Sunday, November 22, 2009

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

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Thanksgiving is the day of the year, when we think of others. We take time to reflect on what we have, the little things daily that make life pleasant and easier. We all need to look deep inside and be grateful for the health we enjoy, the daily tasks we do without much effort and the world around us that has a pattern and routine ,that work.
Be thankful for what we have, maybe not everything we want. What we want, is not always, what we need………………
The world is smaller, the issues are large as ever, the dreams trying to unfold daily. Take this year as the time you will make an effort to help others dreams come true. Help to educate children and see that the poor have food and clean water. Every little effort adds up. We all want a better and safer world for our children.

Here are a few quick idesa for the menus for Thanksgiving Day.

Starters……………………consider how many kids there are and have a few foods ready.
Baked hot potatoes. Cooked corn. Baked beans. Hot potato chips.
Falafel balls. Hummus and Techina. Olives . Pickled Cucumbers.
Have pitot, buns and whole-wheat breads on the side.
Make dips ready and a few sauces like tomato, mustard and grated cheeses.
The kids can create a plate to eat while they wait for the main courses.

You can do these two days ahead. Boil twelve eggs hard. Cool and peel.
Make a sauce that you pour over the eggs and refrigerate for a day or two.
Slice two large onions thinly, three dried apricots, three cloves of garlic. Place these in pot with a few black peppercorns, three bay leaves, two teaspoons of apricot jam or honey, a few sultanas or raisins, a little salt and pepper, half a cup of water, half a cup of vinegar and two large teaspoons of curry powder. Let this cook slowly for fifteen minutes.
Pour this over the boiled eggs and cover with a lid. Refrigerate when it has cooled down. Great to serve on a bed of lettuce.


These can be made a day or two ahead and served with apple sauce, caramel syrup and even a little whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin.

4 tablespoons flour. 1 egg. 2 teaspoons of baking powder and a little salt to taste.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the pumpkin. Beat the egg and add.
If not stiff enough, add flour . Drop spoonfuls in hot oil and drain Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Serve warmed up with the side dishes.



Wash a variety of lettuce and drain in a lettuce spinner. Arrange on a large platter. Cut up citrus fruits, mandarins[ Peeled and in segments.] Grapefruits, oranges and kumquats.
Slice red onions, two teaspoons of pine kernels, chopped parsley and some mint leaves. Arrange on the lettuce. I grate Roquefort cheese over this. Add the dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and honey. Mix well and pour over the salad..

I wash and dry spinach leaves. Chop of the stalks. Cube three firm pears, one apple, half a cup of chopped sugared pecans, two tablespoons of chopped almonds and grated cheddar cheese over this. Make a simple dressing and pour over as you serve this. You need to do this last minute as the pears and apples could discolor. A little lemon juice over them can prevent this happening. For the dressing use lemon juice, chopped parsley, olive oil and herbs, vegetable salt and a bit of black pepper. Mix well and pour over the salad.


Warm up some apple cider drinks and add little cinnamon and a few slices of lemon. Serve warm .


Take two tea bags of Green Tea, five cloves, two sticks of cinnamon, some mint, lemon and geranium leaves.
Add a few slices of oranges, or kumquats, four cups of water. Mix in with a dash of honey. Warm all this up and pour into coffee mugs. Lovely aroma and satisfying drink….no liquor


If you have a large crowd, make it easy and delicious. Have bowls of chocolate sprinkles, 100 and 1000's, chopped marshmallows, chocolate crunch or chocolate chips, little marshmallows and lots of cut up fruits. Buy an assortment of ice creams and let every one create their dessert. The ready made ice creams make a great dessert platter and every one likes to choose what they enjoy eating.

Look at the blog of Thanksgiving last year and see some other ideas and recipes.
November the 19th 2008.


Make a gift packet for each child. A toy, chocolate and a wish ward. Write a message on the card for each kid.

Have some one to take photos of everyone there. Family photos, the generations of grandparents, kids and grand children, babies and the cousins. You will enjoy these over the years and love the growth and changes you will see.

Have a guest book with the date and year on it. Ask everyone to take a page and write name, birthday and address and email on it. Then a personal message and a wish list. The photos you take can be sent to the email and the birthdays can be placecd on Face book or on a birthday page on the Internet for everyone. You can paste a photograph on the page opposite the messages written in the Guest Book.

These are important memory makers.

Ask the kids ahead of time, if anyone wants to perform, play an instrument of entertain the family. A concert can be a lot of fun.

Celebrate being together and have a wonderful day

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

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mothers . unconditional love. caring. sharing


November 15th is the date of my Mother , Sonia's birthday.
Every year I light a candle and celebrate the beautiful woman she was. I share the love with my brother Jack and wife Eleanor, and my younger sister Helena and her husband , Peter. My children and grand children know how we all loved her, respected her and held her close to our hearts as a beacon of love, warmth and appreciated this lovely woman.

