A Little Comfort…A Little Traditional

It has certainly been a while since I have blogged. I promise I will do more in the future. Within the past month I had tried a brand new recipe and made a favorite of mine that I haven’t had in a while.

My new recipe was in honor of Hanukkah. Soufganiyot is considered to be a treat in Israel and is served/eaten as a  commemeration of  the miracle associated with the Temple. Traditionally it is  2 pieces of dough surrounding jelly. Typically this is fried, so it is supposed to taste like a jelly doughnut. This version from Cooking Light calls for it to be baked instead of fried to save on calories and fat.(click on picture for recipe) This was fun to make-the first time I have gotten to make a dough from scratch and knead it and bake it and squeeze strawberry jelly into it.  The visual, unfortunately, was much better than the actual taste. They had a dense consistency and a fairly bland taste.  To say I was disappointed is a bit of an understatement..but it just gives me the motivation to try and find another recipe.

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I love rice..plain rice as a side dish, rice with stirfry, tomato and rice soup and even rice pudingJust last week I had a craving for an old favorite…rice pudding. I know that this is an acquired taste. When I was in high school/college, my mom used to buy rice pudding from Costco. It came in this big trays with cinnamon packets to sprinkle over. My brother and I loved this stuff. It was a great snack-easy on calories and low in fat, plus a light and sweet taste.  I was so ecstatic when, last year, I found a recipe for rice pudding in my Cooking Light magazine.  It was my first time working with arborio rice and it was something different. The recipe calls for lime zest, which I had found really overwhelms the taste. I had made a few more batches of it over the next few weeks adjusting the amount of lime zest, but I found that the best option was to just omit it and leave the cinnamon sticks in the mixture throughout the entire cooking process.  The recipe adds raisins to it and as a snack, sometimes I find I will even add some berries to it. When I made it last week, I was brought right back to high school..what a great taste!

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Published in: on January 23, 2009 at 2:06 am  Comments (2)  

It’s All Greek To Me! – Our Honeymoon In Greece Part 1

Athens, Greece 2008

So here we are, waiting for our flight to Naxos, which will be the first of the islands that we visit. Our stay in Athens was exhausting, but fun. Yesterday was our only full day to explore Athens, and we definitely accomplished that. Our hotel was very conveniently located, so we took advantage of walking pretty much everywhere. Instead of taking a formal bus tour of Athens, we decided it would be more fun to explore on our own.

You would think that after such a long trip to Athens – about 6 hours to Munich, then another 2 ½ hours to Athens, that all we would want to do is crash. We didn’t. After meeting with our representative from Homeric Tours at the hotel, we decided to take the map and explore for awhile. We found the Temple of Zeus, which is right off a very busy (and noisy) main street. Our first look at ancient history!

Then it was off to see what we can find. After a bit of wandering, we stumbled onto an area called Syndagma. Syndagma is the neighborhood where Parliament resides and is a central jump point to the many other connecting neighborhoods. We then traveled down Ermou Street which is a main shopping district for higher end clothing. Lots of people. After awhile we found the Flea Market which is an area of small streets with vendors in small shops selling everything from your normal kitschy touristy items to antiques and handmade glass. We decided not to buy anything at that time, as it was getting late and we wanted to find our first meal in Greece. We found a taverna (restaurant) in the Plaka – a very crowded area next to the Flea Market and the Acropolis. It was pretty good. The Greek salad and dolmates (stuffed grape leaves) were delicious. When the bill arrived, we learned our first lesson in Greek dining. When they automatically put bread on your table, it is NOT free! In the US, we are so used to having complimentary bread that it didn’t dawn on us until it was too late that we would have to pay for it. After that, we got wise to this, and everytime thereafter when they sent over a basket of bread, we would tell them to take it away. After a relaxing dinner, we decided to walk back to our hotel and finally went to sleep at about 12:30 AM, which means we were pretty much awake for about 32 hours straight.

The next day, we unbelievably got up early. Our first destination was of course the Acropolis, which is pretty much at the center of the city and

View from the Acropolis

View from the Acropolis

one of the highest points. As the pictures show, it is quite a walk up to it! On our way, we entered a beautiful park and plaza. There was a large rocky area that when we climbed up had an amazing view of the city. Even at this point, the Parthenon was still above us.

