Thursday, July 29, 2010

National Working Woman's Holiday

They oughta' run your picture in a magazine
'Cause you're the hardest working woman I've ever seen
If we weren't sinkin' in a river of debt
I'd say, "Quit that job and let 'em do it theirself"
I know we're depending on every dime
But I'm tired of you working that overtime

I'm gonna tell somebody
There ought to be a law against working that way
Tell 'em you're taking off this Friday
For the National Working Woman's Holiday

Honey I can tell you're feeling the strain
You deserve a break from that ball and chain
If the union won't say it, then it's up to me
They're just taking advantage of your loyalty
Everybody likes a little time and a half
But we both know you're worth more than that

I'm gonna tell somebody
There ought to be a law against working that way
Tell 'em you're taking off this Friday
For the National Working Woman's Holiday

I'll call in sick
And I'll be telling the truth
'Cause I'm sick and tired
Of how they're treating you

I'm gonna tell somebody
There ought to be a law against working that way
Tell 'em you're taking off this Friday
For the National Working Woman's Holiday

I'm gonna tell somebody
There ought to be a law against working that way
Tell 'em you're taking off this Friday
For the National Working Woman's Holiday

I remember loving this Sammy Kershaw song when I was a little girl, now after my first 2 weeks back at work in a year, it has become my anthem. Don't get me wrong, I really love my new job, its so nice to work for an upstanding International company that is not completely utterly corrupt, but I tell you, this ain't easy by any means. I was up every day around 4 am, to pump milk for the little monster, dress, pack my cooler with more storage bottles and pump for later, trudge half awake a few blocks to the bus station to take a bus and then a train to Ben Gurion Airport, about a 2 hour commute. Once there I trained in Russian, Hebrew and English and tried to fit pumping into my schedule in between sales and flights. Needless to say it wasn't quite as successful as I had imagined, but I managed.

The only place I have to pump is the main office for the 6 stores that we have in the Airport. Unfortunately for me, it is a working office and though I can turn my back so I am boobies to the wall, there is a steady stream of traffic pretty much the entire time I am pumping. Not to mention the constant inquiries of "Ma ze??" when people hear the eehhhnnnggg-chi ehhhnnnnggg-chi ehhnnngggg-chi of my pump. Luckily everyone is very light and funny about it. I have had so many compliments, cul-ha-cavod's (good for you), and general warm wishes from everyone from the Male manager who sat down at the computer beside me not knowing what I was doing (the look on his face once he realized was priceless) to the cleaning lady and the mail-man.

The first day was awkward and nervous because though I have breastfed plenty of times in public with no worries, having my boobies in a slurping plastic vice for the world to see wasn't quite as Earth mother... Lucky for me it seems the entire company has developed this sort of endearing, quirky sense of humor about it, allowing me breaks to "pump ze Tzitzits" so I don't "Puftzets" (explode). People approach it with humorous curiosity, one coworker even went so far as to ask me to see how it worked (um... okay???) and its given me the chance to educate other women and breakdown alot of the incorrect information about breastfeeding/extended breastfeeding and attachment parenting that is unfortunately so much a part of the world today. Though it was hard at first to fit into my day and my supply dipped a bit, all in all it was not nearly as traumatic as I thought it would be and my little man made it through fat and happy.

I do think hubby is slightly traumatized however as he now has sole parenting duties for the mornings until he went work and passed the little one off to my MIL or her sister until I got home. I think he has a new found appreciation for me and all those mornings I took the baby out of the bedroom when he woke at 6 am so hubby could sleep a bit longer.

I like being back at work in general. I do feel terrible guilt for having to go back so soon but unfortunately we don't have Eserim Agerote (the Israeli equivalent to 2 cents) to rub together at the moment and I really didn't have a choice. I miss the little monster terribly and I swear he's changing so much every day. I only hope that he will wait until I am home for all the important firsts. I think I will die if I am not there to experience them. I am however enjoying being out among society again. Its been a year now that I have been pretty much stuck at home full time, first with the disastrous pregnancy, then healing up after surgery. Its actually nice to have a reason to take a shower and get dressed every day. Ok, correction, its nice to have a reason to take a shower. Having to wear black dress pants, a black shirt, heels and a black blazer in the middle of an Israeli summer could very well count as cruel and unusual.

