Friday, July 29, 2011

The Menu

Not much posting, but lots of lesson planning and house organizing. Mostly the former this week! So many things I'd like to have ready ahead of time... Meanwhile, B"H, there's shabbos.

For dinner:

surimi salad w/fried won tons
chicken with lemon rice
roasted okra
roasted carrots/zucchini/mushroom/onion/garlic
mango cucumber salad
roasted potatoes
pasta with almond spinach sauce
peach cake

And for lunch:

We're O-U-T!

Feeling a bit worn out and accutely three weeks-ish. Monday is the 1st of Av and it all just feels very weighty right now...

Good shabbos, all!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Menu

For dinner...

butternut squash soup
caesar salad
baked Japanese eggplant w/an anchovy/garlic/matzo meal/olive oil topping
roasted garden veggies with preserved lemon
potato wedges
oven-fried chicken (topped w/mayo, mustard, garlic, matzo meal, lemon juice)
spicy ginger cookies
chocolate covered orange mandelbrot
chocolate-covered meringue
iced blueberry tea and lemonade

And for lunch...

some of the above, plus:
turkey pastrami
egg salad
guacamole and chips
eggplant dip w/dried tomatoes, fresh basil, and garlic

B"H it's shabbos! Good shabbos, all!

Culinary Adventures

First of all, I have to thank my friend RP for so much inspiration! She is very creative and very wonderfully frugal (the kind of frugal that feels more like abundance than frugality because she makes so much more from so little!). You must visit her blog and enjoy her creativity.

So... here's what's going on in the kitchen right now...

•Drying tomatoes. We have a couple of tomato bushes that are loaded with mediocre tasting tomatoes. I cut them in half and put them on the fruit drier and WOW now they're delicious. I'll totally dry some of them, and partially dry the rest to put in salads. They taste as good as our ever-dependable Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes when they are half-dried. The Sweet 100s have just been served in a bowl for meals, or just eaten while we water and weed the garden.

•Pickles. I did 7 quarts of pickled cucumbers and 2 pints of pickled jalapeƱos. I love jalapeƱos! To preserve them, you can also just toss them whole into the freezer. Their skins fall off effortlessly when you defrost them. The pickled ones are good in salsa, or just diced and put on top of... whatever! :)

•Roasting coffee beans in the Whirly-Pop. After exactly two years, our $100 coffee bean roaster gave out. Shortly before it gave out, I got a Whirly-Pop (usually used for popcorn). I love this low-tech solution! Instead of roasting 1/3 cup at a time (enough for 2 days), I can roast 2 cups at a time (probably even more). It takes about 10-12 minutes. DH figured out the best setting on the stove was one notch below mid-way. For the first 5 minutes you can just let it sit over the flame. After that you need to crank it until it's done. I love how the beans start to crackle as they get near to being done. They keep on crackling for quite a few minutes after they're off the stove too!

Some things that only live in my head so far:

•Last year Kroger's lowest price for peaches was $0.58/pound. Right now they're at $1.00/lb. A good price, but I'm hoping for less. It's the only reasonably priced fruit for quantity jam-making around here! As soon as it goes down I want to make a year-supply of peach jam, while I daydream about the endless quantities of cheap raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries in Oregon... YUM! Those berries were about $1.25/lb in Oregon. Here, the cheapest is about double that or more. :( But we sure can grow a lot of things I could never grow well there — peppers, eggplants, tomatoes (ripe ones before September - a thrill!), watermelons. Very fun.

•Get koji (aspergillus mold) and make homemade sake, fermented black beans (which are actually soy beans that turn black during the fermentation process), miso, and soy sauce. Well, one of these days...

•Make my own tofu more often. It's fun and easy to make. The only thing I'd like to get is a tofu mold so it's a little neater looking. :)

•One of these days I'm going to get a grain grinder. One of these days. Not only is freshly-ground flour delicious, but you can also make all sorts of flours that are more expensive to buy (but very cheap to make) like chick pea flour, rice flour, etc.

Okay, enough daydreaming. On to shabbos prep. Keeping it simple-ish this shabbos. First shabbos with savta here (she moved here on Tuesday!).

