Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Catch this sale while you can!

Click to shop at Better World Books!
Better World Books has a great deal going on right now - get 15% off 5 or more used books with code CMONDAYWEEK (you must enter the code at checkout)!

But hurry! This sale ends soon. It''s time to get some books for winter reading...

Important info from the BWB site:
Sale IS valid on all used books that ship from Better World Books. Offer is NOT valid on new books or books that ship from other sellers. Discount code is required. Offer doesn't combine with other promotions. Sale ends Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 11:00:00 AM EST. If you're not sure if a book is on sale, you can look for the seller name for each book when you view your cart. The seller name must be "Better World Books" for the discount to apply.

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting my blog!

Food Recall (Israel)!

Shufersal and Slatei Shamir announced a recall of the following item, due to a possibility of bacterial contamination (listeria):

Hummus, Shufersal brand, 1 kg package, barcode 7296073224600 with a use by date of 5.1.17

This is currently the only prepared hummus that is being recalled.

Shufersal is working with the Ministry of Health on this recall.

Consumers are advised NOT to consume this product. Please return it to Shufersal for a refund or replacement.

Please direct questions to Shufersal's customer service hotline - 1-800-68-68-68

Please share this announcement with your friends and family who may have purchased this product!

More Label "Decoding"

Have you ever seen a microscope symbol on a package of lettuce, potatoes, or other produce?

Wondering what it might mean?

Well - let me reassure you that it does NOT mean that the lettuce you just ate was grown in a lab. Nor does it mean it is GMO or anything along those lines.

The symbol belongs to a company called Lab-Path.

Lab-Path audits and certifies growers to be sure they are not using excessive amounts of pesticides, are free of bacterial contamination, heavy metals, and other dangerous substances.

Produce with the Lab-Path symbol on it is therefore assumed to be safer than other, non-certified produce. Lab-Path uses European safety standards in their certification process.

Lately, I have noticed a lot of potatoes, and lettuce in various stores with the Lab-Path symbol. Since both of these foods are often found to have high pesticide residue, I'm glad to buy the certified ones that assure me that legal pesticide residue levels haven't been exceeded. And they don't seem to be any pricier than non-certified ones, either!

(For more information about pesticides in Israeli produce, please see the article I wrote about it. Unfortunately, up-to-date information is hard to find.)

In addition, they offer an organic certification for those looking for certified organic produce.

This is what it looks like:
Hope this helps you make good consumer choices!
For more useful information, be sure to like my Facebook page!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Roast Beef Recall!

The Ministry of Health and M'taam L'mehadrin announced a recall of the following product:

Roast Beef, 250g packages, with a production date of 02/11/2016 and an expiration date of 02/01/2017

This product is part of the Delicatessim (Specials) line, of "M'Taam Chafetz Chaim".

The product is being recalled and removed from store shelves because routine tests showed contamination with Listeria.

Please return the product to the store where purchased for a credit.

If questions come up, customers are instructed to call the company at 02-654-2737.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tips from the Trenches: Hosting Guests with Food "Issues"

Some people love hosting guests and make it seem effortless. And really, I think that's amazing. Hosting guests is one of our Jewish traditions - we follow in the footsteps of Avraham and Sarah when we invite guests into our home. It's special, and it gives all parties a sense of involvement and satisfaction. And yet, I know that sometimes hosting guests is HARD.

Sometimes we're tired, stretched thin, have tight budgets, and other complications. But I do believe that there is something to be gained when we spend time sharing our homes with friends, neighbors, and relatives.

We try to host guests for meals regularly. We invite neighbors and relatives often, though not all the time, because we believe it enhances our shabbatot and chagim and our lives in general.

Sometimes these guests have food issues that can range from vegetarianism to allergies to celiac disease, and we're almost always able to accommodate. However, lately I have heard from a few people that they're intimidated and therefore, do not invite people over who have special food needs.

As a person with some food related issues, and a family full of people with special food needs, I just wanted to share a little secret with you. Even with our food issues, we feel good when we receive the occasional invitation. Sometimes we'll have to turn it down because of our circumstances, but other times, we'll accept, and being invited makes us just as happy as it makes you when you're invited! (And of course, inviting others and having them accept makes us happy too!)

