Our one and only Thanksgivukkah...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgivukkah, that rare day when Thanksgiving and Hanukkah collided is over.  It won't come again for another 70,000 years.  Last night we wondered if there will be an earth in 70,000 years or a human race and , if so, will there still be organized religion.  That was the only heavy moment in an otherwise fun and festive night.

This year, it was just my side of the family. My sister, brother-in-law and nephew were in from out of town so it was extra special.  My food was delicious , yet heavy (Jewish food is heavy and we all know how you feel after a Thanksgiving dinner). I served Turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, potato latkes (pancakes), corn soufflé, Kughel (Jewish noodle pudding), and my mom brought her famous and fabulous beef brisket (another Jewish tradition).  Desserts were pecan pie, red velvet cake and Jelly Donuts (a Hannukah food). I wish that these to holidays were always celebrated on the same day! So many calories, yet soooo good.

Everyone got a along (we always do) and it was just a great night. Lots to be thankful for. 

As I woke up this morning, for the first time, in a long time, I had nothing that I HAD to do. I was so grateful for that.

Today my husband's creative brother is coming over to finish up this year's handmade menorah.  I will post photos after Saturday night's big reveal during a Hanukkah celebration with my husband's family.

In the meantime, here are a few shots of our crazy, mixed up holiday. I think that the decorations that I concocted (other than Etsy, there were no Thanksgivukkah decorations being sold) were tacky but they won't be used again so it is okay.

Jewish Pilgrams????

 A turkey filled with dreydels???
 Gourds and Gelt (Hanukkah chocolcate coins)
 Latkes (potato pancakes)
 Truly a mishmash! Martha Stewart has nothing to fear!

Things I'm thankful for….

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This time of year, we are all supposed to be thinking about what we are thankful for.  As I sat in Temple the other day watching my friend's son become a Bar Mitzvah, I thought about the real things that I'm thankful for. (Family, Health, etc) But The Super-funny Jen at The Suburban Jungle cracked me up this afternoon when she posted the 27 things that she is thankful for and it got me thinking, what are the things that I'm truly thankful for besides the obvious ones.

Here goes:

1. I'm thankful that I have built in manual laborers in my house..  Well, they talk back and I have to yell a lot but I do have two giant teens who can unload groceries and a dishwasher, carry laundry up and down stairs and do other various choses for free. Sure I have to feed, clothe and drive them around, but the extra help is kind of nice.

2. I'm thankful for my giant flat screen television in my room. It is 2 years old. Is a smart tv (internet connection) and is crystal clear. Yesterday, I told my son that if I could, I'd marry it and I was not kidding.

3. I'm thankful for text messages. I don't always give good phone and I love being able to get my message across without having do do the whole phone call thing and it's niceties.

4. I'm thankful for Amazon Prime.  Seriously. It is the best $79 a year that I spend.  I order things like printer ink or books for school or vitamins at least two or three times a week and it is always delivered in two days. For free!   It is the lazy girl's best friend

5. I'm thankful for Air Conditioning. Sorry but everyone in Florida should have to say thanks for that at least once a year.

6. My bangs and I are very thankful for flat irons. I can't remember what life was like before them but it was uglier for sure.

7.  I'm thankful for tripadvisor.com. Checking into to gross hotels are a thing of the past for me. I once had to wear shoes in a hotel room in NYC because the carpet was sticky. Thank goodness that website posts real visitor reviews so surprises are minimal

8.  I'm thankful that my mother made me take typing class in High School even though I did not want to. I can't imagine hunting and pecking

9. I'm thankful for good lighting at parties.  Last night I was at a Bar Mitzvah and the lighting was so perfect, me and my other young (middle-aged) friends all looked so soft and wrinkleless!

10.  I'm thankful DVRs and on-demand television.  I look back on those days when I did not want to go out on Thursday night because I'd miss my shows are absurd!

11. I'm thankful for Magic erasers.  Those little sponges get marks off of walls. Who came up with that?

12. I'm thankful that my kids have great senses of humor.  Laughing may save my entire family from going insane.

13. I'm thankful that the internet has recipes for everything and that I don't have to have cookbooks anymore.

14. I'm thankful for that once in a lifetime holiday THANKSGIVUKKAH.  Here is our turkey menorah. Yes, its more on the tacky side but it will be used for one night only.

Happy Thanksgiving Day. What are the untraditional things that you are thankful for right now.

