Rick Steves is in Israel!

May 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Rick Steves is in Israel this week scouting locations for an Israel travel episode! Check it out! Yes, of course I commented on his blog to tell him he must go to Caesarea.

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Comfort Food: Guinness Beef Stew

April 22, 2013 Leave a comment

I feel like this is turning into a cooking blog–which is actually fairly appropriate, because cooking was such a big part of my life in Israel. I’ve mentioned before that Israel made me a much better cook.

I’ve been taking part in the 10 Tools Challenge this year and writing about it on my professional blog, Virtual Learning Space. While evaluating Flipboard for the challenge, I stumbled upon this fantastic recipe for Guinness Beef Stew just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. What I really loved about it was the accompanying video. I often have to guess at what some culinary terms mean. I can honestly say I wasn’t 100% sure what “de-glazing” was until I watched the video. I feel so much smarter now, and I’ve become a huge fan of Chef Jon’s videos on Food Wishes. The stew was amazing. I’ve already made it three times since St. Paddy’s.

Here is a link to the original post with the full recipe.

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Support the Sandy Hook Community

December 18, 2012 Leave a comment

weeping santa

Our hearts break for the Sandy Hook community. If you wish you could do something, then please take a look at all the ways you can help. Pick something below that speaks to you.

Personally, I donated to Newtown Youth & Family Services. My gift will help provide counselling for families, staff, and first responders. It was super easy. They use PayPal.

From the Connecticut PTSA:

Snowflakes for Sandy Hook
Please help the students of Sandy Hook have a winter wonderland at their new school! Get Creative!!  No two snowflakes are alike. Make and send snowflakes to Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT  06514, by January 12, 2013.

From the RIP Sandy Hook Elementary Victims facebook page:

The U.S. Postal Service has established a unique post office box to allow the public to send condolences to those affected by the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., last week. Those who wish to send expressions of comfort should address them to Messages of Condolence for Newtown, P.O. Box 3700, Newtown, CT 06470.

* Newtown Youth & Family Services
Contact # 203-270-4335
Address: 15 Berkshire Road
Sandy Hook, CT 06482
Website: http://www.newtownyouthandfamilyservices.org/

 **Donations can now be directly made to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. Please visit: https://newtown.uwwesternct.org/

*Newtown Parent Connection
Contact # 203-270-1600
Address: 45 Main Street PO Box 187
Newtown, CT 06470
Website: http://www.newtownparentconnection.org/

 **ALL DONATIONS MADE TO THE NEWTOWN PARENT CONNECTION WILL BE DONATED TO THOSE DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY THE SHOOTING

*Newtown Savings Bank
Contact # 800-461-0672
(Check Donations Only) Please call the number provided for other means of payment.
Website: http://www.nsbonline.com/blog/?p=187

 Check donations may be mailed to:

Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470

****Questions have also been asked if The Fire Department & EMS personnel are Accepting Donations to their Local Fire Department, and the answer is YES. I spoke to them directly by phone and they are accepting them through Postal Mail at the Address below. Also there contact Number if you would like to call them. Very Nice Wonderful people.

Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue (SHVFD)
P.O Box 783
Sandy Hook, CT 06482
Contact # (Non-Emergency) 203-270-4392

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Reports From Israel

November 19, 2012 1 comment
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Rockets Hit Tel Aviv

November 16, 2012 3 comments

I keep up with Israeli news mainly via the BBC. Wednesday afternoon I’d heard about escalating rocket fire coming from Gaza. I didn’t think much about it until I saw a Facebook post from a friend indicating the air raid sirens sounded in Tel Aviv. That was completely unheard of while I was living in Israel. Ashkelon yes, but not Tel Aviv.

I literally have chills as I write this. The BBC reported sirens in neighborhoods where my friends live. Sirens that had only been used for test drills or on national Memorial days for the last 20 years. I hope they can find a way to end this soon. I won’t address the politics of it because I just don’t feel qualified to do that. There’s just nothing like knowing people you care about are in real danger.

When I think of Tel Aviv I want to think of paddling with my dragon boat team on the Yarkon, going out to dinner with friends, being invited for Shabbot, my kite nearly missing a paraglider… Right now I cringe at the images that are coming from my one-time temporary home. These are the images (and the people) I keep in my heart:

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Comfort Food: Sweet Potato Turkey Pot Pie

November 14, 2012 Leave a comment

US Thanksgiving is only a week away. Do you know what you are doing with your leftover turkey? Fall is my favorite time of year and Thanksgiving Dinner is the ultimate comfort food, but it does get old after a few days.

My favorite way to use leftover turkey is in a pot pie. I’d made a couple of turkey breasts for bunco a few weeks ago and froze the leftovers for future pot pie yumminess. Today’s last minute discovery was that I’d used all of the potatoes on Roasted Veggie Night, so sweet potatoes saved the dish.

I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. While living in Israel last year we had sweet potatoes all the time in restaurants and at home. One of our favorite restaurants added them to Massaman Curry. It was wonderful.

So here is my recipe for Sweet Potato Turkey Pot Pie. If you aren’t crazy about sweet potatoes, just sub white ones. Disclaimer: I rarely measure things when I cook unless I’m baking. I’m guessing at amounts here, mostly, I just add until it looks right. I encourage you to do the same if it doesn’t look right.

Sweet Potato Turkey Pot Pie
(Feeds 3-4)

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sliced baby carrots
1/4 to 1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 package Trader Joe’s Condensed Cream of Portabella soup (or sub any Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup)
1.5 cups cooked, cubed turkey
Garlic sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Cooking spray
1 tube crescent rolls

Process:
Heat oil to med high. Add sweet potatoes and carrots. Saute, stirring occasionally until tender. Add white wine, peas, corn, soup and turkey. Add garlic sea salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then lower to a simmer for five minutes.

Set oven to 350F (177C) and spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer yummy, bubbly mixture to the baking dish, arrange crescent roll dough flat over the surface. Bake for ~15-20 minutes, until crust is cooked through and golden brown on top. When I use my toaster oven I cover the dish with foil for about five minutes to prevent over-browning.

Comfort Food: Roasted Vegetables

November 11, 2012 1 comment

I love roasted vegetables any time of year. Somehow, colder temperatures really beg for roasting and I’ve answered the call. I made an entire meal of roasted veggies tonight. Years ago my husband and I giggled at the concept of “slow food” but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is prime season for Brussels sprouts. I’m seeing them everywhere on-the-stalk and have been toying with the idea of trying this Trader Joes recipe. The stalk continues to feed them and keeps them fresh. It looks a bit weird  but totally worth it. They break off easily then you can trim them. I always cut them in half before roasting. I use a bit of olive oil or canola spray, fresh ground garlic sea salt, and fresh ground pepper and roast at 350 for about 20 minutes.

I first tried Brussels sprouts about four years ago in a restaurant. The menu described them as “sauteed in butter with bacon”. I figured butter and bacon could make even cardboard taste great so I’d give it a try. I was in love. I tried to replicate the dish at home and nearly succeeded. I’ve found over time that roasting is just as good, and frankly, easier.

I usually give potatoes the same oil/garlic sea salt/pepper treatment at 350 for about an hour, depending on how small I cut them. I also like to add fresh rosemary to them.

Some other favorite roasting combos:

  • Brocolini, red peppers, and mushrooms
  • Asparagus in butter, sea salt, and pepper with mushrooms
  • Mixed red- and sweet potatoes
  • Green beans and mushrooms and/or sliced almonds
  • Sausage, onions, peppers, and potatoes

What are your favorites?

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