Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Countdown to Mother's Day

Thank G-d, this Sunday, I will be celebrating my very first Mother's Day. It just makes me so happy thinking about it! I've been waiting for this day to come for a very, very long time. When I was single and living on the UWS, I would send my Mom, Grandmother, and two sisters cards for Mother's Day and live vicariously through my sisters when they told me how they spent the day. I told myself that, P"G, one day I would have my own children and we would celebrate Mother's Day with a nice family brunch, maybe a family movie (when they're older) and lots of thoughtful presents.

Pidgeon asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day this year as Baby Juju, who turned 5 months today, is too little to do anything herself. I told him I wanted a framed picture of either me and Baby Juju, or the three of us. That would be a lovely gift for me and, as she grows older and goes to Gan, I hope she makes something crafty at school to  bring home. My Father still has the picture frame I "sewed" with my photo in it that was my Kindergarten Father's Day present to him, hanging in his office. That was taken more than 25 years ago!! It's those thoughtful gifts that really make a difference.

Unfortunately, living in Israel, they don't celebrate Mother's Day in May. In fact, I honestly don't know when or if they even have a Mother's Day. I'd like to try to celebrate the American holiday though, especially since my American family does and I still have to get them presents/cards :)

Since Pidgeon works on Sunday, we might have to make my Mother's Day brunch a Mother's Day dinner. Either way, I'm just looking forward to spending the special day with Baby Juju and Pidgeon.

I sent my Mom a mug with Baby Juju's picture on it for Mother's Day and was thinking about my Mother-in-law. We have a pretty strained relationship, for various reasons that I might not have mentioned on the blog since they took place after Baby Juju was born. I was going to frame a picture of her son and Baby Juju as a gift, but then decided not to do anything. She's English/Israeli and it probably wouldn't even register with her. I don't think she would care either way, so I'm not going to bother.

Well, my 20 minutes are up and Baby Juju is stirring. 

Yom Tov from Baka!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Emek Refaim Eatery

Last week, I decided to recommit myself to my blog. In all honesty, I missed spending time writing. Besides, its been hard since JuJu was born to find anytime to myself and blogging was certainly one of my guilty pleasures to go. Now that JuJu is almost 5 months old, I think I've gotten the basic hang of things. Now I have her basically on a schedule. I know that an hour and a half after she eats, she needs to nap. This one is a little snoozer - I get 20-30 minute naps multiple times a day. So, I decided to spend one of her nap times doing something that makes me happy. And, if that means the laundry doesn't get folded, dinner is late to the table or I missed a meal (story of my life), then so be it. 

Welcome back Jtownunderground!

I decided the perfect way to get back into the blogging swing of things was to write a review about the new restaurant on Emek Refaim: RYU (pronounced Ree-you). So, on Erev Yom Haatzmaut, I took my husband and JuJu and we went for a walk to the eatery. 

The place can't be missed, with the obnoxiously large dragon draping the old entrance to Yo Ja and the words that scream at you that the entrance is in back. I had read a review about the place on eLuna and was eager to check it out. Especially since I'm a chinese food fanatic! And, Jerusalem is really lacking when it comes to good Chinese food. So, when I heard this place was Chinese and Japanese, I was excited. I'm not that interested in the Japanese part since I'm very, very happy with my take out from Sushi Bar Rechavia and, when I really need a good sushi fix, Yoko Ono Sushi in Tel Aviv.

No, I was looking to satisfy my desire for good sweet and sour chicken, a nicely flavored egg roll and some sesame chicken with a side of beef and broccoli.

So, there we were, hungry for Chinese food and standing in the doorway of the restaurant. The place was empty and it was only 4:30 p.m. Now, eLuna's review said they were open from 12-11, and never mentioned a siesta in the afternoon. But, apparently, the restaurant was not able to seat us until 6:00 p.m.