What I've been up to...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I have not been blogging much lately. I've been extra, extra busy. Besides getting my house as company ready as possible for Thanksgivukkah, I've been doing a lot of freelance legal work. I've also been eBaying like crazy (I guess my clients are getting company ready by purging)

One of my clients gave me a shopping bag full of jewelry from her travels around the world. It is all so gorgeous. I guess the mini-hoarder in me can't believe that someone would want to give up such prettiness like these pieces

Another client gave me a carload full of Chinese pots and other home decor items. So pretty…

And another small footed friend (Size 5!) gave me these pretty Kate Spade shoes. I'd wear those to Publix every day if they fit me!

 Here is the link to my ebay store in case you want to check out the details of the above.

In the meantime, my husband informed me that his office was having a potluck pre-thanksgiving fest and I'd need to provide my famous corn soufflé for 70 this week.  I decided to try to make it in muffin tins instead of a casserole dish. I made samples in mini and regular tin sizes.  Both were delicious.  I actually just ate them for dinner on Thursday night when I was baking them in lieu of grown up food.

This is the jiffy corn muffin recipe. (jiffy mix, corn, creamed corn, sour cream, eggs.  Totally fattening. Totally delicious.

 I'll try to post some photos of my crazy Thanksgivukkah table decoration that I'm concocting.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

This year Thanksgiving collides with Hanukkah in Jewish Houses. The good news is that we kill two birds with one stone so to speak.

 Hanukkah is the easiest Jewish Holiday around here. We usually eat fried foods (to remember the miracle of a little bit of oil lasting 8 days) and light a menorah.  There is no temple-going, no traditional meals,etc.  

Thanksgiving in my family is more traditional and rigid. I have hosted it for many years. One year my husband and decided to bbq instead of making the traditional meal and it went over like a lead balloon (Any dinner party that I host where my husband bbqs is so much easier for me and so much tastier as I am not a good cook!)

This is the first time that these two holidays will be occurring on the same day and it won't happen again for 70,000 years! I have no idea what to make or how to decorate.

I'm going with silver and blue as my color scheme for decorating. I've spray painted some traditional thanksgiving items silver and my table decor will be unique and funny.

I'm thinking of this menu…Please give opinions.

Beef brisket (made by my mom and totally delicious)
Potato latkes (pancakes) with apple sauce
Cranberry sauce
Noodle kugel (It is sweet and delicious)

Mini peacan pies and mini jelly donuts (a hanukkah thing)

Lots of alcohol.

Is it okay if I don't serve anything green?
Is it okay if I don't have sweet potatoes?

Opinions please blogging friends?

Russell Crowe…Noah's Arc…Hmmm...

Friday, November 15, 2013

I've been asked to plug something. (I'm not getting paid but I may get some stuff to give away to my blog readers) I would never advertise something that I'm not interested in so luckily this involves Russell Crowe.  

Russell  Crowe, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson (Herminie!) are starring in an upcoming film called NOAH. We all know the story so it will be interesting to see this version of it! 

Here is a glimpse...

Here is a link to the trailer for the film!

I, for one, can't wait to see this. I love a movie that both my husband and I will want to see!

My yummy Anniversary Dinner

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I seem to be writing about restaurants a lot lately. I would make the worst restaurant critic. I'm easy to please.  I'm a horrible cook so I'm usually happy at a restaurant BUT my dear  Miami readers (Even though you're not big commenters, I know that you're reading because I see it in my blogger stats) you must check out Trattoria Il Migliore
Sorry that I don't have any photos of the food. I was too excited to eat it and forget to snap photos! 

My sweet husband and I celebrated 19 years of wedded bliss yesterday.  He had a long hard day and we just wanted to go out and eat something good in a nice, quiet place.  We had been to Il Migliore once before a few weeks ago and I suggested that we go back.

Il Migliore is one of those places that you probably have passed by a bunch of times. It is in a little strip center on Miami Gardens drive right before you get to Aventura.  Its a cute little place but the food is amazing.

The Chef/Owner is named Brett. He is not an absent owner.  He is walking around and making sure everyone is happy. This is probably one of the most important things that a restaurant owner can do.

In our two visits there we've tried the Kobe Beef Meatball appetizer, the chopped salad, the fettucini with mushrooms and truffle oil, the ceasar salad, the Rigatoni Butarra (spicy sausage in a pink sauce), the Chicken Butarra (A chicken park with the butarra sauce), brussel sprouts and the ricotta cheesecake.  Every single bite of every single thing was outrageously delicious and fresh.

As I walked out, I told Brett, "This is my new favorite restaurant" and it is.  I urge my Miami Peeps to check it out.

They are located at 2576 Miami Gardens Drive and the website is ilmig.com

Black Friday just got worse….

