Sunday, May 31, 2015

About to Expire: Shokolada Coupon

Use it while you can!


Shopping for new kids' clothing?

Have you ever heard of Shokolada? They sell really cute dresses and other clothes for kids (yes, they have a boys' department too, although it's a bit limited), and are not too expensive either! And they are based in Israel, so you won't have to wait long for delivery!

The have really cute cotton clothes that you're going to love.
They specialize in "twirly" skirts and dresses, which are, naturally, my daughters' favorites. They LOVE the dresses on this site!

And I have an exclusive coupon to share with you - valid for the first 20 people who use it!

Get 20 shekels off your purchase of 100 shekels or more (even on sale items!) when you use coupon code KF1505
Hurry! Coupon expires no later than June 1, 2015

Enjoy your savings!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Household Habits that will Save You Money

I'm always looking for things to do that will lower our bills or minimize our expenses.

Here's a list of some really easy ones to do:

1. Wash your laundry in cold water.

2. Turn off lights and unplug appliances that draw energy even when not in use (like your printer or coffee maker with a timer, etc). (Find out how much energy your appliances use!)

3. Use fans instead of the air conditioner. Do not use blankets in the summer when sleeping.

4. Wear sweaters and other warm clothing in the winter, instead of running the heat all the time. Use very warm blankets in the winter! This way you can run the heat only sparingly and still stay warm.

5. Consolidate your errands. If you are going out, especially if you are taking a car, plan to do errands that fit into your route. Never drive a long way for just one errand!

6. Eat at home, and eat your leftovers. Or at least freeze them for next week!

7. Do not go shopping just to fill your time. EVER. Only shop when you must, and always with a list. Do not make impulse purchases! I even write a list when I'm doing non-grocery shopping. Otherwise we fall into the "I want" trap.

8. Use diluted vinegar or baking soda for most of your cleaning tasks.

9. Buy milk in bags, not cartons (assuming you use several liters/week), unless there's a sale. Always compare prices!

10. Quit your expensive unhealthy habits (i.e. smoking, diet sodas, daily iced coffee, etc).

What money saving strategies do you use?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Weekly Menu!

It's that after-the-holiday time now, and time to plan my week from all sorts of angles. As it turns out, I actually have a super busy week ahead, with more than enough to keep me busy! And I don't want to end up having food crises, because hungry kids are not happy kids...

So here's the FOOD plan:

Lunch - Dairy and Pareve leftovers from Chag
Supper - Shabbat leftovers (including chicken, cholent, potato kugel, broccoli...)

Lunch: Lentil Patties, Baked Potatoes, carrot sticks
Supper: Macaroni and Cheese

Lunch: Baked Potatoes with various toppings, hard boiled eggs, make-your-own-salad
Supper: Pizza (quick crust recipe)

Lunch: Sandwiches, carrots and celery sticks
Supper: Any leftovers from the week!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Allergen Warning (Pecans)!

Due to an irregularity in the packaging process, approximately 100 packages of Gad (brand) cheese may contain undisclosed pecans. These cheeses are being recalled from store shelves.

The affected product is Camembert Cheese (made from Sheep's milk), 25% fat, 125g packages, with barcode # 7290011499334, with a use-by date of 20.6.2015

Anyone with a pecan allergy is advised NOT to consume this product.

Please call customer service at 1-700-50-21-22 to arrange for a refund.

Please share this recall with anyone you know with a tree nut allergy, it could really save a life!

Shabbat and Shavuot

Tomorrow night is Shabbat, and then we go straight into the Holiday we've been counting up to - Shavuot! Shavuot here in Israel is a mere one day long, and that means it is actually a drop too short (wait, not sure I should say that!). Some people have a tradition to stay up late into the night, or all night, learning Torah. That makes for some very tired people come morning.

In my house that means everything is topsy-turvy, and people choose to eat and sleep at various times throughout the day.

So my day meal plan needs to be very flexible... and accommodating for those of us who can't eat dairy, AND those of us who love to eat dairy! Should be interesting.

We're having guests for Shabbat lunch, so it's not overwhelming. We're really looking forward to this Shabbat and Shavuot!

