Thursday, October 29, 2015

Shabbat Menu

This week has been a minimal shopping week, for a variety of reasons - among them an overly full freezer! - so we've been eating what's here in the house and I had to fill in a few things like milk, and altogether I've spent 105 shekels on food purchases this week. I got some eggplant and purple cabbages for 2 shekels /kg and some butternut squash for 3 shekels/kg, so they will play starring roles in our menu!

Not bad, but 105 shekels was a bit more than I'd planned to spend this week - I think that's because I was hungry when I was at the store and I got tempted by a sale! Oops.

So this Shabbat is a mostly use-up-what's in the house Shabbat menu.
I still have to go through the freezer a bit better to take a real inventory, but here's what I think we'll be eating:

Challah from the freezer
Butternut Squash Soup for Friday Night
Crock Pot Split Pea Soup for Lunch
Chicken Wings two ways - some roasted with Garlic and Herbs, and some baked in Honey-Ginger Garlic Sauce
Tofu in Honey-Ginger-Garlic Sauce for the vegetarian son
Rice with Roasted Garlic
Purple Cabbage Salad
Eggplant with Techina
Any fresh vegetables that are left
Dessert: Melon, Wheat-free chocolate chip squares

We'll also pop some popcorn, as usual, and we have some oranges for snacks too. Now that we've changed the clocks, it gets difficult to have a "real" seudah shlishit, so I'm not yet sure what we'll do about that.

What's doing at your place for Shabbat this week?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Israeli Survey Site - Panel4All

Back in the old country, as some of you may know, I used to answer online surveys, and I'd be paid pocket change ($3-$5 per survey) via PayPal. Obviously, I am no longer eligible to answer US based surveys, but that doesn't mean I can't still get some extra cash here, as there are survey sites here as well.

Click to go to Panel4All!
Click to go to Panel4All!

 I signed up for Panel4All a while back, and so can you. This site works differently than what I had gotten used to before I made aliyah - they don't pay in cash. Instead, participants earn points that can be cashed out for gift cards. Depending on your demographics, you'll be invited to answer different surveys. I usually get several emails a week about surveys and when I have 5 minutes, I answer them. Sometimes the surveys close out before I get around to answering though, so don't be surprised if that happens from time to time.

Click here to sign up! (The site is all in Hebrew, fair warning. But really not so hard to figure out)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Israeli Cashback site!

You all know I like Ebates for getting cashback when I'm shopping online, right?

Well, thanks to my friend Janice (hi!), I just found out about a new Cashback site that pays out in shekels - .  And if you sign up now using my link, you'll get an 10 shekel bonus in your account!

Some of the stores they offer rebates for are Next (5%), WallaShops (1.5%), GadgetShop (5%),  Golf (8%), and more

I'm going to have to compare carefully, as some of the sites they offer cashback for are the same as Ebates, so the percentages are going to determine which one I use!

Hope this helps you get some change back in your pocket!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Shabbat Menu

We're still in super-simple food mode, as my hand is still recuperating from that burn. It's much improved, but I'm not quite ready for doing things like making challah, yet. Soon, I hope!

So here's the plan for Shabbat:

Store-bought challah
Vegetable Soup
Super Simple Spicy Roast chicken with Rice
(Plain Rice for the vegetarian)
Roasted Veggies - whatever we have around (Kishuim, Various Root vegetables, not sure what else is here)
Apple Crisp
Cabbage Salad
Cucumbers and Tomatoes
Black Bean Cholent for Lunch
Melon and other fruit for dessert

For seudah shlishit, we'll have challah, egg salad and some vegetables (or leftover vegetables/salad from lunch)

Mostly this means cutting up some vegetables (my kids can help) and cleaning a chicken. Everything after those stages just gets thrown together, either in the oven or in a pot on the stove!

What's doing for Shabbat at your house?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Some shopping thoughts

When someone offers to bring something from the USA for me, I have to think VERY carefully before making requests. Luggage space has become so precious that I really don't want to waste the opportunity on something that won't feel is significant!

I currently define significant (for this purpose) as: 1. A noticeable savings on something relatively expensive, and 2. Things that are very difficult to find here or not available at all.

As I'm organizing my thoughts for the latest person who's offered to transport stuff, I decide to write a list of items I think are worthwhile bringing over from America. This is a pretty long list, and I'm REALLY trying to keep it short, but even so, it is obvious that this list cannot be gotten all at once. Thankfully, I don't need everything on the list every time someone comes!