Coming home to my little man and seeing his chubby face light up when he see's me (or my boobies??) is such an amazing feeling. I swear I spend half an hour just kissing him, and blowing raspberries, and "eating" his fat rolls, much to his delight. Its so nice to come home and rediscover every inch of this amazing wonderful little creature that has changed so much in the past 12 hours. I take him straight to bed to nurse and cuddle and have some Mommy time. I think it really is the highlight of my day, well that and the inevitable nap that comes shortly after.

Next week I will go to 3 nights a week instead of 5 days for the same money so I'm definitely looking forward to having more time with the little man. Being a working mom is amazingly bittersweet. I missed being a productive part of society, but being his Mommy is my whole world now, so every second I steal from him is hard. I am so glad (tfu tfu tfu) that he has not seemed to phased by my returning to work and that my milk supply has not been affected. I am so blessed that my hubby's schedule and my MIL/ her Sister's schedules all work so that the little one is always with family that thinks the sun rises and sets by him. I am also lucky to have a job that is pleased that I am breastfeeding my child (and when asking me how long I planned to do it, started out suggesting 2 years and not a shorter time frame) and coworkers that are able to find humor in the boobie suction farts that sometimes echo around the quiet office.

I have now joined the ranks of the most difficult job on the planet (next to being a stay at home mom, which could very well be THE hardest job), balancing work and Mommy-hood. Maybe one day we will have enough money that I can stay home full time but for now I pack my pump and make the trudge, trusting that my hubby and his family will be able to bounce my little man with just the right balance of surprise and comfort, fun and fright, not to hard, not to soft. That they will know when he wants to eat and when he just wants to cuddle. That they will learn that he likes his chest to be tickled but not under his arms or on his feet and that he would much rather stand up and jump than lie down. That he hates the heat and loves the fan. And most of all that they will play with him and love on him so much that he will hardly even notice that I am gone, though to be honest, a piece of me hopes he misses me too... Just a little bit.

Recipe: Lactation Cookies

As if I really need another excuse to eat cookies:) These cookies have several ingredients in them to help up the production of breastmilk including the old favorite Oatmeal, as well as Brewers yeast and Flaxseed meal. I originally found the recipe on epicurious and lucky me they recommend 4 cookies a day... Just what the Doctor ordered!!! They're also just generally yummy for those of you not worrying about boosting your milk supply:) Try using white chocolate bits, raisins or other dried fruits or butterscotch bits.... YUUMMMMM!!!


Butter: 1 Cup
White Sugar: 1 Cup
Brown Sugar: 1 Cup
Water: 4 TBSP
Flaxseed Meal:2 TBSP (info on Flaxseed here
Eggs: 2 Large
Vanilla: 1-2 Tsp
Flour: 2 Cups
Baking Soda: 1 Tsp
Salt: 1 Tsp
Old Fashioned Oatmeal (NOT quick oats): 3 Cups
Chocolate Chips: 1-1.5 Cups (Can also sub Dried fruit such as apricots dates or raisins, white Chocolate Chips, or Butterscotch Chips, or a combo of a few things.. YAY!!)
Brewers Yeast: 2 TBSP

Also Need:

Large Mixing Bowl
Hand Mixer
Measuring Cup and Spoons
Baking Sheet
Tin Foil

To Prepare:

Preheat Oven to 375

Mix Flaxseed meal and Water and set aside. Cream Butter and Sugar together with the hand mixer until thoroughly mixed. Add eggs and mix. Using a Spoon, stir in Flaxseed/water mixture and Vanilla. Beat with Hand mixer until well blended. Add in Flour, salt, baking soda and Brewer's yeast and mix. Using a spoon, stir in Oats and yumminess of your choice (Chocolate chips, dried fruit etc). With a teaspoon, drop balls of dough onto tin foil a few inches apart. Bake 8-12 minutes

Happy Lactating!!! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

At the end of the day...

