Learning About Recycling


When I was a little girl and living in Morris County,  my father would take me on the weekly trips to the local recycling center when the weather was nice. I remember how much fun it was to take out all the items from our trunk and toss them into  their appropriate dumpsters. These things were monstrous! This taught me, early on, about how to recycle. In school, I learned the importance of it.

In sixth grade, I chose Groundwater as my science fair project and my father helped me to build a  ‘working’ cave that would allow water to seep through the top of the ‘cave’ (made of clay and other things) and out the bottom of a storage basin. For this, we needed a mesh screen. So, to the recycling center we went for the parts we needed!

Take children to the recycling center. Educate them there. Collect a few items (clean them with a bleach and water solution) and do a craft. I know that people do this already with items in their homes, but if you really want to teach about recycling, you should go to the place where your recycling goes.

~Lily

SNAP YOU NJ SNAP!


Dear NJ Department of Human Services,

Today I wanted to buy a box of matzoh for Passover, but I couldn’t afford to.  Today I learned how much I hate you. I love you, but I hate you. I don’t want to depend on you, but right now, I have to. I don’t feel ashamed that I must use a government issued card to buy my groceries. I feel ashamed for you that you had to call me to ask me if I paid for my own phone bill and then lower my monthly grocery money allotment based how much I spent paying for my own landline.

I know that there are others who got this phone call and the letter that followed, whose SNAP allotments were cut down to the bare minimum of $16 a month, likely based on the possibility that they may not be able to afford their own land line. Fortunately, I am one of the lucky ones who can and so my monthly allotment is not as such. However, it still pisses me off that the State of New Jersey would see to it that those who cannot afford groceries due to their present situation in life, should be shopping for fewer groceries and therefore less healthy options.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that I can still afford to do complete grocery shopping trips using my NJ SNAPs, but I believe that the latest adjustment was not well-balanced. Basing someone’s ability to buy groceries on whether or not they can afford their bills when it should be based on an individual’s income. I may have received more money because I pay my own bill, and a neighbor may have received less because he does not. Is the ultimate goal not to achieve financial independence anymore?  This would be in addition to making healthy eating more affordable, as per the nutrition courses you are so desperately trying implement!  Sometimes we need a little help first in order to get us to that goal.

I walked out of the grocery store, no matzo for Passover, no soup for dinner tonight, and no groceries for the rest of this week.  Leaving everything in the two bags on the counter, I apologized to the cashier, twice, and walked home trying not to cry.  Although you might think so, I wasn’t sad or ashamed.  It took me only a few seconds to realize that I was more angry that embarrassed.  I was fuming inside!

So SNAP YOU government! Get yourself together and stop taking the food from our mouths!

Love,

A broke, not-so-middle class, white, Jewish woman.

(Yes, I was brought up in a middle class, white Jewish family.)

A Child of the Nineties


The eighties; when we were babies.

The nineties; the days of hanging out in the backyard and playing with the neighbors on the swing set.

Carefree.

A time when your biggest responsibility was to make sure that your book report was done on time.

Yes, those were the days.

That was a different “feeling”.

When all our problems were solved for us by our parents.

Were they better days?  In some ways, yes.

But I really want to see what the future holds.

~Lily

Grandma’s Pot Le Gel


On February 10th, last year, I entered a contest on justapinch.com and asked my followers to cast their vote for it.  The problem, of course, was that I didn’t have a proper picture of my recipe being made or completed.

Tonight, I made this fabulous eggplant dip to have as an appetizer before a dairy Shabbat dinner.

The story as it was written last year:

“My Grandma was notorious for her home cooked family favorites. There was never a visit without a hot, homemade pie.
Another recipe was for this eggplant dip. My Poppy adored this dip!
She had given me the recipe, but I lost it. Poppy has since passed on and Grandma has dementia, and so for the last couple of years, I tried searching the internet without luck.
Luck changed a few months ago when Grandma and I were looking at a recipe for ratatouille, when suddenly, it all came back to her!”

This recipe calls for one eggplant.  We used two and came out with this one small bowl.  You may decide to double or triple your recipe, depending on how many people you intend to serve it to.

More than one website recommends the use of wooden utensils for making eggplant dips in order to avoid oxidation in your food.  Poppy of Poppy Planet warns that if you use stainless steel, inox or iron, it will leave the dish with a bitter taste.

*This recipe may be Eastern European in origin, but I’m not sure.  I will update this post when I find out.

Pot Le' Gel

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Pot Le' Gel

Pot Le’ Gel

Pot Le’ Gel

Serves: about 6 hungry family members

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1 tsp oil (I suggest olive oil, it’s healthiest. Start with 1 teaspoon. Another recipe we found says 4-5 tablespoons. You may not need all of that.)
  • 1 medium onion (finely grated, or finely chopped)
  • 1-3 large garlic cloves, mashed (the amount you use is to your preference)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Utensils: wooden knife or wooden spatula

Directions Step-By-Step:

  1. Microwave the eggplant until it is soft.
    I don’t recall the exact microwave time, but I recommend starting with five minutes and then another five. Keep at this until it will slightly ‘sink’ in it’s appearance. DO NOT OVER COOK!
  2. After cooking, cut the green tips off. Peel the skin, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. I remember my grandmother using a grapefruit spoon for this, but I used a fork since I don’t have any.
  3. Mash the meat in a bowl. Use a little olive oil. Start with 1 teaspoon. Mash this with a wooden knife or other mashing utensil.
  4. Add salt, pepper, onion, and garlic (optional).
  5. Cover, chill and serve with bread, crackers or matzoh. This makes an excellent accompaniment alongside your vegetable trays and is also a great vegan alternative to your classic baba ganoush.

Disney Has Done It Again!