I always offer to bring food when we are invited out - not only because of special food needs (some of us have allergies to specific foods, one of us is a vegetarian...), but additionally because I know that hosting an extra six people, at least 4 of whom eat like adults, can be a lot of work. And since I like cooking anyway, it makes me happy to help out.

I almost always accept when my guests offer to help cook - certainly if they express a concern about a special food need. I want my guests to feel comfortable in my home, and if bringing along a dish they know they can eat makes them feel comfortable - that is great!
Despite the fact that we accept help when offered, there are some things we regularly do so that our table is accommodating to people with allergies, sensitivities, or strong preferences:

I do not make one-pot meals, and the only food that I make that has meat/chicken in it is the meat/chicken! This way, my side dishes are all vegetarian-friendly and I don't find myself scrambling to make something special for vegetarians. This is also good if you discover that one of your guests can't eat a particular food - let's say, potatoes. This way, the potatoes are confined to the one dish I made with potatoes! It's definitely easier this way.

If you have a guest, like me, who is allergic to nuts, please check with them first if it's safe to have nuts on the table if you are used to serving food with nuts. If it is, go ahead, your guest will just manage by avoiding the particular dish with nuts in it (although I did have one time where the hosts put nuts in all of the dishes, thinking I would be able to just take them out.  That wasn’t safe for me, so I wasn’t able to eat. Everyone felt awkward about that.). If it is not safe for them, please remember that the joy you are giving them in being invited out may be worth the inconvenience of avoiding your favorite dish just that one week, for the sake of their safety.

When your guest has celiac disease, it's a little more complicated. We handle this by trying to make sure that the only food on the table that has gluten in it is the challah and we remove the challah from the table after we've all had some, before we bring out the other foods. So we'll serve simple vegetable dishes and salads, chicken, rice, potato kugel, and fruit for dessert if we have a guest with celiac disease (just a sample menu). It's easy to be accommodating if you know in advance that there are foods to avoid.

If your guest has a soy allergy (or another food allergy like sesame, corn, eggs, etc), things are admittedly complicated (though not as complicated as celiac disease!) - a lot of store bought food has common allergens in them. I recommend you talk to your guest about how to handle this. We handle some allergies by never putting salad dressings into the salad (we'll put the bottle on the side and let everyone choose to take dressing or not). We also make simple chicken that doesn't use fancy store bought sauces. And of course, if something we love to make just won't taste right without soy sauce or another allergen, we warn the person with the allergy that this particular food is not safe for them. It's usually no big deal, as long as it's not the only food on the table.

Finally, if inviting your special foods guest is still intimidating, talk to them. Tell them you'd love to have them over but you don't know how to accommodate their food needs. Most likely they will offer to bring something along, but you can also ask STRAIGHT OUT for their help. I am sure your guest will graciously agree, because ultimately it is nice to be included, especially for people with food allergies (and sensitivities) who often feel left out.

iHerb Extra Savings!! (Coupon Code Inside)

Well - it's begun - Black Friday Specials! This time iHerb is getting in the game a bit early - so here's the deal:
Current iHerb Customers will receive a 10% discount in the shopping cart for orders over $40.00, by using promo code GREENFRIDAY. Or 15% for our weekly specials on Bath & Beauty, Sports & select coconut items.

New iHerb Customers will get 10% off their first iHerb order. You can also combine this first time discount with promo code GREENFRIDAY and get as much as 20% off across the board.

Click any link in this post to start shopping at iHerb now!

These offers end Wednesday (11/30), at 10:00 am, PST.

Monday, November 21, 2016

"Whole Wheat" Bread info


When you go to the store and buy a loaf of bread, you might be looking for a healthy option. Many people look for the code words "Whole Wheat" or "Whole Grain" on the package.

So.. what exactly is in that loaf of whole wheat bread?

Did you know that your loaf can be labeled whole grain as long as 80% of the flour in it is whole grain? (meaning, up to 20% of the flour used in baking the bread can be something other than whole wheat!)