After buying our tickets and MUCH NEEDED water, we entered the area where the Parthenon resides. The best way to describe it is awe inspiring! The plateau actually contains several structures, with the Parthenon as its largest inhabitant. The columns are enormous, and it really is a testament to ancient Greece how they were able to construct this without any of the modern machines. To think that we were walking where ancient history actually lived is an experience we will never forget. The other thing we noticed were how many different nationalities there were with us up there. Naturally, we struck up a conversation with a bunch of other people. One of them has a daughter who will be attending Harvard. Roy naturally told her what he does, and gave her a card with an offer to assist. Even thousands of miles away, he’s still working! Oy vey. We also met another 2 couples simulateously. 1 set from Canada and the other from Vermont. It seems we were all having a bit too much of a good time discussing our experiences in Greece that a security officer “kindly” reminded all of us that this was a place to keep our voices down.

View of the Parthenon

View of the Parthenon

The Parthenon

The Parthenon

After finishing at the Acropolis, we decided to go into the Monastiraki neighborhood where the flea market is. We then decided to just walk around and get lost in the neighborhood. The great thing about this area is even if you feel like you’re getting lost, you can always look up and use the Acropolis as a reference point. There are also many tavernas in the area that lead down the the Plaka which is next to the Acropolis. We were feeling pretty hungry and a bit tired at this time, so we decided to have a real souvlaki. We found a great place named Thanassis where we sat down (our feet were starting to get a bit tired by now) and have a nice lunch. What we learned at this point, was that there are 2 ways to order a souvlaki. If you just say “souvlaki” you get a whole platter which is much more expensive and too much food. If you say “Pita Souvlaki” you just the sandwich and it is a LOT cheaper! Lunch was followed by some ice cream, but not creamy and heavy like ice cream. The shoppe had about 15 flavors to choose from. How could we resist this?? Even the way they were presented in the cases for people to choose was so different than anything back home.

Lunch certainly rejuvenated us, and it was off to see the changing of the guards at Parliament which happens every hour on the hour. A very interesting display. There are 2 guards posted next to guard houses and they don’t move. People are allowed to stand near them to have their pictures taken. There is an army person that watches the tourists to make sure that they give respect. Then, a few minutes before the top of the hour, 3 men dressed in traditional guard uniforms come marching around the corner into the plaza. Then the incoming and outgoing guards perform a “choreographed” routine to change the posts. This whole exchange takes about 10 minutes and the new guards will remain at their post still as statues until the next top of the hour.

There are many parts of Athens in addition to where we had already been exploring. Some areas are known for the shopping, some are known for being tourist traps and others for their historical value. We forged into an area known as Kolonaki, which is an area known for its high end shopping. To be truthful, we really didn’t find that many shops which could only be explained by us being lost and in the wrong area. We did get to see a lot of residential areas. Cars parking on sidewalks and in differing directions. No homes, only apartment buildings.

Sculpture made entirely of sheets of glass - Cool!

Sculpture made entirely of sheets of glass - Cool!

After several hours of walking around in blistered feet and a feeling a bit grimy, we decided to go back to our hotel and wash up, relax and go out for a nice dinner. Roy had read about a restaurant called “Mono” which is in the Monastiraki area. We took the Metro to Syndagma. It was unlike any other public transportation we have known. The seats are made of cloth, the floors were clean, people weren’t packed in like sardines, and it was easy to understand the announcer to know what stop you were at. After a few attempts to navigate to the restaurant, we were amazed at what we found. It was a “swanky” sort of place and well worth the hype. We had the meatballs and dolmates. Roy had a grilled salmon with grilled vegetables. Sharon had a grilled chicken with a sweet and sour type of sauce. The presentation was amazing when we were served. One thing that we had observed about the restaurants so far, was that the presentation of the food was basic and simple, but outstanding in taste.