Well, that was a bit of a bummer, but we decided not to let this opportunity pass us by. We asked if they would be willing to give us take out. The waitress checked with the powers that be and said of course. I poured over the menu - as did the Pidgeon - and we came up with an order that cost 350 shekel! Now, we don't have that kind of money to spend on one dinner, but we decided to splurge a bit since it was Erev Yom Haatzmaut and we really wanted to taste a wide array of menu offerings.

The waitress went in to the Chef to give our order, and then returned to tell us that the Chef didn't recommend the Entrecote as take away. He felt that it would get dried out by the time we got home, even though Pidgeon ordered it rare. So, we said we appreciated his warning but we would like to order it anyway. The waitress disappeared and then returned again, with a very sheepish smile on her, to tell us that Chef Eran Gefen refused to make the dish for us. 

I was shocked. Now, I am a self proclaimed foodie. I watch Iron Chef, Iron Chef America, Top Chef and Rosemary Shrager's reality cooking show. The first thing we did when we got Hot Cable was order me the Food Network, and I spent many a sleepless night watching Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay and even Rachael Ray whip up some fabulous feast in 30 minutes or less when I lived in Manhattan. 

I also used to represent a Chef (as his Publicist) who did his studying under Chef Tom Valenti and Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at 'Cesca and Jean Georges respectively.  Eran, meanwhile, did his apprenticeship in Michelin-rated restaurants (which ones, I'm dying to know, and at what capacity???) and worked at Arcadia for 5 years (again, was he head Chef? What did he do at that restaurant?). I called my Chef and told him the story and he said the following:

"What happened to you isn’t that crazy for a chef who really cares.  A lot of places suck and don’t give a crap about quality.  This guy obviously cares and wouldn’t want you to try anything he made that wouldn’t be perfect (according to his standards) when you ate it.  I would go back and try his food.


The same thing happens a lot when people order meat cooked to medium, medium-well or well done in a restaurant.  It’s going to suck, and many chefs don’t want to serve food that is not going to have any flavor.


When the customer doesn’t know what’s good, he can’t be right!"


Now I remember why I stopped working with him. I personally like my meat cooked medium-well. I know how it tastes and to me, it tastes good. I personally don't like meat rare, it just doesn't appeal to me. His last statement was extremely condescending and rude. People know what they like, period. And, if they can't get it in one place, they'll just go somewhere else to find it. In todays economy, who can afford to insult a paying customer? 

Thank goodness there's Chef Tom Colicchio, who during the very FIRST season as judge on Top Chef, admonished one of the contestants for not wanting to do something a customer asked her to do. Again, it's always what the customer wants, even if the Chef disagrees. (Tom Colicchio, meanwhile, is a legend in the food world - creator and Chef behind Craft, and numerous other eateries in multiple cities in the United States)

So, back to the moment when Chef Eran Gefen refused to make us a rare entrecote steak with chi-chicki sauce (not sure what that was, but would have loved to find out) for take out. Now, again, we would have loved to have him serve it to us right then and there. But, they weren't serving diners until 6:00 p.m., so what were we to do.

I took my credit card back from the waitress and cancelled our order. I then instructed the waitress to tell the manager that we were willing to spend 350 shekel on a NEW restaurant but the Chef refused to serve us. We walked out of RYU, went down a few blocks, and picked up sandwiches at Aroma cafe. The waitress there was more than happy to make us Chai Lattes with Soy Milk and leave off the onion and mayo in our sandwiches - as requested. Our dinner was also a third of the price.

But, man, I was steamed! I had such high hopes for this place! I mean, it could be our new Chinese restaurant! The one I've been dreaming about since I moved from New York to Tel Aviv and then to Jerusalem. But, with the Chef refusing to serve us part of our order, how would I ever know if it's good or not?

So, I decided to call the manager myself. I got him on the phone and calmly explained the situation. And, after asking me a couple of questions, he said he stood behind his Chef 100%.

I respect that he stood behind his Chef's decision not to serve us. The manager should stand behind his Chef, at least at this stage of the game. Should Chef Gefen continue to refuse to serve customers based on their personal taste, and more and more people walk out of the restaurant unhappy, I wonder if the manager would continue his steadfast alliance with his Chef. If not the manager, CERTAINLY, the owner of this establishment would have something to say?

