Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pesach Mandel Bread

Pesach Mandel Bread

3 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
4 T. oil
1 c. cake meal (finely ground matzah meal)
1/2 c. ground nuts (I used walnuts, as that's what I have in the house)
2/3 c. shredded coconut
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 bag chocolate chips (or other embellishment of your choice - nuts, etc)

Mix eggs, sugar and oil together. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add chocolate chips and combine. Refrigerate dough for 15 min or so (I've skipped this step). Divide into 3 parts, and form each part into a "log". Place on an oiled baking sheet (or lined with parchment paper). (Leave room between the logs, they should expand somewhat when baking). Bake for 20-30 min. at 350 F (about 175 C). Remove from oven, and cut each log into pieces. Then - spread the pieces out on the pan and bake for another 10 min.
Super yum. Amazing with coffee. 


Not-my-mother's Pesach rolls

Sorry, if you're looking for those sponge-caked based Pesachdik rolls that that they serve at hotels that are all the rage (I hear they make fantastic toasted garlic "bread"), this is not the place to look.

I really don't do recipes that require things like separating yolks and whites, beating whites into peaks, etc. I just don't enjoy that kind of kitchen work!

But the rolls.

When we first got married, after one Pesach in Israel sans family (that was a great Pesach in our apartment in Nachlaot - really, truly wonderful), we moved back to the States "for a few years", and we starting splitting Pesach between our two families - our parents live about a 3 hr drive apart, so we could easily split the time.

At my parents' house, my sweet husband was introduced to many Pesach foods that my mother had always made, but he hadn't ever had before!

A major hit: my mother's Pesach rolls. They are eggy and matzah mealy, and he loved them! Literally gobbled them up with just a sprinkling of salt. (I prefer to butter mine.)

So when we started making Pesach for ourselves and OUR guests, naturally I had to get my mother's recipe.
When I discovered that she used a dozen eggs for each  package of matzah meal she turned into rolls, I just said, "no way", and decided to play with the recipe.

The result is what you'll find below, after years of experimentation. Not only have I reduced the amount of eggs, I have also reduced the oil from the original recipe.

Not my mother's Pesach rolls

4 cups water
1/2 cup oil
1.5 T. sugar
1 tsp salt
1 package (500 g works perfectly) matzah meal
6 eggs
1/4 cup seltzer (room temp)

First in a large, shallow saucepan, bring the water, oil, salt, and sugar to a boil. Turn off flame. Add matzah meal, and stir well with a wooden spoon (DO NOT touch this mixture with your hands, it will be very hot). Remove from stove to a safe place on your counter. Allow matzah meal mixture to cool for at least 20 min. Add eggs and seltzer and mix it all really well. (If you need to use your hands to mix, that's ok, just be sure that the mixture has cooled off enough!)
Prepare a baking tray (I spread olive oil on mine) or two.
Using wet hands, form the mixture into balls and place on tray. I make about 30 rolls with this recipe, and they fly!
Bake at 190 C for about 20 - 25 min (sorry, I forgot to time it.) or until golden brown and puffed up.
They will deflate as they cool - but my husband can't get enough of them.

what's left of the last batch. these are deflated...

 Have you ever made this kind of matzah meal roll before?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Shabbat Pesach Menu

As I'm thinking about what to quickly cook for Shabbat, I was pretty grateful that on this sleepy "spring forward"-clock-changing Friday I do not have to bake challot!

Here's my Shabbat Chol Hamo'ed Pesach menu:

Matzot (yum, yum - actually, I don't think my tummy is so happy with matzot...)
Vegetable soup with kneidlach
Oven-fried chicken (coating: spiced matzah meal instead of spiced corn meal with flour)
Roasted Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli (I splurged)
Spinach Kugel (also splurged a few weeks ago when spinach was on sale)
Apple Crisp (crisp topping will be a mixture of matzah meal, cinnamon, ground nuts, sugar, and oil)

Now that Shabbat is long, we have to plan Seudah 3 better:
Pesach rolls
Matzah meal pancakes
Apples and Pears
Carrot muffins (if I have time to  bake them!)

Dessert will be brownies and mandel bread. (I'm hoping to post the mandel bread recipe later, If I can find any free time!)

Now I must get to work if I want to get it all done!
What are you making?

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook for more updates!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pesach Carrot Muffins

I really wanted to make something yummy to share with a gluten-free guest the other day, so I decided it was the perfect time to try out my idea for carrot muffins.

They ARE really yummy.

