Monday, February 23, 2015

Menu Plan for the week

Hi everyone! It's Monday afternoon already. That seems to be the time I get around to sitting down and planning my weekly menu. I guess I'll just have to go with it for now. 

Doesn't life always seem to get busy?

I know it's easiest to function when things are busy when there is some sort of plan in place, so here's my menu plan for the week (feeding the family seems to be one of those things I just can't skip):

Lunch: Vegetable soup with noodles
Supper: Embellished Shabbat leftovers

Lunch: Red lentil soup (spiced with onion, garlic, turmeric, ginger, hot pepper, and salt. Yum)
Supper: Grilled cheese sandwiches? cucumbers, carrots, and red peppers

Lunch: Pancakes, veggies
Supper: Baked ziti, salad, steamed kishuim

Lunch: PB&J Sandwiches, veggies
Supper: Tomato soup with rice, tuna patties, salad

Lunch: any leftovers from the week
Supper: Vegetable soup, Spaghetti with tomato-vegetable sauce (and cheese for the cheese eaters), salad

Friday, February 20, 2015

Shabbat Menu!

Surprise! We are home for Shabbat instead of going away.

This means 2 things - we did have to do some shopping this week after all, but at least we took advantage of it and got a couple of 9 shekel/kg chickens (and promptly froze them, as whole chicken was not in my plans this week), and we'll be colder than we'd thought, as our heat doesn't work so well... one day we'll save enough to actually replace it with a better system for our first floor.

But we shouldn't be too cold! It's amazing how much the platta, when placed in the middle of the kitchen, warms the downstairs of our house. And we have nice, warm down comforters ! And I really really want to just stay home wrapped in a blanket this Shabbat if I have to be home.

But anyways, here's my cooking plan:

Challot (from the freezer)
Vegetable soup
Oven-fried shnitzel
Garlic and herb chicken wings
Tofu shnitzels for the vegetarian
Kugels from the freezer
Make your own salad
Black Bean Cholent

Dessert will be chocolate chip cake and cinnamon cake

And I don't know what Seudah Shlishit will be, but by the time Shabbat starts, I'll have something.

What's on your menu?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lower Electric Rates!

Recently, the electric company announced that electricity rates would be lowered.

UPDATE: Rates are lower again now (October, 2015, with the reduction in VAT)

Here's the new, lower rate for those with a standard electric meter:  ​53.33 agurot per kwh (including ma'am/VAT).

Please use this new rate when you calculate your operating costs for your lights and appliances.

I wrote a long post about Electric Bills back in November, look it over, as it will help you find ways to lower your bills!

And if you simply want to know approximately how much your appliances are costing you to run, check out the Electricity Cost Calculator my "tech-guy" son made! It's been updated to reflect the new, lower rate.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Asparagus hunting!

By now, my kids know quite well that if we go hiking (or tiyuling) in February, I am most likely going to start searching for the elusive favorite plant of foragers, asparagus.

Yes, you can forage asparagus, especially in the Galil. I haven't found any in the Golan yet, but I have found plenty in a variety of places in the Galil.

staring into an asparagus patch
It takes a lot of looking. I stared at a particularly large patch of asparagus for a good 30 seconds before discerning those new small shoots that are still edible!

Asparagus is really only edible if you find shoots that are young. If you wait too long, they get woody and tasteless and even thorny. Not so good.
But if you catch them at the right time - you'll find gorgeous shoots of varying thicknesses, that are very tasty!

In my experience, asparagus patches that are right next to the beaten path are nearly always picked clean of new shoots by the time I find them, but if you're willing to go off the path even just a few feet, you can find some!

we found asparagus!
You'll recognize an asparagus patch by it's thorny overgrowth. Asparagus shoots that are not picked when young will keep growing and will send out offshoots which will open up into a very fine thorny foliage. So look for those. And then peer closer to the ground, at the edges or in the middle, if it's growing around a tree, and look for those gorgeous asparagus shoots!

Once you've found them, you'll know they are still tasty because you can just simply break them off with nearly no effort.