Back to the conversation. The manager went on to explain that they would never put an entrecote on their take out menu, but there was no take out menu when we went to the restaurant (since they're new and all). I suggested, in the future, that they make sure when someone orders take out that the items not recommended for take out be told to the customer by the waitress, so that this situation is not repeated and no one gets disappointed.

He asked that we try them again and come into the restaurant, as opposed to ordering take out.

Lord, that's what we were TRYING to do the first time.

I politely said I would consider it and we hung up.

So, it was all I guess a series of bad luck for us and RYU:

1) The restaurant wasn't open for customers at 4:30 p.m. on Erev Yom Haatzmaut
2) My husband wanted a rare entrecote steak as his main
3) There was no take out menu to choose from, so we chose an item on the menu that wouldn't have been on the take out menu

I'm hoping other Jerusalem foodies and bloggers will try out RYU and then write about it, so I'll see what we're missing. Provided, of course, that there is something to be missed.

Well, my 30 minutes are up and so is little JUJU

Yom Tov from Baka!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


As my little JuJu sleeps off her cold next to me (poor thing), I decided to let the laundry sit in the basket and just update my blog. I really thought that I would be blogging again - regularly - as soon as my C-Section scar healed. But, I had no idea just how hard it is to find a minute for myself. I haven't allowed myself time to just take care of me. Its been 4+ months and JuJu is such a joy. I absolutely adore her. I honestly haven't cut the umbilical cord yet and well, that works for me. Not really sure if that works for my husband, but that's a whole nother topic.

Yesterday was a real wake up call that I am as important as my husband and child. I thought I was pregnant again because I got sick after dinner Friday night, have been exhausted constantly and I have this new metallic taste in my mouth. I took a pregnancy test and well, it was negative, which meant I was able to order sushi for dinner but I was a bit disappointed. Not like I'm trying or anything, but I really thought it was a possibility and that got me excited. Anyway, turns out that I just have poor oral hygiene these days. And, I realized, that there are days when I just don't have time to brush my teeth. Sometimes, I don't even wash my face, get out of my PJ's or put on deoderant. I completely let myself go - although I am being careful about weight loss.

JuJu doesn't care if I've got stanky breath - as look as I'm here to smile at her, make her giggle, give her the boob when she's hungry and clean her dirty diapers - she's happy. I guess my husband doesn't care either cause he hasn't complained about my state.

I'm just miserable about it! I mean, just because I spend my days with an infant, doesn't mean I should completely disregard taking care of myself. I laugh that all my clothing is stained with spit up. I even have it in my hair! When JuJu spits up she's a little guyser and she gets me good! In truth, it bothers me that I look like garbage. I hoped to be one of those chic Mom's who is all put together, doesn't have any spit up on their clothing, has glowing skin and beautiful teeth, whose child is on a great eating/sleeping/playing schedule.

Boy, is that vision far from the truth.

How does anyone else out there do it? How do you find the time for yourself???

OK - I'm off to tackle that mound of laundry. Its great to be back!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

She's here!

Our baby was B"H born almost 7 weeks ago and I've been so knee deep in breast milk and poopy diapers that I haven't had a chance to write.

She's absolutely a gift from G-d. We adore her, she has already brought so much to our lives. Every day is a new adventure with our baby and we're madly in love.

Here's hoping she'll start sleeping through the night soon so that I can get a moment to get back to the blog.

Shabbat Shalom till then!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Week 40+2 - Champagne

To celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday, and the fact that we are B"H now in Week 40, I had a glass of champagne at dinner last night. And it was good. Unfortunately, kosher Champagne pales in comparison to some of the non-kosher kinds I used to drink while a working gal in the Big Apple, but the texture and sweetness really satisfied that craving. I figured I need to get in a glass before the breast feeding P"G begins and I really won't be able to have any alcohol.

