Thanksgiving and Pie

We were invited for a thanksgiving shabbat this week by American born friends in our neighbourhood. I asked what I could bring and was offered sides or dessert. I chose dessert!

Pie!! I mean who doesn’t love pie?

While apple pie is traditional, our hostess is allergic to apples, so I made two pies. One apple pie and one pear pie. Win win right?

Apple (or pear) pie
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 30 mins
 

A traditional and simple apple pie recipe.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 1 packet frozen pastry dough
Filling
  • 8 apples (or pears), granny smith apples preferable
  • splash lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 egg for brushing the pastry
Instructions
  1. Peel and slice the apples (or pears) into small chunks.

  2. Place apples, lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon, salt and flour in a bowl and toss with your hands until all the fruit is covered.

  3. Cover bowl of fruit with plastic wrap and set aside for an hour or more.

  4. Take your frozen pastry dough out and let it defrost until it is manageable but still cool, I left mine in the fridge for 1 hour and it was ready when the fruit was ready.

  5. When you are ready to assemble the pie, turn your oven on to 180C.

  6. Once fruit is ready, take your dough and roll out a piece big enough to cover the bottom and sides of your pie dish.

  7. Place the pastry inside the dish and push the sides up a bit so they stick to the dish.

  8. Take your fruit and layer it into the pie dish, making sure the entire bottom is covered. Keep layering the fruit until in reaches the top of the dough up the sides of the dish.

  9. There will be some liquid left in the bowl, pour no more than 3/4 of a cup of this liquid over the top of the fruit before covering the pie with more dough.

  10. Roll out more dough and either place a full round piece on top of the pie or cut into strips and create a lattice top. You can also roll out the dough and cut shapes with cookie cutters, then create a patter with the shapes.

  11. If you place a full piece on top, cut a few slits into the dough to allow steam to escape.

  12. Brush the pastry dough with a bit of beaten egg.

  13. Once the pie is ready, place in the oven at 180C for about 30 minutes.

  14. Keep an eye on the pie and if you see the edges starting to burn you can cover them with a bit of foil molded to fit the pie dish.

  15. The pie is ready when the pastry is brown and the fruit is bubbling around the edges of the pastry.

  16. Allow to cool down before slicing. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Inspired Taste

 

Black Lentil and Chickpea Stew

We have decided its time to start eating less meat and chicken and try out more veggie dishes. Not only is it healthier but its cheaper too.

This was my first real veggie dish with lentils and it turned out so well. Aaron even went back for seconds when I thought I would have had to bribe him to even try it.

Black Lentil and Chickpea Stew
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ras al hanut spice
  • 2 teaspoons sweet chili flakes
  • garlic crushed, as much as you like
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 cup black lentils uncooked, soaked
  • 1 tin ready to eat chickpeas
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in the pot

  2. Add onions, garlic and spices, stir until everything is mixed and the onions are soft

  3. Add stock, water, tomatoes, carrots and lentils

  4. Bring to the boil and then lower heat and simmer, uncovered for about 25 minutes

  5. Add chickpeas and simmer for a further 10 minutes

Recipe Notes

Serve over rice or with naan

I adapted this recipe from vanillaandbean.com

How I hacked my kids snack for the better

My children love yogurt as a snack. They particularly like a Danone yogurt that has mini Smarties type chocolates added to it.

But… we can only find this particular yogurt at one particular store and even then stock is limited and we may not get.

So today I hacked the snack. Not only did it work out cheaper, it also worked out much healthier and my kids love it.

The original yogurt

The original contains 155g of sweetened yogurt and 25g of generic Smarties. It costs ₪4.30 on average.

Plain yogurt
Brand Smarties
Generic Smarties

The hack consists of a tub of plain yogurt. This is unsweetened, probiotic yogurt and is 200g a tub. Each tub costs ₪3.50.

Then we add a small packet of mini Brand Smarties or generic Smarties. The original Smarties come in a pack of 13 bags, each bag is 14.4g and each bag costs ₪ 1. The generic Smarties come in a pack of 10 bags and each bag is 17g and costs ₪ 1.29.

So I worked out what the cost would be per 100g for a yogurt with Smarties.

SnackCostSizeTotal sizecost per 100g
Original Yogurt₪4.30155g yogurt
and 25g
Smarties
180g₪2.39
Bio Yogurt +
Generic
Smarties
₪4.79200g yogurt
and 17g
Smarties
217g₪2.21
Bio Yogurt +
Brand
Smarties
₪4.50200g yogurt
and 14.4g
Smarties
214.4g₪2.09

Funnily enough, the Brand Smarties worked out cheaper per 100g than the generics. Who knew.