After dinner we went back into the flea market to see if we could find some souvenirs for some people and also ourselves. We stumbled upon a shop which sold a lot of handmade beaded jewelry and glass items made by some local artists. This was the first of many stores we found which were offering “low season” discounts. We found some pieces we liked and bartered a bit with the owner. (We read in a book that most store owners are willing to barter…you just need to be careful what you are bartering on).

Athens at night

Athens at night

The next morning we woke up to depart for Naxos. Lessons learned in Athens:

  1. Don’t let the waiter put bread on the table unless you are willing to pay for it.
  2. Greek law stipulates that the gratuity is already included in your meal bill. If you feel that the meal and/or service were beyond average, 5-10% additional is acceptable.
  3. Athens is a dirty and noisy city. However, the friendliness of the people and the magnificence of the ancient ruins make up for it.
  4. Don’t even think about renting a car or motorscooter in Athens, unless you have a death wish.
  5. A Greek salad in Greece does not contain the following: pepperocinis, “greek dressing”, or lettuce. The feta is not even crumbled up…just a block on top of some vegetables.
Published in: on October 25, 2008 at 2:40 am  Comments (1)  

Summer Fun

It’s been a while since I last blogged and I think everyone has basically given up reminding me that I need to do so 🙂  This summer has held a lot going on for us and I am so sad to see it go.

Roy & I enjoyed our annual trek to Martha’s Vineyard with Ken & Suzanne…but this time as husband and wife.  So many things stayed the same: lazy breakfasts on the front porch, waking up to the quiet sounds of the marsh, lobster dinners on the beach and mandatory visits to Menemsha Blues and The Black Dog.  With as many things staying the same, we enjoyed just as many new things too: This was our first time on the Vineyard with baby Julia, Roy actually went into the ocean (an event I have never seen in 5 years!), and we found a new store to frequent-The Lazy Frog.

A few weeks later, Roy & I joined Tricia & Cesar at Betsy & Dan’s house for a dinner party. In true craft girl fashion, we all took charge of making something. Tricia made a wonderful veggie, dip, cheese & cracker platter. Betsy & Dan took care of the main course and I made the strawberry salad and dessert. Dessert was a yummy cobbler I have found in Cooking Light-Blueberry & Peach Cobbler. I think next time I make it, I may add some blackberries or try some mango.

It’s all kind of amazing to me still how my friendship with Betsy has grown into what it is so quickly. I remember a holiday party at the “Quincy House” (now known as Michelle & Shawn’s house) where the tension between the two of us was so thick knives couldn’t even cut through it.  And now here we are. She is one of my best friends and I love her dearly. Guess Fate knew that there would be a point in time when our friendship would have its place to be what it truly could be.  The other amazing fact is how some of my other friends have formed a friendship too. We cut out all the “bullsh*t” and allowed our true selves to really shine through and show what wonderful women we can all be.

And because no post could be complete without Stewie…..

To wrap up our summer…as this very well may be my last post until Greece (who knows, maybe I will be ambitious and blog from Naxos or Santorini!)…Roy & I finally went to a Red Sox game. It was a wedding gift to us because the person knew that we have never really been (Roy has never been and I haven’t been to a game in about 12 years). I should be ashamed to call myself a Masshole! We had great seats and I even managed to get some beer spilled on me a bit. The last time I went to a game I only remember drinking a lot of beer (which I don’t like) and being pretty bored because I didn’t understand the game at all. This time I understand more and have wathed more games. We played the Orioles last night. Boston had beat them out on Monday so I was feeling hopeful that we would beat them out again. I was wrong! We didn’t just beat them out…we spanked them! 14-2…Go Sox!

That’s all for tonight. Great memories of the summer, but I am looking forward to the fall. By the way-I read that this apple picking season should be one of the best ever. I am definitely anxious to see if they are right on that!

Published in: on September 4, 2008 at 2:54 am  Comments (6)  

Here’s To Me…Mrs. Seidenberg

Today is my 2nd day as a married woman…That’s right! It finally happened! After months and months of planning and stressing out and fighting with vendors…My dream came true! I married the most wonderful man in this world!