P.S. Our best investment ever? The 12-foot above-ground pool. The kids swim 2x/day most days. We might use it for fish next year (tilapia!) and get a larger pool for the kids. Once you get the chemicals down then it's no trouble to maintain at all. It's a little tricky since there's no single recipe - it depends on what's in your local water. And here algaecide is a must! It doesn't take long for a pool to turn green...

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Menu

For dinner...

tilapia za'atar fish cakes w/Thai chili garlic mayo (it works... really!)
lamb with rosemary and garlic
pesto pasta
roasted eggplant, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, onions, garlic, preserved lemon
tomato cucumber salad
carrot kugel
mashed potatoes
peach cake

And for lunch....

A special seudah at shul!

It's been an intense week with all the organizing and I am looking forward to a good sleep! I feel so good about how much I've been able to do around the house. And just having thinking time about our learning while I do that has been good too. On our regular schedule it's all I can do get dishes in the sink and shuffle laundry during the day. I'm putting a weekly chore-training time in our schedule so that the kids are able to do more and more around the house. I think having a regularly scheduled training time is going to be a big help in increasing what they're able to do. Must run! Good shabbos, all!

Cleaning and Organizing

July is zooming by. A&E are in camp at shul from 9-3 every day, and I've been busy completely decluttering and organizing the house. I made a list of the 69 places there were to do, and I have now finished 43 of 69 areas. Checking off boxes is a big motivator to me, as is seeing all the jobs in one room being checked off, making the room "complete." We have quite a bit of storage in this house, and even more now. We're going to eke out a workspace in the kitchen for tools and projects. I bought a door at the Restore to use for a work table. I've got the learning room REALLY squared away and that made me most happy. Old learning materials were boxed up, and the new ones went onto the shelves. The learning closet got decluttered and straightened (there are long narrow shelves all along one wall). Things are getting polished and dusted and the walls are getting cleaned. It's so nice to have the opportunity to do this so thoroughly! Raizel and Avi have been good sports too. It's too hot to go out anyway, so we're hibernating indoors. At night, I've been working hard on our learning projects for the coming year. I'll go into more detail in a different post, but I've been able to get a LOT planned without needing to have anything in particular ready for the next day. Off to sleep...........

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Menu

For dinner:

Chinese fish cakes
wonton soup
chicken with Chinese sparerib sauce (thanks to RP and RP's dad for the inspiration!!)
broiled eggplant and zucchini
roasted cabbage
roasted potatoes
cucumber salad
green salad with crispy won tons
iced vanilla chai
pavlova with strawberries, blueberries, and mangoes

And for lunch:

everything we had for dinner, plus:
Chinese chicken salad

Good shabbos!!!! B"H! It's been a bit of an intense week around here. Decided on no lunch guests for shabbos and lots of SLEEP. :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Menu


For dinner:

coconut lemongrass soup
eggplant basil stirfry
roasted garden veggies
two cucumber salads (one w/tamarind and ginger, the other with rice vinegar and sesame)
broiled coconut curry chicken
coleslaw w/almonds and Thai vinaigrette
mango coconut sorbet

And for lunch:

We're OUT!
And bringing challah and salad.......................

Good shabbos!

The Week

The kids and I got back from a very nice few days in Atlanta. My first time in a big city since we left Portland! :)

Highlights included:

•A great visit with my Atlanta "sister" and her kids and other former Savannahians!

•A splurge of a meal at Fuego Mundo (delicious Argentinian barbecue; to be worth paying for a restaurant meal it has to be REALLY good and this passed the test)

•Fernbank Science Center (free), planetarium show (not free, but reasonable), and great walking trails behind the center (pond and creek!) (Had we been there on a Thursday night we would have hit the free observatory program too!)

•A day for the kids at Camp Shamayim

•The indoor Farmers Market (cheese, coconut milk for $0.89/can (vs $2!), lemongrass, Thai basil, sesame seeds, green and orange lentils, admiring (but not buying) the huge variety of whole fish, several varieties of bok choy, oyster mushrooms...)

•Costco for incredibly cheap grape juice, kashkaval cheese, and deli turkey

•Last Chance thrift store

Sensations Therafun (a little expensive at $8/kid, but LOTS of fun!)

Very fun, and all the kids were saying they didn't want to leave when it was time. But, as we rolled into Savannah and started to see familiar landmarks Amirah said, "Mama! This really feels like home! I mean, I can really feel it!" :) I agree! Nice to visit other places, but I love being home.

And B"H it's shabbos!