Here's the plan:

For all meals - Fresh Homemade Whole Wheat and Oat Bran Challot (and rolls for Shavuot morning, so people can make hamotzi whenever they are ready)

Friday night:

Vegetable Soup
Roast chicken (not sure how I'm spicing this, I usually decide on the spot)
(and something for the vegetarian, not sure what)
Potato Kugel
Roasted Broccoli and Kohlrabi
Cabbage Salad
Vegetable sticks

Shabbat Lunch (us + 7 guests)

Vegetarian Liver
Cabbage Salad
Vegetable Sticks
Black Bean Cholent
Potato Kugel
Oven fried chicken
Apple Kugel
Roasted Broccoli and Kohlrabi
Whatever other vegetables I feel like cooking

Seudah Shlishit will be random snacks and baked goods

Shavuot Night

Macaroni and cheese
Non dairy Eggplant "parmesan" (with nutritional yeast instead of cheese)
Salmon (baked, with herbs and lemon)
Rice with roasted garlic 
Roasted Kishuim
Cherry Tomato and Avocado Salad (if I buy avocado)

Shavuot Lunch

leftovers from Shavuot night, as needed


Apple Muffins
Chocolate Chip Cake

NOW I need to get to work on this!
I am planning to give my kids a LOT of work today and tomorrow!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Shabbat is coming! (Here's our menu)

I must confess. I try to write up these menus every week, and then, without fail, I change it. I just don't tell you about it. Usually I get tired and swap something time consuming for something easy, but sometimes I just cook or bake extra... So now you know, these menus are my guides, but they are not set in stone!

So this week, I spontaneously invited some friends to join us for Friday night, pot-luck style. I'm really looking forward to their company, plus a few other guests that will be making their way to our table. Should be lots of fun!

So here's the plan:

Fresh Whole Wheat and Oat Bran Challot for all the meals

Friday night:

Vegetable Soup
Spicy Roast chicken
(something with tofu, not sure what, for the vegetarian)
Oven-Rice with roasted garlic
Potato Kugel
The food our friends are bringing
Salad - lettuce with honey-cinnamon oranges


Black Bean Cholent
Roast Chicken
Tofu (same as Friday night)
Potato Kugel
Roasted Vegetables (whichever ones we have - kishuim, eggplant, peppers, fennel, cauliflower...)
Make your own salad
Fruit (friend is bringing those!)

Seudah shlishit:

Peanut Butter and Jelly
Potato Salad
Egg Salad
Vegetable Sticks

I know this may look like a lot of food at first glance, but really a lot is simple, and much is being made in volume - for both Friday night and Shabbat lunch.

What's going on your table this Shabbat?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Don't miss out on the savings!

Here's a round-up of some recent (and less recent) posts that you may have missed that can save you some money! Make sure to check them out so the savings don't pass you by!

Exclusive Coupon for Shokolada Kids (Clothing)

Exclusive Coupon for Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans from Zeh Cafe

Ma'anak Avodah - Working Families Grant

Arnona Discounts

Join SnapIn and Get Grocery Rebates!

Where to Buy Inexpensive Books (in Hebrew)

Find out How Much Your Appliances Cost to Run

Your Guide to Import Taxes and Shopping Online

I hope you find these posts helpful, and help you with your frugal lifestyle!

Sug Bet Haul!

I was passing by the makolet, and as I approached, I had few hopes of finding anything good on the sug bet rack.

From afar, I saw mostly empty boxes, as the top layer of boxes was deceptively empty.

When I got closer, I found full boxes of produce, stacked at ground level instead of on the racks. Some of the produce was not useable at all, but I managed to pulled out plenty of decent produce in the end!

I know I said I was sort of doing a pantry challenge, but I am always ok with buying some fresh fruits and vegetables (especially fruits!!), especially when it's a great price, and we can either use them this week or prep them and freeze for some other time!