So, I've T"G made it to week 40. Sometimes, I really can't believe the end (or should I say the beginning) is almost near! There were moments last week when I thought this was it, with cramps and contractions, but since Thursday night I've felt practically nothing. Last night, we had a great dinner at River on Rabbi Akiva street in town. I ordered the spiciest thing on the menu and tried to eat as much of it as possible until the flames really just got to me. I downed at least 2 bottles of water plus the champage. I was rewarded with literally 1 contraction. And then, we got home, and I enjoyed my buzz and watched some TV with Pidgeon and then passed out. That was the end of the contractions. 

We decided to spend Shabbos with Pidgeon's parents because I just didn't want to cook anymore. And, since Pidgeon's Father decided to spend Shabbat Parshat Chayei Sarah in Chevron, it was a very different vibe in the house. I enjoy spending Shabbos when both parents are around, but it was nice to walk around the house in my PJ pants and not have to worry about wearing a skirt in front of my father-in-law. 

I woke up on Friday flush with energy and thrilled that I didn't have to cook for Shabbos, that freed me up to do other important things. While Pidgeon was moving the suitcases into his parents storage room, I made up the bed in the baby's (P"G) room. Since the decor is black and white, I used black silk sheets and a lush brown comforter on top. The bed looks so inviting now and I just can't wait until the rest of the furniture is in the apartment! That will have to be delayed until P"G after the baby comes.

Once the room was complete, I tackled the refrigerator. Normally, I clean the fridge for Pesach. But, since this year we flew to the States to spend the holiday with my folks, I did minimal cleaning and literally just locked the doors and left town. The filthiness of the interior of the fridge was really getting to me, but I just kept putting it off. And then, Friday, I couldn't take it anymore. The ratatouille stains on the wall, the chocolate bits that were stuck to the sides, and the swath of cardboard from the bottom of a milk carton that somehow got stuck on some nastiness on the top shelf was just too much. I spent 3 hours cleaning out the fridge, washing down shelves and doors, and tossing anything that was past its expiration date or just didn't look good anymore. 

I was exhausted by the time I was done but boy does it look great inside! So much so, that I no longer want to put anything in it because it's so clean. The vegetable bin is my particular pride and joy. There were grapes in there that were so old that they had become raisins (I wish I was kidding). Well, I'm still very proud of my handiwork, although Pidgeon did beg me to put a fruit and vegetable order in because we literally have 3 eggs and some cheese in the house. That's pretty much it, so I acquiesced to do it today but I'm not placing an order on more stuff that will last past the week.

Anyway, after cleaning the fridge, we realized that we had 2 hours left to Shabbos so we got things moving. We rushed through showers and getting dressed, packed up but decided to leave all our hospital bags here (we figured if we needed to get them we would just drive back to pick it up) and went to Pidgeon's parents. We parked as the siren sounded and I was able to light and put on some make up with just enough time. I decided to go to shul on Shabbos since I don't know the next time I'll be able to do that. I'm glad I did, it felt nice to daven Kabbalat Shabbat with everyone. Dinner was also very, very pleasant and I was starving from all the physical excersion so I ate very well.

However, about a few minutes after dinner when we were able to relax, I realized that that baby didn't move that much on Friday. I decided to try to wake the baby up. Nothing doing. I did all the tests they say to do, and about an hour of trying, I didn't feel the baby. Well, that landed us back at Shaarei Zedek on the monitor. 

It was an awful, awful experience that I will only share if someone e-mails me offline. I don't want to write any more here since I plan on logging an official complaint with the hospital. All I know is that I'm now absolutely petrified of going into labor on a Friday night. I also learned a big big lesson. From now on, if I have any problems at all or any concerns at all, the first thing I do is call Dr. Yanai. I didn't want to call her on Shabbos to make her be Mechalel Shabbat if it turned out to be nothing, but at the end of the day she is my Dr. and I shouldn't be doing anything at this point without consulting with her. 

Lesson learned unfortunately the hard way.

By the time we got back to Pidgeon's parents house on Friday night, I was a complete and total wreck. B"H, all was fine with the baby, but what happened there just took a huge toll. I didn't sleep well at night, and Pidgeon later told me that when I did sleep I was moaning in pain. Not good. 