Okay, so now we know that whole wheat bread is 80% whole wheat bread.

IF your bread has the "Efshari-Bari" label on it, the following also apply:

  • maximum sodium content is 400mg per 100g of bread
  • maximum caloric value is 250 calories per 100g of bread.

There are no other actual regulations about what goes into it, so you'll want to check the ingredients - some breads contain few ingredients (simpler food) and others contain a whole list of about 20 items (often additives, preservatives, stabilizers, and sugars). Some breads are made with liquid oils, and others are made with partially hydrogenated oils.

In other words - even when the bread says it's whole wheat, you should probably read the fine print to know what you are getting.

I know it's easier to buy bread than to make it, but if you are looking for a great sandwich bread recipe, be sure to check out my whole grain sandwich bread!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Free Concert (Jerusalem)

To mark 75 years since the Terezin (Theresienstadt) Ghetto was formed, Yad Vashem is hosting a concert that is free and open to the public:

The concert will feature the works of composers who lived in the Terezin Ghetto who later died in Auschwitz, as well as other composers who were killed in the Holocaust.

The concert will take place TOMORROW, November 21, 2016 at 6pm at the Yad Vashem Auditorium. Free admission.

Please consider going to honor the memory of those who were murdered in the Holocaust.

The concert will last about 1 hr, 15 min


Sabra Hummus Recall

Readers in the USA, please take note of this HUGE hummus recall!

Sabra Dipping Co, LLC has announced that a large number of their hummus products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The affected products were produced prior to November 8, 2016 and include the following popular varieties:

Hummus Classic
Hummus Garlic
Hummus Jalepeno
Hummus Olive
Hummus Pine Nut
Hummus Red Pepper
Hummus Supremely Spicy
Hummus Spinach and Artichoke
Hummus Lemon
Hummus Tuscan Herb Garden
Hummus Carmelized Onion
and others

For the full list of recalled products, including barcodes and packaging information, click here!

Friday, November 18, 2016

iHerb coupon code!

Now's the time to buy those things in your iHerb cart - From now until Monday, November 21st, at 10:00 am PST, enjoy 10% off all orders over $40! (Or time to stock up on items that never go on sale!)
Use coupon code BFWU10 at checkout!
Are you new to iHerb? Then you'll automatically get 10% off your first order when you click any of these links (sorry, you cannot stack the new customer discount with this coupon code)! Remember, you will get the best shipping deal if your order is either very small and light, or if your order is up to 4 lbs and totals $40 or more. Otherwise, you'll pay a slightly higher shipping rate than you might have in the past - but it's still a highly competetive rate. (just choose the "mail" option at checkout - DHL shipping is expensive!)
Want to know more about Shopping at iHerb? Be sure to check out this post - "What do I order from iHerb?"
Happy deal hunting!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

New Salt, Sugar, and Fat Content Labels

The Ministry of Health has announced plans to start labeling foods that have high sugar, salt, and/or fat content. The new labels will be RED warning labels on foods.

It seems that we are in for a big shock when these new labels hit the market - although it is still not certain that they will - in the first stage of implementation (higher thresholds) a whopping 39% of packaged food products in supermarkets will be sporting a warning label (or more than one)!

If the stricter standards being discussed are adopted, an incredible 51% of the packaged products in the supermarket will carry the warnings.

I don't know if this new plan will actually pan out. Obviously, major food manufacturers are lobbying against it. But just KNOWING about it should be a wake up call. 

Clearly, packaged food that many, many people buy regularly is being scrutinized for nutritional content - and much of it is failing. We all should keep that in mind when shopping. Personally, I advocate buying fresh, whole foods instead of packaged foods, but I know that is not always possible. Many people need to find some shortcuts in order to be able to fit it all in to the day!

So, whether or not the new labeling rules are implemented, I think it's a good thing to become more aware of the nutritional content of the food we're buying. Next time you pick up a package of food, look carefully at the nutritional content and the ingredients before you decide to buy it!

(And cutting back on packaged foods has another added benefit - you'll save money!)