But, since it's a Pesach recipe, there is one odd instruction - do not try to remove them from the muffin papers until they are COMPLETELY cool. Just trust me on this one!

Carrot muffins - non-gebrokts

2 cups cooked carrots, mashed with a fork (reserve the water you boiled them in for your soup or something else)
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla, if you have KLP vanilla
1 c. potato starch
1/2 c. ground nuts
2/3 c. shredded coconut
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

First I mixed together the liquid ingredients (plus the sugar), then I folded in the dry ingredients.

Line muffin tin with paper baking cups. Fill each cup about 1/2 - 2/3 full. I decided to make them small, so I made 18 muffins.

Bake at 175 C for 35 min or so. (They seemed to take longer to bake than my regular muffins.)

Allow to cool completely before serving, or they will stick to the paper, even though they'll taste good!

My 5 yr old ate at least 4 of them today...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Style J coupon code

Just in time for your last minute shopping before Pesach!

If you need a new skirt, don't forget to check out Style J's great selection!

And use coupon code AN20H for 20% off all skirts!

Code valid 3/20 - 3/23

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Printable Coupon (Israel)

Do you buy those big jugs of yogurt?
You know, the ones with the handle?
Plain, drinkable yogurt...

Here's a coupon for a 1.5 liter bottle of Tnuva's Bio-Yogurt for 12 shekels!

Valid thru April 30, 2013

Pesach prep

My favorite things to do when I'm supposed to be cleaning for Pesach:

(In no particular order, I'm just procrastinating)

Have a cup of coffee and some fudge

Call an old friend

Do "research" for a blog post

Read a junky novel I checked out of the library

Arts and Crafts projects with my children

Bake some cookies


What's keeping you busy these days?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sending a free gift to the grandparents

I am going to try to do this, even though it is a crazy busy week around here!

Right now, you can get a free Collage Photo Print from Walgreens (It's in the U.S., for those who are unfamiliar with the store). It's in-store pickup only, so I will check to be sure my parents or in-laws can get to one. Then I will order my free photo collage and ask them to pick it up!

It'll be full of nice pictures of my children to brighten their Pesach.

At least I hope it will!

Just go to Walgreens Photo, order your 8X10 photo collage, and enter code COLLAGE4FREE at checkout!

The code is only valid through Wednesday, March 20, 2013, so hurry!

Thanks for the tip, Money Saving Mom!

How I type in Hebrew

Hi,I'm your resident tech guy, Ester's 14-year-old son.

When my mother needs to type in Hebrew (such as when finding all of the great deals she posts here), she always uses my program.

Here's something I wrote up about it:
Have you recently needed to type in Hebrew, but couldn’t, because of your keyboard language? Well, there’s a way to add it, but it can be difficult. I made a program that lets you do it, with no downloads, whether you use Windows, Mac, or Linux. It even works on phones! This is a virtual keyboard named TypeR. Not only does it simulate a standard Hebrew keyboard, it even lets you add vowels (nekudot)! To use this feature, simply press ctrl+alt, and choose one.

This wonder keyboard is completely free. You can view the website at The program itself is at I also maintain a blog about the site:

I’d love feedback on the TypeR keyboard and the website as a whole. I’m also constantly working on it, fixing the few bugs that crop up, and more importantly, adding features. Right now, the next version is nearly done, with several new features. I’d appreciate it if some people would beta test it. Don't worry, it almost always works, and even works better than the old version!

I hope you find this as useful as i do!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Free Attractions for Pesach 2013

NOTE: The updated list for Pesach 2014 can be found here!

Bank Hapoalim does this wonderful service for the country:  They sponsor free days at attractions all around the country for Chol Hamoed.

Here's the info for this year: Full days free are March 27 & 28. March 29 and 31 (erev Shabbat and erev Chag) are most likely shorter days, and you will need to check with the attractions regarding their individual hours of operation.

Here's the list of free attractions for this year. 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 leave a comment with your favorite place to visit (from this list)!