My kids tend to get annoyed with me, though, as my asparagus hunting seriously slows down our outings. But, well, they will just have to put up with it once a year in February!

I hope you find some too!

p.s. if you like the "bandana visors" my daughter and I are wearing the picture above, I still have some for sale. Please email me at for color availability and pricing information!

Weekly Menu


 I haven't had a chance to plan my weekly menu! I keep getting caught up on the roller coaster ride of life. But I'm planning now, it's better late than never.

So here goes:

Picnic lunch - leftover challah with salads and spreads
Supper - Shabbat leftovers

Lunch: Reincarnated Cholent Soup (added tomato paste, lentils, spices, and water to it), sandwiches, avocado
Supper: Pasta, Salad, and some precious asparagus (that I foraged)

Lunch: Vegetable-noodle soup, cucumbers and tomatoes with techina
Supper: Tomato-rice soup, Lentil patties,  baked potatoes,  whatever vegetables I find

Lunch: leftover soup, corn muffins, ??
Supper: Crock pot split pea and vegetable soup/stew, ??

Lunch: all the leftovers from the week, or whatever I find in the freezer (I know there are random containers in there!) if there are no leftovers
Supper: Homemade pizza, oven-fries, and salad

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Kindle Sale!

I love having Kindles.
 My reading-all-the-time-son loves having a Kindle.
My other son loves having a Kindle.
We really love reading and Kindle has changed our lives...
And right now Kindles are on sale for $20 off!

And I've even downloaded the Kindle e-reader to several other devices that are not Kindles. - Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

You see, I pretty much stalk the Kindle store for books that I think I'll like, or that I think my kids will like, or that are relevant to our current learning projects (right now we are focused on art and dance, can you tell it's just the girls at home right now?)... and I snatch things when they are on sale or free.
You can also access library collections with your US library card. (Not that I've ever been able to do it, but I have friends who do, so I KNOW it is possible!)

So, I highly recommend downloading the Kindle app for your tablet or pc or possibly even your phone, and get tons of reading material.

Unless you aren't a book junkie. I AM a book junkie.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Food Recall!

Since some of my readers buy this product, I'm sharing the following recall:

"Hod Chefer" brand Spicy Chicken Sausages (Hot Dogs?) are currently being recalled due to a possible listeria contamination.

The recalled products are sold frozen in 400g packages and have expiration dates of 28/01/16, and have barcode #  7290002686194 on the package.

The product is currently being removed from store shelves. Consumers who have purchased this product are being asked NOT to eat it, and to return it to the store where purchased for a refund.
Customers can call the company at 04-634-9889 with questions.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Menu Plan for the week

By now, you all know how I feel about menu plans. Having one is good, even if I don't stick to it perfectly. Not having one means we are always scrambling and we don't eat anything resembling balanced meals. SO -- here's my plan for suppers for this week:

Sunday night -Vegetable Soup, Tuna Patties, Oven-fries

Monday night - Shabbat Leftovers

Tuesday night - Sloppy Sams on Fresh Rolls, Salad, Roasted Root Vegetables

Wednesday night - Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Tomato soup with rice, carrots and cucumbers

Thursday night - Pasta of some sort, Make your own salad

What about lunches, you ask?

Good question.

I've been having a harder time with lunches lately, and I'm not sure why. Maybe when I say "I'll serve leftovers" I forget that with one teenage boy and one almost teenage boy in the house, there are rarely any substantial leftovers around. So I plan to serve pasta some days, soup other days, and we'll supplement with sandwiches, vegetables, eggs, and fruit. We are well stocked with peanut butter!

The end of the week will likely be a little nutty, as we plan to host yet another kiddush. I'll post my plan for that soon!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Shabbat Menu

This week's menu is going to feature all the produce I got from the sug bet rack, and some other things I have in my house. We did not do any big shopping this week!

Here's the plan:

Whole Wheat and Oat Bran Challot

Vegetable Soup (got kishuim and celery from the sug bet rack, the rest were regular cheap veggies)

Spicy Roast Chicken (had a chicken in the freezer from the last time I found it for 9.90/kg!)

