Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top Ten Life Changes

Motzei shabbos, as I was drifting off to sleep, I had this sudden and horrible realization. The second birthday of BOSD has passed without a party, without fanfare, and without recognition of any sort.

And then, I realized that it's time I stopped neglecting this blog. All of my loyal readers surely noticed how seldom I've posted in the last few months. If you think this is a long winded introduction to an engagement announcement, you are sadly mistaken.

I did, however, have a whole bunch of reasons not to post much. It's Tuesday, so let's see if I have ten of em:

In the last six months:
10) My manager at work (who I loved) quit.

9) I was asked repeatedly if I am sure I am not pregnant.

8) I lost an organ.

7) I recovered from my first ever surgery.

6) I used up years of accumulated sick days. Without lying.

5) I got a new manager who can only be described as something that rhymes with a witch. (And no, I don't mean a snitch.)

4) I found a new job.

3) I quit my old job. (Happiest day of my life. Hands down.)

2) I discovered the joys and trials of a commuter's lifestyle.

1) I became a morning person.

Does this excuse my lack of posts? I don't know. On the one hand, this sorta gives me a ton to post about. On the other hand, I was never one of those "and here's what happened to me today" type of bloggers.

Does anyone want to hear which organ I lost? Or what my first words after waking up from surgery were? Or what I nicknamed my horrible new manager? Or what I do on the way to work every day? Either way, I've got some post ideas, and I fully intend to post a bunch more. I won't, however, complain if your comments generate a discussion that inspires me to write a bunch of new posts. No, that's not a hint. Not at all.

Ok, your turn folks. What's been going on in the last six months of your lives?

Friday, November 26, 2010

What are You Doing Today?

If you're reading this when it's posted, it means one of two things. Either you're having heartburn from an oversized turkey dinner, or you are one of the sadly misguided folks who is waking up right around now to shop.
Here is my question. Why?
The whole black Friday thing never made any sense to me. Over the years, I've turned down dozens of invitations to hit the sales. Whether it was a midnight trek up to Woodbury Commons, an early morning run to Macy's, or a big trip to the mall, I was never one of those people with high hopes squeezing myself into the back of a tiny car.
And here's why. As exciting as the reports sounded when friends and sisters came back telling me of the crowds and discounts, I always noticed something fascinating: their hands were always empty. The few things that they had purchased weren't very cheap, nor were they very wanted.
I have nothing monumental to say on this subject. I could point out that people have died in black Friday stampedes. Or I could point out how sad it is that a drive for materialism has led a family to camp out a week and a half before Thanksgiving. But you all know that.

It's kind of like the wise man once said: "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people" .So instead of an insight, I'll wish y'all Happy Suckers Day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Top Ten Ways To Eat a Rugelah

This extremely creative and funny Top Ten list was actually a contest entry submitted by iRiR. Check out her cool blog here.

1. Start from one end and bite lengthwise (wide side) in progressive stages until you reach the other end.

2. Start from one end and bite widthwise (narrower side) in progressive stages until you reach the other end.

3. Peel the thin edge of the rolled-up strip. Keep peeling and eating until the entire rugelah is consumed.

4. Use a fork to pierce the center of the rugelah and chew politely. Perfect for people who feel their empty hands look unbecoming.

5. Using a napkin, grasp the rugelah with your thumb and index finger in a pincer-grasp. Then eat. Great for use in high society.

6. Using a bag to prevent your hands from getting dirty, hold the rugelah in your hand and chew.

7. Stick a toothpick in one end of the rugelah and out the other. Proceed to eat like corn-on-the-cob, holding both ends of the stick.

8. Place rugelah in mouth and suck until it eventually disintegrates. Works best for adults with dental issues.

9. Pop the entire rugelah into your mouth at once. Applies to smaller-sized rugelach only.

10. Pretend to eat the rugelah by bringing it up to your mouth and feigning chewing and swallowing. Good for dieters.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Another Point for the Guys

There's big news announced at the shabbos table. My brother has struck it rich. Ok, not quite rich. He does, however, get a monthly kollel check from BMG.

And of course, a lively discussion ensued about the number of years a man (boy? Bochur?) has to learn in BMG before he is eligible for kollel checks. Surprisingly enough, you don't have to learn there for ten years to qualify. And you get more than $20 every other month, though not much more.