Sonia was a talented milliner, seamstress, could do anything with her golden hands. Her baking of cakes, cinnamon buns, taiglach, kichlach, pereg/poppyseed cakes and cheese cakes were amazing. She could make the best soups, stews, jams and relishes, canned yellow, cling peaches, guavas and cookies, real ice cream and melt in the mouth cookies.
My Mom's kitchen was an emporium of aromas, jars of goodies and bubbling pots filled with delicious foods. Her heart was a store house of memories, love, hugs and kisses.

Mothers are special gifts to all of us. Do not take a Mother for granted. She will do anything for you, love you unconditionally and stand when she is tired, smile when tears are close, support you no matter what, listen, when she would rather go to sleep.
Do not imagine they grow on Farmville, or appear on Facebook, or can be replaced from the super market. Mothers are the most precious thing in your life. A Mom is one of the things you need to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and every day.

Mom's Scones
2 cups of flour. 4 teaspoons of baking powder.
2 teaspoons of sugar. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of butter . 2 eggs
1/3 cup of cream or milk. {soya milk is good too}

Mix and sift the dry ingredients . Work the butter in.
Add the beaten eggs {Keep a little for the top}
Add the cream. Toss the dough on a floured board and roll a quarter of an inch in thickness. Cut into squares or rounds . Bake at 180 or 450 for 15 minutes.
Dry on a cookie rack.
Serve with butter, jams and cream.


1 cup of self raising flour.
2 tablespoons butter. A pinch of salt,
I beaten egg, beaten with a little cold water.

Rub the butter with the flour and salt. {you can add 1 teaspoon baking powder}
Mix in the egg and water. Roll dough into a ball and chill for an hour or two. Use on a slightly oiled pie dish, baking tray or pitza tray.

I often add some dried rosemary or herbs to the dough, or a few chopped dried tomatoes.
You can make the bases and freeze them until needed.
For individual quiches, simply make them ahead of time in appropriate containers and freeze.

Natural ice cream

1 cup of milk. 1 tablespoon of a good liquor or brandy.
1 packet of vanilla pudding.
1 cup of thick cream
2 tablespoons of chocolate powder or cocoa, mixed with a few drops of water into a liquid like base.
Beat all and freeze.

Have a good week and take a moment to think of the chores, responsibility, duties a Mom undertakes, the love she gives you, the warmth of her smile, the acceptance of who you are……………lucky you to have all that.

MOM…you are always in our hearts….the love we have is the love you shared.
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I do not know who wrote this, but it makes one think
Create thoughts to take you into a new week…be positive and have love and kindness in your heart.

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Oil is oil. Of course butter and oil make food tasty and delicious….but it is fat and oil. When I see chefs on TV pour the oil casually with style, into pans and pots, I just think how much they are using. The sponsors need the advertisement and we need to be SANE and SENSIBLE.
We must cook and work with the minimum of fats and oils. It requires a little thinking and patience.

Selecting oil. When you buy oils, make sure that it is from a recognized and approved brand. Fresh oil has a clear light color and abused oil has a dark brownish hue. There have been reports in years gone by of people who color sunflower oil, green and sell it as olive oil. There are tricksters who add motor car oil, to increase the volume or do more horrendous things to make the color look good. Rather check the product and pay a little extra for quality oil. Remember that oils like sunflower oil with a high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids, has a shorter life span than olive oil and rapeseed oil. These have more monounsaturated fats.

Oils that foam or smoke prematurely should be discarded as they have signs of degradation. Oils should not be heated above 200degrees Centigrade. They can be flammable.
Do not reuse oil too often… Overused oil is detrimental to health...
When you need to throw oils away, DO NOT POUR DOWN THE SINK. You will block the drains. Simply mop it into newspaper and drop it into the garbage bin.

Keep oils in a dark spot, away from heat and sun light.


I recommend a DROP or two of olive oil in the pan.. Use the new ceramic style pans that are safe. The better alternative is what I do.

I pour enough water to cover the base and warm it up. I drop the egg in and it cooks or poaches in the water. I add a few herbs to the water and enjoy a fatless egg. Easy and healthier.

The idea of a blend of vegetable juices and herbs, works well Just pour them into the pan and heat, then drop the eggs in. I use tomatoes, parsley, onions and peppers for the juice.
There are new pans that are ceramic based and need no oil or butter at all.

