Monday, April 30, 2012

Online Shopping

I have been trying to navigate the world of shopping here in Israel - and I have discovered high prices or sales gimmicks or poor quality, and other problems, in many places. Not to mention that anytime I drive ANYWHERE I spend a fortune on gas. So, I looked for alternatives. Some were out of necessity - certain items are just not available here. Some for convenience, so as not to run around, wasting a whole day shopping. And other items were just because it costs so much less abroad. It's time for us to tell Israeli retailers that we won't tolerate inflated prices anymore. If they want our business, give us competetive pricing!

This list is a work in progress. Feel free to leave comments with your favorite websites, or let me know about your experience shopping with these sellers.

I cannot endorse any of the sellers below, and I take no responsibility for your orders with them. I have merely compiled a list of sellers who sell internationally, and will ship to Israel. 

Amazon Global offers international shipping, and you prepay any import fees. - check for coupon codes! I *always* order with a coupon (example: code RETAILMENOT10 for 10% off 2 or more used books thru June 30, 2012). Free worldwide shipping.

Book depository - there are sometimes coupon codes available, so be sure to check (right now APMA12 will get you 10% off!)! Free worldwide shipping.

Vitacost (sign up for a coupon for $10 off your first order). Ship your order to Israel for as low as $10.99 (orders over 3 lbs will incur higher shipping fees)  If you have an Ebates account, you can get a great rebate if you start shopping there! (but first sign up for your coupon!)

iHerb (at this time, they do not guarantee arrival in Israel, and will not refund lost deliveries. I myself, have never had a problem. But there are plenty of people out there who may not be willing to take the risk. That said, if you choose to order, and you are a first time customer, use coupon code QEJ101 for $5 off your first order) Super fast delivery, very reliable. $5/$10 shipping. I was thrilled with their service. Great shoes for less money than cheap shoes that fall apart in 4 weeks here... no need to say more. (some shoes and accessories cannot be purchased internationally, but MOST can) Here's an example of great shoes for a great price: Stride Rite Angler Sandal (Toddler/Little Kid),Brown,7.5 M US Toddler

Fishpond - sells a huge variety of items, including Legos, Melissa & Doug toys, health and beaty items, books, etc etc etc. It's huge. And it's all free shipping worldwide! Just watch out for customs limits - so some of those big Lego sets would get taxed, but a small one costs about half the price of a local toy store, and it ships for free! I'm going to check this out when I have some spare cash for splurging!

Next  Clothing for kids and Adults, and housewares. I have never ordered from them, but I have been told it is good. They advertise free delivery via Royal Mail.

ASOS Clothing for adults. (free standard shipping to Israel) (I have never ordered from them, but I have friends who have)

NatureShop - sells shoes, clothing, housewares, and more free shipping worldwide, ships from the UK via Royal Mail (I have never ordered from them, but I have friends who have)

Little Ones Clothing - high quality clothing for babies and children. International deliveries are shipped using Royal Mail and cost 4.50 GBP (about $7.30) (I have never ordered from them)

Cameo Jewelry Supply $12.95 international shipping. Ships via USPS in a flat rate envelope (items must fit in the envelope and be under the 4 lb weight limit for this method) (I have never ordered from them)

Gone Sewing - sewing supplies. Worldwide shipping for $3.33! (I have never ordered from them)

1-2-3 Stitch! Sells sewing and craft supplies, including craft kits. Shipping is via US Mail, and is calculated in your cart. Remember to check their clearance section for great deals! (I have never ordered from them)

dealextreme  - Worldwide Free Shipping, mostly electronics and gadgets. (I have never ordered from them)

The Hut. Sells clothing, toys, games, DVDs, Health & Beauty items, Sports equipment, and more. 1.19 GBP Shipping per item (I don't think in British Pounds, so I have no idea how much that is! Doesn't sound too exorbitant though), ships via airmail. (I have never ordered from them)

Zavvi - I believe this site is owned by The Hut (above), and sells the same types of items - DVDs, music, games, toys, clothing, gifts... They offer international shipping for 0.99 GBP, and soon free international shipping for orders over 35 GBP. They also have a rewards program, where you collect points every time you make a purchase. (They may charge the shipping fee per item) cosmetics and beauty supply. Ships free. (I have never ordered from them)

The Craft Barn Ships crafting supplies from the UK. International Shipping is capped at 10 GBP per order. (I have never ordered from them)

Forces of Nature coupon '10OFF30' $10 Off any purchase of $30 or more Exp 12/31/12 International shipping via USPS for $9.95 Homeopathic and natural remedies. Ships via airmail, worldwide, for free. I have no experience shopping from them. They sell all sorts of housewares and goods. (I have never ordered from them)

9Mart -  Sells all sorts of things - for $9 apiece. I have no experience shopping with them. they offer free Airmail (sent from Hong Kong) on all orders.

Tmart sells all sorts of stuff from China. (Again, I have no experience shopping with them). Free worldwide shipping.