I went out with my husband last night for the first time sans baby, he went to my MIL's for some Babushka time. It wasn't anything fancy, I just met hubby in Tel Aviv after his work and we walked around the beach, had some ice cream and then met up with some friends to watch the Final game of the World Cup. Now the original plan was to meet at a beach cafe and watch the game from the beach, however anyone who has spent time with Israeli's knows that in doing so you pretty much throw plans out the window.

After finding a nice beach cafe with a huge screen and settling down into our beach chairs, hubby and I get a call (about 5 mins before the game starts) from his friend telling us that there is a better place blah blah the usual. So we leave our nice little cafe on the beach with the huge screen that we can see perfectly and our comfy beach chairs and wait for our friend to pick us up to go to the new "better" place. 5 mins, 10 mins. The game has started, I am annoyed. Finally we get picked up, drive around, and find the new place which turns out to be a very swanky rooftop bar next to the David Intercontinental Hotel. I immediately feel out of place. This bar was host to a ton of tiny, perfectly made up early 20 something girls in tiny dresses and sky high heels. They perched delicately on the laps of suave Israeli men with their shirts half unbuttoned and their hair perfectly gelled into that "just jumped up from a really hot session in bed" look that actually took them 20 minutes in front of a mirror and not a second in bed. I stuck out like a sore thumb. My mini dresses wont even go down over my boobs at this point and I can't even get my toes into a pair of my old heels, and the last time I jumped out of bed hot and sweaty with my hair a mess was when the AC wasn't working and I'd been trying to find the cool side of the pillow all night.

In the interest of being a good sport I sucked it up and tried to enjoy the game, which was difficult because we were at a bar that catered more to the Champagne sipping crowd than the sit down and watch Football crowd. A normal game lasts 90 minutes with about a 10 minute break at halftime. This game ran long due to overtime and by the time it finished I was in agony. I had been away from the baby for about 6 hours at that point and had already had 3 or 4 separate letdowns. My boobs were like rocks and I was desperate to get home to nurse. Unfortunately it was going to be at least an hour possibly 2 until I could get to the baby for some relief. I was desperate so I decided to take matters into my own hands (literally) in order to take some of the pressure off.

I snuck down to the bathrooms with the intention of expressing a bit by hand so that I wouldn't explode, or more realistically, leak through my dress. For any of you that have not been to an Israeli club, many of the bathrooms are unisex, just a row of dimly lit stalls and a trough sink. I'm not sure if it is for speed or for more discreet sexual encounters, but thats how it is. Unfortunately for me, this was one of those clubs. Oh well, what can you do. I grabbed a handful of paper towels and waited for my turn at a stall. All of a sudden the bathroom attendant, a 40 something Ethiopian man, taps me on the arm, blocks my way, and demands to know why I took so many paper towels, (let me clarify that "so many" was like 5, not 50, but apparently this was a criminal offense). The rest of the conversation went like this:

Me: "I'm sorry, What??" (I MUST have misheard him)
Ethiopian Bathroom Man blocking my way to the stalls: "Why you have all those towels??"
Me: "Um, do you really need to know??"
EBM (for now, EBM will stand for Ethiopian Bathroom Man,not Expressed Breast Milk): "Yes! You must not take so many towels, why you take all those??"
Me: (I figured what the hell, I'll be honest and maybe that will shut him up) "If you MUST know, I breastfeed and I need to express some milk and I need the towels to catch the milk."
EBM: "I do not understand."
Me: (at this point I am getting a bit annoyed at the hubbub and am noticing the stares from the 20 something other unisex bathroom goers milling around) "I just had a baby. The baby drinks milk. The baby is not here. The milk is. It needs to come out. The towels are to catch the milk."
I tried to move past the EBM and enter a stall but he again blocked my path.
EBM: "You need the stall for that??"
Me: (?!?!?!?!?!?) "Well unless you want me to do it HERE, YES I NEED A STALL FOR THAT!!! DO YOU WANT ME TO DO IT HERE??"
EBM: "um er um er.."
Me: (Unrepeatable Hebrew that translates basically to F-off get out of my way)

I finally got fed up and pushed past him into the stalls with my wad of towels, red with frustration and anger. As I close the door behind me I hear several giggles and comments of "icksss", and "ewww", and "Disgusting". I stood in that bathroom, milk spraying into the controversial towels, tears hitting the floor.

