Crazy that it’s been two years since I last posted. I’ve missed this opportunity to dance my fingers across the keyboard and talk to myself, hoping that maybe someone will want to listen, but knowing it’s fine even if they don’t. Like I said at the beginning, this blog is about me, what I like (family, food, friends, community) and it’ll probably bore you to tears.
But in case you somehow land on this page and find yourself reading, hey, worse things can happen. You may even find you relate to something I’ve said, or wonder why I’m not in the looney bin (in a cell next to yours). Either way, it’s all good. And I’m done rambling for the day.
Maybe next time there will be something remotely useful. Like a recipe. Oh wait, there are several billion of those online. Do you REALLY need another one??
I’m a parent (thank God). And one of my greatest desires in life is that when the kids are away from home they should be homesick.
Homesick means there’s something back home that’s so good, they feel absolutely sick without it. And that’s a good thing. (Don’t think too deeply about that.)
Call me crazy. But really, our job as parents is to create a home that rivals the Apple store at your nearest mall. You know it’s their favorite place, right? The Apple store is loaded with the coolest things ever, and they can try their hand at all of them. And there are chilled, friendly, knowledgeable people standing by to lend a hand when needed, answer a question, explain something, guide them to the right product for their lifestyle/budget/interest.
It’s a paradigm shift. Instead of running a house like a boot camp or a stress factory, make it a place that everyone loves to come home to.
Years ago my husband and I heard the words of a very wise man who spent half a lifetime in marketing, and then shifted gears to lecture on parenting and spreading positive values to the next generation.
Marketing Parenting Guru (Rabbi) said that as parents, we need to fill the virtual shelves of our home “store” with goods that rival what’s out on the streets. Happiness, acceptance, fun activities, warmth, joy, games, music, great food – the more homemade the better – and lots of opportunities for the kids to try new things and find their way in life with cool, laid back helpful and friendly guidance from mom and pop.
Stocking your shelves with kid-friendly goods is simple, really, and requires small shifts in everyday occurrences. It’s turning on music, smiling, laughing, offering the customer some fresh-baked goods and hot, tasty foods. It’s asking them what they’re looking for, what they’re interested in, and really listening.
Stocking your shelves with the high-demand products means putting the kids first when it counts, because it may seem like they’ll be teenagers forever, but they already have one foot out of your store and they’re checking out the competition to see if there’s something better out there. You and I know it, and deep down they do, too – there’s nothing better out there.
In our cozy little home we give the customers what they need – and what they want.
And when they’re away, they’ll wish there was a franchise they could visit to get some of those awesome goods.
Here in Atlanta, when there’s an inch of snow on the ground – or even a prediction of snow – everything closes. So no school today for the kiddos, offices are closed, no one is on the streets, and it’s really kind of cozy.
My response is to make pizza. It makes sense, really. What doesn’t make sense is why Publix was sold out of bananas in the pre-storm shopping madness. Are bananas survival food? I think whole wheat, homemade pizza loaded with veggies is real survival food.
This one’s got mushrooms, fresh dill, squash, onions and yellow bell pepper.
Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try:
Easy Pizza Dough
*1 pkg or 1 Tbsp dry yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup water
2 1/2 cups flour (you can use white whole wheat)
1 1/2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
liberal shakes of onion powder, garlic powder and oregano
*Just for the record, the small square packets of yeast contain about 2 1/4 tsp. I just find it easier to measure out 1 Tbsp so that’s what I do and it comes out fine.
Dissolve yeast in water with sugar. Meanwhile, mix flour, salt, seasonings and oil. Add to yeast mixture, mix well with wooden spoon and/or hands, cover with a towel and let rise 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, set oven to 400 and place pizza stone in oven (if you don’t have one, turn oven a little higher). When dough has risen, break off a piece depending on size desired – this recipe makes one large or a few personal sized pizzas.
Spread dough onto parchment paper or foil (admission – I have no idea how to throw pizza in the air), spread with marinara, sprinkle with cheese and desired toppings. If you like spicy pizza, spray lightly with Pam and season with more garlic and onion powder, cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, and oregano. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
There’s an old saying that everyone mixes up. It’s something like, Feed a Fever – Starve a Cold. Or the opposite. Whatever.
But check this out. Here’s what I’m feeding my cold, after waking up this morning to a Yahoo article that reminded me of the 12 superfoods that are loaded with Vitamin C. Had to go with what we had in the house, although I would have loved some fresh pineapple, mango and kiwi instead of broccoli for breakfast. Eew. The things I do for better health.
I’m proud to admit that my usual breakfast isn’t bad either. Whole Foods makes a multi-grain instant oatmeal packet with flax and other whole grains, with no salt, sugar or other additives. I add cinnamon, raisins and chopped nuts. So maybe that’ll be lunch today. Along with some of that fresh tropical fruit if I can make it out to the store!
Stay warm, y’all. Stay healthy, and take care of yourselves. People are counting on you.
Everyone called the bus driver John. To us kids, he seemed really old, with dark, smooth skin that seemed to glow with a special radiance. His smile as we got on the bus warmed us more than the hot cocoa we’d down on those cold winter mornings before rushing to the corner to wait for him.
As we made our way through snowy streets, John would sometimes sing the Little Red Schoolhouse to us, and keep us entertained with stories and funny comments.
One morning as we drove through the snow lined streets he looked up into his oversized mirror so we could catch the twinkle in his eyes and told us that last night he’d fought with the Torah. Continue reading
We had a guest many months ago who is a highly experienced gardener. After hearing me express interest in growing all things beautiful and delicious, he began dropping off plants now and then to try to encourage me to garden. Most of them have been sitting in front of the house for months. But one little baby fig tree has finally found a home.