Chocolate Circle - sells food-themed gift items (they all look like food). Shipping is free, and is sent out via airmail in Hong Kong. (I have never ordered from them)

Amazon UK ships here, but I found their fees slightly higher than I am comfortable with. (I have never ordered from them)

Debenhams  Sells Clothing, Shoes, Toys, Gifts, Housewares, and more (15 GBP for delivery though - I think that's high) (I have never ordered from them)

Focalprice - 8% OFF Over $35 Sitewide. Coupon code: JULYSAVE. Valid from 1, July to 31, July, 2012.

Still waiting for shipping information from: The Hunger Site Store (I have never ordered from them)

This post contains affiliate links that help support Frugal and Kosher! Thanks for your support.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Breakfast Cereal

Ynet compared the price of cereal across 3 supermarket chains - Rami Levy, Mega, and Shufersal

מחירי דגני בוקר

  יצרן מחיר ברמי לוי מחיר במגה מחיר בשופרסל הפרש בין המחיר הגבוה לנמוך
קלוגס פרוסטיס 750 גרם קלוגס 23.75 24.49 12.5 96%
פיטנס דגני בוקר אגוזי לוז 375 גרם פיטנס 20.6 21.89 12.5 75%
ספיישל K פירות אדומים דגני בוקר 300 גרם קלוגס 22 17.99 26.79 49%
דגני בוקר סיני מיניס נסטלה 20.6 27.99 26.99 36%
קלוגס אול בראן פלקס 500 גרם קלוגס 23.49 31.49 29.29 34%
האני נאט צ'יריוס 615 גרם נסטלה 20.6 26.99 25.99 31%
דגנים כריות 750 גרם תלמה 24.8 31.99 26.49 29%
צ'יריוז דגני שיבולת שועל נסטלה 17.9 22.99 20.79 28%
קראנץ' דגני בוקר לילדים 500 גרם נסטלה 19.4 19.99 24.79 28%
דגני ילדים קראנץ' רולס 450 גרם נסטלה 19.4 19.99 24.79 28%
קורנפלקס 750 גרם תלמה 16.49 19.99 17.9 21%
קלוגס קורנפלקס 750 גרם קלוגס 18.49 21.99 19.39 19%
כריות מצופות במילוי נוגט 700 גרם תלמה 25.3 29.49 29.99 19%
פיטנס דגני בוקר שקדים ודבש 625 גרם פיטנס 24.3 25.9 26.89 11%
פיטנס דגני בוקר 625 גרם קלוגס 24.3 25.9 26.89 11%

 To be honest, I really don't buy any of these cereals. What this price comparison told me is: Cereal is completely overpriced. People, let's all find a way to enjoy breakfast without buying these amazingly overpriced cereals! Not only do you get less-than-stellar brands, like Kellogs (I'm thinking about their reputation for using GMOs, too much sugar, preservatives, fillers, etc), but you get to pay more per box than I EVER used to pay for healthy, organic cereals!

Let's boycott cereal. For a whole month. I know, those mornings are tough enough. But here are some suggestions: Bake up a huge batch of muffins, enough for a week, and freeze whatever you won't use in the next 24 hrs. Take out muffins for breakfast before you go to sleep at night. Or make oatmeal. You can make oatmeal in your crock pot, and it WILL taste good (2 cups rolled oats + 4.5 - 5 c. water, try it. you can even add dried fruit or some coconut or almond milk to make it a bit different)! It will even keep your kids feeling full for longer than that bowl of cereal ever did. Or serve toast. Or fruit and a hardboiled egg. ANYTHING goes, just not cereal!

Can you tell I am getting fed up with the way we are being constantly overcharged?

Are you in?

Printable Coupon! (Israel)

This coupon is for Achlah brand "salatim", "Taamei HaShuk" line.
Coupon is good till July 31, 2012.
Redeemable at most supermarkets (But NOT at Mega Bool, AM:PM, Yesh, and Shefa Shuk)

Printable Coupon! (Israel)

Printable Coupon, Redeemable At Super-Pharm, for Sebo-Calm Triple Lotion.
SpF 29/Moisturizer/Evens Tone

Printable Coupon! (Israel)

Expires tomorrow!!
(Wow! How did I not find this till now?)

3 NIS off any purchase of Tzabar brand refrigerated "salatim" (400 g containers or larger)
Redeemable at Shufersal Deal/Extra, Shufersal Sheli, and Yesh

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Israeli Grocery Bills are on the Rise

Brace yourselves! Globes is reporting that food prices will be rising again. 
Apparently, suppliers think that they can get more money from the Israeli consumer, once again.
It's really very sad to think of all the exploitation that goes on. It shouldn't cost a fortune to feed a family!

Globes does report, however, that much of the rise in prices is due to the fact that Israeli shoppers are VERY brand-loyal. People, it is time to lose your loyalty to brands! It's one of the first facts of bargain hunting! Buy the cheapest one you can find, not the one you think is your favorite brand. For most products, there really won't be a noticeable difference. Or just make it from scratch! It will taste better and it will be healthier and usually, a lot less expensive...