If you haven't already, please follow this blog (link on the right!), and 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  0508723920
The Golan Antiquities Museum  04-6961350
Park Qatzrin 04-6962412
The Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery  04-6315257
The Wilfrid Museum of Israeli Art  04-9899566
The Robotic Dairy 054-4962656
The Museum of Art at Ein Harod    04-6485701
The Treasures in The Walls Museum (of Acco) 04-9911004
The Museum of Pioneer Settlement in the Jezreel Valley 04-6548974

Haifa and the Northern Valleys:

Ein-Dor Museum of Archaeology 04-6770488
The Museum of the First Aliyah (in Zichron Yaakov) 04-6294777
The Janco-Dada Museum (Ein Hod) 04-9842350
The Haifa Zoo - 04-8372886 (open 10am - 3pm)
The Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art 04-8383554
The Haifa Museum of Art 04-9115997
The National Maritime Museum in Haifa 04-8536622
The Haifa City Museum 04-9115888
The Mane Katz Museum 04-9119372
Derech Ha'Etz 04-6620606
Gan-Garoo 04-6488060

Central Israel:

Tel Aviv Museum of Art 03-6077000
The Nachum Gutman Museum of Art 03-5161970
The Museum of Israeli Art in Ramat Gan 03-7521876
The Herzilya Museum of Contemporary Art 09-9551011
The Rishon L'Tzion Museum 03-9598862
The Design Museum - Holon 073-2151500
The Igudan Visitors Center 03-9555222
The Petach Tikvah Museum of Art 03-9286300
The Rabin Center Israeli Museum *4585
The Rubin Museum 03-5255961
The Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center 03-5339278
Massuah 09-8999563


Yad LaShiryon at Latrun 08-9784302
The Bible Lands Museum 02-5611066
Hasmonean Aqueduct Tour *6033
The Temple Mount Sifting Project *6033
The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens 02-6794012
The Old Yishuv Court Museum 02-6281266
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
The Museum of Water and Security at Kibbutz Nir Am 050-9672874
The Joe Alon Center for Bedouin Culture  08-9913322
The Air Force Museum at Kibbutz Chatzerim 08-9906853
The Negev Museum of Art  08-6993535
Ben-Gurion's Desert Home 08-6560469
Chai Negev - Ecological Village 08-6562688

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Printable Coupon (Israel)

Get your coupon for Meshek Tzuriel Yogurt!
Get 25% off Goat's milk yogurts! Make sure to click the link to claim yours!

Coupon valid thru April 30, 2013.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Is good food too expensive?

Israel now has a dubious distinction: we have become the country with the highest rate of diabetes-related deaths. Diabetes-related deaths are now the 3rd leading cause of death in this country, after cancer and heart disease.

I don't know WHY Israelis are dying from diabetes-related issues.

But I do want to discuss a theory that has come up - that more people are dying from diabetes-related issues because good, nutritious food is not affordable.

Is this true? Is it not possible to eat well and not spend a lot of money?

If it is true, I may as well shut down this blog. After all, I focus a lot of energy on finding ways to feed my family nutritious food without overspending.

Yes, some foods are incredibly expensive here. Fresh fish is out of reach for many, and most red meat (the kind not processed with soy fillers) is very pricey. So are cheeses that are not price controlled! (I'm thinking of that Cheddar cheese I saw, that can easily cost about 80 shekels/kg, and some cheeses were labeled with prices over 100 shekels/kg.)

And depending upon the season, some produce may be incredibly expensive.

So what do we do about it?

The latest study shows that the average family of 6 (like mine) spends about 3100 shekels/month on food (I lumped all the different food categories together). But I think that's high. I'm going to share some personal budgeting numbers here, in the interest of being REAL...

We set a realistic grocery budget - no more than 100 shekels per week per person in my family. So on average, we spend 600 shekels per week on food. Some weeks we spend a little more - I've at times done HUGE 750 - 800 shekel shopping trips, but this evens out later in the month when we'll spend only 200-300 another week, because during the HUGE shopping week we stocked up on all the rice, lentils, split peas, flaxseed, popcorn, corn meal, etc that we need for the month. We actually try spend a little less than 600 shekels/week, on average. Our monthly totals lately have been hovering around 2100-2200 shekels on food expenses, including any iHerb or Vitacost orders I might make.

I don't plan my shopping trips very well - I usually have a rough list of what I need to buy. I will write down general categories to help me stay focused, but to be perfectly honest, I am a price sensitive shopper. So even if I wanted red peppers, I won't buy them when they are 9.99/kg. No matter how badly I wanted them.
I may have wanted red apples - my children love red apples - but if yellow apples were on sale for half the price, we get yellow apples instead.

You get the idea.

One thing we don't do: we don't stock up on junk food. I won't say we never buy a bag of junk, but when we do, we do it knowing that it is a treat, an out-of-the-ordinary splurge that is not necessarily a healthy choice. But we try to practice moderation. We don't gobble up our treats. We try to practice self-control. And enjoy them a bit at a time.