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

For several years, I owned retail stores located inside a local mall. One of the best and worst days of the year for me was Black Friday.  I had to think about it on Thanksgiving. I could not overindulge because I knew that I was opening my business myself the next day at 6 a.m.  This was when the mall opened.  I don't mind getting up early and the craziness that awaited me every year when I walked into the mall was always amusing.

Photo from gsmnation.com

The mall did not require any stores to open until 6 a.m. but the department stores, at least most of them, opened at 4 so by the time that I made it to the mall around 5:45, the parking lot was starting to get filled up.  Once inside, despite most of the stores being closed, it looked like a busy afternoon except for all of the shoppers were wearing sweats and sneakers. There was not a stitch of make up or hairspray on the early morning crazies.  I always cracked up to see friends of mine dashing through the snow  marble tile to grab a bargain on a coffee maker or cashmere scarf.

This seemed crazy enough for me.  Luckily, I'm out of the retail arena (even though black Friday was always a great day for sales and the Holidays were my "bonu$" time of the year).  It seems that some retail stores (and even some malls) have decided to say "F black Friday...lets start on Thanksgiving"!

Wal-mart has decided to start the craziness at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. I'm sorry, but I'm certain that the someone will vomit up their huge turkey dinner while dashing to try to grab one of those cheap tvs. Someone will slip on it and sue Wal-mart which probably serves them right for opening on Thanksgiving.

Other stores, for fear of missing any of those precious black Friday dollars, are following suit. Target (8 p.m. Thanksgiving), Best Buy (6 p.m. on Thanksgiving) Sears (8 p.m.), Macys (8 p.m.) Kohl's (8 p.m.) JC Penney (8p.m.)

Old Navy has decided to open at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. I guess you will look better in their cheap clothes if you skip dinner all together in order to grab some cheap acrylic sweaters. Same with good Old K-mart. They are opening at 6a.m. on Turkey Day.   And purgatory (otherwise known as Toys R Us during the holidays) is opening at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Some local malls here in Miami  including the Dolphin Mall and Sawgrass Mills are also opening on Thanksgiving.  

Even if you love to shop on Thanksgiving, the thousands of workers who are ,no doubt, grateful to have jobs this year,  can't spend the holiday with their families as they have to show up and sell all the crap to the shoppers.

This is sad and there is probably no going back after this.  This year I will be thankful that I can go to the beach on Black Friday or just sit around my house cursing myself for eating too much the day before. I'm thankful that my husband won't have to work either.   I will not be shopping.   

By the way, while Black Friday may have a few "door buster" deals, I did learn from my years of living working at the mall, that the better bargains actually occur in the weeks afterwards.  The week before Christmas usually has great deals, especially on sweaters, etc.  If you go to the mall when it first opens (exceptions are Black Friday and the days before and after Christmas), it is not crowded and you can get your list filled before lunchtime! 

A Restaurant Called "Crazy About You"...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Last night was my husband's birthday so I drove him to work and then we went out with the boys to a restaurant right around the corner from his office called "Crazy About You".  How could you not like a place with that type of name?

Crazy about You is located on the water in the Brickell Bay Area of Downtown Miami.  It has a gorgeous view when it is light out but we should have gone before the time change as it was pitch black when we arrived.  Regardless, it has a nice view of part of the skyline at night and the interior has a chic, modern vibe going on.

On each table was a cheeky little pot with a dare for everyone to put their cell phones in the pot. The one who takes his or hers out first, has to pay the bill. Guess who lost? The Birthday boy! To be fair, his phone was buzzing all day and night with birthday wishes and his money is my money  and the kids have no money so it was not really a game at all.

We have been to a sister restaurant nearby called "Dolores but you can call me Lolita". I blogged about it.  Both restaurants have the same concept.  You pick an entree and a appetizer for a set price. Prices range between $18 and $30 for the combo. The price is based on which entree you choose.  We all chose different stuff but the best thing on the table last night was the appetizer called "Calamari al Pepperoncini Flatbread". It was fried calamari with hot peppers, a ranch-y type of sauce on top of a thin pizza/flat bread.  Fried anything is hard to mess up and this was delicious.

The only downside was that I asked for birthday -something when I made the reservation and the waiter verified that something was coming but it never did. Just as well. We were full from all of the food and had a Birthday cake after the drive home.

I would definitely go back to Crazy About You ! 

Book Review…"The Atlas of Love"

Thursday, November 7, 2013

    I was an English major. I love to read. I have read a lot of literature despite my youngish age.  I find that these days, I don't read as much as I used to as my busy life and tired eyes seem to make me bore quickly if a novel does not catch my attention right away.