I for one, will continue focusing on produce. Fresh produce, lentils, beans, rice... those form the basis of our diet. Of course we buy chicken for Shabbat, but we don't buy a lot, and we try really hard not to waste it. We only buy a certain amount of cheese and yogurt each week, and we figure it out. I probably buy more than a smaller family does, that would make sense, wouldn't it? But I have heard that Israeli families overbuy, especially when they are hosting guests... So let's all figure out ways to cut back without feeling like we are. Less food waste. Less brand loyalty. More fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables. What do you think?

How are you going to adjust to higher costs? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another Free Cookbook

Another free e-cookbook is available.
I just downloaded it - chances are it will be kosher, as it is vegetarian. How many vegetarian foods can't be prepared kosher?
This one is HUGE - 420 pages of recipes!
So, go ahead, download, (it is free!) and I hope you find some new favorites, whether they are main dishes, side dishes, breakfasts, or desserts!
Thanks to my friend Janice for letting me know about this one!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cornbread Muffins and Lentil Stew (Vegan Recipes)

It seems that even if you're sick, if you're the mother, everyone still expects  you to do everything, be everywhere, and take care of everyone. Sigh. Just can't get a break, although I haven't been running around as much with the kids as usual, just too tired (because I'm sick).

Funny thing, everyone needed to eat, and I could barely wrap my head around food.

So I threw together a lentil stew

Diced onion (1 medium)
diced garlic (3 cloves)
2 carrots, sliced
3 smallish potatoes, diced
1/2 bulb of fennel, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
Cook with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot, stirring often. When it's all smelling fragrant, add:
500 g green lentils, sorted and rinsed 
water to cover
salt, pepper, and oregano to taste.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 45 min.

And the kids said, "Is that all there is for lunch?" So I threw these cornmeal muffins together and they baked while we slowly ate our stew...

2 cups cornmeal
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt 
2 T. baking powder
1/3 c. oil
1 c. sugar
2 cups water + 1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c. ground flaxseed
1/8 c sesame seeds (they were sitting on the counter and I decided to toss them in)

Mix well, pour in muffin cups, and bake at 350 F for about 25 min.

I had a little bit of batter leftover so I cooked that bit up like pancakes and my girls LOVED them.

This post was shared with the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop on April 24, 2012

Why this is a great frugal meal - green lentils are CHEAP and filling. Combined with all those vegetables (most of which were purchased for under 2 NIS/kg) it's a filling, really inexpensive stew. The cornmeal muffins are cheap, too. and no eggs in them to bring the cost up! And it all tastes REALLY good. No one will guess you are cutting back on your food budget when you serve tasty, filling foods like this. You can add a salad to round out the meal, if it doesn't feel like "enough" to you - but my kids who were hungrier just helped themselves to more stew...)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Free e-book - Vegan Junk Food!

Right now you can get The Vegan Junk Food e-book for free!

Enjoy all the healthy recipes!

Printable Coupon - Israel

Coupon available for some lactation supplement.
Sorry I am not familiar with the product, so I have no further info.

Printable Coupon - Israel

If you have a Shufersal "Green" or Organic Market near you, be sure to print out this coupon for eco-friendly dish detergent!

Valid 22.4.2012 - 6.5.2012

Happy Earth-friendly savings!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Free museums and attractions

This Thursday, April 26, 2012, is Yom Ha'Atzmaut (celebrated), and this year, in honor of 64 yrs of the State of Israel, more than 64 attractions around the country will be open to the public at no charge.
Check it out and find a place you've never gone to, and go have fun! Last year we went to a museum that was free on Yom Haatzmaut, and it was almost completely empty. I think Israelis prefer their mangal in the park and sitting in traffic. I prefer free admission!

So, let me know where you'll be going! Just leave a comment below this post! (I'm thinking of going to the Old Train Station in Kfar Yehoshua. We've never been there and it's literally 5 min. down the road!)

You can also download the full list if that's easier for you (download link at the bottom of the page)

I haven't found the list posted in English anywhere yet, so here's my version of it:

Southern Attractions:
The Open Museum - Negba 050-55605540
Atar HaRiShonim BaNegev - Kibbutz Ruchama 08-680734
Yad LaIsha HaLochemet - Nitzanim 08-6727895 guided tours from 9am - 1 pm
M'Shoah La'Tkuma (From the Holocaust to the Building of the State) - Yad Mordechai 08-6720559, 052-3923107
Museum of Water and Security at Nir Am. 050-5709042
Mitzpeh Gvulot (Kibbutz Gvulot) 054-7919000
Ben Gurion's Cabin at Sdeh Boker (open from 10 am to 4 pm on Y. H.) 08-6560469
Maoz Mul Aza - Kibbutz Sa'ad (about the War of Independence) - 052-3726644
Merkaz Joe Alon - Lahav -  08-9913322
Yosef Veitz Mitzpe Revivim 08-6562570 \ 08-6562638
Metzudat Yoav Givati Museum 08-6611316
Eilat Museum 08-6340754

