Friday, December 31, 2010

Awesome food find of 2010: Imagine KOSHER chicken broth!!

You're probably aware of the Imagine brand of boxed soups, many of which are kosher.  Their No-Chicken Broth is a tasty alternative to chicken stock and has worked well for me as a chicken broth/stock substitute in recipes (for when I'm tired of the consomme powder/water combo).  So - my husband and I were thrilled to discover, when we were roaming the aisles of Whole Foods Market with the kids as a field trip, actual real boxed Imagine KOSHER ORGANIC Chicken Broth - for only $3.99 a box!!  From REAL CHICKEN!!

Believe it people - check out that O-U symbol on the lower right corner!!

Now, of course, this cannot replace the real thing (especially when it's so easy to make with the slow cooker recipe), but when in a bind and you want reliable soup, this is perfect.  So far, I've only seen it in Whole Foods Market, but maybe other grocers will start carrying it.

**The crazy thing is that the Imagine website doesn't mention anything about it!!  Strange!!**

Apparently, the organic boxed soup makers must have recently woken up this new market for them because according to Whole Foods' blog, Pacific also makes a kosher chicken broth now.  Awesome.  Love love love competition!!!

Anyway, I thought this was a pretty cool find for this year.  If you try this out, let me know what you think!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post Xmas morning/Sunday morning breakfast

Sunday mornings are usually special mornings in our house, only because we take our time with the kids and with breakfast (really, what's the hurry?).  Usually I make French toast to use up leftover challah, or sometimes we have pancakes or waffles.  Given the kids' early-birdness, by the time we're done with our morning routine, most people are just waking up.  However, it's almost 11 am, and we JUST now finished breakfast.

It's Sunday, it's the morning after Xmas (not that that means anything to us), so what better way to start off the day than with homemade bagels?

Yes, you read that right.

We can't take all the credit.  Our bread machine did all of the hard work.  Once the dough was done, it was easy to make the bagels.  In fact, the kids helped shape them so it was a nice morning activity.
Now, don't be jealous.  Really, this was super easy.  We used this recipe.

Here is a shot with homemade cream cheese and homemade grape jelly.

Here is my first artistic shot.  Enjoy the textures, if you see any.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Caroling...and me

I've never actually experienced a group of carolers before, until today.  Sure - I've seen them in movies and on tv, but I never before heard an actual group of roving singers singing Xmas songs.

Here's what happened:
I work in a hospital, and I was busy doing my work, with my door shut as usual, when I heard what sounded like live singing coming down the hallway.  It was getting louder and louder, and I thought that there is no way that could be fake.  I opened the door, and there was the group:  various nurse managers and volunteers singing their hearts out from these Xmas songs.  I really hoped the patients enjoyed the singing.

As for me, I suddenly had a strong urge to put up a mezuzah on my office door.

This is a funny season.  I actually love this time of year: buildings and parks and roadways are decorated nicely, cooking and parties rule the day, everyone has giftgiving and sharing on their minds, and tv programs and movies are all about families and reconciliations and getting together.  It's a wonderful feeling.  I wish the world enjoyed this feeling more often.  But it's not for me.  It's not my holiday, not my season.  And yet, I revel in it.  I savor every decoration, every cooking show, every magazine cover.  Maybe it's because it's an "other" for me - after all, I don't have to deal with decorating my house and buying presents for 50 people and making it bigger and better than last year.  As a matter of fact, I just wrapped up an awesome Chanukah holiday, if you ask me!!!

And on December 26, I always feel a little deflated.  Like - that's it?  After all that build up, that's it?  They get that one day, and then it's back to work?  What do you take with you for the rest of the year?  What did you learn from this holiday that you didn't know before?  How are you spiritually higher?

So I sit back, happy to be just a spectator in someone else's good time.  But like today, I am constantly reminded that it's not MY holiday.  Even if I like the music (no wonder why since my co-religionists composed many of the popular songs!), and the food (make it kosher!), and the decor.

Instead, I'll start planning for an awesome Tu B'Shvat 2011...

Something Special Tuesday: 12/21 edition

2010 is almost over, so here's Something Special Tuesday highlights of the year.  Wow, is it Wednesday already?  Sorry.  What would Something Special Tuesday be if not posted on Wednesday...?

Something yummy:  When my husband came home from Costco with a box of these, I completely underestimated how incredibly tasty they could be.  A perfect blend of crunchy and sweet, it's the perfect snack.  And - it's parve (neither meat nor milk)!!!  Really, I look forward to the moment each day when I unwrap the goodness...

Something crafty:  This was a year where I stretched my crafty muscle, with my kids 100% at fault.  By far, this is my favorite crafting tool since I've used it for so many applications.  If you only buy one thing, buy this.  Find a 40% off coupon for Hobby Lobby and grab one.  You'll thank me later.