Now I should have marched out there and squirted those uppity little bitches and their man candy right in the eyes. I should have told them exactly where they could put their "Icksss" and their "eww" and that what I was doing in that stall was a heck of a lot less disgusting then what they were planning on doing in that same stall with the random stranger they were wrapped around. I should have told them that I had every right to have a night out every now and then and how dare they look down their perfectly powdered noses! I should have said that I am doing what is best for my baby and that there is nothing disgusting about that. I should have demanded they apologize for their ignorance. I should have stood there with my head held high and fight for my dignity as a breastfeeding mother.

What I really did was wipe off the milk, wipe off the tears and quickly duck past the giggles and the stares, head down, feet not moving fast enough.

Two years ago I was one of those girls in the mini dresses and high heels. The kind of girl who got "all dressed up with her tittys on" and went out on the town for a night of dancing and drinking and being lusted over. I was the kind of girl who knew what the boys were looking at, and liked that they were looking. The kind of girl who only used a bathroom to pee, or to check the fabulousness of my perky perfect boobs in the mirror. And yes, once upon a time they were perky AND fabulous...

Now I have the post Csection 70 year old fat man body with the giant scar across my once flat tummy and the stretch marks and rock hard torpedo boobies that sometimes spray milk that I cover in long loose dresses and sometimes need to empty in swanky bar bathrooms. Apparently that makes me disgusting.

But at the end of the day, they go home to their apartments alone, or with the man of the hour for a quick meaningless tumble, to wake up in the morning smelling of alcohol, cheap cologne, and cigarettes. And at the end of my day I also go home to my apartment. To my loving husband, who despite my 70 year old fat man body with the giant scar across my once flat tummy and the stretch marks and the rock hard torpedo boobies that sometimes spray milk, still somehow thinks I'm beautiful. And together we climb into our not quite big enough bed with our perfect fat little breastfed baby, who grins and squeals in delight at the sight of my torpedo boobies. And at the end of the day, they are alone, and I am fabulous.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Recipe: Pineapple Chicken Barbecue 3 ways

A much as I would like to take credit for this recipe, the original idea was my friend Shana's. She came up with it one night for Shabbas dinner and though she served it as chicken pieces and I adapted it to a Pulled Chicken, it is still AMAZING either way. My husband quite possibly married me for this dish. I have also made it once or twice as chicken skewers on the BBQ as well and it is quite good that way. The pineapple juice tenderizes the chicken so that it literally melts in your mouth and the chunks of Pineapple get this amazing sweet smoky flavor. All adaptations are below so feel free to experiment and enjoy!!!


Chicken Breast or Chicken pieces: 4-7 boneless skinless breasts in chunks for skewers or leg/thigh pieces or breast on bone pieces for pulled bbq/ whole chicken
BBQ sauce- 2 bottles of your favorite. I usually use a honey BBQ
Chunk Pineapple- 2 cans with juice
Onion- 2-3 medium onions, julienned for pulled BBQ, quartered and separated for chicken pieces or chicken skewers
Red pepper flakes- a teaspoon or so, more if you like a kick
Whole Garlic Cloves- 5-6, more if you like a real garlicky flavor. Smash once with a knife to release flavor
Bell Pepper- 2-3 Bell Peppers in chunks if you are making Skewers only

Also need:

Large Bowl or Ziploc bag for marinating everything
Skewers (if making Chicken Skewers)
Large, deep baking pan (I use at least a 9x13 pan and usually use a throw away because cleanup is a bit of a nightmare)
Mini Baguettes (if serving as pulled chicken sandwiches)

To Prepare:

Preparation for all three dishes is fairly the same. In a large bowl combine BBQ Sauce, Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes. Stir until evenly mixed. Next add Pineapple Chunks and juice and mix. Add your choice of Chicken and stir until evenly coated. Marinate Chicken Mixture for at least an hour, the more you marinate, the more the acid in the Pineapple tenderizes the chicken. I will break down the dishes from here as the cooking instructions are different.