Added in from another source: The Open Museum, Omer 08-6492692
Jerusalem and Surrounding Area: 
Museum of the Old Yishuv Courtyard (Jerusalem) 02-6276319, 052-4002478
Givat Hatachmoshet - open 9 am to 5 pm 02-5828442 5829392/3  שלוחה 115
Beit Yellin (Motza) 02-5345443, 0524-257345
Gush Etziyon Visitors Center - Kfar Etziyon. Please schedule your visit by calling 02-9935160
Museum of the Prisoners of the Machtarot - Experiential Museum about Prisons during the British Mandate. 10 am - 4 pm  02-6233166
Tower of David Museum (Jaffa Gate) 02-6265333
Beit HaRav Kook 10 am - 4 pm. Rechov HaRav Kook 9 (center of town), Jerusalem 02-6232560, 02-6251517
Beit Shai Agnon 9 am - 4 pm. Rechov Klausner 16, Talpiot. Guided Tours at 10 and at 12. 02-6716498
Bank Of Israel Museum 02-6552828 ,  02-6552520, 02-6552718
Alone on the Walls of Jerusalem 02-6265922
Menachem Begin Heritage Center. Please schedule your visit by calling 02-5652020 02-5652011
Latrun 08-9784321

**Added in from another Source** : The Israel Museum in Jerusalem 10am - 5 pm  02-670-8811

The Bible Lands Museum 10 am - 2 pm
Tel Aviv and the Merkaz:
Independence House (Beit Ha'atzmaut) - The historic location from which Ben Gurion declared the establishment of the State of Israel. 03-5173942, 03-5106426
The Israeli Museum at the Yitzchak Rabin Center. 9am - 5 pm. Also free to the public on Wed (Yom HaZikaron) and Fri this week. Please call *4585 or 03-7453358 to arrange your visits, all visits must be booked in advance.
Beit Ben Gurion (Tel Aviv) 03-5221010 King George St, #38, first floor, Tel Aviv
Rokach House 03-5168042
Jabotinsky Museum 8 am - 4 pm. 03-5287320
Joseph Bau House 054-4301499
Toldot Tzahal Museum at the Old Train Station. 03-5172913 , 03-5161346
Etzel Museum 03-5253307
Haganah Museum 03-5608624
Lechi Museum 03-6820288. Guided tours available at 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, 1:30 pm, and 3:00 pm. Trivia Contest at 1 pm
The Etzel 1948 Museum 03-5177180 , 03-5172044Open 8:30am - 4:00pm
Nachum Gutman Art Museum 03-5161970
Husmasa Site 03-5050425
Mikve Israel Visitors Center 03-5030489
Rishon L'Tzion Museum 03-9598862, 03-9598890. Open 10 am - 2 pm. Guided Tours every hour. Special activities for children.
The Moshava Museum (Mazkeret Batya) 08-9349525 Open 10am - 4 pm.
North And Northern Coast:

Beit HaShomer at Kfar Giladi 04-6941565

Chatzar HaRishonim at Kfar Giladi Guided tours every hour 9am - 2pm. Meet at "Beit Rishonimim".
Birya Fortress 04-6922433 Open 9 am - 4 pm
Tel Chai Courtyard 04-6951333 Open 9:30 - 3:00. Guided tours every 45 min
Rosh Pinah Recycling Center 04-6936913. Movie every hour, followed by a guided tour. Open 10am - 2 pm

Beit HaMeiri (Tzfat) 04-6921939, 04-6971307
Chatzar Kinneret 04-6709117 Guided tours at 9:30 am, 11:00 am, 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm
Naharayim Experience in Old Gesher 04-6753336, 04-6752685
Palmach Cave 04-9898946, 052-4471109. Guided tours for families every hour from 9 am - 5 pm
Nahalal Historical Police Station - 04-6415073. Guided tours every hour from 10 am - 1 pm.
Sliq in Nahalal 052 3347194 . Guided tours every hour from 9 am - 3 pm
Kibbutz Yifat Museum of Pioneers in the Emeq 04-6548974 Open 10 am - 3 pm
Beit Chaim Shturman - Ein Harod 04-6486328
National Israeli Museum Of the Sea (Clandestine Immigration and Naval Museum) 04-8536249
Chomah U'Migdal - Kibbutz Chanita 04-9859677
Rakevet Ha'emeq (Kfar Yehoshua) 04-9534226

Clandestine Immigration Boat - Replica - Atlit. All tours must be scheduled in advance 04-9841980

Joara Museum - 04-9597402

Treasures of the Wall Museum in Akko - Eastern Wall of the Old City of Akko. 04-9911004 Open 10 am - 4 pm

Underground Prisoners Museum in Akko - 04-9911375

Beit Fisher in Kiryat Atta  - please schedule your visit between 9:30 am and 2 pm by calling 04-8440207

First Aliyah Museum (Zichron Yaakov) 04-6294777 open 10 am - 4 pm

Beit Chana Senesh - Kibbutz Sdot Yam (near Ceaserea) . Open 10 am - 4 pm 04-6364366, 052-8795366

Hagdudim Museum  09-8822212. Open 9 am - 4 pm. Guided tours, children's activities

Beit Feinberg and Khan Museum (Hadera) Jabotinsky St, #34, Hadera 04-6324562 Open 10 am - 3 pm. Guided tours on the hour. Khan Museum is at Hagiborim St. #74

**From another source** Madatech in Haifa  

The Open Museums at Tefen and Tel Chai

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Fridge Replacement Program

If you have an old, energy-guzzling refrigerator, you are in luck! The government announced on Tuesday that they will continue to subsidize the purchase of a new, energy efficient refrigerator for 10s of thousands more Israelis. The cost of your brand new fridge, if you purchase from the listed models, will be 30% off the list price. (This is a trade-in program. You must relinquish your old refrigerator to get the discount.)

