more than any other big move, frees you up to reinvent yourself. Now the blog is reinvented... I want your input - if there are any problems or items missing, I would like to know that as well so I can fix the problem!

Dvora

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kadima, B'nei Akiva

This weekend marked the end of Chodesh Irgun, the month of B'nei Akiva madness. The month always starts off slowly, with a peula or two the first week, and maybe three the second week. Then things really kick into high gear, when the kids and especially the madrichim get worried that the dances are not going to be learned - each group does a "dance" performance on the last night of the month. So at that point, the peulot get more frequent and last later into the night, despite the best intentions of the madrichim, and the kids get tired-er and it just spirals.

After Thursday night's performance, the kids eventually trickled home. With no reason to go to sleep, as there was no school for them the next morning due to a generous miscalculation by the school administration, Dani and Pacey (who was sleeping over while his folks were away) watched a movie and got to sleep at a reasonable hour. Ariella was extremely jealous, since she did have school and thus lost out on the movie night. She had ample reason to be annoyed, frankly. The assumption that only the kids who participated in performing would be tired was sort of silly, since most have younger siblings who attended the festivities. Then again, the performers have been existing in a perpetual state of sleep deprivation for days... Ayelet came home, but did not go to sleep, resulting in much unhappiness all around on Friday. Shana headed out to join in the B'nei Akiva Cheraya Bet (high school age) painting of the walls around the basketball court. If B'nei Akiva likes anything nearly as much as lighting things on fire, it is painting any blank surface. She returned at about 1:30, when she could no longer hold a brush.

Friday was a rush of packing up cookies - sorry, no pix this week - and cooking for Shabbat. The cookie flavors were triple chocolate cookies, lemon glazed ginger crisps, chai sugar cookies, thin mint sandwiches, chocolate peanut butter brownies, and cinnamon squares. That was not exactly what I had planned earlier in the week, but blackouts tend to throw off your plans jsut a wee bit. We had company Friday night, Huda and Mark and four of five of their kids. Their older daughter stayed home sick, but their oldest son, who was supposed to be at a B'nei Akiva dinner, got one whiff of the delicacies being served to the kids there and headed over to join his family instead. We had a great time with them, and I got a wonderful greeting from their youngest daughter in shul the next morning. I love having 2 1/1 year old friends - they are so guile-less! After shul, we went to a small kiddush at Phil and Judy's to commemorate the 20th yahrzeit of Phil's grandmother. We spent a long time there, ate a lot of really delicious salads, and came home for lunch, sans Dani and Ayelet, who were lunching with their shvatim. Ayelet, as is her tradition, came home with a friend once the "meal" was over to eat lunch. We headed over to the Moadon to see the mud sculptures the groups had made - because the snif is currently under the construction, they can not paint the rooms, so this was a substitute for the usual activity. On a side note, my kids can't get over the fact that the quietest place on the yishuv - the library - is being constructed on top of the loudest place in the yishuv - the snif. Let's hear it for some mighty fine urban planning. We also checked out the walls of the migrash to see the paintings. Then we NAPPED - it was awesome!

After Shabbat came the final leg of the BA celebrations. The evening began with all of the kids parading to the migrash. The ninth graders did their daglanut - flag dance, which is less weird than my translation would make you think (if I can figure out how to embed a video, I will so you can see it - it's inexplicably moving, as it should just be silly, but it isn't!), and then the fourth graders were welcomed into B'nei Akiva. That was a truly sweet moment, as the ninth graders, on the cusp of joining the official named shvatim, made a tunnel of flags for the youngest members to walk through. It was just like walking through the rows of chayalim at the airport at the Nefesh B'nefesh welcoming, except the flags here were much bigger. Then the fourth grade groups did their dances, which were really well done, especially for such little kids. Kol hakavod to their madrichim! The evening ended with a mifkad of the entire yishuv. Signs indicating each shevet were all around the perimeter of the migrash, and we lined up with our respective age groups. It was a very moving experience, to see so many people who had been involved with B'nei Akiva in their youth in so many countries, now singing together the words of the songs we all knew - Yad Achim, Hatikva, and Ani Ma'amin. And those who were finding their first involvement through their kids, and even those who never learned the words, I am sure it was quite the moment for them as well. I am really grateful to B'nei Akiva for giving me the grounding in Religious Zionism, even if I didn't realize at the time that I was absorbing the values of Torah V'Avodah. Back then, it was just fun and something to do Shabbat afternoon.

The newest shevet received their name, Lehava, and things were set on fire, just because. Then the night came to an end for me and Ariella, but Shana stayed out to collect her new sweatshirts, Dani hung out for a bit with his friends and madrichim, and Ayelet went to a bonfire and barbeque for her shevet, returning home smelling like Lag B'Omer. Now Chodesh Irgun is finally over, in theory the kids can concentrate on learning in school (don't worry, Chanuka vacation is almost here), and I am sure we will have to twist Dani and Ayelet's arms to go to peulot, especially on Shabbat. But it was fun while it lasted.

B'virkat chaverim l'torah v'avodah,
Dvora

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Losing Power

Sometimes, I forget how dependent we are on electricity. But then HKB"H does something to click on the proverbial lightbulb, in this case, a purely metaphorical one. At about 2:39 today, our power went out. At first we thought it was a blown fuse, but quickly discovered it wasn't. Then we headed outside to find something out of a movie - one by one the neighbors emerging to investigate. Despite our suspicions, the outage was not caused by the construction vehicle working down the block. It bacame apparent that the entire yishuv had lost power. Then we found out that Modiin was also in the dark. Knowing that the blackout was widespread and not just our house, street, or yishuv, was oddly comforting. In any case, I was unable to bake - fortunately, the actual cookies were done, and I had only to bake the two types of bars I was making. My laptop was fully charged, so I used the opportunity to address my stack of invitations to the shul dinner. I raced through as quickly as possible, and it went well. I labeled, David and the kids stuffed and sealed, and then the kids sorted by street. But beyond that, the kids were bored; my efforts to convince them that there is lots to do when the power is out fell on deaf ears. "Did the frontier kids complain that they had no electricity and didn't have TV?" "Imma, they didn't know that they were missing, so it didn't matter, but we know!" Ahh, the power of logic. It slowly got darker and darker - for a good chunk of time, it was lighter outdoors than in, even as the sun was setting. At shul, mincha and maariv were davened outside. Finally, after a couple of false starts, the power was restored at around 5:45, and life could go on.

One bit of irony: we forgot to do the one thing we could have accomplished easily without power - have Ariella do her homework! No one thought of it until about 6, shortly after the power had returned, while we were giving the kids dinner, and just before we were supposed to leave for Part 1 of the weekend's B'nei Akiva festivities.

