Winter Wonder… when it will end

Its no secret I don’t like winter. I don’t like being cold. I don’t like the icy wind. I don’t like the sideways rain.

I’m constantly cold and my neck is always sore from tensing my muscles. I haven’t been able to feel my nose or my toes for months.

I also realised a few days ago that I am looking decidedly ill. I’m pale and pasty and meh. My skin alternates between extreme dryness and over oiliness.

I’m tired of my winter clothes, wearing socks (yuck) and being bundled up in layers all the time. I feel frumpy and uninspired and just generally gross.

And just when I thought we were on our way to spring, seeing almond trees in blossom and the gorgeous wild Red Poppy Anemone in the fields, with the weather getting warmer, it all came crashing down this week.

Anemone-coronaria-2016-Zachi-Evenor

Its currently 11ºC and raining and not looking any better for the rest of the week either. This morning I not only stepped in a giant puddle when I got off the bus but an idiot driver drove past and splashed me from head to toe.

Can spring hurry the frack up? Please!

Kitchen Gadgets

Its no secret that I love cooking and baking.

I also love kitchen gadgets. From small gadgets like the all in one apple slicer & corer to the larger gadgets like mixers and blenders.

Here are a few of my favourite gadgets in no particular order:

  • Apple slicer and corer. I use this almost daily to slice apples for the kids.
  • Nespresso machine. Also gets used daily.
  • My new slow cooker. I’ve only made a few things in it and I’ve yet to leave it on during the day while I’m at work, but I really love it so far. Its made cooking for a Friday night so much less stressful.
  • My chopper/dicer. I bought this little gadget for ₪20 and its a life saver when I want to dice up veggies really quickly into small bits. It also ensures I don’t dice my fingers along with the veggies.
  • The Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker. This little hand held mortar and pestle is so much fun to use. I often find that some of the dried herbs I have are too big, and if the pieces are too big then the children complain that there are sticks in their food. This gadget grinds all the herbs in a few seconds.
  • Waffle machine. We have a small waffle machine that gets used at least once a month if not more. It makes 2 square waffles at a time so its a bit slow but Saturday night dinners are never more fun than waffle dinners.
  • Braun hand blender. We were given this nifty little gadget when we got married (almost 11 years ago) and its never let me down. I use it to mince onions and carrots and other veggies, I use the whisk attachment when I make (waffle) batters, I use the immersion blender when I make soup. Best gadget ever! 

This weekend a friend gave us a halogen air cooker which I cant wait to try out. Apparently you can do everything from a full roast meal to baking a cake in it. I’m pretty sure this is  also going to become one of my favourite gadgets.

The one thing missing from my kitchen is a stand mixer.

Seriously, you wont believe this but as I finished typing that last sentence my boss walked into our office and said “Who needs a stand mixer?” 

She had found a Kenwood Chef Classic being sold for half price on a ‘daily deal’ type site. So I have now bought myself a stand mixer!

I cannot wait for it to arrive!! 

What gadgets can you not live without? And what gadgets have you bought but never use?

I went to IKEA and it was awesome!

*I was not asked to nor paid to write this post. IKEA is just so awesome I had to document ALL. THE. THINGS!

The #BestBossEver was going to the IKEA food store after work and offered to take us with her. Shani and I decided to make an evening of it and do the whole store.

I made myself a list and was promptly laughed at by everyone because apparently you NEVER stick to your list.

Which  is true. I did not stick to my list. Although I only bought 3 extra things so that’s not so bad.

My list consisted of the following:

An oven glove

A4 boxes

Smaller boxes

A whisk

2 sets of tongs

An egg lift

A pasta spoon

A garlic press

IKEA zip bags

Light fittings for Faith and Aaron

And from the food shop:

Mustard

Herring

Ikea Meatball Sauce

The additional things I picked up were:

A knife sharpener

A flamingo

A frog-pig-monkey 

Start Here

Shani and I started upstairs going through all the various rooms and apartments. It also happens to be the big winter sale, so lots of things were marked down. 

Sale

We took about an hour going through the whole upstairs and then parked our trolley (and Shani for a minute) while we went to the dining area so I could experience the quintessential IKEA meal. Swedish meatballs.

Parking bays
Meatballs

Oh man! Since it was relatively early for dinner, we landed up sharing a plate of meatballs, chips and green beans. We stopped just short of licking the plate clean. For ₪25 for a huge plate of food its almost worth just going there for dinner, never mind all the awesome things to buy.

All done

Once dinner was over we headed downstairs to begin the real shopping.