The list of participating stores is available by clicking on the text that appears at the bottom of the "mini-site" רשימת החנויות המשתתפות במבצע 
In the Haifa area, for example, more than 15 stores are on the list.

The subsidized price will include a refrigerator with a full 3 year warranty, delivery, removal of, and disposal of, your old refrigerator.

Here are the available models and their respective prices. My one question is, why are they all rated "B" for energy efficiency? Are there no fridges sold here with an "A" rating?

     Brand          Model #     Capacity (L)      Price in NIS         Daily Energy Usage         Efficiency Rating

​חברה ​דגם ​נפח כללי (ליטרים) ​מחיר לצרכן בשקלים ​צריכת חשמל ליממה (קוט"ש) ​דירוג אנרגטי
LG​ GRB528​ 356​ ​1806 ​1.42 B​
HITACHI​ ​RZ470ERS9 ​398 ​1949.5 ​1.48 ​B
SAMSUNG​ ​RT45HSSW ​352 ​1953 1.25​ ​B
SAMSUNG​ ​RT59 465​ 2233​ 1.65​ B​
​BEKO ​DN156720 ​505 2415​ 1.64​ ​B
​LG GM749​ 511​ ​2940 1.62​ B​
​LG ​GM829 601​ 4700​ 1.80​ B​
​LG ​GRB238JTA ​581 ​5940 ​1.64 ​B

Unstuffed Cabbage - Vegetarian

Cabbage. Had some on hand needing to be used.

Here's what I did:

Shred cabbage. Put it in a casserole dish. Add 1/2 - 1 c. rice. Cover with veggie burgers (I used homemade black bean vegetarian burgers). Cover with a sweet and sour type tomato sauce, extra liquidy, as the rice will soak up a lot of liquid. (My sauce was 2 c. water (maybe more), 250 g tomato paste. 4-5 Tablespoons lemon juice, 3 T. sugar, salt and pepper. Mix well)

Bake, covered, at 425 F, for 1 -1.5 hrs. Serve hot.

Here is a basic recipe for veggie burgers: black beans, already soaked and cooked. Sauteed onion and garlic. ground flaxseed soaked in hot water, whole wheat flour, some oat bran, salt, pepper, parsley, cayenne pepper, whatever other spices you like. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse till semi-smooth. Form burgers (whatever size you like best) and place on a well-greased baking pan. Flip each burger, so both sides now have a touch of oil on them. Bake at 425 for about 25 min.

Shabbat Menu planning

Oh how I wish I wasn't sick. My ear has been hurting for a week. I can't hear so well out of it. I am run down. And yes, I am taking some meds to help, and going to the ENT on Sunday, thanks for your concern.

Anyhow, I figured I should know what my Shabbat menu is - I'll need to cook in bits and pieces, as I'm so worn down, and I need to make sure I don't take on more than I can handle...

Here's the plan:

Vegetable Soup for Fri nite
Cholent for lunch
Roast Chicken and Shnitzel from the freezer
Roast Vegetables
Fresh Vegetables
Carrot Kugel if I have the energy for it
I'll ask the kids to bake dessert if I'm brave enough to turn the kitchen over to them...

Thankfully, a good friend sent over some delicious homemade challot so I won't be making challah this week. That was a big relief. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Printable Coupon! (Israel)

Lots of coupons from newpharm! (Last day to use them is TODAY! - so hurry!)

Food items include Heinz Ketchup and instant coffee (2 of those "extras" I wrote about yesterday). Might as well be sure you're not overpaying for those extras!
Other coupons are mostly good on feminine hygiene products.

Printable Coupon! (Israel)

Free Car-Mirror Covers Just in time for Yom Ha'atzmaut!
Dress up your car in Israeli Flags to celebrate.
And it's free, from Shufersal Deal
Printable Coupon here

Thanks to Hudi for alerting me to this deal. I've been sick and missed it. Oops

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Supermarket Musings

Supermarkets are set up to get you to make impulse purchases. They use prominent displays for expensive items and big signs that look like sale signs to get you to think that perhaps the regular price is a sale price.

It's hard to wade through and come out happy on the other side. And it's hard enough in English (or whatever your first language is). In Hebrew, it can be quite the task. I have seen this - grocery shopping with people with a limited grasp of Hebrew is difficult and overwhelming. Thankfully, I am pretty comfortable in my 2nd language, so I don't often get tripped up at the supermarket. I try to come with a list and stick to it. Although, often my list has an under-developed category - like "whatever produce is cheapest", or something like that.