As I have mentioned before, Chodesh Irgun involves a performance by the various shvatim. This year, the performances were split over two nights, Thursday and Saturday, as to lessen the torment, I mean the lateness of the night. Dani and Ayelet's groups both performed admirably. There are no pictures because both dances were mostly in the dark: Dani's with a strobe, and Ayelet's with a black light. We are very proud of all their hard work. A couple of other groups were great, too. The 8th grade boys did a dance with garbage cans - including boys in the cans being wheeled around - and the 5th grade girls did a wedding themed dance. Their costumes were wedding gowns made of white sweatshirts atop a skirt made of paper tablecloth, puffed out by a crinoline made of white supermarket bags. Ingenious and adorable! And the whole evening was over at 8:15! It was a miracle. Of course, none of the big three had school the next day, so that was some serious bitul Torah. Oh well. The rest of the night was spent trying to make up for the hours of work I lost. In any case, the blackout was memorable.

Hoping to keep the lights on,
Dvora

Monday, November 16, 2009

All puffed up

I am feeling good about myself today, culinarily speaking. The day started with Ariella grouchily refusing to get out of bed. Then I told her that I would be walking her to school instead of Dani, since he had mishmarot (crossing guard duty) today. She leaped out of bed, cheered, and ran to wash up. Okay, that was not about food, but it was yummy.

Next, I made a very tasty tomato soup with very ripe fresh tomatoes. I got the thumbs up twice from David, which is high praise in my book. I was a little curious about how it was going to come out, since I had no recipe, just an idea of what I wanted to do and how I wanted it to come out. Fortunately, it really is delicious, and the perfect accompaniment to grilled cheese sandwiches. I had to explain to David the idea of dipping the sandwich into the soup, for the traditional combination. Somehow, he had missed out on that in his childhood. While we did not have homemade tomato soup, at least not to my recollection (feel free to correct me if I am wrong), we enjoyed canned tomato soup on a regular basis. It was really good, or at least it is in my memory. I feel like it is an iconic American comfort food, and even living abroad, I want that flavor memory for myself and my kids. I suppose by kids I mean the older two, as the younger ones won't touch tomato soup. Tomatoes are, if you were unaware, "gwoss." If you are interested, I am including the "recipe" - more like the method, since measuring did not happen.

Dvora's Can-less Tomato Soup

I began by seeding and chopping about a dozen fresh tomatoes. These were regular, possibly Beefsteak, tomatoes. (While I am well aware of the merits of Plum/Roma tomatoes, we just don't see them in the supermarket I frequent here. Back to our regularly scheduled program.) I chopped up two medium/large onions, about four cloves of garlic, and one carrot - chopped very finely. (Since the soup will eventually be pureed, the carrot was just for a little extra sweetness, and a way to sneak in a little more vegetables.) I sauteed the onions in a large pot, using a mixture of olive and canola oils. I added a little salt, and let them sweat a little more. Then I added the carrots and a little sugar and let things soften. I stirred in the chopped garlic, letting it cook just until it was fragrant. A couple of spoonfuls of flour were then added, cooking it, stirring, for a minute or two. (I needed to add a bit more oil to moisten the flour at this point.) I added in a couple of cups of warm water and mixed very well, scraping off the bottom. I poured in the tomatoes, along with whatever liquid had collected in the bowl, about 200 grams of tomato paste, and water to cover plus about an inch . To season, I added salt and pepper, sugar, and frozen chopped basil - two cubes. I could not possibly even approximate quantities of the other seasonings, so you will have to go for "to taste" and forgive me (especially you, Lori!). Start slow, as you can always add more seasoning but taking out is next to impossible. And that was today's wisdom. Let the whole mess simmer for about 45 minutes, until it is all tender. Use a handblender to puree the whole thing, or you can use a food mill and skip the next step. I did not really like the texture at this point - remember, I left the peel on the tomatoes, and did a cursory job of seeding, so there were a lot of "bits" in the soup. So I pulled out a handy dandy sieve and strained the whole darned thing into a large bowl, making sure to use a spatula to push everything through that could go through, and scraping off what was stuck on the outside. Then return the strained soup to the pot, or don't. Up to you. Adjust seasonings to make your taste buds very, very happy.

To serve, you could make yourself a delicious grilled cheese sandwich and dunk away, or sprinkle soup mandlen on top, maybe oyster crackers, anything else you can think of. You can also add a little milk to add some creaminess, cut the acid, and make the soup taste more like how my mom prepared the canned condensed stuff. If you want to fancy things up, you could add a swirl of heavy cream or perhaps a little chiffonade of fresh basil. Above all, ENJOY!


Last braggy item: Got a call last night to order cookies. The customer, also a friend, was telling me how her family enjoys when they order cookies. It's not dessert, she told me, it's an EVENT. One child brings in the platter, another unwraps, another reads the scroll listing the flavors and their descriptions to the family. (Funniest part: No one is allowed to eat any cookies until the table is clear, because apparently, "Dvora said no eating until everything is cleared off." That's her story and she's sticking to it. What power I wield... ) I loved how she described it, and it was exactly how I want everyone who eats Dvora's Cookies Creations to feel - like something special is happening, like it's a real treat, and someone really thoughtful brought/bought this wonderful gift!

So I have now violated my cardinal rule of behavior - don't brag; it's repulsive. Forgive me, I can pretend I am talking to myself when I write. So pretend this was just a ruse to include a recipe and photo that are not cookie related. While I am asking for forgiveness, I apologize for the quality of my photography. It's bad, I know, but learning how to take better photos of food is next year's project.
Contritely,

Dvora

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sunday is the new Monday

I know I have harped on this particular subject, but if there is one thing that olim have a hard time getting used to, it is the lack of Sundays here. You are expected to just leap directly from Shabbat into the work/school week. Ah, if only that were true. Because no matter what you do, we all want to pretend that Motzaei Shabbat is a fun, relaxing evening. We want to make the weekend last just a little longer, and darn the consequences. So we let the kids stay up a little longer, let them watch just a few minutes more of a movie. Sometimes we will head out on a "date." And sometimes, like this week, David will go play basketball in the shul league, despite the fact that he is no longer Teimani. (More on that later.) So here are a few reasons that I no longer hate Mondays, because now the object of my resentment is Yom Rishon, which begins at havdala and ends late Sunday afternoon.

Things I hate about no Sundays*:

1. Making sure that all of the homework is done and signed and that the backpacks are packed.

2. Cleaning up from Shabbat, all the while knowing that the cleaners are coming the next day.

3. Cleaning up for the cleaners, knowing that they are going to be here SOON!

4. Knowing that a desperately needed Shabbat nap will cause great suffering on Sunday morning, thanks to the need to get a normal night's sleep on Saturday night. Allow me to remind you of the unfortunate equation: Afternoon nap = not tired Saturday night = going to sleep too late = waking up tired and grouchy Sunday morning = bad start to the week = bad week. And all from taking one little, much-needed, well-deserved nap.

5. Knowing that Sunday is almost always necessarily a laundry day, and I hate laundry more than I hate Sundays. What an unfortunate confluence of events.

6. The kids' heads are not entirely in school mode on Sunday morning. This results in grouchy waking, forgotten lunches, or today's special, Dani waking up and suddenly realizing that he had mishmeret Zahav (crossing guard) duty. This means (a) he needs to leave the house 20 minutes earlier than normal and (b) Ariella needs to be walked to school. None of this is problematic with proper preparation, but becomes sticky when discovered at 7:10 in the morning.

