Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What do I order from iHerb?

Here in Israel, there is a special allure to ordering products online. It's generally a money-saving move, if you know where to shop, and what's worth importing. That is the key to feeling like you got a great deal! And don't forget shipping charges - one of the things that often trips people up is shipping. Make sure you order from retailers that ship using the postal service, not FedEx and UPS, that way you'll avoid all sorts of extra fees!

A favorite site among ex-pats and native Israelis is iHerb. They sell natural products, vitamins, supplements, etc - usually for less than the equivalent at local health food stores, and they have a far wider selection. And right now, they have flat rate shipping to Israel for just $4 per order (max weight per order is 4.0 lb, shipping special ends Sept 30)! **UPDATE** they continued this flat rate shipping indefinitely.

I often get asked, what's worth buying at iHerb? So I put together a list of my favorite things to order from them to help get you started. Many of you out there will have DIFFERENT favorites, and that's totally ok, because they carry so many products that each person can find his/her own unique way to save while getting what's needed! 

(If this is your first time ordering from iHerb, any of these links will automatically load a $5-$10 discount into your cart, depending on the total cost of your order!)

So here's my list of favorites, in no particular order:

Palm Oil (this eco-friendly version is not available in Israel at all, and is perfect for making frosting or fudge)

Magnesium Tablets (these and many other supplements are quite pricey in Israel and iHerb is a great way to save!) 

Stash Teas (I buy these when they are on sale, as the sale price comes out to less than the lowest price I can find herbal teas for locally, and these are just SO MUCH HIGHER quality!)

Vitamin D Tablets (so many people are deficient, it turns out! And my doctor prescribed a rather high dose, and what's sold here is very low dose and more expensive)

EO shower gel (we like this kid friendly all-in-one shower product that doesn't irritate our skin!)

Ricola throat drops (these work out to be only slightly less expensive than the local price, so I use them as a "filler" product, never as my "reason for buying")

Stain Remover (this Ecover product is GREAT, and iHerb's price is slightly lower than I can get it for locally when there's a sale, but again, I just use it as a "filler product" when I'm ordering other things and there's space left in the order)

Witch Hazel (it's really not easy to find witch hazel products locally, and if you love witch hazel, you'll be thrilled with iherb's price. This one is a toner with alcohol in it - great for teens' skin issues - but they also have plenty of no-alcohol witch hazel products)

Coffee Filters (unbleached)

Brown Rice Pasta (only when they're on sale, great for people who don't eat wheat! The local equivalent is more expensive unless there's an amazing sale)

Grapefruit Seed Extract (similar product, 1/4 of the size, cost more than twice as much at my health food store, and so many people are convinced this keeps colds away!)

Essential Oils (I use them in homemade cleaners)

Soy-free Teriyaki Sauce (for my soy allergic child)

Calendula Cream (so soothing and wonderful for eczema!)

I also regularly check the Specials Page to see if products I use are on sale and work out to a better deal thru iHerb during a sale, and I also occasionally will order a hard-to-find spice.

If you haven't ordered from iHerb, now is the perfect time to check it out!
And please let me know what your favorite deals are!

p.s. if anyone wants to try out Vitacost for similar products - you can get a $10 coupon toward your first $30 purchase using my referral link!

This post contains affiliate links, thanks for your support!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Educents Coupon Code!

I have mentioned Educents quite a few times since I know you all love getting good deals -- if you haven't checked it out, you should!

It's a great site for getting discount educational materials, books, manipulatives, and more! 
I've gotten a bunch of free and low cost curriculum helpers for my kids from them. It's really been a great find!

And it's even better right now with a new coupon code!

Save an extra 10% with coupon code PUMPKINSPICE (ends 9/28 at midnight)


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sick Day Menu Planning

I got sick.
I tried SO hard not to get sick, but once the kids brought a respiratory virus into the house, there was no real way to avoid it, no matter how hard I prayed and hoped it would skip me.
So I'm sick - the kind where I get feverish and can't sleep, can't breathe, headache, sore throat, and all.

So I have no idea what we'll eat this week or when we'll buy fresh food.

I think that means we're doing an unplanned pantry challenge. We're dangerously low on vegetables though, so I will have to solve that problem somehow.
(Snacks will be apples and pears - we have a bunch of those in the fridge - and popcorn)

Here's the plan:
Sunday lunch: random foods we found in the fridge plus sandwiches
Sunday supper: Shabbat leftovers

Monday lunch: Rice, red lentil dahl, cottage cheese pancakes
Monday supper: Baked Ziti, Steamed vegetables

Tuesday: Erev Yom Kippur
we'll do brunch (not sure what) and a seudah mafseket - but I don't know what that will be yet.

Wed night - break the fast
Honey Cake
Split Pea Soup
not sure what else

Thursday lunch: Sandwiches, carrot sticks
Thursday supper: pizza/polenta pizza, oven fries, whatever veggies are left 

And hopefully this won't overwhelm me while I'm sick! I do plan to put kids to work helping out!
What's your menu plan for this week?

Coupons! (part 4)

And here are the last random coupons for you for now:
(The tahini coupon expires very soon!)