Which packaged foods do you buy? Do you think seeing a red warning label on it will influence your decision to buy them in the future? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Reusable Shopping Bags - You're Going to Need Them!

Did you hear that the plastic bag law finally passed in the Knesset? Sometime next year there will be a mandatory fee of 10 agurot for each plastic shopping bag.

SO I think it's time to stock up on a few reusable bag options. They are definitely the better option for our planet. We all know that the initial outlay for enough bags to do a family shopping may feel like a lot of money. Some people will be making their own bags, but if that's not for you, I wanted to help you source some inexpensive bags that will work for your shopping!

Here are some 5-star rated bags from there that will help you deal with the new law:

5- pack of Reusable Totes (your choice of 3 patterns) (a bit more than $1 per tote)

Foldable Shopping Bags - pack of 6 (less than $1 per bag)

Insulated Large Capacity Bags that clip onto your shopping cart (2-pack) 

Canvas Bags - 2 pack

I'll be sharing other sources of inexpensive shopping bags over the next few weeks, as well as lots of other deals! Be sure to follow me on Facebook so you don't miss out!


The Better World Books 48 hr Flash Sale is BACK!

Right now, Shop the Better World Books Bargain Bin, and get 20% off your order of 5+ books! 

Here are the details:


If you don't find what you're looking for at BWB, don't despair! There are a number of other booksellers who ship worldwide for free.

Try out these:

Book depository -  Free worldwide shipping!

Wordery - Free worldwide shipping!

Sunday, November 6, 2016


M'Ta'am L'Mehadrin announced the following recall, due to the presence of listeria in the product:

Deli Meat in the "Delicatessim" (Specials) line of M'Taam Chafetz Chaim - Turkey Breast in Honey, 250g packages with the following production dates:

27/10/2016 (sell by 27/12/2016)

31/10/2016 (sell by 31/12/2016)

01/11/2016 (sell by 01/01/2017)

Consumers are instructed NOT to eat this product. Please return it to the place where purchased for a refund/replacement.

Please call the company at 02-654-2737 with any further questions

Split Pea Soup (Quicker Cooking Time)

It's soup weather, or it will be soon! It's November after all, and they keep saying the rain is coming! (I'm still waiting for it to show up. But other than the fact that I know we need rain, I don't mind the sunny days in the meantime!)

Here is one of my favorite soup recipes, updated to have a much quicker cook-time:

I discovered that if you SOAK your split peas in a large bowl with water, for a couple of hours before cooking them (and drain and rinse before adding to the soup pot), you can make a split pea soup in less than half the time!! My latest batch was ready after simmering for  about 1 hr -- which I consider a major improvement!
If you are looking for a really quick soup, check out this one or this one.

Split Pea Soup
Split pea soup simmering on my stove.

1 onion, chopped

5 cloves of garlic, chopped

3-6 carrots, cut however you like (I slice in thin circles)

Any other soup worthy vegetables - I sometimes use potatoes, celery, kishuim, and more

1 kg split peas, picked over and pre-soaked
boiling water to fill the pot - it's best if the water is filtered if you live in an area with hard water. Filtered water significantly reduces cooking time

salt, pepper, dill, parsley 

Place onion, garlic, and vegetables in the pot, then add LOTS of water from that you already boiled in your kettle (preferably filtered water - this reduces cooking time, too!). I find starting with the water already hot helps a lot to reduce cooking time Turn the burner to high. Drain and rinse the split peas you pre-soaked, and then add them to the pot.
Bring the pot to a boil, and then turn down the flame.

Simmer, covered, until it's fully cooked...stir occasionally, and add water as needed... Skim the top as needed, too.
(You'll know it's done when the split peas have all gone soft and it's the perfect texture. If your split peas are still too hard, you're not done cooking it. Just keep going!)
Add seasonings and cook for 10 minutes more.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

International Science Center & Science Museum Day!