For Pulled BBQ Chicken:

You can use either Chicken on the bone or boneless for this dish. Chicken on the bone is a bit more difficult because you have to stop halfway through and remove the meat and skin but I find that it makes a better BBQ. Once you are finished marinating the meat, pour the entire mixture into a large, deep baking dish and add the julienned onion. Put into the oven at 375* and bake. After about 45 minutes pull out chicken. If you are using the boneless skinless breasts, simply use a fork to shred the meat and mix it in with the sauce. If you used Chicken on the bone, allow it to cool slightly and separate the meat from the bones/skin. Shred the meat and mix it into the sauce. Return the meat and sauce into the oven for another half and hour to 45 minutes, stirring regularly. You may have to add a bit more water to the mix if the sauce begins to get to thick. Continue to stir and cook until the meat has completely tenderized and the sauce is thick. Serve in a hot crusty baguette with fresh cole slaw for an amazing sandwich or use as a main dish with your choice of sides. YUM!

For BBQ Chicken Pieces:

Add Onion Chunks to BBQ mixture and pour into deep baking dish. Put into oven at 375* and bake until skin on the Chicken begins to brown and the meat starts to pull away from the bone (approximately 1 hour). Be sure to marinate with the excess sauce regularly, adding water if needed to thin out the sauce. You can also use a baking bag for this which will self marinate the chicken and keep it moist. Once Chicken is finished, remove from the oven and serve with rice or potatoes. Amazing!

For BBQ Grilled Chicken Skewers:

Add onion to BBQ chicken mixture. Stir until onion is evenly coated with sauce. Skewer Chicken chunks, Pineapple and Onion chunks onto skewers, alternating so that the flavors will mix well. Place on BBQ grill and cook, brushing with leftover sauce regularly. Remove from grill when cooked and serve with your choice of Summery BBQ Sides. Enjoy!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My Life in the Nudist Colony

I can't say when my hatred of clothes began, but it started at a very early age. My parents would be able to figure out where I was by following a trail of socks, shorts, t-shirt and finally a diaper or underpants and eventually catch me running around as naked as the day I was born, usually getting into something I shouldn't be. I grew up on a farm where the nearest neighbors we're nearly a mile away so nudity never was an issue. As kids, we never had bathing suits to swim at the river, underwear or our birthday suits were swimsuit enough. Even as teenagers, my sister and I regularly sunbathed on the dock of our pond in nothing but a smile back when tan lines were our biggest worries. It never occurred to me that it was a taboo thing to do. In college I lounged around my house in my underwear comfortably, not worrying if my roommates popped in my room or whether the neighbors caught a peek while I grabbed the mail from the box on the door. I just never was that worried about it. I went to art school and would routinely pose for classmates who needed a model. I was always comfortable in my own skin. It was clothes that made me miserable. It was such a pain to find something flattering, comfortable, matching, and on top of that, CLEAN! And to do this day after day, ugh...

When I moved to Israel clothes went from being a bit of a bother to the bane of my existence. There is no nice way of saying it. Israel is the summer is HOT. Not just hot, miserably, sticky, sweaty HOT HOT HOT! Luckily the culture here is very relaxed, people live in beach wear. Breezy skirts and bathing suit tops under tanks are perfectly acceptable work attire at many offices. After all, it is more than likely that the workers spent the morning on the beach before heading into work. The shuk has hundreds of beautifully dyed silk skirts, harem pants from India, and fishermen style wrap pants from Thailand that you can get for around 35 shek (about 8 USD), sometimes less if your good at bartering, or better at flirting. I happen to be fairly good at both and quickly stocked my formerly somber wardrobe that consisted mainly in blacks, greys and red fitted silhouettes with bright colors and patterns, everything flowey and breezy, nothing touching my skin. It was the next best thing to naked and since I was working full time it was as good as I could get.

This was great the first two summers I spent here. My third summer I got pregnant. Very quickly I grew out of all my lovely breezy clothes, despite their elastic waistbands. On top of that our washing machine, not so affectionately nicknamed Old Whacky Whacky for the helicopter like noises it made during its 5 hour wash cycle, died a not so peaceful death. Since I was already bedridden for numerous reasons I just gave up on clothes. I think I wore clothes a total of 35 times from August to late April. Firstly, I wasn't going anywhere, secondly NOTHING fit, and frankly, I couldn't be bothered to do laundry by hand and I sure as shit couldn't be bothered to trek to a laundry mat!!!