Be sure to check out the rest of the recent coupon posts:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Coupons! (part 3)

Here are a few more coupons for you! These are for the coffee, tea, and chocolate milk lovers out there.
The iced tea and chocolate milk coupons expire soon, so don't wait too long if you plan to use them!

Be sure to check out the rest of the recent coupon posts:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 4

Coupons! (part 2)

And here are some more coupons - the yogurt coupons seem to be back!

These Muller coupons expire at the end of the year.

Be sure to check out the rest of the recent coupon posts:
Part 1
Part 3
Part 4

Coupons! (part 1)

I promised some coupons, so here are some that I've found.

These are for Of Tov and Hod Lavan (mehadrin line) deli and other products.
They expire at the end of the year.

If these help someone out there save some money, I'll be happy!


Be sure to check out the rest of the recent coupon posts:
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Science Night 2015 -- Free Events!

This year, The Ministry of Science, Technology, and Space is sponsoring free Science events for "Science' Night" on Monday, September 21, 2015 at a variety of  locations throughout the country.


This year's theme is "Brain Science" and everyone is sure to find something fascinating to enthrall him/her!

Here's where you'll find the events, beginning  at 5pm (unless otherwise noted below):

Tel Aviv University (events begin at 4:30pm)

Bar Ilan University (advance registration required!)

The Open University (events begin at 4pm, at the Ra'anana Campus) (advance registration required!)

The Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem (event begins at 4pm; free admission begins at 4pm)

Oranim College (Kiryat Tiv'on) (events begin at 4:30pm)

Haifa University

IDC Herzliya

MadaTech Museum

Weizmann Institute of Science

Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research - Haifa

Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research - Eilat (events begin at 5:30pm)

MIGAL (Kiryat Shmonah) (events begin at 6pm)

Shamoon College of Engineering - Ashdod

Shamoon College of Engineering - Be'er Sheva

Hebrew University (Givat Ram Campus) (events begin at 4pm and end at midnight)

Technion (recommended for ages 12 and up)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

New Prices for Price Controlled Breads

I'm sure you're familiar with the list of foods that price controlled in this country - for better or for worse, certain products have maximum prices set by the government.

The list includes breads, milk, cheeses, eggs, salt, and more
I'll post the whole list at the bottom of this post.

I wanted to let you all know that BREAD prices will be going down.
(It's unclear to me if this is in effect already or not, the articles I've read state the lowered price was approved, but do not state a start date!)

Challah (500g)  old price: 5.31; new price 5.15, in Eilat 4.36
"Achid" bread (dark), sliced old price: 7.30; new price 7.08, in Eilat 6.00
White bread (sliced) old price: 6.49; new price 6.29, in Eilat 5.50

Full list of Price Controlled Groceries

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

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

(The prices shown below are for the entire country, excluding Eilat. 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, 5.15  (don't ask me what kind of yeast cake this is referring to, I have no idea!)
Lechem Achid, sliced and packaged, 750g, 7.08
White bread, sliced and packaged, 500g, 6.29
Regular Kitchen Salt, Fine Kitchen Salt, Fine Table Salt, and Coarse Table salt, 1 kg, 2.09 
3% milk, 1 liter, bag, 5.15 (was 5.30)

1% milk, 1 liter, bag, 4.80 (was 4.95)
3% milk, 1 liter, carton, 5.95 (was 6.30) 

1% milk, 1 liter, carton, 5.60 (was 5.90)
Eshel, 4.5% fat, 200ml, 1.60 (was 1.65)  
Gil, 3% fat, 200ml,  1.45 (was 1.52) 
Sour Cream, 15% fat, 200ml, 2.30 (was 2.44)
Sweet Cream, 38% fat, 250ml, 6.25 (was 6.60)  
Butter, regular, 100g, 3.95 (was 4.13) 
Emek Cheese (at the cheese counter), per kg, 43.30 (was 45.45)  
Gilboa Cheese (at the cheese counter), per kg, 41.15 (was 43.14) 
Gvinah Levana (white cheese), 5% fat, 250g, 4.85 (was 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?

The old price list can be found here.

Shabbat & Rosh Hashanah Menus

We'll be eating lots of apples this holiday!
It's almost here. The not-quite-three-day-yom tov!

First it will be Shabbat, then Sunday is Erev Rosh Hashana, and then comes Rosh Hashana, which, even in Israel, is 2 days of course. So it's quite intense and I imagine Sunday will be a panicky sort of day if you don't plan well in advance. That's why I've done almost all the shopping for the holiday already (I do plan to fill in a few things on Friday, assuming the skies have begun to clear). Have you shopped?

Lots of time will be spent in shul, davening, hearing shofar, praying for the dust storm to leave, and more.

Yes... dust storm. We are blanketed in fine particles of sand... it actually looked like it was snowing the other night - the glow of the lights on the particles of sand drifting through the air really made it look like snow! But the fact is, we are running the air conditioning, so snow it is NOT.

So here's my plan: (mostly, it's cook in an air conditioned kitchen!)