And even better than all the cost saving, is the health saving.

The hack is far healthier than the original, with an additional 45g of yogurt, that’s probiotic and not sweetened, as well as almost half the amount of Smarties.

And my kids are happy to eat it.

I’ve got to admit, I’m pretty proud of myself for not only realising I could hack their favourite snack but for getting it cheaper and healthier too.

When the husband is away…

…the wife will have to clean out the veggie draw.

The veggie draw that had a bag of manky, rotten cucumbers in it. A bag of manky, rotten cucumbers that had been reduced to disgusting, scummy, smelly liquid. Disgusting, scummy, smelly liquid that had leaked into the veggie draw.

Oh, and don’t let me forget to tell you that the veggie draw has holes in the sides at the bottom, so when I pulled out the draw to dump the mess into the sink, it all drained out onto the floor.

So yeah. Today, more so than usual, I truly do appreciate my husband. He who cleans rotten veggies out the fridge and takes out the trash and cleans the toilets and cleans up after the dog because he loves me and knows I hate doing that stuff.

I love you husband. Three more sleeps!

5 Minute Makeover

Being funemployed has left me with some time on my hands. So I figured I would put it to good use.

A few weeks ago, I spotted these self adhesive tiles at the local MaxStock (similar to Crazy Store in SA). At ₪ 10 (R40) a sheet I couldn’t pass them up.

The little corner wall where my stove is, was getting really dirty from food splashes as I cook and I have wanted to create a back splash for ages.

So I cleaned the wall, let it dry and snapped this before pic.

It literally took me 5 minutes to open the packs of tiles, peel the backing off and then place them on the wall. I placed 2 across and 2 up and then cut 1 tile in half to add on to the tiles going across.

They were not as sticky as I would have liked and will probably peel off at some stage (I actually used a glue stick to make one side of a tile stick down) but for now I am pretty impressed with it.

And the best part is if I get bored or they do fall off, I can just pop out and get different tiles and replace them. Easy peasy!

Zombies! Argghhhh!

Running. Not something I have traditionally been very good at. I recall many tears over athletics in school. Mine and the coaches.

But a little while ago, Wendi mentioned a running app that sounded right up my alley. Zombies, Run! Its a fantastic running app that puts you smack bang in the middle of the Zombie apocalypse. You need to get to one of the last remaining outposts of survivors, and complete missions on the way. As you run, and complete missions, you follow a story by award winning author Naomi Alderman.

I went to download the app and noticed a 5km training version which fits in with one of my 6 before 40 goals of running another 5km. I downloaded the app and went for my first run. Then took 5 days to go for my next one. I was easing my way in, don’t judge!

So, since the 5km training app is a spin off, the first run is an introduction to the original story. Its also a free run, meaning no training, just a run/walk/crawl as you listen to the start of the story.

Today, I did the first actual training run. It took me about 35 minutes and I landed up doing 3km. I was so impressed with myself. It definitely did not feel like a 3km run. Listening to the story while doing the run/walk sprints made it fly by.

A few things that stand out about the app:

  • You can listen to your own music while using the app. Just start your music before opening the Zombies, Run! app. I used Spotify.
  • The app and the story are British, so there are some phrases and words that may be a bit confusing but as an ex Saffa, I followed along just fine.
  • Once you start the app, lock your screen. I didnt and as I was running it paused the app and I was waiting and waiting for my next instruction that never came. Probably added on at least another 5 minutes of running when I should have been doing intervals.
  • The story is NOT scary. Yes, there are zombies, but besides a bit of groaning and moaning and being told to run cause they are near you, its really not scary at all.

I have a rest day today and then on to my second training session the next day. I cant wait!

Time for a new adventure

Some of you may already be aware but for those that are not and as a recap, the company that I have worked for since making aliyah, recently downsized quite drastically and most of the staff, including myself, were retrenched.

I worked out the months notice that they gave us and as of today I am officially unemployed.

And that’s OK.

I started applying for new jobs straight after finding out, and I have had a number of telephone interviews, assignments and in-person interviews so far. I am confident that I will have a new, super awesome job soon.

In the meantime, I am taking the next few weeks for myself.

I have a few projects I want to work on, including my pallet herb garden, creating a back (side) splash next to my stove, creating throw pillows out of old superhero t-shirts among other things.

Also, Paul and Aaron are heading off to Oz in a week or so for our nieces Bat Mitzvah, so Faith and I are are having 10 days of girl time. I will be home to fetch her from school every day and we will be able to go swimming or to the movies or just hang out.