It took us about an hour to go through the store, find the things on our lists, find things that were on the sale, put things we really didn’t need back on the shelf and check out.

All the things!

We then popped into the food store and grabbed all the yummies.

I really enjoyed IKEA. The whole experience was amazing. I loved the room set ups, so many cool ideas to utilise a small space. And all the nifty gadgets. I could probably spend a fortune in there if I could.

I will definitely be going back since I saw a whole lot of things I would like to get.

Manifestation

When we were first making aliyah, people were slightly horrified that I didn’t have a job lined up for when we arrived.

They were even more horrified when I told them that I would be happy packing supermarket shelves if that was the only job I could get.

Then I was lucky enough to get a job within a month of arriving in Israel and I’ve just passed my 2 year work anniversary with the company.

I have also only just realise, like sitting at the bus stop this morning realised, that I have actually manifested my words from 2 years ago.

You see, I work for a company that price compares products across a variety of supermarkets. My job, specifically, is to make sure that all the data we receive from the various stores is correct in terms of price, quantity and of course, which shelves the products are on in the website.

It only took me 2 years to twig, but even though I may not be physically packing shelves at the local super, I am digitally packing shelves for a variety of supermarkets.

Things I have recently learned…

Boys are gross

OK, so not something I didn’t already know but still. 

I could not look at Aaron’s room for a single minute more on Friday. So I asked demanded that he clean everything. I made him pick up and throw away every last piece of paper, string, broken toy, piece of crap off his floor. He had to clean out his toy box, bedside table and computer desk. He had to dust everything, wipe down all the surfaces and then sweep the floor. I then came in and used my awesome steam mop thingy to clean the floors. The best part was when I told him I want the floor clean enough to eat off. His eyes almost bugged out until I told him that it was a saying and we were not really going to eat off the floor.

So now his room is pretty clean, except for the cardboard boxes he is turning into a plane. Lets see how long it lasts this time.

Winter – Pic taken by Paul

The vacuum cleaner wasn’t broken

About 2 years ago we bought a really cheap vacuum cleaner from the local grocery store. It was cheap but it worked really well. For the last little while I’ve noticed that it wasnt working as well as it used to. We cleaned it out. Paul pulled out a fair bit of fluff and hairballs and it worked a bit better but no where near as well as when it was new. I thought that was that. Its a cheap machine, obviously has a short lifespan. I asked Paul to give it a clean so I could use it on the above mentioned boy’s room. Paul landed up taking the thing apart and actually washing one of the big sponge filters, which was disgustingly dirty. 

Let me just say, the machine now works like I just took it out the box. It even picked up glitter off the tiles and carpet. 

Moral of the story? Clean and service your appliances before throwing them out. 

Jerusalem – pic taken by Paul

You can make cake using plain Greek yogurt and no sugar

I felt like making a cake for tea yesterday and I didnt have any diabetic cup for cup sugar replacement available. What I did have was stevia liquid. I searched online and found a simple trick for using liquid stevia as a replacement in a regular recipe.  Basically 1 teaspoon stevia for each cup of sugar as well as 1/3 cup liquid for each cup of sugar. In my case I used plain yogurt.

The cake came out delicious!

Greek Yogurt Lemon Cake
A dense and yummy lemon cake with no sugar.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 3/4 cups flour
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 tablespoon butter (you can use the equivalent in oil)
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  8. 2 teaspoons stevia liquid
  9. 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  10. 1/2 cup lemon juice (you can also add a bit of lemon rind if you used a fresh lemon but its not necessary)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. In 1 bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a 2nd bowl mix the butter/oil, eggs, vanilla, stevia, yogurt and lemon juice.
  4. Slowly add the dry bowl into the liquids bowl, mixing well as you add them together.
  5. Mix well until there are no lumps.
  6. Pour the batter into a prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes.
Notes
  1. We ate this cake straight from the oven. It was totally delicious.
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

Lets take a moment to discuss the coins in the lining of my jacket…

There are 3 of them. 2 small coins and 1 larger one.

The jacket is a K-Way down jacket from Cape Union Mart.

Edited to add: There were no coins in the jacket when I bought it!!

It has 4 pockets.

There are no holes in any of the pockets.

4 separate people (and myself) have literally turned the jacket inside out searching for any holes.

There are none.

Yet, there are 3 coins floating around in the lining of my jacket.

How even?

coin

Its driving me insane. I can feel them every time I put my hand in my pocket. I cannot find any holes. GAH!!!

So, this morning I placed 4 x 10 agorot pieces in the jacket pockets, 1 coin in each pocket and then zipped them up. 