Something financial:  Thanks to Kosher on a Budget for informing the world about a new daily deals site - jdeal!  Yes, Jews finally have a daily deal site of their own!  But wait Houston Jews - this site is for NY deals and for a few other towns...although there are plans to expand to other Jewish communities.  Why don't we start a campaign to bring jdeal to H-town?  We certainly have a few eateries to choose from (more on that in a future post) and there are plenty of business owners who I'm sure could use a boost to their business, so why not?  Let me know if you're interested in starting a grassroots campaign.
Something spiritual:  Thanks to Creative Jewish Mom for posting these beautiful posts about Jewish parenting and how we can bring down the lessons of the weekly parsha into our homes and apply them to our lives as parents.  The posts are short and to the point and as usual, there is always something in the weekly parsha that speaks to something that has happened to us this past week (how does that happen??).  I should also read them more often and hopefully you will enjoy them too.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New precedent set in law - the "bris" precedent

One point scored for work/life balance.

Check out this story about a lawyer up in New York who actually wrote a pretrial motion requesting time off for a religious ceremony for a future grandchild expected to be born in the middle of a trial.  He didn't just notify someone ahead of time that he may need some time off; this is an official legal document!

The judge's response was great.  Check out the actual court document here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Slow cooker chicken soup!!

I love cooking and I consider myself to be a decent cook, but for some reason I'm unable to make chicken soup.  I know, some of you are wondering how that's possible - and there are tons of recipes out there, not to mention my mom makes a wonderful soup - but every time I try chicken soup, it comes out as barely-flavored water.  So sad.

I was psyched to come across a recipe to make chicken soup in the slow cooker.  I enjoyed the results: the color was nice, dark brown and the taste was pretty good, considering I only used two chicken breast halves!!  The chicken meat was perfectly tender and a nice accompaniment to the soup.

Without further ado, here is the recipe.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Final Chanukah video of 2010

Yes, Chanukah 2010 has come and gone, but I'm still feeling the spirit (still played the Pandora Chanukah station for the kiddos tonight!) and I'm so sad that the holiday is over.  BUT - the hits just keep on coming!  This is the official last video of Chanukah that I'll be posting this year, and it's from Israel!  I think it's been a bumper crop of good holiday songs!!  Thanks AC for the heads-up on this one!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Seeking help re: ravioli

Last night I boiled some frozen ravioli that came out of a bag.  Some of the ravioli was stuck together so I added a bit of olive oil to separate them up.  Didn't seem to help.  Then, a couple of the ravioli had a blowout and the ravioli stuffing floated into the water, leaving me with ravioli dough to eat.

QUESTION #1 - what do you do to un-stick frozen ravioli?

QUESTION #2 - what do you do to prevent a ravioli blowout?

Please answer in the comments section.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

More Chanukah videos

For some reason, I am really in the mood for Chanukah music this year.  Yes, I also didn't know there was such a genre.  Ever since I discovered the Pandora Chanukah music station, that's all we've been listening to in the evenings.  Here are some more videos for your enjoyment.

This song just cracks me up and has a very catchy tune.

This video comes to us from and their famed Itchy Kadoozy show (I may have misspelled that).

This is a new favorite song - I absolutely love the beat and the melody. The video? Left me a bit confused, but feel free to let me know what you think of the video in the comments.

Alright folks - Something Special Tuesday will resume next week!! Enjoy the last days of Chanukah!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Near-viral Chanukah video

If you haven't seen this one already, here you go.  Enjoy!  It's clever.  And the melody is extremely catchy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Chanukah!!

Happy Chanukah everyone!!!   Enjoy the holiday!!

Homemade sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts)

Yes, you are looking at HOMEMADE sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts, for the un-initiated).  Fried in golden hot oil for the holiday (without a deep fryer!).  Filled with seedless raspberry jam.  MMMMMMM.  And they were TASTY....

Something Special Tuesday: 12/1 edition (I know, late again...)

Ok ok ok  - I'm sorry.  Time has been running away from me.  Alright - lets get to it:

Something yummy:  We make our own cream cheese!!!  All we do is strain the yogurt for a VERY long time (like, all day) in a cheesecloth bag (picked up this one) and at the end, we have beautifuul creamy goodness.  Easy?  Definitely.  Tasty?  You bet.  Just like Philadelphia cream cheese?  No, but it's very tasty and we haven't bought cream cheese in a while...Next up, homemade mozzarella.  That's right.  We received a gallon of raw milk, so what else to do with it but make homemade mozzarella....will let you know how that goes (it can be done!!).

Something crafty:  I'm so excited that I found this site.  I already found several projects I'd like to do, and I love that they are relatively easy and designed by a non-crafter like me!!  Ok - yes - the site is written by a very Christian person, but that's ok!  Crafts are crafts!!

Something financial:  Read, enjoy, save, become rich.  Easy, right?

Something spiritual:  I found this essay to be incredibly moving.  I love learning new things!  I never thought about the significance of oil.  Thank you Rabbi Jacobson!!