I also intend running more and taking my yoga mat out to the park across the road. I’m also excited to have time to read more.

For now I am at home, taking some me time and getting ready for a brand new adventure!

Running and shoes

Not running shoes, although I probably need a new pair soon.

No, I am referring to my 6 before 40 post of a few months ago.

So far I have started running, not a lot but some and I’m intending to run more, when the temperature cools down a little. It was 31C at 8am this morning!

I also bought myself that pair of heals.

I ordered them from Next and they were delivered within 4 days. And they fit. And they are so comfortable and pretty.

Yay me. 2 down and 4 to go.

Next up will be my pallet herb garden.

A tale of two photographs

Tuesday was election day here in Israel. That means we got the day off. No school, no work, so once Paul and I had voted, we gathered the kids, hopped on a train and went into Tel Aviv to visit the Eretz Israel Museum.

We wandered around looking at the various exhibits and then we came across the David Rubinger, I Captured the Truth, 1947-1997 exhibit. Being a photography nerd, Paul was fascinated and spent a bit more time in the exhibit than the kids or I. So we headed outside and sat on a bench outside.

Once Paul was done, he headed out of the exhibit and stopped to take a photo of us sitting together.

An image of mom and kids sitting on a bench in front of a plain boring wall

As he took the photo, the usher for the exhibit came rushing out, ‘No no no, you cannot take a picture there!’ She exclaimed (in Hebrew). Paul started looking for a no picture sign. ‘No’, she said again. ‘You cannot take a picture here, that wall, that wall is old and ugly!’

She then pointed across the courtyard, ‘That is where you must take a picture!’ She was pointing at a shady spot with a colourful flower bed.

‘Here. Here is a pretty wall covered in Jerusalem stone, and look at these beautiful flowers. This is where you must take a photo!’

And then she proceeded to direct us to sit in front of the pretty wall and pretty flowers.

‘No!’ She cried again. ‘Abba (dad), must be in the photo too!’ While taking Paul’s camera out his hands and directing him to sit with us.

She even laid her uniform jacket on the bricks for the children to sit on while shuffling us around to best show off the pretty blooms.

After a few misfires with the camera, and Aaron popping up to show her what to press, she snapped a beautiful family photo of us, and the pretty Jerusalem stone wall and the pretty flowers.

Image of dad, mom and kids sitting on the ground in front of a wall of Jerusalem stone and a bed of colourful flowers.

We thanked her and she told us that she had planted those flowers and was very proud of them. We also had a conversation about where we came from, ‘Oh, you are not tourists, why did you make aliyah?’ She told us that she is also an immigrant, from Uzbekistan, and that she came to Israel many years ago. She then took our map and showed us the best exhibits for the children to enjoy and wished us well before going back to the exhibit.

We had a wonderful day, voting, exploring the history of our country and generally relaxing, but the best part of the day for me, was a photo in front of some gorgeous flowers!

I drove a car!

Legally, on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and in the rain.

Its only taken me 4 years and 3 months to convert to an Israeli drivers license but its finally done.

When we first arrived in Israel, the law was that we could drive for 1 year on our SA license and in total we had up to 3 years to convert to an Israeli license. The catch? We needed to do a minimum of 2 driving lessons and a test in order to convert.

Due to pure laziness, lack of spare funds for lessons and a fear of doing the test, I kept putting it off. Then, just before the 3 years were up, I pulled out my SA license only to see it had expired. And in order to actually do the conversion, besides all of the above, your SA license needs to be valid. Oops…

Oh, and did I mention, if you dont convert your license within the required time period, you have to do a theory test, take a minimum of 28 lessons and do the final test.

Yeah, I resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to drive in Israel.

Then, the law changed, now, you have 5 years to convert your license, you dont need to do lessons or a test and the only requirements are a valid SA license and proof that you have been driving for more than 5 years before making aliyah.

And the, in January, I went back to SA to visit my grandfather who had a bad fall. And while I was there, my mommy organised for me to renew my SA drivers license.

She organised for it to be collected and then a friend of my brothers brought it to Israel for me last week and bam! I had a valid license, proof I had been driving for 5 years prior to coming to Israel and I still had 9 months before the 5 year grace period was over.

And as of yesterday I am officially licensed to drive in Israel.

As for driving a car… a colleague insisted that I take her car for a spin around the parking lot this morning. After 4 years of not driving, it was so much fun. Despite the rain and the fact that we drive on the right over here, I think I managed pretty well.

Now to rent a car and start properly exploring this awesome country.