That drives my husband crazy when he has to do the shopping. He is totally like the couple in this Ynet video on changing Israelis grocery shopping habits. He buys whatever is on the list without looking at the price, as his goal is "get in and out as quickly as possible!" My goal is "get as much healthy food as possible without overpaying." I haven't yet figured out how not to overpay in this country of inflated prices. They are inflated by the importers, the stores, the transporters who have to pay 8 NIS for 1 liter of fuel to make deliveries... and it keeps going. Everyone wants a piece of my nonexistent paycheck. And I just want to feed my family and keep everyone nourished and healthy...

I noticed that Globes reported that Mega was the first store to raise prices on several items - that had been on special for Pesach - back to their regular prices. So I read the article. Here are the foods they mention by name that they used as a comparison: Taster's Choice instant coffee, Sugat Basmati or Persian Rice, Osem Ketchup, Nutella. They say 10 items were on the list, but these were the only ones that appeared in the article.

Seriously, how are we supposed to have any idea what the supermarkets are charging when the comparison shoppers look at items like this? This is not a normal, balanced shopping list for a family with kids. I know that milk is price-regulated, and some other things too, but even so, prices vary, as not all stores charge the maximum price! Wouldn't it be so much better to take a shopping list that REALLY reflects the way people shop (who buys instant coffee every week? Not me. Nutella? No way!)? I mean, the way people should shop? Things like milk, whole grain bread, basic dairy products, eggs, basic meats/poultry, legumes, grains, and rice (yes, they included rice) vegetables, and fruits? The extras like ketchup, nutella, and coffee are JUST EXTRAS. But we'll have to work on that. Israelis seem to think chocolate and coffee are the building blocks of healthy eating (and yes, I know, I too, am addicted to coffee... but not so badly...). I know that we eat a lot less meat and eggs than most people, so I think those items should be included in a comparison...

What do you think? Do these supposed price surveys mean anything to you? Do you think Israelis eat healthy food? I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Printable Coupon! (Israel)

New Coupon for Skinny Cow Ice Cream Available

Just like the Skinny Cow (Israel) page on Facebook, and you'll have a chance to print the coupon!

Printable Coupon! (Israel)

New coupon for Mega Brand Hazelnut-Chocolate Spread!
Just 5.99NIS for a 350 g jar.
Coupon valid April 15 - 21, so hurry!

Printable Coupon! (Israel)

New Tnuva Yogurt Coupons available.

Choose which store - Shufersal or Mega, and print them out!

Tamari and Noodle Vegetable Soup

It started out as a vegetable and potato soup, but after dicing one potato I decided to change it.

I diced: 1 large onion, 4 cloves garlic, 3 large carrots, 1 large potato, 1/2 head of cabbage, 2 stalks of celery.

Heat olive oil in pot, then add diced vegetables. Stir frequently while cooking. Cook them about 15 min. like this. Add Tamari sauce, a splash of vinegar, some honey, ginger, and ground black pepper. Simmer for 5 min or so. Add water to cover, and more. Bring to a rolling boil. Add a package of noodles. Cook for an addtional 5 min. Serve hot.

We made a meal out of this and some oat bran muffins (not very sweet).

Meal Planning

I'm under the weather, Pesach is over, there is almost no normal food in my house... a grocery shopping trip is in order! But I can't find sales circulars online today - so I don't know where to go.

Here's the basic plan for the week:

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Rolls with flaxseed, large batch so it will last several days

Red Lentil Sloppy Sams, large batch, made in the crock pot, enough to last 2 nights plus leftovers for lunch

Rice- huge batch

Black Bean "meatballs"

Potato Soup with vegetables (not sure which ones, we are low on EVERYTHING) - huge batch

Baked Ziti

I am working on filling this in - but I *must* minimize my cooking because I feel like if I don't rest a bit, I won't get better!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Post Pesach Pantry Stock Up!

My pantry is embarrassingly empty.

I must go shopping.

The things I like to buy are SO expensive at the health food store.

If I go to the health food store, I will overspend my budget for SURE...

Enter Vitacost.

In a price comparison, Vitacost came out over 20% less expensive than Whole Foods. (And WF seems positively affordable compared to health food stores in Israel!)

So - whatever country you are in, order some of your staples from Vitacost - it will save you money!

If you've never tried Vitacost, click here to sign up for a $10 coupon toward your first order. Shipping in the US is VERY affordable (Free or $4.99 /$9.99 to Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico). International Shipping starts at $10.99 - which is still in the "reasonable" range. (For orders over 3lbs, that rate goes up quickly, just be aware)

Another great option for ordering online is iHerb. They offer reasonable prices on tens of thousands of natural items, including food staples as well. You can get $5 off your first order by using code QEJ101 at checkout.
Shipping in the US is $6 or Free for orders over $40. International shipping is approx $6. Right now there are specials thru the end of April, offering free US shipping for orders over $20, and free international shipping for orders over $40.


I thought I would wake up this a.m. ready to get some serious chametz cooking and baking underway! Instead, I woke up with serious cooking burnout. How did that happen?

In any case, right now we are whipping up some chametz food for lunch, and maybe I will find some energy to bake bagels or rolls or something for supper...