Now we wait and see which coin disappears and then search that pocket for a hole.

And if there is no hole?

You may just find me rocking myself and a bottle of whiskey under my desk.

Salutations

One of the things I love about Israel and the Hebrew language is that there is a greeting for everything and everyone greets everyone (well mostly, remember the grumpy old men?)

There are regular, every day greetings, good morning (בוקר טוב – boker tov) and evening (ערב טוב – erev tov).

There are greetings for the beginning and end of the week, good week (שבוע טוב – shavua tov) said from the moment shabbat has ended to the end of Sunday and  shabbat shalom (שבת שלום) said anytime from Thursday through to the end of Saturday night.

Then there are greetings for High Holy days, usually happy holiday (חג שמח – chag same’ach) or the yiddish, gut yontiv (גוט יום־טובֿ – good yom tov). 

My favourite though, is an alternative to good morning. It is usually said as a response to someone who says good morning (boker tov) to you.

The greeting is בוקר אור (boker or) and literally translates to ‘morning light’.

It really does lighten up my day!

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I lost it. Again.

My bus pass (Rav Kav).

This makes it the 3rd time in almost 2 years that I have lost my Rav Kav.

The 1st time, I had to get a new card.

The 2nd time, the driver had actually handed it in to the office so I didn’t need to get a new one.

This time, the card had not been handed in (at least not at my nearest office) so I had to buy another one. 

That makes 3 brand new cards in 2 years!

At the rate I am going I think they should offer me a ‘buy 5 get 1 free deal’.

buy-1

 

Can we talk about the weather?

Particularly about the fact that the seasons change. From summer to autumn to winter.

Every single year.

Every single year of my 37 years, the seasons have changed. Every year before that.

They follow the same cycle. Hot to warm to mild to cool to cold.

And every single year I manage to wear the wrong clothes when the season is changing.

Even though I know the weather has changed. Its been getting progressively cooler for weeks now. It rained, which means the average temperature definitely drops the days after. 

So, can someone please tell me why, knowing that the weather is colder, knowing that it will probably rain, I still insist on wearing thin summer shirts and my slip slops?

you-know-its-cold-outside-when-26

Me me meme

So I’ve seen this floating around Facebook recently and since I havent posted anything this week, I figured why not…

  • Are you named after someone? Yes, I am named after my dad’s late sister, Natalie. My actual name is Gina-Natalie.
  • When was the last time you cried? I actually cant remember the last time I had a real snot en trane (snot and tears) cry. I do tear up at least once a day because of something I’ve read online or because something reminds me of someone I’ve lost, but no real tears.
  • Do you like your handwriting? Sometimes. If I’m not rushed.
  • What is your favorite lunch meat? Thin sliced turkey breast.
  • Do you have any kids? Aaron and Faith 🙂

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  • Do you use sarcasm? Me? Use sarcasm? Never!
  • Do you still have your tonsils? Nope.
  • Would you bungee jump? Hell no!
  • What is your favorite cereal? I don’t really eat breakfast and never cereal. It gets soggy and that’s just yuck.
  • Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? No.
  • What is your favorite ice cream? Plain ol’ vanilla.
  • What is the first thing you notice about people? Their smile and if its genuine or not.
  • Red or pink? Red.
  • What is the least favorite thing you like about yourself? I am not patient enough with my kids.
  • What was the last thing you ate? Mac & cheese for dinner last night.
  • What are you listening to right now? The sound of the aircon in my office.
  • If you were a crayon what color would you be? Something in the blue range.
  • Favorite smell? The first rain of the season.
  • Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? The mom of one of Faith’s friends.
  • Hair color? Really? I have no idea. Reddish, brown with blondish tips??
  • Eye color? Green.
  • Do you wear contacts? No.
  • Favorite food? Sushi.
  • Last movie you watched? Captain America: Civil War.
  • What color shirt are you wearing? Black with a white lace pocket.
  • Summer or winter? Neither, I prefer Autumn and Spring. But if I HAD to choose it would be summer. I hate being cold!
  • Hugs or kisses? Depends who’s giving them.
  • What is on your phone lock screen? A picture of my family taken a year ago at Rosh Hashanah.

img_5896

  • What did you watch on T.V. last night? Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season 5 Episode 18 to be precise.
  • Favorite sound? Gentle rain on a tin roof.
  • Rolling Stones or Beatles? Stones!
  • What is the farthest you have traveled? Between South Africa and Israel.
  • Do you have a special talent? Not letting the stupid drive me crazy?
  • Where were you born? Johannesburg, South Africa.