Roy’s parents had a dinner for all of our out-of-town guests. In true form, we had some crashers, but it was fun! We even celebrated my grandmother’s 80th birthday too! After dinner Roy & I went to Margarita’s with Betsy, Dan & Suzanne for some yummy stress relieving drinks. Here is Roy drinking a girly, fruity drink named after my brother…the Russelrita!

The

The next morning we got up early to make ourselves beautiful. It was a great morning with my girls. We got our hair done, got our make up done and I couldn’t get over how cute my new niece looked!!!

By the time I got to the castle, I was so nervous! I think it was mostly making sure that everything ran on time. All these questions running through my head…would everything I had worked so hard for go off without a hitch? Would the weather hold out and I could have a beautiful outdoor ceremony? Would the dresses look good on all of my girls? The dresses & Jewelry really looked great. Here is a picture of 2 of my beautiful girls:

Finally…here are some pictures of the 2 most important people of the day! I got to have my traditional Jewish ceremony. Our 4 cousins held up our chuppah and we were surrounded by our families and friends. Roy and I each wrote something for each other to be rad during the ceremony. Roy managed to put in a lot of references to the Princess Bride. The one sad thing about our day was the fact that my father wasn’t with us. I added a number of things to remember him. I added a charm onto my flowers that had a picture of my dad and I put a couple of pictures of him outside with a candle. He was there the whole day. As my aunt told me, “Your father gave you the beautiful weather for a beautiful ceremony.” I couldn’t have asked for a better day! Until….the reception.

The weather forecasted afternoon thunderstorms. We got that and more! just after Betsy & Suzanne gave their toasts, the sky turned black, the winds started to pick up and the rain started to pour down (just ask Shawn Todd for proof!) The flaps of the tent start flapping all over the place as they tried to close up the tent. Rain started flooding in under the flaps of the tent and glasses & plates started to be flung to the ground. The best part was when the power went out and we lost all the lights and music. The castle crew got us up and running again within 15 minutes, but by that point all I could do is laugh hysterically! I even found out that because the castle itself couldn’t get the power back up, they couldn’t brew the coffee for dessert, so they had to make a couple of Dunkin Donuts runs!

Within a short while, the weather cleared up, the temperature dropped about 10 degrees, and plenty of puddles were left behind. By the end of the night, the shoes were off and because the bottom of my dress had already started to get dirty, I figured, why not go further…I splashed in the puddles and had the best time of my life!

Every girl dreams of their wedding when they are little girls. Me, being a “princess” had dreamed I would get married in a castle..I got that. I had dreamed to have a beautiful, traditional Jewish ceremony..I got that. I had dreamed to have my friends and family surrounding me ..I got that. And most of all, I dreamed to have my prince..I definitely got that!

Thank you to all my friends and family who came to the wedding, stood by me through EVERYTHING and who celebrated with me on Sunday! I love you all!

Published in: on July 1, 2008 at 10:52 pm  Comments (3)  

A Night Out With The Girls

If trying on my wedding gown, registering, sending out the invitations or having a bridal shower didn’t make this wedding seem real, last night certainly did! I had my bachelorette party and it was perfect!

We started off with an afternoon of crafting at Sparks. We got to pick out own own beads and make beautiful necklaces. Some of us had enough to make a matching bracelet too. I had taken classes there over the summer with Joy & we have many beautiful projects to show from that! Here are a couple of pictures of the day. This is my finished project:

This next picture is one of me & my bridal party & friends all sporting our beautiful creations!

Betsy & the girls then organized for us to go out for dinner at Cuchi Cuchi…Don’t ask why, but I still giggle everytime I say that name 🙂 It is like tapas, but not really tapas. It is all about the little plates of food to share but it is not limited to Spanish style foods. There are French, Russian and a whole bunch of other ethnicities of foods. It was nice because we were able to all enjoy some new foods that we would have never tried on our own. The drinks were unbelievable. Some of them are somewhat suggestive in name. I have a few “You Give Me Fever” drinks. Those were so good that I think I am going to have to learn how to make them!

The atmosphere at Cuchi Cuchi totally lent itself for bachelorette fun. From the suggestive names of drinks to the attire of the waitresses…even the sparkly mermaid on the front…

The night was a great time. My close friends, crafting, good food & yummy drinks! I think Roy may have been a bit jealous…as you can see below, he was trying to get in on the excitement of the bachelorette party when I got home!