7. Sunday is unbelievably busy, what with swimming, math, tutoring, carpools, art... and the week is just beginning!

*Now technically, yes, I know we do have a Sunday. But I prefer to think of it as Yom Rishon, or sunday without a capital "S", because it is not the day that is enjoyed in the old country, with a shortened school day if there is one at all (can't say short when I live in a place where 2:30 is considered an extended day in elementary school!), a chance to stay in pajamas for a while, and a general sense of relaxation. There is rarely a general sense of relaxation here, which makes sense, considering where we are and who our neighbors are. Which is not to say that people are not relaxed here, because we are. It's just that on an existential level, we never back down from a state of heightened vigilance. But on the day to day, apart from checking the headlines far more often than most chutznikim I know, we live like regular folk, just cooler.

So on that note, I wish you all a wonderful week. This is the closing week of Chodesh Irgun, so I expect to see even less of my middle children than I did last week, for better or worse. There will be much paint, much dancing, possibly some mud, and little sleep. Should be interesting.

Shavua tov,
Dvora

Friday, November 13, 2009

Keeping kosher in Israel

In theory, keeping kosher in Israel should be easy. This is the Jewish state, where the religious establishment wields some degree of power. Many laws that protect the kosher consumer, and many stores are certified by one kosher supervision organization or another, many of which are official state-run institutions. It takes some real work to find a supermarket that is literally not kosher; one chain, "Tiv Ta'am," carries pork and shellfish, but there is only one such store in our area. All the other supermarkets - and there are a large number - are under kosher certification. But the "regular kashrut" level is not acceptable to everyone, and there are many gradations. I have several customers who need a higher level of kashrut, either for themselves or for guests or extended family members. In America, that can translate to eating only the "heimish," or strictly kosher brands, with names like Gefen, Mishpacha, Liebers, or Manischewitz. (Won't even begin to contemplate the level of quality these families encounter in their gastronomic pursuits. No wonder cholent is a favorite kosher food!)

Most of the time here in Israel, that means that all the ingredients have to be Bada"tz or OU supervised, which covers about 97% of my ingredients (where that particular number came from, I don't know, but it sounds about right). But this week, a customer who is making a bar mitzvah needed to feed guests who most likely would not accept the OU, so all of the ingredients had to be Bada"tz. That was quite the challenge - anything that contained molasses or corn syrup was out, as were any exotic flavor extracts, as I didn't have the inferior super-kosher varieties on hand. Also did not have much in the way of mehadrin fruit, except for lemons, so my first flavor was glazed lemon cookies. Then I made coffee and cream brownies, sugar cookie ganache sandwiches, chocolate pecan fingers, and cherry oatmeal crumble bars.
I also had a cool thing happen this week - and it's all thanks to Facebook, so shout-out to the world's number one social networking website. And a little shout-out to David, who calls it Tushbook and will have no part of it. Someday he will join the rest of us in the 21st century. On Wednesday, I received a call from a woman who lives in the southern part of the country. She and I share mutual friends on FB, so she had seen my page ("Dvora's Cookie Creations" if you have not yet seen it! And you can even see it if you are, like David, not a member - just google us and it will lead you right to the page.) and always wanted to try the cookies for herself. Since she was going to be in the area on Thursday, she was wondering if she could pick up an order then. And who am I to disappoint a devoted fan?! It was great to meet her; in fact, we definitely recognized each other from college, so it just goes to show you how completely small the Jewish world is.
In any case, she got a a slightly different assortment, which went unphotographed - in place of the cherry oatmeal crumble bars, she received red velvet sandwiches - which my children wanted more of, so that was good - and ginger crinkles, which I tried rolling in demerara sugar instead of plain old granulated. It gave a slightly stronger molasses flavor, and a whole different kind of crunch. I wanted to make sure her platter had a special look. I find the more round cookies, the more impressed the customer. In any case, I hope she and her family enjoyed! So check it out, the Cookie Creations have now gone national. Next up, the world (cue evil laugh...).
Until next time, same bat time, same bat station
Dvora

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Homecoming

Lest you think I have fallen off the face of the earth, here I am to reassure you. I survived the ridiculous week, and David made it home in one piece. He arrived Thursday morning, lugging two ginormous duffel bags, which he had purchased at Amazing Savings. Sigh. Anyway, he needed the new bags because our old ones had really had it, and because he was bringing home a lot of stuff - mostly clothes for all of us, because, as you must know, children who live in Israel who do not have the opportunity to shop in America must go naked. It's really a shame. No, no, I am not being sarcastic. But, anyway, on the few trips David does take, we like to take advantage of the awesome online sales and stock up a little. Ayelet was the most in need, as her shoe size does not really exist in Israel in women's shoes. She definitely needed an import, or she really would be barefoot or wearing men's shoes, and there is truly not a hint of sarcasm in what I say. And that was not sarcastic either. Hope you can tell the difference. I am so much more straightforward with audio.

Because the rest of the week preceding David's return was so wacky, I had not had a chance to do any baking, or even much prep work. On Wednesday night, I went to an open house at one of the schools we are considering for Dani. I was impressed, and happy that I went, but also tired from getting home late. On Thursday morning I had to run to the paper goods store that I frequent for business needs, to get a particular item for one of the week's orders. Orders this week were also late in coming, so the quiet week I thought I was going to have turned into a very busy and pressured Thursday. It all worked out okay in the end, but it was a little hairy there for a moment.

One thing I did discover from being up late Thursday was that Ariella was coughing. A lot. Continuously. So really, it was no surprise when she woke up at 6:15 and came down to the kitchen (where I was already at work putting platters together) and announced that her throat and stomach hurt. She was really rather jolly, until about 2 p.m., when she started burning up with fever. Motrin did the trick, but only briefly, and then she was burning up again, well short of the time for another dose. When Shabbat started, she still seemed okay, though warm, but well enough to eat two bowls of chicken soup and her favorite "matzah balls." (Don't know where she got that from, unless it was Chanuka on Planet Matzah Ball, because we always call them knaidlach!) We had a nice time at dinner, which included Shana's friends Michal and Netanya, who joined us for Shabbat all the way from Beit Shemesh. Hopefully, we only embarrassed Shana an acceptable amount. In any case, we would have had a good night's sleep, except for the return of the matzah balls, at about 2 in the morning. Nothing more fun than cleaning up vomit on a Friday night. We then tried to give Lola some more Motrin, which also made a return appearance, about two minutes later. Fortunately, that was all the barfing that took place that night.

On Shabbat morning, David went with the kids to Josh and Ariel's, where we were potlucking with them and Seth and Lori. It was a very full house - Ariel had three Michlala girls and we had Shana's two friends, although Lori's son Dov was in yeshiva, we were still an extra four. But without me and Lola, I am sure it was much quieter and more boring. Ha.

Ariella continued to run a high fever throughout Shabbat. We took her to the doctor Sunday morning. He ruled out strep immediately (and that's why I am lacking the medical license, because that was my first thought), and thought her lungs were a little funky, but not too bad. We made an appointment for a follow-up the next morning. By the time we came back on Monday, her lungs were clear, her fever was gone, and her desire to do homework had vanished completely. Thank God she is back in school, and everyone else seems to be healthy, pupupu, if a little tired from lots of tests (just Shana and Ayelet, let's be honest; Dani is not the king of homework) and Chodesh Irgun activities.

