Friday, May 20, 2011

Kosher on a Budget is coming to Houston!

Sorry I've been away - been busy, you know...

But - I'm coming to you with some exciting news today!!!

Kosher on a Budget will be in Houston and doing a class on couponing, being frugal, and living the kosher lifestyle on Monday May 30 at 10 am!!!

If you want to get more details, email her at kosheronabudget AT gmail DOT com.  And let her know that you heard it here first!!

I plan on being there and I hope to see you there too.  Shabbat shalom everyone!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cinco de Mayo - son's birthday party

Last week we celebrated my big boy's 2nd birthday on May 5th (his birthday), or Cinco de Mayo as it's known in these parts.  Since he was born on May 5th, I knew that this party theme would come up eventually, so I figured I'd jump the gun and go ahead and do it.  To wit, a feast:
I made a Tex-Mex dinner that consisted of some incredibly tasty things...thanks to all contributors for this beautiful table.  Menu consisted of:
Not bad, eh?   The leftovers lasted us through lunch today (no, we didn't eat this 5 days straight).

Mexican Rice: (recipe courtesy of a friend of mine)

1 or 2 cups of rice (depends if you have a lot of guests)
water (double the amount of rice you make)
1 medium onion
1 can tomato juice
fresh pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
dash of oregano
salt to taste
2 tablespoons oil (canola, safflower...not olive oil)
1 cup of mixed veggies (corn, carrots, green beans), if desired

In a large skillet or pot heat the oil (on medium heat) and then add the desired amount of rice and brown. Make sure you stir the rice constantly while it browns otherwise it will burn. The rice should be a light, even brown color. Then add the onions and saute until they are a crystalline color. Then add the can of tomato juice and stir quickly so it does not stick to the pan. Add the water and the chicken bouillon and bring to a boil. Add veggies, pepper, oregano and salt to taste. Cook uncovered for about 15 minutes and then turn heat down to a low simmer and cover. Cook rice until it is soft but not sticky.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Adventures in the Kitchen: Homemade Fruit Leather

Under the heading "Why Not?", I present to you homemade fruit leather:

Strawberry fruit leather
What you see there is strawberry fruit leather, using mashed strawberries that we had previously frozen since we had a large amount of strawberries left over from when we last made strawberry jam (a couple of months ago) (thank you dear friends who brought us the hand-picked strawberries), so this came together very quickly.  We followed this blog post.  Who knew we had a dehydration setting in our oven?!!?!  But please note - you don't need a food dehydrator for this - just set it in the oven overnight on the lowest setting for the fruit to dry out!!
Needless to say, the kids loved it.  Tonight my husband made a second batch.  Awe-some.  I recommend you try it!

What is your favorite fruit leather flavor?

Happy Mother's Day

To all of the mothers out there - young and old, new and experienced, biological or not - have a wonderful Mother's Day and I hope you will spend it with the ones you love.

What are we doing today?  We are going to Bayou Wildlife Park!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I went "no 'poo"...and back


No 'poo -  the idea of idea of not using the typical shampoo/conditioner routine to wash hair.


Well, after I read this post, I didn't look at my shampoo bottle the same way again.  Shampoo is a detergent?  What are all those chemicals in there listed after water?  Why would I wash my hair with that?  If I'm so concerned about what kind of dish soap I use and making sure that whatever I use is biodegradable, shouldn't I be just as concerned as what I use to wash my hair?  Maybe they're on to something here...

So I toyed with the idea for about a month until I had a situation where I would have washed my hair twice in one day.  And my husband said to me, "You don't want to wash your hair twice in one day.  Why don't you try the no 'poo routine?"  Lightbulb moment.  Why don't I, indeed?  But it takes commitment.  I had read enough blog posts about the process and the method to know that there is a transition period while your hair goes crazy and gets used to the natural hair care.  Was I ready to see my hair in its natural state, go to work like that, not sure how long it will be and what it will look like post-transition?

And before I had a chance to think twice, I did it.  Wouldn't you know it - my hair was BEAUTIFUL that first day.  Golden, fluffy, with natural volume.  It was as though my hair was doing a happy dance.  It lasted for maybe 36 hours.  Then the transition period started.

But I stuck it out.  I just knew that a lot of good would come out of this.  And it did work!  My hair was full of volume and was just really really nice.  I felt proud of sticking to this routine!  I even confided to a close friend that I went no 'poo, whispering the words to her.  I felt like I was sharing a dark secret.  For any of my friends, if you saw me while I was doing it, you probably didn't know there was anything different about my hair.  And that's a good thing!

Unfortunately, I have no pictures to share so you'll just have to trust me.  And also unfortunately, my hair stopped cooperating after a month.  It seemed to get dull and was not happy anymore, so I went back to the regular shampoo/conditioner routine.  But I think I will do the baking soda/apple cider vinegar routine at least once a month to clean my hair and refresh it.  And I definitely have an eye out for what I put in my hair than I did before.

If you'd like to read more about the process, click here or here or here.  Let me know if you try it and if it works for you!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Amazing Holocaust Video

Here's one more thing, and most likely I am not alone in this.  We always see movies and images of the Holocaust - indeed of that entire time period - in black and white, and it's so easy to associate black and white with "a long time ago".  It's much harder to remember that for everyone who lived during that time, life was in color, just like it is for you and me.  Here's an incredible video of color movie footage and images.  Be warned: viewer discretion is advised.


Yom Hashoah 2011 - Holocaust Rememberance Day

Today is Yom Hashoah, Israel's official Holocaust Remembrance Day.  January 27th was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on the day marking the liberation of Auschwitz.  Yom Hashoah, by contrast is held every year 8 days before Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day), the most perfect irony.

Check out here and here for additional information.

Every year, Houston holds a special ceremony to commemorate.

Every year since I was little, I've gone with my mom (and/or Dad).  I'm no stranger to the Holocaust; while my immediate family wasn't directly involved, that was only because my grandfather had the good sense to flee with my grandmother and their infant daughter away from the advancing German soldiers and into the Soviet interior - my grandmother's family, living on the unfortunate front lines of the German invasion into the Soviet Union.  So, 72 members of my grandmother's family was killed, who knows how.  And my grandfather was drafted into the Soviet Red Army and spent his military time on the front lines, leaving my grandmother behind hiding in forests, among other places.  My father's family in Moscow evacuated also into the interior but was mostly spared most of the horrors.  So - I grew up with the Holocaust and its aftereffects front and center in my life, but not everyone else has.

These commemorations are important for all the people to whom it's not so obvious: for those who believe that the same thing couldn't happen here in America (it could), or for those who believe that such genocide doesn't happen anymore (it does - check out Africa), or for those who just don't know the facts.  Holocaust education goes beyond what actually occurred during the Holocaust and really digs deep into why and how did it happen.  Did you know that America had a eugenics program which Germany admired (and Sweden's program lasted until 1975)?  And what about all of the ordinary citizens of the German-occupied countries who basically went along with all of the horror surrounding them?

Perhaps it's MTV who says it best.  The Holocaust happened to people like us.