List 1 (Noticeable savings on expensive items):

Shoes for everyone in the family (I love finding deals on 6pm!)
Lego sets/pieces
Baby Gifts
Vanilla Beans
Maple Syrup from Costco
Athletic Equipment
Small electronics and accessories
Sunscreen (usually we get the generic ones from Target)

List 2 (Hard to find in Israel):

Lactaid pills (preferably Ultra-Lactaid) ge
Benadryl tablets, liquid, and cream
Odor Eaters products
Roach and Ant Control Products
Good food containers - disposable type
Good food containers - thermos type
Cayenne Pepper
Good Raisins
Canned Salmon
Ziploc bags 

I've left a bunch of things off this list that I DO find are cheaper in America, but I can easily order them from online stores like iHerb or Vitacost or Better World Books so I don't need to use valuable luggage space for them. You can see my iHerb list in my post dedicated to that! I also left off some really heavy or bulky items that ideally I would get, but their size or weight makes it impractical.

So now that you know what I'm mulling over, I will let you chime in with your ideas -- and I'm going back to trying to really hone in on the most important parts of this list! (I am definitely ordering shoes for nearly everyone!) Please leave a comment below with your favorite items to buy abroad!

And since this time, the offer is to bring a whole piece of luggage over for us (at no extra cost, how awesome is that?!), I've got my handy 1 lb duffel bag waiting for them!

*this post contains affiliate links, thanks for your support!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Better World Books 48 hr Sale!

Save on Used BooksYES! Fall is here! Well, at least that's what the calendar says. And it did feel *much cooler* here overnight, even. And you know that means that some rainy days are on their way (yay!) - actually I'm rooting for rainy nights. I like those best. But I digress - back to the point of this post! Sometimes you just need a good book to read on a rainy day (or night)...

SO... go ahead and save 20% off your order of 5 or more books from the Better World Books Bargain Bin! This way you'll have your rainy day reads all ready and waiting for you! (No coupon code needed, just click the link and shop!)

And of course, there's always free international shipping from BWB!

Sale ends on Thursday, October 22,2015 so hurry! Don't miss out!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Frugal Breakfast Ideas

I don't know about you, but with no holidays this month, I feel like it's time to get the budget in order. We want to make sure we're not overspending on food or other necessities, so I'm evaluating what we've been eating.

Really, we're doing ok considering there are 6 of us who rely on what's in the house for nearly every meal we eat. But lately - due to circumstances I felt were beyond my control - there's been a lot of cereal for breakfast.

So it's time to start encouraging everyone to find alternatives to cereal.

Here are some of my frugal, yet healthy-ish breakfast options I'll be offering my family

Oatmeal - I like to add things like tahini or peanut butter, and dried fruit and spices to it 
(Rolled oats and quick-cooking rolled oats are really inexpensive here, I get them for 4 shekels for 500g from Nizat HaDuvdevan. When we all eat oatmeal a few times a week, we use about 500g per week)

Muffins/Breakfast breads (made the day before or from the freezer)

Fruit and Leben (leben is on the price controlled list, and can cost as little as 1.44 per container, be sure to check it out!)

Leftovers from the day before (I've even eaten lentil soup for breakfast, I know that sounds pretty unconventional, but who needs to be conventional?! My daughter likes to eat polenta for breakfast sometimes!), or salad, can work as well!

Some people like to make things like pancakes, but I am not a big fan of cooking before I've had my coffee. But pancakes can be very inexpensive too. Since I have been known to serve eggs for supper or lunch, I'm not usually looking to make them a breakfast option, but at 1 shekel per egg, they can be part of an inexpensive breakfast.

Speaking of coffee, I am addicted to coffee, and if you are looking for some EXCELLENT, small batch freshly roasted coffee, please check out Zeh Cafe! I've even got a coupon code for you! They make some really great coffee!

What are your favorite, inexpensive breakfast options for busy mornings? I'd love to hear!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Black Bean Salad

This is one of my new favorite salads. I love dishes that are simple, easy, dairy-free, and wheat free, soy-free, and nut-free so that we all can enjoy them together.

The inspiration for this dish was a salad I had years ago when we lived in Texas, and I decided to finally figure out my own dressing for it - for truly the dressing is what completes this salad!

For the salad:

2 cups black beans, already cooked and drained
2 cups frozen corn kernels, lightly steamed or roasted and cooled
2-4 red peppers, diced (you can use a mix of red/green peppers, too if you like)
4 tomatoes, cut into cubes
(the original dish had raw onions in it, but raw onions are a major source of food poisoning, so they scare me, and my picky family won't eat it anyway)
(You can totally adjust this and use more or less of something as you like - go ahead and make this "your own"! - it's great with acocado, or lettuce, or quinoa, or all, or whatever inspires you!)