So, this week's cookies. One of the platters was for a Shalom Zachar in Modiin, from a family member who had visited the yishuv over the summer and had been gifted with cookies.

It featured chocolate caramel teddy bears, and blue and white cookies, to honor the "zachar," and the week's flavors: chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookies, cranberry-ginger-pecan cookies, mint brownies, blueberry bars, red velvet sandwiches, and linzer cookies.

Here are a few cookies ready for their close-ups:

Red velvet sandwiches - the classic cupcake/cake in a cookie, filled with tangy cinnamon buttercream.Cranberry-ginger-pecan cookies, featuring two kinds of ginger and a white chocolate drizzleBlue and whites - really cute and yummy.

And that was the week that was. Stay tuned for more, as we are already into the new week's baking!

Dvora

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Too much thinking

Can you tell from my last post that I am not getting a lot of sleep this week? This one will be a lot more down to earth. So here is a short summary of my misadventures thus far this week:
1. Ariella accidentally spilled hot cocoa on my laptop, causing the mousepad to short out and go crazy. Fortunately, it seems to have recovered/dried out overnight.
2. She followed that up by pouring half a bottle of sweet and sour sauce on her dinner plate last night, after hearing me tell her that she was not allowed to pour it herself. Then I stood up to get something, and that, as they say, is the rest of the story. Suffice it to say, she went to bed at 6:40 last night.
2. Our instahot seems to have died during the night. Not the first time this has happened, but a yicky way to start the day - making a cup of coffee, only to discover its utter coldness. We are hoping for a repeat performance of t'chiyat hameitim in a couple of weeks.
3. Tried to leave for the supermarket, only to discover that I could not lock the door. After a major league panic - my husband is not here, and I can not lock the door, so I can not leave the house for two days!!! - I finally figured out that the bottom hinge was coming apart, and was lucky that Binyamin, local hero, took my call and was here to solve the problem within minutes. Also lucky that he now knows me as "Dvora, ishto shel hagabbai David." - Dvora, David the gabbai's wife. Unlucky - I could not fulfil his wish to become a Cohen.
4. Discovered water leaking through the wall in David's office. I cleaned up and let him know - apparently, this is a problem that he thought was fixed. Guess you can't actually know unless it rains, which it had barely done for a long time.
5. According to the Water Authority, the Kinneret is up 7 centimeters since the 29th of October. Chasdei Hashem, indeed!! Okay, not a misadventure, but the water is making life a little topsy turvy, and definitely worth a mention. Still, yay for rain!
6. Joined the masses of parents who were surprised by the cold weather and did not have long sleeve uniform shirts for the kids. Made a quick trip to Cabesa, got shirts for both Lola and Dani, watched the logos get ironed on, dropped Lola at gymnastics and Dani at a friend, and was home in under 25 minutes.
7. The girls all wore rain boots today, and Shana even wore a winter coat today. Rest assured they will be in sandals by Shabbat.
8. Trying a new baking recipe today - I am sure it will bomb. But why not try?
9. I am hoping for psychic powers to convince the laundry to fold itself. So far, no luck, but several candles have spontaneously lit themselves. Yeah, yeah, just joking.

Hoping for a more boring day tomorrow.

Dvora

Monday, November 2, 2009

Stream of consciousness

So many thoughts rattling around in my head - where to begin?

First, it's raining again - hurray! No really, we are very happy. I did end up driving Dani and Ariella to schoool today because of the pouring rain that began to pound about 30 seconds before they were to leave for school. Luckily, Shana and Ayelet had already boarded their bus and did not get soaked. Also lucky, I did not have to get out of the car, so no one noticed that I was wearing pajamas with a skirt and rain jacket thrown on top. Ariella was very disappointed when she got home, because not a drop fell in the ten minutes it takes them to walk home. She was desperate to use her umbrella. I promised her that as soon as it started raining, she could go outside with her boots and umbrella. And that is exactly what she did - as soon as it started to rain, she went out and marched/danced up and down the path from the front of the house to the back, having a grand old time until the lightning and thunder started, at which time she came inside, we made some brachot, and everyone was happy. Sadly for us, we missed the beautiful rainbow that graced the sky briefly this afternoon, as it was not easily visible from our house.

Next on my mind, where is autumn? We literally go directly from summer to winter. Can't figure out why some people in Israel name their child "Stav." Perhaps they should try "unicorn" or "mermaid" or some other mythical creature....


My sister Adina forwarded me, along with my sisters and parents, an article from the New York Times by Jonathan Safran Foer, adapted from his upcoming book, Eating Animals. Thankfully, it is a little less self-indulgent, at least in style if not substance, than his novels. He talks about his grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, and how she loved to feed her grandchildren. His grandmother was very much like our Bubby Sara, who also never sat down at the table, because she was too busy making sure everyone else had enough to eat. Making sure others were well fed was an expression of love, and a little bit of revenge. Hearing about his grandmother made me think of mine. That much of the piece made me smile. The rest just made me mad.

At the end of the article, Foer recounts how his grandmother would tell him about her experiences running and hiding during the war, while he would eat. At the end of the war, she says, she was so starved and emaciated that she feared she would not live. A generous farmer brought her a piece of meat, but she would not eat it, because it was pork. Even to save her own life, she would not eat something that was not kosher, because "If nothing matters, there's nothing to save." I can not quite wrap my mind around the fact that Foer uses this as part of his rationale for being a vegetarian. The same guy who says he loves calamari, but won't eat it because of his elevated moral code - a code of his own making. Not to sound corny, but the Torah is my guide. Sure, there are gradations: different people keep mitzvot differently, and that's all okay as long as it is within the bounds of halacha. There is black, there is white, and, yes, there are shades of grey. You can go above and beyond, and more power to those who can do that. But there are also red lines, lines which can not be crossed, because if they are, perhaps there really is nothing to save. To stray so far from what is permissible, and to claim superiority? Just annoying. I keep the mitzvot to the best of my ability, and I trust those who came before me, the scholars, the heroes and heroines of our history. We stand on their shoulders, and we are so much smaller. Striving to come close to them makes us who we are and who we can be. It is a challenge to accept that there is much that is bigger than you in this world, and yet still love and appreciate that fact - to feel small and empowered at the same time.

I guess I can just be grateful to my grandparents, both my mother's parents, who were Holocaust survivors, and my father's parents, who grew up in America, at a time when maintaining Torah Judaism was a tremendous challenge (which is not to say it has become easier in the most essential of ways). They all made decisions to believe and observe, and that's the road I follow. It links me to them, to my history, and to my people. I often say that I can't imagine what life would be like without religious observance - but the bottom line is, I do not want to know. I know my life is richer and happier for it. It matters - our lives matter. I would not give that up, and I wouldn't change a thing. I am sad for those who don't have that feeling. Part of that richness is certainly living here, in our land, and part is what led to being here. I am truly lucky - but then, we don't believe in luck, do we?