Anyway, since I was pretty much awake, I got up in time to wake Pidgeon for shul. His cousin was naming their baby girl at a minyan in Rechavia, so I decided to go to shul. I haven't been to shul on Shabbos day in a while, and we took the walk slowly and still got there at the beginning of Shacharit. I was exhausted but the davening made me feel a bit better. After shul, we went to Pidgeon's Aunt and Uncle's house and had a quick kiddush and a fun discussion over baby names. 

We walked slowly back to Pidgeon's parents and, after another quick Kiddush, we both fell asleep and basically slept well past lunch time. Originally, we had plans to go out to a movie on Saturday night, but I was so emotionally wrecked from Friday night's experience that we decided to just stay in. I made Pidgeon some whole wheat pancakes to take to work on Sunday and then we watched TV and relaxed. 

The phone rang at exactly 12:17 p.m. Israel time and it was my folks. When I picked up the phone to say hello, there was silence on the other end. And then, my Mom said, "you're still round?!!!" She had had a dream on Friday night that I had given birth to a "fat" baby with loads of dark hair. I told her we're going to have to wait a bit longer to see if that dream comes true, but there is a probability that the baby is gonna be chubby since the baby already weighs in a almost 8 pounds! As far as dark hair is concerned, I have no idea. Pidgeon has dark, dark hair but I was a blonde baby. So, it's up in the air. 

I just can't wait to see what our  baby P"G looks like already! I've been imagining for so long and wondering that I'm getting so excited just thinking about it. I think the Pidgeon is too, and I know he can't wait to P"G hold his child in his arms.

Well, Thanksgiving is practically upon us, and I am really hoping I don't need to break those turkey legs out of the freezer for dinner. That being said, I do plan on ordering some sweet potatoes and will make us a nice sweet potato and/or pumpkin pie is the baby decides to stay in Hotel Uterus for the holiday. Only time will tell!

I'm off to call a reflexologist for an appointment. I've been doing anything I can to help jump start these contractions. But, spicy food for dinner last night, loads of fresh pineapple for dessert on Friday night, lots of walking and resting haven't helped. I'm hoping this reflexologist will be able to do something to get things moving!

Yom Tov from Baka!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Week 39+2 Days - Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cord Blood Banking

Well, it's getting down to the wire now. I am - please g-d - 8 days away from my due date. How insane is that? I try not to think about it too much but it's impossible. Every second I'm not working, I'm thinking about the baby. And not just labor, but breastfeeding and baby clothing and baby gear, etc. 

I was watching an episode of Alias yesterday and Marshall, the quirky little computer geek, saves the World and then comes home to a wife and baby waiting for him by the living room window. It brought me to tears, literally. Just thinking that, P"G, that could be me in a few days! I told Pidgeon about the episode and he got excited too when I told him that I can't wait until P"G "we" will be waiting for him to come home from work. 

Yesterday was extremely busy. Between work and some car drama, I was literally on and off my feet nonstop. By the time the 11:00 p.m. shot rolled around, tears of exhaustion were rolling down my face and I just wanted to get under the covers and go to sleep. I don't remember the last time I passed out before 11:30 p.m. but we both really, really needed the sleep.

This morning, I got up with Pidgeon and packed his lunch and breakfast. After he left the house, I did the dishes that had accumulated overnight and tidied up a bit in the apartment. Afterwards, I decided to try to get some sleep. Unfortunately, my friend had other plans for me and she called about 45 minutes after I went to bed. That got be up and moving, as I had to cook dinner for Pidgeon's cousins. They just had their baby and I promised I would cook for them. So, I made all the fresh stuff this afternoon - spaghetti with olive oil and salt and fresh corn with olive oil margarine and salt. The joins the chicken fingers I fried last week and the batch of sweet and sour meatballs I made a few weeks ago. Since I spent the afternoon yesterday baking my Aunt Irene's (Z"L) chocolate chip cookies, I put the batch into a tin and sealed it up for them.