In honor of International Science Center & Science Museum Day (find out more about it at http://www.iscsmd.org/about/ ), there will be special events with discount admission at the following institutions in Israel on Thursday, November 10, 2016:

Carasso Science Park, Be'er Sheva:
International Museum Day is coming and you are invited to come and learn about Iran's nuclear program.
Thursday, 10.11.16 – 17:00-20"00
17:00 – Series of experiments and demonstrations in the field of nuclear energy
17:30 – Lecture by Dr. Erez Gilad from Ben Gurion University of the Negev
19:00 – Screening of the movie the 112th element and directly following a discussion with Rama Marinov-Cohen
₪30 for all | free for Carasso Science Park Members

Bloomfield Science Museum, Jerusalem:
Fields of Tomorrow Exhibit will be open from 4-6 pm for a reduced ticket price of just 10 shekels per person

If I hear of other participating venues I will update this list. Please leave me a comment or drop me a note if you know of a venue with a special event for International Science Center & Science Museum Day! Thanks!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Think the price went down? Think again...

Consumers beware!

Unilever, a major player in the Israeli food marketplace, has been lowering prices per package of certain food items...

Unilever owns many brands: Telma, Strauss, Beigel Beigel, Hellmann's, Blue-Band, Knorr, Lipton, Axe, Vaseline, Dove, Pinuk, Roxana, and many more.

They SEEM to be lowering prices.

But really, they are raising them, by changing the weight of the package and lowering the price a bit. But overall, per gram/kilogram, the price has INCREASED.

Show Unilever you are not willing to put up with their price gouging and stop buying their products! I highly recommend home-cooking and store labels as a good alternative. I will be trying harder NOT to buy Unilever products. Will you join me?

Shabbat Menu!

This is the first week of Shabbat starting at 4-something on Friday afternoon, so I must get my act together.

I'm going to go put up some challah dough now, and here are the other things I'll be making:

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (for Friday night)

Black Bean Cholent and Vegan Kishke (for lunch)

Oven Fried Chicken (for Fri. night and for lunch)

Potato Kugel (for Fri. night and for lunch)

Roasted Vegetable Kugel (made with whatever vegetables we have)

Apple Crisp (for Fri. night and for lunch) 

Israeli Salad (for Fri. night and for lunch)

Spinach salad (for lunch) 

Cabbage Salad (for Fri. night and for lunch)

we'll have fruit for dessert - unless one of the children decides to make dessert.

What's on your shabbat menu?

Alternatives to Take Out/Prepared foods

So many of us are living the crazy life. We run from one thing to the next - the list of things to do, between work and family obligations is ever so long - it feels like it's never ending!

And that leads all of us to the well known and dreaded "supper problem".

It happens daily - we need to eat and our kids need to eat, and supper is usually crunch time. It makes sense that we don't always have our act together and we end up scrambling for food - and that's when we buy take-out.

I get it. It makes sense. But I'm going to help you find your way out of this, because if you're reading this blog, chances are, you would like to find a way to spend less money (especially on food).

(You can still do take-out if your budget allows - just plan for it to be X # of times per month - I suggest 1-2 at most so that it feels like what it is - a luxurious splurge, and you'll appreciate it!)

Here are some of our very quick ways of dealing with supper when we're in over our heads.

My number one choice would be to take a few minutes to throw a one pot meal into the slow cooker in the morning. This can be all anything at all - black bean and tomato soup, mushroom barley soup, vegetable and chick pea stew... if you prefer meat, make that - almost anything at all made in the crock pot will be less expensive than a takeout meal.

My second option is sandwiches (you can use a sandwich maker to make hot, crispy, melty sandwiches!) and fresh or steamed veggies for supper. These don't take long to prepare. It may not feel like supper to you - sandwiches are often lunch food - but really, the point is to fill hungry tummies, not to be a gourmand.

Other quick meals that will save you from getting take out could include scrambled eggs - eggs are relatively inexpensive and cook up fast. Get the whole family involved making salads and you're good to go.

I like to keep some ready ingredients on hand, because it's easy to throw together food when I have chick peas or beans, rice, baked potatoes, and more already cooked and in the fridge waiting! Having bread and rolls in the freezer helps a LOT too. A bit of prep on Sunday can take us through till Wednesday so we don't have a crisis.

What tricks do you have that help you stay out of the take-out trap? I'd love to hear your ideas!