Contemplatively,
Dvora

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fifty nifty

Wow - don't know how it happened, but this blog now has fifty posts on it! Guess I like seeing my own words in print. So this is post number 51 - keyn yirbu. To all my loyal readers who have not identified yourselves - Hi! Love having you here, and would love even more to hear from you. If you do not want to be listed as a follower (as we can't really figure out what the advantage is, besides having your picture show up on the page), leave a comment and say hi!

The rain has finally showed itself. Friday was a day that should have been erev Parashat Noach - it was that rainy. I foolishly left for the bakery and makolet just as the rain was starting, thinking that it would subside quickly, and knowing it was the only availble time for me that day. The mabul started before I even made it inside. By the time I was done with my errands, the water was absolutely gushing down the street, about three inches high by the curb. I was soaked from the ankle down. Then I decided that it was close enough to dismissal at the elementary school that I should do something I swore never to do - drive to school to pick up Dani and Lola. I was literally afraid that they (read:Ariella) would get hurt walking home in the pouring rain and crossing the flooded streets. Suffice it to say, it was an adventure that left me soaking wet anywhere my jacket wasn't. And it took about 25 minutes to get home, because of all the traffic at the school, which is at most a three minute ride on a regular day. Next time, we make a better plan.

Preparations for Shabbat were very delayed this week, especially since I had less help than usual, and lost a lot of time from running out in the rain. But Shabbat arrived, so we had to be ready. Dinner was a quick affair. Ariella slept in David's bed - her big Shabbat treat when Abba is away - which usually causes her to sleep later in the morning. But not this Shabbat - this week, she woke up at 6:30, and proceeded to update me as to the time. "Imma, it's 6:32. Imma, it's 6:34. Imma, now the clock says 6:37." No matter what I said, she would not stop, nor could I get her to leave. Aaaarghh!

Shul was quiet, despite the absence of most of the gabbaim. The lone hold-out, Naftali, looked wasted at the end of shul, but was very gracious about all of his colleagues who abandoned him. We went to Yocheved's for lunch, where we had a very good time. By the time I got home, there was not a lot left of Shabbat. Now we are settling in for the night, and looking forward to a good week.

I added a few new flavors to the menu this week. Lemon glazed ginger crisps - thin, crisp sugar cookies full of lots of candied ginger, with a tart lemon glaze drizzled on top. The two flavors, the heat of the ginger and the cool of the lemon, meld together really well.Next is chocolate cream sandwich cookies: chocolate cookies with a hint of almond, glazed with a sprinkling of sugar, filled with a whipped chocolate ganache.

Finally, oatmeal cookies with dried cherries - chewy and yummy, a step above oatmeal raisin! A store nearby finally started pitting their dried cherries, and they are so delicious.

And that is the tale - not much else to tell.

Shavua tov!

Dvora

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Storm watch

Despite my resemblance (or hopefully lack thereof) to Al Roker, I am not an expert on the weather, even though my children think I am. Every morning, they ask what the forecast for the day is. Let's be candid: for about 6 months, the answer is HOT. Yes, you should wear short sleeves, sweetie, whether it's 95, 90, or a mere 80 degrees. But the sky is grey today, and precipitation is threatening. Temperatures are supposed to drop perceptibly - still not New Jersey weather, but a drop for those of us still in sandals. In fact, one of the newspapers is prophesying that winter will start with a bang - and a storm - today. We began mentioning rain in our daily tefilot on Shmini Atzeret, and on Motzaei Shabbat, we starting asking for it in earnest. (For those in Chu"l who don't know, in Israel we start saying "V'ten tal u'matar l'vracha" on the 7th day of Cheshvan, which would have been enough time for people from far reaches to get home from Aliyah l'regel. I am unsure - not remembering what I learned - as to the reason December 4 was chosen as the date for saying it out of Israel. I mean, you daven for rain in God's country, not elsewhere, right? I even attended a shiur about tefillat geshem last year, and the teacher, a born and bred Israeli, was unaware that the dates were different outside of the Land.) We could definitely use the rain; the reservoirs are desperately low. Even with a rainy year, scientists say we are in deep trouble. There is nothing like the connection between man and nature that exists in Israel to make you feel small and dependent on Hashem. Guess that is the point.

So I am scurrying to find everything that the kids will need for Shabbat, and hoping for the rain to come - rain that will be a bracha. That's the trick, after all; getting what you want in the way you actually need it. Guess I will run my errands quickly, so I can get home before the chance of getting all wet increases. We can hope for everything, can't we?

Dvora

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Supermarket Stats

Going to our local Rami Levy supermarket is a two man job: David hits the chicken counter and runs hither and yon, collecting the items on the list, while I do the produce collection and walk the aisles, looking for things I forgot to put on the list. Then I unload the cart while he bags the groceries, and finally, he pushes the cart, which I am sure I have mentioned refuses to go in a straight line.

Today, I am on my own. So here's how the trip went:

Reasonably good spot in the parking lot: Good
Relatively few shoppers in the store due to the time of day: Very good
Power failing repeatedly during the shopping trip: Bad
Headache from searching for groceries in low lighting: Bad
Carrying all the groceries in from the car by myself: Middling
Ariella helping me put away the groceries in the house: Undecided
Not having to do this again until at least Sunday: Priceless

And that's the rant for today. No cookies, though I am now heading to make some cookie dough after I finish dinner clean up. Wow, I live in the fast lane.

Dvora

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Down for the Count

Remember when you were a kid, and you got a 24 hour stomach bug? Somehow, magically, at the end of 24 hours, you felt all better, like none of it had ever happened. Doesn't quite work that way for adults, I have discovered. On Tuesday morning, I was the proud winner of a case of the stomach flu. I will spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say, whether or not the symptoms are over in 24 hours (they nearly were, yay!), you do NOT feel like getting up and dancing the hora. Or sitting up for an extended period of time. Or pretty much anything. In fact, leaving my room was not an option for about 30 some hours. It was not exactly the lazing in bed we always dream of. And in proof that misery is indifferent about company, I learned that several of my friends had this virus, too. The knowledge didn't make me feel better then or now, except to know that it was indeed a virus and not food poisoning.

Anyhow, it is now almost two weeks since my last post. I was looking at a couple of blogs that I follow, and was wondering why they had not been updated, when I suddenly realized I was doing the same. SORRY! So here goes.
Shabbat Parashat Bereishit, as I mentioned quite a while ago, was Elisha's bar mitzvah. He did an outstanding job on the laining, despite an intense case of nerves on Friday. The family had a large number of family members visiting for Shabbat, which was so nice, and I was honored to provide the desserts for their meals. Lori picked out ten flavors, which I divided into two lists, along the lines of appearance, color, and, most of all, flavor - one for dinner, and one for lunch.

Dinner:
Whoopie pies
Ginger crinkles
Chocolate chip cookies
Mexican brownies
Linzer cookies

Lunch:
Sugar cookie ganache sandwiches
Molasses cream sandwiches
Glazed lemon cookies
Chocolate crinkles
Banana chocolate chip loaf

Each type of cookie was laid out on an individual square orange dish - six cookies per plate - and then the five different flavors were set onto each table. It looked really cute, and I got lots of great feedback from the guests - they were all so nice, and it was great to get to know some of Lori and Seth's family. Here are some photos of some of the flavors and platters before delivery.