It got interesting when someone pointed out that the years a boy is learning there count from when he enters the yeshivah, not from when he gets married. It was my father who pointed out how good that can be for shidduchim. "Hey I can be eligible for kollel checks next week!"

And I was the one who pointed out that it's so like the guys. Being OLD is good for shidduchim. Speaking of the shidduch crisis.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: And The Winner Is...

It's been a fun week. I've realized that a contest with a great prize is a far better incentive for strangers who read your blog contact you than a heartfelt plea, or even outright begging.

On that note, here are, in spirit of Tuesday, ten highlights from the entries I received:

10) "When learning history in school, such as the 1980’s" -Is it just me, or does that line imply that I am very old? Well either way, congrats to T who made me laugh on that, earning a bonus entry!

9) "I don't have so many more years before I age out of "twenty-something" - I should chapp it while I qualify!" -Brilliant, Scraps.

8) "When I read it, I'll be imagining you saying, "Scrumptious!" in a Chassidishe accent." Those who don't know me don't know that I speak a perfect yinglish. Fortunately, Scraps does.

8) "the top ten neighbors you don't want to have" -This one came from a newly married friend of mine. I just can't get over how much marriage can change a person's whole perspective on Top Ten lists!

7) "1.KBD carrot sticks as seen on BOSD (serious about that being #1 btw. it has been requested about 3 times this week)" -See, Bas~Melech put it as the number one food eaten in her house. I wasn't crazy when I said I couldn't get them off the tray for photographic purposes!

6) "Top Ten Reasons to Blog...1.If SD does it, it's gotta be good." -Who says flattery doesn't pay off? Thos entry by B~M made me laugh, earning her a bonus entry.

5) " I've helped you write so many top ten lists that they should all count and I should get an extra entry for each one." -bad4, I can't do that, but this is a good reason that you should get an entry. And it made me laugh, so you know what that means, right?

4) "5 - Oooh, if you don't, I'll tell your sister about your blog. Actually, that's worth several entries. [...] 10 - See reason #5. " -This might be a good reason to enter Bad4 into the contest, but it's also a good reminder not to read contest entries at work, lest I choke on my fourth cup of coffee.

3) "What I'd like to see is Top Ten Recipes from the book" -Y'know what I'd like to see? A check for ten million dollars. So we're even.

2) "It's important to have at least a cookbook or two on the shelf so that I can impress my mother in law when she visits." -Tzipi, how bout I send you the book jacket from my copy and you can wrap it around some random book and place it on the shelf in your kitchen? ;-)

1) By far, the most crative entry to this contest was submitted by iRiR, entitled "Top Ten Ways to Eat a Rugelah (croissant):" Now, if I can just get her permission, perhaps next week will feature her pearls of wisdom.

(And though she wasn't mentioned here, partly cuz she made the deadline by 3 minutes, my friend BigChamor, aka @Schmoiger, wrote a brilliant list. It'll be up here soon.)

And now...the moment you've all been waiting for:

[bum bum bum ba da dum]

the winner is...

[bum bum bum ba da dum]

Ok, for real this time. The winner is..


Congrats! Now, as readers of this blog may well know, Bas~Melech is not just a fellow blogger,  but a friend of mine. And while I was rooting for the winner to be among my friends, it was a totally random contest. Perhaps B~M's victory had something to do with her submitting seven complete Top Ten lists?

Anyway, thanks all for playing! Twas fun. Stay tuned for some entries in the coming weeks.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Last Day!

I've gotten some really great entries to the contest, but I just wanted to remind y'all that it's not over yet! You have until 10pm tonight to come up with an idea for a Top Ten list, write a Top Ten list, forward a link to the contest to ten people, or all of the above. I mean, how cool would it be to wake up tomorrow morning and find your name featured on this blog?!

And, the contest has an added perk. Even if you don't win the prize, you can still have your Top Ten list featured on a future Top Ten Tuesday post (with a link, where applicable).

Looking forward to hearing from you!