I have a year's supply of chocolate chips on hand, but I use each bag as if it was the last one I had, so that we don't go overboard and use them too quickly.

But we DO eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. And homemade treats like muffins and my famously easy crackers. And for meals, we eat vegetarian food most of the time, as regular readers of this blog probably know by now. Vegetables are far cheaper than animal proteins. If you feel you MUST eat more animal proteins, you can find ways to stretch them. This will help you eat more plant-based foods, and will stretch your meat/fish/egg budget even further. We do, however buy chicken for Shabbat, a few dozen eggs/month, and a certain amount of cheese every week (enough to keep everyone happy. This family loves cheese. And pizza. And grilled cheese. And... I believe you understand now!).

So I would venture to state that I believe that healthy food is available, and is not out of reach. No, we don't eat everything available, there are foods we never purchase, we rarely eat out, but we eat good, tasty, nutritious food. And we spend less than 600 shekels per week doing that, for our family of six (including a teenage boy!). I think we may be able to do even better, but it is not always prudent to chase the sales. Gas for the car costs money, and time is limited.

We could certainly do better if we had a little garden, and my girls have started to lobby hard for that. I'll keep you posted if we ever follow thru on that idea! (My allergies make that difficult, but I would absolutely LOVE to grow some veggies one day...)

What do you think? Is eating healthy food too expensive?

Cottage Cheese Recall (Israel)

Strauss is recalling tubs of 5% cottage cheese, with a sell-by date of March 21.

They report there was a quality control issue and the cottage cheese is spoiling.

Consumers who have purchased this cottage cheese are requested to call Strauss' customer service hotline at 1-800-777-777 to arrange a refund.

image from

Monday, March 11, 2013

Medication List (Pesach)

If you are concerned about your medication (prescription OR non-prescription) containing Chametz, you can now use the handy-dandy searchable database that is available on Clalit's website (it's open to all, you don't need to be signed in to use it). It lists the medications that they have determined are acceptable for use on Pesach.

You have a choice of searching by the first letter of the medication's name in English OR Hebrew.

This list is probably only valid for the formulations that are sold here in Israel.

I'm not going to get into the halachic questions that may arise from this, please ask your Rav if you have questions about medications you take! Thanks for understanding.

My morning baking

I know what you're thinking! Baking bread, only 2 weeks before Pesach?

Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I baked rolls this morning, 2 weeks before Pesach. After all, we still need to eat, and I'm not up to kashering my kitchen early (and I wouldn't DREAM of doing that so far in advance)!

And just because Pesach is coming doesn't mean that suddenly we will start eating store-bought bread with questionable nutritional value. Nor will we give up bread, which is often the basis for our "busy-day" meals!

And, best of all, doesn't everyone love the way their house smells when bread is baking? What a great way to start the day!

So I baked rolls this morning - enough to send some sandwiches to work with my hubby, and for us to have with our soup and salad lunch, and enough for tomorrow night's sloppy-sams!

Looking for the recipe? I used my favorite, made the dough last night, and shaped the rolls this morning!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Menu for the week

My goal for this week is to shop for things I need for Pesach, and perhaps fill in a few fruits and veggies we're low on, and USE what is in the house!

Here's my supper plan for the week:

(Lunches will either be sandwiches or leftovers from previous meals - I'll be baking fresh bread Monday, I hope, since I still have flour hanging around!)

Sunday night: Spinach pancakes, Whole Wheat Spiral Pasta with tomato sauce and shredded cheese
Monday night: Shabbat Leftovers
Tuesday night: Tomato soup with rice, Red lentil sloppy sams on rolls, kohlrabi, carrot, and celery sticks
Wednesday night: Red lentil soup. Pizza, Salad with whatever veggies we have
Thursday night: Some sort of stew, Twice baked potatoes, and whatever veggies are left!

Shabbat this week is coming out of the freezer, except for a black bean cholent, and maybe a breakfast cake...

Here's to a successful Pesach-preparation week, both learning-wise and cleaning-wise. And even shopping-wise. I must start crossing items off my list!

Save at Vardinon Home!

Shopping for kitchen items/home goods for Pesach?

I just found a coupon code for Vardinon Home!

Use code EdenPass for 50 shekels off your purchase.

Code valid thru the end of March.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Shabbat menu!

Just 2 and 1/2 weeks left till Pesach!
I can't really wrap my head around that reality, though. We have started making lists of things we need to buy and errands we need to do before the chag. But haven't really done much REAL preparation.