To everyone who came…thank you so much for celebtating with me! I had a great time! I hope you did too!

Published in: on May 18, 2008 at 8:21 pm  Comments (4)  

Vent: The Nerve of Some People

I know the saying…”Funerals bring out the best in people. Weddings bring out the worst in people.”  This is certainly true!

It started with my engagement party with one of my aunts basically telling my mother who needed to be invited. What gives her the right to do that?? Anyways, crisis basically averted, minor annoyance on my part and no family rifts.

Fast forward to NOW…At my engagement party, my grandparents hand me a list of people who need to be sent an invitation. Their friends and their family (which I guess also means it is my mom’s family and ultimately my family) in Israel. They also took it upon themselves to invite my grandfather’s uncle who they are close to. I wasn’t happy about that, but okay, 2 people and make my grandparents happy? Sure, why not? Plus my grandparents were convinced that Sam (the uncle) wouldn’t come because he is in his 80’s and may not be up for the travelling. Well, this uncle has decided that he and his lady friend are coming. Uncle Sam (yes…stop smiling, I have an Uncle Sam) has a daughter (we’ll refer to her as R) who is NOT invited to the wedding. My grandparents are not close to her, my mother isn’t close to her and I have never met her in my life! R has only gotten back in touch with my mom after 25 years when she heard that my father had passed away. For the past 6 months or so, she has been bragging to everyone how she can’t wait to go to the wedding. My mom subtly told her that she wasn’t invited…she didn’t get the message. So finally I sent her a very sweet, very short & to the point email that we just couldn’t invite her, her husband and son (not to mention that she has a brother and if we invite R we have to invite her brother too).

The emails she has sent back to me in a matter of a 12 hour period! I have been made to feel lower than life, bullied, guilted & manipulated. Comments like “this is not what you do, no way”, “I am hoping that this was just an error in judgement and it will be corrected and rectified and you will e-mail me to let me know that the matter has been rectified and that my husband, my son and I can and will expect and invitation to the wedding.” 

Her son was Bar Mitzvahed in 2000, and no one in my family can recall having received an invitation. She even threw in how she had lost her mother tragically a year ago. And how this is very hard on her son and she wants to be able to share a happy occasion with her father. I lost my father too. This is EXTREMELY hard on me, my brother (who still hasn’t come to grips with it) and my mother…but nothing about that. Nothing about  how she would love to see my mother, my uncle and his wife, meet me & my brother and share in the joy. No…just about how you don’t do this to family. She even told me that she sent an email to my grandparents about this as well. Like that is supposed to change my mind! They aren’t paying for this.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep last night because all these thoughts & feelings kept running through my head. Am I totally wrong on this? I don’t think so. I don’t know this woman. My mom hasn’t had any kind of relationship with her for god knows how long. She doesn’t want to be invited for the right reasons. She wants to see her father. That should be the secondary reason for attending the wedding. I am so beside myself about this! It has been such a long time since someone has made me feel like this.

I was going to email her back with my point of view, but my mom has decided to take care of this tonight.  There are certain people who are being invited to the wedding who have every right to EXPECT to be invited…not her! And yet she does. I am not some stupid kid who doesn’t know the meaning of family. I am just more concerned about my close family.

Thanks for listening/reading…Phew…vent over (hopefully)!

Published in: on April 15, 2008 at 1:51 pm  Comments (4)  

6 Random Things…

Joy tagged me for a meme….6 non important things/habits….

Here are the rules:

1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules.
3) Share six non-important things / habits / quirks about yourself.
4) Tag at least three people.
5) Be sure the people you tagged KNOW you tagged them by commenting what you did.

6 Things:

1. I love to eat foods that can be separated into different categories (stir frys etc).

2. To me, holiday dinners are not complete without my grandmother’s stuffing at Thanksgiving, mom’s matza ball soup at Rosh Hashanah & Passover, potatoe latkes at Hanukkah.

3. When I was 13, the colors of my Bat Mitzvah were purple, purple & purple. For many years afterwards, I hated that color. Now it is the color I am using all over my wedding.