Rice Pilaf - brown rice, wild rice, green lentils, onions, and orange peppers (peppers from the sug bet rack) with spices

Stir fried veggies with cashews (radishes (peeled), green peppers, and bean sprouts were sug bet) 

Potato Kugel

Black Bean Cholent

Lettuce Salad with honey-cinnamon oranges and chopped nuts (lettuce was fine, but sold on sug bet rack, oranges are cheap right now)

Chocolate Cake and fresh fruit for dessert

What are you making?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Another Expanded Food Recall!

On Monday I posted about another herring recall, details are here:

I am beginning to think that buying fish (especially smoked or salted fish) in Israel is just seriously risky business.
This latest recall applies to the following product:

Herring Fillets, with a production date of 18/01/15 and an expiration date of 5/03/15, manufactured by  (Yisragal Metterman?) ישרגל מטרמן
The product may be contaminated with listeria, and consumers are asked not to eat it. Please return it to the store where purchased for a credit.

On Wednesday, this recall was expanded to include:

Vacuum Packed Herring Fillets (production date 26/01/15, expiration date 13/03/15

Matjes-Style ("signon matias") Herring Fillets (production date 26/01/15, expiration date 3/03/15)

Please return these products to the store where purchased for a refund.

The company is removing the products from store shelves, but please check dates carefully before buying.


Expanded Food Recall!

Last week I posted the following food recall, and it has been expanded (details below):

Yet again, Israelis who like fish need to check their fridges.

"HaTikva Smoked Fish" and The Ministry of Health have announced a recall of the following products:

1. Herring (labeled Matias) Fillets in oil - 480g packages, with a sell-by date of 6.4.15

2. "Palmida" in oil - 480g packages, with a sell-by date of 9.4.15

The affected products tested positive for listeria.

The products are being recalled from store shelves, and consumers who have purchased these products are asked NOT to eat them, but to return them to the store where purchased for a refund.

The recall has been expanded to include  ALL 480g packages of Herring Fillets (labeled Matjes/Matias) in oil with expiration dates between 7.3.15 and 9.4.15

Consumers who have purchased this product are asked NOT to eat them, and to return them to the store where purchased for a refund.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Food Recall (Israel)

I am beginning to think that buying fish (especially smoked or salted fish) in Israel is just seriously risky business.
This latest recall applies to the following product:

Herring Fillets, with a production date of 18/01/15 and an expiration date of 5/03/15, manufactured by  (Yisragal Metterman?) ישרגל מטרמן
The product may be contaminated with listeria, and consumers are asked not to eat it. Please return it to the store where purchased for a credit.

Price Controlled Foods - Price Update!

Here's a quick rundown of what you need to know about government price controls on food in Israel:

--- Retrieved from ---

The price listed is the MAXIMUM price for the specified item - in theory, a store can discount it further, if they want to.

If a store is selling price controlled items for a higher price, they are in violation of the law. You can (and should) report these violations to the regional supervisor.

New prices for eggs went into effect today (February 1, 2015). I decided to republish the entire list with the new egg prices for your convenience.

Here are the items that are supervised, and the maximum price to consumers:

(I'm showing prices for the entire country, excluding Eilat, by the way. Eilat is exempt from Ma'am, so prices there will be lower.)

Lechem Achid (I believe this is about 65% whole grain) - 750g loaf, 5.11
White bread, 750g loaf, 5.11
Challah or yeast cake, 500g, 5.58 (don't ask me what kind of yeast cake this is referring to, I have no idea!)
Lechem Achid, sliced and packaged, 750g, 7.67
White bread, sliced and packaged, 500g, 6.82

Regular Kitchen Salt, Fine Kitchen Salt, Fine Table Salt, and Coarse Table salt, 1 kg, 2.09

3% milk, 1 liter, bag, 5.30
1% milk, 1 liter, bag, 4.95
3% milk, 1 liter, carton, 6.30
1% milk, 1 liter, carton, 5.90