A wonderful woman who I have been studying with for over a year came over early this morning with her husband and finally laid that little tree to rest in a beautiful spot in the backyard. (Guess she was tired of seeing it in the little black plastic pot all these weeks.)
I am so appreciative to both of them (someone’s got a basket of muffins coming their way….) for taking the initiative. I absolutely love fresh figs right off the tree, as I may have mentioned in previous posts. And even though Jewish law requires we wait four years to enjoy the fruit, I am still so psyched about watching this little beauty grow. The amazing thing is that even in the little plastic pot, the tree had started laying down roots. When they picked it up to bring it to the back of the house it was actually partially attached to the ground. They were able to cut away the plastic pot and leave the new roots intact.
Our little baby fig tree is surrounded by oaks and maybe a pine or two that are humongous. They will fight it for nutrients, and it will have to be tough to survive. But I think having it’s little head start in the front, in that little plastic pot, is a good thing. And definitely being laid to rest in the ground by such loving, experienced hands is a great thing.
Looking forward to years of growth, beauty, shade and eventually succulent fruits.
So I picked up this adorable little jar of really natural organic caramel sauce when I was in New York City last week. Got home from cute little kosher grocery store, looked at the receipt and saw that I had paid $10.99 for it. Ouch.
I promptly tasted it and decided it was worth keeping. Brand is The Date Lady (www.ilovedatelady.com), and it has three ingredients: dates, caramel extract and sea salt. That’s it! Awesome, really. I looked forward to serving it with non-dairy desserts and feeling good about it.
On another NY shopping trip, I bought a couple fruit carving tools – v-shaped kiwi cutter and cool swirly melon baller thing.
So I go through security on the way home and of course they pull me over to examine my bag. TSA guy asks me if there’s anything sharp in my bag. Oh shoot – I realize they’re going to take away my carving tools. I feel kind of stupid, but I tell him that I have a carving tool and I prepare to be disarmed. He says, okay, I just want to be sure I don’t poke myself when I’m going through your bag.
And then he pulls out my caramel sauce, slowly unwraps the bags I put it in for protection, examines the ounces listed on the jar, and says, this is too big. You can’t take this on the flight.
I say you’re kidding. That’s an $11 dollar bottle of caramel sauce. Take my $3 carving tool. Take my make-up, my mint gum, take anything, but don’t take my caramel sauce. Okay, I didn’t say all that. What I asked is, is someone at least going to be able to enjoy it? To which he answered brutally – no, we throw it out.
Is it just me, or is there something seriously wrong with our TSA?? Wait, that was totally obvious and always has been. I’ll end with something more clever…
As you fly the friendly skies, know you’ll be safe from caramel sauce, large Greek yogurts, full size tubes of toothpaste, and fancy bottles of wine. But definitely watch out for those ice cream toppings. They can be lethal, even with only three pure and natural ingredients.
If anyone in New York and the surrounding areas is reading this, please go out and buy some Date Lady caramel sauce. Pour it over your ice cream or cheesecake, into your latte, or just pour it right into your mouth (if it’s been that kind of day). And think of me.
I find myself in NY city once again, enjoying the raw energy of the people, the busses and the huge buildings. Even the garbage and cigarette smoke adds something unique to the scene.
Somehow, in the midst of all the roughness, moments of stunning humanity seem to happen each time I’m here – either on a bus or waiting for one. (Taxis are for those who want to go through life without stopping to enjoy it. They just want to get somewhere fast and not enjoy the trip. Add to that the fact that I’d rather spend the $40 on a fabulous meal.)
Waiting at a bus stop on Amsterdam Ave, we were joined by a harried mother with a jumpy little boy and two older daughters. The little guy reached the bench first and scooted over to make some room.
He motioned excitedly to his mother, showing her the six inch space next to him, and she tiredly sat down. He looked down and saw she didn’t have enough room, and immediately jumped off the bench so his his mother could make herself comfortable. He waved his arm expansively and said It’s all for you Mommy, you sit, as he danced around her.
This morning as I was getting ready to leave to the airport my own little (6 ft tall) boy touched my heart big time by giving me a gift for my journey. I was getting ready to leave him for a significant amount of time to fend for himself and he was taking care of me.
The mother at the bus stop wasn’t exactly acting worthy of love. She seemed anxious, distracted, tired, annoyed. But her little fella wanted to make her happy – it was his absolute joy and delight to give his mother the whole piece of bus stop bench to rest her weary bones.
There’s something in these sweet little – and big – boys that wants so deeply to make their mamas happy and cared for.
It goes both ways. As mothers, our job is to love and to give and to love and to give. In those moments when our boys (or our girls) give back it is so deeply beautiful and precious.
It’s been a hard day. It’s been a hard week. Someone very dear in our family passed away suddenly, and the emotions evoked during the many hours on the phone with family and friends are exhausting.
The weird thing is how life is moving along, and I still need to take care of the kids, make dinner, do errands and function in a world that has no idea of my loss.
Or do they?
At the drugstore, the cashier ringing up the lady next to me makes a point of saying Hello to me, and asking how I’m doing. Same guy who jokes with me when I bring my daughter in for nail polish and she takes forever choosing a color and then I come back the next day to swap it for a different one.
At the supermarket, Lisa (who I’ve known for years) says I don’t usually see you in here this late. Then she looks closely at my face as she starts scanning my oats and raisins and says You okay? I’m not really, but that’s okay, I respond. I know she cares, but if I start talking about how I really feel it’ll be all over, and for heaven’s sake this is the express lane.
So I leave without spilling my heart, but even so, I feel her concern and that’s something. I step out into the fresh air of the parking lot, get into my car, and take a few deep breaths.
A really hard day was just made a teeny bit softer with the humanity shown by a few cashiers.
Life will go on, and we’ll all be okay.