Monday, December 30, 2013

Price Controlled Food Update!

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Today's big food news is that prices for dairy products will be coming down.

The following dairy products are being added to the list of price controlled foods:

5% white cheese (gevinah levanah) - 250g - 5.23
Sweet Cream, 38% fat -- 250g --6.60

Other dairy products currently on the price controlled list are supposed to go down in price by 1.1%

Hopefully this drop in the bucket will help!

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Meal Planning (for the week)

This week I'm doing very minimal shopping - my freezer is pretty full, and there's no reason not to use up some of what I've stockpiled.

This is NOT a pantry challenge, so I will buy some things besides milk, but I don't plan to do a large amount of shopping...

Sunday: lunch: spaghetti with tomato sauce and cheese, carrots and peppers with chumus for dipping
Supper: Mushroom-barley soup, fresh rolls, tomato, red pepper, and avocado salad

Monday: lunch: corn bread, lentil patties with sweet and sour sauce (from the freezer), southern fried cabbage
Supper: whatever soup I find in the freezer, rice and eggplant casserole (from the freezer), kohlrabi and carrots with chumus

Tuesday: lunch: leftover soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tomato, red peppers, and kohlrabi
Supper: Red lentil soup, stir-fried vegetables with rice, ??

Wednesday: lunch: whatever is left from the week
supper: homemade pizza, salad, oven-fries

Thursday: lunch: sandwiches, carrots and chumus
supper: Red lentil soup and ???

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Menu planning for the week

My menu this week (I need to use up stuff that's in the house -- not only did I go over-budget last week, but my freezer is kind of full too!):

Sunday - lunch: chopped salad (finally got all my kids to eat salad, instead of having to dirty multiple bowls with a make-your-ow-sald! this is HUGE) and whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and cheese
supper: red lentil and vegetable soup, roast potatoes, and southern fried cabbage (the vegetarian version)

Monday: lunch: red lentil soup (from Sunday night), sandwiches, carrot and red pepper sticks
Supper:  fresh rolls, black bean burgers, tomatoes, pickles, roasted red peppers, rice, sauteed butternut squash

Tuesday: lunch: cornbread, rice and black beans with salsa, tomatoes, and avocado
supper: vegetable soup, pasta with cheese, carrot sticks, tomatoes

Wednesday: lunch: vegetable soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, salad
supper: grilled cheese sandwiches, oven-fries, squash soup, salad

Thursday lunch: squash soup, leftovers from the week
supper: split pea soup, casserole from the freezer, carrot sticks, red peppers, and tomatoes

I'm planning to only buy milk and cheese this week - everything else is already here in the house!

How's your stockpile -- is it too well stocked, like mine?

What are you all eating this week?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Pesticide Residue in Fruits (Israel)

Last year, I posted information about pesticide residue in produce in Israel.

I've been waiting for the updated list, but so far, all I can find is an updated fruit list.
At this point, some of these fruits are out of season, but not all.

So here is the list of the most contaminated fruits this year:


The cleanest fruits this year are: 

Organic Lychee

I know this list seems like it's a mile long... 
I'm hoping that the more these pesticide residue rankings get publicized, the closer we'll get to major changes...

If you found this information useful, please share it with your friends! And don't forget to like my Facebook page!

Great Sale (Books with free Worldwide Shipping!)!

Ok, I may write about food and coupons and all that, but if you haven't figured it out yet, I'll let you in on a little secret: I like to stay up late reading, curl up in a corner reading any time of the day actually -- yes, I'm pretty much a book-a-holic.

So I am always looking for a way to add to my collection without going broke. And now I can...

Here's how:

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Buy Books, Spread Literacy

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sweet and Salty Popcorn Snack!

I was in the mood for a sweet and salty snack, so I decided to experiment with popcorn, since I somehow have a lot of popcorn in the house right now!

So here's how to make this addictive snack:

1. Pop a whole lot of popcorn and spread it out on the largest baking pan you have. I recommend lining your pan with baking paper or foil, or whatever you like to line your pans with, because otherwise you will end up with an impossible mess to clean up, like I have. Seriously regretting not lining the pan!

2. Prepare a pot. Add 1/4 c. coconut oil (you can use butter instead), 1 cup sugar, 1/4 -1/3 c. molasses, 1/2 - 3/4 cup water, and a few pinches of salt to the pot. Heat the pot on the stove, stirring frequently. eventually it will be more or less liquified and combined. Remove from stove. Add 1/4 tsp vanilla and a pinch of baking soda. Mix well.
Allow mixture to cool somewhat. Pour this mixture over the popcorn and stir it carefully to coat.

3. Bake at a low temperature (I set my oven to 100C) for about 30-45 min, stirring occasionally.

Cool and serve.