(Just a reminder, no entries will be considered valid without an email address. And when I say 10pm, I mean 10, not 10:15. I have a strict bedtime.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Cookbook Giveaway

10) I figured that since this contest is taking place on a Tuesday, a Top Ten themed giveaway would be in order. Excuse me if this isn't very typical of a top ten list.
9) The contest is in effect from the moment this gets posted until 10 pm on Monday, November 15th. The winner will be posted next Tuesday, November 16th.
8) Every valid entry will receive one entry into a randomly selected raffle. Entries that make me laugh will receive an extra entry. (Thanks to G6 for the idea. I stole it.) If this criteria feels overly subjective to you, it might be. But on the other hand, if you're a long time reader of this blog, you may have a better grasp of my sense of humor, giving you an edge up on the competition.
7) Finally, the criteria for entry: (there are more than one way to enter, here's the first.) The theme is Top Ten, but that's where I end the restrictions. Go crazy. Write a top ten list. Submit a great top ten idea. You chose. I'm not picky.
6) If you sit down to attempt an entry, and realize that I've only been making my Top Ten lists LOOK easy, though, in fact, it's tough, and you can't come up with an entry, there's another way to enter. Copy and paste the following text into an email, (or compose a similar message) and send it to, in keeping with the Top Ten theme, ten of your contacts. CC me at justablobatgmaild0tc0m by way of entry.
sample text:
I wanted to let you know about a contest on a blog I read, A Blob of Something Different. The prize is Suzie Fishbein's new cookbook, Kosher by Design Teens and 20-somethings. You can read a review of this cookbook here, or find the rules to enter here.

Don't forget to spread the word!

5) There are no restrictions on the number of entries you can have, for either way of entering.
4) Entries can be submitted directly to my email address, justablobatgmaild0tc0m, or posted as a comment with a note not to publish it. Comments that are entries will automatically not be posted, all others on this post, if any, will be. If you wish for your comment to be posted, please post it separately from your entry.
3) Entries without a valid email address will not be counted. Even if you are sure I have your email, don't count on it.
2) I will need your mailing address to forward to Artscroll, the sponsors of the amazing prize, so if you don't want me knowing your blogger ID, you may want to refrain from submitting your entry with it.
1) The winner will be randomly selected using random.org The prize of this contest is the amazing new cookbook in the KBD series: Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Somethings, as reviewed by me here. Trust me, you want to win it.
Can't wait to see your entries!
(If you know me, email me on a different email address, follow me on twitter, facebook, text me, or communicate with me in any method other than the email address associated with this blog, please use my blog email to enter. Thank you.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Somethings

When I discovered that the publicity team for Susie Fishbein’s new cookbook was running a blog promotion, I knew I had to get on board. Susie Fishbein’s cookbooks are the holy grail of cooking in my house. All I can say is, thank goodness for Twitter.

When the book arrived, I tore open the box and disappeared to my bedroom to read and enjoy the new cookbook. The first thing that hit me was the cover:
I think its pretty clever. Stuff that teens and twenty somethings generally use such as headphones and car keys, combined with food, which is, obviously, the main focus of a cookbook.

Once I opened it up, I was immediately impressed with the colorful, eye catching design of the book. The clear, clean style of the layout is easy on the eyes and very inviting. Before I even reached the recipes, however, I was wowed by the introduction. In lieu of the usual boring introduction that we all don't read, as found in most cookbooks, this one has a number of helpful guides as well as healthy eating tips.

I made the mistake of looking through the recipes while hungry. Really. In my case, to say the pictures were mouthwatering is no exaggeration. I drooled as I looked through the delicious looking recipes. I drooled as I read the delicious sounding names of the recipes. And of course, I drooled when I looked at the enticing photos.

I think that the majority of my readers are teens and twenty-somethings, but perhaps many of you wonder if this cookbook is really for you. Well, my sister and sister-in-law, both of whom are twenty-somethings, were wondering the same thing. As two huge fans of Susie Fishbein and her work, they were discussing the upcoming cookbook with a mixture of anticipation and uncertainty. My sister-in-law, rightfully wondered if the cookbook would be overwhelmingly simple for someone of her cooking skill. After much consideration, they decided that they would wait and see what it looked like, and then decide.

And that's what I want to do, help you decide. Does this cookbook have some very basic recipes? Definately. But I am not a novice cook by any means, and I found plenty of recipes that are exciting and creative. There is a section called Munchies, which is not generally found in cookbooks, which I believe is where you will find the majority of the basic recipes, as well as the recipes that wouldn't be of interest to people who are no longer teens and twenty somethings. (Think Chocolate Fluffernutter Quesadillas...) But the other sections, specifically the Poulty and Meat section, have enough interesting, sophisticated and practical sounding recipes to make up for it. (More on those later.)