Here's what we're having:

Spaghetti with tomato sauce and cheese
Make your-own-salad
All the leftover desserts from Pesach. They are still yummy, even if Pesachdik!

Is your kitchen back to normal? Are you cooking today - or taking a day off (WISH I could do that!)?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2 day "Chag" in Israel!

Well, it's not really 2 days of chag. It's chag and then Shabbat right after. But the effect is the same. More cooking than we are used to... But it hasn't been that long, really, so I think I can manage.

Here's what I'm cooking:

Food for Dairy meals:

Eggplant Parmesan
Quinoa and salsa casserole
Roasted Red Potatoes
Make your own Salad
Cheese pancakes
Carrot Kugel

Food for Meat Meals:

Vegetable soup with kneidlach
Chicken with apricot sweet and sour sauce
Carrot Kugel
Potato Kugel
Stuffed Peppers (stuffed with a quinoa/veg mixture)
Roasted Cauliflower
Make your own salad


Pesach Rolls
Banana-Coconut Cake


Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread

I'm tired just thinking about it. Gotta get back to the kitchen!
Chag Sameyach!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lotsa Matzah?

I have seen so much chatter out there about what to do with matzah. Some people got lots of matzah for free (I'm thinking of all those stores in the States that give you 5 lbs of matzah with your $50 purchase at this time of year), or nearly free (I'm thinking of a couple of stores here that had cheap matzah with a minimum purchase), and some people  just bought a lot of matzah...

So here are our favorite matzah-based foods:

Matzah Brei (break matzah into medium sized pieces, mix with egg and milk, or egg and water, whichever you prefer. season as you like - half of my family likes this savory and half like it sweet)

Matzah Pizza (spread tomato sauce on a piece of matzah. sprinkle with cheese and whatever other toppings you'd like. Bake for 5 min or so)

Matzah Lasagna (use it just like no-boil lasagna noodles!)

Matzah and Cheese bake: break matzah into bite size pieces. mix with cottage cheese or "white cheese", and some seasonings (I just used salt and pepper). Place in a baking pan and top with shredded cheese. Bake till bubbly.

What are your favorite things to make with lots of matzah on hand?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Homemade Cashew Butter

Several years when we lived in the US, I was able to purchase Kosher L'Pesach Cashew Butter. It was a splurge. But worth it, especially when I was still completely vegetarian.

My son is a vegetarian and I know he needs more protein now that he's 13 and growing like crazy. He has a fake peanut allergy, but he's willing to eat cashew butter.

I searched high and low, and could not find any Kosher l'Pesach cashew butter in Israel! (Well, I didn't really leave the North...)

Then my friend mentioned she was making her own almond butter for Pesach. After a little consultation, I decided to give homemade cashew butter a try!

I used 1 bag of roasted cashews and added a bit of oil during the processing...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pesach Brownies (Non-Gebrokts even!)

My husband grew up eating Pesach brownies from a package, the kind I call chemical brownies, and he always says they are the best.

I told him I could make Pesach brownies that taste WAY better than chemical brownies...

So here is my secret (not anymore) recipe:

(This makes 3 square brownie pans. All of my Pesach recipes are "for a crowd" - my apologies to those who don't cook in large quantity. Feel free to adjust as needed.)

4-5 eggs, beaten
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Mix well.
1.5 - 2 cups cocoa powder
2 cups potato starch
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
chocolate chips (I used half a bag because I'm stingy with my chocolate chips)
nuts if you like (I make them without nuts because certain members of my family think nuts ruin brownies. sigh.)
Mix well, with a wooden spoon.
Pour into baking pans and bake at 325 F (165 C) for 20-25 min
Note: this recipe needs some adjusting if you are doing higher altitude baking. I developed it when I lived more or less at sea level. Now that we're a bit higher up, I bake it for less time.

If you like this, please be sure to stay in touch by following my blog and find me on Facebook!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pesach Banana Cake

Somehow there were several mushy bananas in my kitchen today when I started cooking for Pesach. Really that rarely happens anymore, since my children eat plenty of bananas (although not as many as the guy we saw in the produce department at the supermarket the other day. As he stacked bananas into place, he pulled one banana after another off the bunches and ate them in 2 bites each. We saw him eat 7 (!!) bananas...).

So here's what I did with mushy bananas:

4 bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1/2 c. oil
2/3 c. sugar 
1/2 tsp vanilla
Mix well
2/3 c. potato starch
2/3 c. cake meal
1/2 c. shredded coconut
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
Mix well
Optional: Add
1/2 bag chocolate chips
 Stir till the chips are mixed in

Bake in a loaf pan at 350 F for about 45 min

Pesach Carrot Kugel

My daughter loves carrot kugel. She eats it all the time. She made one request for the Pesach menu: carrot kugel.