     I recently read "The Atlas of Love" by Laurie Frankel. 

While I would call the genre of this novel "chick lit", Frankel's writing is really, really good.  The book read like a friend is telling you her story. The premise for the book is that a graduate student becomes pregnant and she and her two closest friends decide to raise the baby together and share the work.  It is sweet, funny and smart. It is not upsetting. It is not confusing. It is just what a busy girl needs in a novel at this time of year. I read it in two days.

I loved it so much, that I emailed the author to tell her so. (I never do this but will doing it more often). Guess what? She wrote back!  

If you want a well written, easy read, I would highly recommend this one. 

A girl and a bike...

Monday, November 4, 2013

     No matter how long it has been since you last rode, it is great to jump on a bike.  For the past six months, I have been riding a bike for exercise on the beach.  In all the workouts that  I've ever done, this is the most mood altering one.

 I think it is the combination of the amazing beach views, the smooth riding path free of cars, the youthful feeling that you get when riding a bike along with the usual endorphins that come with some cardio that makes this a great workout.    

 I have yet to regret any of my biking workouts. Even when I'm tired, I am always in a much better mood once I breathe in the sea air. An unlike going to an indoor gym, there are all types exercising at "my outdoor gym". Young, old, fat, thin, athletes and tourists all walk, run, skate and bike in harmony.   No one tries to pick me up. There are no lululemon fashion shows.  It is just me and the beach and my bike. 

 The best part about this workout is that I don't have to haul a bike to the beach.  I have been doing "bike sharing".  All over South Florida, there are bike sharing stations popping up. In Broward County, where the amazing Hollywood Beach Broadwalk is located, there are B-cycles. 

You can either rent by the day ($10 an hour) or pay $45 for a year-long membership. With a membership, the first 1/2 rental every day is free and it is $1 for every half hour after that. You just swipe your credit card if you are not  a member. With membership, you walk up to a bike, place your membership card on a sensor next to it and off you go.

     I love not having to lift a heavy bike on and off of a bike rack. I love not having to worry about maintaining a bike.  I just walk up, ride and then put it back.  The bikes are in great condition and feature huge baskets with funny signs on them.

     Even when it gusting 30 m.p.h. and it feels like you are riding against a brick wall (like today!) it is always a good, fun workout.  If you are near Hollywood Beach, I'd highly recommend it. Just save a bike for me!



Only in Miami...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I love living in Miami. Besides the glorious weather that we have for most of the year, the people in Miami are very colorful.  Miami is a true melting pot of many cultures and this makes for great art, music and food. (It does make for horrible traffic and drivers but its worth it to live in such an amazing city).

That being said, Miami is full of nutballs. I went to go get my Flu Shot on Friday at Walgreens.  I saw this lady walking through the entire store with her two dogs on leashes.  They were not service dogs. They were regular dogs.  Not one person that worked in the store said anything. They sell food in Walgreens!  What the heck? To make matters worse, I kept looking at the lady as she looked liked she could be one of the PTA moms that I know. She did not look like a loonie at all, she looked like one of my friends.  What does this mean? 


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Every year the Halloween Candy heads into the house after a night of trick or treating.  Every year, that bucket of yummy sugar starts calling to me. Those little tiny-sized candy bars. They are not that evil right? They have less than 1/2 the calories of a real chocolate bar.  I start with just one. Then it seems like I am eating one every time I walk into the kitchen. They start calling my name. "Just another little one honey. What harm can one little chocolate bar do?" I can't stop. I eat too many throughout the day. I would have been better off just buying one candy bar, eating it and being done with it.

This year I decided that I could eat whatever I wanted on the actual day of Halloween which was at least four fun-sized chocolate bars (Which is equal to 2 full sized candy bars!) and went to sleep nauseous and with a great idea.  I decided that I was not going to eat any candy from the Halloween bowl after Halloween.  Not one piece. In fact, I decided that I was going to detox off of white sugar starting November 1st. I'm going to try to make it until Thanksgiving,  but I'm taking it one day at a time.

Yesterday was day one. Guess what? It was super easy.  I had drawn a clear line in the sand. I could have none of it. It was was less difficult than trying to limit myself to a piece or two. I did not crave it. I did not think about it. I easily walked by the bowl. I was not tempted at all.

I guess my problem is that I don't have the "moderation" gene when it comes to sugar.  I can't eat just a little bit.  I know that some people can. Have any of you learned "moderation" when it comes to sweets or am I just out of luck?
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