Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pesach Banana Cake (pareve, non-gebrokts)

This year, I gave up eating wheat when I realized I was having a mild allergic reaction to it. So while I'll still bake my kids their favorite Pesach treats (like mandel bread and pesach rolls), I needed to come up with something I could snack on too!
{So I stood in my kitchen and spotted a bunch of ripe bananas}
And I decided to try to change up my banana cake recipe!
Here's what happened:

4 large bananas, mashed
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1.5 cups ground coconut
1.5 cups potato starch
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder

Mix bananas, sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract, if using and make sure they are combined well
Add dry ingredients. Mix well.
Divide batter between 2 loaf pans and bake at 185 C (about 370 F) for 45 minutes or until done.

This was so easy and really came out delish. It's perfect and I'm going to make it all year long!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

UPDATED Free Attractions / PESACH 2016

UPDATED -- This year's FREE attractions list is significantly different from last year's, so please help spread the word ! This post is the NEW, UPDATED LIST!

This year, chol Hamoed is April 24-28. Most sites will close early on erev chag, April 28. Please verify opening hours before you go!

Here's the list of free attractions for Pesach 2016, sponosred Bank HaPoalim. I have linked to websites in English, whenever possible. I hope you find this list helpful, and that you get to have some super-frugal fun over Pesach!

*Please note that I put a lot of effort into this post, tracking down websites in English for your convenience. I know the Bank Hapoalim info is available to the public in Hebrew, but this blog  post has added benefits for the English speaking community. Because it was so much work, I request that if you plan to share this info, you link back to my site. Thank you for this common courtesy.  

Please leave a comment with your favorite place to visit (from this list)!
If you haven't already, please like my Facebook page so you don't miss out!

The Ghetto Fighters' House Museum 04-9958052  
The Galilee Sculpture Festival in Maalot 04-9578871 
The Deer Forest  050-8723920    
The Golan Antiquities Museum  04-6961350    
Park Qatzrin 04-6962412  
The Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery  04-6315257  
The Treasures in The Walls Museum (of Acco) 04-9911004  
The Robotic Dairy 054-4962656  

Haifa and the Northern Valleys: 

Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art   04-8383554

The Haifa Museum of Art   04-9115997
The Wilfrid Museum of Israeli Art  04-9899566 

The Janco-Dada Museum (Ein Hod) 04-9842350  
The Haifa Zoo - 04-8372886 
The National Maritime Museum 04-8536622   
The Haifa City Museum 04-9115888  
The Mane Katz Museum 04-9119372   
The Herman Struk Museum 04-6359962

Central Israel:

The Rabin Center Israeli Museum *4585 

Tel Aviv Museum of Art 03-6077000 
Design Museum Holon   073-2151500
Petach Tikva Museum of Art   03-9286300  
Beit Hatfutsot  Jewish History and Culture Museum 03-7457808
The Nachum Gutman Museum of Art 03-5161970  
The Chanan Rozen Museum of Israeli Art Ramat Gan   03-7521876/7
The Rishon L'Tzion Museum 03-9598862     
The Igudan Visitors Center 03-9555222
The Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center 03-5339278  


Yad LaShiryon at Latrun 08-9784302 
Museum for Islamic Art    02-5661291/2
The Bible Lands Museum 02-5611066   
Hasmonean Aqueduct Tour *6033  
The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens 02-6794012  
The Menachem Begin Heritage Center 02-5652018    
The Ariel Center -Historic Jerusalem (First Temple Period) 02-6286288  


The Ashdod Art Museum Monart Center 08-8545180 
Arad Doll Museum  052-2398918
Arad Glass Museum  08-9953388   
The Corinne Mamane Museum of Philistine Culture 08-6224799  
The Museum of Water and Security at Kibbutz Nir Am 050-9672874    
The Joe Alon Center for Bedouin Culture  08-9913322  
Chai Negev Revivim (Ecological Park)   08-6562688

Other attractions that are free for Pesach (NOT sponsored by Bank HaPoalim):

The Israel Museum will be free for children (under 18) during April 23–30, 02-6708811

Have a great time!  p.s. Please share this with your friends, so everyone can plan a fun and frugal Pesach!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Before you go shopping for Pesach food...

Everyone is going to be shopping and filling shopping carts to overflowing, this week and next -- people always seem to go a little overboard before a chag!

And since Pesach is notoriously expensive to begin with (matzah costs a lot of money, not to mention wine and grape juice!), I figured I would share a few tips I've learned over the last several years in order to cut back the expenses.

First things first:

Carefully check your freezer and pantry for food items that are Kosher for Pesach, so you don't have to run out and buy a duplicate of something you already have!

I went thru my stash this week, and discovered a shelf's worth of food from my pantry that I can use over Pesach! In addition, I have chicken, salmon, and frozen spinach in my freezer that are all fine for Pesach.

Secondly, try not to overbuy the expensive extras. If you use shmurah matzah for seder, but regular matzah the rest of the time - try to only buy as much shmurah matzah as you will actually need for seder! (This one is hard for me to stick to! I get a little anxious that we won't have enough - but I'm working on it)

Next, focus on buying "regular" foods - the special Pesach products are always very pricey. Most of us can get by without all those pricey extras. If we eat cookies on Pesach, they are made from scratch. If you can avoid buying kilos of ground nuts for baking, your wallet will thank you. No one ever was deprived on Pesach because they didn't eat a very expensive almond-flour cake or cookie, trust me. And yes, there are no-nut or low-nut alternative recipes! (I buy ground or shredded coconut, as it's a lot less expensive than other ground nuts, and also has the distinct advantage that I'm not allergic to it!)

Find the least expensive oil you are willing to use. There's very little reason to buy expensive walnut oil, especially here in Israel where you should be able to find less expensive alternatives. (Many people use canola oil for Pesach. While I don't like canola oil, I am searching out my best option and will not buy palm or walnut oil.)

Plan to fill up mostly on fresh fruits and vegetables! Not only will they save you money, they will do your body good!

If you eat peanuts on Pesach, go for it and buy Peanut Butter! Not only can you make great desserts with it, but it also helps round out a snack with some easy protein (and if you don't eat peanuts on Pesach, be sure you have a good food processor and make your own nut butter! My family is partial to cashew butter.).

If you, like us, do not eat kitniyot on Pesach, don't despair! You can still eat less expensive meals with careful planning. It will likely cost you more per mouth than during the rest of the year, but really - it doesn't have to be insane. I hope to post some sample menus over the next week.

We DO buy lots of eggs, though, but, per egg, they aren't so expensive. Buying 3 trays or so at a time does add up though - but it's still less per serving than some other foods!

I'm not really interested in opening a whole halachic discussion here, but I do think it's worthwhile for everyone to do some more research about which foods they can use on Pesach. It may be that the options are wider and less expensive than you thought. (And maybe not, this will vary from community to community...)

Please let me know what your favorite way to cut back Pesach expenses is! I'd love to hear!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Money Saving Deals

If you're like most of us, you have tons of pictures on your camera/phone/ipad... and now you can get a great deal on a printed photo album, without having to deal with overseas shipping!
Check out this Groupon deal for a 28 page photo album from Zooma!

Do you use an electric toothbrush? Get an 8-pack of replacement heads for 99 shekels with free shipping!

Need a nebulizer? If you aren't able to get a discounted one thru your Kupat Cholim, check out this Groupon deal. It will save you money if you otherwise aren't covered!

And finally (last one for tonight), don't forget to check out these discount vouchers for when you plan to eat out! Go ahead, splurge on a restaurant for a special occasion - but splurge smartly - with a coupon!