The orange is very fun and lively and worked perfectly with their color scheme. And it's a good thing, because I was told that not a crumb was left, so you want the plates to be cute if they are going to sit empty...

The other platters for the week looked something (not all identical - it was kind of a mix and match) like this:

Sunday night was the party for Elisha. It was a beautiful event at Neot Kedumim, a nearby Biblical nature preserve with a really cool hall - it is very rustic looking, with tent like blankets covering the ceilings. We danced very late into the night. Dani, attending his first bar mitzvah, had a great but very tiring time. David got a shout out in the bar mitzvah boy's speech - for translating his words into Hebrew, and for being his buddy. It was adorable.

Monday was recovery day - ha, ha, little did I know. The next two days are a total loss, so let's gloss over to Thursday, when Yosef and Binyamin, twin brothers and David's bar mitzvah students, celebrated their bar mitzvahs. They both lained at the shul, one laining and the other getting an aliyah at each of two minyanim. And then they (and we) partied on Thursday night, at a very fun celebration at S'dot HaAretz, near Beit Shemesh. The theme was, as you could guess, Noach, and they used the twin thing and the theme to great effect. We even brought home very cute souvenir photos of ourselves.

This Shabbat was a sad first - it was the first time since beginning Dvora's Cookie Creations that I had to turn down orders. I was just too sick to do a good job, and likely too germ-ridden as well. Let's hope this does not negatively impact the future. I guess there are just pros and cons of running what is essentially a one-woman show.

Because I had to bake something, especially as we were having guests for dinner, and it was Parashat Noach, so I made rainbow frosted cupcakes.

This was a frosting technique I had seen, and thought looked straight-forward enough, but never had the chance to employ. This is all a part of my grand scheme to have parasha-related foods every Shabbat - mostly desserts, of course - that has so far never made it many weeks into the year. I have a great many ideas for Parashat Noach, but somehow, something happens every year to make it difficult to do everything. But this idea worked, and was certainly cute.

Dinner was fun, with a family of new olim - the wife, Rahel, and I are old friends from Midreshet Moriah, but had not been in touch for quite a while. It has been really nice to reconnect. Then we went over to Shoshana and Steven's for their annual aliyah anniversary oneg. This year marks 12 years. Mazal tov! We had a good time, headed home, and collapsed.

Yosef and Binyamin did a good job of laining, though Binyamin had lost most of his voice and Yosef had also partied a little too hard. After shul was a lovely kiddush, and then we were invited to join the family and out of town friends for lunch. It was a good time. Suzanne, the boys' mom, has a wonderful eye for detail and a lot of creativity, so everything was great, from the centerpieces to the colors of the linens. Ariella went home with Rachel after lunch - she loves playing with older friends (one year in this case) and did not come home until havdala time, whereupon she wanted, but was refused, a movie night. Another time, girls!

On Motzaei Shabbat, Dani and Ayelet attended the opening of B'nei Akiva's Chodesh Irgun, which combines the ethos of Torah V'Avodah with a love for setting things on fire and brainwashing style sleep-deprivation. I keep reminding myself that this is an important part of integrating into Israeli society, and Hashem will watch over them. And at worst, they learn the love for wearing hokey shirts with shoelaces to close them. Just remember, we did not move here for the education, or the fashion... David and I went out to the mall for a bite to eat and a little alone time. We sat in Cafe Hillel, enjoyed cappucinos and a sandwich (David) and pasta (me), and were mostly just happy to be together.

And now we seem to have caught up. David is preparing for a trip Stateside, so he has been strengthening his upper body to deal with carrying the very heavy suitcases he must return with. No, not really. But even Ariella is looking forward to this trip ("So I can sleep in Abba's bed on Shabbat and he can bwing me fings fwom Amewica!!!"), as it has been a looong time since his last trip. I do not enjoy the single parent time, but it is certainly manageable, and I do like helping him unpack!

A wonderful sweet week to all,

Dvora

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Resuming routine?

It would be nice to say that everyone and everything is getting back to normal. But let's be honest, what exactly is normal? The kids are back in school; that's a good thing. We are entering another round of simcha-palooza, which will keep us out a few nights this week. Dani had two, count 'em, two peulot from B'nei Akiva that kept him out much later than we would have liked. (Apropos of nothing else, hearing Ariella pronounce "B'nei Akiva" in her little naturally Israeli way absolutely makes the heart sing.) I still can not wrap my mind around Shana's school schedule. Not only is it still in flux, but my brain keeps tricking me into remembering timing from last year! Ayelet is away on her tiyul shnati, which takes on the same pattern every year: she starts out panicking because her stomach hurts, gets over it, has a great time (yay!), and then comes home beyond exhausted and cannot hold it together. Well, maybe this year will be a deviation from the norm. And normal is not a term that can extend to the weather, either. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that "autumn" does not really exist here - no foliage tours to see the changing colors, no "sweater weather" this time of year. My older girls have ordered both sandals and boots online. They may need both within a short time span. There is rarely an in-between. So, instead, we are expecting a sharav - a heat wave - for a number of days. While NJ is expecting temperatures in the 40's and a noreaster, we are preparing for the 90's and praying for rain, in the most literal of senses.

Baking this week is extra fun for me - in addition to regular orders, I am making dessert for our friends' Lori and Seth's son Elisha's bar mitzvah Shabbat. I plan to platter a little differently for them, to add eye appeal on the tables. Hope it will work... I am making ten flavors, Lori's favorites, and I know some of Elisha's too. I will photograph a sample layout, b'li neder, as these Shabbat events never allow me the opportunity for on the spot pictures. And now it's back to the oven.

Dvora

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Credit where it's due

I can't believe that I am at this point in my life, but my two oldest girls have become real help in the kitchen. This erev chag, Shana and Ayelet both rolled stuffed cabbage, Ayelet made carrot kugel, knaidlach, and roasted potatoes, and Shana washed the lettuce, made salad dressing and popcorn cauliflower, and plattered all the cookies. They also did a bunch of vegetable prep, despite not loving it. I don't think we would have made it to yom tov without them. Can't believe I am saying this either, but I will be sad when they go off to school this Friday morning. The girls are both quite entertained (and made not a little incredulous) by the fact that I told them that I knew very little about cooking and baking when we first got married. They should definitely have a leg up. I do also have to give credit to my friends who follow recipes for cooking - without you, my girls would not have a plan to follow, and they would just be asking questions that I could not answer well. I have taught them the beauty of the "eyeball," but it just ain't that easy. They are getting there, though...

Also, thank you to Dani for walking Ariella to and from school every day. It makes our lives much less complicated, and he is becoming quite the responsible big brother.

I should thank Lola for wanting to help more than anyone else. When she was home sick a couple of weeks ago, she was by far the best grocery unpacker in the family. She also constantly volunteers to wash dishes and fold laundry (I have clearly done something wrong as a parent to warp her this way!). Sometimes she can even actually do these things. A challenge for me a s a person who just wants things done quickly and right, but I try not to squash her.

Thanks, y'all.