Now I am just trying to wrestle it away from my kids! I want some too! (And I want to put some away for my husband to try when he gets home from work.)

This is my new go-to snack!

Will you be trying it out? Let me know what you think!

p.s. my husband says this tastes like Cracker Jack...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Menu for the week

I find it much easier to make sure we don't get "stuck" when I plan my menus for the week. Do you plan? If you do, feel free to link up your plan to mine, if you have it online somewhere!

Breakfasts: oatmeal with milk and cinnamon sugar or muffins from the freezer, clementines (cuz we still have a whole lot of them)

Lunches: whatever I manage - soups, sandwiches, cut veggies with dips...
Snacks: fruits, muffins, popcorn...

Sunday: Leftovers from Shabbat (embellished with something, since we basically have lots of black bean cholent and potato kugel left - maybe I'll make some sort of vegetable patty to go with it?)

Monday: Split pea soup, stuffed baked potatoes, salad

Tuesday: Tomato soup, cheesy rice and green vegetable casserole, spicy roasted carrots

Wednesday: Split pea soup, Pita pizzas, avocado

Thursday: any leftovers, or I will have to pull something out of the freezer

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Comparison Shopping

There has been a lot of talk lately about rising prices.


This includes online stores, where I buy specialty items. Yes, the price increases have taken hold there too.

I have been doing most of my specialty grocery/cleaning supplies/hygiene products from although if you are in the US, you can use Amazon, and with their Subscription offers, you can get a great deal!

I knew that often I was paying a slight markup over Vitacost, but the tradeoff was 4 lbs would ship here for $4 versus 3.4 lbs shipped from Vitacost for $10.99. So overall, my orders were costing less.

But recently, when I noticed that some of the prices of items I usually buy seemed a lot higher than they had been, and I started to wonder which would make more sense for me.

So, I just did a price comparison of my shopping list on iherb and vitacost -- I had to take out 2 small items to keep it under the threshold for expensive shipping at vitacost.

Here's what I found:

Seventh Generation Free and Clear Dish Detergent  - iherb price: $4.40, vitacost price $2.80
Bob's Red Mill Baking Powder (aluminum free)  -  iherb price $4.66, vitacost price $3.29
Ricola cough drops  -- iherb price for 24: $2.66, vitacost price for 50 $4.49

iherb total including shipping:  $15.72 
Vitacost total including shipping: $21.57 (ok, so I get twice as many Ricola cough drops with this, but I got to throw in a freebie in my iherb order - so it evens out)

So in this case, it still makes sense for me to order from iherb, as it comes out cheaper despite the higher retail prices. But for some items it really may make sense to order from Vitacost.

I will just have to go back to comparing carefully.

If you've never shopped at vitacost, you can get $10 off your first order of $30 or more by registering here.

If you've never shopped at iherb before, you can get $5-$10 off your first order with coupon code QEJ101, or just click here and the code will be entered into your shopping cart.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chinese-Style Mushroom Soup

I was inspired to make this soup when looking through one of my all time favorite cookbooks , The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest, and because some of the ingredients were a little too specialized for me, I've adapted it to work with things I normally keep in my kitchen.

I've been making it for years and years now, and it is really a favorite! Too bad fresh mushrooms are pricey here, or I'd make it almost every week.

Here's what you need:

Fresh mushrooms, sliced (at least 1 pint-size container, more is better though, if you can manage)
5-6 green onions, white and light green  portions (set aside the darker part for garnishing the soup), sliced
2-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
 olive oil for sauteeing
tamari sauce
red wine
honey or sugar
crushed black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add green onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook for about 5 min, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms. Stir occasionally, cook till reduced to about half. Add  tamari sauce (I used about 1/2 cup), some vinegar (I didn't measure, probably about 1/4 cup), and 1/4 cup red wine (I used the end of a bottle that had been open for a while). Stir and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 min

Look at all those mushrooms!
this the pot simmering with tamari, vinegar, and wine... mmm
Then add 2 T. honey or sugar, and some black pepper (depends how spicy you want it). Stir well. Add several cups of water to fill your pot to at least 3/4 full. Bring to a boil. Five minutes before serving I toss in the reserved green onion tops (sliced thinly), cuz I won't serve raw onions of any kind at the moment. I don't do that on Shabbat though.

Taste it to be sure you don't need to add more Tamari sauce or vinegar. This soup should be very flavorful, I just don't know how big your soup pot is!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cashback from iHerb!

iHerb has a really great year-end deal going on right now.

If you spend $100 during the month of December at iHerb, you'll get a credit in your account for 10% of your December order totals to spend in January!

It's a great deal, and I am definitely going to be taking advantage of it!