Here's what I got for a total of16.70 NIS:

The breakdown is (approx weights):

850g artichokes (4 of them)
600g assorted peppers
200g not-yet-ripe tomatoes
2 kg cauliflower
200g carrots
900g kishuim
140g pears (actually 1 pear)
250g shesek (loquat)
290g lemons (2 lemons)
180g fennel
1.2 kg peaches and a nectarine
1.3 kg eggplant 

And now, I must go fit it all into the fridge (except the tomatoes) until I get back to them later!

Have you found any deals this week that were too good to pass up? 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Shokolada Kids - Exclusive Savings for you!

Shopping for new kids' clothing?

Have you ever heard of Shokolada? They sell really cute dresses and other clothes for kids (yes, they have a boys' department too, although it's a bit limited), and are not too expensive either! And they are based in Israel, so you won't have to wait long for delivery!

The have really cute cotton clothes that you're going to love.
They specialize in "twirly" skirts and dresses, which are, naturally, my daughters' favorites. They LOVE the dresses on this site!

And I have an exclusive coupon to share with you - valid for the first 20 people who use it!

Get 20 shekels off your purchase of 100 shekels or more (even on sale items!) when you use coupon code KF1505
Hurry! Coupon expires no later than June 1, 2015

Enjoy your savings!



Sunday, May 10, 2015

Menu for the week

Friends, it is time to plan a menu for the week!

We were actually supposed to have a family menu-planning session, but haven't gotten back to it. Have you ever done that? 

I'm not 100% sure I recommend it, but we do them anyway. We have had so many unrealistic suggestions (ice cream and m&ms do NOT make a meal, my dear children!), that I regret having them sometimes...  But I do feel it's good to check in with the family, hear what they have to say about meals and menus, discuss the basics of healthy eating, and try to accommodate the stronger preferences they may express (but no, no matter how many times they ask, we will not have pizza and pasta on a daily basis, sorry everyone!).

So here's the plan for the week

Sunday: Pizza night

Monday: Shabbat leftovers

Tuesday: Lentil Soup, rice, stir-fried veggies (with seitan? I found some in my freezer, that was bought on sale at some point)

Wednesday: Tomato soup with rice, scrambled eggs, salad

Thursday: Baked potatoes with assorted toppings, leftovers from the week

Lunches will be sandwiches, pancakes, and random things I find in the freezer

Besides the focus on really inexpensive foods, this menu is basically a pantry challenge menu - I will need to buy eggs and some fresh vegetables, but otherwise I think we have enough to get by. (We may be running out of flour, I should really check!)

Looking forward to a productive week without spending far too much (time and money) on food!

Some notes about the cost of food: I use brown rice (I normally pay 7-8 shekels/kg), whole wheat flour (4.50/kg) and red lentils  (8-9 shekels/kg) regularly.  This way we are still eating healthy complex carbs, but not spending a lot of money on them. We've been buying potatoes, carrots, cabbages, onions, and more for 1-2 shekels/kg, and celery cost me 2 shekels/bunch last week, so I have plenty. Also I managed to get the largest head of lettuce I've ever seen - certified no pesticides - for 4 shekels. I'll be eating lettuce all week long, for just 4 shekels! I'm sure it would cost me more in water and fertilizer to grow my own. And lately, I have not been so interested in foraging greens (my spring allergies are acting up and making me sneezy and sleepy!), so finding inexpensive greens is a really good thing.

What inexpensive pantry staples do you rely on? What about inexpensive vegetables? Do you have access to vegetables for 1-2 shekels/kg?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Shabbat Menu Planning

Can't believe it's Thursday already! 

We are looking forward to a relaxing, no-stress, family Shabbat.

Here's the Shabbat plan:

Whole Wheat and Oat Bran Vegan Challot
Split Pea Soup
Roast chicken? or chicken wings in BBQ sauce?
Tofu strips baked in BBQ Sauce
Potato Kugel
Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts (found broccoli on sale, and when you buy just a tiny amount of pine nuts, it's not so bad...)
Sweet Potato, not sure which recipe
Lettuce salad with ???
Black Bean Cholent for lunch, with whatever is left from the night.

Dessert: strawberries and perhaps some sort of cookies...

Seudah Shlishit:

Challah rolls
Egg salad
Potato Salad
tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, kohlrabi

I may also make vegetarian liver, I haven't decided yet...