Everyone knows that the people who make the magic happen at Disney’s studios are extremely creative. They must be. It’s a successful giant that’s been around for nearly a century.

Disney Channel, one of its many successful enterprises, aired a television show called Phil of the Future. It first aired on June 18, 2004 and was successful until it was cancelled on August 19, 2006. The story follows a family from the twenty-second century (year 2121) whose time machine breaks down and lands them in the year 2004. Here they have to adapt to life in the twenty-first century. The parents must buy a house. The father gets a job in a hardware store so that he can eventually fix their machine. The children, Phil and Pim, enroll in the local H.G. Wells Junior/Senior High School. They try to teach their caveman, Curtis, whom they accidentally picked up from a stop they made in the Stone Age, to behave like an average, twenty-first century man. They deal with nosey neighbors, an annoyingly peppy girl, school issues, and, of course, keeping the family secret. The family often uses the gadgets they brought with them from the future.

In one of the episodes, Virtu-Date (aired June 26, 2005), Phil takes his best friend, Keely on a date to a mall that looks like something out of his time. How do they get there? By virtual reality goggles!

In the following clip, the characters have already put on the goggles and are now clothes shopping in the virtual mall. Don’t blame me for the quality of this video clip. It was uploaded by another YouTube user.

Today, I see a post on Facebook that Microsoft is coming out with something called Microsoft HoloLens. “Microsoft HoloLens brings high-definition holograms to life in your world, where they integrate with your physical places, spaces, and things.” I read also read some articles about it here and here.

I know that so many other movies, books and television shows have similar items, but when I saw the photo of Microsoft’s upcoming glasses, my exact thought was “They had these exact glasses On Phil of the Future!” Of course, even Microsoft isn’t as technologically advanced as it one day will be in the year 2121, so the fictional television series covered a few aspects of this gadget that we have yet to look forward to.

From what I’ve read, we will be able to move objects by turning our heads and pointing our fingers while wearing these devices on our heads. We can play Minecraft, make a task list, or watch a movie in the bathroom, but I don’t see us being able to touch anything that obviously isn’t really there.

The television show has the characters sitting on a couch with these goggles on while their minds are visiting a mall together; trying on clothes that are purchased from a vending machine with a holographic display, sitting and consuming tropical drinks at a tropical island themed juice bar. Meanwhile, they never leave living room.

The same would go for the HoloLens; you wouldn’t need to leave the room, if you didn’t want to, that is. I suggest you check out the official website for more information, photos, or to sign up for news and updates on the product from Microsoft.

Leave it to people like the teams at Disney to come up with something like this ten years before the computer companies actually come out with it.

Is Disney the frontier for all things futuristic?

What do you think?  Weigh in!

Steaming Thai Vegetable Gyoza in the Joie Veggie Steamer


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Steamed Thai Vegetable Gyoza from Trader Joe's, cooking in the Joie Veggie Steamer.

Steamed Thai Vegetable Gyoza from Trader Joe’s

This is my absolute favorite thing to make from the frozen isle, but I never had a steamer to make it with before!

It includes pre-use instructions. It is dishwasher safe, but if you don’t have one, like me, it tells you how to boil the steamer two times before its first use.

To steam your own, it is best to use a recipe.  I followed the instructions for setting up the steamer for cooking on it’s packaging and then the stove top directions for the dumplings on the back of the Gyoza package.

For steaming vegetables, dumplings and other foods, I recommend the Joie Veggie Steamer.

https://www.joieshop.com/e/item.asp?ItemCode=87655&CatCode=14490&s=0727HCH

Amazon:

Joie Veggie Steamer

Vegetable Soup in Chickenless Chicken Broth


 

 

This vegetable soup will warm your soul this season. It’s vegan friendly!

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First of all, I have to say that this is an amazing, tasty and wholesome recipe. If you are in an area where you can get to a farmers market, then do it. Potatoes have a great shelf life, so if you have some from the last trip you made in the early Fall, then use them.

I think this is a great recipe that people will love because of that fact that it is a VEGAN recipe. You can, however, add your own chicken into the broth to make it an actual chicken soup.

Osem Consomme is labeled as kosher and pareve. This means that it has no meat and no dairy products in it.

The Osem Company is an Israeli based company that is in partnership with Nestle.  I’m sure that there are some people who are boycotting these companies because of it, but to me, food is food, products are products, and yes, human beings are human beings. None of this is why I am posting this recipe!

If you make this soup, I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

ENJOY!

 

Before you begin:

I don’t recall how long it actually took to make. This all depends on how small you cut your vegetables and how long you are cooking your noodles or pasta for. It is important to follow the cooking instructions for the consomme as that should be added towards the end.

There really isn’t a need for salt, but if you must, I’d recommend sea salt.

Vegetable Soup in Chickenless Chicken Broth

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

wpid-img_20141208_203454.jpgIngredients:

  • 6 or 7 halved, then quartered locally grown, baby gold or cut up gold potatoes (more skin means more nutrients – leave it on)
  • 1 – 14.5 oz (411 g) Trader Joe’s Mirepoix: celery, carrots and onions (These come chopped up in the package.)
  • A tablespoon (or more, as necessary) of Osem Consomme
  • 1 cup elbow pasta (I used Barilla.)
    Pepper to taste

Directions:

1. put water, potatoes, and veggies into a large pot

2. Bring this to a boil.

3. Add pasta. Cook pasta until desired tenderness is reached.

4. While pasta is still boiling, add soup mix. Bring to boil while stirring. Reduce heat to a simmer for 3 minutes.

Serve.

 

*I do not work for, nor am I in any way affiliated with Osem. I just like their products.

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links.  While you do not have to buy these products from Amazon, it can help to have a visual reference if you’d like to see what something looks like.