Shabbat Menu:
I'm not cooking for Shabbat. We are taking food out of the freezer. I know there's a pan of chicken in there plus a few kugels and some rice with vegetables. That should work! I figured I deserve an easy Shabbat with all the cooking I need to do for the holiday!

Rosh Hashana:
Night meal 1:
Honey Challot
Apples and Honey
Pomegranate Chicken
Garlic Roast Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli
Israeli Salad

Day meal 1: (plus guests)
Honey Challot
Salads - whatever I get around to preparing 
Oven Fried Chicken
Apple Kugel
Butternut Squash Kugel

Night meal 2:
Honey Challot
(New Fruit - still have to buy one)
Split Pea Soup?
Salmon steaks cooked in lemon and herbs
Spinach and Cheese pie
Rice with stir fried veggies

Day meal 2:
Honey Challot
Any leftovers we feel like eating (most likely the chicken and sides from those meals will be left)
OR if for some crazy reason there's nothing left, I'll cook a simple meal, like omelets or macaroni.
I'm keeping a flame going so I can light the gas stove if I need to, and the oven may or may not get left on.

Baking: Honey Cake, Cinnamon Cake, Chocolate Cake

We're hosting a shiur (class) at the house on the second day, so I'm setting aside a honey cake for that. 

And that is how I am planning Rosh Hashana through my dust-filled foggy brain...
What about you? 
(As you may notice, I'm not doing much in the way of "simanim" this year. Do you do them? Do you do them every year? Is it an important family tradition of yours?)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Vegan "Ice Cream"! (free of gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, nuts, and added oils!)

I miss ice cream. It's probably the hardest thing to give up when you give up dairy, at least for me. Especially when it's been such a LONG, HOT summer and everyone around me seems to always be finding their way to a scoop (or two) of ice cream!

So this week, someone suggested that we bring vanilla ice cream to a local get-together, as it would go well with all the apple-themed desserts that we're having there. And I did NOT want to be left out again, so I volunteered to create some vegan, nut free "ice cream" to share. And then I wondered if I was crazy to commit to this endeavor!

Well. What happened was this:

Non-Dairy Vanilla Bean Frozen Dessert
1 cup chick pea cooking liquid (reduced)*-see note below
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
2-3 vanilla beans

First, I put the chick pea liquid and cream of tartar in my mixing bowl, and set it to whip for a good 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime I put the sugar and vanilla beans into my coffee grinder and ground them up well.

Once the chick pea liquid had magically transformed, I added the sugar-vanilla bean mixture and whipped it some more. When it was all incorporated and seemed like it was as stiff as it was going to get, I scooped it out into a container, covered it, and dug out a spot for it in the freezer!

*Note: If you are using the cooking liquid from home-cooked chick peas, you will need to remove all the chick peas from the pot, bring the liquid back to a boil, and then simmer for about 1/2 an hour. You will see it "reduce" in volume by about 1/3. It should be about the right consistency at that point. Apparently, the liquid from canned chick peas is often already the right consistency. Done!

Now I just need it to freeze!

And it turns out it is not only dairy free and nut free, it's also gluten free, soy free and free of any added oils!

(I did taste it before putting it in the freezer, it was light and fluffy and very promising as a non-dairy frozen dessert!)

Have you ever tried out this new "aquafaba" technique? I'd love to hear about your creations with this amazing liquid we all just used to spill down the sink! (Making this creation "super frugal", as well!)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

10 Shekel Movie Tix!

It's Coming!

Israeli Movie Day is almost here - this year it's on Wednesday, September 9th. 

Tickets for Israeli Movies will be just 10 shekels (if you buy online, expect to pay an additional 4 or so shekels in fees), and 57 movie theaters are participating.

Among the participating theater chains are: Cinema City, Yes Planet, Rav-Chen, Lev, Globus Max, and Cinematek. In addition, some independent movie theaters will participate, including: The Tel Aviv Museum, "Kolnoa Kochav" in Ramat HaSharon, "Kolnoa Eilat", Matnas Arad, Beit Gavriel, Hadera High School, The Jerusalem Theater, and more.

150,000 people are expected to take advantage of this deal.

Enjoy your Israeli movies!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Shabbat Menu

My days and weeks keep flying by... and here we are, it's September already... 

And even though it's hot, my head keeps thinking it should be cooling off! So much so that this morning I found the idea of a cool crisp day when I need a sweater popping into my head. I can guarantee you, however, that I don't need a sweater just yet!

So here's my early September Shabbat menu - for just the immediate family this week.

Friday night:
Fresh Challot
Vegetable Soup
Oven Fried Chicken
Roasted Kishuim
Baked Sweet Potatoes

More Challot
Black Bean Cholent
Oven Fried Chicken
Leftover sides from Friday night

Dessert: melon, chocolate/crispy rice squares (so easy. melt chocolate. stir in crispy rice cereal. pour into baking pan. allow to cool)

Seudah Shlishit:
Rolls, egg salad, spreads, apple crisp, cut veggies

Today, that looks like a lot. I should get cooking now, but I am too tired. I'll just have to pull myself together tomorrow!
What's your Shabbat plan (besides sleeping, that is!) ?