Feeling very accomplished, I decided to step into the shower before the folks in the States wake up and I have to get to work. As soon as I stepped out, I hear the doorbell ringing. I thought it was a mistake but I made my way to the intercom. Sure enough, it was a package for us and that's when I remembered that the stem cell company was sending us all the stuff we needed.

So, I was really on the fence about cord blood banking for stem cells. It is EXTREMELY expensive to do in Israel. And, our insurance only gives us a 700 shekel discount. Well, we discuss it at length and we fielded phone call after phone call from cord blood banks and then we sat down to talk money. In terms of shekel, we just didn't have it. We didn't have that kind of money in our checking account. We also didn't want to ask our parents, as mine as paying for Dr. Yanai and Pidgeon's parents are basically paying for all the nursery furniture and a night nurse. We felt that they are tapped out and didn't want to ask them for any more since they're already being generous.

And then we decided to invest some of our wedding money. We got a few dollars as wedding presents and, since a lot of our Israeli guests were so generous, we didn't have to invest any of it on things for the apartment. We were able to B"H bank the money in savings and had earmarked it to help us buy a home one day. But then we got to thinking that, if G-d forbid Hot Dog got ill and the cord blood could save the baby's life, we would kick ourselves for not investing the money. So, two days ago, we agreed to do it and today the kit arrived. 

I didn't open the box, as I have no idea if it's sterile or what, and would prefer just handing everything over to the Dr. when I'm in labor. I'm sure the staff at Hadassah Ein Karem are familiar with this and will know what to do. Besides, I didn't want Pidgeon to cut the cord anyway, so it's good to let the Dr. take care of it.

My Mom called this morning all excited. She feels like now everything is really "happening" and she wanted to know how I'm feeling. Well, if you would have called me at 2:30 this morning I would have told you I was in labor. But then, I went back to sleep, and haven't had a contraction since. 

Honestly, I don't know how I'm feeling. Physically, I feel okay. I have constant heartburn that's annoying and when I walk, the baby is really pressing down on my bladder so I feel like I'm going to make all over the floor. But, other than that, I feel just like I felt 2 weeks ago. 

I'm trying very hard not to fear the unknown - or the pain. Yesterday, I burnt myself when I took a batch of cookies out of the oven. I decided to sit with the pain to see how bad it was and whether or not I could withstand it. It wasn't easy but it was a mind game and - after a few minutes of blowing on it and watching the red streak get redder and redder - I decided to just go about my day. Unfortunately, I now have a mark but I was able to handle the pain. 

I'm hoping that I'll be able to use whatever will power or mind games I have at my disposal to withstand the pain of childbirth. Ideally, I'd like to try to avoid any medications they want to try to give me to dull the pain. Unless g-d forbid an emergency C-section needs to be performed, I want to try to do this the natural way. 

May the Lord have mercy on me and let me have an easy delivery!

Well, I'm off to blow dry my hair and then get back to work.

Erev Tov from Baka!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Week 39

Its been a few days since my last post and my only excuse is a good one. It seems like every time I sit down to the computer, I'm working. I've got two big projects I'm focused on right now, one pays by the hour and the other promises to pay in the long run. With baby clock ticking down,  I'm trying to get as much done as I possibly can beforehand. I'd like to think that I'm succeeding!

It's a beautiful Sunday morning and, since Pidgeon's alarm went off at 7:00 a.m., I've already put up a load of laundry, washed all the dishes I had waiting for me in the sink in the kitchen, let in the cleaning lady (who is hard at work in my bathroom!), eaten a quick breakfast, entertained my mother-in-law during a surprise pit stop after she dropped my niece off at Gan in the neighborhood, made Pidgeon his lunch and caught up on overnight e-mails. I'm pretty exhausted and am in the need of a good nap, but since I'm washing all the linens in our bedroom, that ain't gonna happen. Hopefully when our cleaning lady leaves I'll have some time to take a quick cat nap.