Dvora

Chol HaMoed, continued

And so Chol HaMoed continued on, lots of quality family time, lots of fun. No really, for the most part, I do mean that sincerely. On Wednesday, we headed to the Table to Table "gleaning." Table to Table is a food rescue organization that runs a number of programs to feed the needy. The one we attended, Project Leket, involved going to a kibbutz near Rechovot and picking fruits and vegetables from fields specially designated for this purpose. We spent a couple of hours picking butternut squash and had a surprisingly good time doing it. All the kids got really involved, and were extra happy because a number of families we are friends with were there, too. In fact, it kind of felt like most of the Anglo Olim population was there, or at least anyone who came in the last ten years. We saw old friends and acquaintances we had not seen for months or even years. And the kids had a good time with their friends, and we were even doing a mitzvah. Of course, after we finished picking, we headed up to the fun part of "Family Fun Day." A sukkah was set up, along with vendors selling food. There was a ginormous screen showing the Ice Age movies, which caught the attention of many a child. Ayelet wanted to know if we could buy one of those for the house... There were also inflatables (mitnapchim) that Dani and Lola had a great time on. After a few hours of fun, we headed for home. On the way out, we were gifted with t-shirts from Table to Table. Awesome!

After we ordered in Burgers Bar and enjoyed a healthy dinner, David and I headed to Yerushalayim to my cousin Viggy's home for a cousins get-together for our Bubby's yahrzeit. It was great to see Viggy and his wife, Chaily; we had not met her before, as they just got married a few months ago in the States. She is very sweet and we hope they will come here for a visit one of these days. Two other cousins, Sara Malka along with her husband Dovid, and Estie, were visiting, so it was great to see the cousins we had not seen in such a long time. My sister Aviva was there too, though she did not bring her baby, who I was hoping to see. I totally get that as a mom, but as an aunt I am a little sad. Cousins Shmuel and Brenda, who live down the block, rounded out the group, along with all of their kids. It was a fun evening, and Dovid gave a nice d'var Torah that incorporated what he had learned about our grandparents. I have once again been negligent in taking photos of cookies, as we brought two platters of lots of flavors, that seem to have been gobbled up, thank goodness. You don't want to short change relatives on the cookies!

Thursday was another Yerushalayim day. We parked in town and walked to the Kotel. It was crowded in the Rova, but not crazy packed. We davened mincha, got some refreshments, and then hiked back to the car to head to Har Nof for a late lunch in Saba and Savta's sukkah. The Katsmans were there too, and fun was had by all, except perhaps by the downstairs neighbor who had all the kids playing on her head. Makes me glad not live in an apartment building, where the delineation between indoor and outdoor is a little blurry. Here, it is nothing outdoors from 2-4, no questions asked.

Friday was get ready for chag day, and then it was Simchat Torah. Reports to follow...

Dvora

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Moadim l'Simcha

If one day of chag instead of two is not enough to convince you, how about an extra day of Chol HaMoed? Can you say "Vay-cay-shun!"? On Sunday, we joined together with Ariel and Josh (credit with the idea!) and Lori and Seth and headed to Gan HaShlosha/Sachne, a national park up near Beit Shean. It was a beautiful day, perfect for swimming in the warm spring water and barbqueing. Lucky for us, the whole country did not have the same idea. We made great time on the way there, and found a perfect spot in the shade. The kids had a great time in the water, and especially with the Blacher's inflatable boat. The boys and girls group took turns using it. We were impressed with Josh and David's grilling abilities - sorry, mangal abilities. It was just a beautiful day in a beautiful spot, and a good time was had by all. The traffic on the way home was a little heavy, so we went a different way, basically driving parallel to the Jordanian border and then crossing through the country. I was nervous about the route, but it was fine. We drove kind of high into the mountains, and had an amazing view of the towns far below. We could also see the lights of Jordan very clearly. What stuck out, though, was the length of the stretches where there was nothing. It is amazing in a country this small, how there can be so many areas that are "the middle of nowhere." We arrived home exhausted, but happy.

On Monday we took the kids to Machane Yehuda. While some people frequent it for regular shopping, we have not been there since 2000. We had a fun time, bought lots of goodies, and generally felt very Israeli. We did not, however, buy a still gasping fish out of water. We walked into town for lunch, and then headed home.

Today, Tuesday, was arts and crafts day. I took the kids to the creamics painting place in nearby K'far Rut, and we all enjoyed maing projects. Here's hoping they all come out in the end. Later David and I took Dani and Lola with us to Rami Levy, and had a relatively smooth shopping experience. We later barbequed in the sukkah, and now we will see where the rest of the week takes us.

Moadim l'simcha to all!

Dvora

V'Samachta b'chagecha

One day of chag. If anyone wants a compelling reason for making aliyah, here is one. One day of chag. Not two, and absolutely not three. (To be completely forthcoming, Rosh Hashana is two days, and can become three, and other chagim can become two, but that is the exception, rather than the rule. I knew I was a vatika - old-timer - when the thought of two day Rosh Hashana was exhausting and not old hat.) There is very little yom tov fatigue; that is, being tired of chag before it even starts, dreading the second day before the first even begins. You can enjoy it while it lasts, and then you blink, and it's over. Our chag was really nice. Getting ready was a little hairy, as this was the first early Shabbat since changing the clock. But all the cookies were baked and distributed, and the food was ready with plenty of time. We had Tamar and Jeremy over for dinner. The kids were all very excited about sukkah hopping - the younger set, anyway - and the visitors started to arrive before we were finished eating. Ariella went with Avital and her parents around the neighborhood, and didn't return for nearly an hour and a half, well and truly sugared up and totally happy. Dani and Ayelet each went out with friends, and Shana hung out in our sukkah with some of her friends. David and I headed to Elliot and Leiah's for an oneg in honor of their fifth son, Hillel's, bar mitzvah. It was a fun evening, and it is always nice to chat with friends in the beautiful weather, and to make a bracha and enjoy some treats in someone else's sukkah. Mazal tov to Hillel and the whole family!

Shul on Shabbat/Sukkot morning was packed, and a lengthy davening. Still, as I always say, we finished before 11:30, which is better than many American shuls on a regular Shabbat. We went out to lunch to an "old-time" family in the yishuv - they are among the first 70 families, who each have a number to designate their arrival. The wife, Leeba, was my babysitter back in Silver Spring when I was in about first grade, and David has been working with the husband, Joel, on shul stuff. We had a very nice time, and were even able to squeeze in a nap, despite the early ending of Shabbat.

On Motzaei Shabbat, I had to put together an order for a Sunday evening party - Arica and Lisa's mom and dad are both celebrating their sixtieth birthdays this year, and since all of their daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren are together, they were celebrating now. They got a cookie platter and a birthday cake. Hope they all enjoyed, not just the goodies but being together. Mazal tov, ad meah v'esrim.

Next up, chol hamoed fun...

Dvora

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Now, where were we?