Another issue that might be bothering some people is whether or not the recipe's instructions are written with the assumption that you can't tell an oven from a dishwasher and that your idea of cooking a gourmet meal is sticking the leftover takeout food into the microwave. And the answer is no. I actually think that the cookbook is written in a very smart and balanced manner. As someone with extensive cooking experience, I didn't feel like the instructions were talking down to me, but I aso see how they would be simple enough for someone with no cooking experience to follow accurately. In fact, I think Kosher By Design Teens and Twenty Somethings would be an excellent cookbook for some of my newly married friends who know nothing about cooking. (Yes, I mean you. And you.)

Back so some of the great recipes... I made a number of recipes so far, with excellent results. I know that people criticised the poor picture I posted last week of the spicy carrot sticks, still on the baking paper, but I actually think it's the ultimate compliment. Those carrot sticks never made it off the paper!

Here's the recipe, I challenge you to make 'em and have em last long enough to sit through a photo shoot.

6 large carrots, peeled, ends trimmed

1 egg white from a large egg
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 1⁄2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1⁄2 teaspoons sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
1⁄4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Cover a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Cut each carrot in half to make 2 (3–4 inch) pieces.
3. Cut each carrot half in half lengthwise. With the cut-side-down on your cutting board, cut each half into 3 equal strips to make thin carrot sticks.
4. Place the egg white into a large shallow bowl or container and whip with a fork or whisk till foamy.
5. In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, water, garlic powder, cumin, sugar, paprika, and white pepper.
6. Place the carrot sticks into the beaten egg; toss to coat the carrots in the egg white.
7. Stir the carrots into the spice mixture. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the salt.
8. Roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
9. Transfer to a serving plate or bowl.
As I said, you just try doing number 9. I couldn't get that far.

Additionally, I also made a delicous dessert, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Sticks. They are a cross between biscotti and brownies, easy to make, require no mixer, and best of all, don't have margerine...and they received rave reviews. The Schwarma Chicken and Za'atar Cauliflower were equally delicious.

In conclusion, this cookbook has an excellent blend of old favorites, international recipes, fresh takes on classics, and new and creative ideas. If you are a more experienced cook, you may find some of the recipes to be a little bit basic and simplistic, but I doubt there is anyone who wouldn't find a large number of delectable recipes to try.

If you are as excited about this cookbook as I am, and want to start making delicacies such as Firecracker Beef, Smashed Potatoes, Cappuccino Mousse and Molten Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies, you can order the cookbook online here. Make sure to use the coupon code KBDBLOG at checkout to get 10% off and free shipping. Or you can wait till tomorrow when I post the details of my giveaway. You may just be the lucky winner of this excellent cookbook.

You can also checkout the Kosher By Design blog, for sample recipes and news, or download a Kosher By Design recipe index here. And of course, come back and check tomorrow for the giveaway. I won't tell you specifics, but its going up on Tuesday...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My New Favorite Food

I officially have a new favorite food:

(Excuse the photo quality-or lack thereof. My camera battery was dead and Louis III isn't renowned for his photographic capabilities.)
Spicy carrot sticks from the new Kosher By Design Teens and Twenty Somethings

I must tell you though, my father, who is far from a teen or a twenty something, fought me for the last carrot stick. Stay tuned, because a full review is coming up in less than a week! Oh, and one lucky reader will get a totally free copy of the cookbook. Trust me, you want to win.

(Oh, and I also made the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie Sticks from said cookbook, which not only received rave reviews, but looked pretty on the table for MP's latest date.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

(Top) Ten Commandments of Shidduchim

While not a true Top Ten list, I figured this was perfectly appropriate for the occasion. Feel free to add more. Unlike the real ones, there isn't a prohibition of Ba'al tosif. ;-)

With thanks, once again, to Bad4, for her help:

1) Thou shalt not have skeletons in thy family's closet.

2) Thou shalt not be caught out of thine house without a full face of makeup.

3) Thou shalt not wear long skirts.

4) Thou shalt not stick out from the crowd by wearing bright colors.

5) Thou shall be a special Ed teacher, therapist, nurse or accountant.

6) Thou shalt not be fat.

7) Thou shall meet every shadchan in a ten million mile radius of thine house.
8) Thou shalt not have unusual or controversial opinions.

9) Thou shall politely accept all strange, off-color, and rude advice offered by old women in black who deem themselves Shadchanim.

10) Thou shall be forever optimistic about every possible match suggested to thee.