Here are some of the products I'm thinking of ordering:

Dishwasher Detergent Gel

Dishwashing Liquid (this is the only dishwashing liquid I have ever found that doesn't make my eczema flare up)
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (I order this once a year to make my Hamantashen. They just aren't the same with regular whole wheat flour. I know it's a bit early, but I can just keep it in the freezer...)

Dagoba chocolate bars

Unbleached Muffin/Cupcake liners

Mighty Maple Peanut Butter (seriously delish!)

Aluminum-Free Baking Powder

Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa (this is a real indulgence)

and other things that I can't think of right now!

What will you order?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Spicy Roast Sweet Potatoes

This is my new favorite way to eat sweet potatoes.

It's also really easy. Really, really, easy.

Here's what you need:

Sweet potatoes
Olive oil
Black Pepper
Smoked Paprika
Granulated Garlic (yes, I do this the lazy way)
Cayenne Pepper

Peel the sweet potatoes, or scrub them. I usually leave the peels on.

Cut sweet potatoes into chunks, and place in a baking pan.

Add spices and olive oil.

Mix well to coat evenly- I used my hands. Yes, I washed them. I compulsively wash my hands when I cook... should I not have said that?

Bake, uncovered, at 210 C till the sweet potatoes begin to carmelize (about 45 min). You may want to gently stir halfway through cooking time.

Serve hot or cold. 

What's your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes?

Shabbat menu planning

Phew! It's been a busy week!

Hope everyone enjoyed their Chanukah! Ours was very nice, full of light and songs and games, but we didn't do presents this year. And the kids didn't even ASK about presents! I was thoroughly amazed, but I think that may be what happens when everyone is satisfied with what we have. I'm really hoping this stage lasts awhile, because it is so much more pleasant than the "I wants"...

This week, a bunch of us are having a potluck lunch at the shul - so much fun, and always great to share the work among a bunch of people!

Here's my plan:

Challot from the freezer
Muffins for breakfast from the freezer

Friday night:

Chinese mushroom soup (haven't made this soup in a while, but I've been missing it. I'll try to post the recipe - I took my inspiration from the one in The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest)
Oven fried chicken
Pan Fried Tofu for the vegetarian
Potato Kugel
Apple crisp
Roasted Kishuim

For lunch at shul I'm bringing:

Potato Kugel
Spicy Sweet Potatoes

I don't think I am baking anything for dessert, we have plenty of fruit though if we need a dessert Friday night!

On these short Shabbatot, we don't end up having a formal seudah shlishit, but we usually have some sort of snack. I guess we'll wing it. 

What will you be doing for Shabbat?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Guacamole goodness!

Today I bought some must-be-used today avocados! They were going for a song. I bought five.

Then I was gifted at least ten more.

We ate a lot of avocado for lunch...

And now, I'm making guacamole! Some will go in the fridge to be used this week, and some will go in the freezer to be used... whenever!

It's so easy to make guacamole.

All you need is:

lemon juice

I threw it all together and pureed it in the food processor.

You can embellish your guacamole with all sorts of things, but for freezing, I find it's best to keep it simple, and embellish later.

Do you feed your freezer when you find great deals? I'd love to hear about it!

Printable Coupon - soy yogurt

Looking for non-dairy yogurt and pudding?

Now you can try the new Tnuva brand soy yogurt and pudding for 25% off.

The printable coupon is valid thru January 31, 2014, and is redeemable at Shuferal stores, Mega stores, and Eden Teva stores.

Let me know how it is!!

Shopping Online with free Worldwide Shipping

Have any of you ever shopped at StrawberryNet?

Haven't heard of it?

They sell all sorts of brand name cosmetics and skin care products, which retail here in Israel for a minor fortune.

StrawberryNet sells them for less than the local retail price. And offers free shipping worldwide.

Haven't tried it yet? Try it now and get an extra 5% Off + Free Gift for New Customers at StrawberryNET!

I'm really not a big cosmetics buyer, but I'd love to hear feedback from real people - are these prices better than what you've found here in Israel?

Please let me know what you found worth buying from them!

Also, don't forget to check out my list of sites with free/low cost shipping to Israel if you're planning to do some shopping!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Books, Books, and More Books!

Ouch. I just ordered books using the Black Friday code, and now they announced a better sale! 
Well, you all can save big, if you didn't order during the Black Friday Sale... I may, in fact, order some more books that have been sitting on my wishlist...

Shop the Better World Books Cyber Monday Sale and save big on used books!

--- Retrieved from ---

NO Coupon code needed! Just order 6+ books from the Bargain Bin and get 20% off your order!


Starting today!

Don't miss out!

And of course, there's always free worldwide shipping!