For the dressing:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
juice of 1 orange or clementine (I had a clementine in the house)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
Chili pepper flakes (to taste)
Smoked paprika (to taste, I used about 2 tsp)
salt (to taste)
ground black pepper (to taste)

Place all the vegetables in a pretty salad bowl. Mix the dressing together in a jar, bowl, or container. Mix really well. Pour dressing over vegetables and gently toss it all together. Serve cold. 

This salad can actually be a meal in and of itself, or is a great accompaniment to anything at all.
Let me know if you give it a try!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Movie Day Is Back! Movie Tix for Just 10 Shekels!

10 Shekel Movie Tickets are Back!

This Thursday (Oct 22, 2015), participating theaters will offer movie tickets for just 10 shekels, and 3-D movies will be 14 shekels (online purchase will be more, as there are additional fees for online ticket purchases). Price is for regular tickets only, VIP tickets are not included.

Links to Participating Theaters, click thru to find out what's near you and when:

YES Planet

Cinema City

Rav Chen


Globus Max

Bet Gabriel (in Tzemach, not a chain)

So if you can make Thursday your movie night, enjoy your special deal!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

PRICE UPDATE for price controlled foods

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.

--- Retrieved from ---

The list includes breads, milk, cheeses, eggs, salt, and more. If you regularly buy these products, it may save you money to buy the "price controlled" version. Usually other non-price controlled versions are sold, as well. Check and decide what works best for your family.

I wanted to let you all know thaton Oct 1, VAT went down 1%, from 18% to 17%, so the legal maximum prices have been updated to reflect that change.

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!

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 VAT, so prices there will be lower.)

Lechem Achid (I believe this is about 65% whole grain) - 750g loaf, 5.07 (was 5.11)
White bread, 750g loaf, 5.07 (was 5.11)
Challah or yeast cake, 500g, 5.11 (was 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, 7.02 (was 7.08)
White bread, sliced and packaged, 500g, 6.24 (was 6.29)
Regular Kitchen Salt, Fine Kitchen Salt, Fine Table Salt, and Coarse Table salt, 1 kg, 2.07, (was 2.09) 
3% milk, 1 liter, bag, 5.11  (was 5.15)

1% milk, 1 liter, bag, 4.76 (was 4.80)
3% milk, 1 liter, carton, 5.90 (was 5.95) 
1% milk, 1 liter, carton, 5.55 (was 5.60)
Eshel, 4.5% fat, 200ml, 1.59 (was 1.60)  
Gil, 3% fat, 200ml,  1.44 (was 1.45) 
Sour Cream, 15% fat, 200ml, 2.28 (was 2.30)
Sweet Cream, 38% fat, 250ml, 6.20 (was 6.25)  
Butter, regular, 100g, 3.92 (was 3.95) 
Emek Cheese (at the cheese counter), per kg, 42.93 (was 43.30)  
Gilboa Cheese (at the cheese counter), per kg, 40.80 (was 41.14) 
Gvinah Levana (white cheese), 5% fat, 250g, 4.80 (was 4.85)  XL eggs, regular, 1 dozen, 13.10 (was 13.20)
L eggs, regular, 1 dozen, 12.00 (was 12.10)
M eggs, regular, 1 dozen, 11.10 (was 11.20)

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

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Vegan Chocolate Chip Squares (Gluten free, as well)

It's been a few months since I decided to go wheat-free as an experiment. And I finally decided that if I was going to make dessert, it should be something I can eat, too.
This may not have been my best decision - it is so much easier for me to exercise willpower when something is COMPLETELY off limits. But when it's allowed in small quantities? Uh oh.

But I did it. I made nut-free, pareve, wheat-free chocolate chip squares.
And they are pretty good, if I say so myself, and even got Michael's approval... So I'll share the recipe with you! (and since it's nut-free, unlike many wheat-free baked goods, it's pretty frugal!) (Oh, and all you need is a bowl and a wooden spoon to mix these, no fancy mixer required, because some days I am just too lazy to pull out the KitchenAid!)

Vegan, Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Squares

4 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 cup warm-to-hot water
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar (I used raw cane sugar)
1 cup potato starch
1 cup chick pea flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
chocolate chips, as many as you like - I used 1/2 a bag

First, mix the ground flaxseed with the water and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Then add oil, vanilla extract, and sugars. Mix well. Add remaining dry ingredients (except chocolate chips), and mix well with a spoon. Fold in chocolate chips. 
Transfer to 9X13 inch baking pan (you can use a bigger pan and make thinner squares - totally up to you!) and bake at 175 C for about 25 min. Make sure it's done (you want the pan to be fully set - no jiggly middles - when you take it out) before you remove it from the oven! BUT if you underbake it, you're ok. There are no raw eggs to worry about!

Enjoy your "shehakol" chocolate chip squares! (Perfect for sukkot outings where there's no guarantee you'll have a kosher sukkah!) 

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