We seem to have gone astray in the ongoing adventures of Dvora's Cookie Creations. When last we met, we were finishing up with Rosh Hashana. The remainder of the Aseret Y'mai Teshuva went rather quickly. Shana and Ayelet finished up with school - they are off from Friday before Shabbat Shuva until after Isru Chag of Sukkot. That's a lot of time off, ostensibly to help. I am going to be taking then up on that... Ariella was out sick from school for two days, with a cough and congestion. Baruch Hashem, she did not have fever, so we got the "all clear of swine flu" note from the doctor, and she was able to return to school on Friday. The week's cookies, plus cookies that went to Efrat in honor of the new nephew, somehow were done and the food for Shabbat got cooked. We had a "quiet Shabbos," as Dani likes to call it. Our friends Laura and Danny made a beautiful kiddush on Shabbat day, a seudat hodaya in celebration of two years since Danny survived a pulmonary embolism. Laura said that it took this long for Danny to really internalize what had happened. The kiddush was catered, beautifully, and there were throngs of friends enjoying the weather and the company. Here's to many more years of good health and happiness to Danny, to Laura, and to all of us. While I do enjoy a nice kiddush, I must say that this is the second near-death experience kiddush we have attended in a matter of weeks. Let's all stay safe, shall we, and do kiddushes for fun things...

The rest of Shabbat went quickly, and before we knew it, it was Sunday and time for the Seudah Mafseket. Yom Kippur went well for everyone - hope Hashem thinks so, too - and then it was over. Tuesday morning was our new nephew's brit, and that brings us to today.

Reports on last week's cookies, including Shalom Zachar cookies, will follow in another post.

Dvora

A blessing on your head, mazal tov.

Our families have recently been blessed with new arrivals. Shortly before Rosh Hashana, Adina and Tzedek had a little girl, named Sarah Hadar. Sarah was our Bubby's name, though the baby is being called Hadar, or Dari for short. Last week, Pinny and Claire had a little boy, and today we celebrated his brit. His name is Nadav Simcha, with his second name for Claire's grandfather. May all the parents and the entire extended family have lots of nachat from these two additions, and may they be a credit to their namesakes. Mazal tov!

The times, they are a-changin'

Actually, it is the clock that was a-changed, just in time for Yom Kippur. Chalk this up to yet another advantage to living in the Holy Land; the clock is changed just before Yom Kippur, so the fast starts earlier and ENDS EARLIER. We were finished just a few minutes after six. Awesome! Made havdalah, broke our fast, put up the sukkah (my sukkah is a metaphor - two things at once; it is a sukkah, it is a pergola, and in fact it takes about five minutes to make it into a kosher sukkah), and move on to the new year. The kids made it through the tzom with flying colors. Dani seems to be a very able faster, and he is still over a year away from his bar mitzvah. Ariella sat in shul for all of Kol Nidrei and Maariv, and then for all of Neilah - she was truly awesome, and got a barad from Kabesa on her way home from gymnastics (or gy-mastics, as it has been known to be called).

But back to the time change. While it is really cool to gain an hour, it actually feels like we are jet-lagged. Darkness setting in that much earlier will take getting used to. Further details on this past week's events will have to wait a bit, until I have more energy.

Be back soon...

Dvora

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dip the apple in the honey....

It's a new year - תש"ע, or 5770 since the world was created. Rosh Hashana always reminds me of my grandfather, my mother's father, which is funny, because to the best of my recollection, we never spent the holiday together. I imagine that Zeidy is listening to the shofar, critiquing the baalei tefilah, keeping things moving along in the yeshiva shel maala... And Bubby is wishing everyone gut yontiff, loudly, and handing out honey cake. I made their honey cake for chag, the famous honey chiffon cake that Bubby used to bring to doctors to ensure a good report, and the same cake that they used to make and deliver to friends, just because they liked it. I served as speedy delivery girl on more than one occasion, to one of their friends - who is my age, not theirs - who lived in our neighborhood. Baking and eating the cake, which I foolishly never particularly enjoyed when they made it, is now one of those traditions I won't let go of; Dani loves it, and anxiously awaits the the Rosh Hashana season just for a taste of Bubby and Zeidy's honey cake. They were special people, and this cake reminds me of them and the high standard they represented, one I struggle with daily to uphold. Bubby may not have been well-educated, but she was a true believer. Zeidy did not always deliver his message in the most politically correct or diplomatic way possible, but damn if he wasn't usually correct. He lived and breathed Torah; he knew more by heart than many learn in a lifetime, and he got the greatest joy out of learning and living by what he learned. Hope they are up there, acting as meilitz yosher for all of us. We could use it.

As much as it is not my policy to share baking recipes, I could not imagine anything better than everyone baking this honey cake for their New Year - also great to end your pre-Yom Kippur meal. If anyone out there would like to try it out, here is the recipe:

Honey Chiffon Cake

9 eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar, divided use
1-1/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup honey

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the egg whites with 1/3 cup sugar until stiff peaks form. (If you are unaccustomed to beating egg whites, start beating the whites with a whisk beater. When the whites begin to froth, add the sugar slowly, beating on high speed.) Transfer the whites into a large bowl (unless you have two mixer bowls, in which case, use a second bowl). Beat the yolks with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, the add the oil, some of the flour, baking soda, honey (spray the measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring the honey, which will allow the honey to slide out easily.), and then the remaining flour. Mix a small amount of the beaten whites - by hand - into the yolks to lighten them, then fold the yolk mixture into the whites. Pour into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, until the top is browned and puffed and does not feel moist. Cool upside down.

Our Rosh Hashana was good. We enjoyed the simanim on the first night, having tried to incoprate them into some dishes. The leek kugel was a partcular hit - thanks, Caryn! We shared lunch on the first day (davening ended by 12:30) with our two pot-luck buddy families - Lori and Seth, and Ariel and Josh. It was a pleasure to host; the fun of having company, without half of the work or half the pressure. I think it is a good thing to be with good friends on chag. In the same vein, we went to Shoshana and Steven's for lunch the second day, which is liable to become a chazaka next year, so watch out! As always, we had a great time there. David worked very hard in getting ready (gabbai-wise) for yom tov, and it thankfully paid off, as things went smoothly in shul.

I managed to crank out over 500 cookies and bars for chag, but I would not have been able to get then out to my customers without my chief assistant, Shana. She assembled the platters, according to a very complicated spreadsheet, for almost two and a half hours. I wrapped, and then she labeled, and we seem to have been successful. Here are most of the platters from erev Rosh Hashana - actually forgot AGAIN to take pictures until everything was wrapped - guess that's the way the cookie crumbles (sorry, amusing myself).
I developed three new flavors for the holiday: honey sugar cookies, a soft sugar cookie delicately flavored with honey; caramel apple bars, soft, cakey bars, studded with apples and raisins, topped with a caramel glaze; and spiced carrot bars, carrot cake-like bars, full of carrots and golden raisins, frosted with a honey-cinnamon cream. So without further ado, here are a few close-ups.
Mint brownies, black and white cookies, apple crumble bars, spiced carrot bars, honey sugar cookies, peanut butter bites.
Lemon wedges, chocolate dipped chocolate caramel cookies, caramel apple bars, chewy chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cherry brownies, molasses cream sandwiches.
And that's all for now. Hope you are enjoying a meaningful Aseret Y'mai Teshuva.
Dvora
P.S. Am now adding pictures to previous posts!
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