We finally got a new machine when we moved apartments as we knew we were going to be cloth diapering and therefore really needed a working washer. I did oh, A MILLION loads of laundry in those first few days to catch up on all of the clothes from when Old Whacky Whacky was broken. After the baby came, my clothes still didn't really fit. Since I hadn't been wearing clothes, I hadn't bothered to buy any maternity outfits either. This resulted in my still fat post preggo, post Csection, weirdly shaped, little 70 year old fat man bod not fitting in ANYTHING. Ok I have like 3 tshirt style dresses and a pair of leggings that I throw on for trips to the market or to the family for Friday card nights but other than that, nada.. I need a case of Crisco and a 5 story building to get into anything proper.

To be honest, I don't think I would wear stuff anyways. On top of everything I'm breastfeeding, and I'm lazy. I figure bottles take what 10 mins to prepare? 5 minutes best case scenario?? Yeah, definately too lazy for that, not to mention I'm pretty sure my son thinks he would die of starvation if he had to wait that long. Straight from the tap with a Shirt, bra and breast pads takes about 45 seconds to a minute to get organized and baby eating. Hmmm.. Still too much time. Have you ever HEARD how loud a hungry baby can scream?? Topless? Baby to boob in 3.5 seconds. We have a winner!! When you have a little fat man like mine, those few extra seconds are the difference between a hungry whimper and all out War!

So I've taken to running around the house in nothing but underwear, hubby and little man too. As hot as it is and with only one fan and no central air its hard for me to fathom wearing much else. This of course does have its interesting moments. I get so used to my nudist life that I forget about the neighbors and run outside to bring the diapers in off the line. Its also quite an adventure when friends or family decide to drop by unannounced. Choruses of "Rega!!(wait)" can be heard through the door as we scramble for the nearest items of clothing. Then there are the great moments when the boobs are ready for baby but the baby is asleep, or I'm changing a diaper, resulting in a sort of "milky brick road" from point a to point b until I can grab a towel, tissue or t-shirt to staunch the flow. My husband looking on in horror at the fountained spray, a sort of milky version of the Austin Powers Fem-Bots.

My son is such a naked baby too. He is happiest in only a diaper. Strike that. He is happiest in nothing but his birthday suit, but as often as I get peed on, I pretty much insist on that little fold of cloth between him and me. If he has it his way he would be naked all the time, free to stick his little hands in whatever interesting substance erupted from his little body, bare butt to the world. I literally have to fight my in-laws every visit to keep the clothes OFF of him. Our last conversation went something like this: (again, imagine bad Hebrew punctuated with English and Russian)

All of us and a few friends of the family sitting around a table on the patio with Bub sleeping nearby.

Friend of family (Mother to two, Babuska to two): "Why no pants on the Yeled (baby boy)??"
Me: "It's a million degrees outside! He doesn't like to be hot."
FOF: "But he's Catanchik(little little) He gets cold!!"
Me: "But the doctor said.....(yeah, not gonna lie, this approach didnt work this time)"
FOF: "No. He needs Pants. I'm Wearing Pants, She's wearing pants (pointing to MIL), He's wearing pants (Hubby) You're wearing pants (me). Baby NEEDS PANTS!!!!!"
Me (at the end of my rope): "Its HOT!!! He doesn't NEED Pants!! If you all weren't here I wouldn't be wearing Pants either!!! I hate pants!! He hates Pants!! NO PANTS!!!!"

Things got quiet after that....

I wonder at what point I will have to curb my nudity around the little man. Right now he just sees me as lunch on the go, free range, snack when ya wanna, boobie for baby kinda thing. I walk in the room and he smiles, mouth open wide, head shaking from side to side in anticipation. I don't think I have the same appeal when he's 13 and his friends are over to hang out in the living room. At least not for him, and I don't particularly want to become the subject of teenage fantasies, particularly not at the expense of my son. I think nothing of it now. He's a baby. I hope to raise him in a natural home where he is not afraid of the human body, where he is comfortable enough to ask questions and not feel ashamed. I also don't want to em-bare-ass him (pun intended) or make him feel uncomfortable in those oh so awkward teenage years.