What's going  on your Shabbat table this week?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Ways to Cut Back

This month, I want to try to cut back our spending a little more. I haven't set an actual shekel figure, but I want to see if some small changes can make a difference.

First and foremost, I want to lower our electric bill. It's been a little on the high side since our dud shemesh (solar water heater) went kaput when we had a cold snap. We really want to replace the dud shemesh with a new, cold-weather resistant one, but we still have to figure out how to pay for it. So I *thought* that the one place to find some the money would be to lower our electric bill.

So this is the month where we go back to checking for forgotten electricity hogs - most often this is the children leaving lights and fans on! But it could also be things like the modem and the router. I recently moved them from a back room into a spot in the kitchen, and this way I am more likely to remember to unplug them before going to bed and before Shabbat. Also, we now turn off and unplug the printer when it's not in use. And never leave cellphone chargers plugged in for longer than needed for charging (or better, use a solar powered charger for your phone, digital camera, etc)! Time to remind the kiddos of these rules, so we can do better with our electric bills! We'll also try to figure out where we may be wasting electricity without realizing it and implement other changes. If you want to see how much your electrical appliances cost to run, so you can also make small changes with big savings, check out this Cost Calculator, which is up-to-date with the current IEC price per kwH.

This month we are also going to try to re-instate the "grocery shopping on Tuesday" rule. Many stores have special produce sales on Tuesdays, and we like to take advantage of that. Lately, this has meant finding onions, potatoes, cabbages, carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers (sometimes other things too) for about 1 shekel/kg. Without having to find sug bet or scouring the shuk at the end of the day! This saves us a lot of money, especially if we plan meals that highlight the cheaper types of produce. Another thing we do is take a couple of minutes and upload receipts to SnapIn, even if we did not buy something on their list. Sometimes they give "surprise" rebates, and it takes so little time. (Check out my post about SnapIn if you want to find out more about it!)

The other area I want to target is the laundry room. I've been using the dryer a lot, so I guess this is actually related to the "electricity hogs" part of this post! While I know it's not frugal, it's one of those things I just have to do, as hanging the laundry outside to dry is not an option for me (I have allergies, and many of those allergens are air-borne. Like pollens, dust, smoke, cat dander, dog dander... and if I hang laundry outside, I end up with allergens all over our freshly laundered (in hypo-allergenic laundry detergent!) clothes and linens, and I get sick. So it's not an option). But I can hang more things to dry inside the house! So I hope to go back to hanging a lot more things to dry! This will mean I need to declutter my laundry room ASAP!

I also hope to declutter and organize some of our supplies. I know that having my stuff organized means I won't run out and buy something that I already have. Just lately, things have gotten a bit out of control. So it's time to reclaim control, before I start buying things I should not have to purchase again!

And it's time to take a good look at the cellphone plans and internet subscription and find cheaper deals! 

I'd love to hear your ideas - ways to cut back -- especially when you already shop at the second hand shop, don't go out to eat nor get coffee out, swap books or check them out of the library, etc.

this post contains affiliate links

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Menu Planning for the Week!

It's that time again - the new week has begun and you realize that if you don't start to make a plan for how to get it through the week smoothly, you're sure you won't.

While I can't help you squeeze in all the errands, appointments, work, playdates, and all, I can tell you my menu plan!

Menu planning makes my life run smoother because instead of drawing a blank and saying, "uh oh, I have no supper!", I can check my plan and get my family fed. Most of my meals are simple and don't require TOO much prep time. Once in a while I need to remember something a bit further in advance, but that's why it's good to check the night before too!

So here is the plan (suppers)

Sunday: Vegetable soup, Baked Ziti, Salad

Monday: Shabbat Leftovers

Tuesday: Fresh dinner rolls with sloppy sams, rice, steamed kishuim

Wednesday: Tuna patties, broiled eggplant slices, baked potatoes/baked sweet potatoes, make-your-own-salad,

Thursday: Rice, black bean crumbles in tomato sauce, some cooked vegetables (not sure what we'll have in the house then!)

Lunches will be leftovers, sandwiches, and salads

What's YOUR plan?