Where do you stand in your Pesach prep?

I'm trying to use up the foods that are in the house before we switch over to Pesach prep, and also not get completely overwhelmed with cooking right now!

Here's the plan:

Homemade Challot (last batch before Pesach. Making enough to have small challot for all the Shabbatot until Pesach)
Vegetable soup with noodles (a favorite around here)
Mushroom-Barley Stew in the crock pot for lunch
Chicken - probably oven-fried
Green Lentils with garlic, onion, fennel, and oregano
Potato Kugel
A side dish from the freezer - not sure what's in there!
Chocolate Cake from the freezer!

Seudah Shlisheet is starting to need more thought, with Shabbat beginning to end late enough that in theory the kids are hungry enough for supper at that time, we'll have to come up with a plan. Lately we've been having lots of cut up fruits and veggies, and some challah with speads...

What about you?

Easy Vegetable Soup

When making a vegetarian vegetable soup, I always saute all the veggies (I use a lot of vegetables!) in extra virgin olive oil, then cook, covered, to reduce, for 10-15 min. before adding any liquid. I don't know, I just think it tastes better this way in the end. I use onions (2 medium), garlic (5+ cloves), celery (2-5 stalks, depending on my mood), carrots (I often use as many as 8), zucchini/kishuim (2 or more large), and other veggies as the mood hits me. I season it with loads of fresh parsley and fresh dill, and freshly ground black pepper and salt. It's a really easy soup.

I often add egg noodles to make a vegetable-noodle soup.
This is one of my family's favorite ways to eat tons of vegetables.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Israeli food

Some of you live in Israel. And that's great! And some of you don't live here, at least not yet!

So if you live in the U.S. and you miss some Israeli products, I just stumbled across a website for you to shop at - !

I know there were times when I lived in the U.S. that I missed things that were quintessentially Israeli. And when we lived in S. Florida, it felt really warm and fuzzy to be able to go into one of the "Israeli" markets there and buy all sorts of products with labels in Hebrew! Not to mention just sending my then 10 yr old in with some money to pick up whatever was on my list, while the baby slept in the car! Not sure how that would have gone over at Publix, but at the Israeli store, they were totally fine with it!

(Although, now that I live in Israel, I have a whole other set of "I miss" products. I mostly miss health-foodie type products or junk-foodie type products that we used to get in the U.S...)

It's also perfect for those of you who live in the U.S., but don't have a great selection of kosher food available locally. They deliver all over the country! Could be JUST what you needed right before Pesach! (I remember when I was a child going with my parents on a 3 hr drive to the nearest city with enough of a Jewish community to have a substantial selection of specialized products for Pesach...)

I'd love to hear about it if you give it a try!

Printable coupons (Israel)

More Tnuva coupons are available!

The newest ones include the following "treats", and are valid at most supermarket chains.
Expiration dates vary, so check each coupon's fine print!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

New Style J Discount Code

Use coupon code NS30A for an amazing 30-70% off your purchase at Style J!
Choose from a really great selection of skirts, many modest and fashionable styles are available.
Shipping is least expensive within the US, but they do offer international shipping as well.

Code valid thru March 4

Lentil and Vegetable Skillet (with egg noodles)

I had to make a quick lunch, that would be filling and relatively nutritious, and here is what I came up with:

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
3 medium carrots, cut up
1 large potato, diced, or cut how you like!
1.5 cups uncooked green lentils
water to cover, and more
seasonings: I used salt, pepper, turmeric, and cumin
egg noodles, broken into small pieces (I used about 1/3 of a package, but your skillet and veggies could be a different size, so you may need more)

Heat oil in a large skillet, add diced vegetables. Cook, while stirring occasionally. When the vegetables are softened and browning a bit, add lentils, water, and seasonings. I used enough water so that it looked very soupy. Bring to a boil, then simmer. When the lentils are fully cooked (about 20 min), add the egg noodles, and cook for another 3-5 min. Serve hot.

Affordable organic veggies!

Just wanted to let all of you, my readers in Israel, know about this great deal - too good to pass up - from Eden Teva Market online this week!
(I don't get any commission from them, just announcing this as a public service)

That's right! Organic tomatoes for 2.99/kg! And also other vegetables, including:

Organic Cucumbers
Organic Potatoes
Organic Carrots

If you live in their delivery area, this may be a great week to place order!

Here's the fine print I found: Minimum order is 150 shekels, not including delivery charges. Limit of 3 kg per sale item. Sale prices valid thru March 5, 2013.