Pesach Carrot Kugel for a Crowd

10-12 carrots, chopped, cooked in water till soft, then pureed. 
After the puree is cooled off, mix in:
6 beaten eggs 
1 c. oil 
1 c. sugar 
1/2 tsp vanilla (I made homemade Kfor P vanilla this yr). 
When that is combined, add
3 c. potato starch 
3 c. cake meal (finely ground matza meal)
2.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Mix very well (best with a mixer). Pour into 3 med-large pans and bake for about 45 min at 375ish (190C)


I came up with a new carrot muffin recipe this year (2013) so be sure to check that one out too!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thank Goodness for Toaster Ovens

Toaster ovens. They have proven their worth to me time and time again.

We have shlepped them on road trips across the U.S., allowing us to have a hot meal in our hotel room (shh! I know, it was probably against the rules, but then again so is squeezing 6 pple into one hotel room) at the end of a day of traveling and sightseeing. Once, we made a road trip with only a cooler. Bagels and cream cheese got OLD fast. After that, we wizened up and broadened our road trip menus tremendously...

Then, we made Aliyah. No more 2 week road trips (where would you go, driving for 2 weeks in this tiny country?!)! But we got a toaster oven anyway. We bought one large enough to accomodate a lasagna pan. It has become my milchig oven. It heats up quickly, it has a convection bake feature, so it's pretty efficient at baking, and it sits in my kitchen (unfortunately my big oven is in my laundry room), making it THE MOST used small appliance in the kitchen.

Today, if not for the toaster oven, I probably would have just told the kids to have a junk party for supper! The kitchen is in the process of being kashered, so the oven can't be used. The stove can't be used. The fridge is nearly empty...

But I found a package of malawach still in the freezer, some fresh tomatoes, some olives in the fridge that needed to be finished, an open mango juice, and a container of yogurt.


Malawach (Baked 2 at a time in the toaster oven)

Fresh Tomatoes

Black & Green Olives

Mango-Yogurt smoothies

Phew. Supper was saved by the toaster oven! Thank you, toaster oven!

I know, I said 2 at a time and there is only 1 malawach in there. It was a package of 7...


Have I ever mentioned that cleaning is not my strong point? I am not very good at it. It brings up tons of anxiety. (And memories of childhood fights with my sister-neat person - about the state of our shared room.)

I am one of those people who doesn't put stuff away. I believe in the value of having lots of things out at the same time. I believe it makes me a more creative person (and I've even read articles about this to back me up, but I have no time to search them out right now), when I can see a wide range of things and figure out new connections between them. I am always in the middle of at least 3 books at the same time, and I believe that muddling things up helps me understand them on a deeper level. Maybe I'm wrong, who knows?

Having all the spices out on the counter, and a bunch of bottles of oil and vinegar also, may make my kitchen counter a mess, but it makes me a more inventive cook. I tend to forget to use things that are stashed away. Like my food processor. I used to store it in a cabinet. I never pulled it out - I just gave up making potato kugel since it seemed like such a hassle to get it out. But now that it's on my counter, it gets used! (Ok, so my milchig crockpot hasn't gotten as much use as I had hoped, even though it's been sitting on the counter. I guess my "keep it in sight" plan works most of the time, but not ALL of the time...)

So, with Pesach coming up and all the clean up that it requires (especially in the kitchen) - this task is very difficult for me.

But have a look - I scrubbed my stovetop!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pesach preparations

Today was the day to clean out the cabinets and put away all the assorted items scattered around my kitchen - 2 crock pots, popcorn popper, food processor, blender, Kitchenaid mixer,etc.

But my day got a little sidetracked, so I am behind schedule. I took some time to write about the distractions, if you want to know what happened! Check out my other blog to read all about it!

In the meantime, at least the oven is cleaned out (yay!) and the pantry has been organized and filled up with assorted small appliances in the spaces that used to contain food. And one large kitchen cabinet is empty. We're on the way to turning over the kitchen! It's exciting, and anxiety provoking at the same time...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reminder: Free Activities on Pesach!

Taking a family on a fun outing can be very expensive. That's why we focus either on tiyulim that are free for everyone or national parks we can get into with our park membership.

But on Chol Hamoed Pesach, there will be plenty of fun things to do that usually cost between a small fortune and a large fortune. But they will be free (thanks to Bank Hapoalim)!

There are 45 places all over the country: Click here for the full list (in Hebrew) or dial *2412 for more information.

Here's a partial list of attractions:

Museum at Lochamei Hagetaot
The "Even HaGalil" Festival in Maalot
Yaar Hayalim
Museum of Antiquities in the Golan
Park Qatzrin
Gan Guru/Gan Hashlosha
Willifred Museum
Haifa Zoo
Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art
Haifa Museum of Israeli Art
National Maritime Museum - Haifa
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Guttman Museum - Tel Aviv
Herzeliya Museum of Modern Art
Petach Tikvah Museum of Art
Latrun (Yad LaShiryon)
Bible Lands Museum
Jerusalem Botanical Gardens
Museum of the Old Yishuv Courtyard
Air Force Museum
and more

Many, many free places get very full very early. We went to Gan Guru last year and it was PACKED. We still had fun, but prepare for crowds.

We also went to Derech Ha'etz. It is less exciting, so less crowded. But still, there were plenty of people there.

Park Katzrin, in the Golan, was less crowded.

I heard that some of the museums reached full capacity early and shut their doors...