Eshel, 4.5% fat, 200ml, 1.65 
Gil, 3% fat, 200ml,  1.52 
Sour Cream, 15% fat, 200ml, 2.44
Sweet Cream, 38% fat, 250ml, 6.60  
Butter, regular, 100g, 4.13
Emek Cheese (at the cheese counter),per kg, 45.45 
Gilboa Cheese (at the cheese counter), per kg, 43.14
Gvinah Levana (white cheese), 5% fat, 250g 5.11 

XL eggs, regular, 1 dozen, 13.20
L eggs, regular, 1 dozen, 12.10
M eggs, regular, 1 dozen, 11.20

Do you ever see stores overcharging? Have you ever made a report to the supervisory board?

If you found this post informative/useful/important, etc, please find me on Facebook so you won't miss any updates!

New Bank Fee regulations

Good news!

Banks have to stop charging certain fees!

I know you all hate bank fees as much as I do, so I'm sure this will make you happy.

First change: from now on, banks are no longer allowed to charge a transaction fee for purchases you make with your debit card (my bank doesn't do that, but I'm guessing some of you use banks that do).

Second change: If you need an "ishur" that you have an account at the bank, one will be provided free of charge (but if you need more than one in a calendar year, your bank can charge for the second, third, etc).

Third change: Money transfer fees will be capped at the rate of a teller-assisted banking transaction.

Fourth change: The 2 shekel/monthly fee for housing loans is cancelled.

Fifth change: the fee for paying in "tashlumim" (installments) - 50 agurot per installment - will not be charged for any new charges made in tashlumim.

These new regulations should save us all a little bit of pocket change.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

"Ma'anak Avodah" (formerly known as Negative Income Tax) Update

DECEMBER 31, 2015 UPDATE: If you missed the deadline to apply, try calling Mas Hachnasa at  *4954 during the first week of January and ask to apply for the ma'anak avodah late "liftoach pniyah l'maanak avodah b'ichur". You may be able to get them to let you apply late.
OCTOBER 6, 2015 UPDATE: The DEADLINE to apply has been extended. The new deadline is December 25, 2015
Don't wait till the last second to take care of this! Just go in to the post office and spend 5 minutes on it!

It's that time of year again - when you can go to the post office and apply for a "Working Families Grant" (formerly called the Negative Income Tax") from the Israeli government, for last year's income. So all of the following information applies to income you earned in 2014.

Who can apply for this grant?

You can apply for this grant if:

1. You were employed or self employed

2. You were 23 years of age or older, with minor children, or 55 years of age or above, without minor children

3. You did not own more than 50% of a property or rights to a property in the 2014 tax year, other than your primary residence

4. If you have one or two children, or are age 55+ without children, and your average monthly income falls between 2,070 and 6,057 you may be eligible for this grant.

5. If you have 3 or more children, and your average monthly income falls between 2,070 NIS and 6,766 NIS, you may be eligible for this grant.

Self-employed individuals and their spouses will only be able to receive this grant IF your formal yearly report is filed no later than May 31, 2015.

Applications are being accepted on an ongoing basis from now until September 30, 2015.

How do you apply?

In order to apply, all you have to do is go to the post office and answer a few questions. BE SURE to bring your teudat zehut (ID card) and either your checkbook or an "ishur" from your bank that you have an account with them. Please keep any paperwork you receive at the post office and/or in the mail.

If you have questions after you've applied, or to check the status of your application, you can call *4954 or 1-222-4954 or 02-565-6400 to speak with the Tax Authority.

How much can you expect to receive?

The amount you receive will vary depending on your circumstances, and if you qualify, will vary from 20 shekels/month to 720 shekels/month (240 shekels yearly to 8,640 shekels yearly).

Your spouse's income may affect your eligibility.

I hope this helps some of you out there! It's worth it to check if you are eligible. (If you're not eligible, that's not a bad thing, really. I know some of you complained to me last year that you were not eligible, but that means you are earning more money than the people this program is supposed to help.)

Please share this information with your friends and family who may benefit from it!