So far, week 39 is not all that different from week 38. I was very disheartened after our last Dr. Yanai appointment because, after an internal examination, she told us that I wasn't even 1 centimeter dilated! And here I thought our baby would come early. But, it looks like the baby is really enjoying Hotel Uterus and no matter how many segulot or self-labor stimulation I try, the baby will come out when the baby is good and ready.

That being said, I still broke out the bottle of Etrog liquor for Shabbos kiddush. I figured now was as good a time as any to get my etrog in in my ninth month. The liquor is very, very strong and, since I put in so much sugar, I was surprised that it wasn't sweet. That being said, I did break into the bottle 4 weeks before the fermentation process was complete, so who knows what the end result will look like!

I've been having some on and off contractions, mostly during the days when I'm on my feet a lot. 

Like Wednesday, when we spent 2 hours food shopping at SuperSol in Talpiot. I persuaded Pidgeon to let me purchase 20 chicken bottoms, which I plan P"G on cooking and refreezing in packages of two. This way, after the baby comes, all I have to do is take a package of chicken out of the freezer and cook up a side or make a salad, and voila instant dinner! Pidgeon thinks I'm crazy since we spent over 1300 shekel on provisions, but I'd much rather have him around to enjoy and spend time with his child then to be running around Jerusalem on errands to pick up food or diapers or other stuff. I decided over Shabbos to make 15 of the chicken bottoms and save 5 so I can make chicken salt. We're a big soup family and I'd like to be able to just whip something up on Erev Shabbos without being frustrated that we don't have the right ingredients.

I was bored with my cooking this week, so I decided to try to experiment for Shabbos. I made a french onion soup in the crock pot that was delicious, especially once Pidgeon taste tested it and told me that it needed a lot more salt. I also made a new chicken, which really wasn't so difficult it was just roasted with Montreal chicken spice. And then I decided to make cauliflower mash, as opposed to roast cauliflower or cauliflower kugel. I found a recipe online and sorta followed the directions.

It was disgusting! I rarely turn down food - most of the time I turn away meat if it's not cooked well enough for my taste - but that's usually the extent of it all. This was just vile. Pidgeon couldn't eat it and, even though I tried to force myself, I realized that I couldn't do it either. When I consulted the recipe after Shabbos I realized my big mistake - mustard - and even though Pidgeon would like me to try again, I'm going to hold off a bit. I hate wasting food - especially since it's so expensive - so I'm going to stick to the tried and true for a while. I'll save food experimentation for when the economy P"G gets better.

We had a very quiet and relaxing Shabbos, which was nice. We slept a lot, which is why we both had a hard time falling asleep last night. Right after Shabbos, we got an SMS from Pidgeon's Aunt letting us know that his cousin had a baby girl on Shabbos morning. She weighed in at 3.7 kilo and she was birthed at home (on purpose). B"H, everyone is doing well! I was thrilled for many reasons. One, because Pidgeon's cousin was over a week late and I know she was ready to have the baby about a month ago. Two, because I am cooking dinner for them and I already pre-made the sweet and sour meatballs and the chicken fingers for the kids, and I could really use the freezer space! And three, because I was so nervous I would have the baby first and not be able to cook for them and I promised I would cook for them so I'm happy that I won't have to break that promise.

Pidgeon went over to wish his Aunt and Uncle a Mazal Tov while I stayed home and cleaned up after Shabbos and put up a wash. When he got back, we decided to go to the Mamilla Mall to walk around. It was such a great idea and a beautiful night too! As usual, the Mall restaurants were very crowded but since we weren't that hungry, we just walked past. We went window shopping, which is always a fun activity for me, and just walked up and down for about an hour. It was exactly what I needed to feel good, and I was hoping the gravity would just continue to move the baby down into the "starting" position. I woke up very sore this morning, so I'm hoping that the gravity helped. But, who the heck knows!

Well, I'm off to see how my chickens are defrosting. I want to cook at least 5 more chicken bottoms tonight to add to the freezer, and we have a family dinner at Pidgeon's parents house later so the more I get done early this morning the better.

Yom Tov from Baka!