I figure the only solution when he starts asking questions is to move somewhere VERY cold. I'm kidding... Sort of. I have gotten fairly used to the freedom of it, freedom from heat, freedom from being bound by buttons and elastic and snaps and ties, and most of all, freedom from tons of laundry!! For now we are free to run around our house as G-d intended us, and some day in the future when the little man is old enough to notice, I might have to invest in a robe, or be like those Hollywood types who run around in a bathing suit and heels (Imagine that!! haha). Until then, life will remain comfortable, free from the confinement of buttons and tons of laundry, and occasionally sprinkled with milk:).

Friday, July 2, 2010

Recipe: Crazy Veggie Tuna Salad with Boiled Egg

This recipe is my Hubby's favorite way to eat tuna. It is a great way to add more veggies into your diet and definitely makes the usual tuna sandwich a lot more exciting. This recipe makes enough for several sandwiches or can be used as a main dish for a cold Summer supper.


Tuna: 2 cans drained(I prefer tuna in water but the Israeli way is Tuna in Oil)
Corn: 1 small can or the kernels from 2-3 ears fresh
Spring Onion: 3-4 chopped fine with green tops
Onion: 1 medium onion chopped fine (my husband likes both regular onion as well as spring onion in the salad, up to you as to whether you use one or both)
Cucumber: 3-4 medium English thin skin ones, chopped fine with skin (if using the thicker waxy cucumbers, remove seeds and skin)
Dill Pickles: 5-6 chopped fine
Red Bell Pepper: 1 large pepper, chopped fine
Hard Boiled Egg: Peeled and chopped into chunks.

Also Need:

Large Salad Bowl
Spoon for Mixing

To Prepare:

Combine Tuna, Corn, Onion, Cucumber, Pickles, Bell Pepper, and Boiled egg into the bowl. Add mayo by the spoonful until it is the consistency that your prefer (usually takes 3-4 good dollops to coat everything). Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix throughly and spread on bread for sandwiches, eat on crackers, or add to a bed of lettuce for a yummy Summer salad. Enjoy!!

Recipe: My MIL's Chicken Salad

This is a really great recipe for when you don't have a lot of time and need something wholesome and tasty for lunch sandwiches or as a dish for a cold supper. This is really great for summer as it is nice and light and a great twist on the usual Chicken Salad. My Mother In Law makes this as a precursor to almost every Friday night dinner and We LOVE it!!


Chicken: about 2 1/2-3 cups chopped fairly small
Cucumber: 3 or 4 medium cucumbers (I use the seedless English style, with the skin) chopped small, should be about 1 1/2-2 cups
Dill Pickles: 5 or 6 chopped small, should be about 1 1/2-2 cups
Spring Onion: 2-3 chopped fine with tops (this is optional, my MIL doesn't use them but I sometimes like to just for variety)

Also Need:

Medium Salad Bowl
Small bowl to make dressing
Spoon for mixing

To Prepare:

Add the Chicken, Cucumbers, and Pickles (and Spring Onion if you are using) into the bowl. Next in the small bowl ad a few large dollops of Mayo and a hefty squirt of Ketchup. Mix together. It should end up fairly pink. Add the Dressing to the salad and adjust Mayo/Ketchup amounts to your taste. Spread on bread for Sandwiches, eat on Crackers, or add to a bed of lettuce for a yummy salad. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tfu Tfu Tfu!! Stop spitting on my Baby!!!

Ah the In-laws... Always a wonderful source of entertainment, and as it seems, also a great source of blog posts. As I learn more about the Russian culture, I am amazed at all of the fuss over babies. Not the usual "Aw so cute blah blah" fuss, the all consuming need to cluck and fret and worry over the tiniest thing. I come from the school of thought that babies somehow survived long before formula (gag), pacifiers, cribs etc and that the best thing for babies is to revert back to our natural instincts and let Baby tell us what he needs. My In-laws, and well every Russian Grandmother that we pass on the street, have a completely different take on things. I have literally been stopped on the street and scolded for carrying my baby in a sling (he needs to be flat on his back apparently at least until he decides to spontaneously jump up and walk one day), not having a pacifier in his mouth (as if having both of his fists shoved in there wasn't enough) or not having him completely covered in a blanket (cause he is going to get cold in the 100*+ Israeli summer). I also have been periodically stopped so that he can be properly fussed over by said Inquisitive Russian Grandmothers, questions about Baby asked and answered, and then an appropriate barrage of Tfu Tfu Tfu administered (more on that momentarily).