4. I used to practice swallowing pills with M&Ms.
5. As Roy likes to say…”I have monkey feet” I can pinch with my feet, pick things up and I am trying to work on writing with them. Gross, I know!

6. I love spraying my sheets with vanilla & lavendar linen spray. It is one of the best smells!

I don’t have anyone to tag 😦

Published in: on April 14, 2008 at 10:44 pm  Comments (3)  

4/9/08-I’m Back!!

What have I been doing for the past 5 months?? Honestly, I have no idea how I managed to not blog. I mean it’s not like I haven’t been doing anything. But for the most part my life has been consumed with crafts & wedding planning.

Within the past couple of weeks there have been good & bad happening. The first bad thing is that I had honestly thought that I was going to have to settle for something I didn’t like for a wedding band. Roy did a great thing and got me a beautiful and very detailed engagement ring. However, that kind of limited me in terms of the style of wedding band I could get. Also, the price of platinum has completely skyrocketed. I wanted a beautiful ring, but was not prepared to go into more debt than I already am over it. It took Roy a bit to find a band that he liked. We ultimately ended taking advantage of another’s misfortune. Alpha Omega! A company that is notoriously overpriced (in my opinion) became quite advantageous for us! Roy found a “manly” palladium band for 70% off. Mine was a better find! Instead of taking the additional 10% off the 50% markdown…they took off an additional 28%! (We’re still waiting for them to realize this) Here is a picture of our wedding bands:

wedding bands

This next picture is of our cake topper. My cousin had one at her wedding and Roy just fell in love with it. Take a close look at him…doesn’t he look like what you would think a rabbi would look like? 🙂

cake topper

And finally, there was the hair mishap. For anyone who knows me…I have, for a very long time colored my own hair. I have typically favored the fun colors by Garnier Nutrisse such as Chocolate Cherry and more recently Sangria. The only problem is that I can never seem to get the color even in the back and my copious amounts of gray hairs always start rearing their ugly head within a couple of weeks. I decided that I would suck it up and have my stylist do the color for the next couple of times. We decided to go a much darker brown, very close to my natural color (which I don’t think many people actually remember what that is anymore) with highlights of burgundy. This is what we ended up with:

red hair

Trust me…I looked like a close relative of Raggedy Ann! I went back yesterday to have it fixed. Thank goodness it actually worked and my hair now looks as we thought it should.

dakr hair

Now that I actually have a computer at home, I promise to continue blogging more!

Published in: on April 10, 2008 at 2:56 am  Comments (5)  

In Honor Of Marianne’s New Food Month….

Without even meaning too…I tried something new myself over the weekend. I went to my cousin’s to see her new digs. We decided to go out for lunch and went out exploring her area. We found ourselves at a middle-eastern restaurant in Newton Centre called SABRA. Now I love falafel and hummus! But since I now live down the street from a wonderful falafel place, I decided I would try something new. Be adventurous. They had a wonderful vegetarian section. (I am not vegetarian, but most middle-eastern places are big on chicken & lamb) Wasn’t in the mood for chicken and I refuse to eat lamb. Don’t know why…just don’t like it. There is a dish called kibbe (pronounced kib-beh). Traditionally it is a ground lamb dish, so I don’t normally eat it. But this was Pumpkin Kibbe. Seriously?! Too intriguing! It was made with pumpkin puree, some kind of a grain and then in between 2 layers of this was a sauteed spinach, onions, garlic & chick peas mixture. I was so impressed with it! I may have to try to find a recipe on my own for this.

Published in: on November 12, 2007 at 2:43 pm  Comments (5)  
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9/28/07-McDreamy is back ladies!

So excited last night because McDreamy and the gang are back. Kind of weird to watch it and not have Burke & Addison there. (Although I did watch her new show the other night…okay..not horrible, but I just don’t know about it).

It was a good night…baked chicken with soba sesame noodles & asparagus for dinner followed by Grey’s. AND I got all my STDs stuffed & addressed. By tomorrow they will be in the mail. Can’t wait for those to go out.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Published in: on September 28, 2007 at 4:54 pm  Comments (3)