This is a great way to have tasty eggs.
Use a tomato based sauce, like one for spaghetti, with vegetable salt, red chopped peppers, onions, garlic, chopped tomatoes, garlic, pepper, a few tablespoons of chopped parsley and a little sweet paprika. Let it cook until the vegetables are soft. While it is bubbling, drop the eggs in. This is such fun to eat. There are many variations of this dish. To really experience it, go to MR SHAKSHUKA in Jaffa and you will always return for the pan of shakshuka the way he makes it.

I always use olive oil and lemon juice, vegetable salt, pepper, honey and balsamic vinegar as a quick dressing. You can add agave syrup or some grated garlic, green onions, dill or any herbs you like. I find that a dropper bottle of olive oil, determines how much I use. This way you automatically use less.

I like using olive oil and vinegars, herbed or natural apple cider vinegar, with herbs, to "pickle" mushrooms, feta, goat's cheeses or vegetables. You use a good sized bottle, pour the oil in, add the spices and herbs you like, dill, parsley, garlic, onions, and the product you wish to pickle or marinate. Let it stand for a day or two and it is great item for sandwiches, salads and with a baked potato.

When you have a large salad, you can make a few spreads in little bowls with olive oil and herbs, pesto and oil, dried tomatoes in olive oil. Create a spread of black olives, herbs and olive oil. Just blend it well. These are tops with pastas, cheeses, wines and breads and of course in an omelets, that you fold over and serve with hot whole-wheat.
People love a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, mixed in a bowl, to dip into with a well baked brown bread. Just a few cheeses and a glass of wine, good conversation and the stage is set for an unforgettable meal.


This is a great morning drink. Tones the system, wards off colds and is a natural tonic for the skin. Do try it…….you will feel the benefit in a few days.
Boil the water, pour into a coffee size mug, and add half a teaspoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of olive oil and a dash of honey. Mix well and drink. For people who suffer from sore throats, add grated ginger or one large ginger candy. For warming up the system, add cinnamon and mix well.

My daughters use this remedy and they have a glowing and healthy appearance.

Have a great and healthy week LOVE AND LIGHT RONA

Saturday, November 7, 2009

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grandparents, babysitting, joys of life


So often I hear people my age say that they are left exhausted by Friday night dinners, family lunches. The most tiring job is taking care of the kids for a week end…..they cannot cope with the responsibility and the physical demands that last 20 hours a day.

When we are able to juggle with 24 hours, we use all our energy and imagination. But at some point, we feel drained of all of it. Energy levels are lower, physical ability is less and the arduous task of being in control,is just too much.

I feel that re arranging get togethers, needs a little consideration of your age, the space you have to prepare in, and of course, your ability to shop. The labor involved and the cost, play a role in senior citizens lives. Do not be shy or embarrassed to say……."kids . it is not as easy as it used to be". We all love the company, the sharing of the tales of the week, the family gossip and stories. No one wants to be alone for special times, holidays and birthdays, but as we are older, we need a little help.

I suggest that we meet with the kids and discuss it all. Do not cancel get togethers just re-arrange them. Perhaps change them to high tea or a cold meal, and less courses.
I feel it is easier to arrange a buffet meal and everyone helps themselves. Only the older folks and little kids are served their food at the table. There is no problem with any family as to helping with a course. Perhaps one of them bring the main course, or desserts.

When the kids tell you they have a free week end with co workers in Singapore, Paris and Rio de Janeiro, and need you to babysit,………………………. take a deep breath
Babies, young kids and teen agers , have different needs. You will have a lot of responsibility for any of the age groups. You will not be sleeping the whole night. The babies will yell or you will hold you eye lids open with a match stick, waiting for the discos to close at three in the morning. You will need a first aid box, sewing box and of course many, many snacks that are needed all day and night. So in order to cope, do not expect to use the phone, meet friends watch any TV ,plant crops on Farmville,,,,or have time to shop. No hope.
Plan all the food well in advance, have lots of food in the fridge and make sure the dogs and cats have their snacks ready in the house.
A week end is really four nights…………………they kids leave three am on Wednesday morning. They return on Saturday night at three…………………so four nights with no sleep, is a week end.

Arrange a programme, when the kids go out, when they do home work, when they have friends over and most important, when do the TV and lap tops go to sleep?

I advise you to smile and gear up for days of love and fun. You do not have to teach or discipline them One of the kids will complain if you do. Your daughter in law will feel you are strict and the son in law, will say, it is not your job to discipline the kids. You just have to cat nap during the day and be alive for any unexpected event for the week end of four nights.

The bottom line, is never miss a request to help… You kids need the time to be together and if you can make it possible......just do it..........…it is worth every drop of your energy…, love, love and count your blessings.

Smile and have fun. That is what memories are made of. Love and light Rona

The next blog if about Thanksgiving.