My son is most definitely his Father's boy, and in addition to inheriting his mouth, his barrel chest, and his strong legs, he also inherited my husbands inability to tolerate the heat. My husband literally melts in the Israeli summer and Baby melts right along with him. His little feet get sweaty (he also seems to have gotten my husbands stinky feet, so much for the myth that babies were supposed to smell good), his hair sticks to the back of his head, and he gets miserably cranky. We remedy this by dressing him in only a cloth diaper and sometimes a t-shirt during the day and a onesie at night and sitting near a fan as often as possible. Yet every time I send him to his Babushka's for an afternoon play-date he is returned to me, buried in blankets, dressed in footie pajamas with socks, and sweating like a madman! No matter how many times I tell them that he gets too hot, they insist that he is a "Catanchick (little little)" and that he gets cold and that I really need to put more clothes on him or he is going to get sick. The poor thing is going to die of heat stroke I tell you!

I have finally gotten to the point where I blame every parenting descision on the doctors (which they have GREAT faith in). Don't want them to put him in mittens? "The doctor said not to.." Sock free feet? "The doctor said he needs to exercise his nerve receptors" (try translating THAT one!!). We are making a small bit of progress but he still returns a good 6 times out of 10 swaddled up like we're living in Siberia and its the dead of winter.

There is a great fear amongst the Russian Babushka's (My MIL, Her Twin, as well as the 200 or so on the street every day) of the Evil Eye. There is a belief that any sort of celebration of good fortune can bring on the wrath of the Evil Eye and the only way to remedy this is to Spit three times, "Tfu Tfu Tfu". Yes, you read that correctly. Spit. Three times... I kid you not. Now mind you my husband doesn't warn me about any of this craziness before it happens, nooo that would take away all the fun!

Flashback to baby's first introduction to the family. Choruses of "Eze Hamud! (Cutie) Eze Yeled Tov (good boy) Manchick Malinky Crasiba(cute little boy) " etc could be heard around the room followed almost immediately by machine-gun like Tfu-ing. I of course am already paranoid at the fact that my baby is being submitted to a gajillion different germs from being passes around and touched and kisses by all these different people and on top of that your going to SPIT AT HIM?! I almost died. Every time my MIL speaks about him, her stories are punctuated nearly every sentence with the inevitable Tfu Tfu Tfu...

A conversation with my MIL goes something like this (I will spare you the translation, but in your mind picture a conversation in broken Hebrew punctuated by the odd phrase in English and Russian when we run out of words, and illustrated with wild hand movements):

MIL-"How is the baby??"
Me-"Oh he's good, growing, growing"
MIL (picking up baby) "Russian Russian Russian...Tfu Tfu Tfu (kiss) Tfu Tfu Tfu (kiss) Tfu Tfu Tfu (kiss)" (As if one set of Tfu-ing was not enough)

And so the conversation will continue with my stumbling through daily events in broken Hebrew, and my MIL punctuating said conversation with copious amounts of Tfu-age until the daily report is finished and she resumes fussing and cooing at the baby in Russian.

As if this wasn't enough, She will even go so far as to yell at us if we DARE say anything positive about the baby without spitting. My husband and I were sitting around discussing the last well baby checkup (tfu tfu tfu) and Hubby mentioned something about how the baby was gaining weight and that the doctor had said my milk was very good. He neglected to punctuate the discussion with the proper expulsion of spittle and my MIL immediately jumped in and demanded that Hubby spit. I of course was staring at her like she had three heads, and Hubby attempted to ignore silly superstitions and stubbornly refused. A heated argument in Russian followed and she did not relent until the proper noises had been made and the Evil Eye had been properly blinded by bodily fluids... Tfu. Tfu. Tfu.